Sunday, March 31, 2013

Popsicles and Pajamas

It's raining, and even my sweet Baker Boy's disposition reflects the weather.
He's a little sick today.
And while that means changing plans,
and trading Easter frocks and Sunday lunch for pajamas and popsicles,
we are celebrating today.
Because this is a day of rejoicing.
After a fun Easter Egg Hunt yesterday, Baker started running a fever. And since it started, it's been nonstop. Fever, throwing up, rash, sleeping and then not sleeping.
I'm thinking it's strep again. This is just the way it started last time.

I had big plans for the weekend.
Dress up in our finest to worship our risen Lord on Easter morning, 
Sunday lunch with Brian's parents and grandparents, then a visit from mine. 
Fun, and frocks, and food, and family.

Instead, we've been home with a sick little.

But, what I learned was that Jesus can still be present in a home on Easter morning.
With a sick boy, and his exhausted mommy and daddy.
It doesn't take lights, and music, and a beautiful building to exalt the Most High.
We worshiped. And praised. And thanked the Lord for his perfect sacrifice.

Brian and I started the morning with cinnabunnies.

And then opening very small Easter baskets.

Do you see that Dropper Stopper? 
We have a mad game of "Drop the Cup" going on 'round here
and I'm the sucker that falls for it.
Every. Single. Time.

Red Bull and chocolates for Brian, if that's any indication of the nights we've had lately.

When Baker's fever spiked again, he donned new pajamas and tried out some yummy popsicles.
His sick little eyes are just pitiful.
But that curly hair slays me.
Slays, I tell ya.

Both sets of grandparents sent Easter baskets.
I love how much our parents love our little.

And during the short time he felt better this afternoon, well, we played dress up. 
I was determined to see him in his Easter outfit. 

I think this is all part of it. 
The sick littles.
And changes in plans.
The trading Easter clothes and Sunday lunch for pajamas and popsicles.
It's part of it.
And I wouldn't want it any other way.
Thank you, Lord for sending your precious son to die for me.
Thank you even more for not letting the story end there.
As I watched the season finale of the Bible series tonight,
I couldn't help but think about Mary.
How, oh how, did that mother watch her son die?
For her sins.
For my sins.
For our sins.
I've been sitting here literally aching, feeling physical pain at the hurt Baker is experiencing today. Every time he coughs, I wince. Every time he throws up, I whimper alongside him. But this, this strep, or cold, or sinus infection, or whatever it may be, pales in comparison.
So many times tonight, as I was watching this representation of the Bible, I started to turn away. It would have been so easy to change the channel and instead watch The Lucky One, which I had DVR'ed only a few hours earlier. But I didn't. I wanted to watch every lash, every whip, every nail driven into my Savior, every step as he shouldered the cross and in turn, carried the burden of my sin.
I am in awe of His perfect sacrifice and amazing grace.
Thank you, Jesus.
For living and dying.
For showering me daily with love and grace.
For a little boy who makes me better understand this.
Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.
Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunday's a Comin'

All week long, the devil has been throwing distractions at me
imploring me to focus my attention elsewhere.
These distractions, they've been in all shapes and forms.
Anything to distract me from the glory of my sweet Jesus and the perfect sacrifice He gave on that Friday.
And he's won.
If I was keeping score, it would quite likely be something similar to
Satan - 37
Jennifer - 0.
And that's being far too lenient on my behalf.
Finally, yesterday.
I shouted it.
After I had enough.
After I started my hateful grumblings once again.
"In the name of Jesus, get away from me Satan!"
And I felt this peace, this all encompassing peace.
All of the burdens that I was carrying, the pain I was experiencing,
the hateful grumblings I was muttering, they disappeared.
And they were replaced.
With feelings of humility, and awe inspiring gratitude.
For the amazing gift of grace I have received.
I have a Savior, He knows my name.
And on that Friday, He was tortured, and beaten, and mocked, and scorned.
And then, he was cruficied.
And with his hands and his feet, my sins were nailed to the cross.
It was me he died for.
He was slain and died so I could live,
live today in hope of living eternally with my sweet Jesus.
But it doesn't end there.
It was Friday, but Sunday was a comin'.
If you haven't seen this yet, I encourage you to watch.
It's pretty incredible.
Three days later, my Jesus conquered the grave.
Sin and death had been defeated.
The tomb could not hold my King!
What an amazing gift of grace.
Nothing I have done in this whole life could have earned me this gift.
It's a pardon for my sin that has been freely given, I just had to accept it.
It was me he died for.
But it was also you.
He died for me and he died for you.
So that we could live.
I pray that on this Easter weekend,
if you haven't accepted this amazing gift of grace, that you will do so.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

He sings.
I melt.

