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Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I Did This Morning

First of all, my alarm clock went off at 3:45 a.m.

There is nothing right about that.

But my early morning wake-up was for a good reason. I joined my good friend Robert Reeves, of WHNT, on television to talk about Swim for Melissa.

Robert and I do this every year and each time I'm reminded how crazy early it is! (Robert claims waking up at that time is NOT the middle of the night, but I beg to differ!!)

We had a great time and I am so grateful to Robert for his help in promoting the event! If you want more information on Swim for Melissa or to register your child, click here. It's not too late for your kids to sign up to swim. We hope to see you there!

Monday, July 26, 2010

When Did That Happen?

Last week Ann Catherine and I entered a store, list in hand.

We were buying school supplies.

And as we chose from the array of pencils, notebooks, crayons and folders, I wondered 'how did we get here?'

It was almost surreal. Buying school supplies for my oldest child.

It's such a cliche, but they really do grow up so fast. (Note to those of you with multiple children under the age of 3, I know that sounds insane to you as your life couldn't be any crazier right now, but believe me, it's true).

It seems like just yesterday that I was holding Ann Catherine, rocking her to sleep, watching her take her first steps, say her first words.

And now here we are faced with the life-changing decision of whether to get a Hello Kitty or Barbie notebook.

Seriously, have you been school supply shopping lately? When I was a kid you chose a red, blue or green notebook. Not anymore. Notebooks are plastered with Disney figures and the like. It was torture for my decision-making challenged child. Or maybe it was just torture for me. :)

We left the store, armed with bags of supplies. Once I got home and finally recovered from the fact that my baby was growing up, I got smacked in the face with that reality again.

I noticed Lily Baker's baby blanket on the floor. The one she took to daycare everyday as a baby. The one that covered her each day at naptime. The one that has her name on the tag in black marker so we wouldn't lose it.

And she was using it to cover up her baby dolls.

They really do grow up too fast.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Time!

As we drove in the car last week, Chris said, "Do you realize that Swim for Melissa is a month away?"

Oh my word! Make that less than a month.

Swim for Melissa is the major fundraising event for the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund at Huntsville Hospital Foundation. It's August 14 at Hampton Cove Pool. Kids ages 4-14 are encouraged to raise money and swim that day.

Now I know the raise money part isn't appealing to some of you - especially those with kids in school who are always having to sell stuff. But we make it so easy! You just go to the website, set up your child's page and email it to family and friends asking them to donate online. That's all you have to do. No going door to door. No keeping up with money. That's it.

We love for kids to actually form teams, but if your child (or children) just wants to swim without forming a team, that's okay too. To register, click here.

Ann Catherine is pumped this year because she is swimming for the first time at Swim for Melissa! She has formed her own team called Melissa's Miracles. If you would like to support her by making a donation, please click here to see her page. If you make a donation, you can also leave a comment for her. She will love that!

All money raised will be used to provide three Giraffe Incubators and a Giraffe Omnibed to help increase the survival rate of infants in our NICU. Here's a picture of a Giraffe Omnibed. These beds are amazing!

We'll also use the money to establish a Family Support program and a staff liaison to help parents and families during their stay in the NICU. When your child ends up in the NICU, you are so scared. I am thrilled that we'll be able to provide such an important service to our families!

Thanks for your support of Melissa's Fund. And please come out on Saturday, August 14 and enjoy a day of family fun for a great cause!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mommy, Guess What?!

I had a funny experience this week that proves no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, I will always be - first and foremost - a mommy.

I was having lunch with two of my friends from the hospital. It was part personal and part business. We wanted to catch up with each other, and they also wanted to talk to me about some things concerning Melissa's Fund.

We were just about to order our food when my cell phone rang. I looked down and it was the babysitter's number. I told my friends I had to take the call.

Me: Hello?
AC: Hi, Mommy!
Me: Hi, Ann Catherine. What are you doing?
AC: Mommy, guess what? I poopied!!!

Now, you have to understand, we praise this particular act at our home. I think it goes back to when AC first potty trained and we did the happy dance whenever she went.

Me: You poopied, baby? That's great. (talking as quietly as possible so others wouldn't hear. Not exactly dining conversation!)

At this point, Susan and Candy begin to laugh.

AC: And mommy, guess what?! I clogged the toilet!!

Now, that statement might cause some mothers to worry. Not me. AC clogging the toilet is a regular occurrence at our home (and unfortunately the homes of others.) How someone so small can.... I digress.

