November 22, 2009

You are ten years old today my sweet girl! How quickly ten years have gone by.

Ten years ago, we spent the night before you were born in the hospital. I was actually scheduled to have you on November 29th but in complete Bessie spirit, you were anxious to get here. With two older siblings at home, everything was ready, including your name. We had all decided to call you Morgan. Rie and Adam had been talking to Morgan, making pictures for Morgan. We even had a Christmas ornament with your name, Morgan, painted on it. There was just something about that name… I just wasn’t settled with it.

The nurses came in to take me to surgery (you were a C-section baby) and I asked them to stop for a minute. I told dad that I wasn’t ok with naming you Morgan. “What? Now…right now, you want to change the name?” was dad’s response. Yep – I had another name for you…. Sara Elizabeth. Isn’t that the most beautiful name? We would call you Sara Beth – and lots of other little nicknames, some that have stuck….some not – SaBe, for instance (daddy and Natalie).

You came in to the world without incident. Pretty quickly you decided to give everyone a scare with your breathing. Daddy went with you to keep an eye on everything and I came by the nursery shortly after. You were the special baby in the nursery with this big, clear, oxygen helmet. The doctors assured me that this little stunt wasn’t all that uncommon for C-Section babies. But…it didn’t matter – I was most upset and wanted to hold you! No worries, they said. And…sure enough, you were with me in a couple of hours. We hauled around an I.V. the entire time we were in the hospital but we didn’t mind – you were doing great.

Adam and Anne-Marie came to visit and held you, fed you…and Rie tried to change your diaper. You had a head full of “black” hair. Funny, you’re the only one that had any hair and it was black – and has been blond ever since.
We went home from the hospital on Thanksgiving day. What an incredible Thanksgiving! We had a very special blessing in 1999. Coco came from Birmingham with all the yummy “Coco” food we had missed at her house. The day was perfect!

A memory for this morning from when you were 16 months old….and very, very verbal – Daddy brought you to the hospital to see Keegan. You came in to the room with your beautiful blond curls bouncing. Daddy had dressed you in blue-jean short overalls. “Hi, mommy!” you said. Then climbed up on my bed and looked over in to Keegan’s bassinet and said, “What’s that?” At some point after going home with Keegan, we were having a particularly loud day where Keegan was crying and crying. Remember, you were 16 months old. You said, “please, mommy – put her up”. Oh Bessie!

Since then, my sweet girl….you have been a light in our lives each and every day. From when you were very small right up to last night when you went to bed; you make us laugh with your silliness; we scratch our heads and ponder your rationale thinking; we watch you dance and wonder where that talent came from; your voice makes me cry; your determination is noteworthing; the love you have for our Lord is precious. This 10th year will be filled with more Bessie excitement, love, and adventure.

We love you. Happy Birthday my Bessie girl!



A Shared Memory

big houseI’ve known my husband and his family for almost 24 years. Throughout all of this time, I’ve heard story after story from them about a glorious childhood memory – their time at Camp Helen in Panama City, Florida. Without ever seeing this place, it sounded like a treasured piece of their family history. So often our memories grow in to “better than life” thoughts where nothing in real time can come close. It’s easy to hear, even now, the excitement when they remember the time they spent as a family at this camp.
It would seem to be a taboo of sorts for me to “retell” their stories. I do want to note in this journal I call my blog that Chad and I stopped at Camp Helen this past weekend. The state of Florida purchased the land for a state park and is working on restoring some of the property to it’s original camp.

We walked the grounds and I listenened as he shared. I was able to add real visuals to the many, many stories I’ve heard for so long. Funny…just being on the grounds, Chad remembered things I think he had forgotten about. I know I heard tales I’ve never heard before. We walked on the porch of the “big house” and peered in the windows of the little cabins. We walked the sandy beach trail down to the water and stood where the basketball and shuffle board courts were at one time. Now covered with brush and weeds, no doubt it was an incredible place at one time.

Based on the literature we picked up at the park office, there are big plans for Camp Helen. It looks like there will eventually again be a place to stay. Of course, it will never compare for those that spent so much time there previously.

Like I said, it’s not my place to share these memories. I hope that these stories are penned by those that were blessed with time at Camp Helen. Our children and grandchildren would love to hear about a time gone by that without a doubt, will not come again.