He has also started feigning coughing for attention, since he clearly doesn't get enough.
I may or may not have been responsible for this.

Happy Friday, friends!
Blessings to you and yours on this beautiful Easter weekend.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cookie "Mom"ster

On Sunday, we celebrated Dawson's Second Birthday.
I cannot believe that sweet angel boy is 2!
There were dinosaurs, family, and friends galore.
It was a perfect day celebrating the blessing of his life.
I finally got a picture of the three of us.
This almost never happens!

This must be the tactic fishermen use.
Holding their catch a certain way to emphasize it's size.
So, it must be the way I am holding him.
Because there is no stinkin way my precious catch is as big as he looks in this picture!
Holy smokes.
This afternoon, Baker had Physical Therapy.
There is no better way to end my day than seeing how his sweet little body works so perfectly.
Warning: iPhone picture overload
I never carry my big camera anywhere.
So, bad quality capturing a whole lotta cuteness.
Yummy cookie!
Sweet boy needed a snack after such a workout.

I tried to take a bite.
That didn't go well.
Baker's reaction.
Yea, it happened much like this.
Cookie Monster, that's him.
Cookie "Mom"ster, that's me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Favorite Things Friday (on a late Saturday)

I cannot even get it together to do a Favorite Things Friday post on time.
Or maybe this was totally planned and my Favorite Things Friday is making its grand entrance, fashionably late, but oh so worth it.
We'll see.
I feel like this happened this week.

No, not the Pepsi Next.
(I'm a Sprite Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper kinda gal!)

Or the parents totes oblivious to their little stud rocking out in the background.
How cute is he?
Almost, but not nearly as cute as that Baker Bell kid.

I digress.

The baby. Doing it all. Moving and grooving.
That's been Baker this week.

In the past seven days, he's begun pulling up, clapping, waving, and becoming increasingly more mobile.

It all started in the kitchen. With the sink. And it was the doing of Baker Bell.
Guilty as charged.

He is now pulling up on the faucet, on the bouncer, on his mommy and his daddy.
He doesn't stay up very long unless our hands are on him for balance, but my kiddo cannot get enough of standing.
We are using the sign for "sit down" much more frequently.
And Baby Boy no likey.

My most favorite moment, well one of them, of the week happened on Wednesday.
(A close second happened on Thursday)
When I walked into his classroom, his back was to the door so he didn't see me immediately. I walked around him and he spotted my leopard print flats, and his eyes followed all the way up my body until they reached my face. When they did, the biggest grin overtook his. He said "Mama, Mama" and started clapping and cheering. Y'all I almost walked out just so he would do it again!
It's the sweetest thing!
It's neither here nor there that he also claps for sweet peas, Simba, and stackable cups.

Also at school, they have been working with him on waving. 
And now, he just does it.
Like it's nothing. Like he's been doing it all along. 
We wave goodbye to everyone.
He just parades that chunky little hand around the air and in the cutest sing-song voice, "Bye, Bye, Bye, Bye, Bye." 
Five times. Not four. Not six. Five.

Have I mentioned I love his school?
They are every bit of the word Fab-u-lous!

When I say mobile, I don't want you to imagine a baby inching across the floor going this a-way and that a-way.
I want you to imagine that the last slice of a large piece of freshly baked caramel cake is sitting on the counter, and you and your sister eye it simultaneously.
There's no word uttered, but there may as well be a starter at a race calling, "on your mark, get set, go," and sounding the gun.
For you and your sister rear back and race with all your might to that lonesome piece of delectable goodness.

That's Baker.

