Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In the Rain

For those of you who live around these parts, these pictures don't make any sense when you compare them to the incredible blue skies and crisp air that's waiting on the other side of your office windows.

If you'll recall, though, it rained on Friday. For the first time in a very long time. It was a slow, steady, all-day-long kind of rain. No thunder, no lightning, just rhythmic drips pooling in the dry creek beds and puddles, making the very smell of heaven waft through my cracked doors and windows. {That sounds dramatic, but heaven. Seriously.}

Therefore, when Owen asked if he could play outside in the rain, what kind of mom would I be to say no? I readied a towel and let him loose. He stood on the back patio with his head tilted skyward and his mouth wide open. He laughed as his shaggy hair swung raindrops every way and watched as the water made patterns on his dinosaur shirt {which he soon lost}.

Although I'm a few days late posting these, I figured you might need a dose of cute on this gorgeous Tuesday morning. Also, insert something philosophical about dancing in the rain both figuratively and literally here.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Nora

{look at that freshly-baptized cuteness!}

This Sunday, Nora June's godfather held her over the baptismal font as her friends and family watched. The holy water washed over her sweet head as the priest blessed her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Even though she's just two months old, at that moment, Nora became new.

We had an incredible weekend, y'all. Friends from across town, all over Arkansas, and a whole state over packed into the front pews of our little church with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. They were there to support our baby daughter on her very special Baptism Day. Decked in the same pretty white gown I wore a mere 29 years ago, Nora looked beautiful. After professing our faith along with her godparents, Tim and Rebecca, we told Father Alphonse what we wished for our daughter. We asked for her to be baptized into the Catholic faith, to receive blessings for a wonderful future as a child of the Lord, and to start her journey in faith.

She was not the happiest baby during all of this, but she later said she was crying with the joy of the Holy Spirit. I believed her.

{Also, she totally stopped the minute the water touched her. Thanks, Jesus!}

Once her little head was wiped, she was presented as the newest member of our church's parish and the choir sang a song that actually included her name. Then I forced every single family member and friend who showed up to cram together in the front of the church and say cheese for this epic photo:

One of my kids is looking in another direction and another is screaming at the top of her lungs, but despite that I'd say it was a success. And it's one of my favorites from the weekend. I wanted to be able to remember that Nora was loved by so many on this special day and a photo of their faces usually does the trick. We're a good-looking bunch, aren't we?

Once I finally released everyone from their photo op positions {after several family variations and poses, of course}, we all loaded up and traveled to my parents' house for an amazing luncheon of soup and salad. Now, earlier in the week my mom and I talked decorations. For the boys' baptisms we didn't really go all out. We just made sure everyone was fed and had a place to sit. I shared these memories with her and told her I didn't plan to fancy up the place at all. She asked if she could do a little and I told her to knock her socks off.

Let's just say she wasn't wearing any socks.

I didn't take many pictures of the decorations because there were close to 30 people to mingle with and my poor Nora was a little fussy and in need of snuggles. I'll paint you a picture, though. I know how much you like that. Imagine white lacy tablecloths embroidered with tiny pink and blue flowers draped across three large tables in the living room. Pink roses and white snap dragons were arranged in a bouquet and in small vases surrounded by pink napkins on the food table. Oh, the food table. Yummy crusty bread, delicious meats and cheeses, three different hot soups, fruit, veggies, and the most gorgeous baptism cake you ever did see!

{Look closely at Owen's finger in the photo on the right. You see it? Yes. Yes, he did.
Also, best family photo ever. Oh, that Nathan.}

After we all had our fill and then some, most of us adjourned to the back porch to enjoy the summery September weather. We watched all of our kids play together and talked about how odd it was that we were grown-ups, a common conversation when with friends we've known since we were Nathan's size. They played on the swing set until the sweat was dripping and kept going back for more. As we watched, we happened to notice that out of the six godparents we have chosen for our children, five were present. Therefore, I demanded to capture the moment. My brother had to work in another state, but he was going to be in the photo, too. Make. It. Work.

