Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bell Babies

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with the Bell Babies (who, with the exception of one, aren't babies at all). What a crew! 

Dawson met me at the door and asked if I remembered my camera; at least someone is looking out for me. 

I hope you enjoy the photo story of our afternoon, complete with treehouses, bare feet and interesting creatures...

Larger than Life. 

Happiness is...

This little guy crossed a few state lines to get to Indiana - and was so patient!

His hat, ears and mischievous grin remind me so much of  Granddad Ralph. 

I asked the kids to show me how old they were...

...Dawson represented for Jackson. 

There's one in every crowd.

These expressions told me I better work more quickly...


Thanks for the lift, Grandpa.

Free as a feelin' in the wind...

Grandpa's Pretty Helpers

What's that Dawson? You want to take my camera and throw it into the highway?

They found a ladybug...

And a dried up frog. 

Bekah had no interest in being an active member of the 
Dried Up Frog Inspection Committee.

The youngest grandchild, with the oldest. 

Yes, you should be scared. 

Grandpa and Grandma Bell's House: The Happiest Place On Earth

Over the dresses and tea parties.

I drove to that photo shoot with a cloud of dust behind me. It was just before our production sale and I felt as though I had one thousand things to get done. In fact, one of the little darlings pointed out that I had cow manure on my cut off jeans. 

But I left that shoot with a whole new perspective. 

I reflected; I remember each of those kids as newborns, not kindergartners. My goodness folks, time passes quickly. 

A column from one of my dear literary idols came to mind as I drove down the highway, a little more slowly, in awe of how fast these kids grew....

No More Oatmeal Kisses 
by Erma Bombeck

A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome, that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"

Okay. One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!" And they will. Or, "you guys get outside and find yourselves something to do...and don't slam the door!" And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on their shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way." And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company." And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say, "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins under the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand in the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom. No more iron-on patches, rubber bands for ponytails, tight boots or wet knotted shoestrings.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby-sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?" and the silence echoing, "I did."


  1. Great pictures. II told Katie you need to write a book.

  2. now those are some seriously sweet faces!!!!! Beautiful photos!