Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Sundays

Sweet, sweet Sundays.

The Bells love Sundays.
Sundays mean praying and praising,
Sundays mean family and fellowship,
Sundays mean lunch and laughter,
Sundays mean resting and rejoicing.

Sweet, sweet Sundays.

Today was Baby Dedication at our church,
which made this Sunday especially sweet.

We committed Baker to the Lord,
and were surrounded with friends, family, and fellow believers
who committed to serve alongside us as we teach our son the truths of the Word.

It's been an incredible day of celebration.
We didn't get many pictures at church, but snapped a few once we got home.

Little Man was tuckered out after such a big morning.
And you know the adage,
"Never wake a sleeping baby."
So we didn't, not even for pictures.
But even snoozing, he's the cutest little thing!


My mom and my little.
Oh, how I love these two.


Baker's BeBe and Poppa.
Wonderful grandparents and in-laws.
Poppa cannot wait to get Little Bit on a 4 wheeler.
Momma can.


Baker Man and his Nana and DD.
Baker would rather chat with his DD than smile for his mommy.
Little booger!



I am so thankful to worship in a church that recognizes the importance of raising a child to walk in the Lord, and for parents who have guided our path and set a wonderful example of godly parenting.

Sweet, sweet Sunday.

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

Friday, September 28, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

Happy Friday, Friends!
 
Today is a special day.
On this day one year ago, I found out my
dreams of becoming a mommy were coming true.
What an incredible day that was.
I remember everything about that morning.
 
I remember the sound of my alarm that signaled the morning.
Knowing it would be the morning, the morning I would take the test.
It was different on that morning.
I had started taking tests with dread, with anxiety.
It was almost a duty.
Already knowing the results, but confirming them with one sad solitary line.
But not that morning.
That morning was different.
The plan was for me to take the test,
and then go get back in bed for Brian to read the results.
And so I did.
I tiptoed to the restroom, carefully peeled back the familiar foil wrapper.
Read the instructions, like I hadn't memorized them from months of testing unsuccessfully.
Then carefully, diligently, followed them.
I left the test lying lonely on the counter, and nestled myself in
my husband's protective arms.
Together we prayed.
Prayed that whatever the results, God's grace would be sufficient.
We prayed, all the while watching the green numbers of the clock.
The dreadful numbers that usually summoned us from slumber,
now invited us to dream.
I remained in the bed, cocooned in the mountain of covers.
Brian turned the light on, although I think he could have seen those two pink lines in the blinding darkness.
His face aglow.
He was so proud.
We cried, we laughed, we prayed, we praised!

As I went about my day today, those precious memories came flooding back, and were a wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness.
On this Friday, I am so thankful for that Wednesday that I found out I was going to be a mommy to this little.
 

 
I am also so thankful for love,
your love.
In my unknowing, I had an all-consuming fear when Baker was born, that people would love him differently.
It doesn't happen very often, but I was wrong.
I was big time wrong.
 
Baker is so loved.
The emotions people experience when they interact with Baker
are nothing short of incredible.
Eyes light up, hearts melt, spirits soar.
It's a beautiful thing.
 
I feared committing to this Buddy Walk.
As I have mentioned before, I am a bit of a perfectionist, and was scared of failing.
What if no one signed up?
What if we set a goal, and fell far short?
I get so caught up in the what-ifs of life.
 
This love, though, ensured that wouldn't happen.
People that I've never met, people I haven't seen since high school,
friends of friends, long lost family,
everyone is getting on board and loving on our baby.
As far as I have counted, we haven't yet met our goal.
But we are this close!
 
On this Friday, and everyday, one of my absolute favorite things is how my boy is loved.
It blesses my heart.
We are better because of you.
 
Shameless plug:
Team Baker t-shirts for the Buddy Walk are still for sale.
I will be selling them through October 4.
If you would like to buy one to help support Team Baker, please comment on this post and we will work out details.
Shirts will be picked up on October 10, just in time for the Buddy Walk on October 14.
If you'd like more details on how to get involved in the Buddy Walk, click here.
 
Here's the back:
 
Go Team Baker!
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Peace, Love, and Green Beans

How is Little Man old enough to be eating foods?
 