{Click to enlarge and see how smashing Tommy looked at his wedding.
He just happened to wear the same suit to Nora's baptism.}

Bridget and Tommy go with Nathan, Abby and Scott go with Owen, and Tim and Rebecca are the newest members of the club, helping nurture Nora in her faith. Not to toot my own horn, but I think we made some spectacular choices. All six of these people are big parts of my life and the lives of my family. Whether it's through support in my church, someone I've known since the day he was born, or kids who became our brothers and sisters in the second grade, they are part of who we are. They have helped shaped our character and our faith and I can't wait to watch them do the same for my children. For me, this is what being a godparent is all about. It's not just sitting in the pew together, it's helping these kids become more like Jesus Christ in everything they do.

I wish this for all of three of them and I thank each one of you who have vowed to help in this journey.

I pray that I can improve my faith as my babies grow in theirs.

Happy Baptism, Nora June!

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Bauer Bunch, Officially

Looks like I have a new home, y'all!

If you haven't noticed, things have been changing around here. When we found out Nora would be the first little Bauer girl, I knew yet another blog name change was in order. I tossed around several ideas {some ridiculous, I'll spare you}, and it took me forever to reach a decision - long after the Bauer Boys became the Bauer Boys + Girl. I didn't want the name to change too much and I wanted it to be something that would stick with my family for life. After going round and round, I settled on the most obvious answer: Life With the Bauer Bunch because, you know, we're all a little bananas, anyway.

I also wanted to get away from the URL I created when this blog was all Nathan, all the time during his heyday of being the only child. I needed a new domain. So when I contacted Aliya Rinaldi of Aliya Rinaldi Designs and Double the Fun {go read her blog, it's hilarious and her kiddos are ridiculously cute!}, she was happy to fix me up with a new home and an awesome new look. Without further ado, I present the following:


Ta-dah! Pretty darn official, am I right? If you have this page linked on your Web site or bookmarked on your browser {God bless you!}, feel free to change it to this new address. However, if you just LOVE being reminded of the adorable ball of fun Nathan is and you refuse to go along with the update, never fear. It will still redirect you right where you need to be. You can also click the links under Connect on the sidebar to hang out with me on different parts of the Internet. Fun!

Aliya did an awesome job making my little corner of the world wide web a lovely place to be, didn't she? I love the new look, but rest assured the content will not change. I'll continue to blog about the trials, joys, and exhaustion of parenting this little bunch of mine, from Owen's latest shenanigans to Nora's rapid-fire growth. Expect cute pictures, funny quotes, and other random thoughts that need to be emptied from my mind. Don't worry. It'll be fun.

Also, if you do have this linked on your site for some reason, grab my button from the sidebar and use as needed. Thanks!

Happy Wednesday, y'all - from the entire Bauer Bunch!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

{Five on} Friday the 13th

{Linking up again with Darci at The Good Life Blog.
Come join me. It'll be fun!}

It's time for a little Five on Friday, Friday the 13th edition.

I am starting this post at 10:00 AM. So far this morning, I have been covered in spit-up twice. Once was a freebie. The second time was just rude {and occurred immediately after the cleanup of incident one}. Then I noticed a brown substance smeared all over my leg, the chair, and the carpet. I did not taste it, but I assure you it was not chocolate. Let's just say it was definitely not newborn poop. Thanks a lot, buddy.

Therefore, as I sit at my computer and listen to one disgusting load of laundry bounce around in the washing machine, it's time to take a breath and remember why I love Fridays - bad luck and all! This week's countdown shall be known as Jessica's Friday Favorites.

ONE: Pajamas. Even though I've changed T-shirts a couple of times this morning, there is nothing stopping me from going to the closet for a fresh one. Friday is the one weekday I don't make my commute to the office and I do my best to make the most of it. Despite the fact that 2/3 of my children often prevent me from lounging in my lounge wear {or exercising in my exercise shorts, but that's another story}, pajamas are the official uniform. Even in the car line. Ask around.

