Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bunny Boy

After waking up to rather wet Holy Saturday, I am wading through Facebook news feed reports of canceled Easter Egg hunts and disappointed children. Boo.

Thankfully, we got ours in yesterday.

Nashville Primary School invited all the snap-happy moms and dads to the playground yesterday to watch as their sweet little bunny babies scoop up their 10-egg limit.

Nathan's eyes lit up as he watched me make my way to his class. He poked the girl next to him to make sure she was aware of my presence and the growing presence within me. Nana was able to come to town and watch Owen for an hour so all of my attention could be focused on my big kid and steadily pushing the shutter each time he came into view. You can tell he just doesn't like having his picture taken. Check him out:

After Mrs. Dodd gave the official go, he rushed into the crowd, examining each egg and grabbing only the ones he saw fit to grace his basket. Once everyone had their fair share, I lined up with the pint-sized group and walked to the classroom.

While Nathan focused on his bright purple cupcake, I took it all in. This is much easier to do when I'm not preventing Owen from dismantling the kindergarten book shelf and escaping down the hall. I saw Nathan's writings on the wall. Most of the words were spelled right and there was a perfect period at the end of each sentence.

This was my second classroom visit for the week. Thursday I spoke with Mrs. Dodd during parent-teacher conferences and I was the one who lit up while seated in the tiny primary school chair. She told me he was a great reader. She told me he was awesome at spelling. She told me he genuinely cared about others. She told me he was a joy to have in her class.

Cue the mama beam, am I right?

Nathan has really enjoyed his first year of school. Whether he's taking a spelling test or hunting for eggs, I'm very thankful for Mrs. Dodd and Nashville Primary School. He has enjoyed them just as much as they have enjoyed him.

He's already worried about being out for an entire summer. :)

Y'all have a happy weekend and enjoy your indoor Easter activities. Today we will dye eggs, make our first batch of Easter Story Cookies, and wake up to a day full of remembering that He is the way, the truth, and the life.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Week 25

Week: Twenty-five
Size: Rutabaga
Feeling: Pretty worn down, to be honest.
Symptoms: Sleepy, sleepy, sleepy exhaustion. Third trimester is a-coming.
Maternity Clothes: Yup.
Sleep: See the answer to "symptoms" (need. more.)
Gender: Still a precious baby girl.
Movement: She's bopping around. Nathan hasn't felt her yet, though.
What I Miss: My bed. Hopefully I can return shortly.
What I Want: A clean house and a long nap. Too much to ask?
Best Moment this Week: We went to our 24-week checkup on Tuesday and it was great to hear her heartbeat once more. Although I feel better knowing she's okay since I can actually feel her movements, there's just something about that thump-thump-thump sound.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Not Much

Oh, not much going on here.

Just catching a little couch time with the above crazy-haired cutie. Scratch that. The aforementioned cutie has moved from couch mode to living room destruction mode. C'est la vie.

It appears Week 24 has been an especially sleepy one for this mama, thanks to little Miss Nora. I think it's time to just let the living room destruction happen and get nuggets ready to tame the savage beast (and his not-so-beast-like brother who is occupied with PBS Kids games on the computer). Maybe afterward a little Toy Story distraction will set the stage for a power nap before bath time.

One can only hope, right?

Have a happy Wednesday, y'all. And get some rest.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week 24

Week: Twenty-four
Size: Ear of Corn
Feeling: Fantastic!
Symptoms: My poor face looks like a teenager's, but that's it.
Maternity Clothes: Yup.
Sleep: The little boys and I actually slept until 8:00 this morning - delightful.
Gender: Still a precious baby girl.
Movement: The first Bauer kid to wake up today was Nora. Stinker.
What I Miss: I think it's time to reuse "margaritas" as an answer.
What I Want: Owen to nap just a little bit longer. Boy Meets World is on. :)
Best Moment this Week: Extra time with the Bauer boys during this wet, cold Spring Break. Although they can drive me a little crazy and destroy a bedroom in no time flat, I'm trying my best to embrace my next few months alone with them. Fingers crossed I'll grow some more patience in that time.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jonquil Joy

This past Saturday (and maybe also Sunday) the Bauer boys and I loaded up the stroller, extra cash, and big appetites to take on the Jonquil Festival at Historic Washington State Park.

After securing an impressive parking lot for the large crowd that had gathered on a warm, sunny afternoon, we jumped into the madness.

Our first stop, per usual, was the food trucks parked along a gravel path. Everything from fried Twinkies to Cajun-style gator on a stick to cucumber-topped gyros called to us. We divided and conquered and stopped at a shady spot under a big tree.

