Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New and Happy Easter - UPDATED

Here are a couple of shots Marty just sent me!!

We had Easter pictures made today - yes in the 50 degree wind! That's what happens when you schedule outdoor pictures. You just roll with it! I can't wait to get them back and share with you. Our friend Marty made them outside with a live lamb (which we kept calling a goat:))

As my mom and I stood in the freezing wind acting like crazy people trying to get Ellie Kate to look and smile and Abby to do the same, I had a thought of last year. I buy most of the girls clothes off season when they are on sale (it's the only way I can half way afford my diva habits!) Anyway, I had Abby's dress all picked out, and already had plans that Olivia could wear one of Abby's Strasburg dresses that would coordinate from when she was a baby. When Easter morning came, we did the usual Easter bunny stuff and then rushed to get everyone looking their best and hopefully make it to church on time! After we got in the car and were on my way, I had a moment to reflect. That's when it hit me - the white and off white smocked Strasburg dress that I was supposed to be putting on a baby that morning. I was able to hold it in until we got Abby out of the car, and then the flood came. Stewart looked and said, "the dress?" I nodded, took my time to regain composure and tried to go on with the rest of the day.

After a loss, the strangest things can bring back those memories. Some days you can predict and be somewhat prepared for like birthdays, Mother's Day, etc. but sometimes it just comes out of no where.

Fast forward past last Easter to the summer. We had just completed our 20 week ultrasound at the High Risk Complications Clinic at UAB. Everything looked perfectly normal and healthy and we were expecting another little girl. I had already decided that I wouldn't make any preparations for this baby, even if everything seemed to be on track. I just wasn't confident enough to do that and I couldn't bear the thought of taking down another nursery and packing everything away again. For some unknown reason that Saturday, I found myself in Strasburg. They were having a sale (my favorite kind!) and I was looking for Abby some dresses for the next season. The sweet salesgirl had no knowledge of what we had been through and just knew I was expecting. She immediately started trying to predict what size Abby and the new baby would be this spring and trying to find matching dresses on clearance for me. I didn't have the heart to tell her not to bother because that would mean explaining everything, etc. Well she came up with the most beautiful purple smocked dresses complete with a hair bow for Abby and a bonnet for the baby. I was just SO ready to get out of there that I bought them and hurried out of the store. Part of me wanted so desperately to LOVE those dresses and believe that we would need them BOTH this Easter. In reality, I all but had a panic attack sitting in the parking lot. I called my mom and told her what was going on. I remember asking her what was I thinking buying these dresses that someone would have to take back and try to explain why we didn't need them anymore. She very sternly told me to stop! God love my mother - she, in no uncertain terms, told me that God is NOT the author of confusion. I was to go home, hang those dresses up and use them as my step of faith! Anytime I needed reassurance I was to look at those dresses and have faith that we would be seeing two beautiful little girls in them very soon.

I did that. To be honest, most days that I had the courage to open the closet and look at the dresses it was in total fear. But gradually, as the days wore on, I was able to look at those matching dresses and think, "maybe".

Well, today that dream happened! Another prayer answered. It may seem insignificant to pray over Easter dresses but it was really about the fact that there is a healthy baby here to wear that beautiful dress! I can't wait to share the pictures with you, but to be honest they could have both sat there with snotty noses crying and it still would have been the most precious picture imaginable to me!

Easter signifies so much to Christians - what a perfect season to celebrate all the innumerable things God has done for all of us! I hope everyone enjoys all the upcoming activities over the next couple weeks!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For the second year, we are organizing Team FAITH to walk in the March for Babies. This year's event is on Saturday, April 18th at Bridge Street. I think most people are familiar with the March of Dimes and the innovations and research they have helped fund for babies and families. Last year was our first year and we were the second highest raising family team in this area!

