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Monday, November 29, 2010

Upcoming Speaking Event

If you live in the Huntsville area, I wanted to tell you about an upcoming speaking engagement. Thursday, December 9th and Friday, December 10th, I'll be speaking at Willowbrook Baptist Church's Christmas Celebration Dinner.

I'm so honored to be speaking at this event. I'll be sharing my testimony of how God has carried our family through this journey over the last five years. Yes, there is sadness, but lots of happiness too! My prayer is that it will touch someone's heart who needs to hear a story of love and redemption.

You can purchase your tickets online at Deadline is Tuesday, November 30th - just like me to wait until the last minute to post this!

I hope to see you there. If not, please be praying for this event and that it will touch the hearts of those who attend.

Monday, November 22, 2010

And the Winner Is...

(As chosen by

Congratulations, Candy! You are the lucky winner of a $30 credit to Mint Julep Monograms - just in time for the holidays. (I feel like that announcer on "The Price is Right!") Please email me at and I'll get you in touch with Hillary. Then you can just shop your heart out!

Thanks to all of you who entered. (And on a side note, to those of you who left sweet comments for me, you made my day. And believe me, I needed a little encouragement last week!) If you didn't win, it's still not too late to order something from Mint Julep Monograms. Hillary's last day to accept Christmas orders is December 3rd so don't wait too long!

Thanks for taking part my friends. That was fun!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Who's Feeling Lucky?

Oh my word, I love free stuff!! Especially close to the holidays.

One of my lucky blog readers is in for a great early Christmas gift, thanks to my friend, Hillary.

A little backgroud here: Hillary and I first met nine or ten years ago (it all runs together these days :) We served together on the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association and hit it off immediately. She's a hoot! We ended up having kids around the same time and would run into each other from time to time. Then we found each other again in the blogosphere. She has one of the funniest blogs you'll ever read - The Other Mama.

Then, not too long ago, she apparently fell and hit her head because she decided to start a business while pregnant with her third child.

Crazy I tell you.

It has a deliciously Southern name - Mint Julep Monograms - and is an online monogram boutique. You'll find original gift ideas for babies, teachers, friends, family and all holiday needs. And according to Hillary, "She may or may not be drinking Mint Juleps while monogramming (okay- most likely not, but wouldn’t that be lovely?)."

Here's the best part - a lucky blog reader o' mine will win a $30 shop credit to be spent at Mint Julep Monograms! Just in time for the holidays!

Here's how you enter. Visit, peruse the items, then leave a comment on my blog about your favorite item. The contest will run through Sunday night. I'll let choose the winner and I'll post that person's name first thing Monday morning.

One more thing: only one entry per comment. However, if you'd like to be entered twice, join Mint Julep's Facebook fan page at and leave me a comment letting me know about it. You'll also receive sales codes, discount info and info on clearance sale items.

So who on your Christmas list needs a cute monogrammed something this year?

Be sure to enter!! Happy Shopping and good luck!

My First Giveaway!

I'm very excited. Tomorrow I'll be hosting my first blog giveaway!

I've never done it before because this blog is really just a scrapbook for my kids (because I'm not at all crafty!). But when a certain friend of mine who owns a certain awesome business asked me to host a giveaway, I couldn't say no!

The winner will receive credit to her store for a little Christmas shopping! Even though I'm still trying to get through LB's birthday, I know some of you have already started your Christmas shopping. Her site has some great gift ideas. You will love it!

So visit back tomorrow when my contest starts. And good luck!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lilypalooza - Part Two

My poor child was born the week of the Iron Bowl.

For those of you not from the state of Alabama, that's the equivalent of being born the week of Christmas.

She was born on a Tuesday (this was before they moved the Iron Bowl back to Thanksgiving week) and I told my OBGYN that if she came that weekend, my family wouldn't be there to meet her.

I was joking, of course.

Sort of :)

Oh to have a November birthday in a football crazy family in a football crazy state!

We held her first birthday party on a Saturday. Yes, Alabama was playing, but they were on the road. That ensured our family would be there. However, I distinctively remember the game being on during the party. Luckily she was one and didn't know the difference.

The second year we bypassed the whole football problem and held it on Thanksgiving weekend instead.

Last year, I had it on a Friday.

This year, Chris and I looked at the calendar and realized her birthday fell the day after Alabama played in Tuscaloosa.

