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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hockey Season Has Begun!

You would think Halloween was the biggest thing going at our house this weekend.

You would be wrong. At least as far as Ann Catheriene is concerned.

Last night the Huntsville Havoc had their home opener and AC had been living for it all week. Each time I would tell the girls they were going trick or treating on Saturday, she would say, "Yes, but we get to go to the hockey game Friday night!"

Don't you know that makes her Daddy's heart sing?!

Chris bought the girls new Havoc jerseys and when he brought them home, you could have heard AC screaming across the state line. But at the last minute, she decided she wanted to wear her shirt from last year's Melissa George Night at the Havoc game(and of course, that made my heart sing.)

Here they are, ready to go!

When AC saw me packing my camera, she asked if she could take hers so she could take pictures of her "boyfriend." Yes, you read that correctly. She LOVES #37 Travis Kauffeldt and will tell anyone who listens that he's her boyfriend.

Before the game she told me we had to hurry so she could go see Travis and tell him good luck or he would NOT score a goal! We got there in time for her to see him and sure enough, she told him good luck and he scored during the game!! After the game, we had the meltdown to end all meltdowns because he was in the locker room and she couldn't tell him good game. (I kid you not!) The child cried the entire way home. Heartbreak at such an early age :)

And I just have to include this sweet picture - look at those beautiful eyes :)

Speaking of the Havoc, this year's Melissa George Night is Saturday, January 9th. Make plans to come out and enjoy this great night of hockey to benefit the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund! It is a wonderful family night to help those precious babies in our NICU. We hope to see you there!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jack-o-lanterns, Fairies and Bumblebees

We decided to carve pumpkins this year.

Let me rephrase that. Chris carved them while I washed dishes and the girls kept grabbing the carving utensils and waving them in the air, while Chris said, "Girls, put those down!" about every five minutes.

Ahhh, the joys of Halloween.

Last year we painted them with my friend Susan. The girls loved it but we couldn't settle on a date this year (and mommy is severely challenged when it comes to painting!). So Chris decided he would carve them this year.

Lily "helping"...

...and AC taking a candy break. She's my kind of kid.

Pumpkin guts stink!

I think Chris did a great job, don't you?!

Yesterday, the girls had their Halloween parties at school. I wanted to get a cute picture of the fairy and bumblebee outside in their costumes. For some reason, Lily Baker kept looking across the street (at what, I don't know!) and Ann Catherine had this pained smile on her face. After six tries of getting just ONE picture where both of my kids were looking at the camera and smiling, I said, "Okay, whoever smiles at the camera gets candy!!" (No, I am not above bribing my kids!! Even with candy. At 8:30 in the morning.).

And I got this.

Yes, I know. They did smile at the camera, but LB's eyes are closed. I finally gave up because we were going to be late for the party. My goal for tomorrow night is to get just one picture that will actually work.

And I'm not holding my breath. :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This Makes Me Laugh!

If our home was a school, Lily Baker would be the class clown. She really is one of the funniest people I have ever met!

But even this one caught me off guard.

I was working in the kitchen and she walked in and said, "Mommy, look at me!"

I laughed out loud and begged her to stand still while I grabbed the camera. (The disguise came in a goody bag she got at a birthday party that day). I think it sums up exactly who LB is: fun-loving and not afraid to laugh at herself. I pray those qualities stay with her as she grows!

LB, you make me laugh!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why I Love Nurses

I have always loved nurses.

My mother was a registered nurse and, as a child, it was so neat having a mother who was a nurse. She always knew exactly what to do whether I was running a fever or I had fallen and hurt myself. I always knew everything was going to be okay because my mom was a nurse.

I'm guilty of calling her first when my kids are sick. And my best friend, Olivia, is a pediatric nurse. God love her, I am surprised that we are still friends after all of my calls the last five years (from "what do you think she has?" to "Do you think she's ready for Puffs??").

When I began having complications with Ann Catherine and Melissa, I was put on hospital bedrest and I stayed there for seven weeks until my girls were born. My admiration for nurses only grew with the care that we received from our nurses on the Labor & Delivery floor during those long, scary weeks. They took care of me, they brought me books to read and they even brought me a cake on the night I hit 24 weeks gestation (which was a HUGE milestone for us!).

