Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Family Retreat

Miss Hollywood had her sunglasses on everywhere she went
"It takes a village to raise a child."  That's the theme that kept running through my head this weekend while we were on the Family Retreat with our church.  I looked around at all the kids playing and how my kids were being loved on by so many people that were there, and all I could think of was how thankful I am that God gave us the church for strength, support, encouragement, and, yes, even help when we need it.

Lydia loved talking to Baby Hudson!
I have never been good at asking for help.  I hate to inconvenience people, or put them out, and I'm pretty independent, so asking for help is not a skill I have developed.  But this weekend, I never had to ask.  For example, the minute I walked in to breakfast on Saturday morning, someone came up to me & said "let me hold the baby so you can eat breakfast.  I'll be right over here with him."  What a thoughtful gesture.  When we were having a group devotional and Adley was feeling restless, someone else took her and walked around with her so I could focus on worship for a few minutes.  Obviously, Matt and I could have handled the kids by ourselves all weekend, and we did spend a lot of time hanging out as a family, but over and over people jumped at the chance to give us a break so that we could relax a little bit.  I suspect that they didn't mind hanging out with our kiddos, but I was continually reminded of what a blessing it is to have a "village" around us, especially when most of our family lives so far away.

Hudson enjoyed snuggling up with Daddy in the baby wrap.
Jo Harmon is always happy to help out with the kiddos whenever she has a chance!
Not only is it nice to have the extra help, I love that our kids are growing up around so many strong Christians.  Some of my greatest influences growing up, besides my own parents, were the parents of my friends at church.  They showed me what it means to love each other, they made me behave when my parents weren't around (and I knew they weren't afraid to report to my parents if I didn't), and they loved me unconditionally.  I am thrilled and blessed to know that my kids have the same positive influences in their lives!




Adley was brave enough to slide down the big waterside by herself!


Playing sunglasses peekaboo with the row behind us.



Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Hudson-2 Months!

Our baby boy is 2 months old already!  He actually turned 2 months a couple weeks ago, but Mama is clearly behind on the blog posting!  He is such a sweet baby, and this month he has been a busy boy!

  • We took our first big road trip up to Duncan to stay a couple of weeks.  I braved the 7 hour drive with 2 kids on my own because Matt was supposed to have a business trip out of town.  It turned out that his trip ended up being cancelled, but his hours at work were extra crazy for a couple of weeks, so it all worked out.  He did great on the trip up there!  We only had to stop twice so I could feed him & change  diapers, which I counted as a great success for a 7 hour trip with 2 kids!
  • He has found his hands and has started sucking on them some.  His big sister refused a pacifier & preferred her hands, so maybe he's going to follow in her steps (although he still likes the paci occasionally as well)
  • He started smiling this month, and let me tell you, that smile melts my heart!  He gives the best smiles to anyone who will talk to him & even throws in a little giggle on occasion.  Love it!  Although he does give some great smiles, he still looks pretty serious.  He definitely gets this from his daddy!
  • His little hands are still in fists a lot of the time, and the way he holds his arms makes it look like he's always ready for a boxing match.  Too cute!
  • He still eats about every 3 hours, although occasionally he seems to prefer to have a couple of short "snacks" only about an hour apart.  He usually only eats for 10 minutes at a time, which is a much better schedule than Adley had at this age!
  • My favorite accomplishment of the month is he slept for a 5 hour stretch!  This mama loves her sleep, so for him to be sleeping for that long makes me feel like a new person.  Again, he totally has Adley beat on this one.  She was at least 6 months old before she started sleeping that long!  Since that first 5 hour night, he has been pretty consistently sleeping 5 hours, and even went for 6 hours one night.  He sleeps in his pack n' play like a champ!


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Adley Goes to School

Hard to get a clear picture when the camera
lens fogs up due to the crazy humidity!
Today was Adley's first day of preschool, and she couldn't have been more excited!  She is attending Wee Hearts at West Houston Church of Christ, and will be going on Tuesday & Thursday from 9-2. There are 8 kids in her class (2 sets of twins), and her teachers are Miss Heather & Miss Vanessa.

