Thursday, February 27, 2014

Demands my soul, my life, my all

This week, I have worried and I have done little more.

My whole being has been consumed with worry. With anxiety. With apprehension. With fear. With doubt. With dread. With what ifs. With oh nos.

I have so many friends in so many different seasons of life. Us too. There is always something that, if I let it, consumes me with worry.

Yes, I have gone through the motions that come with all of the roles I am blessed enough to play, but that's all I have done. Motions.

I have inserted just enough uh-huhs to be convincingly present in conversations, smiled at passersby, fixed lunches, and wiped crumb ridden counters. I have submitted forms, and led meetings. But, in all honesty, I have marched along like the middle school drummer in the Christmas parade. Walking just so, trying my best to stay in sync, in perfect rhythm, making noise, but not too much, so as not to let on that I have been less than present.

And though I cannot go back to the conversations this week where my mind was a million miles away, I cannot relive supper time and engage more with my boys, there is something I can do. I can turn my worry to Him. I can trust in Him. He was faithful before, He will be faithful again.

I ordered these prints from Naptime Diaries today and am in love.

The battle is not mine. He went to the cross for me. Sweet victory in Jesus, my Savior forever.

His love is amazing. It is encompassing. It is consuming. It will not compete with worry. It demands my soul, my life, my all. 

I know just where I will frame these beauties to read daily. I cannot think of anything better to write on the walls of our new home than the words proclaiming the love of my Jesus.

I also ordered a few for Baker's room. 

This was the first one I put in my shopping cart, as these are the words we have declared throughout our Baker Journey. It's on the heading of my blog, and my praise everyday. He is good, and his love endures forever. 

His gifts are good, and His love is perfect.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Walking in faith

I was holding Baker's hands last night, as he bounded proudly across the living room floor. He was none too quiet, as he celebrated each deliberate step. I begged him to take one teensy step without my assistance. I tried, ever so sneakily, to remove one of my hands from the death grip he had employed to hold it captive. He grunted time and again signaling his disapproval. As soon as I would withdraw one hand, he would plop clumsily on his bottom and wait, with the impatience one would expect from an almost two year old, for me to surrender both hands. Without hesitation, he confidently grasped both hands, and proceeded with his trek across the hardwood floor.

We continued this song and dance of me imploring him to walk, and him unwavering in his stance to do nothing of the sorts without my complete support.

I know he can walk without holding both of my hands. I have seen him do it. On more than one occasion, we have taken the long walk into school with him holding one of my hands, while I juggle his matching lunchbox and backpack in the other.

But not last night. Last night, he was wholly dependent on me.

As I became frustrated at this seeming regression, the Lord placed a thought on my heart.

How many times have I, as a follower of Christ, eager to walk in His ways, sat unmoved waiting for Him to carry me? How many times have I lacked the faith to step out on my own? How many times have I waited for Him to hold both of my hands? How many times have I traded boldness for timidity? How many times have I been untrusting?

Even when I have walked in faith before, trusting Him to catch my fall.
Even knowing He is walking beside me.
Even when I know walking in His path is the only path upon which to walk.

Sometimes my Christian walk mirrors that of a toddler, teetering back and forth between faithfulness and a very obvious lack of faith.

Tonight, as Baker and I walk around the house, I pray that I will nurture his growth. I pray that I will support him, and give him the confidence he needs to take steps independently, all while knowing that I will catch his every fall.

And tonight, as I pray for the Lord to use me in whatever way He chooses to for His glory, I will also pray that I will be willing to allow Him to "take me deeper than my soul would ever wander, that my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A mother's changing list

Twenty one months and six days ago, I was the world's best mother.

I knew all about getting your child to eat their meats, veggies, and fruits, and only then getting treated to the rare sweet. I knew all of the tricks for getting them to obey the first time. I knew the strategies for getting them to sleep through the night, and had perfected the look that says "mind your manners and don't embarrass your mother." And twenty-one months and six days ago, I was certain, all it would take is one sideways glance for my child to whip right into shape, not that he would have dared venture anywhere else.