What do to?

Move the family party to T-Town!

I called a Publix in Tuscaloosa, ordered her cake and we celebrated with our family Saturday afternoon since the Bama game was that night. She had a blast, especially because Ally & Will were there! Since they live in Florida, they can't usually come for LB's birthday because it's so close to Thanksgiving. So this worked out perfectly!

AC got LB a bumblebee pillow pet!! She's been asking for one since this summer :)

And Mimi and Poppy got AC the piggy pillow pet. She screamed so loud my sister's friend leaned over and said, "Whose birthday is it?!"

Ally gave LB the "Charlie Brown Christmas" DVD she's been begging for...

And Will gave her the Snow White Bakery... go with the Cinderella castle that Mimi and Poppy gave her!

She played with it for hours! :)

The next morning we packed up and headed home where the four of us celebrated LB's birthday together at our house.

We gave her Belle's library (which went with the Cinderella castle and Snow White bakery she got in T-Town)...

Belle and the Beast figurines (LB screamed, "I finally got the beast!!")...

and the "Beauty and the Beast" DVD!

Then we turned the lights off, popped the DVD in and popped some popcorn, and watched our movie. I LOVE this movie, but had forgotten how scary the beast is at first. I kept saying, "Hold on, girls! I promise he becomes nice!" And he did. :)

You would think that's enough, wouldn't you? But wait, there's more!

The Friday before we headed to Tuscaloosa, LB celebrated her birthday at preschool with her friends. Chris and I took her favorite - "lellow" cupcakes - and her friends all sang to her while she wore the very stylish (and Statue of Liberty-looking) birthday hat!

Then she got to choose a gift from the Birthday box. Chris and I couldn't believe it when she pulled out...a Belle doll!! Her favorite princess!!

I'm going to tell you, this birthday may never end! Just one more party left on the 2010 Lilypalooza Tour - her actual birthday party with her friends. Woohoo!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Happy Birthday My Rainbow!

(Photo courtesy of Simplicity by Christy)

This afternoon, at the exact time my third daughter entered the world four years ago, I turned and looked over my shoulder at her.

She was sleeping peacefully in her car seat after a busy weekend in Tuscaloosa. A far cry (pardon the pun) from how she entered the world. She had given her lungs a full workout during her introduction to that bright hospital room, and we knew she was okay.

On November 14th of that year, God gave me a second chance to be a mother - a chance I never thought possible after Melissa died. The thought of being pregnant again terrified me after all I had gone through with Melissa and Ann Catherine. Chris and I knew that we wanted Ann Catherine to have a sibling, but I wanted to adopt instead.

Then I did something that changed everything for me. I turned it over to God. Truly turned it over. I prayed that God would allow a child - boy, girl, didn't matter- to find its way to our family. I didn't care how. I didn't lay out my wishes or plans. I just asked that he would allow a beautiful soul to find its way to us.

A month after praying that prayer - and really meaning it - we found out that we were pregnant with Lily Baker.

And I was scared to death.

For the first six months of that pregnancy, I battled fear and was constantly waiting on the worst to happen. Just as it had to Melissa. Over the course of those nine months, God took me on a journey of faith like I had never experienced before.

And right on time, Lily Baker arrived. Beautiful - and most importantly - healthy. We never stepped foot inside the NICU. Instead, she stayed next to me in my hospital room. I couldn't believe it was happening. The child we had prayed so fervently for was here. And she was okay.

What would our life have been like without Lily Baker? I can't even imagine. She is the most precious and most maddening person I've ever known. Her world is so black and white, unlike mine which resides in shades of gray. She can be so stubborn that I want to scream and so sweet that it melts my heart.

But there is one thing I know without question about this little girl: she loves her mama. And oh boy, do I love her.

She is the rainbow that completed our family, the sunlight that overcame the darkness that had enveloped our family just 17 months earlier. She is the sister Ann Catherine so desparately needed and the healing her daddy and I so desperately prayed for.

Happy Birthday my Lilypalooza! I love you to the moon and back,


Friday, November 12, 2010

Thank You Veterans

Each year I have wanted to take my daughters to the Veteran's Day Parade.

But each year it's either been too cold or my kids have been sick.

Yesterday it all came together. 70 degree weather and my kids were healthy (save for the occasional runny nose). What are the odds?

