Saturday, December 26, 2009

More pictures of the best Christmas present ever. . . .

I wrote this post on Dec 26, and then didn't publish it. Bear with me, here! I have lots to share, but it may be a bit delayed. I LOVE having a newborn again--so, so happy!!!!

We took these at the hospital on Dec 21st and 22nd. . .







We are at home and resting a lot now. I'm so grateful for my parents' help! It is good, so good to be home.

I'm typing one-handedly, very happily. :) Can't wait to tell you about the miracle Heavenly Father blessed us with as we tried to get home from the hospital on Christmas Eve. . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

It is with deep gratitude and joy that we announce the safe arrival of Rosemary Jane Baker.  She arrived at 7:56 a.m. weighing 7 pounds 1 ounce and measuring 19 inches long.  More details and pictures to come soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 45 - { joys of having boys }

100 days of gratitude tag


I have planned this post for a while, but as our days with only boys are now numbered, I knew it was time to crank it out. :)

I have absolutely loved having all boys. I don't have anything to compare it to yet, of course, but for me, life with my boys has been full of creativity, noise, live creatures from the outside world, tight hugs, and surprises almost every day.




One thing that has really delighted me and cracked me up is to see how they play with toys--also where they leave them, and how I find them!


See this beautiful ceramic dealie that exudes the beauty and grace of motherhood?




Here's what I found when I dusted BEHIND it (no telling how many weeks? months? it had been there!). . . .


(Little did I know before I had children that stretchy purple spiders would be part of the joy of motherhood.)


Some other toy-creativity gems. . .


2009 03 25 Michelle's Photos 136

I bet you didn't know that Rubix cubes should be refrigerated!



. . . .from Election Day last year. There's something symbolic about this one, I just know it!


I love this next one. You can totally see the logic behind it if you've ever read Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad stories. 

This was what greeted me as I came into my bedroom to go to bed one night.



The book was open to this page. I LOVE IT! :)





But here is my personal favorite.


I sat down on the {ahem} throne one evening in our guest bathroom, and had the eerie feeling I was being watched.


I looked over. . . .


and saw this facing me from across the sink!



I had nightmares that night.


Sometimes I wonder if the boys just sit and dream about ways to crack me up.



Some more charming pictures of alternative uses for household toys. . . .


Stretchy ball that has split its seam = headgear, of course!





Toad + medicine syringe = forcefeeding at bathtime



I love the energy of our boys. (Most of the time!) One fun tradition Exacto and Fluffy have right now is bidding a dramatic farewell to whichever parent happens to be leaving. Someone (I think it was probably DC) taught them that "goodbye" in German (auf wiedersehen) is pronounced similarly to saying "our feet are the same". They thought that was hilarious. So now when we're pulling out of the garage, they'll come running out jumping on one leg, holding up the other and yelling, "Our feet are the same! Our feet are the same!"

I love the funny things they say. You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would!) the reports I get from Hummer's comments in Primary. Or from his prayers (ahem). He was made infamous by a particular prayer a couple of weeks ago, in which he prayed that we would have macaroni and cheese for lunch. (I was relieved to get home and see some leftover in the fridge! :)

I love (again, most of the time) that they collect things from outdoors. We have had snails crawling around on our table (they had to bring them in so that the snails would relax and come out of their shells), toads on the stairs and under the piano (that was the start of a new commandment in our home of NO LIVE FERAL ANIMALS in the house), acorns and rocks and pinecones and feathers, often coming through the laundry from being stuffed into pockets.

So, what will it be like with a little GIRL in this household?



We are so excited to find out we can hardly stand it. . . . 

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I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 44 - {Zion in central Arkansas}

I'm still here! And everything's fine with the sweet baby (still kicking away in there)! I'm so sorry to have such a long break in my blogging. Things have been just a leetle too beezy. And there's not much sign of them slowing down! Only 19 more days till my scheduled C-section. . . .

Meanwhile, though, I want to keep writing and sharing with you the amazing blessings that we continue to receive. I am so grateful to my loving Heavenly Father! He is so good to us!

The next few posts will be "Days of Gratitude" posts, although they are a bit behind, chronologically. :)

So let me tell you about my awesome ward family (local congregation):

100 days of gratitude tag Did you know that the Promised Land is in Arkansas?

I didn't either, until we moved here! :)

Our ward is enormous geographically, taking up the entire county. You can drive from one end to the other in about an hour and a half. Compare that with our first ward in Utah after we were married, where it took up less than a city block, and we could walk to any member's home! There, the temple was a 10-minute walk away. Here in Arkansas, it's a 2 and 1/2 hour drive.

Though we have many good friends here of other faiths, the Mormon strain of Christianity is decidedly in the minority here. But the resulting bond between ward members here really makes us start to feel like family! Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings are like mini-family reunions. :)

I love, love, love my Sisters in the ward here.

Let me show you what they did for us a few weeks ago. . . .


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My trunk as I left for home (not all of the gifts would fit--three are in the cab!)

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I love you so much, Sisters! Thank you for the wonderful shower for a 5th baby! Y'all are rockstars. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How we celebrated Benjamin's 2nd birthday

~ Birthday Meals ~

We traditionally let our children choose their birthday meals, and I thought it would be fun to have birthday meals for Benjamin. So we had. . . .

chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast before the boys left for school

Fudge sundae Oreos for snack

Cafe Rio burritos and ginger ale for dinner


~ Cleaning the Headstone ~

DC and I went to the cemetery and cleaned the headstone. I learned online about a way to apply a preserving wax and shine it up, so we did that, too, and it looked so much nicer!



