Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010 (in video)

Haven't gone through pictures yet, but thought we'd go ahead and share some video for those of you (especially family) who weren't able to be with us on Christmas.

Here's LittleBear coming down the hallway to the living room (and Christmas tree) shortly after waking up:

Others for your enjoyment, if you are so inclined:
We'll share pictures at a later date. We're so glad we got to share the day with family; hope those of y'all who weren't here had as joyous a Christmas as we did here!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's been a crazy, fun year as our little one has gone from BabyBear (take a look back at him from last Christmas) to LittleBear -- a fully mobile 18-month-old with a very distinct personality. He's a blast to be around, and the past year has been all the more fun because of him.

Rather than a traditional Christmas letter, we hope you'll take a minute to browse back through our blog and enjoy (perhaps for a second time) some of the pictures and video from the past year. If you're looking for the abridged version, here are some of our favorites:
Our next post will likely be a recap of Christmas -- our first time to host Christmas as a married couple -- followed by a recap of our trip to see Baylor play in the Texas Bowl (sic 'em, Bears!), so come back soon for those. We hope you enjoy the blog (and @LittleBearB's Twitter account, posted in the top right corner), and we pray you're having a blessed Christmas season as well!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Guess who's 18 months old?

Seriously?! 18 months already? Wow...time sure does fly. LittleBear is officially a year and a half old!

My goodness is he growing up fast! We don't have any official numbers as of today, but at his last dr. appt (which was considered his 18 month appt) a couple of weeks ago, he weighed in at 23 lbs, 4 oz, and was 31 inches tall.

He's been a busy little guy this fall! He loves to run around the house, has learned to be more gentle with Orbit and seems to be better about restraining himself when it comes to pulling Orbit's tail. Conversely, Orbit seems to have gotten a bit more brazen and will now swat whenever he feels necessary (even if that means that LittleBear just walked past where Orbit is sitting).

LittleBear still loves music and will dance to just about anything. He's been playing with his piano, handbells, music cube and beach band toys almost daily. He also enjoys playing with his empty Quaker Oats container, crackling an empty soda can and also crinkling an empty 2-liter bottle. Another favorite toy that he's been loving lately is the Little People Nativity Set (thank you, Grams and Gramps!). He also really loves brooms, particularly our tall red broom and our little broom and dustpan set (similar to this). He also loves to explore our backyard.

He still isn't saying a huge amount of clearly discernable words, but his Dr. is not at all worried. He's picked up quite a few more signs, though, and can now sign for food, water, yogurt (his favorite!), help (mommy loves this one), more, and diaper; he's also got a sort of "shrugging" sign that can mean "where is it?", "what is it?" or other similar questions, and a few more things that might be signs but that we don't quite understand yet.

Mommy also loves the fact that 98% of the time when asked, he will put his clothes in the hamper -- oftentimes without even being asked! She's also had to fish her shoes out of the hamper a few times, but that's a small price to pay. He definitely understands a lot, even if he isn't talking much.

All in all, he's still a lot of fun; there's lots of silliness and giggling around here. Can't wait to celebrate Christmas with our little man!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

LittleBear preparing to join the handbell choir

LittleBear, our future musician, was not content simply learning the (lobster) maracas, piano (Little Tikes and Fisher Price) and drums (octopus and Quaker Oats canister). So, this week Bethany got him a new instrument to learn: handbells!

(Thanks Rainbow Music Bells, Hobby Lobby and your 40% off coupon!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Playtime with LittleBear

He really can make any room in the house fun...just watch for yourself...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What will LittleBear be when he's a BigBear?

We find ourselves wondering from time to time... What will LittleBear be when he grows up?

Perhaps a musician?

Or an artist?

Or maybe a soccer star?

Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A fun family weekend in Galveston!

Wow - it's been over a month since our last post?? Yikes!

Before any more time slips away, we should recap our first family vacation as a trio to somewhere other than grandparents' houses -- a long weekend in Galveston with the Brown family!

Thanks to Aunt Sue and Uncle Vic's generosity, Jeff's whole family -- the three of us, Aunt Sue and Uncle Vic, Grandma B, Kim, Josh and their four kids -- were all able to stay together in a house right on the beach at Galveston for four days (three nights). It was beautiful weather -- couldn't have been more perfect, really, with highs in the low 80s and cooling off at night. The house was amazing -- plenty of room for all 12 of us, and Bethany especially enjoyed the decks off the back that overlooked the ocean.

