Thursday, August 27, 2015

Take Three

Here we go again...the accidental, but now required, Bowden childhood tradition of donning a mushroom printed onesie, and taking a snooze on a giant bed while your mother stands over you snapping photos. You know, the usual. 




Left: Piper- 7 days old    //    Center: Finley- 13 days old    //    Right: Miller- 10 days old

With siblings, the comparison game is pretty much inevitable, especially at this stage. I don't want to raise any of them in the others' shadows, but comparing baby pictures is just adorable fun.

Everyone has been asking who Miller looks like (besides Dustin, duh) and so far I've been seeing a lot of Piper in him (it could be his tendency to furrow his brow...one of his big sister's signature moves). But he also has a bit more of a delicate-ness to him (you know, in a super manly way...) that is more reminiscent of Fin. And as I stare at him around 20 hours of every day, there are moments when he looks exactly like one of the girls (I get flashbacks to identical scenes or snapshots from their baby days), and times when he's just 100% him.

Some closer looks: 
Piper

Fin

Miller

Arghhh...too much cuteness. Is there anything better than a week old squishy babe?

It'll be interesting to see how he changes over the coming weeks and months. The girls' looks transformed a ton over time, so who he resembles could shift. I'm not holding out hope that he'll end up favoring my side of the family...the Bowden genes are strong (and cute, so no one is complaining!)...but I am excited to see this little guy grow and turn into his own unique little person- As long as he doesn't break my heart by rushing out of the newborn phase too quickly.

(And just for the record, I still predict that he's going to be a blonde).

Oh, and if you're wondering: yes, upon dressing him in this outfit, I did in fact repeat the "I'm a fun-guy" joke, pretty much all day. Never gets old (especially when your audience is a newborn).

P.S. Catch rounds one and two of this strange milestone.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Little Pip-speaks: The "Baby-talk" Edition

http://bowdenisms.blogspot.com/search/label/little%20pip-speaks


Bringing home a baby is a big adjustment, and for little ones who don't quite understand the whole concept, and struggle with change, it's a BIG adjustment. Thankfully though, the girls really love him, and have done pretty well with welcoming him into our family. But that doesn't mean they don't have some sassy things to say...(with our two girls, that's pretty much a given). Here are some of Piper's choice quips from my pregnancy, (and a few from after)...

Pip-speak #1: 

Piper {to a 9 months pregnant, and totally over it me}: My brother sure is making you not feel good. 

Pip-speak #2: 
G'mi: Are you excited about getting a brother? 
Piper: We don't really need him but he might be fun. 

Pip-speak #3: 
Piper {changing her tune slightly, and teaching me about babies}: I'm so excited! I want to see him. But I won't touch his face. Because it's fragile. And it could break. So you have to be gentle. He is really grubby.
Mama: Grubby? 
Piper: Yeah. Like this (grabs a pillow) 
Mama: Oh- grabby? Yes, he might be grabby. 
Piper: He has nails that are scratchy. Even if you can't see them, they will scratch you. Because he doesn't know. 

Pip-speak #4: 
Piper: Maybe when the baby is bigger like Finney they can be friends. 
Mama: Yeah. You can all be friends. 
Piper: If the boy baby is nice to me then I will.

Pip-speak #5:
 If we don't have baby milk we won't be able to feed the baby. 

Pip-speak #6:
Piper: We will be gentle with the baby because it's so little it's just born, and it can get bigger like Finny and they can be friends! And she can teach it her tricks! 
Mama: Like what? 
Piper: She can dance! She could teach it to dance! 

And after he arrived: 

Pip-speak #7:
Piper: Isn't it nice to be a big girl, and not a baby? Because babies are not that fun. They can't do much. They just cry. And they can't eat anything. Just milk. Not carrots or cheeseburgers. 

And I'll spare you the details, but "nipples" have been a popular topic around our house too (complete with Piper showing me hers...) I'm already cringing at the thought of when that's going to come up in public...it's only a matter of time.