We went from there to the Neonatal ICU. Melissa passed away in that unit and AC was there for 68 days. I can't put into words how amazing those nurses were. Not only did they care for my two girls, but they took care of me. They answered all of my questions (and as a news reporter I had hundreds of them!), they listened to me and, on some days, they just let me cry. Leaving the NICU was so bittersweet for us. While we couldn't wait to take AC home and be a "normal family" we knew we would so miss these nurses who had become our friends during our long summer.

My admiration for what nurses do only increased this weekend. Chris and I were at the Bama-Tennessee game. Halfway through the first quarter, something happened to an elderly woman sitting in front of us. Her head went back and she was totally unresponsive. Her son was screaming, "Mom! Mom!" but she wasn't moving. The man sitting next to Chris ran to get help. (I'm still not sure if she was having a heart attack or a stroke or something else.) Within seconds, a woman who sits two rows behind us was there. She said, "I'm a nurse. Let me in!" and she started taking care of the woman. Just then, a woman who sits two rows in front of us came up and said she was a nurse, too. While we waited for paramedics to reach our seats, these two women began assessing this lady. They rolled her on her side, began taking her pulse and doing what nurses do. Soon after, a doctor who was sitting nearby came over and began helping. The three of them took care of this woman until paramedics arrived. She eventually woke up and they carried her out on a stretcher. I have no idea how she is, but I prayed for her last night.

During those moments, one of the Greatest Rivalries in the South meant nothing. When things like that happen, you realize how unimportant football truly is.

As the woman was carried away, those two women returned to their seats to watch the ballgame. I was in awe of them. Here they were, just taking in a football game. Then they realized someone needed them and -Boom!- they were there. They were no longer football fans. They were trying to save someone's life.

That's what it means to be a nurse. One minute you are watching a football game. The next minute, someone is in trouble. And you are there.

When I was on bedrest, I told one of my nurses how much I admired what she did for a living. I said, "I mean, I just tell people the news. But you save lives!" She tried to make me feel better by talking about the good things that news anchors did for people. But I wasn't buying it. I just had a job. She had a calling.

Nothing would make me prouder than if my daughters grew up to be nurses one day.

It is, in my opinion, the noblest of callings.

So to all you nurses out there, thanks for all you do! You will never know the difference you make in peoples' lives.

Friday, October 23, 2009

We Got to Go!!

I have been so sad lately thinking that we would not make our annual fall trip to Tate Farms.

It's a tradition in our house (and in many of yours too judging from your recent blog posts!) but every time we have planned to go this year it has rained! With Halloween fast approaching, I had almost given up on going.

Yesterday afternoon I was driving over the mountain, looked up and saw the blue skies and thought, "Why not today?!" So I called Chris and he met us there after work.

It was so much fun!! (And did I mention 77 degrees? Woohoo!!) And here's a tip that I won't charge you a dime for - go during the week!! We have always gone on the weekends and it's swarming with people. Yesterday when we hopped on the hayride to go pick our pumpkins there was one other family on board. It was wonderful!!

We learned some things on this trip. AC is a city girl, through and through. The entire time we were in the field choosing our pumpkins, she kept going "eww!' because there was dirt everywhere, along with the insides of some pumpkins. Chris said, "Ann Catherine, you are such a girl!" To which she replied, "Yes, just like my mommy." What can I say? Yes, I am a girly girl, but I do love going to the farm.

Here are some pics!

On the hayride!

LB trying hard to pick up a pumpkin...

She did it!!

Lily sitting on her prized possession...

and AC being her girly self.

Next up, my kids' favorite - the corn crib!!

There were lots of "Cannonballs!" (think Ron Burgundy) and "corn angels" (instead of snow angels). And what is more fun than daddy covering you with corn! :)

Lily was dying to see the farm animals. We went straight for the bunnies, which LB loves. AC, on the other hand, gave me this. My precious grandfather, who farmed for a living among other things, is sitting in Heaven seriously wondering where this child came from!

I mean, she is right. The barn did stink, but again, you are on a farm. That's how it is. LB, on the other hand, didn't care!

I did finally get AC to pet a bunny...

...but she was much more interested in this! (At our house, the games and rides are a huge part of the Tate Farms experience. While Chris and I are there to get the pumpkins, AC is more concerned with playing!)