The water stayed pretty shallow until you got really far out, so that worked well for all the kids. Being just out of peak season, the beach was almost empty besides us. We think we saw a bit of oil around, presumably from the big oil spill this summer, but not enough to affect us in any way. We were just a few minutes from the Sea Wall, too, which pleased Bethany's historical side and provided an opportunity for us young parents to conveniently get away for a date one night.

The three of us also got to share lunch one day with our friends Tim, Jenn and their new baby Emma from Pennsylvania, who moved down to Galveston to help those who suffered (and are still suffering) following Hurricane Ike. It was fun, guys, and so nice to meet Emma!

Back with the family, the kids all really seemed to enjoy playing together. LittleBear spent a lot of time admiring what the bigger kids were doing (esp. Little J), and I think Little J and E had fun doting on LittleBear, too. Us parents appreciated having a few extra sets of adult eyes to help watch all the little ones, too!

Lots of fun times were had by all! Here's our round-up of pics from the weekend (including quite a few shared by Aunt Sue and Kim), and here's a video of LittleBear and Little J playing in the house one afternoon.

Embedded below is another video of LittleBear during his first foray into the water. He seemed to generally enjoy it, until he was hit in the face by his first wave of salt water. That pretty much did him in at that point. We went back out again the next day, and he again bravely walked into the water right alongside us until he got another taste of salt water. That was enough for him. We'll try again when he's a little older.

All in all, a very fun weekend with family!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bethany's Latest Project: Sofa Slipcover!!!

This year I've been on a mission to simplify things around the house and try to make our home work in a more efficient and comfortable way for us. I also decided that I wanted to try to get the place looking the way I had always envisioned it (especially since we've been here three years). So, I started in the Living Room. No worries, all of these changes were discussed with the Mr. of the house and thankfully, he was fine with it :)

We had a great sofabed and loveseat that were functional, but not very large and just didn't seem that comfortable anymore. The sofa wasn't long enough for either of us to lay out on and they just seemed a bit bulky in the room. So, I sold the sofa and loveseat on Craigslist and then bought a "new" sofa. I say "new" because it's definitely from the early 70s, but was in impeccable condition (really, I don't think the previous owner ever even sat on it). The only catch was that the fabric was all velour stripes in varying colors. So, I got a wild hare to sew a slipcover for the couch. After finding a great e-book on the how tos of sewing a sofa slipcover from Pink and Polka Dot, I took the plunge and went to Walmart to buy my white duck fabric.

Thanks to my friend Sarah for her help and encouragement to make the first few cuts, we now have a sofa that not only is a better fit for us, but everyone agrees it's more comfortable. It seats more people and definitely gives a more cozy and comfy feel to our Living Room. I also found some great tables at a yard sale, which will give us tons more storage too!

Ok, enough are the pictures :)

Here's the way it was when I started:
This shows the "new" sofa with slipcover underway:
Fabric Close-Up:

And here it is completed (LittleBear left the turtle there for scale- Thanks Auntie Diane, he really loves those turtles!)!!
Without the turtle:

There are some parts of the Living Room I'm still working on, including throw pillows for the sofa and the wall art behind it. I'm scouting Craigslist and garage sales for two arm chairs that I can tinker with as well. I'd also eventually like to get some different, brighter lamps, but that will have to wait for the time being. Still, it's a lot more efficient and functional than it was before and we spend a lot more time in this room now. I'm definitely getting closer to that vintage, cozy feel I've always hoped for!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

LittleBear's first football game!

We took LittleBear out to Floyd Casey Stadium for his first football game Saturday, as Baylor hosted Sam Houston State in the 2010 season opener. (The Bears beat the Bearkats, 34-3.)

LittleBear did great! It was a 6 p.m. kickoff, so we left the house about 4 in order to have time to walk around some of the tailgating and such before finding our seats. That, in turn, meant LittleBear's afternoon nap was cut short, and then with the night game he was out well past his normal bedtime. Thankfully, our seats were in the shade, and with a high temperature of 91, the day was about as cool as a day this time of year in Texas. (We left early in the fourth quarter, as LittleBear really was starting to fade, but overall we think he did really, really well.) Here's a shot of the three of us before the game (and here are some more of our pics from the game, if you're interested):

He wasn't very interested in what was going on down on the field, but boy did he love the band! Just about every time the band started playing -- which was often -- LittleBear started bouncing or dancing or waving his arms (see video below for a shot during the halftime performance). We knew he loved music, but this was fun to see. Perhaps he'll be a drum major in that band someday!