Oh- and as for Fin- she's a little less interested in the whole thing (and a little more interested in herself)...so her quotes are a mix of concerned mini-mama, and demanding boss-lady: "Baby crying!", "I turn music on for him", "Put him in his seat!" Not sure if she'll be teaching him to dance anytime soon...

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

A room for Miller

I had a lot of big plans for last weekend, and then I ended up with even bigger plans, so all my little to-dos (and medium to-do's...and anything other than "have a baby" to-do's) sort of fell by the wayside. None of the tasks on my list were crucial though, and they all of course pale in comparison to the task of welcoming a new human, so even the things that seemed important then didn't matter much anymore.

So there will always be more things to get done around the house, but I'm thankful we managed to make as much progress as we did before Miller's arrival. I had thought he was going to arrive early, so I was forcing some of the nesting process to happen sooner than later. (Dustin was constantly questioning the need to update things like guest room lampshades, and hallway picture frames right now, but I was of the mindset that if we couldn't get it done before the baby, then there would be no way we'd do it after).

One of the questions we got a lot once we announced our pregnancy, was about where all the kids would sleep. We have four bedrooms, so the kids don't actually have to share but I like being able to keep a guest room, and always thought it would be fun to have the girls share (big reveal of their "big girl" room...someday...) so we planned to keep Fin's room as the nursery, and just shuffle everything/everyone around a bit. Typically we don't move our kids into their own room until they're at least around three months old, so we weren't really in any hurry to make the switch, but we did think it would be best to have Fin transition before the baby arrived, so she didn't associate him with getting kicked out of her space.

Enough background...on to the fun part!
Here's the official "before"...(excuse the rough picture quality saved from the original real estate listing)
The previous owners had it set up as a nursery, which was convenient for us. It's maybe not exactly what I would do in the space, but it's neutral, so we decided to work with it rather than spend time and money updating it right now. It's chocolate brown under the chair rail, with a subtle cream stripe above (all one color paint, alternating finish between flat and gloss).


We set it up for Fin using mostly pieces from her old nursery in Pittsburgh (which was a combo with our guest room) mixed with some of Piper's old stuff and curtains from our old master bedroom. It's a little bit of a mish-mash, but it all works together, AND all that reusing and swapping means it was free!

I haven't really done a good job documenting the decorating process in our home through photos so I don't have much to show for its set up previously, but it is featured for a hot second in our last video tour (with bonus footage of almost-naked baby Fin!). Since that video was shot, we made a few updates, mostly hanging some things on the walls, so it was more or less finished. And because it was so neutral, transitioning it to a boy's room was reallllly simple. Basically we did a couple picture frame swaps, and we were done!

Here's where we landed (for now...):


Right now we have Piper's baby quilt in there, but I have dreams of a making a new one for Miller, so hopefully that can happen soon! (I may not be a master, but I've certainly caught the quilting-bug!)

But don't pity our little hand-me-down baby too much, he does have a few new things just for him; including his very own Jelly! (time will tell if they bond as well as Fin and Jelly).

We set up a little nursing/reading nook that, to be honest, is mostly for show. In my experience I end up feeding my babies wherever we are at the time, and book-time with babies and toddlers is more of a crawling on the floor free-for-fall than a relaxing rocker affair. But who cares, because it looks pretty, right?!


One of the new (/vintage) things I'm in love with is this wire tray-turned-picture-frame. Dustin surprised me by having one of our friends paint a custom picture for Miller (depicting him with his sisters). It came with the cutest note from their whole family, and I think it's so cool to have something special from people we love. (For more awesome-ness, check out Megin's etsy shop...these two have more talent than I can even handle). I added Miller's name at the bottom with some vintage blocks we've had since Piper was born.

The frame holds a vintage poster that makes me laugh...I always think of the Ginuwine song (which I will not link to, out of respect to my young son's developing morals). And the wooden teether was a gift from a friend who owns the cutest shop of little handmade lovelies. 

In the corner we removed the closet door, and replaced it with a curtain, to save little fingers from getting smooshed between battling doors. (who puts doors back to back like that? such a maneuverability nightmare!)

