Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nick's Kids (the day Baker met Coach Nick Saban)

A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled "I never knew I wanted a child with Down Syndrome until I had one."

Today, we had the amazing opportunity to attend Nick's Kids. Nick Saban and his wife, Mrs. Terry, hosted a fabulous event in The Zone (at Bryant Denny Stadium). It was truly first class. A huge, huge thank you to the director of Rise for inviting us. What an incredible honor to be there among such greatness.

You may also remember me posting about the day Baker got to meet former Alabama Head Coach, Gene Stallings. You can read it here (and see a pretty adorable picture of Baker and Coach Stallings).

Of the many reasons I have to be thankful for Baker's different ability, none are that our family has the opportunity to meet famous Alabama Head (and former Head) Coaches; but one is because I get to see a side of them many of their fans never do.

I get to see their hearts.

The world knows them for their wins, for their football expertise, for their recruiting classes, for their conference and National Championships, for their fame.

Me, I know them for their compassion.

" will know them by their love." John 13:34-5



He was enamored at the field.
It was beautiful, albeit slightly more peaceful than any given Saturday in the fall.
When we got home, Baker refused to part with his hat autographed by Coach Saban.
I love you big, my sweet little Bama boy.

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,

My heart overflows.

Brian and I have so many reasons to give thanks with grateful hearts. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for burdening the hearts of others, and giving us the opportunity to be recipients of their love. Thank you for the generosity of the Saban family. Thank you for letting me see others through your eyes. Thank you for the gift of Baker and the other children in the room with us today. What a blessing each of their lives represent. Thank you for making them fearfully and wonderfully. Every good and perfect gift is from you.

You tell us when the words won't come, that you will intercede for us through wordless groans. I beg you, do that for me now. Although rare, I have no words. They have escaped me. I can simply smile a grateful smile, as tears bound.

My heart truly overflows.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

On this day, seven years ago,
on the twenty-eighth day of the seventh month of the year,
shortly after seven o'clock in the evening,
I said "I do, and I forever will"
to the man who makes me a better me.

He is my heart's desire,
the one my soul loves,
my through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, 'til death do us part.
He is my person.
Today and always.
As we were driving home from a day date to celebrate all things us,
the words to a favorite Steven Curtis Chapman song came to mind.
I Will be Here
"Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the future is unclear
 I will be here
As sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
So I will be here

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here,

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me."
When we were dating, Brian sang this to me.
It was Track 4 on a CD he made me and I'll carry it forever and always
(tucked right next to a pretty stellar compilation of jams deemed worthy of my
Bachelorette party).
College mixed tapes have since been replaced with
Praise and Worship for Toddlers and (the dreaded) Mother Goose Club.
Side note - I know Pandora and Spotify are like the coolest thing since sliced bread,
but mixed tapes, y'all.
Come on.
They were the best.
My favorite lines,
"I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me."
And he has.
And my heart is forever grateful to be loved by his.
And my everyday is sweeter because he is in my everyday.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rise-ing to the Occasion - Baker's Last Day

How am I writing an end of the year post?
Weren't we just readying Baker for his first day at The Rise School?

I started that post with,

"It's a pretty neat feeling to know that you are living out an answered prayer.
And that is kind of how I walked through today.
Knowing our actions today had been perfectly orchestrated by the works of our Father."

And I've never felt those words more true.

What a wonderful year it's been!

Baker was all smiles on his last day, and full of hugs to share with all!

It's hard to believe, just a few short months ago, Baker was not crawling (except for this adorable little army crawl), pulling up, standing, or walking. Now, he's practically running. He's stringing signs together to form sentences and doing small household chores. He's going to the potty and eating with utensils (and only sometimes do these two occur simultaneously. I kid! Sorta.). He is picking out his clothes (with a lot of encouragement to veer towards the adorable smocked ones from his momma and the ones with camouflage and cargo pockets from his daddy) and singing his stuffed animals to sleep. He is pretty incredible, if I do say so myself. And I do.
This has been a year of firsts and a year of milestones.
I give all of the credit to Baker's teachers and therapists. They have paved the way. They have encouraged and supported and loved and challenged all of us. And while I am extraordinarily grateful for all they have taught Baker, I am humbled at how much time and energy they have poured into Brian and me. They have dried tears, given hugs, educated, inspired hope, and smiled through it all!

There may or may not have been a tear shed by yours truly on the way out today. I'm not proud of it, but it happened.
I am sad to see it come to an end, but always excited to see the Lord's plan for Baker unfold.

We leave this year with many precious memories, special artwork boasting the sweetest fingers and toes, and this forever treat - a note from his first teacher, and a home for notes for his teachers through the years. I love everything about this. Pinterest, I love you to the moon and back for all of the thinks I wish I could think!

Twos, watch out!
This boy is headed your way, I have a feeling he will be as big of a blessing in your life as you are in his.