The rest of the time, he was kept occupied looking around and enjoying his snacktrap full of Cheerios (which Mommy had to fill up three times!). In the third quarter, he made friends with the two young boys sitting in front of us, who took a great deal of interest in him and started playing "catch" with LittleBear, as he would toss his water bottle to them and they would hand it back. That made him laugh and laugh. Very cute!

We look forward to enjoying many more Baylor games in the coming weeks and years!

Sic 'em, Baylor football, and sic 'em, LittleBear!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

LittleBear starts "reading"

LittleBear is starting to get the hang of these things we call "books." We read to him before every nap and bedtime, as well as at other random times. In the last couple of weeks he's started pulling out books himself and "reading" them himself -- flipping through the pages and talking to himself (in words we don't yet understand). See here, for example:

As you can see, he doesn't always get the book oriented correctly, but really, what does that matter? It's just a different point of view!

The book he's reading in the video is Growl Goes the Bear, part of a four-volume set (along with Meow Goes the Cat, Moo Goes the Cow and Ribbit Goes the Frog). These fine literary masterpieces were found in the dollar section at Target (they're not even on Amazon!) and come complete with googly eyes!

All four books (but particularly Growl Goes the Bear) -- seem to be his favorites. He laughs and laughs at the animal sounds ("GROWL" goes the bear, "HOO HOO" goes the owl, etc.). So cute!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fun Things From Our Backyard: Butterflies!

Last Saturday (yes, I'm a bit behind in my posting...sorry), I was reminded yet again why I love looking into our backyard in the summertime. The butterflies were back!! Earlier this summer, the Monarchs came through as they usually do, and we saw some Western Tiger Swallowtails as well, but this day I actually saw a few Black Swallowtails with the Western Tiger Swallowtails, which I hadn't seen in our yard before. Of course, I had to go out and see them "in person."

Here's another!
Follow that butterfly!
Then I spotted this guy, who was hands down the largest butterfly I have seen in the wild, but who also had been caught by something (possibly before his wings hardened). He could still fly really well though considering his wings were shredded.
Here he is again:
Here's one of our Western Tiger friends:
And here they are flying together:
Of course after all this we had to bring LittleBear in on the action, so Jeff read to him from My, Oh My A Butterfly, which we all thoroughly enjoyed!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

LittleBear's Dance Party!

LittleBear LOVES music. If we're listening to music in the car, he's often either singing along (in his own way) or, more recently, tapping along with the beat, either kicking his legs or banging toys together.

He also loves to dance when we are singing to him (which we do a lot). He picked up a "bob your head side to side" move from his Mommy, and he's also started dancing with his legs sometimes.

Here's a fun video we got just the other day of him dancing to the music. (Yes, he was dancing to the music you hear, and yes, I do have some songs from the Night at the Roxbury soundtrack on my iPod.)

As a bonus, here's a video from about six months ago of him in his doorway jumper. This time, the music you hear is dubbed in -- he was just jumping around randomly -- but it's still fun to watch!

LittleBear gets one step closer to walking

Yes, the pun in the title of this post was intentional. But it's true! Thanks to the Playskool Walk'n Ride LittleBear got from Grandma for his birthday, LittleBear is making strides (there's those nasty puns again) towards walking on his own. Check it out!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Guess who's one year old?

I'd ask you to "Guess who's one year old?", but if you've been reading the blog, you already know -- it's BabyBear! We've already recapped the party, but a 12-month-old update is in order.

BabyBear had his official 12-month checkup today. He weighed in at 18 lb., 12 oz., and is 29.25 inches tall. Though still considered small by percentile, it actually isn' too much less than what Bethany was at the same age (19 lb., 15 oz., and 30 inches tall). Daddy was a little heftier, apparently -- 24 lb., 9 oz. at age one, according to the ol' baby book. Here's each of us at 12 months -- from left to right, me, BabyBear and Bethany.

(Which parts of us do you see in him? Let us know; comment on this page!)

So what has our now 1-year-old been up to? He's certainly starting to talk in sentences of his own making -- full of baby babble, but varying baby babble. We're expecting him to stand up in his crib any day; I think the design of the crib is the only thing holding him back right now. He's also getting close to taking a few steps on his own; he walks very well holding just one of our hands, and he tears around in his walker standing up (just using it for balance, not as a supportive seat).

He's starting to show some definite likes and dislikes (or even just opinions), which has gone hand-in-hand with being a bit fussier of late. (Teething may have something to do with that, too.) In the last month, he has successfully pulled himself up to a sitting position (something he does with ease now), finally starting crawling regularly (he scoots all over now) and has even appropriately "signed" a few times (doing the sign for "milk" before nursing).

