Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Into the great wide open

A couple of my friends have husbands that work out of town during the week and come home on the weekends. Jason used to work one week a month in NC and then 3 days a week in Tampa every week and he would stay over there because it didn't make sense for him to travel back and forth. I honestly don't know how my friends do it without their husbands coming home every night to relieve them and help with the kids and the house and every other mundane everyday task that consumes our lives. Jason and I never fought more than when he was traveling. It was hell on our relationship and there wasn't really a resolution short of him quitting his job.

I had never felt so stretched, so invisible and so small than that time in our marriage. He didn't do it on purpose, he was consumed. Our priorities were not aligned and I felt like a single parent. We would pick at each other and knew exactly what buttons to push to set off another round. I think that we both just wanted attention from the other and to feel validated but weren't getting what we needed. Negative attention is still attention.

I write this because Jason getting "terminated" from that job was the best thing to ever happen to us. Sure, we have no money and we are stressed beyond belief because our life is so uncertain, but there is excitement in that as well...a sense of adventure, a journey that we are braving together with a united front. My husband is one of the smartest people I know. His knowledge of his industry is deep and his energy is undiminishing. He is set on doing things right and with integrity. He will make a name for himself but not because he's going to make a ton of money but because he is true to his word and will perform and do what he says he will do.

He's still learning how to balance his work and his family, but he is making great strides. I love him so much and I am so proud of him and so proud to be his wife. I am excited to be his partner and learn from him and build this business together and invest our time in a future for our family. I am not afraid of failure because I have never seen Jason so passionate about what he was doing in his work. We're on the edge of something big and with him holding my hand I am ready to jump in with both feet. My love. My best friend.

Overheard in my house

Piper is in the bathrrom doing her business and this is what I hear:

"(grunt grunt) ooohhhh...I am SO tired...ooohhhh"

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Someday you can say, "I knew her when..."

Piper likes to sing pretty much all the time and most of the time she makes up her own songs. Sometimes they are original works and sometimes they are a medley of a bunch of different songs. This is the song she was singing in the car today...I so need to learn how to podcast so I can record this stuff!

Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Knees and toes
Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Knees and toes
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose
Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Knees and BUTTS

Head, shoulders, knees and BUTTS
Knees and BUTTS
Head, shoulders, knees and BUTTS
Knees and BUTTS
Eyes and ears and POOPS and BUTTS
Head, shoulders, knees and BUTTS
Knees and BUTTS

she found herself quite amusing

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Count your blessings

My family - without them my life would lack definition

Piper - my first-born, my sunshine

Finley - my joy and lesson in slowing down

Jason - supporter, partner, biggest fan, lover, comic relief

For friends and family hear and scattered that love on us and keep us grounded. You keep things in persepctive and give us friendship and community.

For our parents who teach us and give us role models to mold our development as parents and teachers ourselves. It goes without saying that we are so grateful for your guidance and support and could never repay all that you have done.

For life...the old and the new. "Babies are such a nice way to start people"

We are thankful for the everyday and the extraordinary. For God's undeserved grace and His deserved times of trials to teach us things we have forgotten.

I pray that you are blessed with a joy-filled day of family, food, and gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The End

It is about time to wind up the BLOGWAR. Thanks for the memories, Jason!

we are wondering what the prize should be, so if you have a suggestion, leave a comment!


You have to tell me if you think this is as creepy as I did.

We went to our local mall tonight because the discount shoe store was having a BOGO(HO) sale (buy one get one half off) and Jason and I both needed new sneakers.

I found a pair and Jason did not (he's really picky) so he wanted to try a couple other places forgoing our chance at the BOGOHO. On our way into the department store we passed the "sit on Santa's lap" kiosk (are you kidding me, it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, why do we need to rush our lives...another topic for another day). Anyway, I guess the Santa was bored because he was butting into our family.

"Ho, ho,ho" he said, and other Santa-y stuff. He then gave the girls each a candy cane and then...