The other side of the room is the dresser/changing table, and the gallery wall. We had this all set up for Fin, and just updated a few pieces to be slightly less girly. (I've always thought about painting that buffet- which was a cast-off from a friend, but we've used it in several different rooms, and I've never quite landed on a color for it. So for now...we leave it.)


In place of a couple of frames with sketches of girls, I hung a couple quick DIY's. One is a cardinal, in honor of our first Ohio baby (it's the state bird, for those of you not familiar). The art was done by a co-worker, and I decoupaged it to an old slice of wood I had on hand. I went semi-distressed with it...not sure if I love it, but it's cute for now, and I can always rework it later. (ha...we know that won't happen!)

The other is a pinterest inspired craft using pennies from the year of each of our births (and one from our wedding. Simple. Sweet. 6 cent cost. :)


And that's about it. Thanks for sitting through the virtual tour. It's fun for me to create special little spaces for our family, and it's extra fun to share them!

What little touches have you done in your kids' rooms that you're in love with? Anyone else have to transform a room for use by kids of each gender? I'd love to see or hear about it!

P.S. Check out more of our house posts- new and old- here.
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Meet: Miller August

Well how 'bout that. A minute ago I was hoping our little guy would arrive early...and what? He did! (If he wanted to win Best Listener of the Bowden kids, then mission accomplished). Introducing

Miller August Bowden 
8/15/15, 10:03am, 8lbs 5oz, 20" long

At only 3 days old, he might be a little young for a FAQ, but who can resist hearing all about a new baby? So here is a little about the things we've been asked so far:

How did you come up with his name? (Variations: like, the beer? Because he was born in August?) 
Yes. And yes.  J/k. Kinda. He's certainly not named after a beer. But we're aware of the association and ready for the inevitable "Miller time!" comments. (Though I don't promise to laugh every time). I came across it as an option a while ago and for some reason it just stuck out as a favorite. Dustin wasn't quite sure, but he eventually came around (as he does to most of my genius ideas...) and it became the front runner. I was nervous about not having any formal ties to the name (it's not a family name, as far as we're aware) but in the end we just liked the sound of it, and how it fit with the girls' names. So Miller was the winner. 

As for the middle name. We actually had a different name in mind but after he was born I just wasn't sure. This drove Dustin crazy, of course (he was ready to announce his son to the world and my indecisiveness was cramping his style!) We had August on the list but never loved it enough to make it a first name. I knew we wouldn't use it if he was born at the beginning of September- it seemed odd to me to have missed the timing connection by so little and still go with it, but we didn't just pick it because of his early birthday. It was another "just felt right" kind of decision, and while I'm still getting used to saying it out loud, I hope he grows into it and eventually likes it as much as we do.





What will you call him? 
So far his most common nickname is Fin. But that's mostly because I'm tired and confused and used to her being my baby. Once we get that straightened out though, we'll likely call him Miller or Mills. I also love the middle name nickname Gus (specifically Gus-Gus. Yes, like the chubby mouse in Cinderella) so I don't know if we'll ever use it, but it's nice to have options. (Speaking of...this little guys still needs a hashtag. #millennialbabyproblems)

Who does he look like? 
Dustin. 100%. But that's what my babies do. He's got a round face, and the signature Bowden chin. His hair is semi-dark now, pretty similar to Piper's when she was born, but I'll be surprised if it stays that way. I'm not exactly sure if he resembles the girls yet. He does look more like Piper than Fin, but he's smaller and has a regular sized head. ;)

He was three weeks early and still over 8 pounds?
Right?! Tell me about it.  I swore from the beginning that this kid was huge, and strongly, and vocally, doubted that I'd make it to my official due date (September 3rd). He measured large the entire time, but more importantly, I just felt big the whole time. I was convinced he was a big kid, and was convinced (/wishfully thinking) he'd come early to compromise for it. On Friday night I hit a wall, and tearfully worried aloud to Dustin that I couldn't do it. I couldn't make it three more weeks. I wasn't even sure I could make it one more day. And lo and behold, my water broke five hours later. Glory!