All in all, we may need to come up with a new name for BabyBear -- he's not really a baby any more!

Happy birthday, LittleBear!

Monday, June 21, 2010

BabyBear's Birthday Bash: One Year Old!!

Happy First Birthday, BabyBear!
Last week we celebrated our beloved BabyBear's one year birthday! We can't believe it came so quickly!! Thanks to Robbie Rogers, Thursday we were able to get some pictures taken on Baylor's campus outside Waco Hall- more of which you can see here (on a side note, read more about Waco Hall's 80th birthday in the latest issue of the Baylor Magazine, hitting mailboxes soon). He's growing up so much!! Definitely looking more like a little boy every day and less like a baby. When people say the time flies, they are really not kidding. According to unofficial numbers (i.e., taken by mom and dad at home), BabyBear is now 28.5 inches tall and weighs 19 pounds.

On Saturday we had BabyBear's first birthday party, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves (I hope anyway). :) Our families, neighbors and Lifegroup had some great food (thanks everyone, it was yummy!) and fun celebrating the big day with BabyBear.

As you may have guessed, the theme of the party was the card game UNO (as in, BabyBear's birthday numero uno). I found about six decks of UNO cards (some 1980s original and some newer) and with those was able to make the invitations, banners and most of the other decorations for the party.

Two of BabyBear's favorite things right now are straws and balloons, so I wanted to incorporate those things into the party. The balloons were easy enough; we blew up a bunch of clusters and hung them all over the house. We also bought some helium-filled ones and let those wander around from room to room (the kids enjoyed those a lot). We hung UNO cards from each balloon and two from each cluster and I really like the way it came out. When BabyBear woke up from his nap and came out before the party he loved seeing all the balloons. That totally made my day!!!
The straws were a bit trickier. I ended up ordering some loopy, crazy straws from a nice gentleman in England via eBay and then added some labels with each guest's name on them. These worked really well as party favors and also as markers to distinguish one person's beverage from another! BabyBear really liked his crazy straw too. In fact, he's still carrying it around the house on occasion.

BabyBear had a carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese icing (recipe is here if anyone is interested) and while it took him a little while to decide that it was food, once he tasted it, he polished it off in no time and with very little mess. See what I mean?

Facebook viewers, click here.

He didn't get to try any of the chocolate zucchini cake (recipe is here if anyone is interested- I used all King Arthur's Whole Wheat flour) this time around, because he really liked the carrot cake. We'll save the chocolate cake for another day, I think...if there's any left.

A HUGE thank you goes out to Grams, Gramps, Grandma and all the others who helped or made something for the party. Without you there would not have been nearly as many balloons blown up, banners made or hung well, or UNO cards strewn about the house, and there would have been a lot less food that probably wouldn't have been quite so tasty. You guys are wonderful and we really appreciate everything you did to help make BabyBear's day special!

After the big party, we enjoyed a few hours together with family we hadn't seen in a few months. It was definitely fun times!

Happy Birthday, BabyBear!

Feel free to click here to peruse a gallery of pictures from the day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My two cents on keeping the Big 12 together

It's been a crazy week for the Big 12 Conference (now down to 10 teams, after Nebraska and Colorado jumped ship). Based on reports, it seems likely that several more teams may leave this week, with Texas and Oklahoma taking Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and possibly Texas A&M to the Pac-10. (TAMU could instead head to the SEC on its own.) That would leave Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri to either prop up the Big 12 with additional teams, merge with another conference as a group, or go their own separate ways individually.

Almost all of the 10 schools remaining have pledged their loyalty to the Big 12 in recent days:

"... we are focused on keeping the Big 12 together and maintaining the rivalries that we have enjoyed with our (three) Big 12 Texas brothers."
BU AD Ian McCaw

"We believe the Big 12 Conference is the perfect fit for Iowa State University. We are committed to our membership in the Big 12 ..."
ISU President Dr. Gregory Geoffroy & AD Jamie Pollard

"We at Kansas Athletics know that the Big 12 is one of the best conferences in the country, and we are confident about its future. I appreciate all of those at KU who have worked very hard to keep the Big 12 at the forefront of intercollegiate athletics. We all must stay patient and let this process take its course, but at the end of the day I am convinced that the Big 12 will remain, as it is today, a national leader."
KU AD Lew Perkins

"As long as there's a Big 12, we are absolutely committed to the Big 12."
KSU AD John Currie

"We are working diligently to maintain the long-term viability of the Big 12 Conference."
MU AD Mike Alden

"I think there's still a way for us [the Big 12] to stick together and be viable."
OU AD Joe Castiglione

"Our goals and hopes all along have been to keep the Big 12 Conference intact."
Texas AD DeLoss Dodds

"... it is still our choice to keep the remaining 10 Big-12 schools together if we can."
TAMU AD Bill Byrne

(Only OSU and TT have not spoken publicly on the matter, clearly keeping their mouths closed so they don't mess up their free rides into other conferences alongside OU and UT. But if those latter two schools don't go anywhere, then neither are the Cowboys and Red Raiders.)