She wanted to take a picture with her "mull" (bull)
Last week we had a "Meet the Teacher" Day, so the kids could go and play in their room & take some time to get comfortable in the classroom.  She LOVED it!  Very quickly she made herself at home, running around & playing with all the toys.  There is a play kitchen & a little table where she gathered up toys for a tea party with a Minnie Mouse doll.  She was a little unsure when another little girl came and sat in the chair where Minnie Mouse was sitting!  She also found a doctor's kit & sat playing doctor with a teddy bear for probably 15 minutes.  If you know Adley, you know getting her to sit still for 15 minutes for anything (other than Doc McStuffins or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) is a major feat!  I was nervous about how she would do with the other kids because she's not always good at sharing (we're working on it, but it's definitely a work in progress!) One little girl kept coming and taking some of the doctor's stuff away from her, and most of the time Adley willingly let her have it & even told her how to use it.  Her favorite part of the doctor's kit was the stethoscope, and she's been talking about going back to school to "listen to bear's heart" since we left!


This morning Matt was able to go in to work late so that he could go with us to drop her off for her first day.  She was super excited about the new butterfly backpack with her name on it, and her owl nap mat blanket & pillow (Mommy made them for her…one of my favorite projects I've ever made!).  She got to pick out her backpack & the material for her nap mat, so they are extra special to her.  I'm hopeful that since she picked out the nap mat it will encourage her to actually stay on it at school.  She still sleeps in a crib, so I'm not sure how a nap on the floor is going to go!  When we dropped her off, she was excited that she had a bucket with her name where her backpack & nap mat go, and she was excited to put her lunch in the lunch bucket (she loves to eat "snacks" out of a lunch bag!)




Matt and I took a couple of pictures with her, and then off she went into the room to play with the kitchen.  No looking back, no kisses goodbye, not a single tear.  I'm glad she's independent, but a hug or kiss goodbye would have been nice!  But, I'll take Little Miss Independent over her crying and trying to run out of the room!  Hopefully the great start to the day will last all day & her first day of school will be a great success!

Hudson's not sure what to think about a
whole day with just him & Mommy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One Month Old!

This guy is one month old already!

We have been having so much fun getting to know Hudson.  He is such a sweet boy, generally content and laid back.  He started out sleeping like a champ, but the last week or so he has been a little ornery at night!  After he eats around 3:30am, he just wants to hang out & not go back to sleep for awhile.  Normally, he eats every 3 hours, though sometimes in the late evening he will go for a 4 hour stretch which gives me a chance to sleep a little bit longer.  


Adley seems to be adjusting pretty well to the new baby in town, although she has been having a few more fits lately.  She also tells me she's a baby and wants me to carry her more than usual, but overall she is doing good.  She likes to help by bringing me the pacifier or a blanket, and she always asks "OK baby?" when he starts to cry.  Sometimes if he cries a lot she'll tell him "Hush, Baby!"


I was nervous about how a new baby would fit into our family of 3, but Hudson fits in perfectly!  For me, it has been a much easier transition than it was when Adley was born, which I'm very thankful for. We are so blessed by this little guy, and look forward to seeing who he becomes as he grows!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hudson's Newborn Pictures

We decided to have some newborn pictures taken of Hudson at our house, as well as a few family shots.  If you're in the Houston area, Megan Roden does an excellent job for a very affordable price!  Although Adley wasn't feeling too cooperative (she smiled for a couple of seconds and then said, "all done, cheese" and ran off to play), we still got some good ones of both kids & the four of us!










