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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Working with Daddy

Yesterday Chris took Ann Catherine to Lowe's with him. The purpose of the trip was to get mulch for the flower beds. They came home with that, plus a pink shovel and pink gardening gloves (she wanted rubber boots too, but Lowe's didn't have any).

Once they got home, Chris told her she could work in the yard with him. She was thrilled! I changed her clothes and she put on an old pair of sneakers (her "work shoes" she called them).

Of course as most three-year-olds do, she lasted about ten minutes working outside. But the important thing was that they spent that time together. And boy did she love it!

While they worked outside, I kept Lily inside with me so AC could have her Daddy-Daughter time. I snapped this cute picture of LB watching tv with all of her princesses and ponies. Too sweet!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Disney Live!

We took the girls to Disney Live! last night at the VBC. It was great and they had a wonderful time. Chris and I have this joke about Ann Catherine. Every time we go to the VBC, she eats like crazy. At hockey games, Chris calls her "Tommy Tapeworm" and asks her if she has a hollow leg because she eats so much. At every hockey game, she eats (I kid you not) a tub of popcorn, a hot dog (every last bite of it), a slice of pizza and Dippin' Dots.

Last night was no exception. The child went through two and a half tubs of popcorn and a hot dog. That's why all of my pictures of her shows her eating :)

I guess Lily likes the popcorn too!

In the last six months, we have been to both Disney Live and Disney on Ice. In my opinion, Disney on Ice was more entertaining. I guess it's because the characters are ice skating and it's more theatrical. Don't get me wrong. My girls loved both. But, I would have to rate Disney on Ice as being the best for your money.

Speaking of Disney and your money, can we talk about the overpriced souvenirs at these events?! It is crazy!! T-shirts for $25 - are you kidding me?? For t-shirts?? Ann Catherine wanted a Little Einsteins director's baton (like the one that Leo uses to conduct). It's basically a colorful piece of plastic with a globe on top that flashes different colors. You know how much it cost? $20! We have two children. Make that $40. Forty bucks for something that glows in the dark.

Did we buy one? Of course we did. In fact, we bought two. One for each girl. At first, Chris was a tough nut to crack. He's a softie about some things, but he couldn't get past spending $40 for two cheap looking toys.

Not me, though. Oh, don't get me wrong. I thought it was insane to spend that much on this overpriced toy, but I also know that's just part of the Disney experience. I looked around and it seemed like every child there was walking around with that toy, too. Parents know that when they come to a Disney event buying those things is just part of the deal.

So, Chris forked over his money and you would have thought he had given Ann Catherine the greatest toy ever. And off we went. Oh, and did I mention that on the way home in our dark car those flashing toys in the backseat gave the appearance that a police car was behind you trying to pull you over?

Didn't matter. Our girls were happy, even though our wallets were a bit lighter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prince Charming

This morning, Ann Catherine and I were talking about the day Chris and I got married. I explained to her that you didn't get married until you were older and you had met your Prince Charming.

She answered, "But Mommy! My Prince Charming just left for work!"

It almost made me cry to think that she sees Chris as her Prince Charming. I tell him that he better enjoy it now, because one day all of those little "frogs" will be knocking on our door to pick up our daughters. Unfortunately for them, AC and LB's Prince Charming will probably meet them at the door holding one of his old hockey sticks. He may be much older, but I don't think he'll be afraid to use it :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Beach Trip!

I'm late posting these pictures. We went to the beach again last week, but since Ann Catherine had surgery on Monday I haven't had a chance to post any pictures.

This time was great because Daddy got to go too! Plus, it was warmer so the girls really got to enjoy the beach.

What a difference a year makes! Last summer, AC hated the beach. She didn't want her feet to touch the sand so we had to carry her everywhere. Then she wouldn't get out of her chair to play in the sand. Not fun.

This year, she loved it!! She especially loved the ocean. She would walk to the water and fill her bucket up all by herself.

Lily wasn't as crazy about it. She wasn't as bad as AC last year, though. For the most part, she liked taking walks or sitting in her beach chair and playing in the sand with her shovel. I'm thinking that this time next year she'll be loving it like Ann Catherine (at least I hope so)!

My neice Ally's birthday is next week and we celebrated it while we were there. Ann Catherine loves Ally so much and really looks up to her. We had a great time celebrating her birthday.