No, there's no running.
And right now, there's not a whole lot of crawling, except for a mighty cute little backwards motion.
But there is rolling and a movement that looks very much like a very bad breakdance with pivoting and spinning and neck craning and body bending.
But golly gee, it gets that boy where he wants to go.
And you had better not turn around or he would be gone!

Hypothetically speaking only, how would I one keep Baker a baby from wriggling under the couch?

It's been a good week.
A good, good week.

I want to leave you with a thought.
I went to a training Friday, last minute professional development that was wildly inconvenient, but surprisingly relevant and beneficial.
The presenter encouraged us to dream big and to counter naysayers (even when it's ourselves) with a response akin to one Tiger Woods used in an interview with Good Morning America.
When the interviewer asked him why he practiced 10 hours a day, after he had won everything in golf, his response, "I want to shoot a perfect game. Eighteen holes in one."
The interviewer said, "that's impossible."
He countered, "It may or may not be possible, but trying to reach the goal will make me a better golfer."

This struck a chord with me.
It applies to me.
It applies to my husband.
It applies to Baker.
No he may not have crawled at nine months, he may not walk at twelve months, or do this or that on a given timeline, but practicing and trying will make him a stronger little boy with more advantages and opportunities than he would have if we weren't working diligently to achieve these goals.

This may have struck a chord with you also.
What is an impossibility that you could now approach with this mentality?

It may or may not be possible, but practicing/working towards/setting goals/
 will make me a better ___________________.

In this precious life, I have learned nothing is impossible.

Jesus looked at them and said,
"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

With my Jesus, all things are possible.
Even a little boy with Down Syndrome pulling up, and talking,
and rolling about, and clapping, and stealing this mama's heart.
With my Jesus, all things are possible.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

World Down Syndrome Day - I Celebrate You

At this time, on this date, last year, I was probably snoozing soundly,
with no knowledge that this day was any different than any other day.
I would have signed checks, planned meetings, gone to the grocery store.
Counted the number of days left until Baker was born.
Chatted with friends, shopped for a birthday present for sweet Baby D's First Birthday. All with no idea that this date was any different than any other.
At this time, today, I am thankful to acknowledge World Down Syndrome Day.
I am even more thankful that I get to celebrate it. 
As Baker's mommy.
How different today was. Not just another day, by any means.
A day to celebrate. A day to honor.
A day to rejoice.
A day to utter prayers of thanksgiving for the blessing of my little.
Baker woke up early this morning.
I kissed on him a little longer.
Trading hair fixing and clothes ironing for snuggling and squeezing.
I lingered outside his classroom door watching him play with friends.
Then went back in for one more kiss.
I just couldn't get enough.
I arrived at school to find everyone sporting their Team Baker t-shirts
from the Buddy Walk.
I felt the prayers whispered on our behalf.
I received texts, and tweets, and pictures, and scripture verses, and all kinds of social media love.
All day long I was reminded of the love surrounding our family.
This journey is not ours to take alone.
Now tonight, I cannot force myself to surrender his sleeping body to his bed.
I cannot help but savor the rhythm of his slumbering snores, keeping him close enough to plant kisses on his baby soft head, smelling his sweet breath, feeling his body melt securely into mine.
As a mother of a child with special needs, I could use all of the buzz words surrounding today.
Words like acceptance, and tolerance, and advocacy.
But, instead, as Baker's mommy,
I will use words like hope, and strength, and love, and joy.
Unspeakable joy.
This little boy, my Baker Bell, has changed my whole world.
I love him to bits and pieces.
Thank you, Little One, for making 3-21 not just another day.
But for allowing me to celebrate 3-21 as your mama.
On this day, and everyday, I celebrate you.
I celebrate the miracle of your life.
I celebrate your strength and your determination.
Boy, you have some grit.
I celebrate your contagious smile and your sweet, sweet spirit.
I celebrate your stubborn streak that propels you to surpass all expectations.
I even celebrate your scrumptious knee dimples!
Baby Boy, I celebrate you and am honored to have the blessing of being your mommy.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Curing the Monday Blues

I take so many pictures of dinner time. 

Maybe it's my love of food.
Maybe it's trying to capture each new first.
Maybe it's just that I cannot get enough of my little pumpkin pie being so stinkin' cute!

That persnickety spoon again.

That giggle.
It may be the sweetest sound this side of heaven.