My October is now complete!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homecoming at the Capstone

We took the girls to Homecoming in Tuscaloosa this weekend. Since it was a night game, they moved the parade to 11:30 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. It was so nice being able to sleep in and take our time getting to the parade.

Here are the cousins getting ready for the big parade!

There's Big Al...

The cheerleaders...

The Crimsonettes...

And the Million Dollar Band!

Here is me and my sweet Daddy braving the chilly temperatures...

And here is Lily looking pretty tired - homecoming can wear you out!

After the parade, we took the kids to my sorority house along with my sister and her family. I had never taken the girls there and I was so excited for them to see it.

I am very biased about Alabama because I went to college there, but I think one of the prettiest things about our campus is Sorority Row. Our sorority houses look like huge antebellum homes straight out of "Gone With the Wind." They are absolutely beautiful and it was so fun walking down Sorority Row with the girls and showing them all of the houses.

Since it was Homecoming, all of the houses had special pomping displays. I can remember as a student spending hours the week of Homecoming working on ours. Here is a picture of the one in front of the ZTA house. The theme was "Return to Glory."

Here are the cousins on the front steps. Could Lily look any more uncomfortable?

And here is LB all by herself. "Leave me alone! I can do it by myself!"

Once we got inside, Suzie and I took Ann Catherine, Lily Baker and Ally upstairs and showed them our old bedrooms and composite pictures while the boys stayed downstairs. AC LOVED it and did not want to leave (much to Chris' chagrin - ha!)! Here are me and the girls in the den of the sorority house.

And the best part? We had lunch at the sorority house. Not just any lunch mind you, but Fried Chicken and Zeta potatoes which is a STAPLE at the Zeta house. They serve it on football weekends and special occasions. I had not had them in years and I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. Chris finally got to see what the fuss was all about. Here we are scarfing it down:

And yes, Chris and I were part of that insane crowd of 92,000 people who sat outside in the freezing cold to watch the game. And we loved every minute of it. I think that makes us certifiably crazy.

What a weekend!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random Sweet Things

Lately my kids have been saying things where you think, "Oh that is so funny! I need to write that down so I don't forget it!"

So I am.

The other day Ann Catherine was playing dress-up and wearing one of her princess gowns. I was cleaning the house while Chris was mowing the yard. I asked her if she was going to the Royal Ball and she said, "No, I can't. The prince is outside mowing the yard."


Lily Baker was singing "Jesus Loves Me" the other day. Her version is apparently a little different from ours. It goes, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me. The Bible tells me NO!"

Wow. Even so, I'm thinking God still thinks it's sweet.

Chris was watching the NHL Channel the other night (which happens OFTEN at our house) and a classic NHL game from the '70s was on featuring hockey great Bobby Orr. AC screamed, "Hockey!" and ran into the room to watch it with him. "Ann Catherine, this is an OLD game," he said. "Oh, were you playing?" she asked.


From the mouths of babes... :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This Makes Me Happy!

Credit: Simplicity by Christy

Is that precious or what?!

I haven't had pictures taken of my two girls together since Lily was itty bitty. (We tried to do a studio picture last Christmas but Santa walked in, AC freaked out and even though he left, she had a pained fake smile for the entire shoot with red, puffy eyes and tears streaming down her face. Needless to say, we didn't buy any).

This year I decided I wanted to do studio Christmas pictures WITHOUT the jolly old man.

Through my friend Stephanie's blog, I found Christy's blog of Simplicity by Christy (thanks Stephanie!!). She was booking Christmas photos and the Christmas pics on her blog from last year were adorable. I called her and she found a spot for us.

We went last Saturday and I couldn't be happier! She was so awesome with the girls. It was just such a positive experience for them and they had a great time. I got the proofs today and they are great.

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE this picture!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pray for Kensley!

I was getting ready for bed Sunday night when I heard a story on WHNT that broke my heart. A 5-year-old girl from Madison County was critically injured last week in a car wreck on I-10 in Florida. She was traveling with her family from Disney World to Gulf Shores. She is in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola with a traumatic brain injury.

This story just stopped me dead in my tracks. I am a mother and watching the story of this beautiful little girl who was injured in this wreck with her family just broke my heart.

Then they showed a picture of the family and I said to my husband, "Oh my goodness! I just read her blog last week!"