The boys laughed in the cool breeze, sharing sips of lemonade and bites of funnel cake. They also did a little posing (see below).

Once our faces were wiped clean and our tummies were full, we needed to move. Making our way through the rows of crafts was just what the doctor ordered. We passed by the usual canine sunglasses, caricatures, and "designer" bags and went straight for the wooden trains my boys were eyeing.

We even made a stop at a bow/tutu vendor. It took me a ridiculous amount of time to decide on a tiny brown headband with a small pink flower. I'm going to need more practice with this girl thing. (Side Note: It didn't take nearly as long to decide on pillowcase dresses - so cute!)

Once the stroller was loaded down with trains, a basketball hoop, water-filled balloon yoyos, and a couple of goodies for Nora, it was time to step away.

We left the crowds of the festival and headed into the heart of Old Washington. Strolling down streets that have been there for more than a century, we passed the print shop, the blacksmith, the old school house and more. Rows of jonquils lined every path and random fields were a bright yellow surprise with each turn. The world's oldest magnolia tree stood tall and mighty and welcomed us into its arms, beneath giant branches that could tell so much.

And at some point during my marveling at this quaint historic town on a gorgeous spring day, Owen lost his balance and rolled down a jonquil-filled hillside, crushing everything in his path and causing passers-by to giggle.

Oh, Owen.

Anyway, it's an awesome little town, y'all, and if you live near me and don't know it personally, that needs to change. Deal?

Now that I've described our festival fun (in more detail than you'd like), how's about I let some of my photos do the talking? And if you'd like to see more, there's a Facebook album for that.

Here are a few more things we did at the Jonquil Festival, photo-style:

Hit the tattoo parlor for a sweet skeleton lizard:

Sat on an old porch and smiled for the camera:

Rolled down a hill, crushing all the jonquils:

Drank lemonade and lots of it:

Ate a ridiculous amount of fried things:

Made pretty pictures, even sans Bauer boys:

And some extra cute ones with them:

Saturday, March 16, 2013


If there's any time of year when my heart grows and my soul stirs, it's now. If you're anywhere in Arkansas, look out of your window. It's right now.

It's when I can see the buds forming on the naked oak trees and the jonquils that dot cow pastures turn their heads toward the sun. When I can finally unlock the back door and free my children from the confines of the living room. I let them put their hands in the dirt and their bottoms on the swings.

Carrying no coincidence, this time of year sets my heart on fire in faith, as well. We are smack dab in the middle of Lent and making our way toward Holy Week. I'd imagine when people look at the time of Christ's days in the desert and his eventual death, they remember a time of sadness. A time when the people of the world - people just like us - crucified our Lord.

It's a time when our hearts are heavy, but it's also a glorious, amazing moment. The exact moment when He died on the cross was the exact moment He proved just how much He loves all of us - no matter what. No matter whether we were among the throng that was shouting for his death and not at all expecting his resurrection.

Last night, the Hope Catholic Youth Ministry (for which my dear husband and I are youth directors) served as hosts for our church's Stations of the Cross. Six teenagers stood before the congregation and retold the story of Jesus's journey. They told us how His amazing example can be used daily in our own lives.

How he got up and tried again and again, though He continued to fall. How Simon helped carry the cross, even though he was afraid. How Veronica wiped His face without being asked. How Jesus Christ stood up for what He knew was right, even when it wasn't the most popular thing to do.

My soul lifted when I watched the youth read these words and feel these words. It was inspiring and I can't tell you how proud I was. I looked at each of their faces during the musical intercession of "How He Loves Us" and I saw it in them. I saw them deep in prayer, talking with Jesus Christ, and letting their hearts burn for Him.

This is my favorite time of year. A time when we remember that life renews. That fresh, green, and bright returns after dead, cold, and silent.

That the ultimate sacrifice was made so that we may live.

Thanks so much to my CYM for helping me see that year after year. Also, thanks for being awesome! I mean, who else can get their priest to take such an incredible jumping photo:

Have a happy weekend, y'all! Soon the Bauer boys and I will be off to the Jonquil Festival in Historic Washington and actually get out and revel in this gorgeous spring day. Maybe I'll see you there, but if not, expect pictures soon. :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Week 23

Week: Twenty-three
Size: Large Mango
Feeling: Good!
Symptoms: Some sinus issues, but nothing really pregnancy related.
Maternity Clothes: I wear regular T-shirts and I only look pudgy. Good thing?
Sleep: Got in a 20-minute nap today that changed my world.
Gender: I've been using the word "daughter" excessively this week - weird.
Movement: Yes! Nora is officially kicking for others. It's a personal record!
What I Miss: Moving quickly without pain. Ouch!
What I Want: Chocolate.
Best Moment this Week: The night before Jonathan left for Las Vegas on official McDonald's business, I woke him up at 3:00 in the morning as his daughter was doing back flips in my belly. He put his hand on the right spot and his eyes lit up. That, my friends, will never get old.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sheriff Owen Turns Two

I'm not sure if you've heard, but my baby hit a big milestone this weekend. He graduated to age two, complete with cowboy hat and stick horse.