Let me back up and tell you how we got started with this event. Last year at this time, I was struggling - it had been 4 months since Olivia's death. I was in a place where I wanted to believe that I had "handled" the grief. In all honesty, I don't know if that will ever really happen. I will always be the mother of 3 daughters, one of which who is in Heaven watching over us. Anyway, it had really started to bother me that we had reached a point when I felt that everyone else had moved on from the event - gone on with their lives - and here I was still lost in the grief and loss of my baby girl. Because she was stillborn, no one really had an earthly relationship with her. I was afraid to say her name - it was just too raw. Not to mention I felt I was having to use too much precious energy to overcome the awkward situations with people who just didn't know what to do to help or say. Suddenly, I stumbled on this event. Something set up in my heart that night - I had to do this with my family for Olivia. It was my personal tribute to her - to outwardly do something to reaffirm that she did exist, she was our child, the loss was just as great. After a week or so, I gathered the courage to email a few friends. The simple act of telling those I am closest to that we were doing this for Olivia was somehow liberating. Just pressing "send" on an email with the subject line "Olivia" gave me some satisfaction that I was doing small steps to reaffirm her meaning in my life and that I wasn't going to just lock away that event forever.

Then it happened - the doors opened, the emails started pouring in. I was absolutely amazed! So many joined our team to commemorate people and situations in their own lives or the lives of their family and friends. But many said they were joining just to support us and remember Olivia. It was like I had given those closest to me permission to talk about her and the effect this had on their lives. Every day, more and more joined the team. People from our schools, friends, family, even an entire group from Abby's preschool!

The day of the march was bittersweet. I was absolutely overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and support and simply hearing people say my sweet baby's name. I remember Amy George once posting about a Havoc fundraising event for the Melissa George Fund. She reflected how awesome it was to see and feel the support, but overwhelming to realize that her daughter had to die for this event to happen. I had that same moment. I remember looking around at the host of friends and it was almost more than I could take to realize that I wouldn't need this outpouring of support if my baby hadn't died, if we hadn't been the subject of a tragedy. About that time a huge gust of wind came through. I had painstakingly brought a huge bunch of pink balloons for the kids to play with that day. In one gust, the entire bunch came untied and floated up to the sky. For some reason, this broke my heart. And then it happened - as if they were meant to be there, the entire bunch wrapped themselves around a flagpole and just stopped. As I stood there looking up, my sweet Daddy came and put his arm around me and said, "Olivia must have needed those!" We continued on the march, and as we returned, there were the balloons right where we left them. As we left, Abby looked up and said, "Those are for you sissy. Love you!"

Little did I know, but I was actually a few weeks pregnant last year at the march with the child I never thought I would be brave enough to hope for. Here we are, one year later, and I am looking forward to ordering Ellie Kate a t-shirt size XXS to "march" for her big sister that she never knew. She also benefited from this cause as she spent those precious 3 days in the NICU. God is good. His plans are all-knowing. His ways are simple, perfect and always surrounded in love and peace.

If you are not affiliated with another team, we would love for you to join us! Just click on the banner on the side of the blog. We will be ordering more shirts, and we would love for you to join us!

Faith for all babies to come!


What a trip!! Hawaii is absolutely breathtaking! I couldn't fathom how beautiful it could be, but it really was. It was almost unbelievable to stand and admire God's handiwork!

The girls did great on the plane ride! They both slept and played and were model passengers! We had some ups and downs - Abby had a fever for a few hours after we got there (a cold virus thing, we think) and then Ellie Kate ended up in the Emergency Room the night we came home with croup! All in all, though, they did great for such a HUGE trip! My Mom reminded me that the Lord allowed both girls to make it through the each plane ride without sickness and at least we were "on the ground" when they weren't feeling well. She is right!!

We got to do so many new things while we were there. We are all still suffering from the time zone changes and I am being buried alive in dirty clothes, so I will let the pictures speak for themselves!

Hold on - there are lots! If you want to see them all, see my album on Facebook!

Monday, March 16, 2009


We're off!!! We fly out in the morning for Hawaii!! Crazy, huh?? Stewart and I, the girls, Stewart's mom and brother are all headed for the big island! We will return next Monday and I'm sure I will have MANY stories and pictures to share! Right now we are still trying to pack and load all the electronic gizmos we are packing for Abby's entertainment! I sure wish there was something we could guarantee Ellie Kate's successful flight! Please pray - I'm a little spastic about travelling this far with the girls, but I know that God can provide travelling mercies!