My friend, Brooke, and I loaded up our girls and took them to the parade. And it was so much fun!

Just before it started, some people came down the route and handed out small American flags. Brooke and I taught the girls the "USA" chant - and oh my word - did they do it. Over. And over. And over again. If you stood anywhere near us, you might have been going crazy about thirty minutes in. :)

The funniest part was that at the end of each USA chant, Lily Baker would throw out a "Roll Tide Roll!!" The only parades my girls have been to are the Alabama homecoming parades so LB thinks that's what you yell at a parade! :)

We also told the girls that each time a group of veterans came by, to wave their American flags and say "thank you!" That was the most precious part of all. The looks on the faces of those men and women were so touching. One man looked like he was going to cry.

I think we live in a world where our veterans are so forgotten. And to see these little girls waving an American flag and saying, "thank you" just had to touch their hearts. It certainly did mine.

What a great opportunity to teach our children that freedom isn't free. That someone's son, daughter, daddy, or mommy sacrifices so much to make sure we are free. And safe.

Thank you to those of you who do, or have done, that!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Impromptu Tea Party

And isn't that the best kind?!

Today a sweet friend gave my girls two beautiful dolls that her daughter no longer wanted. They were a huge hit at our house!

LB played with hers all morning and AC got hers as soon as she got home from school. As they began to play with them LB said, "I know! Let's have a tea party!"

So we pulled out their table and got out the "fine china" (aka - the porcelain Raggedy Ann tea party set that I am always afraid is going to get broken). I even broke out the animal crackers at four in the afternoon. I had four plates - one for each girl - but AC kept telling me that her doll didn't like animal crackers so she was eating them for her. I'm quite sure that was true :)

And they had a delightful time :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lilypalooza - Part One

I write "Part One" because, God love her, this birthday is going to cover the whole month.

Lily Baker's birthday isn't until next week, but Chris' parents couldn't come then so they came this past week. We had birthday celebration #1!

After a great meal at one of our favorite restaurants, we came home and celebrated LB's birthday with a yummy cookie cake and lots of presents!(I'm bummed because most of my pictures looked fuzzy. I think my camera batteries were running down :( But here's sampling of what I did get.)

Next week we'll celebrate with my family and then LB will have her birthday party the next week. I can't believe my baby is turning four! I'm having a hard time with this one. Four just sounds so old. And she's the baby.

LB, on the other hand, is thrilled!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Greg McElroy Writes Children's Books??

Ever since she started kindergarten, all Ann Catherine wants to do is play school.

And she's always the teacher. Always.

She'll grab a stack of books and "read" them to the class, which exists of a bunch of invisible people and sometimes Lily Baker, until she gets bored and leaves the room.

She apparently is mimicking her teacher when she reads because she always starts by reading the title of the book, followed by the name of the author and the illustrator.

Yesterday she was pretending she was the teacher to her invisible students while I was helping Lily Baker with something. Ann Catherine told her "class" the name of the book and then said,

"Written by Greg McElroy. Illustrated by Julio Jones."

I laughed out loud.

Do you think we watch too much football at our house??!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Going to Vote

I love to vote. Always have.

It started when I was a little girl. My mother always took me to vote with her. My parents' business was just across the street from their polling place and she'd wait until I got out of school to vote. That was back in the day when you pulled the curtain and pulled the lever on your voting machine. I thought that was so cool.

Because of that, I also take my girls to vote. LB has been with me so many times the poll workers know her.

Now that I have children, I care even more about who's elected. I care who the president is. I care who the governor is. I care who sits on the city council. I care who represents my district on school board. I care who is making policy, whether it's in Washington, D.C. or Montgomery, that affects my family.

Chris' parents are in town and, for the life of her, Lily Baker could not understand why they weren't voting with us today. Chris' mom explained it was because she wasn't born in this country. Lily responded, "Well, I'm voting because I was born in this country." That made me laugh because I'm quite sure she's not sure what country she lives in.

So after we voted this morning, we ran some errands. We were eating at a local restaurant and a lady walked in with a "I voted" sticker. Lily Baker said, "Look, Mommy! That lady voted. She must live in the United States, too!"

Well, what do you know. She does know the name of her country. Hopefully, I'm raising a little girl who will also grow up to take her voting priviledge seriously. :)