Owen's Sheriff Woody party was a hit! We hosted a few of his little friends and all of our local family here at the house, where we decked the halls in cow print. We also added lots of yellow and hints of blue to mimic our favorite cowpoke's signature look.

It was a pretty easy theme, picked by Owen himself. I wish I were exaggerating when I say we watch at least part of Toy Story every single day. I really, really wish. However, this obsession runs deep. I knew he would love it and his asking "Woody party?" every day for the past two weeks is perfect proof.

Although there were no movie showings at the party, there was food and lots of it. Let's start with my favorite part. This is the first cake I've had done by a woman here in town and it was amazing. It was decorated even cuter than the picture I sent her and the taste was phenomenal. If you live in my area and want some contact info, I'd be happy to share.

As for the rest of the party fare, I will once again give credit for the creative ideas to random moms on Pinterest. Thank you, strangers, for posting your awesome ideas and letting me draw inspiration (read: copy off of you). I did do my own handiwork in printing up fun labels. If you read yesterday's post, though, you'll know that time may have been better spent. However, Owen's party guests had a blast munching on Rootin' Tootin' Fruit, Schmo Pops (click here and you'll get it), and Owen's favorite Cheetos. They washed it down with store-bought, Jessica-named Lasso Lemonade and Moo Juice.

Although it may look like work, it wasn't. I basically arranged produce, supervised as grandmas dipped marshmallows in chocolate, and shoved preformed cookie dough into the oven. It looks awesome, it was super easy, and you better believe it was birthday boy approved.

After we pinned the tail on Bulls-Eye and attempted to throw snakes into boots, it was present time. And Owen didn't know where to start. He spent more time pleading to "Open! Open!" than wading through the brightly colored gifts. Once he was done (with a little help from Nathan), he ended with a slew of Toy Story goodies, cute wardrobe additions, tractors, and trains.

I love making creative snacks and decorating parties in a way that makes my kids gasp in excitement, but the most important thing is that Owen had fun, that Owen felt special, and that Owen felt loved. I love this boy more than I can put into words and I'm so blessed to be able to watch him grow up to be a sweet (and often ornery) little guy.

I like to make a big deal out of these moments because they are a big deal.

And, y'all, they go by fast.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When Mom's Not Looking

Okay, maybe failing miserably is a stretch, but you guys might want to rethink the whole "she makes it look easy" thing...

It was the day before Owen's party. There I sat, glued to my computer screen, surrounded by brown felt, card stock, and my trusty scissors. There's a tall Coke at my fingertips and a content baby in front of PBS Kids.

Spoiler: Or so I thought.

As I begin to move Woody JPEGs onto cow-print food labels, I hear a door close. I don't think anything of it as that's one of Owen's favorite games. This usually only happens in big brother's room, though, so I decide to give it a few more clicks of the mouse before I hop to.

I continued moving the images around my screen until they were perfect. I love these easy-to-make finishing touches. I hit print and wait until the black-and-white pattern shoots into the tray. I admire my work and pick up my scissors.

Another door shuts. I can't hear it over the baby monitor so it must be Nathan's room. I say a silent prayer that the kid hasn't covered himself in marker as I took a little longer to check on him than I should have.

To prolong the agony of what I assume will be wipe after wipe of bright green dye that matches the color of Owen's hands and arms, I carefully cut out the long rectangles and fold them. I set them all on the bed and they look fantastic.

Two thumbs up, mama.

I bring myself to check on him when I hear the third door. I know he's okay, as his hands still work, but when I round the corner from the bedroom, I'm surprised to see him standing by the front door.


Hoping he was just in the hall closet, I quickly ask him what he's been doing.

He plunks several rocks down onto a pile already forming on the white piano keys, gives me a sly smile, and exclaims:


While I was busy creating for Owen's birthday party, Owen himself was wandering around on the front porch by himself, happily collecting rocks. He even had the dusty backside to prove it. I can't even begin to describe the size of the lump in my throat when I reached that realization.