Little Triathletes

What a memorable weekend! Our two youngest were in a triathlon in Panama City, Florida. We traveled about five hours on Friday night to spend an absolutely glorious weekend on the white sands of Destin, Florida. As a side note, the commercials don’t lie…the beaches of the Gulf are pristine and the water was crystal clear. Just a recap of our fun weekend:
Chad and I were up and out very early Saturday morning to venture down the road a bit further. The Gulf Coast Ironman was to start at 7:00am. Neither of us have ever seen the beginning of an event, of this magnitude, start in the Gulf. There were 4,400 people standing on the beach in wetsuits and swim camps. Funny when I think back – it was quite the spectacle. The gun sounded and the entire mass/blobs started moving in to the water. I have never seen anything like this. A visual: schools of fish floundering around on the top of the water”. Seriously – arms flopping around and little heads in red and white swim camps – for the one mile loop. Awesome and super exciting….not to say I’d ever even consider competing but I would like to watch again. Now Chad was quite pumped and I imagine he’ll start contemplating when he might join this school of fish.
Later, we enjoyed an afternoon on the beach with the girls. The temp was around 75; water was clear (although, not warm); skies were the indigo blue that I love so much. While the girls made drip sand castles and sand pools, we napped. Yep – actually took a nap on the beach. Perfect.
The weekend was even better because we had a great friend and her son with us. After our afternoon at the beach, Chad worked with the triathletes on transition practice. The little amount of time they spent practicing calmed nerves and made a difference at the race.
The rest of the day was relaxed – very much out of the norm for me. We went to dinner and spent a little time shopping.
Race Day:
Up and out by 6:30. Race to begin at 8:00. We packed up and headed out for the 45 minute trek to the race. Because we arrived early, the kids were able to claim preemo spots in transition. After considerable time meticuously placing towel, helmet, socks, shoes, water bottle, race belt, protein bar, bucket, etc, we checked in and took some time to scout out the course. Thankfully, the pool swim was in a heated pool. The age division dictated that the kids swim 100 yards, bike 3 miles, and run 1/2 mile. The only concern we really had was about the swim. We haven’t trained as much as we could/should have and so, were hoping to just get through it.
The booming voice from the bullhorn called the athletes to the pool deck where they were instructed to line up by age groups. How cute…little people (I mean really little – 4 year olds were there.) in tiny bathing suits, with tiny little swim caps. This is around the time that butterflys found our youngest’s tummy. Little tears filled her eyes as she motioned that she was scared. Being her first triathlon, we understood. As she said later, “I found a friend that was scared like me – so – I was ok.” It was only this past summer that we actually ventured to say that she could “kinda swim”. When it was her turn to get in to the water, she did it – slowly and with much caution. Off she went and looked great until……it was time to breathe. Every time she needed to breathe, she found the rope. By the end of the 100 yards, the rope was her best friend. Bless her little heart. She came out of the water smiling and said, “NOW, let’s go!” And GO she did! She had an awesome race and is excited about the prospect of another triathlon.
Then…it was the veteran’s turn. She was all smiles, all week, and all during the race. As her group lined up, she was happy and excited to have returned again this year to the Kids Triathlon. She was much more at ease knowing the pool and the bike and run course. As her time came to enter the water, she plopped in and took off! Her strokes looked wonderful. As with little sister, breathing is a challenge. We call her “Turtle” while in the water. Every time she breathes, that head pops up and this surprised look on her face is so funny. It’s like “Whew – whew….I need some air!” She finished her swim still smiling and breezed through transition (thanks, daddy). On to the bike she went. Ok – so she needs a new bike. She’s too big for the purple, people eater, not to mention the rust that covers the wheels… We (daddy and I) put off the bike purchase because birthday and Christmas is just around the corner. No matter, it didn’t seem to slow her down. She took off and came back in strong after three miles and again, had no trouble in transition. She ditched the helmet and blasted out of there! The run started with a little surprise Gatorade. She’s not a big fan of Gatorade and thought she was grabbing a cup of water. Ick! The 1/2 mile took no time at all to complete and in a blink she was crossing the Finish Line and picking up her medallion.
Our friend’s son also enjoyed his first triathlon and finished strong as well. He reminds us so much of our oldest. There are no strangers to him – everyone is a friend and worthy of a word or two. It’s like anything else, the first time is so geniune, surprising, and exciting. He and our youngest loved it all.

Great weekend and an uneventful ride home. The girls are looking for the next triathlon.