At dinner that night, Chris grabbed balloons for all of the girls. When we got back to the condo, Ally wanted to send her balloon to Melissa. Ann Catherine decided she did too. So, we went out on the balcony and Ally and Ann Catherine kissed their balloons and let them go. It was so sweet. Ally was 6 when Melissa died, and she was really touched by her death. She always asks me questions about her, and never forgets her. It means a lot to me.

Hope you all had a great Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Day at the Park

Ann Catherine has been wanting to feed the ducks at Big Spring Park, so off we went today. I told her it was a treat for being such a big girl yesterday when she had her tube removed.

We had a great time! My mom went with us and we had a picnic - a nice, healthy meal of Chick-fil-A!

Afterwards, we fed the ducks and the fish that are in the lake. They had such a good time! Lily was so funny. She would throw a piece of bread in the lake and say, "More bread, please!"

Ann Catherine's loved eating the bread. She would eat a piece, throw a piece :)

They had a great time and I'm so glad because I think the rain is moving in tomorrow. I'm so glad that spring is arriving!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ann Catherine's Surgery

Today was quite the day. Ann Catherine had her left ear tube removed. The right one fell out this fall and since they have been in since she was 18 months old, it was time for them to come out. Unfortunately, the left one had to be surgically removed.

The surgery itself lasts five minutes. Completely uneventful, really. But I was really worried about Ann Catherine having anxiety beforehand. She doesn't do well at the doctor, and I was so worried that she would be scared. Well, God answers prayer! She woke up in a happy mood (at 5:30am no less because we had to be at the hospital at 6am!) and did so well in pre-op. She just played with toys and even picked out the pink jeep to drive to surgery. Because she was so at ease, I found myself being at ease, too. As she drove away to surgery, she got this look on her face like, "Uh, oh. You people aren't going with me, are you?" She started to look afraid, but the nurse guided her onto the operating room.

The surgery went great. After it was over, the doctor came to talk to us. A few minutes later, we hear this child screaming. I mean, screaming at the top of her lungs! My mother looks at me and I said, "No, it can't be her." No sooner had I said that than the nurse came out and said, "Mrs. George?" Uh-oh. As she led me back, she said, "I need to warn you. She's pretty unhappy. She won't let any of us do anything with her."

Now, I was somewhat prepared for this. When AC and Lily both got their tubes, they were crazy people coming out of the anesthesia. I mean C-R-A-Z-Y. They were thrashing and screaming. But, I had hoped that now that AC is older, she wouldn't react that way.

I was wrong.

Two nurses were holding her and she was screaming like there was no tomorrow. They let me hold her, but she was flailing and kicking so bad I thought I would end up black and blue. She was going nuts. Seriously, nurses were walking out of their rooms to see who the crazy child was who was screaming so loud. One poor nurse brought her a popsicle and said, "Would you like a popsicle, sweetie?" and she screamed, "NOOOOOO!!!" so emphatically you would have thought he had asked her if she wanted to swim in a pool with sharks. I wanted to go, "Really, she's the sweetest child you'll ever meet!" :)

They quickly moved us out of post-op and to a room. I think they just wanted to get the loud kid out of there. AC proceeded to scream and flail and they just went ahead and let us go home. On the way home, it was no better. She would ask for her lamby, then two seconds later she would throw it on the floor. Same with her juice. She hated me, herself and everyone else.

We got her home and I FINALLY got her to lay down and sleep (this after we had already laid down 5 times and gotten back up). When she woke up, she was Ann Catherine again. That crazy little girl was gone. We even went outside to play for a little while. And her Poppy brought her fresh flowers from his front yard. That made her feel much better!

I'm just glad it's all over and Ann Catherine is back to normal! As for Lily's tube, I'm hoping they fall out of their own!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Defender of the Weak

We sang a great song at church today called "Everlasting God." The chorus says,

You are the everlasting God, the everlasting God
You do not faint, you won't grow weary.
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles.

We sing this song often, but today God showed me something. As I sang "You're the defender of the weak," I thought about Melissa. I thought about how sick and how weak she was just before she died. And I thought that during that time, God was her defender. As the nurses tried to do everything medically possible for her, God was defending her. When I was in the recovery room and couldn't be with her yet, she wasn't alone. God was defending her. When there was absolutely nothing that Chris and I could do, God was defending her. It gives me so much comfort to know that he was holding her in his arms during that time. He truly is the defender of the weak.

