Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Beautiful Baptism

This past weekend we had a very good reason to travel all the way up to Kansas City and celebrate.  Our oldest niece on my side, Kayley, was getting baptized!  This is a momentous occasion because she is the first ever baptism on the Bell side.  Now that she has done it, there are many more younger cousins heading that way soon.  

We headed up to KC on Thursday night (after celebrating John's birthday).  I specifically planned it this way because I thought we would have a nice enjoyable drive while the kiddos slept in their carseats.  I don't know why I even bother "planning" these things.  They didn't all.  Instead they were still good and just watched movies.  It's a good 3 1/2 hour drive so they are known to get a little antsy when we are almost there.  Every.single.time.  Luckily, Aunt Michelle was awaiting our arrival (although her kids had to go to bed) and she had quite the accomodations waiting for us as well.  Addison and Jonas got to sleep on a nice airbed in her living room while we slumbered in the cold, crisp air of the basement bedroom.  This is one of John's favorite places to sleep folks.

We were lucky enough to have Daddy take Friday off so we got to spend an extra day playing with cousins.  And we ALL love playing with cousins.  Well mostly Addison and Jonas and I love that they are entertained and out of my hair with constant questions/needs.  Brooklyn even got some good bonding time in with Aunt Michelle.  We had nowhere to go so we just stayed home and had a lazy relaxing day.  Bliss.  We were very spoiled.

Especially so because Friday evening, Grandma Bell came up and helped watch kids while John and I (and Kyle & Cassie) got to enjoy a temple session.  It's heaven really.  The Walker's live about 10 minutes from the Kansas City temple and they are always happy and willing to babysit so we can visit the temple.  Every time.  Thankfully Brooklyn was cooperative as well since she has now mastered the bottle and was able to eat without having Mommy there.  It was a nice relaxing evening followed by a quick family birthday celebration at the park.  Cousin chaos and lots of catching up between us adults.  Especially hearing the exciting news that another cousin will be joining our crazy family soon.  :)

The following day was Kayley's baptism.  We were very excited but I was a little nervous because she had asked me to be one of her speakers.  I was beyond flattered that she picked me!  But, I was also nervous since I have never spoke at a baptism before.  Luckily, my subject was on Kayley and how proud I was of her example she was setting for all of her other cousins.  It went well and I managed to choke back most of the tears.  I was so glad we could be there to support Kayley on making such a good choice.

As with all Bell get-togethers we managed to spend the evening celebrating Kayley and Cora's birthdays with a special swimming pool party.  It was so fun to hang out together.  Addison even got brave and started swimming more than she ever has.  She was jumping in the water left and right and even going under.....on purpose!  We were very proud of her accomplishment.

By the time it was time to go home our kiddos were exhausted and so were we.  We set off on our adventure back home and luckily were able to nap a little.  We were very grateful to crawl into our own beds that evening and catch up on some much needed sleep.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Daddy's B-day

August is a busy month for us but we always like to block out some time and spend it celebrating this guy....


He is quite a special Daddy and Husband and we are lucky to have him.  Why is he special you ask?  Just let me tell you.

A Great Dad:  He works so hard for our family and provides for us so Mommy can spend her days at home with the kiddos.  He has such a special relationship with each child and it's so fun to see them interact together.  He loves his kids and will do anything for them....including always trying his hardest to be a better Daddy than he was the day before.  He's always quick to change when he sees something in his own behavior that he doesn't like.  He plays with the kids all the time, especially after a long day at work, he's always quick to get on the ground and wrestle with Addison & Jonas.  He even makes it a point to take time and spend it with just Brooklyn since she can't quite join in on the wrestling matches. He plays Candy Land with Addison and she loves him for it.  He gives the best snuggles.

A Great Husband:  He is my best friend.  He continually shows me the importance of our marriage and our friendship.  I could hang out with him any day of the week.  He can make me laugh with his witty sense of humor.  He gives the best cuddles.  He is always glad to give me some time to myself whether it's going out with my friends, or by myself, or just taking a bath in a locked room.  He shows our kids how much he loves me.  He accepts me and loves me no matter what I look like.  He works hard to support us so I can live my dream of staying home with our kids.  He is always thinking of me and what I need.  He listens to me.  He helps out around the house and with the kiddos without being asked.

Honestly, I could go on and on about why John is such a great Dad and Husband but I need to save some room to give the details of his birthday celebration.

Daddy's birthday was a little busy this year.  We were lucky enough to get to go out for breakfast with him to Ihop on his big day before he had to go to work.  We were going to meet him for lunch but the poor guy had to play golf later that afternoon with some customers at work.  Poor thing ;)  And later that night we were planning on heading up to KC for some weekend festivities with my family so our birthday celebration time was cut short so we could hit the road.  