Still trying to get the March for Babies info ready to go! The march is Saturday, April 18th!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Hurdle Crossed

We are back in the land of the living! Wow - that flu virus is a humdinger! Luckily (I guess :)) I got the worst of it! Abby took a few days to shake it. Ellie Kate is still fighting off all of the congestion but we are getting more and more smiles, so I think she is starting to feel a little better! She still has a terrible time sleeping. She just smothers under all that gunk - hopefully it will start clearing out soon!

This may sound just silly to some, but last week was a HUGE hurdle for me! I have shared my "fear" complex as of late. Well I have always had a fear of my children being sick. I really don't know why - we all hate to see our children sick, but I am a real germaphobe! I am still haunted by the first bad stomach virus that Abby shared with the ENTIRE family (extended included)! We all came out alive and kicking, but I just dread sickness so bad. Well, enter child #2, born in the winter with a preschool age sibling and two parents working in germ filled elementary schools and you can imagine my paranoia! Our pediatrician has laughed and told me I was going to make Abby think she was a bioterrorist if I kept making her change clothes the instant she walked in the door! Well who brought home the germs - ME! But you know what, the Lord really helped my fear factor last week. Instead of constantly obsessing over if the girls were going to get it, I just prayed he would protect them. As the days wore on and I realized they were going to get it, I prayed he would give us all strength. As I thought about my life saving parents and mother-in-law who pitched in to help, I prayed for their strength instead of fearing for the worst. God is good! Simple prayers - simple answers. We survived. Life is back to whatever normal is these days!

Look at my divas - Oh me! Abby LOVES picking out her own clothes (when I let her), and now she is dressing Ellie Kate too! Gotta love the crown - she certainly did!

I can't tell you how much all of my "blogger" friends mean to me! I really only started this as an outlet, and because I was so inspired by Amy George's blog. She and I have met in person a few times now, and have shared a few conversations, but without her ministry through her blog, I would not know her story, her journey, her trust and faith in God and how He can lead you through the toughest trials of life. Now I have had the pleasure to communicate with others who I haven't had the pleasure to meet, but we share in each other's triumphs and trials through our blogs. Isn't God amazing?? I'm sure most of us only live within 30 minutes of each other (maybe even 5), but we would have never had the pleasure of gaining strength from each other were it not for blogs. I have always wanted to bear spiritual "fruit" along my journey. I certainly don't want to be barren and dry. Sometimes, though, I need the fruit that someone else is bearing. Several times lately, it has come through this outlet! I can't tell you how much it means to me and encourages me to see your stories, and then humbled to see your comments that you are praying for me in my journey. Amy - you'll never know how much it meant that you prayed for me that night. God is so good to watch out for us when we don't have the strength to do so ourselves! I hope I can return the favor someday.

I hope to post this week about our family team for the March for Babies. We started our team last year in memory of Olivia. I will post more as soon as I get all of our information straightened out. If you are not already affiliated with a team, I would love for you to join us!
More soon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Total Exhaustion!

We have the flu - everyone that is except Stewart! I woke up with it Saturday. We sent each girl to a different grandparent and crossed our fingers. By Monday night, it appeared the worse was over so we let Abby come home. Well she woke up early Tuesday morning with it. Mom then called and said Ellie Kate just wasn't acting right. By the end of yesterday we had been to Huntsville Pediatrics twice and everyone had Tamiflu. Abby and I are making it OK with the help of great drugs, but poor little Ellie Kate is too little to take anything. She cried more last night than she has her entire three months combined. Stewart and I prayed and I know our family and friends were praying. Finally around 8:30, she settled down and fell asleep on top of me. She is still one sick little girl, but she hasn't gotten back to that point. Praise the Lord!

Today is Ellie Kate's 3 month birthday - wow how time flies! I will post more later, but it is amazing how far the Lord has brought us. Right now, Stewart is home and offering to take over while I go take a nap - I'm gong to take him up on it!