You comfort those in need, you lift us up on wings like eagles.

Then I thought of how God held us after her death. In the days after she died, I hurt beyond imagination. I remember laying in bed and wondering how I would ever get out of that bed and face the world again. And in those days, his strength (and his alone) literally helped me put one foot in front of the other. Some of those days are a blur, but I know that he was there. He comforted us in our need. Some days I hurt so bad that I questioned if he was there, but looking back now, I know that he was. And not only was he comforting us, but he was comforting - and defending - Ann Catherine as she lay in that NICU fighting to live.

I teach kindergartners at church and today's lesson was about Heaven. It was so sweet hearing those 5 and 6-year-olds tell you what they imagined Heaven was all about. On the way home, Ann Catherine asked me what I taught them today. I told her we talked about Heaven and I told the children that it was a wonderful place, that God was there and we would also see our loved ones who had died but who believed in God.

She said, "I'll get to see Melissa." And in her sweet little voice, Lily said, "I see Misa, too!"

"Yes, you will," I told them. I am so glad my girls have that promise of seeing her again one day. During moments that are heavy such as this, Ann Catherine always has a way of lightening things up. "What's Melissa's last name?" she asked me. "George, just like yours," I answered. "Oh yeah!" she said excitedly. "Melissa George! Just like on my Huntsville Havoc hockey jersey!"

Another neat thing happened to me at church today. I was talking to a friend of mine whose husband died unexpectedly a few years ago. They had two small children at the time. She said something I had never thought of. She said that although she would never wish that type of pain on someone else, she did wish that people could experience the blessings she had received from her husband's death.

I know that may sound so strange to some of you, especially those of you who haven't lost someone. I, too, would never ever wish the pain of losing a child on someone else. It is a terrible gut-wreching loss that stays with you forever. But, I do wish you could see some of the blessings Chris and I have received out of Melissa's life and death. God has immensely blessed us through things that have happened as a result of her death and people we have met who have been in similar certain circumstances.

It's a reminder that God is always at work, even when we can't see it. After Melissa's death, the pain was so terrible and the loss so profound that I questioned anything good ever coming from it. But, it has. It doesn't change the fact that you would rather have them here on Earth with you. There is a piece of my heart that won't truly heal until I see my daughter in Heaven - plain and simple. But until then, he continues to bless us through her life and her death.

What a loving God we have, who brings hope from so much tragedy.

Along those lines, please continue to pray for Caleb Gill and his mom, Debbie. In her latest Caring Bridge post (click here to read), she said that he is starting to experience a great deal of memory loss (which is associated with this brain tumor). As a single mom, Debbie works so hard in our NICU and is struggling with not just the fear of losing of her child, but the guilt of having to be away from him as she works to provide for her family. Please, please continue to lift them up in prayer!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Life of a Mom

Chris and I took the girls to the Huntsville Havoc game last night. It was a great game! They were playing the Columbus Cottonmouths, who have been a hated rival ever since Chris played.

The game was tied 2-2 late in the third (and final) period. Huntsville needed to score to pull it out. It was intense and we were watching and cheering. With :30 seconds left in the game, Ann Catherine looks and me and says, "Mommy, I've got to poopie!!"

You have got to be kidding me.

"Right now, or can you hold it until we get home?" I ask.

"I have to go right now!" she answered emphatically.

Those of you with children know, when a child says she has to go, she has to go! Do not pass go, do not collect $100. Go now!

We stand up. "I have to take Ann Catherine to the bathroom," I tell Chris.

He looks at me like I'm crazy. "Now?" he says.

"She has to poop!" I answer.

"No way," he laughs.

So off we go to the bathroom. I know fans were thinking, where in the world are you going?

We get to the pottie and she starts doing her business. I hear the horn go off, which means the period is over. I didn't hear loud cheering, so I figure no one scored and the game is going into overtime. In the SPHL, the players take a two-minute break before overtime starts.

I don't know about your kids, but when my kids have to do number two, it takes a while. There is nothing fast about it.

I hear the game start back up. A couple of minutes later, I hear the crowd go wild. It was obvious we had scored and won the game. And while more than 6,000 fans were screaming and cheering, I was hunkered down in the tiniest bathroom known to mankind (seriously, could the bathrooms at the VBC be any smaller??) with my daughter as she answered nature's most pressing call.

