Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's a Par-TEE!

I now have a four year old and a one year old.
Excuse me while I uncurl myself from the fetal position.
What a wonderful whirlwind of a week it's been.
On Wednesday, Baker turned FOUR!
We had a fabulous celebration of all things HIM!

If anybody knows how to celebrate, it's Baker Bell.
Boy knows how to party.
And yes, that's a brownie for breakfast.
But I did slather natural peanut butter on it, because everybody knows we need protein for breakfast.
And chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree, that makes it a plant.
Chocolate is a salad.
So even though it was his birthday, he had salad topped with extra protein.
Because, Mom of the Year.
We also celebrated his teacher, Mrs. Nicole, who shares his special day!
We love her fiercely!

Then, despite all my pleas and begs, Barrett turned ONE on Sunday!

Talk about hitting a momma where it hurts.
Two birthdays in four days.
I still remember my ninth grade Biology teacher telling me it was a woman's perogative to change her mind. And by golly, I am all woman and put this to the test every single day.
It still baffles my ever-loving crazy mom mind that this idea stuck.
On May 17, 2015, we were released from the hospital to bring Barrett home.
On the way home, I said these exact words to Brian,
"Next year, we can totally have their parties together and even though I don't know the first thing about golf, let's do a golf theme.
Barrett's hole in ONE and Baker is FORE.
We can call it a Par-Tee, you know, "par" "tee.
Get it?
We can have Arnold Palmers to drink and club sandwedges,
and chips and mac and tees.
It's gonna be so fun."
I really amazed myself at all of the golf puns my sleep-deprived-hopped-up-on-new-baby-hormones  brain was producing. I would have high fived myself and done a little skip if all my nether regions didn't feel like they had just been run over by a Mack truck after delivering every single delectable ounce of a nine pound juicy baby boy.
Instead, I think I cried. "But I don't want him to turn one. And Baker, I'm not letting him turn four.
Why do they have to grow up? Why does time have to go so fast. It seems like he was just born yesterday."
Mind you, this was two days after he was born.
I still had 364 days to come to grip with this. 
Praise all things good and holy for Leap Years. 
My precious husband didn't know what to do.
Calm the screaming baby in the backseat,
throw me some Xanax,
or leap from the moving vehicle and sacrifice scratches and scars for sanity.
Fortunately, he didn't jump and I survived birthdays one and four.
And a whole year later, we did just that.
We had a Golf Par-TEE for our boys.
Baker is FORE and Barrett's hole in ONE!
It was perfect.
or PARfect.















Caddy Buffet:
Cupcakes - Vanilla Cupcakes with Toppers
Chip Shots - Bags of Chips
Club Sandwedges - Ham and Turkey Club Sandwiches
Par-Faits - Key Lime Parfaits
Birdie Nuggets - Chick-fil-A Nuggets Platter 
Party Favors:
Thank you for Playing a Round with Us tags on bagged personalized cookies
Printables: Amy Tippins at One Good Name 
Photographer: Corey Morrison
Birthday Outfits: Sew Whimsy
Cupcakes and Smashcakes: Publix
Location: The Rise School

Thursday, May 5, 2016

More than Mere Words

Three words together.
My heart could burst.
"Raining. Daddy. 'Brella."
Oh the prayers that have covered his lips and tongue.
The pleading I've done with God to hear his voice.
The thoughts birthed in his brain,
etched on his heart,
seemingly stuck like glue to the back of his throat.
They're coming.
Baker is leading our happy dancing and keeps saying, "'Mommy, proud. Daddy, happy."
"Yes we are, Buddy.
So proud of you.
Every single day happy you are ours."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Four Year Flashback

Tonight, I told Baker the story of this day four years ago.
May 4, 2012.
My language was a little more kid-friendly, using less technical terms.
But the message was the same.
You are chosen. You are loved. You are enough. You are ours.

It was a warm May Friday and I was feeling every bit of the 35 weeks pregnant the calendar was proudly beaming.
Brian and I had both taken off work for a day trip to Birmingham.
He drove, but my mode of transportation would generously be described as a waddle.
We went because I thought I needed to know.
My planning, often controlling self, had to know if there was any truth to the suspicions of Down Syndrome our doctors had warned.

Brian quickly tossed on some clothes, while I took a little longer. I had grown quite accustomed to my protruding belly, stopping periodically through the getting ready process to admire it, acknowledge little kicks, and savor the last of an incredibly joyous season of growing a miracle.

We loaded up and began the trip. We alternated reading Happiest Baby on the Block, jamming to the radio - how was I to know that was one of our last car rides without "Wheels on the Bus" blaring through the speakers, and day dreaming about transitioning to a family of three. We did it all. Anything to keep the thoughts of fear from crippling my whole being.

It still crept in.
When it did, tears would leak from the corners of my eyes, and I would instinctively clutch my bulging belly, reminding my baby boy I would love him. Convincing myself everything would be okay, when I had no idea what okay even meant. Promising him all I ever needed him to be was mine.