So, schools, if you want to stick together, and it's in your power -- why don't we just call this done and stick together???

Worried about money? The networks have already indicated that each school would make more money than they do now, even in a 10-team league, when contracts are renegotiated in the next year or two.

Worried about status? Nebraska's a loss when it comes to football, but not irreplaceable, and Colorado likely won't be missed at all. A 10-team league anchored by Texas and Oklahoma absolutely keeps its automatic BCS qualifier. Toss in Baylor, KU and KSU, and you've got one of the strongest basketball leagues in the country, as well. And that doesn't even include the possibility of adding teams, now or in the future.

The answer is clear, schools (and I'm looking mostly at you, Texas): If you really mean it when you say you're committed to the Big 12, then prove your honesty and integrity and let's make this happen. The sooner, the better.

Friday, June 11, 2010

BabyBear's Newest Discovery

Hopefully this shows up for you guys...He did eventually fall asleep by the way :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

BabyBear's first visit to the Mayborn Museum

Baylor's Mayborn Museum was having a "free day" today (no admission charged), so we thought we would take BabyBear and check out the new Lego exhibit. Unfortunately, "free day" equals "busy day," and BabyBear's approaching naptime meant we had to leave before we were able to see the Lego exhibit. We'll have to go back for that.

BabyBear was probably still a little bit young for most of the exhibits and activities, but definitely was interested in what was going on, if a little overwhelmed by the crowd. For instance, here's a short video of him attempting to push a shopping cart while others race around the room.

He had fun banging on a drum and petting a bison, and he got to see a BabyBear-sized replica of the Liberty Bell (appropriate, eh?). But his favorite thing was simply standing on the second-floor balcony overlooking the model train exhibit. We're not sure if he was that interested in the trains, or the people, or just the unusual viewpoint, but he seemed like he would have been content there for a long time. See?

Click here for some photos from the outing. Today may have been BabyBear's first visit to Mayborn, but it certainly won't be his last.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

BabyBear loves his walker!

We promised in our last post to get up some video of BabyBear in his walker, and who are we to leave you, his adoring audience, hanging? Without further adieu, here is BabyBear on the move!

Go go, BabyBear on wheels!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Guess who's 11 months old?

It's our (not-so-)old friend, BabyBear!

Even three days after his 11-month birthday (and a day early for Aloha Friday), BabyBear was rockin' the Hawaiian styles today while hanging with Fred E. Bear for the photo shoot. (Special thanks to Fred for his cooperation and to Miss Sarah for her help as today's photo assistant.)

So what has BabyBear been up to in the past month? Plenty! For starters, he now very clearly has four teeth -- the center two on top and bottom. We both agree he looks more like a little boy and less like a baby.

I suppose those teeth are helping BabyBear tear through his favorite food: berries! Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, dewberries, berry yogurt, anything berry is devoured. Other favorites: raisins, graham crackers, cheese, and the ever-popular O's. He's also recently discovered the world of fruit -- apples, oranges, peaches, watermelon, etc. -- and loves that, too. Really, I think bananas and taco meat are about the only things he hasn't liked.

The other big thing has been BabyBear's newfound ability for getting around, thanks to the walker Bethany picked up for him. (Yay for coupons!) It only took him a couple of days to get used to it, and he now easily tears around the house (non-carpeted surfaces, anyway), easily executing three-point turns when he gets stuck and gleefully chasing the cat all over the house. (Orbit has been a very good sport, though after a few weeks of this, I think it may be growing old for him.) We'll get some video of that up soon.