After dinner, it's bath time for the Baker Boy!
I've gotten to where I just bathe him in the sink. 
It's super easy and very convenient!
And when he makes a mess and splashes water all over the floor, it's no biggie! 
I just wipe the floor with a towel. 
Talk about multitasking.
Clean baby, clean floor.
Go Mama, Go!

Baker pulled up for the first time. 
In the sink. 
Holding onto the faucet.
Talk about scaring the bejesus out of me! 
Cheese and rice, kid!
He now thinks this is the coolest thing.
And is trying it everywhere.
Everywhere is much preferred to the sink. 

Waiting on his daddy to come home.
We sat here for at least ten minutes.
He'd watch.
And then sing.
And then clap.
And then call him, "Daaaadddddaaaa."
And then look.

And if those sweet baby giggles didn't, this, y'all, will cure any Monday blues.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Savoring Spring Break

We are savoring our last few blissful hours of Spring Break.
I'm bummed that it's almost over, but am enjoying reflecting on a wonderful week with my little family.

I captured these few pictures of my little ham on Friday afternoon.
If I didn't tell you, you would never know that it was meltdown central at our house.
Melt. Down. Cen. Tral. 

In these pictures, Baker is looking at a spoon.
A spoon, for crying out loud.
He has never been uber attached to a toy. 
He doesn't even take a pacifier. 
But there was no parting with this beloved spoon.
By Friday afternoon, there were spoons stashed in all corners of the house.
Just in case.
When the spoon was in hand, he was a happy camper.
When he dropped the spoon, or lost the spoon...RUN FOR COVER! 


A spoon.

Still a spoon.

Our dear parents are the sweetest.
Mine practically begged to keep my little one overnight Friday and 
Brian's parents offered Marriott points, so we skipped town for a mini vacay. 
It was fabulous!

I still have the hardest time leaving Baker.
To preserve my dignity, I won't say how many times I kissed him before I left, called to hear his voice, or begged for pictures of his time away.

I'm smitten with my precious boy, it's true.
But, Brian and I needed to take a break for just us. 
We savored our time together and Baker had a blast!
We promised to do it again very soon. 

We are so thankful for such wonderful family.
They are such a blessing. 

Getaways are great, but there's no place like home!

I cannot believe it's time to start brushing teeth around here.
Adventures anew.

I love each and every one.


I'm currently switching between computer screens while holding the most perfect sleeping baby. 
Blogging and first birthday planning.

I think I'll publish before editing, cease the birthday looksie-ing, and just savor my last few blissful hours of Spring Break by holding the most perfect sleeping baby.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thoughts from a Perfect Mother (my take on a lovely post from Kelly Stamps)

This may be totally frowned upon in Blogger world.
To read another's post and allow it to inspire one of your own.
But, I'll play the I didn't know, I'm new to all of this card.
And beg for forgiveness instead of permission.

The truth is, I love reading other blogs that inspire.
Be it a new style, scripture reading, a new recipe.
 I love this community!

Kelly Stamps is a beautiful woman of Christ with two precious girls.
She writes a lovely blog, Kelly's Korner, which I encourage you to read.
You will be blessed.
She's real, and honest, and encouraging, and someone I have come to admire.

This week, she wrote a post entitled "Thoughts from a Perfect Mother."
And while she's all the way in Arkansas, I could have sworn she glimpsed into my less than perfect life for inspiration for this post.
The words she wrote were the words I wanted to say, but was scared to say out loud, and couldn't say as gracefully if I tried.

I too, have been guilty of judging other mothers, or casting down eyes at them as I pass their tantrum-throwing-toddler in the aisle of Target, 
or mentally added their words and actions to my mental list of 
"Things This Mama Will Never, Ever, Ever Do or Say to My Children." 
This list. 
It exists. 
Although it gets shorter each day as I mark things off, realizing that nothing is sacred. 
And to never, ever, ever say you will never, ever, ever do something.

Before I became a mother, I internally chastised others for letting their children rule their lives. 
That they no longer had a name, for it was replaced with "(insert child's name) Mom."
How dare they not make time for their husband, or their friends.
Trips to the grocery store were their chosen locale for a few minutes of solitude?
Primetime television shows were replaced with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse?
Car trips were invaded by Silly Songz 6. Oh the madness!
And toys. All over the house? What happened to one room? Or at least one corner of each room?

