Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jesus Calling

 
 
I am still struggling with the atrocities taking place in our world over the past several days. I am fearful, confused, broken.
 
As joyful as Christmas morning was at our house, I couldn't help but think about the mamas who had to shuffle presents under the tree, grabbing over or reaching around the ones imprinted with their child's name. Their child who is celebrating his or her first Christmas with their Heavenly Father.
 
As I complained about the mountains of laundry beckoning me, I thought about the mother who would celebrate the opportunity to see her daughter's pink wrinkled tee with the spaghetti stain evidencing last night's dinner tucked in the bottom of the hamper again. In my exasperation with all of the stuff cluttering our home, I couldn't help but think of how that boy's mother must long to stub her toe once again on his favorite dinosaur left lingering in the floor from playtime the night before. What a blessing. To have Baker's stuff crowding mine. To be able to wash tonight's dinner of sweet potatoes and bananas off of my baby's sweetly smocked shortall.
 
Lord Jesus, I pray that you comfort those mamas in a way that only you can. Hold them closely in your protective grip tonight. In this tragedy, be glorified.
 
The December 28 entry in Jesus Calling addressed the brokenness consuming my heart.
 
It reads,
 
"I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present Help in trouble. Therefore, you don't need to be afraid of anything - not even cataclysmic circumstances. The media are increasingly devoted to fear-inducing subject matter: terrorism, serial killers, environmental catastrophes. If you focus on such dangers and forget that I am your Refuge in all circumstances, you will become increasingly fearful. Every day I manifest My grace in countless places and situations, but the media take no notice. I shower not only blessings but outright miracles on your planet.
 
As you grow closer to Me, I open your eyes to see more and more of My presence all around you. Things that most people hardly notice, like shifting shades of sunlight, fill you with heart-bursting Joy. You have eyes that see and ears that hear, so proclaim My abiding Presence in the world."
 
How true.
 
When Baker returns to school, I pray that instead of being fearful of the uncertainties of the day ahead, that I rejoice over the sunrise that is so beautifully painted in the early morning sky illuminating the church steeple, that I celebrate the "Mama-Mum" ringing loudly in the backseat, that I pause to thank God for being a sovereign God and know He is still God in the moments of rejoicing and the moments of being utterly fearful, confused, broken.
 
I pray that I have eyes that see and ears that hear and a mouth that speaks the good news of Jesus Christ to a broken world in desperate need of a Savior.
 
The devotional is so aptly titled Jesus Calling.
But tonight, for me, it is Jesus Answering.
As He does so faithfully.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Week in Videos

Rather than tell you about our week,
I'll show you via iPhone videos of our precious lil seven monther.
 
I warn you, watching these videos will make you fall more in love with our little.
It's true.
He's irresistible.
Consider yourself warned.
 
This was at dinner one night.
Boy's new favorite hobby is blowing bubbles.
Lots and lots of them.
This is especially fun when he has a mouth full of lima beans.
 
 
Most adorable present under the Christmas tree.
It's a shame he isn't any happier, or more talkative.
Bake's a chatterbox!

 
Can't get enough of this little giggle.
Sounds like someone's tickle box got turned on!
 

 More giggles from Baker Boy on Christmas morning at the Grands.
He is the most fun!
Definitely made Christmas even more spectacular.
 
 
At therapy.
He loves it!
Especially when they bring out the ball.
Little surfer boy.
 
 
Baker's therapist teared up working with him this week.
The "experts" said he shouldn't be doing this well.
Literature has emphasized time and again that he should be presenting more noticeable delays.
But not our Baker Boy.
Our little fighter.
Such a smart boy.
Such a strong boy.
Such a proud mama.
He is evidence of a God that is good.
 
This is how we've spent most of the week.
Snuggled up close.
Reading.
Talking.
Laughing.
Snapping cheesy videos of each new sound and movement.
Cherishing these special days home with my littlest love.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Baby's First

 
Baker is nestled comfortably on my chest as I sit here basking in my dark, quiet reprieve. Just days ago, this same space was strewn with wrapping paper and ribbon and littered with boxes. Now that the gifts are unwrapped, and the tree is barren, save for the lights and ornaments, all we have are the memories of a holiday that will not soon be forgotten.
 
In his slumber, Baker lets out a chuckle every few minutes and I am confident we are reliving the same precious memories of his first Christmas.
 
We have the stockings, ornaments, and picture frames stamped with Baby's First Christmas and proudly dated 2012.
 
I still hang the tattered Baby's First Christmas 1984 ornament on my parent's tree every year. Way up at the top, the way I did when I was little. I would stand on my tippy toes and hang it far above Jessie and David's, staking my claim.
 
