Thursday, November 25, 2010


Today I am thankful for SO much......

1. I am thankful for a loving Savior whose mercy is bigger than I can imagine. His love reaches farther and hurts deeper than we ever could - amazing.

2. I am thankful for my wonderful husband. He is maddening some days, but he's the only one who has seen me at the lowest point and chose to stick around even when I wasn't as skinny and life wasn't as simple as it was 10 years ago. If you want to test a marriage, endure a tragedy together. Check the statistics - marriages don't usually endure the hard stuff. Ours has and will continue to.

3. I am thankful for my first born little singer, Abby. Oh me what this little girl has meant to us. She was a wonderful baby - perfect in every way in our eyes. Since then, this little soul has experienced more than most her age and handles it beautifully. She has spoken words of comfort to us that I'm sure God was trying to tell us, but she was the only one listening. She is a bright light with a sweet heart. AND she FINALLY lost her first tooth - she declared she would be the last one in the first grade to lose one :)

4. I am thankful for my second born angel, Olivia. I would have never chosen to be the mommy of an angel, but I am. Her life and death have changed me like nothing else ever has. I hope I can fulfill whatever purpose He has for me in this situation.

5. I am thankful - oh so thankful - for our rainbow/thunderstorm Ellie Kate. (Those who know her understand the addition of the thunderstorm analogy - ) She wasn't planned or thought of, but certainly dreamed of. After losing Olivia, there was no way I thought I was strong enough to endure another pregnancy again. God knew better. Just when I thought I couldn't bear it, He chose to prove to me that I could. Those months being pregnant with her while still grieving shook me to the core. I had to beg God just to get me through the next day - there was NO WAY I could dream of a life with two healthy, happy girls. But, that's what He blessed me with! Every day with her is a promise - an outward sign of God's faithfulness to our family - our rainbow :) She's a mess, and on those nights when she won't sleep or those days when she spends most of it face down screaming over her latest obsession, it's hard to put it all in perspective, but oh how I'd much rather be up all night with a sassy little girl than crying over what could have been!

6. I am thankful for my family. They are my rock and foundation and the reason I am who I am. I could go on and on with this one, but without Mom and Dad I simply wouldn't be who I am, with the values I have, or with the deep trust that HE will deliver in all situations.

7. All the daily stuff - jobs, homes, thankful for it all!

God is a masterful conductor. I am thankful to be just a little part of the band!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Little Girls with BIG Hearts

Today was a special day! Let me set the scene.......

This past September, I was having a yard sale, and Abby decided that she wanted to have a lemonade and snack stand set up too. OK - nothing major here. Then, she came and told me that she was so excited because she was going to give all the money that she raised to charity. I was blown away! I really didn't think she "got it", so I asked her which charity. She quickly said, "Oh, my favorite - the Swim for Melissa!" Well, we all know the official name is not Swim for Melissa, but in a 6 year old mind, it is!

I was touched, but honestly still didn't think she would come through. In fact, the night before the yard sale, she came running up to ask if I had baked everything for the snack sale because she had her signs ready. And she did.........I did not! She had the sweetest sign that she made all by herself. The only part I added was because she couldn't write small enough for it to fit! I quickly promised I would hold up my end of the bargain, and she was happy.

She had a soccer game that morning, but as soon as it was over, here she came - ready to sell! And she did :) She sold water, Kool Aid and Publix cookies. And that kid made $100.00 in about 45 minutes!

Today, I finally managed to get her down to the Huntsville Hospital Foundation offices to give them the money she raised. Much to our surprise, Amy George met us there with her sweet girls Ann Catherine and Lily Baker. Abby was SO excited - I was SO touched. Every person in the Foundation office treated Abby like she had raised $100,000 dollars, not just $100.00! There was an official certificate, pictures, and of course lots of hugs.

Amy and I were talking......our girls "get it". These babies have been through more than most their age, and they understand why we need to raise money for sick babies and that some babies have to leave us and go to Heaven. This used to break my heart for Abby - I wanted her to just be the innocent, naive little girl who had no reason to know such things. But you know what - she does and God has given her the wisdom to know how to deal with it in her own 6 year-old way.

God has a reason for everything. There's a reason our babies had to leave, and another reason our other babies have had to experience the grief AND the faithfulness of God. While part of me hates that she knows sorrow, another part of me rejoices in her wisdom and marvels at what God may lead her sweet heart to do next.

They may be little, but oh how sweet are these big hearts!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Turkey

The Turkey went to school........yes, the REAL turkey (OH - and Dad!!)

Last week Abby's class was studying turkeys as I'm sure ALL classrooms were. Mrs. K, Abby's teacher, brought in a mount of a turkey tail, beard and feet that her husband had killed. All the kids, of course, wanted to know where the rest of the body was!! This was while the girls were staying with Mom and Dad while were in Colorado. Well, Abby decides that Papaw needs to go to school and show off a REAL turkey!

Dad is a hunter! Over my lifetime it has ranged from deer, elk, duck, pheasant, and now turkey. Last year he completed the grand slam of turkey hunting which I understand is a BIG deal!!

Well, with the teacher's permission, Papaw and the turkey came to school! It was a HOOT! The kids were over the top! A couple of the boys were looking at Dad like he was the biggest rock star they'd ever seen!! Dad was the teacher for about 15 minutes, and even gave the kids homework! He did great - not surprising though. He's AWESOME in front of crowds, and kids are no exception. Abby was his little helper passing out extra feet and beards to touch and helping with the turkey call!

