Friday, December 28, 2012

He's here

Gavin Steven Bower





More to come once we get some sleep, and can form coherent thoughts and sentence structure.

Friday, December 14, 2012

lil' Mama

Avery has been into changing diapers lately. This is her changing Elmo. 


She talks to him, like I talk to her when changing her diaper. 


It really is very cute. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Missing Minnesota

This time of year always makes me miss my mom and dad's house. I got a text from my dad the other night looking for gift ideas for mom {ooops, sorry Dad, just outed you! Dad, check your email}, and saying that he wished we lived closer so we could do our shopping on Christmas Eve like we used to when I was growing up. Not gonna lie, I choked up a bit. I miss my dad....and I am super hormonal. 
{I started to cry after spilling a small glass of water last week}

2010: Avery and PaPa

Inevitably, he would wait until the last minute, and we would rush out and get Mom's presents. Usually we did really well at finding gifts, but we sometimes hit snags. Once we stopped at the food court in the mall to eat before we started shopping, only to hear the announcement that the mall would be closing in 30 min. We ate really fast that day. There was also a habit of finding the perfect gift for himself while looking for mom. New boots ring a bell, Dad?!

While we were out shopping, my Mom was in the kitchen baking up goodies listening to the Elvis Christmas album. 



Sigh... I miss this. Really, really miss this. Normally, I would find some time to get up there this time of year, but with the impending baby, I haven't been to my mom and dad's since early October. We are postponing our family Christmas until the end of January, so that we can come up, see the extended family and all celebrate together, since we will be getting home from the hospital on Christmas Eve this year. Thankfully my parents will be down soon for the birth of their first grandson. 

I can't wait...I am not to old to say that I miss my mommy and daddy :)


Monday, December 10, 2012

We made apps.

Avery and I had the day to ourselves again on Saturday, with Tony working. We had seen on the Pioneer Woman show that morning an interesting appetizer that she was making. After our day of playing, cleaning, and napping, we decided to make them for when Daddy got home. Luckily we had all the ingredients on hand.


{We did make the substitution to use Ritz crackers, rather than club crackers, as that is all I had on hand.}

Avery, of course helped immensely in the kitchen.


We got her a pan from her kitchen set and she was making her own "batch"



Tony said the house smelled awesome when he walked in...which made me feel like a very good wife. Making the house smell good for her hardworking husband when he got home...as you can tell, I lean toward the old-fashioned, traditional wifely role. .... I call it auditioning for stay-at-home mom. Which, unfortunately would mean these hours he is putting in would be the norm, to support me staying home with our babies. So...probably not gonna happen.

Back to the appetizers, they were a little different, but good. I would make and serve them again. Probably at a sports or holiday party. For sure when my brother Mike is in attendance, as Bacon is one of his major food groups. 


We would rate them a solid B. I liked the Parmesan ones a bit better than the brown sugar ones. Tony preferred the brown sugar. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

All I want for Christmas :: Pay it forward

Each year Tony's office adopts a family from Children's Cancer Connection. This is a fantastic charity that helps families with children dealing with all forms of cancer. 


We are huge champions of this charity, and feel strongly about it's cause. Every year, for the last 5 or so years,  we donate to, and help organize the charity golf tournament, help with an adopted family's needs at Christmas, and often donate cash at various other times during the year to help fund kids scholarships to camp. 

I am writing about this now because this year, I told Tony that I don't want any gifts for Christmas. I have everything I could possibly want with a happy healthy family, and a new baby on the way. Our adopted family this year is a single mom with a teenage son fighting cancer. I can't imagine the strength this fellow mom must have, to deal with this on her own. I told Tony that I would rather help this family and another, in lieu of any kind of gift. 

You too can help a family by visiting 





As some of you know, I read quite a few other blogs. 



Some are about design:  




some are other mom's:
Fly Through Our Window



some are to get recipes



some are random




some I know in real life,
our crazy ever after



and some I have made friends with via the Internet {not as scary as I thought!}
4KOTTEZ



On one of my favorite lifestyle, weight loss blogs is..
.Mama Laughlin



 she has organized a 12 days of Christmas Pay it Forward campaign:
button

In reading these stories of families in need this holiday season, I stumbled upon a FAMILY HERE IN DES MOINES . They are a local family with the youngest being born with renal {kidney} failure. He is now a year old and has already spent a 1/3 of his life in the hospital. As I read this story, I had tears streaming down my face. With Avery being 2, and a new baby about to be here, I couldn't help but feel for this family. It may be the hormones, but I attribute it to being a mom. I could not imagine having a small baby needing to be in the hospital so much for tests, dialysis, and other procedures. I knew that I wanted to help them, even if I had never met them.

Here is the mom's blog:
Teddy Bears Journey

and fundraising site to help with transplant, travel, and hospital costs:
Fundraise for Teddy

Tony and I discussed it, and we want to help this family. We will be donating to the fundraise website, in addition to helping the Children's Cancer Connection family I mentioned above.

If you are so inclined, please pay it forward this holiday season.

Cheers, and Happy Holidays!