Thank God Owen is smart enough not to go gallivanting across the yard, but you and I both know this could have taken a different, much worse turn.

My friend Abby recently posted the contents of this fabulous blog post and it really resonated with me. (Go on, give it a read.) Too bad it didn't resonate enough. I do know things like this happen to all moms at some point and we end up laughing about it (maybe).

Lesson learned, I hugged him as hard as I could, and helped him carry his rocks into the living room. We counted them one by one. We stacked them into piles. We each picked our favorites. Not exactly rocket science, but at least we were together.

Work, party planning, blogging - it all can wait. It can wait until my kids are asleep or at school. When they are present and in need of my attention, I need to do better. I need to give it to them.

Step away from your computer, mama. Put down your phone and have a happy Tuesday. I know I will.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Owen's Top 5 at 2

I know the topic of the week has been bright and smiling Owen Charles Bauer, but hey, can you blame me? It's his second birthday today and also, he's awesome. A win-win all around, really.

In my post earlier this week, I wrote a letter to my baby boy - you know, the one who is quickly slipping into childhood. Though it's sad to admit that my baby is growing up, it's time to move on from the sappy and focus on the fantastic little person who lives down the hall.

Therefore, in honor of that awesome night two years ago (you know, the one where I delivered a gigantic baby), I'm offering a sneak peek into everything Owen. In a top five format, no less.

Top Five Songs

(Yes, there's a commercial next to a rap song. You can't fault him for eclectic tastes.)
  1. "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show
  2. "Cruise" by Florida-Georgia Line
  3. "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore (Don't Google the lyrics. Edited version only, I swear.)
  4. "Stompeez Theme" by the Makers of Stompeez
  5. "Tonight Tonight" by Hot Chelle Rae

Top Five Activities
(I wanted to make a five-point list of only number one, but I figured that wasn't fair.)
  1. "Yellow!" (drawing)
  2. "Play outside? Slide? Wing? ROCKS?"
  3. "Baby's turn!" (not sharing)
  4. "Play toys!"
  5. "WOODY BUZZ!" (watching Toy Story)

Top Five Foods
(This was a hard one. The kid loves to eat.)
  1. "Nuggets, fies, bapples, milk, toy." (McDonald's order)
  2. "Joots? Watoo? Milk?"
  3. "Dooties, peas? (Translation: Cookies, please?)
  4. "Booties, peas?" (Translation: Fruit Loops, please?)
  5. "BEANS!"

Top Five Sayings
(This is not an overuse of exclamation points. It's seriously the way he talks.)
  1. "Hi Mom-Mom! Hi Daddy! Hi Nate!"
  2. "Bwess you, Mom-Mom!"
  3. "Mumpmeeps gone?!" (he's still missing the pumpkin patch)
  4. "Rainy day? Sunny day? RAINY DAAAAAAY!!"
  5. "Wawee, are you??" (always losing that blanket of his)

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Birthday Cowpoke

My favorite little cowpoke sure had a rootin', tootin' good time celebrating his second birthday.

From the piles of sugar and nut-free trail mix to the piles of new toys he got out of the deal, I'd say the party was a success in his eyes. Thank you so much to all our friends and family who came out and made my baby boy's day.

Hope you have an awesome weekend, partner. Look for the full party post on Monday. Yeehaw!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Week 22

Week: Twenty-two
Size: Spaghetti Squash (length, I'm told)
Feeling: Great!
Symptoms: All this uterus stretching is make me sore, but that's about it.
Maternity Clothes: Rockin' em. Ready to get away from these big sweaters.
Sleep: I've actually had a sleepier week than usual.
Gender: I sure hope it's still a girl, because there's a ton of pink piling up.
Movement: Yep. Not enough to share, though.
What I Miss: Nothing that I can think of at the moment.
What I Want: I'm all set. Breakfast burrito and large Coke at my desk, kid to kindergarten on time, and baby boy playing at my feet.
Best Moment this Week: Playing outside! We've had a couple of spring-like days this week and it's been a blast to keep my house neat, tidy, and toy-free as we go on adventures outside, throwing pine cones into the creek and rocks into the mud. We come in absolutely disgusting. Nathan has to repeat his mantra "God made dirt and dirt won't hurt," but Owen seems to dive in headfirst. :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Two Letters {Part Two}

{In honor of Owen's second birthday this weekend (sob!), I decided to slow down from busy party planning and take time to write letters to the two babies my family celebrates each March. Part one here.}

If I weren't pregnant right now, this would be confusing. This was taken on February 3, 2010. The tangible proof of my baby in heaven.