We're now less than a month from BabyBear's first birthday, and while there likely won't be any moonbounces, multi-course meals or Swarovski crystal-embellished pacifiers, it will still be a grand affair. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

BabyBear hits the beach

We had the privilege this weekend of not only spending some quality time with Grandma, but also visiting with some dear friends in Galveston. Tim and Jenn (who we know from our time in Pennsylvania) moved to Galveston a year and a half or so ago to serve and do relief work alongside victims of Hurricane Ike, and it had been too long since we saw them last. Mike, another really good friend from PA, was visiting from the East as well, and we all enjoyed a day of hanging out, dining on some tasty meals, watching the Derby, talking baby stuff (congrats Tim & Jenn on the upcoming arrival of Curly Bean!) and enjoying a bit of Galveston, TX.

For part of the visit, we got to spend some time on Galveston's famed Seawall and give BabyBear his first taste of the beach. He loved it!

(Click here and here to see the above videos if they're not embedded for you.)

It was so fun to spend the day with them and see a bit of Galveston. While we enjoyed our time there, it was a bit humbling to every now and again see reminders of the devastation Ike brought to the island in buildings that have yet to be repaired (check out the Flagship Hotel behind us in the pic below). As someone who went through Hurricane Andrew, this brought back memories, and again impressed upon me how important the work that Tim, Jenn and others have been doing is to the people here.

Lots more pics here from our quick weekend trip. So good to see everyone; thanks, Tim, Jenn and Mike, for a great day!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

BabyBear finds a new toy

This was a bit of my morning with BabyBear today, as he discovered a new toy: the doorstopper. Unfortunately, that darn door just keeps getting in the way.

(If the video doesn't load for you, click here to see it.)

So cute! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Guess who's 10 months old?

It's our beloved BabyBear!

It seems to both of us that he's growing up really fast. Cutting his first tooth wasn't enough; both of his bottom teeth have broken through, and one on the top as well, all in the past couple of weeks.

He continues to eat most anything, and quite a bit of it. For instance, for dinner tonight he ate an entire stuffed shell, some green beans, 4 oz. of yogurt, and about 6 oz. of formula -- all in about an hour and a half. His favorite foods include broccoli, blueberries, yogurt, unsweetened applesauce and peas.

He can get around the house very quickly "walking" with someone's assistance, holding onto two hands for balance. He's also finally showing some interest in possibly crawling, as well, routinely propping himself up (like a pushup) and looking around before rolling over onto his back (then back to a crawling stance, and back to his back, until he gets tired of that.).

Another fun thing he's started doing a little bit just recently is giving "kisses" -- a big open mouth leaning towards your face (or arm, or leg). Just in the last few days, he's also started smacking his lips to make a kissing sound, which is really cute.

Here he is -- the 10 month old himself:

Today also happens to be Orbit's fifth birthday (as best we know). We figured Orbit should get his picture taken with Fred E. Bear too; as you might guess, Orbit had other plans, but he was reasonably cooperative.

Orbit continues to be better and better around Ben, as you can see from this photo of them "playing" together.

Happy birthday, BabyBear and Orbit!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Texas Tradition: BabyBear and the Bluebonnets

For those of you familiar with Texas, you'll love this one. But many of our other readers might not be familiar with this, so let me provide a bit of background. The bluebonnet is the Texas state flower and one of the prettiest flowers I've ever seen. Throughout late March/early April they can be seen scattered across medians, fields, roadsides and are one of my favorite signs that spring is here.

One tradition that many Texans hold dear is the annual picture of the kids or the entire family in and amongst the bluebonnets. Since we have our first Texan in the family (BabyBear), I couldn't let him go through his first spring without taking part in this tradition.

We managed to find a good spot that had been used before by several people for this very purpose. I wanted to call ahead and get permission, but there was no one there, no signs that prohibited trespassing and no other indication that this would be wrong, so we went ahead. We wanted to leave as many of the flowers as possible in the condition we found them, so we tried to be very careful and in the end only two fell prey to BabyBear and did not survive the experience. Thank goodness it's not actually illegal to pick bluebonnets (it's a staunchly held myth), or BabyBear might be in trouble.

Unfortunately, I could not compete with BabyBear's interests over the nearby traffic (*SIGH*) or the vast amount of bluebonnets (understandable), so most of the pictures weren't really usable. That and I was in a bit of a rush. We did get a few though, which I am happy to share :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

or click here

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My day job - Spring 2010

Okay, so apparently it's been a long, long time since I last linked to any of my Baylor Magazine articles. Just for archives' sake, I'll go ahead and catch up now, spurred by the fact that I've got my second-ever cover story in the new issue hitting homes this week. (That's it pictured at right.) I got to fly to California to meet with Judge Ken Starr plus a whole bunch of Pepperdine faculty and students for the story, and I came away impressed; read the story for more. :)