(As a refresher: Piper was 8lbs 12oz, 3 days late. Fin was 8lbs 6oz, 10 days early. So the Guinness Book people aren't exactly knocking down my door, but I still say we don't cook 'em light. I'm scared to think of how big this monster would have been in another 19 days!)
What is he like? 
Welllll....it's a little soon to say. Basically, we have no idea. We're getting to know him moment by moment, and he's still figuring himself out. I have no clue what soothes him best, what his quirks are, so for now we're just winging it! The most I can say so far is that he's sleeeeeepy (weird, he says the same thing about me!) And hungry (weird, he says the same thing about me!) He does a lot of snoozing, but he's also developed quite the appetite in the last day, so I'm hoping my milk will come in soon and be able to keep up with him! (When he's hungry, he's pretty adamant about being fed right away, so it's quite possible, that he's a mini-Courtney in a mini-Dustin's body.)






Is it different having a boy?
So far? No. But I haven't gotten peed on yet, which I think is the main rite of passage for a boy-mom at this stage. We're trying to keep the monster truck onesies to a minimum, and we're reusing a ton of the girls' (kinda) neutral gear so the gender thing isn't super focal around here. That's bound to change (quickly) though. Some of traditional boy stuff will no doubt trickle in, but with the girls' influence I think he might end up being forced into more girly things than he might prefer. In the end though, babies are babies, so with the exception of learning a couple diaper changing tricks, our bigger task is really learning about who this little guy is, regardless of gender. (But don't let Dustin lie to you. He's excited to have a little help shifting the hormone balance in the house back his way.)
How are you feeling? How was your delivery?
Oh, thank you for asking! If I had to classify Piper's birth...I'd say it was a typical delivery, with a traumatic recovery. With Fin, it was a wildly quick delivery, that left us stunned (but laughing) for a while afterwards. I had no idea what to expect this time. I wanted to error on the side of caution, just in case he arrived in a hurry too, so we planned to waste no time heading to the hospital when the time came (though at 37 weeks I didn't yet have my bag packed). And I hoped that each birth would bet a little easier physically, but I didn't want to take that for granted, because the truth is, you just never know.

So this time? It was just normal. Which is so nice. I won't get all into the details, but the gist is:
My water broke at home (a first for me, as it happened at the hospital with both girls) around 2:30am on Saturday. We went to the hospital around an hour later, I got an epidural before contractions wee even too painful and then a teeny dose of pitocin when things slowed a bit. When it came time to deliver, he was ready but my doctor wasn't there yet (sound familiar, Fin?). We somehow managed to delay him until she got there, and then he came quickly and easily around 10am.

I got to snuggle him right away for about an hour, which was awesome. We just soaked up his real-ness (the sudden arrival of an actual human never ceases to amaze me) and marveled at our newest baby. We were doing so well, the hospital even let us go home early, so just over 24 hours later, we were on our way out. Since then, recovery has been pretty easy. Yes, I had a baby, so I'm still sore and tired and achy, but it's nothing out of the ordinary.And for that I am so thankful!

What's it like to have three kids?
I actually don't really know. My mom came to stay with the girls when we left for the hospital, and then they all visited us. But when we went home early, we thought it'd be best not to push it, and had them stay another night with the grandparents (with trips to the pool, special crafts, dinner at Five Guys, and ice cream outings, they weren't complaining too much). Then they had school on Monday, (which helped us have an easier day after our first night at home with Miller), so we haven't really had to face the reality of dealing with the needs of three children. I'm nervous about how we're going to juggle it all, but I know we'll make it through somehow...(right?) We will keep you posted (and by that, I mean we'll invite you over to help. ;)


What do the girls think?
Well, it kinda depends on which one you ask.

One of them is super proud and excited:



And one of them...not so much.

(She wanted to hold him, but then each time she did, she almost immediately changed her mind, complaining: "Too big! Take a-WAY!" To be fair she is kind of a peanut, so she might have felt trapped.)



They're both excited in theory...but Piper obviously understands it a bit better. I'm sure they'll both struggle with the adjustment a little, but I hope they see the value in another sibling. And I really hope we can do a good job loving each of them individually and well, during this time...and forever, really.



