Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice...

My dear friend Em and her precious little family drove down from Kennesaw, GA to meet Isabella and spend the weekend with us! We had one full house of girls.....four babies all under the age of 3! It was a house full of giggles, hugs, kisses, squeals, bows, doll babies and lots of TLC! Em and I have been friends for over 18 years! We experienced middle school & high school together and our friendship has deepened throughout the years no matter how many miles may seperate us! It's something we always dreamed of......a conversation may have gone like this when we were 13...
"Em, one day when we get married and have babies...let's promise to have vacations together no matter how far apart we may live from each other!" And that little promise we have kept!.....

Blythe and Isabella meeting each other...

Abby Jane blowing her bubbles for Isabella...

Lots of sweet sugar while cuddling on the couch together...

It was a rainy weekend.....but of course, we still had a beach adventure with the girls! Yes, our SUV's were the ONLY vehicles at the beach! Some would say we are crazy to load up 4 children under the age of 3.........but of course, it was worth all the effort! The girls loved seeing the beach, having a picnic under the pavilion and Abby Jane especially enjoyed collecting sea shells! =)
I got some sweet sugar from Joy...."Joyous"!

Jer with Blythe...

Abby Jane and I.....

And our little family of three!

All the babies piled up in the chair....notice how Isabella is so content to sit and smile while the twins try to crawl away! That is the difference between 10 months and 4 months!

Isabella's favorite place to be these days!

We took advantage of a break between the big gray clouds on Saturday and ventured out to show the girls our favorite park! We all enjoyed the swings......a few rain drops won't melt the babies! =)


Baby girls in their pink gingham outfits!

One of the sweetest things in life is friendship! I'm so thankful for the friendships the Lord has blessed me with through life! Friendships that are woven together in the Lord are the ones that last a lifetime.......and I'm so blessed to have those life long friends! I pray that little Isabella will be blessed with friendships in childhood, teen years, college and motherhood who challenge her, encourage her and love her through the ups and downs of life! =)
What a special weekend full of life long memories!

There's a first time for everything!

Over the past few weeks, Isabella has experienced many new things.....from swinging to teething.....first time in the church nursery.....discovering that her little toes taste delicious =).....swimming in the warm Florida sunshine.....tasting her first solid food.....rolling lots from back to tummy....and the list goes on!

We had a fun little play date with our bestie Charleigh! Auntie Christi cleaned and scrubbed and scrubbed so the pool would be nice and clean for the girls! Bella loved sitting in her bumbo and enjoyed splashing in the water.....but most of all she enjoyed teething on her bumbo! Cute little Charleigh tried to offer her a teething ring to help assist those first teeth as they tried to come in!

Then, Charleigh decided that Bella was the most fabulous toy ever!!! She wanted Bella to come out of the bumbo and we decided that they would both be happiest with little Bella sitting outside the pool and watching Charliegh splash! =)

I think Bella is wondering to herself...."Mamma, why do I have to sit out here....I want to splash and play in the water - I don't mind water in my eyes and ears!" =)

The pediatrican gave us the green light to introduce cereal to Isabella! Much to our surprise.....she LOVED it! I just give her 1-2 tablespoons at a sitting and she just loves, loves, loves it!

"Mamma, where has this good stuff been? Why have you been keeping this from me my whole life!?" =) says Bella!

"Yum, yum....these toes are good! Great for teething, great for a little snack.....mmm...mmm...mmm!" says Bella =)

Isabella had her first expereince in the church nursery last Sunday! I gave her kisses and headed up to the 12th grade Sunday school class where I'm starting to help teach again. I think we barely made it 10 minutes and the little buzzer went off! Of course, I raced across the church to check on little Bella! She was just a crying for her mamma! I gave her kisses and of course she settled right down.......and we tried another 30 minutes! Then, I fed her in between Sunday school and church and she did just great during the service!
Well, we tried again today.......of course it's a little transition for mommy and baby! I gave her kisses and left her today........and we made it 1 whole hour til the buzzer went off! If there was a prize given for the fastest mommy who can gracefully walk from one end of the church to the other with a smile on her face but her heart just a racing.....I'm pretty confident I would win! Sweet baby was wanting her mommy I fed her, gave her sugar and left her again during the service. She did just perfect for another hour......then the buzzer went off.....right during the closing of the sermon. So......very gracefully....I slipt out (oh, I was sitting in the middle of the church!) =) Poor baby was just a sniffling and snorting for her mamma. As soon as I held her.....she burried her nose into my chest, grabbed my hair with her fists, sniffed a few times and fell right to sleep.
I told Jer was as if she was saying, "Oh, mamma, I've tried so hard all day to hold back my tears, meet new friends and be a good girl - but I just miss you and wanted you to hold me! I made it for 2 hours today.....can't we just go home now!" Sweet baby girl!
So, transition it will be....with a little patience and perseverance - little Bella will adjust to the nursery and I'm sure she'll have new friends in no time at all!