TWO: This. If I were at work I'd miss a few of these moments interspersed between the screaming and puking:

THREE: Leisurely Breakfasts. Each Friday morning after we race to get Nathan shipped off to the first grade, we slow the pace and head to McDonald's. Owen gets a hash brown and his favorite sausage patty and I get an extra large shot of vanilla-flavored fuel. Nora typically likes to ride in the car so it's a nice way to spend the first few minutes of the day. Then I make my way home to enjoy a breakfast date with the smaller Bauer boy as the Bauer girl naps in her car seat. I know chaos will soon come knocking, but those few moments are bliss.

FOUR: Cleaning. If you've ever known me at any point in my life, you know good and well that every thing has a place and if it's not there, I'm crazy. My life is a little busier than normal these days and you have no idea the knife in my heart it is to rush through the door on work days, leaving dirty clothes mountains and crushed-in-the-carpet Cheerios. Although the rare relaxation of a weekday off is incredible, so is an empty hamper, a lemony fresh toilet bowl, and a sink I can see myself in. Y'all. It's the little things.

FIVE: Twelve. Thirty. This is the time that Nora's bottles have been washed, what's left of Owen's lunch has been cleared and both have {hopefully} given in to an afternoon nap. As Owen's last pleas for help are heard from behind his bedroom door, I can settle into the couch with a lunch of either half-eaten grilled cheese, microwave popcorn, or a Lean Cuisine if I'm feeling fancy. I can watch something that involves real human beings on the television or lose myself in the laptop. Inevitably this will end too quickly so right now I'm going to savor it. If you'll excuse me, I've got a date with Zack Morris and the recliner.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Place

Once again, the most artistic member of the Bauer Bunch has swept the competition. After a walk around the County Fair, a round of balloon darts and a basket of fried goodness, Nathan found out he secured another first place win.

Too bad he was gunning for second.

After last year's award-winning pig drawing, I would have been surprised if a little slip of paper wasn't tucked safely in his agenda book to tell me he had art selected for submission. I would have been surprised if his name wasn't printed on an awesome drawing hanging in the exhibit hall. I honestly would have been surprised if it didn't have a bright blue sticker on it, too!

What ended up surprising me the most was my kid's reaction.

I was anxious to hear the results as the sweaty boys slumped through the door yesterday afternoon. I asked Jonathan how Nathan did and he told me there was a first place sticker on this free-handed horse drawing. I started speaking in the high-pitched method I use when I'm desperate to convey my excitement to my children, yet there was no reciprocation on Nathan's part. He said he was proud and he loved his drawing, but muttered something about hoping for second place this year.

Upon further discussion, I tried my best to explain that even though two is more than one, first is better than second. {Life all made sense up until now, didn't it?} As I was failing to convince my sweet child that he not only did great, he did the best, I said something that caught his ear. I told him that first place meant his drawing was better than most of the others.


"Mom, that doesn't sound very nice! I don't know if I want to be first place."

That's when it hit me that it didn't matter to him. And I felt embarrassed that it mattered so much to me. I want him to strive to do his best. I want him to win the ribbon, ace the test, make the goal, and be proud of it. That's when I thought about how I would react if he didn't.

What if that cute little horse had a red ribbon affixed to it? Or no ribbon at all? I wouldn't care. I would not be disappointed and I would not love this kid any less. All the poor boy wanted to do was look at his friends' drawings and eat a funnel cake. It's the same with soccer. Win, lose or draw, Nathan and friends are just happy to be there. Half of the time they don't know the score. They don't know who won at the end of the game. They just want to kick the ball around, high-five their buddies, and suck down a juice box on the way to the car.

I love this age. The innocence that comes naturally is something I want to bottle up for all us know-it-all grownups. I know competition is healthy and you better believe I'll be on the sidelines cheering these kids on for the rest of their lives. First will always be best, but can't we be okay with second sometimes, too? Can't we focus more on beating our personal best than beating everyone else? Can't we let our kids know that we aren't perfect and we don't expect them to be, either?

Sorry to gush, y'all, but once again the child has taught the parent a lesson. Nathan strives to be better than he was before. Being better than the other kids never crossed this six-year-old's mind. I could stand to ride this train of thought. Couldn't you? No matter what, I want Nathan to do what he loves, work hard for what he wants, and always be proud of his best.

