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Friday, July 31, 2009

Date with Daddy

Ann Catherine went on her first date last night.

With her daddy.

She's been asking lately if Chris would take her out on a date. She wanted to go somewhere - just the two of them. He told her he would take her to any restaurant she wanted and she chose Tortora's - an Italian restaurant that she loves.

She was so excited she only slept for an hour at nap time and when she woke up she asked if she could get dressed. It was only 3 p.m. :)

Finally at 3:30 she wore me down so I let her get dressed. She picked out a dress and wanted to wear her sandals, a bracelet and a "pretty bow." It was precious. Seriously, I haven't seen her this excited about something in a long time.

The timing could not have been more perfect. We potty-trained Lily this week (and it went fabulous thank you very much. I'll post more about that later). Ann Catherine was such a big help but potty training boot camp at our house means not leaving the house for the week. The poor thing was stuck inside all week. And because I had to keep an eye on Lily at all times, I couldn't always give AC my attention. She needed a night that was just for her.

I also think it's good for my girls to have those special moments with their daddy. It's up to Chris to teach them how to expect boys to treat them. I want them to know that no matter what, their daddy will always be there.

She told Chris that she had so much fun and asked him if he would take her again. He said he would love to. I think he enjoyed it as much as she did :) And when Lily is old enough, she'll get her own dates with Daddy.

I filmed them before they left because when AC is older and "boy crazy" (perish the thought!) I want her to know that her first date was with her daddy. I'm sure it's the only date he'll ever approve of :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Swim for Melissa Commercial

Our Swim for Melissa commercial is airing on WHNT Channel 19. Just wanted to share it with you!

Every year that we have shot this commercial at Hampton Cove pool, it has been sweltering. I mean so hot that the kids stayed in the pool to keep from frying.

Leave it to Mother Nature to throw us a curve ball this year. The day we shot this last week, it was very chilly for July!! (of course, in the South you know "chilly in July" means about 84 degrees :) It wasn't cold, but the sun wasn't out and it was windy. The kids were shivering. I mean shivering with teeth chattering. I couldn't believe it. It's July after all!!

Anyway, they survived and we just barely escaped the rain. (It rained a little at the beginning and started pouring when we finished.) I'm crossing my fingers it's NOT like this on August 15th!!

Don't forget - if your child is interested in swimming that day, it's not too late. Just visit our Swim for Melissa website and sign up today. After you do that, make sure you call the Foundation at 265-8077 to sign up for a swim time. We'll see you there!!

btw, a BIG thanks to Channel 19 and Lite 96.9 for sponsoring our event again this year! Bonny O'Brien has a direct connection to the NICU. Her daughter was there for a couple of days after she was born - at the same time we were there! Lite 96.9 jumped on board the first year and they have been great partners!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Please Watch This!!

If you only watch one video online this entire week, watch this one!!

It's an AMAZING story that Jerry Hayes did last night on WHNT News 19. It's a day in the life of a NICU nurse at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children. It's about the ups and downs these incredible nurses face on a daily basis.

We were in the NICU on the best day of our lives - the day we brought Ann Catherine home from the NICU after 68 days. We were also there on the worst day of our lives - the day Melissa died. Those nurses wrapped their arms around us during those dark days and the days after. As I would sit by Ann Catherine bedside on days that I was still grieving Melissa's death, they would listen, hug me, encourage me - they were just wonderful. So many people forget that NICU nurses are there on the absolute worst day of a person's life - the death of their child. They are human and they feel your pain, too. I am convinced that they are angels.

I must warn you, this story is a tearjerker. Chris and I cried as we watched it last night because it just brought back so many memories of Melissa's death. But it really does shed light on the amazing job these men and women do everyday. They really are unsung heroes - and anyone who has ever had a child in NICU can attest to that.

By the way, donations to the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund go to purchase the memory boxes they talk about in this story. I have blogged before about Melissa's box and how it's the only tangible reminder I have of her. If I didn't have that box with her personal items, I don't know what I would do. It is such a comfort to me on the hard days. It is, by far, the most inexpensive purchase made by Melissa's fund but the one that means the most to us because we know personally what those boxes mean to a mom and dad who have lost a child. So know that donations you make to Melissa's fund not only go to help premature babies, but also go to help those families who have lost their precious children.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Will You Help?

This is Ann Catherine in her first few days of life.

She was only one pound, 15 ounces and was incredibly sick. Each breath was a struggle.

That is Chris' wedding band on her arm. It actually went all the way up her arm and rested (actually dangled) on her shoulder. Think of how small your husband's wedding band is. Imagine putting it on your newborn's arm. She was so tiny. There was not an ounce of body fat on her. You could actually count her ribs as she took each breath.

I know that God saved Ann Catherine's life. I also know that the care she received in the Neonatal ICU at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children allowed her to grow and get better each day.

I am posting this because we are just three weeks away from this year's Swim for Melissa! This is our major fundraising event for the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund that raises money to buy critical equipment for the NICU. This year, we are hoping to buy new Giraffe warmers for the NICU.

We're getting into crunch time and the last leg of raising money before the big event. To that end, I'm posting a link to Ann Catherine's swim page for any of you who are interested in making a donation to her. To visit it, click here. Your donation is tax-deductible and you will receive an email from Huntsville Hospital Foundation for tax purposes.