Dear Angel,

I can't believe it's been three years since we walked out of my wonderful doctor's office, leaving tears in his eyes and holes in our hearts. You came in the form of a positive pregnancy test in early February and left quickly in the form of an empty gestational sac in March.

I always tell people that the tiniest souls, the smallest people can leave the biggest impacts on our lives. (You know that good and well now that you have a little buddy up there to play with).

My heart will not completely heal from your loss, but you sure taught me to let it grow. It may sound cheesy, but the day you died, my soul awoke. I could hurt worse than ever before, but, baby, I can love harder because of you.

The day you left I took your big brother into my arms and squeezed him tight, praying for much more time than I had with you. I opened my heart to new life and gave birth to your baby brother exactly one year to the day you left. Anybody can call it a coincidence, but I'm pretty sure you are the one who made that connection happen.

Don't worry, I didn't mind the five days overdue thing at all. Promise!

And now, sweet angel, you are going to have a baby sister. Aren't you excited? You probably know her better than I do. Before God sent her down to me, I can picture the two of you laughing and dancing. I'm sad you aren't here to spend a life on Earth with her, but the life we'll all spend together one day will be incredible. And it will be for all of eternity.

It's hard for me to bring up these thoughts and these feelings and to share these words with the friends and family who love me and love you, but I want so badly to remember. I want to remember the heartbreak I experienced three whole years ago because I want to remember just how hard I loved you and just how much I wanted you.

Since you're gone, my life has taken a path that would not have been possible with you here. There is no way to prove this path is better or worse than what could have been, but I love it. It's my life and it's full of the people I love.

Knowing you're watching over us daily makes it that much sweeter.

I miss you, sweet baby, and I will always love you, but I thank you for showing me what true love means. You're where you are supposed to be and one day, I pray I'll be there, too.

"In these bodies we will live,
in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love,
you invest your life.

Awake my soul...
Awake my soul...
Awake my soul...
For you were made to meet your maker."

- Mumford and Sons "Awake My Soul"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Two Letters {Part One}

{In honor of Owen's second birthday this weekend (sob!), I decided to slow down from busy party planning and take time to write letters to the two babies my family celebrates each March. Part two here.}

If I weren't already pregnant, my uterus would be screaming right about now.

Dear Owen,

My sweet baby son, my laughter, my joy, I see the change in you every day. I can see that my baby is leaving and a spunky little kid is joining the family. You're soon going to take your rightful place as middle child and protective big brother to Baby Nora, but for now, you're my Baby Owen.

Two years ago on this date, you were due to arrive. You were big, you were healthy, but you weren't ready to let go. You wanted to stay as close to your mama for as long as possible. So much that you had to be evacuated five days later. I still see this in you and I love it. I didn't mind the closeness we shared then (honest!) and I do not mind it now.

It's when you pile your beloved blanket into your arms and lock your big brown eyes with mine. You climb onto my lap and I wrap my arms around your entire body, trying to trap you in this age and even shrink you back down to nine pounds, three ounces.

It's when I walk into your nursery on Friday afternoon after hearing you sing into the monitor. I see your thick, ruffled hair and a sleepy smile spreading cheek to cheek. Your short arms reach for me and you look so small in the crib. You still need me and you have no idea how much I need you.

It's when you and I are on the couch at night, you watching my mouth and trying to repeat every word and keep your eyes open. As you struggle to stay awake, your head lands on my shoulder and a quiet "mama" slips through your lips.

It is in these moments (and millions more) that I know how much you mean to me. And a desperate, immeasurable kind of love washes over me.

Watching you grow into a precocious, funny little boy over the past two years has been a blast. I have no doubt that you are going to be as cool of a kid as Nathan has turned out to be.

Sure, you provide a ton of comic relief in this family and enough stories to fill a book, but you're more than a silly kid. You love as hard as you play and your compassion shines in all you do, whether through your concern for your brother's tears or a chipper "Morning!" to all you meet.

You will grow up fast. You will be two years old. You will soon ditch the diapers, climb into a toddler bed, and stand watchful guard over your baby sister. For now though, dear Owen, you are my baby.

For now I will take you up in my arms with your blanket in tow and I will hug you for as long as you will let me.

I pray that it's forever.

Love you to the moon, twice around, and back.

"Grow up now,
My darlin.
Please don't you grow up too fast.
And be sure, darlin,
To make all the good times last.

Because we made you,
My darlin,
With the love in each of our hearts.
We were a family, my darlin,
Right from the start."

- Wilco "My Darling"