First Day - August 20, 2013
Last Day - July 25, 2014

Be still my Baker Boy loving heart. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Capturing Joy

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”  
Thich Nhat Hanh
This summer has been so joy-filled.
We have made memories with sweet friends,
fell all over again in love with each other,
and captured joy in every part of our everyday.
Joy is living and living is joy.
For us, joy is
watermelon and seed spitting on the back porch with your best bud, 
and getting to do life side by side in your favorite chairs,

eating Popsicles until your tongue threatens to turn to one,

enjoying sunsets with your best girls on a no boys allowed beach getaway,
and getting texts from your husband letting you know your child is well cared for,
and dressed to impressed (Daddy style)

splish splashing at splash pads and stopping to savor Fun Dip with sweet friends,

top knots, jersey dresses, and bathroom mirror love notes from your one and only,

stealing kisses from your future bride (a mom can hope),
and the bond shared by the parents of these two precious angels that says "I get it,"
"I'm here," "I understand," "We got this."

trying out every playground in town, and then doing it all over again and again
to choose an unbiased favorite,
and using midday power naps to gear up to do it all over again.
Mark Twain nailed it, “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”
Joy captured is joy shared.

Monday, July 21, 2014

all you need is less

A friend posted this picture last week, and if she didn't live over the river and through the woods, I would have hugged her.
(click on image for link)
all you need is less
In a world of more, more, more, I can't help but love the idea of less being best.
less time spent on social media
less worry weighing on our hearts
less pain
less energy trying to please others
less stress stealing our joy
less clutter clouding our homes
less comparing ourselves to friends and neighbors and complete strangers
less yes
less hate
less hurt
less rush
less me
less on the dreaded to do list
less angry
less busy
My heart has been craving this.
My body has been longing for this.
My days have been needing this.
all I need is less

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I never knew I wanted a child with Down Syndrome until I had one


I had a dream this past week that Baker woke up without Down Syndrome.
Like his extra chromosome was absorbed into his plush minky sheets.
Or as if the sandman had carted it off in his knapsack and tucked it beside the lavender he used for lulling.
It was gone.
His beautiful eyes still boasted their autumn pools, but lacked the almond slant that never fails to draw me in and captivate my whole being.
His tongue remained tucked obediently inside his cheek, not once lagging like it does on occasion, especially when he is focusing so intently.
His hands hung by his side not in front of his face for signing, as words bounded from his lips articulate and coherent and utterly foreign.
As I reached in to hug him, his body did not collapse into mine, as is my very favorite thing about Baker - the way his low muscle tone makes him puddle into my eager embrace.
He was stiff.
His steps did not waiver, not once did his balance falter. He was sure footed and walked with a stability his little body has never known.
In that instant, he became a typical child.
Gone were the thoughts of IEPs.
Therapies were tossed into oblivion. 
His struggles became successes. 
The specialists on speed dial were no more.
I sat abruptly in bed. Tears streaming. Faint whimpers escaped my lips.
I navigated through the dark room and padded the familiar steps to Baker's bed.
I picked him up and felt his warm body fold sleepily into mine.
It was just a dream.
He was still the same Baker Boy I had read Let me Hold You Longer, while his little body relaxed and his eyes grew heavy.
He was still the same Baker Boy I had rocked and sang "This Little Light of Mine," and to seal the deal, "You are My Sunshine" only hours earlier. 
Nothing had changed.
Everything had changed.
I don't know who said it originally, but I believe it to the very depths of my being.
I never knew I wanted a child with Down Syndrome until I had one.
No truer words have ever been spoken.
He is loved exactly the way he is.
He is one of our Creator's greatest masterpieces.
He was crafted in love.
He was knit together wonderfully.
He is a joy spreader, a light brightener, a glad giver. 
Being his mother is the greatest blessing.
Watching his life bring glory to our Jesus is an incredible gift.
Just the way you are, sweet Baker, we love you just the way you are.
"For we know that in all things, Christ works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

Friday, July 11, 2014


I love Pinterest.
I love, love Pinterest.

It saves me from dinner party fiascos, helps me fill an otherwise daunting set of built-ins, provides countless hours of entertainment for on-the-go toddlers, gives 12,477 uses for pallets, helps you clean everything from here to Timbukto, and is a great time passer for carpool lines and waiting rooms.

Aside from recipes I may never cook, and the DIY home projects I'll likely never DIY,
one of my favorite things to pin on Pinterest are words of inspiration.

This is one of my favorite boards to scroll through for fist-bumping, butt-kicking, be a better daughter of His, and wife and mother of mine, get 'er done motivation!
These are some of my favorites.
She Will Not Fall - Psalm 46:5 - fiftyfive18
Well said.
Funny how all the stuff in the middle is true but what is most important is in bold. Simple and clear!

enjoy today!

This is how I always feel... overwhelmed at first glance, but later everything works out. Just don't quit at once!

grace, not perfection

Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is nobody else youer than you. Dr Seuss

Whatever you are, be a good one. -Abraham Lincoln



You are you and you are awesome!
Have a booty-kicking, fist-bumping, fabulous Friday!

What words inspire you?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fun on the Fourth

Happy Birthday, America!
The Fourth of July is one of my very favorite holidays.

I love the food, family time is the best, and I can hardly wait for the fireworks (although I much prefer fireworkers have a curfew, now that I have a little one who begins his snooze fest long before the light show begins).
As we went through the day, I couldn't help but get swept up in the euphoria of the holiday.
We donned red, white, and blue,
exchanged our front door monogram for something more patriotic,
put flags in our flower pots,
topped our pancakes with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream,
barbequed all the things,
marched to This Land is Your Land throughout the house,
and then, we prayed with urgency and pleading for our great nation. 
Throughout the day, I found myself alternately humming and petitioning the lyrics to my favorite Shane and Shane song, Be Near.
Happy Fourth of July!
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14