Twenty one months and six days ago I was the world's best mother. I was the world's best mother, you see, because my child was born twenty one months and five days ago.

I had read all of the books, and critiqued all of the articles. I had carefully planned my parenting style - a decadent mixture of structure, consistency, loving correction, and positive reinforcement whipped to perfection and baked until the the center was warm and gooey and the edges were just crunchy enough to be admired and envied by all.

And then, my Baker Boy rocked my whole entire world.

At an adorable twenty one months and five days,

He tests my limits and pushes my patience.
He is opinionated and strong willed.
He needs directions one, two, three times, and sometimes still doesn't mind on the fourteenth.
He much prefers to nap in his mommy's embrace than in the solitude of his own bed, where I loudly proclaimed my child would sleep all of his sleeps.
He sometimes gets dessert even if he doesn't eat all of the carefully allotted bites of his dinner.
He stands when he's instructed to sit.
He spends neighborhood walks nestled comfortably on my hip while I push an empty stroller.
He prefers cords and cabinets and electrical outlets to the strategically placed, very inviting toy baskets.

At twenty one months and five days, I am taking back a lot of words, a lot of judgmental glances, a lot of higher than mighty thoughts of being the world's best mother.

Instead of proclaiming what I won't do, I am loudly boasting a lot of will dos.

I will seek the Lord's example.
I will learn from others.
I will admit to my shortcomings.
I will opt for humility.
I will pray daily that I would be the mother Baker needs for me to be.

I will let Baker break a usually strict bedime.
I will sneak the occasional sweet treat.
I will let there be giggles and tickle fights.
I will let there be living room picnics and slumber parties in mommy and daddy's bed.
I will pack lunches secure with love notes.
I will love him big.
I will kiss him too much.
I will be his mommy, and he will be my boy, and I will daily thank the Lord for that gift that is too wonderful for words.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Snow Day in the Life

I have a love/hate relationship with this winter weather right now, but there's nothing not to love about a day at home with my Baker Boy!

There is no snow or ice for me or my people, so we are all smiles over here!

I have vowed not to rearrange any shelves or unpack any boxes, just spend this day loving life with my now 21 month old.

We started the day with a little self feeding.
This is a wildly important skill for children with Down Syndrome, but one I don't typically excel at implementing on school mornings.

But today, with a bath in his near future and nowhere to be but right here, he got to practice (and make one heck of a mess) today.

And sometimes you say sayonara to the spoon and just go in for the kill!

I am so stinking proud of this little one I could shout it from the rooftops!

 Baker had oatmeal and yogurt in nooks and crannies I didn't even know he had.
After a very thorough scrubbing, I cleaned up the kitchen while he was playing.
I noticed it got very quiet. I immediately checked the bathroom, where, surprisingly, the toilet paper roll was still intact.
Score one for the home team! 
Then, I peeked in his room, and found this.
My teacher mom heart could burst right out of my chest.

After getting all mushy, gushy finding my boy reading, I realized I hadn't eaten.
I threw some spinach leaves, a banana, an apple, and a splash of Almond Milk in the blender, and voila!
While Baker napped, and boy did he nap, I got supper ready, worked on Valentines for his class, and made some yummy treats. I am clearly not a food blogger, so please forgive the subpar pictures. The taste more than makes up for poorly appropriated lighting and ill angles.
Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings were the perfect choice for this cold day.
For Baker's valentines, we are doing smores!
I found these on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and loved the idea!
I altered it slightly to make it more age appropriate and love how they turned out.
Adorable Teacher Valentines Day gifts! Mason jars filled with s'mores snack mix. Free printables! #masonjars #smores #valentines #valentinesday
I have just finished a second Advocare 24 Day Challenge with no cheats,
so it was high time to treat myself!
Plus I have a super cute new cookie jar practically begging to be filled with yummy goodness.
I started with Pepperidge Farm's Lexington cookies (which Publix has BOGO this week).
Then I dipped them in melted Almond Bark and topped with Heath toffee bits.
I realize that's not exactly baking, but these are too good for a little terminology technicality.
A toffee and almond cookie coated with almond bark and more toffee,
Hello My Love.