Winning isn't everything, but it's still pretty impressive. ;)

{Go, Nathan!}

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nora {Two Months}

{Oh, hi! Did your heart just explode with joy? Good. My work here is done.}

Nora June Bauer doesn't miss many meals, if you know what I'm sayin.

This little chunk is really starting to fill out when you compare the above pictures to the ones I took a month ago. She has rolls in places they did not exist before and I am loving every squishy second. People keep telling me she looks more and more like her brothers {namely the biggest one} and I think the extra fluff has a little something to do with that. True to the Bauer Baby Tradition, I knew there was no way Nora would remain petite. As you can see, she's starting to prove her mama right.

Other than being the most adorable baby on the block, here are a few more Nora style current events, hand-picked just for you:

  • Nora had her two-month appointment yesterday and weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds, 15 ounces. Still a far cry from Owen at this age, but she's catching up. Newborn clothes are long gone.
  • She was in the 37th percentile for both weight and height and the 91st percentile for head circumference. Umm... I think I'd better size up on my next headband order. 
  • Not only did Nora get her first shots, she got her first prescription, too. Double boo. Breathing treatments and antibiotics for this pretty little girl with a terrible cough.
  • Even sick, this baby love's grin can light up a room. It's still hard to catch on camera, but she can work it. It starts in her eyes and her whole face glows. I melt. You would, too.
  • On the gross front, the spit-up volcanoes are rare {I've probably just jinxed myself}. On the other end *ahem* things aren't so pretty. Fair Warning: don't stand downwind of her.
  • This weekend Nora will don the baptismal gown I wore 29 years ago and be blessed in front of our home parish. It's going to be pretty awesome. There will be lots of friends, family, and cake. And a million pictures. Get ready!
  • Nora cannot make so much as a squeak without a Bauer boy in her face. Literally. Owen has started to scale the changing table just so he doesn't miss anything Baby Sisser does. I guess she just has to deal 'til she can crawl away.
  • The beautiful blue eyes have stuck around so far. Sometimes I think they're getting darker but other times the light hits them just right and they're crystal clear. Who knows where they'll end up, but they're gorgeous.
  • No bald spots have formed just yet and that hair of hers is still growing - straight up. This little chicken's 'do is still a crazy combination of blonde-brown-red.

Baby Nora wishes y'all a terrific Tuesday!

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Life's Grand

Today we honor the parents of our parents. Those awesome people who always have quarters in their pockets, candy in their kitchens, and room on their laps.

Maybe you see them every day or maybe you haven't heard their voices in decades, but I bet I spark a memory when I mention the incredible way grandparents make you feel.

I'm blessed to have two grandmas who still think my fellow grandkids and I hung the moon. And they both still have an endless supply of treats and praise. There's something special about hearing the good in your life sung from the mouth of a grandparent that makes it sound amazing. I am a much better person in their eyes than in my own.

I really need to visit my grandmas more often.

And not just because I'm 100% sure both still have a chocolate stash beneath their kitchen counters.

Although I love how young and full of life my grandmas make me feel, one of the coolest things about becoming a mom has been watching my own parents take on a new role. My parents and in-laws are superhero grandparents and this bunch is one lucky crew. Whether it's unlimited babysitting, an extra push on the swing, or a tight-as-possible hug, they are there. My three are enamored with their grandparents with good reason.

As I tried to think of a way to honor these four people who fill my children with love, life, and chocolate milk, I realized I needed a different point of view. I was in need of a guest blogger. Below, Nathan has listed his favorite things about his grandparents. {Owen and Nora both said they wholeheartedly agree.}

  1. I like to go swimming with her at her house. She swims so fast and teaches me, too.
  2. She is very helpful, like when I say, "Nana, I accidentally spilled my drink," she just comes and cleans it up.
  3. Me and Owen like to play Legos with her.
  4. She is really good at cooking steak and macaroni and cheese.
  5. When she goes to church she wears sparkly necklaces and looks really pretty.