Don't forget - the money we raise goes directly into the NICU right here in our hometown. It will go to help babies from the Shoals to Ft. Payne. The Neonatal ICU at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children is the only regional Level III NICU in our area and that means any sick baby in our area is coming to our NICU. That's what I love about our fund. It stays right here in our city, helping your loved ones and neighbors.

By the grace of God, Ann Catherine went from this...

to this.

I often say NICU is like life insurance. You hope you never need it, but when you do, you are so glad it's there. You may not have used it, but you never know when someone you love may have to.

Help us give ALL babies a fighting chance. And thanks so much for supporting this wonderful cause!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reason #291...

...why Chris is a great dad.

He comes home tonight after a long day at work. AC greets him at the door.

AC: Daddy, let me do your hair!
CG: Do my hair? I'm not a girl!
Me: Yes, but you have daughters.

So he goes to change his clothes, comes back into the living room, sits on the ottoman and this happens:

He sat there and let her "fix his hair." She had brushes, combs, clips - the whole nine yards. I don't know what was sweeter. Watching her work so intently on his hair, or watching him - knowing that he was dead tired, had just walked in the door and really just wanted to sit and relax - sit there and let her do it. Chris didn't grow up with sisters so this whole girly-world is completely new to him, but he is such a trooper.

What a good daddy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mammograms - Here's my PSA

I got my first mammogram last week. Nothing is wrong, it's just that I'm at that age where doctors like for you to get a baseline mammogram. (I can't believe I'm that age, but I am :)

I don't think any woman is thrilled at the prospect of going to get a mammogram. But, ladies here's the deal. It wasn't that bad. Honestly. I mean, it's a little uncomfortable but it was over very quickly.

I went to the Breast Center at Huntsville Hospital and I can't say enough about how professional and courteous they were, from the front office staff to the technician who did my mammogram. The entire thing, from the time I walked in until I left, took only thirty minutes. When was the last time that happened at the doctor's office?!

Now, having said that, let me say this. You will be amazed at how flat they can squish those puppies. I'm serious. It's unbelievable. You won't believe it until you look down and see it for yourself. I'm telling you - it's just not natural.

But, here's how I see it. I have two little girls who need their mother. I can take a few minutes of discomfort if it means I get to hang around on this Earth a bit longer with them. So if are 35 or older and haven't gotten your mammogram yet, do it! Mammograms can detect spots that a self breast examination won't notice. They can literally save your life!

And when you do go, be sure to look down and see those flat little pancakes for themselves. No matter how flat-chested you are, it can give you hope. At least you'll never be that flat. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Look What Lily Got!

My girls could not be more different.

AC is my girly-girl. She wakes up wanting to play dress-up or "wear a pretty dress." She loves shoes, jewelry, purses, manicures and pedicures - much like her mommy.

LB is more of a tomboy. Her favorite outfit is an Elmo t-shirt that was worn by my nephew and AC before her and is stained beyond belief. She has more of her daddy's athletic abilities. She is rough and tumble and if she ever cries, I know she is really hurt! The kid is tough!

Lily loves to play golf with her daddy. She has a little set of clubs and, I'm telling you, she can whack that ball! She's been telling Chris she wants to play baseball, so the other day Chris came home with a t-ball set! LB was still in her pjs and ran outside to play. She loved it!!

The joke at our house is that when they get older, Lily and Chris will go play golf while AC and I go shopping. And that's just fine for me and Chris!

My Kids are Braver than I Am

Sorry it's been so long since I have posted! We went to the beach for the 4th of July, then when we got back it just seemed crazy. You know how it takes a week after vacation to get back in the swing of things? That was the case for us. But anyway, I am back!

Now to explain the title of my post. Look at what my kids rode on vacation!

Yes, it's a ferris wheel. But not just any ferris wheel. This ferris wheel, at The Wharf in Orange Beach, is the tallest one in the Southeast! I mean, it is massive. There is a Rave movie theater next to it and it towers over it. This picture doesn't even do it justice!

Who took the picture, you ask? That would be their mother - the big, fat chicken. I hate ferris wheels! I've never liked heights and then a few years ago while riding one with Chris, he thought it would be funny to start rocking back and forth while we had stopped on top (that man is just a laugh a minute, I tell you). Ever since, I have had no desire to get back on one.

Apparently, my kids are a lot braver than their mother. My 10-year-old niece wanted to ride it, and because AC worships her, she decided she wanted to ride it too. At first I said no way, but my mom agreed to ride with them. I said okay, but there was no way Lily was getting on it. Of course, once AC got in line LB started crying because she wanted to go too. So off they went, with my niece and my parents.

Right off the bat, they stopped at the very top. I'm freaking out, pretty sure that my kids are screaming with fear. Then the ferris wheel starts moving again, and they blow past me laughing and singing. Unbelieveable. They absolutely loved it.

We had such a great trip. This is the first year that both of my kids enjoyed the sand so that made it so much easier. I love, love, love the beach and am so glad that my kids do too. Here are some pix of our fun trip. Hope you all had a great fourth of July too!

We took a Dolphin cruise and we loved it! There were dolphins jumping all around the boat. The kids loved it!

Lily steering the ship!

Fun at the beach! And then off to the pool...

The pool was definitely their favorite!

Time for the all-important snack and juice break!

Absolutely worn out at the end of the day!

This is one of my favorite pictures. This is AC and LB with their cousins Ally and Will. They love each other so much! We took this picture for my mom and dad so they would have an updated picture of their grandkids. Too cute!