Wasn't he just born yesterday?
 
As I mentioned in this post, the doctor gave us the go ahead for food. 
I was not totally sure about giving him food at 4 months.
It seemed so early.
 
We started slowly, with cereal and oatmeal.
Homeboy was in hog heaven!
His love for food comes naturally.
 
I love food.
Love the smell, love the texture, love the taste, love the feel good, love the anticipation.
I love food.

This girl would totally come out if I'd let her!

 
Ahem.
Back to my precious.
 
Let me give you a little background.
As a newborn, Baker would awaken every 2-2 1/2 hours to eat.
Then, slowly he outgrew that lovely phase and was sleeping for 9 hours a night.
This was such a special time I will always cherish.
But let's be honest.
Sweet Jesus, mommy loves her sleep.
And 9 glorious hours.
Bliss.
 
Then lo and behold, Mister Mister turned 4 months old and was waking up at midnight and 3 am begging, pleading, with not very nice words I might add, to be fed.
 
And you know how that story goes:
if you give a Baker some food,
he's gonna ask for a clean diaper.
And if you give a Baker a clean diaper,
he's gonna ask for a story, just one teensy tiny story.
And if you give a Baker a story,
he's gonna ask for a lullaby.
And if you give a Baker a lullaby,
he's gonna ask for a cuddle.
And if you give a Baker a cuddle,
he's gonna like it so much, he's gonna ask,
for just this one night,
to sleep in his mommy and daddy's bed.
 
Ok, I realize a little background turned into If You Give a Baker a Bottle,
but that's what led us to eating.
Doc says he's ready, so let's go!
 
One of my BFFs is SuperMom.
Yes, you, Kristen!
I want to be just like her when I grow up.
She has a super precious boy, and has this mommy thing all figured out!
She is the guru of baby foods, so I am modeling after her.
 
I took out my Baby Bullet and whipped up a batch of uber tasty green beans.
 
And while it was not love at first sight,
 
 
 



I think he's learned to love it!


 

 
Yes, this is what our evenings have come to.
We rarely turn on the television.
Who needs sitcoms for entertainment?
It doesn't get any more entertaining than feeding a baby.
 
video
 
Time for dinner, folks.
 
 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Told You So

I have always been rather anal and somewhat obsessive, particular about my things.
I am a firm believer that there is a place for everything and
everything should be in its place.
 
It was bad.
I couldn't go to sleep with dishes in the sink,
couldn't relax in front of the telly if there was laundry to fold,
wouldn't leave for work without my bed made.
For heaven's sake, my clothes are sorted in my closet first by season, then by color. Baker's and Brian's, too.
 
You can ask my husband; on second thought, please do not ask.
His honesty would not bode well for me.
At all.

In addition to keeping my house neat, I am also a perfectionist.
And not in just one area of my life.

As a child, my mom always reminded me that a
job worth doing is a job worth doing well.
A lot of things my mom told me went in one ear and out the other.
I'm sorry, Mom.
Not this one, no sir.
This mantra haunts me.
I strive for perfection.
As a Christian, as a wife, as a mother, as a sister,
as a friend, as a teacher,
as a living, breathing, walking human.
As a dishwasher, laundry-folder, ironer, vacuumer, Swiffer-er.
You get the picture.
This idea of perfectionism is exhausting.
Was exhausting.

I'm giving you the green light.
Get ready for it.
Open wide, prep your mouth, grab your megaphone, and go!
But go easy, please.
Ok, you can say it.

I TOLD YOU SO!!

Everyone said, once you have a baby, your priorities will change.
Dishes in the sink won't matter.
Socks can be picked out of the clean clothes
(or worn dirty if the clothes are still lying in the hamper).
White shirts can be hung with the browns.
The baby bomb that has detonated in our house can leave its remnants on the living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen floors.
Dust can take up residence on our furniture. Shoot, dust can invite its neighbors, friends, and families over. I'll even throw the welcoming party.

Because if there are dishes in the sink, laundry on the bed,
clothes hung haphazardly, and dust lingering, its likely because
the loves of my life have received my love and my attention.
So while the bathroom needs to be cleaned, Baker has been read to, rocked,
sang with, and snuggled close.
And my favorite Bell boy took his best girl on a date yesterday. We came home to a mess, but the time we spent together was so precious, and much more special than a clean house.