Oh, ignorance is bliss.
Or just plain ignorant.

This week, with a teething ten month old, who also has strep throat for the second time in 13 days, I have been the mother causing others to turn up their noses.
And this isn't the first time.
It doesn't take a sick baby to cause me to be a less than perfect mother.
It happens every single day. 
Many, many times each day.

I have complained about Baker going to sleep early, saddened that I don't have enough time with him after work. But last night, I actually sighed a breath of relief when he finally closed those sweet brown eyes and rested those chubby arms and replaced words with blissful snores. 

The pitiful eyes that peered up at me were finally closed, the arms that reached high beckoning me to hold him were tucked angelically beneath his chin, and the little lips that cried "Mama" all day long were finally silenced. 

What kind of mother celebrates their child going to sleep?
I had prayed for this child, my sweet Baker, long and hard and earnestly,
and now I just wanted him to go to sleep for a few minutes of bliss?
Thoughts from a perfect mother, hmph!
What's perfect about that? 

I never realized that this job, 
this job I love more than any other I have ever had the privilege of possessing, 
would be so difficult. 
That I would fail far more often than I succeed. 
That each day would have different trials. 
That when I finally figured something out, or mastered a schedule, it would inevitably change. 

Fortunately, God's promise of new mercies every morning is true.
I got to tackle being Baker's Mom again today.
And I pray I get to tackle this mom thing again tomorrow.

It's a wonderfully exhausting job, 
one that I am far from perfect at,
but one that I am eternally grateful to have.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Slow Down, Sugar Baby

My little Sugar Baby is 10 Months old.
10 Months.

Stats: The Good Stuff
Weight - 21.3 pounds - 72 Percentile on "Typical Baby" chart
Length - 28.5 inches 73 Percentile on a "Typical Baby" chart
Clothing - 9-12 Month Clothes
Diapers - Level 4 
Toofies - Currently sprouting his first two teeth
Milestones - Sitting up, trying so hard to crawl and stand up on his own
Bottles - Drinking 5-6 bottles per day at 6 oz per bottle
Food - Eating mostly anything we put on his tray 
(I am still uber conservative with what he eats - yes, I am that mama
but don't you worry my boy is a-okay and has the cutest baby blub to prove it)
Drinking - Drinking from a straw and sippy cup - like a boss
Talking - Says Mama, Dada, Baba (for both bye-bye and bottle)
Signing - Signs frequently used words
Sleep - Sleeps 6:30-5:30 with 3-4 naps throughout the day

Pictures: The Really Good Stuff

I have a love/hate relationship with him dressing in big boy clothes.
Love how handsome he looks.
Hate how big he looks.

This may be one of my favorite pictures ever.
His little open shirt,
bare feet positioned just so,
looking at his daddy, 
curl on the top,
sweet little lips.
My boy.
Little stud muffin.
Slow down, Sugar Baby.

You listen here, Daddy.

His little personality is being defined more everyday.
I think I love it!

Oh my!
Refrigerator magnets.
Be still my heart.

Well baby check today.
Brace yourselves.
These are awesome.
Who says you can't have fun on the floor in a doctor's office with a forty-two and a half minute wait.

It takes a lot of brushing to get hair this uncontrollable.

And quite possibly my favorite picture of my favorite little sugar baby ever.
Hambone smile. Check!
Knee dimples. Check!
Cuteness overload. Check!

See. Personality.
At its finest.

Sugar Baby, I love you.
To the moon and back.
So while it breaks my heart that you are getting so big so fast,
don't stop.
Keep doing exactly what you're doing.
Your daddy and I are along for this incredible ride and are loving all the twists and turns.
This life. This day. This breath.
We love it. 
I want to say Slow Down, Sugar Baby.
Baker Boy, stop with all the growing.
But I can't do it.
Because the growing is good.
The talking is good.
The eating is good.
The drinking is good.
The signing is good.
The sleeping is good.
The sitting and the almost crawling and the almost standing is good.
But this, this getting to be your mommy.
Sugar Baby, it's the greatest gift ever.