Friday, August 20, 2010

4 1/2 month check-up...

We just returned from little Bella's 4 month check-up! She was just a little angel....she layed on that doctor's table laughing and giggling while she sucked on her toes the whole time! He kept saying, "She is such a little doll baby!" Hehe....

Her stats from today are...

Weight 11lb. 9oz - 10%
Height 25.25 inches - 75%
Head 16.5 inches - 75%

He said she is doing just great! She was laughing, smiling rolling, grabbing things and talking during the appointment! Of course, I asked him about her being so tiny and petite....the doctor chuckled a bit as he looked at us and said, "Well, look at ya'll - she's taking after her parents and that's exactly what she's supposed to do! She has her whole life to put on weight!" I just love our doctor!
He did give us the green light on starting cereal if we we may try a tablespoon of rice cereal here in the next few weeks. He said it's no stress, no pressure - she is getting all the nutrients she needs from nursing - but if we want to go ahead and try cereal we can! So, we are hoping to try it out soon! =) I have a good feeling she will take to it quickly - but we shall see!
We shared with him her little daily routine and he said to continue what we're doing - everything sounds great!
We are working hard to get her to fall asleep more and more on her own! Right now we have to settle her down and rock her just a bit.....then we lay her in the crib when she's drowsy and she'll usually drift right off to sleep. But, our goal is to be able to lay her down more wide-eyed and see if she can eventually learn to fall sleep more on her own! I'm sure it will take some time, patience and practice! She's been doing so well in her crib - we transitioned her to her crib for naps a few weeks ago and last week she started sleeping in her crib at night. Of course, most the night I lay in my bed and stare at her video monitor! I guess that's part of being a mamma! =)
She's such a continual blessing and brings us so much joy each and every day! I'm truly blessed to be able to stay home with her and enjoy watching her grow and develop every step of the way!
I pray that I don't ever take one day for granted......healthy life is so precious and I am truly grateful!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Road trip to celebrate Miss Madelyn Lloyd's birthday!

We headed to Mississippi early, early Tuesday morning to meet Madelyn! (Jeremy's brother's new baby!) We arrived just 28 minutes after her arrival! It was the most precious little celebration.....I lost it of course and had tears streaming down my face when I first layed my eyes on her sweet life. Little newborns are such a perfectly created in every way.

After we saw little Madelyn in the nursery, we went to the park to play while Ellen and Jordan had their first little family time as a family of three! Bella boo LOVED the swing! This was her first time to try out a baby swing and as you can tell by the expression on her face she was having pure FUN! Lots of little squeals of delight!

And little giggles too! After about 5 minutes of fun, she started to nod into her stroller she went for a nice little nap in the shade.....

Praise Jesus for this precious little angel.....Jeremy's first niece, my first niece and Isabella's first cousin! Check out her hair!!! Blonde...and lots of it! Bella was jealous - she wishes she had a little more hair! =) Hehe....

As we loved on little Maddy, we were reflecting back on Bella's birth - we can hardly remember her being this tiny! It's only been a little over 4 months - but in some ways it seems like forever ago!

We are sure excited about all the wonderful memories we will make with this sweet little girl!

And back in the car seat went Bella boo! She has been such a little traveling angel this summer! She slept 3 of the 5 hours home......and when she woke up she was full of smiles!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Striving to abide in Christ as a new Mamma...

This week I came across this passage of scripture in my quiet time....