He's never been a big fan of cake and ice cream (at least the cake part) so we surprised him this time with his very own Creme Brûlée.  He LOVES this stuff and luckily we have a yummy place around here that I can get it from until I learn to make it myself.  He was quite pleased with the little treat.  Then we got to move on to the presents.  Addison and Jonas each got to give him the tie that they picked out for him, we got him a shirt and some nice workout shorts, and some earphones for his iPhone (since I think Jonas has devoured all our other ones) and we also got him a Ear, Nose, and Beard trimmer.  Yes, random but he requested that out of everything we got him.  And yes, he REALLY likes it.  So needless to say he was happy with his bounty.  Mommy even gave him a "Dalmuti Date Night" with some friends.  It's one of his favorite things to smoked pork, and hang out with close friends, and play one of our favorite games.  

I hope he never forgets just how much we appreciate and love him.  And I hope we will always show him and remind him for years to come.  We are lucky to call him ours.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mommy Daughter Date

It's no secret that Addison and I have been struggling with our relationship.  Nothing crazy of course but we do spend most of our days butting heads.  I'm stubborn and she's stubborn.  We are very much alike and sometimes this can be a great thing but it can sometimes drive us bonkers with each other.  I love Addison very much and am trying my hardest to improve my patience with her and give her the love and attention she needs in the way that she needs it.  I realize that I do expect a lot of her and have to remind myself that she's only four years old.  She's so helpful and smart and mature for her age that it's an easy mistake to make.  

Lately, I've been spending some time thinking about what I could do to improve our relationship.  One night, I had a wild idea that I just knew she would love.  After Jonas went to bed one night, I whispered to her that she and I (and Brooklyn of course since she's still mastering the bottle) should go on a girl's date together.  Of course, she LOVED it.  Mostly because she loves anything that involves staying up late (past her 8:30 bedtime) and anything that allows her to soak up some undivided attention.  After relaying our plans to Daddy we headed out.  It was a quick trip to the McDonald's across the street from our house but it was a great time to just sit and visit with her and actually LISTEN to her.  She loves to talk...a lot...and I'll confess that most of the time when she's jabbering away I don't pay much attention to what she's saying.  But this time, I made sure to just listen and talk to her about the things she liked to do, things that are important to her.  

She loved it and I loved it.  It helped remind us just how much we love each other.  I need to do these more often.  We sat and talked about everything under the sun....boys and how they are gross (thank heavens), about how preschool is getting ready to start (she's sooooo excited), and how we were the only ones in the restaurant because as she said "everyone else is at home asleep, Mommy!"  Technically, it was only 8:30 but it's fun to imagine it was true.  I need to spend more time looking at things from her eyes and listening to her.  She is my twin and I'm grateful for her.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sinking In

Now that we've survived our first month as a family of five I feel like I'm finally starting to get the hang of things.   Don't get me wrong, life is still crazy busy, but I think the insanity is at least somewhat structured and calming down a bit.

I've never had a good history of being sane during the early days of newborn-ness.  My babies have ALWAYS been easy but I've been a bit of a basket case.  Call it hormones, anxiety, or trying to figure out our new normal - but I'm usually all over the place.  Luckily this time around it seems to have settled down a little earlier than it did with Addison and Jonas.  We still had our chaos but I'm finally figuring out that no matter what happens I can keep a baby alive (after all, I've done it twice successfully).  I've also witnessed that as each day passes it gets a little bit easier.   So, in the moments of crazy I just keep telling myself this little saying.  I'm also a little less hung up on sleep than I was before.  Maybe I'm more mature about the whole process?  Don't get me wrong, we still have some sleepless nights around here and a lot of trying to figure each other out (Brooklyn and I) but each day that I'm exhausted I just tell myself that I'll make up the sleep somewhere down the road.  Am I the only one that has conversations with myself?  Also, am I the only one that does a head count each time I'm leaving in the car - just to make sure we have all three kids?  Either way it's nice to know that I can coach myself through the crazy times and learn to enjoy the happy times more.  It's been such a fun time enjoying and getting to know Brooklyn and just basking in the life that is three kids.  

I'm a very grateful Mommy.  I'm lucky to get to call these cute kiddos mine.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Blessed Day

Not only are we blessed to have Brooklyn in our family - but we were also able to bless her at church.  It was a great day and we were lucky to have so many family and friends join us in the special occasion.  

We are grateful to have a Daddy who is a worthy priesthood holder and is able to give each of our children a special blessing after they are born.  Family and friends (aren't they the same thing really?) came from far and wide to celebrate in her special day.  She may not have known what was going on at the time - but luckily she can look back and read this post and see the pictures and will know just how much she was loved by so many.  