Once she finished, we went back to our seats and Chris was putting Lily's coat on. He looked at us and just started laughing. "Okay, tell me what I missed," I said and he told me how the Havoc had scored. We just laughed about Ann Catherine's timing.

On the way home, I thought about this. Wasn't what happened to me a metaphor for the life of a mother?

Think of all the "glory moments" we miss because we are behind the scenes making sure the mundane things of life get done. Things we get no credit for, but things that have to be done.

It's just the life of a mother. We stay up at night with a sick child and even crawl in bed with them, knowing we will probably get the same sickness in a couple of days. We clean up spills and wipe dirty noses and bottoms, knowing they will be dirty again. We miss the winning goal because we are helping our kids use the bathroom.

There isn't a lot of glory in what we do. We don't hear thank you often. After all, we are mommy. Isn't that what we are supposed to do?

And in spite of all, it's still the greatest honor God has ever given.

**Thanks to those of you who have prayed for Caleb. His mother Debbie has put a new post on his Caring Bridge site. Click here to read it. And please continue to lift them up in prayer.

**Also, I am taking a little "break" from my blog during Spring Break so I can spend time with Chris and my girls. I will be back next weekend. Have a great week!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Please Pray for Caleb!

I want to ask you all to please pray for Caleb Gill and his mother, Debbie.

Debbie is a Neonatal ICU nurse at Huntsville Hospital. Her husband passed away a few years ago and she is now a single mother raising three children. Caleb is her youngest and is only 6 years old.

Last summer, Caleb was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He had surgery to have it removed and then went through rounds of chemo and radiation. This little boy has endured more than any child should ever have to go through.

I have followed their journey through Debbie's Caring Bridge site and was so saddened yesterday to read a post that Caleb's tumor has now spread into his frontal lobe. They have just been through so much and now they must start all over again.

Debbie's faith throughout this ordeal has been absolutely amazing! She has stayed so strong during the face of unbelieavable adversity. As I have read her posts and seen her praise God even while she didn't know if her child would live or die, I have had to re-examine my own faith. I would only hope to have her kind of faith in the face of such adversity.

This is the kind of thing that can make even the strongest Christian ask "why?" My heart has been so heavy for Caleb and Debbie since I read the post last night. As I prayed for them this morning, I confessed to God that this just doesn't make any sense to me. These things are so hard for us to understand. However, I know I believe Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

And I know I believe Jeremiah 29:11:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I just felt like God was telling me to share Caleb and Debbie's journey with my Bloggin' friends and ask you to please lift them up. You can read more Caleb's Caring Bridge Website by clicking here.

Thank you for praying!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses...Literally

The person who came up with the phrase "stop and smell the roses" must have had children.

How do I know that? Because adults don't do it. Only children.

I love taking my kids to Bridge Street. I'm sure Chris thinks it's so I can shop (and yes, it's tempting) but it's really because it's just a great place for kids to walk around. It's a nice open space, complete with a carousel, a fountain to throw pennies in and a cool bridge for kids to walk across. So, when the weather is nice, I often take my girls there and just let them roam around.

I took Lily last week and while we were there, we were walking along when she said, "Look, mommy. Flowers!" She knelt down and started saying, "Purple, yellow" and telling me the different colors she saw. I knelt down with her and we just looked at the flowers.

Today, we went back to return some clothes I got for Ann Catherine at Baby Gap. Again, Lily said, "Flowers!" and we stopped to look at them. She again told me all of the colors she saw and pointed at the ones she really liked. I just sat there watching her. She had the biggest smile on her face and was just soaking in the brightness and beauty of these little flowers.

On the way home I realized, when do I ever stop to look at flowers?? I'm usually in such a hurry getting from point A to point B that I often fail to notice God's creation.

But when I'm with my kids, that all changes. The other day, Lily and I were walking into an office and the wind was blowing. A leaf came tumbling past us and she stopped dead in her tracks and turned her head to watch it blow through the parking lot. As I watched her I realized that I never notice leaves blowing past me.

I want to be more like Lily. I want to notice the beauty that God has placed all around us. Not just notice it. I want to stop and really look at it. Thank you, Lily, for showing me what I often miss.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My (Almost) Favorite Day of the Year

Except for my daughters' birthdays, my husband's birthday, my anniversary and Christmas, yesterday was my favorite day of the year!!

Why, you ask?

Daylight Saving Time!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting that extra hour of daylight in the evenings during the summer. I love that, on most days, it will still be daylight when Chris gets home and the girls can enjoy the outdoors with him or we can take a stroll around the neighborhood together.

It is so depressing to me in the winter when it starts getting dark as early as 4:30 p.m. I'm not kidding. I just hate it!!

To me, Daylight Saving Time means spring is just around the corner. It signals short sleeve shirts and shorts, grilling out and just enjoying the evenings outside with Chris and the girls.

On a side note, hasn't the weather just been fabulous lately?! Today the girls and I just enjoyed being outside. I snapped these pictures as they rode their trikes in the driveway. (I don't know what is up with AC and that fake smile. And yes, Chris informed me that LB looks a bit disheveled. Cut her some slack. She had just woken up from her nap! :) My favorite part of her picture is her two bunnies shoved in the basket.)

I know we are in store for some 50s still, but I truly can't wait to usher in spring. It's time!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Okay? Okay???

So apparently I have this habit. And I didn't realize I had it until my two-year-old brought it to my attention today.

Often when I talk to my girls, I end the sentence with "okay?" As in, "Girls, we are going to a restaurant. I expect you to sit still, eat your food and use your manners. Okay?" Or, "If you girls take a really good nap, we'll go outside and play when you wake up. Okay?" And if I get no response, I give a second "okay??" with a little more emphasis until someone acknowledges that they understand me.

Call it motherly affirmation. I need to know they hear me because sometimes the tv is on and they are glued in and I'm talking and I swear to them it sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher, "wonk, wonk, wonk, wonk." So I need them to let me know they hear me loud and clear.

So, onto my story. My girls don't usually go to mother's morning out on Fridays but today Ann Catherine's class had their spring pictures. Lily and I dropped her off and then we went to run errands.

On a side note, can I tell you how much I absolutely cherish my one-on-one time with Lily? Because she was the second child (and Ann Catherine was so young when she was born), Lily just didn't get the attention that AC got as a baby. She didn't get the endless hours of holding and snuggling. I try not to beat myself up over that because that's just the way it is when you have a second child. That makes my alone time with her so very important to me.

After we ran all of our errands, we still had an hour before we had to pick up Ann Catherine. So I took her to Barnes and Noble. My kids LOVE going there!

So, we're hanging out and she says, "Mommy, let's get an Elmo book. Okay? Okay???"

I just looked at her kind of odd, wondering where that came from. "Um, okay, Lily."

We read a book. "Let's get another one, mommy. Okay? Okay???"


"Let's go play with the train, mommy. Okay? Okay???"

Finally, it hit me. She got that from me. I say it all of the time! And she's just making sure I hear her.

Then she said, "Let's go outside, mommy. Okay? Okay???"

"Okay, Lily. Let's go!"

We went outside and started walking through Bridge Street. Then all of a sudden she just starts jibbering. I'm telling you, it sounded like she was from another planet!

"Bada, bada, burda, zhoo, boppy!" she says as if she knows EXACTLY what she is saying. Then she adds, "Okay? Okay??"

I just had to laugh out loud at that one. I had no idea what she was saying, but if she was sure enough about it to add a big "okay" at the end, then I would give her an "okay" right back.

"Okay, baby," I said. "Whatever you say." And I just soaked up this little wonder. This little girl who looks NOTHING like me, yet to be sure, has little pieces of me. She actually hears me and not only that, she mimics me. Who knew one little word could make me so happy. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Waiting Game

"Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:31

I am part of a women's small group and we are currently studying the Book of Esther (which, by the way, is such an interesting book of the Bible if you haven't read it. It's like a mini-novel with so many twists and turns!).

Today we were talking about how God's timing is perfect. Even though we know that as believers, it's still so hard sometimes.

It made me think back to when Chris and I were having problems getting pregnant. We were so ready to be parents and wanted a child so badly, but it just wasn't happening in "our time."

I prayed and prayed, and got really frustrated with God for not giving me this child that I so desperately wanted. Finally, after many prayers and many tears, I just surrendered to him. True surrender. Not as in, "Okay, God, I'm putting my trust in you," and then snatching it away like I had always done. I mean I truly put my trust in him. I realized that I would only get pregnant when he was ready for it to happen (and only if he wanted it to happen) and all of the worrying and frustration in the world wasn't going to help. Once I realized that and trusted him completely, he allowed us to get pregnant with Melissa and Ann Catherine. Not only that, but he blessed us down the road with Miss Lily.

I look back now and I can see he was trying to teach me something during "the waiting game." God had always planned to give us those children, the "desires of our heart," but he was trying to teach me a lesson about trusting him. And he knew good and well that I would never learn that lesson until he made me go through a valley where I absolutely had no other choice but to trust him. The only way I could learn this lesson was by waiting on him.

Sometimes God's answer isn't yes or no. Sometimes it's wait. And I'll be honest, sometimes that's harder than a flat-out no. It's just not in our DNA to wait. But, remember, God's timing is perfect. And in the midst of that wait, open your hearts and your minds to what he is trying to teach you. I assure you, there's a reason.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

You Gotta Marry Your Best Friend

Our church just wrapped up a great series called "For Better or For Worse." When we say our vows, we all expect the "better" but what happens when the "worse" happens instead?

Chris and I can identify so well with that. We know how the "worse" feels because it happened the day our daughter died. We lived through it. And I can honestly say our marriage is stronger today than it ever was.

Here's my point: you gotta marry your best friend. Attraction only goes so far. Eventually, waste lines will get a little bigger, wrinkles will appear, hair lines will recede (though Chris' won't - he has quite the head o' hair :), kids will be born, you'll find you don't have quite as much time for the little things and it just gets nuts. What happens then?

I like to say you get married...then life happens. If that marriage isn't built on love and friendship - and GOD - forget it. When the "worse" happens, you'll crumble.

I thought about this as we watched "The Batchelor" drama. Let me preface this by saying, I HATE reality tv but Chris and I watched this season because of Stephanie Hogan (who by the way, had SO MUCH class and dignity on the show, didn't she?! I was very proud to say she was from HuntsVegas.) We totally got drawn in, and watched in jaw-dropping disbelief last night as the 'he picked Melissa, wait a minute he meant Molly' drama unfolded. (On a side note, I am all about a man showing his soft side but if he cried ONE MORE TIME I was going to throw something through my television!)

Anyhoo, Chris made the comment 'why is anyone surprised by this? He's been making out with different girls for six weeks and then all of a sudden he has to choose who he's going to spend the rest of his life with?? Come on!'

I agree. It just backs up my point - you gotta marry your best friend!! Marriage is a beautiful, awesome ride but it's also marred with some rough roads and gigantic potholes. Buckle up with the one you love - but make sure that love is built on a solid foundation or those giant potholes will swallow you up.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Left the Beach for This??!

Wow - what a difference a 6 hour drive makes.

The girls and I spent last week at the beach with my parents. Chris was out of town on business, so we got away too. The weather was great - mid 70s all week, short sleeve shirts, just perfect. We came home Saturday night, and we woke up Sunday to snow and a bitter cold wind.


There, I got that out. I feel much better. Now if spring would just hurry up.

Back to our trip - we had so much fun! There aren't many people at the beach this time of year so it's so relaxing. My mom and I took the girls for a walk on the beach Wednesday and there were about eight people - total - on the entire beach. Granted, the girls couldn't jump in the ocean, but they had so much fun walking along the beach and putting their feet in the water (does it ever get too cold for kids??!!)

I just love that picture of them! The best part about going to the beach is that my sister and her family live nearby. So, Ann Catherine and Lily get to see their cousins whenever we visit. They love that!

On Friday night, we all took my dad out to dinner for his birthday. I'm sure that was special for him to have all of us there. Then on Saturday, we went to watch my nephew Will play basketball. Here is Ann Catherine giving him a big hug after his game.

Here's my favorite picture from the trip. This is Lily wearing my sunglasses at Will's game. She is one cool chick!!

We had so much fun taking this short little break. Sometimes you just need to get out of town! Of course, by Saturday we were all missing Chris. They were very happy to see him Sunday morning. (Although I must admit, on the way home Ann Catherine get saying, "I want to go back to Mimi and Poppy's condo!") I had a blast with my girls and am looking forward to another getaway soon - with the four of us!