I can see Baker doing the same many years from now.
Unpacking the ornaments and hanging them on his tree. Taking the frames from their protective wrapping in the Christmas storage boxes and gazing at the sweet face smiling back, noting the changes - and lack thereof.
I think he will still smile with his whole body - his eyes will twinkle, his rosy cheeks will spread across his face, the dimple on his right cheek will still melt this mama's heart.
 
I look forward to Baby's Second, and Third, and Thirteenth Christmases. But right now, I am savoring the memories of this first.
  
My favorite Christmas present came on Christmas Eve,
when Baker looked at me and uttered the most beautiful words,
"Mama, Mum."
(Apparently he's got a little English in him - Mum - I love it!)
My favorite three syllables ever.
In the entire world of syllables, these are the greatest.
Yep.
Mama, Mum.
I cannot get enough.
 
We were awakened Christmas morning not to
Santa's footsteps on the roof,
but Baker's sweet little "Dada's" and "Mama-mums"
drifting over the monitor.
Brian and I were so excited for our first Christmas as a family of three.
We scooped our little out of his bed, and rushed to the living room to unwrap presents.
We vowed not to go overboard on his first Christmas.
Little Bit decided to outgrow his carrier a little sooner than we anticipated,
so his big gift was a Britax convertible car seat.
 
We also got him a couple of other developmentally appropriate goodies, books, clothes, and some toys just for the fun of it!
 
Watching his face aglow as he tore through the wrapping paper was incredible.
He knew the day was a special one, and his expression mirrored that throughout.
 Brian and I opted out of buying big presents for one another;
instead we stuffed stockings with little "happies" and bought presents for some sweet babies in need.
I love doing this!
We had a big breakfast at home,
and then over the river and through the woods to the grandmother's houses we went.

The aunts and uncles and grandmothers and grandfathers got him too much, us too.
But more than the gifts that will eventually lose their luster, toys whose batteries will soon die, clothes that we'll inevitably outgrow, we focused on family. We played together, laughed together, sang together, watched movies together.
We're all about this together stuff - on Baby's First and everyday.
 
 
I am thankful for Christmas.
The birth of our Savior.
The time off of work to reflect on the preciousness of the season.
Togetherness with friends and family.
The season of giving.
Memories of an extra special baby's first.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Baby Changes Everything

So thankful for God's gift that is too wonderful for words. 
2 Corinthians 9:15

A baby that did in fact change everything.

Conceived by the Virgin Mary,
Born to die,
Placed in a manger,
Lived a sinless life,
Crucified on a splintery cross, 
Honored by many this Christmas Day.


"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Luke 2:14

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tis the Season

Tis the Season.
 
I love Christmas cards.
 
Such joy.
The joy that comes from opening the
usually-ridden-with-bills-and-junk-mail-mailbox
to find it teeming with festive smiles and
holiday wishes from special family members and dear friends.
The joy that comes from walking with Baker
around our kitchen where the cards are displayed and
telling him our favorite stories of each family represented.
The joy that comes from praying for the people that sent them,
and wishing them and their nearest and dearest 
blessings for a merry holiday season.
The joy that comes from comparing cards
from year to year and seeing how families grow and change.
Such joy.
 
I usually order our cards from Tiny Prints,
but ordered them through our photographer this year and am so in love!
 
The only problem - I cannot decide which side to leave facing outwards.


 
See my dilemma?
 
Merry Christmas to you and yours,
from me and mine.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

It's been a while since I have posted a Favorite Things Friday,
so forgive me if I'm a little rusty.
 
What a week!
It was one of those weeks where you try to cram everything possible into seven short days, only to be forced to slam on the brakes and slow way down!
 
My mom came last Friday afternoon to babysit our little one while Brian and I attended our Sunday School Christmas party.
It was a shindig that will not soon be forgotten.
 
We played Dirty Santa and may or may not have brought this little critter as our gift.



Highlight of the party.
 
Tacky sweaters, ear candling, and rodents oh my!
 
We spent Saturday shopping, eating, and doing some pre-Christmas baking with Nana.
I love this season.
 
 
I cannot believe how big he is getting.
Seven whole months.
Make that seven months and nine days.
 
This happened Saturday afternoon.
 
 
I earned big mommy points for dressing Bake in his cutest deer applique tee and letting him pose with his camo clad daddy and his trophy buck.
Count 'em. Yup, that's 10.
1-0 glorious points for my biggest love. 
 
By late Saturday night, Baker was sick as a pitiful puppy dog!
He was coughing and wheezing so badly, he was throwing up EVERYWHERE.
Ickers.
Bronchitis and upper respiratory again, coupled with pink eye.
No fun.
 
Cutest little at the doctor.
He loved the paper on the bed.
I'm convinced he'll be the child that oohhs and aahhs over the wrapping paper and boxes, and could care less about the toys.
 
 
I got to stay home with my sick baby love on Monday and Tuesday.
I'm convinced there is nothing better than rocking my boy in front of our Christmas tree.