Me: You clogged the toilet? Okay. Show Celia where the plunger is and ask her to unclog it.
AC: Oh no, mommy. That's Daddy's job!

Apparently, Chris is the only one that can unclog a toilet. Never mind that I've done it about 85 times already.

I told her again to make sure Celia unclogged the toilet. Then I hung up and laughed about it with my friends. And I called Chris on the way home and shared it with him because I knew he would get a kick out of it.

After I hung up with him, I realized something. No matter how dressed up I get, no matter where I go, I'm still a mom. And whether I'm in a restaurant, a board room or on location at a commercial shoot, I can expect my phone to ring with my child on the other end sharing the details of her latest poop.

That only happens to mothers, you know.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taking Our Time

After dinner tonight, my girls decided they wanted to go on a bike ride.

Even though they are close in age, there are certain things that AC is way ahead of LB on. Riding a bike is one of them.

AC hopped on her Barbie bike, and off she went. I told Chris to hang with her, and I held back with Lily Baker.

LB is just getting the hang of riding her trike. It's the red Radio Flyer that once belonged to Ann Catherine. So as Chris and AC got further and further out of our sight, LB peddled on with me walking right behind her.

We arrived home almost thirty minutes after AC and Chris. In fact, Chris had already bathed Ann Catherine when we walked in the door. And I told him it was probably better that I went with LB.

I am, by no means, the most patient person in the world. But compared to Chris, I am Job. The tediousness of following behind Lily Baker probably would have driven him crazy.

It's not that she was that slow. It's just that - as all three-year-olds - she wasn't in any hurry.

And it was a beautiful thing.

She would stop to pick up a leaf. But stopping to do so required her to take off her helmet, place it on her handle bar, pick up the leaf, break it into pieces, put the pieces in her basket, put the helmet back on, then get back on the bike. You can imagine how long that took. And she did it about five times.

Then we stopped at a neighbor's yard to look inside the hole where their recently chopped tree once stood.

Then we stopped to say hello to birds who were looking for worms for dinner.

Oh, to be like Lily Baker. In no hurry. Not a care in the world. Noticing leaves. Noticing flowers. Noticing people. Noticing birds. Noticing giant holes in someone's yard.

I'll walk behind her any day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Supporting the Gulf Coast

(LB chilling with my niece, Ally, on vacation)

Last week, my family and I thumbed our noses at the oil spill, BP and a federal response that has been all PR and photo ops, with very little substance behind it. (And that's all I will say about that, because, believe me, I could stand on that soapbox until the NEXT fourth of July!)

We went to the Gulf Coast.

I have been going to some part of the Gulf Coast since I was a baby. If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know how special it is to me. And I refused to let this disaster stop us from going again.

We did our part to help the economy. We ate out some, we shopped at the local grocery store and we took the girls and their cousins to see Toy Story 3.

If you haven't been lately, you're probably wondering, "How bad was it?"

Honestly? Not that bad.

I mean, contrary to what you might think, oil isn't gushing up on shore.

Yes, we saw tar balls...

And no, my kids couldn't play in the ocean...

However, they could still bury their daddy in the sand (something they had been planning for months!).

It's not like the entire beach is covered in oil. One morning AC and I went for a walk on the beach, and found the same beautiful white sand in some places that we've come to love. It's the strangest thing. One day, tar balls may appear in front of your condo. The next morning, they may be in front of the condo next to you.

The important thing is that - in some very small way - I felt that we were helping the people whose livelihoods depend on the ocean and tourism. My heart breaks for them. No doubt, people are definitely staying home. During the fourth of July weekend, most of the chairs on the beach are taken. Instead, we found this...

Sunday we went to my sister's place on Pensacola Beach. Her condo backs up to the sound and oil hasn't seeped in there. My kids loved it. It had the calmness of a lake, but with a sandy beach (and without the gross stuff you sometimes find in the lake :)

I tried to Kayak for the first time. Good Lord, that is way too much work for vacation!

My sister took LB out - and LB loved it. Of course, I would too if someone else was paddling for me!

My nephew Will showed off his crab trap...

AC swam with her daddy...

and LB and I snuggled!

Soon after this picture was taken, she fell asleep in my arms. I held her close and felt her beating heart as the water lapped up onto the shore. I gazed up at a beautiful blue sky with puffy clouds that looked like giant cotton balls and heard Ann Catherine giggling nearby as she played in the water with her daddy.

And as I held my sleeping child in my arms, and took in those sights and sounds, I was quite sure that this MUST be as close as it gets to Heaven on earth.