I have a verse from Colossians as the signature of my email. It reads, "Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men."

God has called me to be a light in this world. I am breaking the chains of perfectionism, and striving to be the Christian, wife, mother, sister, friend, and teacher that Christ has called me to be.
Whew, that feels good!

So, if the blog doesn't get updated for a few days, or our house is hidden among blades of grass begging to be cut, smile.
Smile because we are doing life, and having a dang good time doing it.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Buddy Walk

We're walking!

We are walking along with hundreds of other families and friends to bring awareness and acceptance of and advocacy for individuals with Down Syndrome.
Because of the birth of our son, Baker, this is very dear to my heart.

Kelle Hampton and Noah's Dad have both mentioned Buddy Walks on their blog.
You can check it out here and here.
We are creating a team for the 2012 Buddy Walk in honor of our precious boy.
Since we don't have a Buddy Walk in our hometown yet (I'm totally on this), 
we will be walking at Regions Park in Birmingham, AL.
Come join us!
Here are the nitty gritty details.
Date: October 14, 2012
Time: The actual walk is from 2:00-4:00;
however, we are tailgating beginning at 1:00.
Please join us for a picnic lunch before the walk.
Location: Regions Park in Birmingham, AL
Attire: We are ordering "Team Baker" Buddy Walk t-shirts. These are at the designer right now. I will post pictures when they become available. I think they will be about $15.You can order these whether or not you choose to walk with our team.
  
How to Register: You can print and give or mail your checks and registration forms directly to me (email me and I will give you our address). These can be printed here, or you can register online here. Make sure to include our team name, "Team Baker," on your registration form and check. 
Registration Dates: If you're registering by submitting your forms and checks to me, please send them by October 5. I have to turn them in on October 6. You can register online through October 11. This is the latest you can register and the proceeds go towards our team totals.
Cost: There is a $10 Registration fee (you will receive a wristband to wear during the walk with this contribution); however, we would also appreciate any additional donations. This money will go to PADS to raise awareness and increase advocacy for Down Syndrome. It will also help establish an adult Down Syndrome Clinic at UAB.

Our goal is to raise $800!!
Additional Information: Make sure to put "Baker Bell" and "Team Baker" on all forms and checks submitted. You can still join our team by registering even if you know you will not be able to walk with us, or you can help by spreading the word to your friends, family, and colleagues. If you're joining us, create posters, signs, plan cheers or chants, come ready to celebrate our dream come true! It'll certainly be a day of rejoicing!
And we're off! Help us celebrate our sweet Baker by joining our team!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

Our little turned four months this week.
FOUR WHOLE MONTHS!
 
And we celebrated with a birthday dinner!

 
His bib reads, "My Dad is Cooler than Your Dad."
True story.
His dad is a pretty cool cat!
I am loving going through all of our bibs.
It's like having baby showers all over again!
I forgot we had so many.

My big boy is loving him some cereal!
He's not quite ready for a highchair,
so we are using his bouncy seat.
I love this!
Brian and I sit on the floor in front of him.
We are gushing to one another about how he was just born yesterday,
and how is he already eating off of a spoon?
And making silly faces to get him to open his mouth.
And transforming the spoon into a 747 as it noisily propels to its destination.
And Baker not so patiently awaits his next bite.
He purses those irresistible little lips, and makes this
smacking sound as he sucks his new found delicacy off the spoon.
It's the sweetest sound. 

Also this week, we have been practicing using the Bumbo.
Since Baker has been demonstrating more head control,
he has been spending more time in his Bumbo.
Today, he gave me the nod.
The nod that said, "Yeah Mom, I 'preciate your help.
I needed it for a long time.
But now I'm stronger; now I think I got this."


I'm pretty sure it's the same nod I'll get when I take the training wheels off his bike,
and he walks into school without me,
and drives by himself.
Oh geez, independence is going to be tough on this mommy.
Sigh.

 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ouchie

We went to the doctor for Baker's 4 month visit today.
Our precious little weighs 14 pounds, 7.5 ounces, and is 25.5 inches long.
 