The best.
 
He did a lot of sleeping, a lot of cuddling, and unfortunately, a lot of fussing.
  
Curled up just like this is how we spent most of our week.
I was in hog heaven snuggled up with this positively delectable little one.

 
You've got to watch his newest trick.
Scooting all over the place!
Mommy loves!
 
video
 
Wishing you a Happy Friday, friends!
 
Also wishing you in the coming week
safe travels with your family,
memories made,
delicious goodies devoured,
carols sung,
Christ honored.
 
Blessings all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Be Still and Know

"Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalms 46:10
 
 
 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day of Silence

I found the list of children and teachers who lost their lives on Friday, December 14. I vowed to no longer call them victims, but to call them by name as I lifted them up in prayer to the only One who can bring healing and restoration and comfort to this town.
I tried.
I started.
I failed. 
I started again.
I called each child by name,
each teacher, principal, and school psychologist.
Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, and Madeline. 
Catherine, Chase, Jesse, and James. 
Grace, and Emilie. 
Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, and Allison. 
Ms. Davino, Ms. Hochsprung, Ms. Murphy, Ms. Rousseau,
Ms. Sherlach, and Ms. Soto.
I prayed for their mothers, their fathers, their siblings, 
classmates and teachers, friends and community.
I wept.
I mourned.
I searched scripture and prayed hope into these families,
into this school, into this city, into this state, into this nation.
As I checked into Facebook today, I saw the pictures of these cherub-faced children.
My heart ached, and then God provided comfort, as He always does.
I thought of the dancing they are doing, the singing and rejoicing.
The chorus their voices have formed as they are reuniting with their Creator. 
What a joyous sound that must be.
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oommph


As I sit in my dark living room haloed by the glow of the Christmas tree and the quiet hum of my two snoring boys sweetly snuggled in the chair beside me, a muted Christmas 'Cation (as affectionately named by my sweet Sarah Kate) playing on the television across the room, I am acutely aware of the oommph of this holiday season.
 
Yes, oommph.
 
I've checked Webster and of all the words he chose to include, this one he did not. I would define it as magnitude, but tonight, oommph seems much more fitting.
 
You follow?
 
Oommph.
 
A few things that make this year even more special.
A few things that are overflowing my heart on this crisp December evening.
A few things that add oommph to this most joyous time of year. 
 
Not that anything extra is required to add magnitude to this season.
The birth of our Lord and Savior is big enough.
The story of Him being born to the virgin Mary in a stable is enough.
More than enough.
 
We don't need tinsel and lights to add sparkle to that story.
 
But something has transpired in the past year that makes that story even more meaningful, more personal to me.
 
That adds oommph.

Baker's birth - the events leading up to and the events happening since.

The journey to becoming a mother was trying.
It required a lot of faith and trust.
It was long, and it was full of heartache.
But then it wasn't.
Then it was full of celebrating and rejoicing.
 
Is this how Mary felt in her journey to becoming a mother?

I am not trying to make light of the birth of Christ.
I know the faith and trust Mary must have had is far greater than any I had to exude.
She was, in fact, carrying our Lord and Savior.

But I do know that her journey involved faith and trust and heartache and celebrating and rejoicing.

When I look at Baker, I cannot imagine the emotions Mary was experiencing on that starry night in Bethlehem.
How she looked at Baby Jesus for the first time with the overwhelming love of a mother and knew that one day his life would be offered as a sacrifice.

As a child, I memorized John 3:16.
Knew it forwards, backwards, and sideways.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

But I read that differently now that I am a mother.
"...gave His only begotten Son..."
Gave.
His.
Son.
Oh my.
The sacrifice.
The love.
The gift.

Thank you Jesus for loving me.
For saving me.
For being born in a lowly manger and dying on a rugged cross.
For answering my prayer of a child, and through this gift, offering me a better glimpse of the love you have for your children.

Oommph.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

All Aboard

Last night, our Sunday School class loaded up for a long trek to the North Pole.
 
We packed our bags and our pajama-clad babes and boarded the Polar Express for a trip to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
 
Look at those teensy bare feet!
We can still do that here in the South.
Bare feet in December.
It was a balmy 75 degrees yesterday.
I am going to hate covering up those precious toes once the weather turns cooler.

 
 
All aboard! 

  
Love these two so much!
 
Baker just loves his daddy and he just loves his daddy's beard.
No Shave November has turned into No Shave December.
I'm just hoping my dearly beloved is not trying to channel his inner Willie Robertson. We love us some Duck Dynasty in this house.
In the words of Uncle Si, it makes us "happy, happy, happy."
 
Ahem.
Back to the train ride.

 
Sweet Audrey waiting to see Santa. 
 

 I love the anticipation on their faces.
We adore these sweet babies and their precious families.

 
She got a key!

 
Dunkin and Elly with Santa and the Missus.