We arrived at the specialist's office. A familiar, but foreign place. We had declined an amniocentesis, even when it was insisted several months prior. They cautioned, any later would be too late. It didn't matter. No diagnosis would alter our decision to keep our baby and love him just as he was.

But this day, that was exactly why we went. I would be delivering at a small town hospital in Nowhere, Mississippi and I wanted to be fully prepared, with just the right people, just the right tools, in just the right place. If my baby boy was going to be born with urgent medical needs, we wanted to give him everything he would need to survive and thrive.

Brian's hand was white as I clutched it, void of strength except that which he radiated. He had been my rock, my stronghold. He never faltered. In my fear, he was peace. In my confusion, he was clarity. In my sadness, he was joy.

He signed all of the necessary documentation, and guided us to our corner of the waiting room. He knew which seat I loved the most. The one that gave me the view of the city, the houses built into the mountain. The sun peering through the clouds, illuminating the horizon.

I sipped my water and watched the others in the waiting room. I was too nervous for small talk, so I prayed, but this time, not for us. This time, I prayed for all of the others joining me in the office that day. I didn't know their needs or the purpose for their visit, but He did. So I did the only thing I knew to do, lifted them to the One whose thoughts are greater and ways are higher.

My name was called. Mechanically, I lifted from my seat.

We made the long walk down the hallway, to the large room which housed some of my favorite equipment. Before my procedure, I was going to have another ultrasound.

I was giddy. I had fallen all over again and again in love with our Baker Bell. He was scrumptious and I loved every opportunity to see his perfectly growing body.

I stretched out on the familiar table, and was greeted by the doctors, nurses, and ultrasound technician. We always had an entourage. They started the scan by timing his heartbeat. I will never forget the sound of our baby's heart filling the room with the sweetest melody. Then they measured his arms and legs, which was a task trying to catch them as they wriggled all around. They scanned his brain, calming all fears with their confidence. They moved to his major organs, each measuring perfectly and without blemish.

In those moments, I felt a peace about not knowing. I no longer had to have a diagnosis. Only faith. I trusted in His plan for us and for our baby.

I sat up off the table, uttering something about declining another amniocentesis. They couldn't believe it. They ushered us to a room to ponder our decision. Brian and I dismissed the chairs lining the wall and knelt on the floor. The words wouldn't come, but the Lord heard our hearts.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."
Romans 8:26
We drove home, more excited than ever about meeting our baby boy. Whether he had Down Syndrome didn't matter. He was chosen. He was loved. He was enough. He was ours.
Little did we know, Baker would make his debut exactly one week later and surpass our wildest dreams.
As I tucked my baby boy in tonight, I was feeling all the feels. The Lord has been faithful to provide in our lives. What a joy the last four years have been. I kissed his cheeks, breathed his scent, whispered prayers over his sweet sleeping body.
PS - If you follow me on social media, get ready! My Baker Boy turns FOUR next Wednesday and our Barrett Bell turns ONE on Sunday! There is lots of celebrating happening around these parts!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015: Year in Review

What a year it's been!
What a most wonderfully perfect year it's been for our little family.
As I look back on each picture,
and remember each day,
each minute in which it was captured,
I am overwhelmed with gratefulness.
Two thousand, fifteen was a year of JOY!
Baker and I perfected the bump selfie,
And I fell more in love with the two little boys who share our name.

Baker learned the goodness of a bath with bubbles up to your eyeballs,
and mastered the too cool for school pose.

We celebrated sweet friends,
and learned that even superheroes crash every now and again.

My little one made cowboy boots and Peter Pan collars a winning combination,
and decided the best way to usher in a weekend is with pancakes on the porch.

We did a little backyard renovation with Baker in the driver's seat,
and pulled out all the mouseketools to celebrate our Baker Boy turning THREE!

We began bidding farewell to our family of three,
and Baker as our only one.
I took my last belly picture and posted my last bumpdate on the blog,

and said hello to our Little Bear.
We stared in awe at the miracle of our nine pound baby boy,
and praised God for the blessing of TWO and began life as a family of FOUR.
We cried an ugly cry when our big met our little,
We fell all over again in love with the little one who shares our heart and our home,
and helped my bestie welcome his new bestie.

We soaked up some rays,
and splashed down the slide.

We learned the challenges of getting eight eyes looking in the same direction,
and that a few scissor snips grow bitty babies into grown boys.

We big farewell to a wonderful year of school,

and learned that alarms must be set really early to make it to church on time.

We reveled in the glory that is a baby smile,

and decided four eyes are much cooler than two.

We started a new school year,

and had me feeling all the feels.
We clad another little Bell in crimson and white
and decided that squishy babies are our absolute favorite kind of babies.

We had playdates and parties,
and walked with our bestest buddy.

We dedicated our baby,

and introduced him to people food.

 We found Barrett on Santa's good list,

and celebrated our Savior's birth with a party fit for a King.

We learned that Christmas only gets more magical,
and that a baby changes everything.

We bid farewell to 2015 rang in the new year with old friends.

and praised Him alone for His goodness and grace in our lives.