At our 2 month visit, our doctor refrained from giving us a growth chart, because children with Downs are often shorter in stature and grow at a slower rate.
But today, he slapped that bad boy in front of me.
Baker is the 50th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for his length.
Bow chicka wow wow!
 
Good stuff I tell ya!
 

 
We had a impromptu mini photo shoot before the dreaded immunizations.
 
 
There are no words to describe my love for my little angel baby!
 

My new fave.
You're gonna put that where?
 



Getting so big and so strong!


 
 

 
Yes, it looks like our doctor's office is in a dungeon.
But no, just an old building in a small town with the most talented and most nurturing doctors and nurses that take such good care of Baby Baker.
 
The shots were dreadful.
Baby boy cried and cried.
Mommy too.
 
Scooby Doo bandages, snuggles, and Bake's new friend Sophie
made those tears a distant memory (for him at least).
 
Stay tuned for new adventures in eating!
Doc gave us the green light for cereal and oatmeal,
and then a slow transition to veggies and fruits.
Time to pull out the Baby Bullet!
I am so excited!!
 
Happy 4 Month Birthday Eve, Sweet Boy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Life is Good

We headed to our favorite college town this weekend in honor
of Mal and Chad's upcoming nuptials
and the first University of Alabama home football game.
 
It was the perfect weekend.

 


We invited everyone over for breakfast Saturday morning.
Friends, food, football.
Good stuff.

 
That boy loves his daddy!

 
My mom took over my camera so I could visit with friends.
I love the memories she captured.
Time with friends and family is so precious!
 
 





Friends stood in line to hold my little.
There may or may not have been a timer involved.
Blesses my heart the way he is loved.
 

 
 
 
I love these girls!
 
 
The weekend ended with a lesson on the Ukulele by DK.
Baker Boy loves some music.
He just sings and sings.
True story.
 

 
 
Fall is in the air.
The leaves are turning,
The Tide is winning,
Friends are visiting,
Life is good.
Life is very, very good.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Jesus Calling

      I have heard of the book, Jesus Calling, before; but my interest in it was truly piqued when a friend posted the August 23 devotional on Instagram. 
 
 
It reads:
 
      "Entrust your loved one to Me; release them into My protective care.
They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands.
If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart,
you endanger that one--as well as yourself.
Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac.
I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship.
Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father's
undisciplined emotions.
I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love.

      When you release loved ones to Me,
you are free to cling to My hand.
As you entrust others into My care,
I am free to shower blessings on them.
My Presence will go with them wherever they go,
and I will give them rest.
This same Presence stays with you,
as you relax and place your trust in Me.
Watch to see what I will do."
 
Ouch.
 
      This entry hit me square between the eyes. It is that feeling when you're sitting in a sermon, nestled comfortably in the pew, with the familiar smell of the weathered church hymnal and sound of crisp pages turning as fellow worshippers dive into the Word. And while the sanctuary is teeming with churchgoers, you may as well be the sole attendant; for the message was written and preached for your ears only.
 
Jesus Calling, this devotional, was written for a large audience,
but this devotional was written for me.
 
      I have been guilty of giving myself hypothetical gold stars for being a "good" Christian, whatever that means. You know, one for going to church, another for reading the Word, a third for tithing. But I couldn't give a fourth. I claim that Jesus is Lord of my life. I don't put money, or power, fame, or other worldly possessions before Him. No, the one I put in front of Him is something He gave me. Something good. Something pure. Something so precious. I know this may sound strange, but the idol I put before my Savior is my baby boy.
 
      I was so convicted by this passage.  
 
I cling so tight to my little. He is a blessing, an answered prayer, a dream come true.
 
I  want to be the first one he sees when he awakens,
the first "I love you" he hears each day.
I want to see his first steps, hear his first words.
I want to catch him when he falls, and heal his hurts.
I want to be his mommy, his best friend,
his comfort, his protector, his everything.
 
I can try to be these things. I can try and I will fail.
Everyday.
Many, many times each day.
But this passage reminds me that there is One who loves Baker more than me.
One who doesn't fail, One who loves perfectly.
 
Oh, this is hard,
loosening my tightly clinging grip.
But here I am surrendering, boldly, as promised,
 entrusting God with my child, who was His first.