Monday, June 22, 2015


I started blogging shortly after Baker was born. It was a wonderful means by which to share our new addition with family and friends, but it was also something more. God called me out upon the waters to be open and transparent about our journey in raising a child with Down Syndrome. He equipped me with a boldness I had never known for His name to be glorified for what he was doing in our lives. Over the next three years, I began to blog less and less about Down Syndrome and more about life because Down Syndrome became less and less our life and more just a part of our life. The emotions and fears that were so raw and so present began to subside and were replaced with encouragement and hope for the future. But some days, even days more than three years later, a conversation, or a seed of discouragement, or a label tossed about flippantly brings back the waves of emotion so big they threaten to pull my feet right out from under me and leave me fighting for breath. 
"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders 
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my soul could ever wander 
That my faith would be made stronger 
In the presence of my Savior."
Original post on July 17, 2012.

Emotions, for me, are like waves. Some are so big, they pull my feet right out from under me and leave me fighting for breath. Others are soothing, comforting, rafts upon which I find comfort and solace.

The emotions I have experienced upon learning of Baker's diagnosis have been no different. From the dark December day we learned there was a heightened chance of our child being born with Down Syndrome, to this cheery day with sunshine illuminating all, emotions have abounded. What began as fear, uncertainty, trepidation, bitterness, and worry, intense worry...emotions so strong, they pulled me under, drowning me, have transpired into joy, unspeakable joy, a wave begging to be ridden.

For me, fear lies in the unknown. How will Baker's kindergarten classmates accept him? Will he share his daddy's passion for the outdoors and be able to hunt and fish and do all things boy? Will he drop a love note in his crush's locker? Will he be sent to detention for shooting spitballs at the ceiling? Will I get to see my son wait for his bride at the end of aisle? Will he make me a Nana? Will he? Will he? Will he? All questions a mother asks herself as she anticipates her child's future. When I think about these things, these things that pale in comparison to the one dream I should have for my son, then I worry, then I am sucked under by the crashing waves. 

But when I trust God with Baker's life, He reminds me of my one responsibility as Baker's mommy. It has nothing to do with his life on this Earth and everything to do with spending Eternity with my son. When I focus on raising my boy to live a life glorifying his Father, then I have peace. The worry disappears, and I have faith in God's plans for our lives.

Grab your boards, folks, cause that's a wave worth catching and riding all the way to the shore!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Barrett is One Month Old!

Dear James Barrett,

Just one short month ago, your daddy and I were checking into the hospital preparing to meet you. We were still wondering if you would have your daddy's beautiful green eyes, or your mommy's nose, or your big brother's extra kissable lips.

My sweet boy, this has been the fastest and the sweetest 31 days of my life.

You have changed our lives in the most incredible way. Our hearts have doubled in size to know a love that can only be described as utterly indescribable.

You love to eat, and you keep me on a tight schedule. I prayed and prayed about breastfeeding you.
I wanted it so badly, and my precious angel, you do it so naturally. It is such a blessing and has bonded us in the most incredible way. You like to eat every 2 1/2 to 3 hours during the day, and go almost a 4 hour stretch during the night. It's no wonder you're growing like a weed!

Just like your big brother, you love bath time! When you were first born, you just sat and soaked in the warm water while I bathed each of your wonderfully made parts. But now, you kick in delight and wriggle with each splash.
You have started holding your head up and turning it from side to side. You love to lay on your daddy's chest and pull up and squirm until your cheeks are touching. You love attention. You want to be held and we eagerly oblige. You love when others talk and sing to you and around you. You are so attentive and want to be included in everything, except when you sleep. And boy, you still love your sleep. It would be so easy to lay you down for your naps, but I just cannot. You spend most of your naps snuggled in my arms with me just watching you sleep. It's such a beautiful, fleeting sight, and I don't want to miss a single breath.

You are crazy about your big brother, Baker, and he is crazy about you! He would hold you all day if we would let him. He loves to share his favorite books to you. He kisses your forehead a gazillion times a day. And you coo the most joy-filled sounds when he sings "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." One of my life's greatest gifts is getting to see him love you. I cannot wait to watch you two grow together.