About 4:00, these were the perfect date for my too sweet, too creamy, just right coffee.
After Sleepy woke up from his long winter's nap, we ate lunch.
Pink mashed potatoes and carrots for him.
It is the week of Valentine's Day, and all.
Caesar salad for me.
Then, we braved the cold to surprise Brian with his favorite coffee.
Baker does not have shorts on, but he did grow like 3 inches during the day today.
I'm not kidding.
This really happened.
Must be a 21 month growth spurt.
I'm hiring someone to come clean out his closet for me.
I hate packing up clothes that no longer fit.
I just can't take it. 

We got back home, put the finishing touches on supper, did some serious playing, and waited on Brian to come home. 
See, three inches!
This happened in one day's time.

Dads are the coolest.
And apparently, so are old television boxes.
Please stop me before I buy birthday or Christmas presents next year.

Our faux snow day wore my little slap out.
Me too.
A Day in the Life posts are some of my favorites.
I get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of every day, that I forget to cherish the small things.
I worry about laundry and getting supper on the table.
I worry about meetings and deadlines. But, this year, I am promising to be more intentional, and documenting the every day helps me remember that everyday is a special day.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Full Circle

We closed on our house Thursday night. It could not have been a more wonderful experience! The realtors, lenders, and sellers were all so pleasant. If there wasn't the whole issue of spending money and signing your life away, I might consider doing it again soon.
We walked through our new house late Thursday evening and celebrated the joy of home ownership again! We planned Baker's room, and how we would position our furniture. We cleaned carpets and wiped out drawers, carefully considering it's future contents.
There was a lot of dancing. There were a few wahoos. And there were smiles so big we looked just plain silly.
For those of you who have been following our journey, you know this wasn't just buying a new home; it was the final step in our journey.
Late last Spring, we decided the Lord was leading our little family to Tuscaloosa for Baker to attend The Rise School on the University of Alabama campus. It is one of my favorite stories to tell, and I would love to share it with you. It evidences how the Lord orchestrates even the smallest detail, if only we will trust in His plan.
Please take time to read that post here.
Friday morning, school was canceled again due to inclimate weather and hazardous road conditions. I was overjoyed, as it meant I would get to work on our new house.
Baker's school was open, so I took him, as is our daily routine. We got there a little later than normal since I didn't have to be at work. As soon as we walked in, his class was preparing for their morning circle time. We walked together to the sink to wash his hands, unpacked his lunch, and then I helped him get situated on his stool. He was feeling a little clingy, as has been the case recently, so I lingered a while. Mrs. Nicole, his teacher (and also an angel sent straight from Heaven above to teach and love our Baker) chose my sweet boy as her morning helper. If it weren't for her being the teacher and all, I would have jumped up and hugged her right there.
Together, they walked to the window, where Baker proclaimed the weather to his entire class, using signs I didn't even know he possessed. He came back to his seat, and with all fourteen children sitting on their stools, Mrs. Nicole led them in singing, and clapping, and talking about the letter for the week (K) and the sound it makes, and what words begin with that letter. They read a book about kittens and ketchup and kisses. They meowed like kitty cats, and got to listen to one purr.
Every single child was involved. And every single child was learning. And I, well I was beaming. I was so stinking proud of my Baker Boy. And I was so glad we made this move to open doors for him, create opportunities, build friendships, and teach us to lean not on our own understanding, but to trust wholly in Him.
It has come full circle.
We are here.
We are home.
There are bare walls and there are boxes scattered about.
But we are home.
And I am so thankful this is home and home is here.
Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later."
John 13:7
Want to read more posts about the awesomeness that is The Rise School?