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-8

I am definitely in a very new season of my life and the Lord continues to grow me in so many areas that I never ever imagined possible. He continues to reveal to me more of Himself through the day to day life of motherhood.
I've always been the type of person who loves to have a very structured routine, a checklist that's completed by the end of the day and goals that are always accomplished. Not that any of these are bad qualities to have...but the Lord is continuing to refine me and teach me that HE is the center of my "to do" list and HE has a specific agenda for me each a wife, as a mamma, as a friend, as a mentor, as a neighbor, as a daughter, as a sister... Sometimes, life won't be so easy and predictable.....but HE is in control and holding every detail in His hand. I'm learning that as I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit....He has an agenda each day for me as I strive fulfill each of these roles.
Little Isabella teaches me so many things each day......her dependence on me, her love for life, her sweet spirit, her contagious smile.....I long to have more of those qualities as I put my full dependence in the Lord and trust Him each day. I'm seeing more and more that His agenda for our day is so much more fulfilling than my own! There have been circumstances in the past few weeks where I've had our day planned out just so....and then I see the Lord throw a curve ball. I've seen the Lord allow me to have sweet fellowship with younger girls who I am mentoring when I've been sensitive to His agenda for my day. Rather than rushing to have the house "just so" or the bathrooms "perfectly clean"......I've tried to be sensitive to the agenda the Lord may have for me.....and oh, how I've been blessed! I've seen the Lord provide for us financially after crunching our monthly budget and coming up short. There have been countless times when after paying bills and crunching our budget....I walk to the mailbox to find a check or gift card! He our Jehovah-jireh...our Provider!

I'm learning more and more what it means to abide in have sweet fellowship with Him each and every day. This is a season of life where my time with Him has not been quite as structured as the past.....but I'm telling you - I have had some of the sweetest, more meaningful times of prayer and worship as I learn to abide with Him and dwell on His Word. My quiet times with Him used to be very they are much more creative as my days are often busy with little Bella. We read scripture together, worship together......listen to sermons during feeding times.....listen to music through out the day. I am reminded of the Lord's sovereignty and beauty each time I look into her sweet little eyes. I praise my Jesus for this sweet season of life as I strive to know Him more and be used by Him in ways I may not be able to imagine right now as I walk with Him and abide in Him each day.

Before little Bella was born I made a CD of worship songs that I wanted to listen to during labor....I quickly found out that I did not want any loud music during labor..... :) but - I recently stumbled upon the CD while driving on one of our many summer trips. I suppose that it got scratched during the stay at the hospital because the only song that plays on the CD is this song....."Captivated" by Watermark......So, we listen to it over and over - usually Bella falls asleep to it.....and I just pray these lyrics for our sweet family as we experience this new season of life together........

"Your face is beautiful
And Your eyes are like the stars.
Your gentle hands have healing
There inside the scars.

"Your loving arms they draw me near
And your smile it brings me peace.
Draw me closer, oh my Lord.
Draw me closer, Lord, to Thee.

"Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
Falling down
And Rushing River draw us nearer
Holy Fountain consume us with You
Captivate us, Lord Jesus, with You

"Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come close and abide

"You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw me closer O my Lord,
Draw me closer Lord to Thee

"Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
Falling down
And Rushing River draw us nearer
Holy Fountain consume us with You
Captivate us, Lord Jesus, with You

"Let everything be lost in the shadows
Of the light of Your face
Let every chain be broken from me
As I'm bound in Your grace
For Your yoke is easy,
Your burden is light
You're full of wisdom, power and might
And every eye will see You

"Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
Falling down
And Rushing River draw us nearer
Holy Fountain consume us with You
Captivate us, Lord Jesus, with You"

I praise Him for bringing purpose to my life each and every day.....for being all-powerful, my healer, the giver of life, my sustainer, loving me unconditionally, giving peace, faith and hope and I'm thankful beyond words for the privilege to hold His hand as I walk through life!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Like Father...Like Daughter...

I just love this picture....and had to post it! She is loving tummy time with her mommy and especially her daddy! She loves when we get on our tummies and talk to her. She will usually last for a few minutes and then flips right over! Isabella definitely has been blessed with lots of character traits like her daddy......and she has his good looks too! =)
So far I can tell that she has a pretty easy going personality like her daddy......likes to be busy doing things like her daddy.....loves people like her daddy.....loves being outdoors like her daddy......and of course she looks like him too! She has her daddy's eyes, her daddy's long fingers, her daddy's long toes, her daddy's long lean body.......and the list goes on! Of course, there's some of mommy too....and that's what makes little Isabella extra special....a perfect blend of us both! =)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

4 months...