 
It's our turn!
Santa telling Baker he was on the nice list.
  

 
They were absolutely wonderful.
Took time with each child,
each family.
Special memories for our first Christmas as a family of three.
 
 
And again.
Daddy love. 

 
Elly and Baker are in school together.
They have play dates in the swing every morning.
Elly's daddy says he's keeping a close eye on our boy!
 

After chocolate milk and chocolate cookies,
a trip to Santa's workshop,
Christmas carols galore,
a visit from Saint Nick himself,
it was time to head home.
But not before a stop at Dreamland.
Mmmm. Mmmmm.
 
Seeing all the children and their parents laugh and smile and celebrate
was such a joy!
 
After last night, I am even more ready for Christmas morning.
Christmas has always been special,
but Christmas with a baby - wow!
There's nothing like it. 
This is good, good stuff.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sneak Peek

I am ga-ga over these new pictures from Amber.

She also did Baker's Newborn Pictures and understandably, I am obsessed with all things Amber's Photography!!


Seriously can't take the cuteness!


Dear Santa, I can explain.



I never thought my heart could love these two so much.


Smiling is what we do best.


My family.
My boys.
My loves.
My heart.


Picking out a Christmas card is going to be tough with all of these wonderful pictures.
I'm smitten!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Day in the Life

My sweet friend, Leslie, does these posts every so often
and since she's an uber blogger, with a beautiful baby girl
and I'm a novice blogger with a beautiful baby boy, I decided to take a cue.
 
On a typical weekday morning, the dreaded alarm sounds at 4:45.
I press snooze until about 5:15 when I finally drag myself out of my glorious 600 thread count haven.
 
I trudge across the house for a glimpse at my little.
Hey, don't judge.
He is going to sleep earlier and sleeping through the night, and this mommy misses her boy!
 
5:15 - Shower (I typically have to decide which needs my most immediate attention - washing my hair, bathing my body, or shaving my legs - it's a glorious day when I can do all three - I kid - sorta)
5:22 - Crawl back into bed, pump, and put on make up
5:45 - Dry and curl my hair
6:05 - Make my breakfast - Whole Wheat Eggo waffle toasted twice with Jif Peanut Butter and a banana - this is the same every single morning - no deviating
6:10 - Load the car (between me and the babe, we take 5 bags out of this house - my school bag, purse, lunchbox, pump, and Baker's diaper bag - Mercy!) 
6:15 - Get dressed
6:20 - Wake up Baker. Change his diaper. Steal a few kisses. Dress him for the day.
6:30 - Crawl back in bed. Kiss the hubs goodbye and showtime! Bake and I sing songs, say prayers for our friends and family, and chat all the way to school. As much as I hate leaving him, this is one of my favorite parts of the day.
Just me and my boy.
My boy and his mama.
 
I drop Baker off at preschool about 6:45 6:52 and squeal into my school parking lot on two wheels arrive at work about ten minutes later.
I am Curriculum Coordinator for my school and absolutely
no day is the same, which I love!
 
Fast forward again to life with my little.
 
Today, I left work at 3:15 for Baker's Speech Therapy and Feeding Evaluation.
 
The Speech Therapist watched as I fed Baker and engaged in dialogue.
Then she talked to him and he loved it!
She spoke his language.
They oohhed and cooed and aahhhed and caaahhed.
And blew bubbles and kisses.
It was so cool to watch him do his thing!
 
She has suggested that we come once a month for speech and feeding therapy. This will allow her to model for us, work with him, and stay proactive in this area of his development.
 
When we got home at 4:30, Baker was asleep.
I unloaded the car, loaded the dishwasher, transferred clothes from the washer to the dryer, defrosted the chicken for supper, made a pot of coffee, and watched the most precious brown eyes POP open!
 
(I took these pictures on Saturday, but got a little distracted while making the bed this afternoon, so just pretend they're from today)
 
Those eyelashes. Those baby rolls. I die.
 





 
Just. Can't. Take. It.



 
See why my To-Do list never becomes a Got-it-Done list?
 
Brian got home about 5:30 and cooked supper (he's the ultimate Grill Meister) while I fed and bathed Baker.
 
Baker took another mini nap (our boy is king of some catnaps) just long enough for my Number 1 and I to eat a romantic dinner by the light of the Christmas tree.
 
I snapped this picture of my itty bitty while he napped.
 
 
At 6:30, he woke up, had a little tummy time, admired the tree, read Alabaster's Song - a favorite Max Lucado Christmas book, added a few verses to our favorite Christmas carols, and then his daddy rocked him to sleep at 8:00. He's currently slumbering in my arms. We usually put him in his bed about 9:30 where he sleeps through the night (fingers crossed this will continue).
 
Not a lavish day. Not a glorious day.
But a day of love.
A day that is most certainly an answered prayer, a dream come true.