We are all somehow connected in this blogosphere. I read blogs of people who I have never met, and some of you who read this blog have never met me. But we are all connected somehow. Just last week, I was checking the traffic feed on my blog which tells me how people get to my blog (which I had not checked in months, by the way). I saw a link to a blog I had never seen before and I clicked on it.

It was Melissa Kelly's blog - Kensley's mother. She was blogging about their upcoming trip to Disney World and how excited they were to go. As I re-read it now, I get chills. How could they have ever expected that the trip would end like this?

I don't know the Kellys, but my friend, Stephanie, is a friend of theirs and she has posted on her blog about this precious family. They seemed to be just amazing, Godly people.

More importantly right now - they need our prayers.

Please join me in praying for Kensley and her family. Stephanie has set up a blog called "Praying for Kensley" and you can go there for regular updates. There is also a fund set up at Redstone Federal Credit Union to help the family or you can donate directly on the blog using PayPal.

Put yourselves in their shoes. Can you imagine the vacation you had dreamed about ending up like this? Can you imagine watching your beautiful, vibrant 5-year-old hooked up to tubes and machines in a PICU in a hospital that's far away from home?

I don't understand why things like this happen, and as I prayed for Kensley and her family the other night, I told that to God. After all, we are human and things like this just don't make sense.

But I do know this. I know that we serve a God who loves us more than we can imagine. I know that he can heal that precious little girl. I know he is holding Kensley's hand and holding up her parents during this time. And I know he hears our prayers.

So please send them up on behalf of Kensley.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

No, I am not confused or looking at the wrong month on the calendar.

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving!

And in honor of my husband's heritage - and 1/2 of my daughters' - we celebrated!

It's actually a great deal for our family because we get two Thanksgivings - and all the yummy food that goes with it.

I cooked a meal for us (AC called it "a feast" - she's easily impressed) and we all gave thanks.

In other news, here are girls in their cute Bama shirts that my friend Kera made. They wore them Saturday as we watched the Bama - Ole Miss game (and apparently they were good luck because we won!). If you like them, hop over to her blog and check out her cute shirts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Gift of Grandparents

Is there anything more special than the bond between a grandchild and grandparent?

Not to me.

I want my kids to be close to their grandparents. I want them to develop that bond with those four special people that God put in their lives. The love between a grandchild and grandparent is so special. After all, they've raised their children.

Their job now is just to love and spoil their grandchildren.

My mother's father passed away before I was born. I never had the chance to know him. As a child, I always wondered what he was like. I would ask my mother all kinds of questions because I wanted to somehow "know" this man who I had never met.

I had a wonderful relationship with my other grandparents and I was especially close to my mother's mother. Whenever my parents went out of town, my grandmother would come to our house and stay with me and my sister. She LOVED playing board games and always carried dice around in a Bufferin bottle in her purse. No matter where we were, she was ready to play!

Her favorite game to play was a board game called "Aggravation" (wonderful name by the way) and there is no telling how many hours she and I spent playing it. It is - without question - one of my most special memories from childhood.

All of my grandparents have passed away, but I was blessed to have had them in my life for so long. My grandmothers both passed away when I was in high school and my sweet, precious grandfather passed away a couple of months after Lily was born.

This special bond is so important to me and Chris that we named AC after both of her grandmothers and LB is named after Chris' grandmother, who is such a precious woman and who filled the "grandmother void" that I have had since my grandmothers died.

All this to set the scene from last night. AC and LB wanted to spend the night with Mimi and Poppy (my parents). After we ate dinner, we bathed them and then I took them to my parents' house.

As soon as my kids walk into my parents' house, they head for the candy jars. Doesn't matter what time of day it is or whether they need to eat dinner or lunch, they get whatever they want.

And you know what?

That's how it should be.

A grandparent's home is special. I remember when I saw AC drinking coke for the first time. She was about one and my dad was giving her soda. The neurotic mother in me is thinking, "She can't have soda yet!! She's only one!!"

But the mother who wants her children to have that same relationship I had with my grandparents says, "Go ahead. Do it."

So as I walked out last night, I left my parents and my children sitting at the dinner table. As mom and dad ate their dinner, the girls were eating Lucky Charms (only picking out the sweet charms, mind you) and drinking Dr. Pepper.

Would that ever happen at my house at 8 p.m.?


No way!

But at Mimi and Poppy's house, it's just fine.

And that's the way it should be.