When do you go back to work? Does Dustin get time off too? What will the girls do while you're on maternity leave?
I'm taking twelve weeks (so I'm off until November-ish), and Dustin generously gets two weeks paternity leave (he's always just had to take vacation, so we're super pumped about this perk!) We don't fully know our plan for the girls yet, so we're taking it a little at a time. For now they'll keep with their schedule of three days a week of daycare, two days with my mom. I think it's good for them to keep up with their routine especially when everything around them is a little topsy turvy. Plus, for me, it's better to ease in to things before I take on more than I can handle. I'd love to have them home with me at least a little bit, but for the first couple weeks I'm trying to go easy on myself and not feel any pressure to do too much. Having time with just Miller is a huge blessing, so I try to see it that way vs. feeling guilty about indulging in just him. Similarly- having some time with Dustin without the girls is an awesome gift too. With our the girls we never had a lot of time just us (he never took this much time off, and we usually had family visiting since they were all out of town) so it's already been really fun to be on a babymoon with our newest little one.

Are you going to have more?
#toosoon or similarly, but in the exact words of Dustin since Fin's newborn days: "pump the breaks'.
I know I tend to get baby fever pretty soon after bringing a new bundle home, but right now I genuinely have no clue if we'll have more babies or not. During my pregnancy, there were times I was sure I wanted more, and there were times when I doubted if I'd even make it to see number three, let alone anything after that. I will say, all the girly gear is packed away, not given away, so it's not a done deal, but at the same time, I'm in no hurry to think about anything beyond our new little guy.

For now, at least, these three little goons (plus the big one) are enough...

(this is the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" type of family picture that is becoming more and more common in our fam these days. As usual: Fin started it.)

And finally: Is he officially the cutest baby ever?
Why, yes. Yes he is.



P.s. Get the scoop on the arrival of our little ladies- Piper and Fin.
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

I came, I quilted, I conquered

I tried...for a minute...but I couldn't really come up with a good way to lead into this...so I'll just come out with it:

THE QUILTS ARE DONE! THE QUILTS ARE DONE!

See? No elaborate lead-in needed. Just CAPS and BOLD CAPS. YAYAYAYAY!
(Yes, I'm both a gifted seamstress, and a super-professional writer, obvs.)

Wait, what quilts?, you ask?
Well, it's fair that you might have forgotten...or, I don't know, maybe had other things going on that prevented you from being fully devoted to following my attempts to be crafty...but back in April, I committed to making two quilts (for the girls' new "big-girl bedroom") with the goal of finishing them before their little brother arrives. And I pumped! Because I did it! The last time I made a quilt (also known as my second quilt ever) it took me around nine months, so to be able to make two in half that amount of time? Makes me pretty proud.

Oh- and the other part that makes me pretty proud? I super love how they turned out.
I'll do some more rambling in a minute, but lets just gaze at their beauty for a minute, shall we?
(and yes...I'm going to be this braggy the whole time. Forgive me, but quilts are like little babies you piece together from scratch, and I'm a proud mama showing mine off to the world!)








Aren't they just the cutest little quilt-babies you've ever seen?!

Look at them, just snuggling up together...Perfect little fraternal twins.

I detailed my planning process, and the beginning stages in an initial post, but after that, I pretty much abandoned documentation in favor of just working it out. I did do a few progress updates on Instagram, but in case you're interested in how a totally non-quilter quilts, here's an outline of my process (with a jillion pics mixed in because pretty):

Monday, August 10, 2015

Pregnancy: Round 3 {36 week edition}

Here we go again. At this stage, the baby could arrive pretty much at any time (hear that, little boy? You can arrive any time. Like today, even. I know you're comfy, but I wouldn't be mad at an early birthday, ok?) Here's the update on Bowden Baby #3, at the 36 week mark (otherwise known as a FULL NINE MONTHS, when the cruel joke is that pregnancy secretly takes TEN months). 


symptoms
First time: Heartburn, aches and pains, trouble sleeping...
Second time: Heartburn, aches and pains, trouble sleeping... Basically the same as the last time just magnified! Sciatic nerve pain was pretty rough until around the 32 week mark (so thankful that with pregnancy nothing lasts forever!)