Here's the rest of my features (and a couple of smaller pieces), to get us up to date:
  • Faith on the field of play (Spring 2009) -- Former letterman Wes Yeary's return to Baylor as Sports Chaplain is only the first step toward making Baylor the nation's leading training center for athletic chaplains.
  • From purebreds to pageants (Spring 2009) -- Equestrian team captain to compete for Miss Texas crown
  • Inspired support (Summer 2009) -- Recent grads find creative ways to give back to their alma mater.
  • A firm foundation (Fall 2009) -- Committed to the University's mission and vision, the Board of Regents takes seriously their responsibility to ensure Baylor's bright future.
  • A mammoth undertaking (Winter 2009-10) -- Thirty years after two men found a large bone in a Waco creek bank, the Waco Mammoth site is on the brink of joining the National Park System.
  • Trio of seniors leading volleyball to historic heights (Winter 2009-10) -- Bears return to the top 25 paced by three all-Big 12 veterans
  • A call to serve (Spring 2010) -- Those who know new Baylor President Ken Starr best -- his colleagues and students at Pepperdine Law and his wife, Alice -- introduce the university's 14th president: a servant leader, a man of faith and an energetic example.
Happy reading!

P.S. No, this is not an April Fool's joke.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Snapshots of My Day: And We Were Swingin'

And this one I like to call, "I'll just take this tree with me..."

Watch BabyBear's first ride in a bucket swing!

or go to:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Guess who's nine months old?

By this point I imagine you don't really have to guess anymore; it's BabyBear! Amazingly, the little guy has now been out here in the world as long as he was in his mommy's tummy; time sure flies!

BabyBear has a really fun personality, and it continues to show more and more every day. He's already a lot more outgoing than his parents, and he loves to laugh (as you can see in the previous blog post). He's up for going anywhere, and loves to people watch.

Since we're introducing more and more "adult" foods, he also seems up for trying anything; in fact, we have yet to really come across anything he actively dislikes. His favorites seem to be broccoli, turkey deli meat, and beef ravioli. Yet, at his official nine-month checkup, he had barely grown from the last time he was in, and is below the fifth percentile in height and weight (though his head size is in the 30th percentile - go figure). So, we're going to have to work a little harder to make sure he's getting enough food as he's still nursing, getting a bottle (formula) and eating regular food. He doesn't complain and seems to be happy with the amount of food he's been getting; this is just one of those things we're going to have to learn how to make work.

Besides food, the other big thing in the past month has been his quickly improving ability to walk (with assistance). He now routinely motors around the house, holding onto Mommy's or Daddy's fingers for balance (like in this video). He sits very well on his own now, but would usually prefer to be standing or walking, and is already getting close to being able to pull himself up.

Here he is -- the 9 month old himself!

As a bonus, here are some other photos from the past week -- playing with a beach ball and additional shots from the 9-month-old shoot. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just For Laughs: Multi-tasking with BabyBear!!

Cleaning, exercising, playing, who knew you could do all these things at once? And yes, I hesitated to share this because you can obviously tell I have 15 more pounds of baby weight to lose (and then some), but thanks to Beth Moore's new book and blog study So Long Insecurity, I know that I am clothed with dignity and strength according to Proverbs 31: 25 and am claiming that word. :) So here it is (I just love his laughs!!!):

or you can click here to view it

PS- Please pardon the mess that is my sewing desk in the background...I'm still working on cleaning it up!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Baylor Basketball in the NCAA Tournament!

Baylor's men's basketball team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament -- this time as a No. 3 seed, the best in school history! (You can read more about that here.)

Our family attended the team's gathering at the Ferrell Center for the Selection Show Party Sunday afternoon; can you find us in this crowd of several hundred?

You have to zoom way, way in -- there we are, up near the top left. Find the second Baylor player from the left (sitting on the floor in the white t-shirts); directly above his head is a girl in a gold t-shirt, and just above her is another gold t-shirt -- that's Bethany! Here's the zoomed-in version:

Yep, even BabyBear is rocking the green and gold, and proudly waving the Baylor blanket Bethany made for him!

Sic 'em, Bears!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First steps?

No, BabyBear's not walking on his own (yet). But he is pretty clearly getting the foot motions down (left, right, left), even if he can't yet balance on his own. He took his first "steps" on Valentine's Day, and he's been getting better since then. For those of you who know the layout of our house, a couple of days ago he "walked" out the doorway of his room and all the way down the hall to the dining room where Bethany was. Today, he hoofed it from near the front door around the coffee table, around the dining room table, and over to our kitchen island. Pretty good for just under nine months, eh?