It was so nice to have this quiet time to talk about our beloved son and what he means to our family. This was one of my favorite parts of the day.



~ Balloon Release ~


We sang "I Am A Child of God" as the balloons went up. It was a special moment, even though things didn't go quite as well this time as last time. (We had two balloons pop, and two get stuck in a tree! :(. I'm so glad I got pictures of the notes the boys wrote to their little brother--they were so precious.

Then came the obligatory playing in the leaves. . . . :)



~ Cake and Ice Cream ~


We had his special carrot cake (the yummiest ever - sometime I'll post the recipe :), sang Happy Birthday to him and blew out his candle. I love how in this photo you can see the reflection of the candle flame in the picture behind it.

We will have a FHE this week to talk about our gifts to him. Each of us will choose something and write it down to work on this year that will help us return to Heavenly Father and be a forever family, so that there will be "No Empty Chairs." The little wooden box in the photo above is where we keep these.



Thank you so much for the comments on his birthday post and for sweet emails and phonecalls! We felt so loved, and it truly was a beautiful, joyful day!

Day 43 - { suzie-Q }

Do you know someone who has just lost a loved one? Do you want to be a good friend to them? Blessings on you! And good luck. You may be in for a long haul. From the reading I've done, it can take 1-2 years for a person to "recover" from losing a child--although, one never "gets over it", but does learn to live with the loss.

For my part, I am amazed that anyone still even reads my blog or asks how things are going! I feel like I have been a broken record for so long! I'm still trying to figure out exactly who I am - the loss is mostly defined and I have learned ways of coping with difficult questions in conversation - but now that I am about to make another big change and have a new baby - who am I now?

Well, for one thing, I am ridiculously blessed.

Here is one more proof that Heavenly Father loves me. . . .


My friend Suzie-Q came all the way from Alabama with her two little cuties to be with us when we celebrated Benjamin's birthday this year.

(She may look familiar to y'all. . . . :)

It was wonderfully healing to have the chance to talk in person with someone who cares about me so much and doesn't mind if I still cry sometimes.

We did lots of fun things. cooked way too much delicious food. sang together. dealt with adorable children. took adorable children to the park. watched North and South. went shopping. and best of all. . . . just talked and talked.

100 days of gratitude tag

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 42 - {our celestial son}

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                              Take My Hand, Greg Olsen


Today is Benjamin's second birthday in heaven. I can hardly believe that two years have passed since that most precious day of my life when I held him in my arms.

I am filled with memories of that day to the point that it seems like I could reach through the layers of time somehow. It feels like if I drove to the hospital, somehow I would see us there. The room is always filled with light in my mind.


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That day I knew that he didn't get to stay with us, and that at some point that most painful of experiences would come--having to say goodbye for this life. But I was still so happy at being with him--seeing how cute he was, putting my head against his soft head, watching Jaime clean and dress him, feeling heaven so close. I feel that he was watching as we kissed him and carefully dressed him in white.


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Each of my parents and sisters, and my brother Joseph, took a turn holding him. It is a testimony to me that the Spirit was very present that I felt no selfishness in letting them share the time. Although every time he was placed back in my arms I had a wave of relief and joy, the time I watched others holding him was also filled with joy. I know there were times that I cried, but most vivid to me is the memory of light and peace that seemed to cover me completely.

I want to express my gratitude for the beautiful experience of having a celestial son. The pain and grief that I have passed through because of the separation from him have been nearly unbearable at times. But I never would trade it for anything. I love him like I love my living sons--with a depth and completeness that I can't help; it's just part of me.




I rejoice in being a mother. I rejoice that I will get the opportunity to nurture and enjoy Benjamin someday. I rejoice in my Savior, who has shared my anguish and provided miraculous healing, and who will restore my son to me in due time.

And so, happy birthday in heaven, sweet Benjamin! I'm so grateful you're my son!




“And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.”

Doctrine and Covenants 45:58-59

100 days of gratitude tag

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 41 - {.new traditions.}

update: I just added the recipe for the doughnut holes. It's from DC's mom, the source of many of our favorite recipes. :)

new traditions 1

This was on a Saturday, just for fun. The doughnut holes worked out great with my three helpers. We divided into stations -- a frying station, a powdered sugar/cocoa station, and a cinnamon sugar station. We set the timer, and rotated the boys through. It was so fun!

Ma Baker's Doughnut Holes
1 3/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
1 egg
Mix all ingredients. Drop by small teaspoonfuls into very hot oil (375 seems to be the sweet spot). When brown, turn, let brown on other side, remove and roll in cinnamon sugar.


new traditions 2

"CTR" means "Choose the Right." When our boys turn 8 and are baptized, their Nana gives them a beautiful CTR ring (you can see Fluffy's in the first picture). Carving it into a pumpkin was an idea from the Friend magazine.


new traditions 3

These activities and the CTR lantern we did on the boys' day off from school for Parent-Teacher Conferences. They had the idea of taking the caramel apple cookies to share with their teachers! So sweet, my boys. :) (btw, I think that sugar is an integral part of family traditions--ha.)


And for our family now, October 31st is for. . . .


new traditions 4


new traditions 5


new traditions 6

(Thank you to Emily for this wonderful idea of using real autumn leaves to decorate.)


new traditions 7


. . . and, of course. . . .

new traditions 8


I am so grateful for the peaceful, happy day we had today.

Thank You, Heavenly Father.

100 days of gratitude tag