This time: This pregnancy thing manages to surprise me every time. It's just so full of ups and downs, and things change week to week, day to day... hour to hour. I was miiiiiisssssserable for a while (maybe around week 28?) but then something magical happened around week 32 (like the baby shifting off of my sciatic nerve), and a ton of my pain was alleviated. I was actually enjoying being pregnant for the first time in a while...and then...we got to week 35. I got a cold-turned-sinus infection, and just flat out started to run out of space and energy. And now I'm to the point where I practically need help to get out of bed in the morning (and the three times I get up during the night). When I look back on my last pregnancies, I realize it's all par for the course, but it's still hard to adjust to the constant growth and limitations to what I'm able to do. 

weight gain:
First time: 22lbs.
Second time: 33lbs.

This time: around 30 ish lbs. Maaaaaybe 35. At this point, the baby is supposed to gain around a half pound a week, so I'm good for at least two more pounds. I've always aimed for 25-35 total, but my real secret goal is to just weigh less than Dustin. We're getting dangerously close, my friends.  

cravings/aversions
First time: Frozen coke, grilled cheese...typical stuff I always like!
Second time: Nothing in particular.

This time: Really nothing much stands out. There's not really a particular food that I absolutely have to have, but the hunger does come on really strong now. I can go from nothing to ravenous in an instant. (ok, that might not be that different from my every day life, but I do think it's gotten at least a little bit more dramatic).

movement
First time: Constant wiggling!
Second time: Very active again!

This time: Lots of movement...but as of the last few days I think he's started to get a little squished, so it's not quite as dramatic as it has been. He's still managed to freak Dustin out with the occasional elbow jab, but I'm pretty much used to it all by now. 

I am loving
First time: Baby showers! It was so fun to hang out with so many of our friends and family and celebrate the biggest news of our lives. 
Second time: Not a lot at this stage- the perks of being big, and sore, and tired, are few and far between. But preparing for change, dreaming of the future, nesting...that's all great. 

This time: Hmmmmm....there has to be something. I totally don't want to be a debbie downer, but the end stages of pregnancy just aren't filled with an overwhelming number of joys. I do love feeling him move though, and overall, it's still mind-blowing that I'm able to make humans from scratch. The girls have also finally really started to understand that we're having a baby, so that's been fun too. Piper's gotten the idea for a while, but it's finally getting close enough that it's more real to her. And Fin was pretty oblivious, but I think at this point I'm either big enough, or she's old enough that it finally clicked for her that there's a baby on the way. (don't get me wrong, I don't think she has any clue about the actuality of becoming a big sister, so that's going to be quite the adjustment...But she at least has learned not to jump on my belly, so that's something). 

I miss

First time: I couldn't wait to indulge in a smorgasbord of non-pregnancy-friendly foods and drinks after the baby arrived.
Second time: Sleeping through the night. Dancing. Climbing a flight or two of stairs without being winded. Clothes that fit. Tying my own shoes. Walking- not waddling. Taking medicine without concern. Beer.

This time: I miss a lot of little things (like, all of the stuff listed above...) but mostly I miss having energy. It's hard to get up in the morning, and after a day at work I'm pretty much wiped out. I nap when the girls nap on the weekends, but even with enough sleep (wait, what's that?) I still struggle to physically keep up with the demands of two toddlers. I rely on Dustin a lot which I'm so thankful for, but I also feel guilty. I'm hopeful that after the baby comes, I'll get back to normal so things can be a bit more balanced, but I also know that the needs of a newborn are not easy, so I'm nervous that we're in it deep, and about get be in deeper.

spazzing about:
First time: I worried about leaving work for such an extended period of time. It was a little tough for me to check out, and leave all my duties with others.
Second time: Actually having a baby. Having two kids. Staying home (even temporarily) with those kids. The first time I was nervous about the unknown. This time I was nervous about the known AND unknown.  I have an idea of what's around the corner, and it's all a little daunting. 