Here's an example of what we call walking, taken this past weekend:

Way to go, BabyBear!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Time to Simplify: De-Clutter

I don't usually do new years resolutions...I think I might have said that here before. This year though, I feel pretty strongly that I need to simplify things around here. There are MANY, MANY reasons why I want to do are just a few:

- I feel a leading from the Lord to do it
- it will give me less to manage/keep track of/clean/find a spot for, etc. which will in turn free up more time to spend taking care of my family and hopefully make me a better follower of Jesus, wife, mom, family member, friend, etc.
- We have many things around the house that we are no longer using and I'd love to find homes for these things where they will be used. If we can get a few extra bucks in the process, it's a bonus!!
- When we purchased this house, one of the things I liked about it was that it didn't have oodles of excess storage space. Now that we have BabyBear outgrowing things like car seats, swings, clothes, etc. We need places to put those things that we aren't ready to part with...we need to make room.

Now, don't get me wrong...we have been very, very richly blessed and I don't want to sound ungrateful at all. That's not what this is about. In looking around, I'm realizing we really don't need two baby carriers, or two inflatable nursing pillows or the cell phone I'm no longer using or the movies we won't be watching anymore now that we have a little one in the house (I never noticed violence in movies until lately!), etc. So rather than look at it, walk away, find it again in a few months, walk away, I'm looking at it and now doing something about it. Ebay, Craigslist and Freecycle are working for me at the moment. We've already found a thankful home for most of the boatload of paint that was in the garage (we inherited it with the house), sold an extra chair we had in the living room, and have a few listings going on eBay right now. No worries, I'm getting clearance with the Hubs before getting rid of anything to make sure he's ok with it.

There are a few other parts to this overall goal of simplifying that I'm taking baby steps towards, but this one is one I've been putting off since the year started and thanks to Amy at New Nostalgia, I'm finally doing something about it. Thanks Amy!

PS- I couldn't find a good picture for this post, so I'm just including a bonus shot of BabyBear :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow Day!!

So yesterday was a fairly big day for Wacoans around town because it snowed all day...yes, the whole day. I think at the max we had about 3-6" in our yard, but the official tally was 3" at the airport. Still, it was fun and really rare for Waco to get that much snow. There were snowmen popping up everywhere!! If you're curious how many were on the Baylor campus, go here and read about it or view a fun slideshow.

Of course I couldn't resist another opportunity to put the $6 snowsuit to work, so BabyBear and I went out in it a few times. Needless to say, he was very confused and less than thrilled about it. I misplaced my ski gloves, and would have lasted longer in it myself if I had found them, but it was still fun nonetheless. My only regret is that I neglected to take a photograph of my child actually in the snow. *SIGH* I did get some video though and some other pictures of the backyard, which I will happily share with you.

So here we are when the snow had just started falling:

And here we are just before lunch time when there was a good amount on the ground:

And here are some photos of the backyard.

I loved the crunch of the snow under my feet and the quite stillness that happens when it's snowing. I especially loved the fact that I didn't have to go anywhere in it :) Not quite like the snow we got in PA, but that's ok!!

Stay warm!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Guess who's eight months old?

You guessed it! It's BabyBear! Good job!

Yes, our little man is three-quarters of the way through his first year... How time flies! Month No. 8 was not nearly as busy as month No. 7. The biggest development is that he now sits pretty well by himself; he'll still lean over if he's not paying attention or if he reaches too far for something, but he's able to sit and entertain himself much better than he was a month ago.

We didn't do much for Valentine's Day, but he enjoyed all the valentines he got -- thanks Grams and Gramps, Grandma, Aunt Sue and Uncle Vic, Aunt Kim, Uncle Josh and cousins J, E, R and P!

He talks and laughs a lot and really seems to enjoy his toys. He'll bang his bowls together (in what we like to think is a good proto-"Sic 'em, Bears!" motion) and can handle a ball well (both picking it up and scooping it up, as necessary).

BabyBear keeps wanting to eat what we're eating. He's enjoyed carrot, rice cake, broccoli and more banana, plus a whole boatload of different baby food flavors. He also has one more skill he's been working on; as soon as we get good video of it, we'll share it here.

And here he is, the proud eight month old!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snapshots of My Weekend



(basketball game)


And just in case you haven't seen enough of BabyBear ;) here are a few videos of recent playtime:

BabyBear and his music box:

BabyBear with his shape sorter: