Shabby Blog Background

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Many Children Do You Have?

Here is my column from the current issue of Valley Babies Magazine. The idea came to me from talking to other moms who had lost children. We all agreed that such a simple question is not so simple when you have lost a child. To read it, click here.

I have thought of Melissa so often lately as Mother's Day, my birthday and her birthday approaches. Please pray that God will continue to give us strength. I can't believe it's almost been four years now. I miss her every day and will for the rest of my life. I am grateful for the love she sends to me everyday through her beautiful spirit and I am most grateful for her two sisters who have given me more love than I ever thought possible. What a gift to be the mother of these three amazing little girls.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Panoply O' Fun!

We took the girls to Panoply Saturday. We had so much fun!

It's so neat now that both of the girls are old enough to enjoy things like this. Ann Catherine and Lily both had so much fun and were so good (especially considering how hot it was!!).

Our first stop was the Easel art tent. The girls both painted a picture. I thought they were so cute in their little art smocks. I think I'll hang their "art" in our playroom.

They had so much fun doing the crafts. They made a fish out of CDs (seriously, who thinks of this stuff??) and their very own hats.

By far, the biggest hit of the festival for my girls was the music tent, sponsored by the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. They had all kinds of musical instruments for the kids to try: drums, guitars, xylophones, banjos, violins and lots of other ones. My girls loved it! Lily's favorite was the drums! She was hilarious, just standing there banging away. Ann Catherine loved sampling all of them. I seriously think she played every single instrument about three times each. We finally had to bribe them with food to get them to leave. They loved it!

Gammy and Gramps left yesterday after a very busy and fun week with us. Poor Gramps worked all week - helping with the swingset and painting a new bookcase for AC. I'm not sure if it was a vacation for him :) The girls had a great time with them and can't wait to see them again for AC's birthday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Check it Out!

Ann Catherine's birthday present came more than a month early. A big kid swing set from Mommy, Daddy, Mimi, Poppy, Gammy and Gramps!!

Because it's already getting warm (and she is completely bored with her "little kid" swing set) we decided to go ahead and get it.

Here's the neat part. Her Daddy, Gramps and Daddy's friend, Mr. Kliss, put it together all by themselves (Mommy loves that part the most because it saved us $500!!)!

They started Thursday morning. It was definitely a work in progress!

They worked until 6 p.m. when I called them in for supper. Then they went right back out and worked some more. Chris turned the lights on and people from the neighborhood all stopped by. They finally stopped around 9 p.m. It was like a big party! The kids loved it!!

Friday morning, it looked like this.

Ann Catherine was itching to "help" so Gammy and I took her and Lily to the playground at Monte Sano State Park so Daddy and Gramps could finish.

We had so much fun!! We had a picnic on our blanket (always fun!).

The girls played on the playground equipment. Lily Baker LOVED the seesaw!

Next, we took at little walk and showed Gammy the mountains! Lily was hilarious. Her favorite part of the walk was bending down, picking up rocks and throwing them. I absolutely LOVE going places with Lily because she takes in every single moment and enjoys it. I wish I lived life like her all of the time.

Once we got home, we saw this!!!

Daddy and Gramps were finished! Ann Catherine was beside herself!

After their nap, they went outside and played until 9 p.m. (Yes, I let them stay up WAY past their bedtime, but do you know how exciting it is to have a new big kid swing set??!)

This morning, AC woke up at 7 a.m. She ate some pancakes, then said, "Mommy, can I go outside and play on my swing set?" I'm pretty sure she was the only kid in the neighborhood playing outside at 7:30 a.m. She sure does love her new swing set!! In fact, in her prayers last night she said, "And thank you that Daddy, Gramps and Mr. Kliss put together my new swing set." It made my heart smile.

It especially made her Daddy smile :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Melissa's Angel

After my daughter died, I wanted an angel to place outside in her memory. My dad and I drove around town one day trying to find one, but I just couldn't find the right one.

I have kept my eyes open, trying to find the right one for almost four years but I hadn't had any luck.

Until a few months ago.

I was at Hobby Lobby and I saw it. It was the perfect angel - exactly what I was looking for. She had brown hair with angel wings and looked like she was sleeping. I knew it was the one.

I bought her and then waited for spring so we could find the perfect place for her. Saturday Chris was working in the yard and I decided to get her. Ann Catherine came with me. I showed her the angel and told her it was our "Melissa angel."

She asked if she could carry it. At first, I said no because I was afraid she would drop it. Then I realized that it was important to her, so I let her. She was so careful. She put it to her chest, like she was carrying a baby and walked so slowly saying, "Look how careful I'm being, mommy." It was precious.

We went to the front yard, but we couldn't find the right spot for it. Then Chris placed it in front of "Melissa's tree." It was just perfect.

Melissa's tree is a Japanese Maple that was given to us after Melissa died by my friend and former co-worker at Channel 19, Nonda Sloan. It is so special to us. When we moved a couple of years ago, we dug it up and brought it with us. It is in front of our home and it has such a calming effect on me. Each year as I watch it grow it symbolizes Melissa's life. I love that tree.

Putting our angel in front of Melissa's tree was the perfect place for it. It gives us this small place of remembrance for our daughter. And it gives Ann Catherine and Lily something tangible to look at when we talk about Melissa. We placed it next to an angel that a friend gave us after Melissa died that says "Love is from above." How true.

This week my mother-in-law pointed out that our Melissa angel is holding lillies. I hadn't even noticed that! Isn't that neat? After Melissa died, God have us a Lily to heal us. And our Melissa angel is clutching lillies. How perfect.

I can't express how much I cherish this small spot in front of our home. It is so peaceful and welcoming. It took almost four years to find the right angel, but we found it. And I love it. It's just another way that Melissa's spirit is with us.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bring on the Noisemakers!

Thursday night Chris and I went to Cirque de Soleil. Let me just say, if you haven't been, it is amazing! They do acrobatic feats that truly leave your jaw dropping. It was really cool.

A few weeks ago, I asked our babysitter, Sheena, to babysit so we could go. She told me it was her birthday, but she would be happy to. I told her no way if it was her birthday, but she insisted that she and her husband were doing something the night before.

So, we decided that if Miss Sheena was going to babysit on her birthday, we would have our own little party! I bought her a cake,

and bought noisemakers and party hats for all of us. The girls were thrilled!! Ann Catherine asked me every thirty minutes, "When is Miss Sheena coming?!" She and Lily loved trying out their noisemakers even before Sheena got there. :)

The four of us met Sheena at the door, wearing our party hats and blowing our noisemakers. We looked like crazy people!

After Chris and I left, the girls and Sheena ate their birthday cake. They had such a good time. We love Sheena and she is so special to our family!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Please Continue to Pray for Caleb!

My heart is breaking as I write this. Hospice was called in today for Caleb Gill. As many of you know, I recently asked you all to pray for Caleb and his mother Debbie. Caleb was diagnosed with a brain tumor last August. This 7-year-old has been so brave in the face of so much adversity. He has endured more than any child should ever have to go through. His mother Debbie is a NICU nurse at Huntsville Hospital and her faith during this ordeal has been absolutely amazing. Right now, she is hurting so badly.

My heart just aches for Debbie and Caleb and what they are going through. Will you please add them to your prayer list? So many people are already praying for them. Today alone she had 112 messages from people on her Caring Bridge site. I know that God hears each prayer and I know that he loves Debbie and Caleb. Please pray for them during this heartbreaking time.

To learn more about Caleb, click here to read his Caring Bridge page.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What a Great Day!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! We certainly did. I just love this picture of my precious girls before we went to church today. They were so excited about their new dresses!

Easter has taken on such a special meaning for our family since we lost our daughter. Easter represents the promise that we will be with her again. Without Jesus' death on the cross and his resurrection, we wouldn't have that promise. I love Easter now more than ever.

We used this as a "teaching moment" for Ann Catherine this week. A couple of nights ago at bedtime, I explained to her that this was Holy Week and that it was the week leading up to Easter. I told her that Easter means Jesus is alive and because of that we can go to Heaven one day. And then I said, "And who lives in Heaven?" And she said, "Melissa!" So Chris and I were able to explain to her that because of Easter, she'll get to see Melissa one day. I was grateful that we were able to have that conversation with her.

As I have said before, the promise of Heaven is hope beyond hope for a parent who has lost a child. If I had to believe that Melissa was just gone forever, I would still be walking around in a terrible fog without hope. Melissa may have faced a physical death, but she is not gone forever. She is in Heaven and she is whole and happy. Best of all, I will be with her again one day. That's what Easter means to me.

After church, we went to our friends Brooke and Nathan's house. All of the kids hid Easter eggs and it was so much fun! We had such a great time!

Lily and her friend, Lucy. Aren't they sweet?!

The Georges after the Easter Egg Hunt! The girls had so much fun with their friends. It was a great ending to a great day. Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Only in a House With Girls... you get to have breakfast with Hannah Montana and Cinderella!

The girls woke up this morning ready to play dress-up. By lunchtime, they had also been Tinkerbelle, Aurora, Belle, Little Red Riding Hood and Supergirl. Too fun!

After breakfast, we dyed our Easter eggs. This year it was better than ever because Lily was old enough to really participate. She had so much fun dyeing her eggs with Ann Catherine. Aren't these days just the best?!

Now for an update on Lily's potty training:

We are taking a little break. This is a big deal for me because at first it felt like a sign of failure and I don't give up easily! But yesterday morning I realized that Lily was bound and determined to do this on her own terms. Monday she was so excited about using the potty and did so several times. By Wednesday, she didn't even want to sit on the potty and she was having accidents even though she knew she had to go. She was just choosing not to.

Ann Catherine did this too and after seven days of accidents, she finally got it. But she was also a little older than Lily. Everything I have read online says that what Lily is doing is a sign of resistance and the best thing to do is just let it go and take a break for a while.

So we are doing that. Lily isn't even two and a half, so I'm not sweating it yet. We'll probably try again at the start of summer and see if she's ready then.

Happy Easter everyone!