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Friday, April 29, 2011

Pray for Alabama

Except for a year and a half in Florida, I have lived in Alabama all of my life.

I have hunkered down and ridden out tornadoes in bathtubs and closets more times than I can count. As a reporter at Channel 19, I chased them - usually fearlessly - for eleven years. I have interviewed people who have lost their homes, their loved ones and all of their possessions because of deadly twisters. I have seen destruction that looked like a war zone.

But I have never witnessed anything like what happened Wednesday.

I still find it hard to fathom what happened to our wonderful state. I know the pictures and video don't do it justice.

My best friend lives in Tuscaloosa. She's a nurse and she worked in the Emergency Room the night of the deadly tornadoes. She said she had never seen anything so horrific. So many adults, children and babies lost their lives.

She told me I won't recognize Tuscaloosa when we go back in the fall for football games.

That breaks my heart.

I absolutely love Tuscaloosa. My four years there were incredible. I love the University of Alabama. I love the historic town. I love the people there. I love everything about it.

And now, so much of it is gone.

But those things can be rebuilt. It won't be easy, and it will never be the same, but Tuscaloosa will arise from these ashes. I have no doubt about that.

What breaks my heart even more are the people who tragically lost their lives. The adults. The babies and childrens. The students. I can't imagine what it must be like as a parent to leave your home in another city, another state and travel to Tuscaloosa to search for your child. Or worse, identify his or her body.

Seven people in my own county lost their lives Wednesday. People who - just like me - were going about their daily routines that day. By nighttime, their lives were over.

It's hard to imagine that.

As Lily Baker fell asleep next to me last night, I felt her breathing. And with tears in my eyes, I thanked God that my child was breathing. And not only that, but that she was right there with me and that I could hear her breathing.

Some parents will never hear their children breathe again.

Please pray for the people of our state. We will rebuild and we will come back stronger than ever. But it is going to be a long road.

More than anything, pray for those who will spend the weekend preparing funerals for those they love.

Take a moment today to tell the people in your life that you love them. And thank God for another day with them.

Life is fragile. Alabamians learned that this week.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. If you live near us, how could you not with the sunshine and warm weather?!

We had a wonderful day. Here are some of my favorite moments:

The girls in their beautiful Easter dresses. They loved getting dressed up for church!

Attending the Easter Egg Hunt down the street at our friends' house. Easter eggs and good friends - how can you beat that?!

Meeting the Easter Bunny!

Fun moments with these Four Musketeers. They had a blast all afternoon!

And a thanks to Miss Brooke for hosting such a fabulous shindig!

And my greatest reminder of what Easter truly means - the tree we planted soon after Melissa died.

Easter represents hope to my family. We WILL be with her again one day! I love you, my sweet angel :)

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

And oh, am I a happy camper!

I love this time of year. The gray dreariness of winter is gone and everything is renewed - what a perfect time for Easter this year!

I've been looking forward to today for a while - a Saturday with no t-ball, no soccer, no birthday parties, no activities. Chris and I decided we would plant our flowers.

But before we could do that, we dyed Easter Eggs this morning. The girls love doing this with Chris. We decided on pastel colors this year and the girls loved getting their eggs the "perfect" color.

After that, we headed outside to plant. Chris built a vegetable garden in the backyard for me last weekend. Today he planted tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash and strawberries. I can't wait until it's ready! There is nothing better than fresh vegetables from the garden.

From there, we went to the front yard. LB is my little gardner. She LOVES planting flowers, which thrills my dad to no end. My dad loves working in the garden. He has the most beautiful flowers and has always has a vegetable garden. When we go to my mom and dad's house LB says, "Come on Poppy! Let's go work in the garden!" (Now if she just goes to pharmacy school that will be a double whammy for him! :)

She was so excited today to help plant flowers. She loved digging the holes for Chris. Then after he planted them, she'd water them.

AC, on the other hand, isn't quite as crazy about gardening. Within a few moments, she started saying, "Mommy, I'm thirsty" or "Mommy, I need a popsicle." Her favorite part was playing with the water hose once we were finished. :) I love these pictures of LB chasing her with the water!

After that, we went back to the backyard and got out the water sprinkler. As the girls ran through the sprinkler, squealing with delight, I thought it's funny how we spend so much money buying our kids the "right" toys when a backyard water sprinkler makes them happier than anything.

And the cherry on top of the sundae? The ice cream truck came through our neighborhood! The girls both got a popsicle.

What a perfect ending to a perfect day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Toothless Wonder

I was going to post today about our awesome Spring Break trip to Walt Disney World, but then something even more awesome happened at our house.

Ann Catherine lost her first tooth today!

What a big deal that is to a five-year-old. Quite a few kids in her class have lost their teeth and it's driven her crazy. Last week at WDW, she kept asking "Mommy, is this tooth loose?" After I answered no for the 50th time, I told her it would happen when it was time to happen.

Last night at Bible Study at our friends' house, our sitter who was watching the kids in another room brought her to me and said she had a loose tooth. AC was pumped!

Once we got home, it was wiggling all over the place. Chris kept asking her to let him pull it, but she wanted no part of that! Her excitement quickly turned to apprehension and she kept asking if it would hurt when it fell out.

This morning I was shooting some videos at church when I got a voicemail from AC at school. "Mommy, I lost my first tooth!" she said. It started bugging her this morning, so she let her teacher pull it. "It didn't even hurt!" she told me when LB and I picked her up this afternoon. Let me tell you, she's wearing that gap in her teeth like a badge of honor! :)

It's an exciting milestone in the life of my child, but it's also made me a little sad. Losing a tooth is another step towards independence.

She's losing her baby teeth. That means she's not a baby anymore.

That snaggletooth smile means she's growing up.