This time: Yep- having a baby. I'm nervous about actually having the baby (not sure if the delivery part ever gets less scary, no matter how many times you do it) but after that, I'm nervous about having the baby...you know, the whole bringing him home and raising him part. I make no secret about the fact that the newborn days are hard for me (the constant feeding, and constant not sleeping, mostly), and balancing the needs of three kids is going to be a new test for sure. I'm excited about what's to come, but I can't hide the fact that I'm worried about my ability to handle it all


looking forward to
First time: Snuggling my baby.
Second time: Snuggling my babies, and seeing my two little girls together.

This time: Yay! A baby! I have no clue what it's going to be like to have a boy, but that's bound to be a fun adventure. The thought of three little Bowden kids to squeeze and love is a little too much for me to comprehend right now. But as much as I know it's going to be hard...I'm just as sure it's going to be awesome.

P.s. Check out the last baby boy update or read about baby #2 (we call her Fin, now) at 37 weeks.

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Show Your Real: Grace C

Part of what I love about the Show Your Real series (you know, besides all the honesty, and wisdom, and vulnerability, and encouragement, and.......) is that I get to share stories that I would never be able to write. I love the different experiences and perspectives each person brings, and every single time I receive a new post, I'm blown away by the direction different people take one simple prompt. This month is no exception: Grace is sharing with us today, and she's written a beautifully honest piece that I hope you can relate to or be inspired by.
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We were the story people tell you when you’re struggling to get pregnant and want to adopt. I know a friend who started the adoption process and bam! They got pregnant. 

That was us. We were almost done becoming certified foster parents when we found out we were 9 weeks pregnant. I didn’t understand it. I had finally come to accept that I might never have biological children, and I had gotten over the grief and emptiness of it all. I thought God and I had an understanding that His plan for expanding our family was through adoption. So getting pregnant just didn’t make sense.

But my belly grew, and my disbelief that we were actually going to have a baby faded into the reality that we were actually going to have a baby. It was confusing and wonderful and terrifying and so humbling.

Six months after she was born, we got pregnant again and became the story people tell you when you struggle with infertility but have no trouble getting pregnant afterwards. See! Sometimes it just takes one pregnancy to fix things up, and then it’s smooth sailing. It happened to a friend of mine! 

I don’t know why we got to be these stories. I don’t know why we got pregnant instead of staying infertile. I don’t know why God gave us a heart for adoption but let us have biological children first. All I know is that He sees beyond what I can see and that His way is always deeply good.

So now we have two little ones- both unexpected, both amazing, both sanctifying for my soul, but we’ve decided that it’s time to intentionally move forward into adoption and stop having anymore biological children. I know it’s the right thing for us to do, and I know it’s the right time to do it. But honestly, I’m grieving. I’m grieving that I won’t be able to watch my belly grow and feel the baby kick. I’m grieving that I won’t have another child who looks like us and whose personality will be like us. I’m grieving the end of all that kind of sweetness. 

Almost every Sunday, people tell me that we should have one more kid, that adoption is hard, that we have the cutest kids and that one more would be just right. And every time they do, my heart hurts because I get what they’re saying. I want what they want for us too. But I know that following the Lord is always better. I know that obedience brings the blessing of knowing Him more, of seeing Him more, and I’ve seen for myself how nothing compares to it.

I’m grieving the end of a season for us, but it’s with hope. It’s with joy for what is to come in our next season of parenthood. My heart aches for what no longer will be, but it also aches for the child we will love next, the child who will just as much ours as our other two, the child whom we long for even now. I know It will be hard, but it will be good and sweet and better than I could have ever imagined.
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Show Your Real is a series of guest posts centered around the concept of authenticity. The goal is to encourage each other to expose the reality of our lives- good and bad- and to foster a sense of community that goes beyond the often surface-y interactions of social media. And you're all invited to participate! Please write, caption, comment, link, and hashtag to spread the #showyourreal love. And if you would like to contribute a guest post to the series, please email me (cjsbowden@gmail.com).