  1. She takes me shopping for toys sometimes when my mom doesn't.
  2. When she gives me hugs she always squeezes really tight.
  3. I love to make her laugh whenever I do funny voices and funny faces.
  4. She has a Kindle Fire and she has a game called poo (it's not about poop or anything).
  5. We really love to play Lincoln Logs together. She builds houses better than my dad.

  1. I like to go on Jeep rides with him. Last time he spotted a locust shell.
  2. He is really good at telling jokes and he taught me the one about the boogie.
  3. He lets me play his iPad and I really like Plants vs. Zombies.
  4. He's super good at playing the guitar.
  5. One time he taught me to burn leaves with a magnifying glass for a science lesson.

  1. Sometimes we sit on the couch and watch Ninja Turtles together. I'm pretty sure his favorite guy is Mikey.
  2. He's really good at video games and I like to play Harry Potter with him all the time.
  3. I like the way he cooks hamburgers for me.
  4. We like to play outside together and he has a REAL big airplane we fly.
  5. I love it when we go together to the donut store. I always get blueberry.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Five on Friday

{Once again I am linking up with Darci over at The Good Life Blog for another fabulous Five on Friday.
Click the image at the bottom of this post to see what other bloggers have to say and then add your own. Go on... Do it!}

It's Friday, shortly after noon. My house is clear of Pop Tart debris, dirty clothes, and bottles containing curdled formula. Nora is resting and Owen is laughing at videos of himself on my phone. I've not written much lately and I will blame it on brain overload. Why don't I just dump a little of that information out in Five on Friday fashion? Here we go.

ONE: As I mentioned before, first grade is tough. Although the kindergarten of today is a far cry from the naps and coloring of yesteryear, this is a different world. Nathan has to work independently, turn in homework without being reminded, and prepare for the dreaded bubble tests. He even has to take a weekly comprehension test during which he reads the book and the test by himself. My BABY! That first day was a shocker, but I'm proud to say he's doing better. The kid even aced his first spelling, math, and reading tests. {If only he could remember to bring home his lunchbox.}

TWO: My SIL is back in town! After a six-year stint in Maine, Jonathan's sister has returned to replant her roots in Arkansas soil. She's living in Conway to be close to her parents once again and although we're still a good two hours from central Arkansas, it's nice to know his entire family is just a short drive away. I'm thrilled that she is getting to know her first niece fresh from the womb and the Bauer boys were able to jump right in like she'd been here all along. I very much look forward to seeing Jonathan spend time with his family as a whole. This a time when the Bauer Family Unit needs to be as strong as ever and I feel very blessed to be a part of it.

THREE: This. How could this not just brighten your day? Nora June is nearing her two-month mark and that sweet little personality is starting to shine. This is the first official picture I've gotten of a real, non-gassy smile. Isn't she precious?? I took both her and Owen to the doctor not too long ago as the coughs and sniffles have been going around. We found out that this petite miss has gained almost four pounds since birth. She doesn't miss many meals, y'all. Tune in next week for a full two-month report and think of me Monday when I take her for her first shots. I'd imagine it doesn't get any more fun with the third kid.

FOUR: If you haven't noticed by now that the name of this blog has changed, you aren't really paying attention. I have converted from blogging about my favorite boys to writing about the family as a bunch, if you will. To go along with that name change, I'm currently working on a major overhaul on the design front. So far, I am loving the bright orange and blue theme that Aliya Rinaldi Designs is cooking up for me. We're close to being done and I'll soon have a pretty little corner of the Internet to call my own. Stay tuned for a complete update and the reveal of my new URL. Fancy, right?

FIVE: I've been back in the saddle at work for more than two weeks and thankfully, I haven't screwed up too much. Tuesday, however, was the first day all three of my kiddos were in the care of a non-family member. Nora is now staying with the lady who used to watch Owen. She's retired from the day care business, but needed something to fill the quiet time in her day. Nora doesn't care who feeds her or changes her as long as someone does it, so leaving her wasn't too tough. Owen was the hard one. Tears when I dropped him off and tears when I arrived. It's been two weeks at his new day care and he's starting to settle in. He's making new friends, the tears are slowing, and I live for the enormous hugs at pickup. And the best part? My Fridays look like this:

Have an awesome weekend, y'all!

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