Friday, July 11, 2014

Hudson Kendrick Bell

I am thrilled to introduce Hudson Kendrick Bell!  Our new bundle of joy was born 2 weeks early, on June 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm.  Although the ultrasounds were showing that he was going to be on the small side, he weighed in at 7 lbs., 14 oz and was 21 inches long!  After being on bed rest for a month before he came, scheduling a C-section for June 9th & then the doctor deciding we didn't have to do a c-section, and rescheduling to be induced on June 23rd, Baby Boy decided he wanted to come on his own time.  The doctor had taken me off bed rest the week before he came, but whenever I would move around too much I started having Braxton Hicks contractions.  So although it was nice that I could stay home without having to have people there to babysit me (Thanks to my dad, Rebekah, Regina, Laura, Megan, and my father-in-law for being my babysitters while I was on bed rest!), I still couldn't do much without getting really tired & having trouble breathing!  On Sunday (Father's Day), I was feeling better and managed to make it through Bible Class and Church that morning, went grocery shopping, and even for a quick dip in the pool that afternoon.  Around 1:30 am (Monday morning), I started having contractions & by about 4am, I woke up Matt & called the doctor.  The contractions were about 6 minutes apart, but I was also having some bleeding, which had been the cause for my bed rest.  We headed to the hospital, where they said my contractions were about 3.5 minutes apart.  After talk of sending me home (Matt said we weren't leaving the hospital without a baby again!  Ha!…we already had to go in 3 other times during this pregnancy), they finally decided that I needed to be admitted because the baby was coming!  After 15 hours of labor Hudson finally made his entrance into the world, and we were so happy to have a healthy baby boy!

So far he is a very laid back baby, besides his daily crying episodes around 8pm!  He usually sleeps for 3 hour stretches at night, which is much better than his big sister did at this age!  Speaking of his big sister, Adley seems to like him pretty well so far, although she occasionally gets a little jealous & insists that she is a baby too…and if he cries too much, she says "Hush, Baby!"  She mixes that with wanting to hold him (for about 1.2 seconds at a time) and wanting to give him kisses & tell him "Hi, Baby."


We were so blessed to have all of the grandparents, Aunt Jen, Uncle Misa, and Chloe at the hospital when he was born!  It was certainly clear that he is surrounded with family that loves him!  MawMaw & Papa (my mom and dad) were even able to stay and help out for 2 weeks, and Meme and Punkie got to make a return trip for a long weekend over the 4th of July!  Matt got to have 2 weeks at home as well, and he split it up so that we ended up having 3 weeks of people being here to help me before I had to go it alone with 2 kids.  So far, so good…I have survived the first week & even managed to get a few things done around the house (and a blog post written!)  Not bad for week 1!





Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Sunday

She has been a Daddy's girl lately!
We were blessed with a beautiful day to celebrate Easter, hunt Easter eggs, and spend time with family as we awaited the arrival of our new niece!  Adley was so excited to hunt eggs after church, and kept saying "More eggs, more eggs," as we awaited the signal that it was time to start the hunt!  She quickly found 3 eggs for her basket, and then was distracted by the playground slide & spent the rest of the time sliding!  She was also very proud of her Easter dress, and was sure to show anyone who told her she looked pretty the flower and ribbons on her dress!  The Easter Bunny (aka Mawmaw & Papa) also brought her a bucket full of goodies, and then she got more presents later in the day from Meme & Punkie, and Aunt Jen!  She was definitely excited about all her new treats!
Ready for the hunt!
"Seriously, Mom, are they ever going to let us pick up all those eggs?"

Forget the eggs…sliding with friends is more fun!

 And just for comparison…here's our Easter photo from last year!

Although Easter this year was several weeks later than it was last year, I feel like Easter now marks an "anniversary" of sorts for our family.  It was last year on the day after Easter that we moved into our house.  We also placed membership at our church congregation last year on the week after Easter.  One of the many contributing factors in choosing that congregation was our preacher's Easter sermon.  Although I missed some of it while I was feeding Adley in the nursery, Matt was particularly touched by David Duncan's words that day.  As we were leaving worship that morning, he told me that David's sermon had sealed the deal in his mind & that's where he thought we should place membership.  We have been so blessed over the past year by the friends we have made there, and the wonderful worship services, Bible classes, and Bible studies we have been part of…and this year's Easter sermon was just as powerful as last year's!  Easter weekend 2013 was when Houston really started to feel like "home" to us, and I am so thankful that we have settled in and established "roots" over the past year!