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Soaking it in


Avery and I got some quality time in this weekend. I have been trying to soak in every last moment with her as an only child. I am starting to feel a little sentimental about our family of 3 becoming a family of 4. Don't get me wrong, we are so, so excited about our little man joining us soon, but we realize that Avery's world is about to get rocked. 


We took advantage of a warm weekend, that kicked off December {!}, and went to the park for a while. Tony has been working insane hours lately for a deadline, and was at the office on Saturday. Avery and I had the whole day to ourselves, and I just soaked it in. I know that after the c-section, I won't be able to lift her for a while, and that I will be in the hospital and caring for her baby brother. She may not understand all of that, even if she does know that baby brother is coming soon. 


She is such a little caretaker. She made me "lunch" from her kitchen on Saturday too. She asks what is wrong, when I groan, or have a hard time getting up off the floor from playing with her. She has been putting her hands on my back and belly when I tell her that it hurts. She runs to get Daddy "to help Mommy" if I have a hard time getting up off the couch, chair, or floor. She is the sweetest little thing, and we are so excited for her to be a big sister. She is the funniest person we know, and having her in our lives made us want more...even if they are nothing like her. So even if she has a big adjustment coming her way, we have faith she can handle it, and rock at being the Big Sister. After all she is a huge reason that we wanted to have a second child, and so close in age to her as well. 

I grew up with 2 brothers and we are 3 years apart in total, so we were close growing up, and even if we don't live near each other now, I still consider us close. We wanted that for Avery and her sibling{s}. 

Making Steve and Carrie Laue proud since 1981!

So with a little over 2 weeks to go, and a ton of stuff left to do to get what I would consider "ready", here we are. Wish us luck...



Friday, November 30, 2012

Nesting

Large Marge here, 
36 weeks

I have more updates coming on the nursery, the living room mini re-do, pregnancy...just bear with me. Tony is working crazy hours and I am 3 weeks out from having our second kid. I feel super accomplished that I got Avery's birthday party post out less than a week after it happened.


There is nesting happening around Casa Bower....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Avery!


Our sweet girl turned 2 recently, and we had a party for her after Thanksgiving. We made the executive decision not to to travel to MN this year for Thanksgiving. I am so close to our due date, and we are measuring ahead, so we thought it best if we could wrangle my family into a visit to Iowa for Thanksgiving and Avery's birthday. It worked, and it was so nice to host my family for a bit in our home...but enough about that, on to Avery's party!


We made some little favor bags for the kids in attendance...since we can totally relate/understand how hard it can be for some kids to watch others open presents. This way, Avery was able to share some loot. Each bag had a Sesame Street straw, some small candy, crayons, a small notebook, and a few favor type toys I picked up cheap at the party store. I think they were a hit. 

Avery has been into Elmo and other Sesame Street characters lately, so we went with that for the theme, albeit very low key....


Avery's cousin's were helping. They love Avery, and we loved having them over for an afternoon. Bre, my rockstar sister-in-law brought the girls down for the party, even though my brother had to work. 



The crew that helped me, since my mom kept telling me the best way to help was to sit and put my feet up. Mom's are the best. 

We had to do a little re-arranging of our living room to accommodate a special gift...


We moved the tall bookshelf over to the left of the fireplace to open up a corner of our living room...


About a year ago, my father in law was on Price is Right! He was selected to go up, and he won! He bid on a Pottery Barn Kids kitchen, won, and then went on to win a real appliance set. I don't have video to link you to, but I will work on that. 

So we have been saving this kitchen set in our basement for almost a year, waiting until Avery was old enough to appreciate it, and play with it. Don and Linda were really excited to give it to her, and came over during her nap before the party to put it together. 



{I just realized I should have edited these pictures a bit, the lighting is horrendous}


{I will do another post soon, about the changes to our living room. A pretty cool gift for Avery, means I get to play around with the decor in our living room. A room that has been a bit neglected with the whole new baby/nursery goings on...}

To say Avery loves the kitchen is a huge understatement. Everyone was aware of what she was getting, so some of her gifts included toy food, cooking utensils, pots, pans, and shopping carts. I think I might need to make a little store this weekend and we can take her baby to the grocery store. She has been cooking us food every night this week. It is adorable. 


 Don and Linda found her a personalized plaque to label her kitchen too...


The party was a hit, she got some very fun toys and really cute clothes, but best of all was that all of her family was there to celebrate her. She had a ball playing with her cousins, and the neighbor girls, whom she absolutely adores. 








After the gift extravaganza, we ate some sandwiches and meatballs {recipe to come...they were a big hit}, and hit the cupcakes to sing a little Happy Birthday to our girl. 


She wore that apron most of the day after opening it. 






We had such fun that day. We let Avery go nuts with a cupcake or two, and then she just played and played with her new toys. 





She also got in on our Trivial Pursuit game we had going later that night...


Rob still wouldn't let her win. 



My brother and sister in law are expecting their 3rd {and maybe 4th?? the doctor thought she heard a second heartbeat, but we won't know until they do an ultrasound!} child next spring. We had to get a bump picture while we could, since I think this is the last I will see of her until the baby comes. 


Happy Birthday sweet girl!