Grandaddy took these adorable 4 month pics of little Isabella while we were visiting this week!

It seems like Bella Boo has changed so much just in the past few weeks! Everyday she seems to just come out of her little shell more and more! Her sweet, sensitive personality is more and more evident with each passing day! She is just a tender little aware of her surroundings....doesn't miss a thing!
She is pulling at toys and putting everything in her mouth! I was at the dentist a few weeks ago and she told me that Isabella is most likely working on her first tooth! I can't even believe it! But, it sure makes sense......lots of drooling, lots of chewing, little bit of fussiness.......guess that all leads to a tooth!
She seems to be sucking her little fingers all day long......looks like it won't be long before she discovers how to put her toes in her mouth! She definitely has found her feet.....and opens her mouth to try and get them in there - but hasn't quite been successful just yet!
She's able to roll from her tummy to back......and I found her in her bed one morning on her tummy...which means she rolled from her back to tummy somehow in the night!? She's not to fond of tummy time....usually shows me she can lift her head for a few minutes then rolls over and wants to stay playing on her back!
We are having so much fun together....lots of laughs, lots of squeals of delight, lots and lots of baby talking! The other night I put her down to sleep and she fell right to sleep - but about 30 minutes later woke up talking! She was just a carrying on for about 20 minutes....then all of a sudden she was silent! I went to check on her and she was sound asleep.....guess she hadn't gotten out all of her words that day! =)

As of this week.....
Weight - 11lb. 14oz
Height 24 1/4 inches
Head 16 inches

These are just me and She-She's measurements - so they aren't approximate!

We are still on a 3 hour feeding schedule.....cluster feeding in the evenings.......and usually goes 6-7 hours the first stretch at night....with one wake usually to feed! She's not a long least not yet! =) She usually takes 3 naps for about an hour each - sometimes one of the naps will last 2 hours.....sometimes! baby....makes active mamma! She's loving her swing, activity center, activity mat, jogs with mamma, playing with daddy........and anything else that involves fun and movement!

We will go to her 4 month check-up in a couple we will have more stats. then on her growth! Maybe she will be over 12 lbs. by then.....cute little thing!

Well, she's rotated through all her little "baby centers"....swing, play mat and play now it's time for mommy time! I try to let her rotate for independent time each day.......guess it's the teacher in me!

So....I'm off to play with my sweet girl!

Over the bridges and down the coast to Grandaddy and She-She's house we went...

Jer left for Nicaragua last Saturday with a mission team from our youth group. He was leading them in working at an orphanage all Isabella and I headed to over to see Grandaddy and She-She! We had so much fun.......

She-She let Isabella try out the new high chair.......the turkey sure looked good to Isabella!

Bella boo had fun taking a bath in She-She's tub........

Grandaddy let Bella Boo sit in the shade and watch him work in the yard! She loves to be outside.......and of course she loves the extra TLC from Grandaddy! =)

We had fun taking Bailey for runs in the neighborhood! Definitely HOT and HUMID in this sunshiny state.....look how foggy! And it was 6:30pm.....

Grandma came over to visit.....
Isabella is named after Grandma Smith's husband's mom "Isabelle". Bella Boo was full of smiles for Grandma!

We had fun playing with cousins too! This is Riley Kate and Bella making funny faces. =)
They are one week apart!

Hannah and Nick came over to hang out.......they even walked her around the neighborhood and put her to sleep! =) Hannah was the flower girl in our wedding 6 years ago - she has become such a sweet and dear little cousin to me! I look forward to many more memories together!

We were so blessed to have help from Grandaddy and She-She this week! We made lots of fun memories.......

6 Year Anniversary

July 24, 2004 was such a special day for Jer and me......we began the most wonderful journey together! I am truly blessed to have such a Godly husband who loves the Lord first and foremost.......and then loves and provides for Isabella and me! He has become such a wonderful father....and I am blessed beyond words to have him as my lifelong best friend......and companion!
Brit and Matt babysat little Isabella while we celebrated our anniversary at a fun, local restaurant in downtown Greenville!