Little Bear, as you have been affectionately named, are what we never knew our family was missing. You fit our family so perfectly and I am so grateful God chose you for us.
I love you,


Monthly Stats

Weight: 11 lbs 3 oz
Height: 24 inches
Diaper Size: ones (you outgrew NB while in the hospital)
Clothes: newborn and 0-3 Month

Friday, June 12, 2015

Barrett's Birth Story - Bringing Home Baby (Part Three)

We hugged necks and whispered goodbyes over his purring snore.
We said I'll see you laters to some of the ones who, in the past forty-eight hours,
 had become a part of some of our sweetest memories.
We captured last pictures of the room where he spent his first night.
We dressed him in a white linen frock with delicate blue piping.
The same one that first dressed his brother for his ride home almost three years ago.
And then, late on Sunday afternoon, we brought him home.
From Friday to Sunday, what a blessing to finally hold him in my arms.
Everything was prepared just so.
His bed so perfectly made,
gowns and cloths and the cutest little socks you ever did see tucked neatly in their place,
a sign over his bed with Elizabeth Barrett Browning's most love-filled sonnet,
all things baby - books, blankets, and washcloths.
Newborn diapers and wipes warmed for changing.
All the creams and powders and lotions that make a baby smell so scrumptious
with skin so soft.
His rocking chair primed for midnight feedings and wondrous daydreams.
Our home was ready for our boy.
When we brought him in, I took such joy in something that seems so silly.
I walked Barrett into each room, introducing him to our favorite spots,
where we share our evening meals,
his big brother's bed and favorite hiding nook.
I showed him our favorite books and where we'd cuddle up and read each night.
I walked him to pictures of our favorite memories and told him of the stories behind each, all the while giddy at the memories we would make with him.
Welcome home, my sweet boy.
Our house is not perfect.
It doesn't belong on the pages of a magazine or decorator's showcase.
There is often laundry beckoning to be folded, dishes waiting to be washed.
There are mess ups and spills.
There are occasional tears and tantrums.
But our house is a home filled with love.
There is forgiveness.
There are tickle fights and the best couch cushion forts you ever did see.
There are blankets for snuggling.
Off of our walls bounce the melodies of songs with made up lyrics and off beat tunes.
There are kitchen dance parties.
There are I love yous.
There is trust and respect.
And now, there is you.
How thrilled we are for the one whose presence has filled our heart to finally fill our home.
Our sweet little sack of sugar has been home for just over three weeks,
and I can't help but wonder how we ever lived without him.







How sweet it is to love you.
And how very sweet it is to be loved by you.
Welcome Home, Barrett Bell.
Let the fun of life with two boys begin!!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Barrett meets Baker - Barrett's Birth Story (Part Two)

There are few days in my life that stand out above the rest.
The day I was saved by His great grace.
The day I wound up in Bryant Denny stadium sitting beside a cute freshman, 
with a beard that would make a grown man jealous
and hair so wavy it made all the girls swoon, 
 and our Roll Tide romance began.
Let me just pause for a moment of silence over that hunk of a creature.
Hubba. Hubba.
The day that same good looking fella met me at the end of the aisle and
 put a ring on my finger. Feeling like the happiest girl in the world,
I said I Do to my best friend and got me a forever date.
The day we welcomed our Baker Boy into our hearts and first experienced the consuming love of a mother and a father.
On the third Friday in May, we met Barrett.
When he was placed on my chest, and I peered into his slate gray eyes,
I knew my life would never be the same.
If the day had stopped there, I would have gone to sleep an incredibly blessed woman, the mother of two precious gifts, and the wife of their adoring daddy.
But it didn't.
God, in his infinite goodness, had even greater plans for our day.
Ones that left us praising Him alone. 
I had dreamed of this day.
Brian and I had discussed a baby with Baker.
Against his daddy's wishes, we got him a baby doll, Baxter.
Instinctively, he nurtured, and loved, and fed, and diapered, and dressed him.
We talked about the baby growing in mommy's tummy.
We sat in Barrett's rocking chair and dreamed of the day my lap would hold another.
Baker couldn't wait to for the day he could read Little Blue Truck to his little brother and watch me wipe the predictable tears as I read Love You Forever for the billionth time. 
Dreams come true.
That's what we hope for.
But this time, the dream fell far short.
When Baker first laid his eyes on Barrett, it was more perfect than any dream foretold.

It was love at first sight.
This video melts my heart every single time I watch it.
So pure.
So sweet.
So full of love.
Oh my heart, be still.
The boys mimicked my goofy grin that threatened to be washed away in the flood spilling down my cheeks.

And my heart threatened to overflow watching the bond between these brothers begin.

As we sat in the bed together for the first time as a family of four,
Baker's and Barrett's futures flashed before my eyes.
I saw Baker and Barrett playing together,

protecting each other,

scheming against us,

standing up for each other,
picking fights and sharing jokes.
Loving and laughing and doing life together as brothers. As friends.
The celebration continued with a birthday party.
We clapped and sang and ate cupcakes to our hearts delight.
After Baker helped blow out Barrett's candle, we looked around the room and all nodded and smiled the same silly smiles,
agreeing that we just witnessed one of the most spectacular things this side of heaven.
God made Baker special, with a heart and a love that knows no boundaries.
Of all the things I hope he teaches his little brother, this one is the greatest.
Our home.
Our hands.
Our laps.
Our hearts.
His glory.
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
the whole earth is full of His glory."
Isaiah 6:3