My side of the family drove from the four corners of Missouri and joined us on Saturday morning for a weekend 'o' fun before the special day.  Almost everyone was able to come, except poor Aunt Natalie (who had to work) but luckily she was able to meet Brooklyn later at another family event.  

Once everyone arrived we all did what we do best...sit and visit and eat and sit.  We also were able to throw in a pool party at the hotel just to spice it up a bit.  And lets just say that our family alone most likely took that pool to it's maximum capacity.  And 98% of those occupants were children under 8 years old.  It was chaotic and fun.  These cousins just love getting together and playing.  And we adults just love when they do as well.  I'm very grateful that my kiddos get to grow up being so close to their cousins on both sides of the family.  
Pool time!
Eating dinner with cousins.  "The Boy Table"
Eating dinner with cousins. "The Girl Table"
Trying to line up from oldest to youngest - epic fail.
On Sunday, Brooklyn's special day, we arrived at church early and got down to business.  I wanted to make sure Brooklyn had a full belly and was spit-up free before I dolled her up in her pretty outfit.  We also wanted to make sure we saved 4 rows of pews (4 rows folks!) for the rest of our family members who would be arriving shortly.  

Sisters, hanging out together before heading off to church.
Daddy made sure to give me some instructions on how to prep her just so so she would be happy during the blessing.  Normally, he's not picky but little Jonas managed to cry through his entire blessing and it was a little difficult to hear or focus.  We were hoping Brooklyn didn't follow suit.  
The milk coma - I'd say she is prepped and ready to go!
For Brooklyn's reference (and documentation purposes) the following priesthood holders were able to stand in the circle for her blessing (which I think were the exact same for both Addison and Jonas' blessings too.

Grandpa Fields
Grandpa Bell
Tom Allred
Mark Hufford
Brad McKasson
Nick Bell
Quentin Bell
Kendall Walker
Kyle LaBrue

It was a big circle!  I didn't have the energy to corral them all afterward for a picture so hopefully listing their names for history is just as good.  

Daddy gave a great blessing and she did pretty good during it.  She did manage to cry a little at the beginning but luckily the combined forces of the bouncing hands was enough to calm her down so we could all hear the special words.  

 After Sacrament, we were all able to dine on a delicious luncheon at our neighborhood clubhouse and all of the kiddos had some time to get some energy out as well.  We were sad to see the fun come to an end but were so grateful for so many who came to support Brooklyn in her special day.  She is blessed and we are blessed.
Jonas with his buddy (Grandpa Bell) at the luncheon afterward.  This boy LOVES his Grandpa Bell.

Bradley and Brooklyn

Megan and Brooklyn.  Modeling the hat Megan sewed all by herself for her little cousin.  Love it.
Brooklyn and Mat

Hufford Family with Grandpa Bell

Hufford Family with Grandma & Grandpa Fields

Hufford Family with Grandma Bell

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our Cute One-Month Old Girly

Our little babbling Brooklyn turned 1 month old today.  :)  She's growing so fast and getting so big.  She is a perfect fit into our little family and we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her over this first month of her life.  I think it's almost safe to say that we've somewhat survived the craziness that comes with a newborn.  Each day gets easier and for that I'm grateful.  Learning to juggle three kids age 4 and younger is quite the challenge some days.

We didn't have an "official" celebration of Brooklyn's 1 month birthday but we did enjoy having family come and visit and celebrate her blessing day (which was also her 1 month birthday) so we will call it her party.  ;)

And usually I'm so diligent about dressing up each child and posing them for the camera.  However, I'll be honest and say that life has been chaotic lately and I never managed to find the time (or the sanity) to take individual shots of Brooklyn.  Besides, they are hard to prop up at this age anyway.  So here are a few random shots of her at 1 month old.  She's still just as adorable even if she isn't all dolled up and posed.

Milk drunk on her blessing day.

My little sleeping swaddled monkey.

This is what happens when she's not swaddled.  We like to mix it up a bit around here folks.

Resting by Mommy.  We went through a little spell of Mommy and Brooklyn taking naps together and it was divine.  Who wouldn't want to wake up next to this cuteness?

Hanging out in the swing.  She LOVES the swing.  Which is good considering she spends a lot of time in there while Mommy chases around her siblings.  Such a big girl!

Every once in awhile we bust out the bows and she gets even cuter - whodathunk?!  Love her serious face here.

Honestly Brooklyn is SUCH an easy baby so far.  She is very mellow and just hangs out and observes everything around her.  She naps easily and we are figuring out the eating thing together.  She's taken to the eating process even better than her older brother and sister did.  Once we master all that she's golden!  

Happy 1 month old birthday Brooklyn!