So is a day in the life of Abby, Papaw and the star turkey :-)

Side note - I am TERRIFIED of birds!! I remember after Dad had the first of these monstrosities mounted, I had to cover it up with a sheet because it freaked me out so bad! Needless to say, this was a feat for me to just be in the same room, much less take pictures and help carry it......ahhhh...what we do for our kiddos :-)

Sweet Friends!

Friday night some friends and I hosted a Honeymoon Luau shower for a sweet couple who are getting married on New Year's Eve. We have known both of them for years, but both have endured a lot to reach this place that God has created for them! We love them both, and wish them years of happiness (and TONS of fun on their honeymoon in Hawaii!!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday My Sweet Angel

To my sweet Olivia,

Happy 3rd birthday sweet girl!! It’s hard to believe it’s been 3 years since you came into our family! In some ways it feels like an eternity, and in many it was only yesterday. I wonder what you look like and what kind of personality you would have. Your two sisters couldn’t be any more different, and I wonder how you would fit in the mix!

I know you are perfect in every way – happy, healthy and at peace. I have met other Mommies who have angels in Heaven. I’m sure you are all going to have a glorious party to celebrate your big day. Be sure and give Papa and Grandy big hugs from us today when they come to the party.

I wonder almost every day why God chose you to be with Him instead of letting me keep you here with me. We’ll never know that answer, but Daddy and I always want to be the parents of special angels that God wants us to be. Only a few ever get this opportunity, and we want to make sure we do everything in a way that would bring Him honor. You must be very special to be chosen by God :)

Here are some pictures of a special party we had for you here on Earth. Ellie Kate couldn’t really understand why we were letting the balloons come to you, but big sister Abby stepped in to help! Abby thinks of you often, and she goes out almost every night to find your star. I’m sure as Ellie Kate gets older, she will tell her all about you and how special you are to our family.

We love you sweet girl – have a wonderful birthday!

Mommy, Daddy, Abby and Ellie Kate

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brain Dump

Sorry guys - I'm in a weird warp here......I don't blog for a couple of weeks and then I do a "brain dump" when I have time. There are 4-5 new posts following........if you're really interested, scroll down :)

Colorado Springs

Stewart and I had a great opportunity to travel to Colorado Springs this weekend (in fact, I am typing from here now :)) He had a student accepted to the ultra prestigious Air Force Academy which is stationed here, and Stewart was invited to tour the campus on a recruiting event. We came up a couple of days early to do some sightseeing.

I've never been to the Rockies, so this was a whole new thing for me! It is absolutely breathtaking! Let me say that the area is not only beautiful, but the people are super nice too! Maybe because there are people from many different areas because it's a military town, but I didn't experience any of the "Southern disdain" that I've seen in other places we've visited. I even got sweet tea (at McDonald's and Chick :))

I had a little bit of altitude sickness when we first got here, but thankfully it passed quickly! We visited the Garden of the Gods, and many other historic sites. We wanted to visit Pikes Peak, but the altitude is so high, they recommend not going until you've been here a few days and are accustomed to the lack of oxygen.

Speaking of lack of oxygen - WOW! I could tell as soon as we landed in Colorado Springs. Denver is about 5200 feet about sea level and Colorado Springs is another 1200 feet up. We were actually winded just talking and walking at the same time!! Pikes Peak is more than double that altitude, so I can't even imagine what that is like!

Here are some pictures. The first ones are of the mountains. The second set is of the beautiful chapel at the Air Force Academy.

The girls have been with Mimi and Papaw all week, so I'm sure they are rotten!! It's been a great get-a-way, but I'm ready to see some babies tomorrow!

Poor Baby!

Poor EK - she has been sick more days than not in her short 23 months! I declare I raise the snottiest kids ever (Dr. Laue agrees!) Abby has had 2 sets of tubes in her ears and her adenoids out. I knew as we started the cycle again this Fall, we had to get a handle on things before the winter cooties set in! What made EK's ear/snot cycle worse was that hers went straight to her breathing and led to MANY rounds of antibiotics/breathing one sleep for months - you get the picture!

So, she had her adenoids taken out and her tubes in her ears checked to make sure everything was working. She was SUCH a handful, poor thing! It hurt her feelings more than anything. It took almost a week for our sweet feisty girl to get back to normal. She was just in a funk - couldn't get any kind of sleeping or eating schedule back on track. There was one night that she had chosen to like Stewart and NOT me (we had the opposite most of the weekend). That night, I was trying to ask her questions and she literally would not even look at me!! Stewart would ask her the same thing and she would turn her head toward him and answer!! She even shot me a few looks like, "Yes, I hear you, but I'm choosing not to!!" One night after rocking and rocking, we finally just put her in the bed. She threw everything out of her room (there's a gate at her door) while screaming, "DADDY....MOMMY!" I promise you should have heard the was more like a 13 year old screaming "I hate you!!" As my Dad would say......OOOOOOHHH SSAAAAAAAA (imagine some redneck yoga chant meant to relax, and that's what this is - HA!) It only lasted 10 minutes, and when we were brave enough to peek in her room, she had gotten in bed, covered herself up neatly with her favorite blanket and was sleeping like a peaceful little angel.

Oh me, what we have to look forward to :) Here's the drama queen with her new obsession, BAWOONS (Thanks Mimi!). This was just about an hour after - she looks pitiful.
She is finally getting back to normal, and we hope this helps! Fingers crossed.......

Tate Farms 2010

This year, Jackie and I braved it with 4 kids by ourselves and we had a blast!! Here's the proof!

And they were........

Minnie Mouse

50s Chick

Trick or Treating was a bit odd......of course we had responsibilities at church Sunday night, so we tried the Saturday trick or treating in Aunt Nana's neighborhood. There were a few participants, but mostly we just enjoyed spending time with cousins!

EK & Holden


Dacy & Cooper