He asked Piper for a hug. "Can I have a little hug?" he said in a whiny creepy shrill tone.

That is when I got creeped out. And I hold a firm belief that women have a sixth sense when it comes to stuff like this.

But I didn't want Piper to be freaked out by Santa so I watched him give her the hug keeping a very diligent eye on where his hands were.

Isn't that sad that in this day and age you have to worry about that stuff? Of course if you are a Santa in a mall or anywhere else for God's sake don't act so creepy!



Scene: Finn and I in the lingerie section fitting rooms while I am trying on bras and I have let her out of the stroller to crawl around.

As I am trying them on she sees the mirror. She stands up and plays with her image. Then she sees a hanger on the floor...the floor of the dressing room next to ours in which another woman is trying on some article of lingerie since we are in the lingerie department.

Finn then decides to go after the hanger and crawls under the wall into our neighbor's dressing room.

Funny things happen when you have kids...at least the parents think they are funny...other people...not so much.


just to let you know, because I'm sure you are dying to know tonight was taco night even though you all voted for spaghetti.

When I asked Piper what she wanted for breakfast she said, "TACOS!"

What's your mix

one of my favorite things to make during the holidays is Chex mix. I like to giveit as a gift and snack on it myself. It's easy and fun to make and a good activity to do with the kids and you can pimp it out however you want (like pimp my ride?).

In fact, I have some roasting in the oven right now. I have my own special mix that includes:

Rice Chex
Corn Chex
Wheat Chex
Puffed wheat (an addition from Jason's Grandmother...it is so good because it soaks up the juices)
Pretzel fish

I don't like nuts so that's why I substitute the other ingredients. oh, and I also like quadruple the sauce ingredients so that there is enough to really drench it.


Turkey Day

We are eating at my parents for Thanksgiving so I am making 3 dishes to bring:

Creamy Corn Casserole

Sweet Potato and Apple casserole

Pumpkin Pie

I usually make pumpkin soup but I bowed out of that this year because it is somewhat labor intensive but oh so delicious so my parents are making it this year along with the turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

what are you having?

Plans for NYC

Look for us on Friday morning, December 16 on Good Morning America!!!

Please read the entire message.
Good Morning America
THANK YOU FOR REQUESTING TO BE PART OF THE "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" STUDIO AUDIENCE. Below is your confirmation for Friday December 16,2005.

This is to confirm your reservations for tickets the date of Friday, December 16. Please arrive at the audience entrance at 44th Street and Broadway(across the street from Toys r Us) by 6:15 a.m. Stand outside in the audience guest line in front of the large studio windows. A staff member will have your name on our audience guest list. We look forward to seeing you there!


taco night


spaghetti and meatballs


Evidence from the Year of Hell

Here is a story from my second year of teaching, the year that would never end.

During Bible time (I taught at a private Christian school) we sit on the floor to have our lesson. Today's lesson? What is sin.

So, I asked thechildren to five me examples of what they thoughtan "act of sin" was. I gotthe standard answers of "not sharing" and "lying" and "calling someone a bad name". Then the child that I believe may have been the devil himself raised his hand to answer.

Just a little background info on him...his mother is CRAZY and beat him in front of the other kids inthe lunchroom and was not allowed to come in my classroom without the principal as an escort. I still have the occasional nightmare about this kid and his mother. I used to feel sorry for the kid but then he slammed another kids on the ground without reason. We'll call him Bryant (although that could be his real name, ou would never know, right? Don't you ever wonder about that? If they do actually use a different name to protect that person's identity, or are they just saying that? Anyway, I digress...) Keep in mind that he is 5 years old.

Bryant: Mrs. Dowdell, I know what a sin is.

Me: Ok, go ahead Bryant.

Bryant: Well, if I brought a knife to school and hid it in my pocket and didn't tell anyone that it was there and then I brought it out on the playground and cut somebody with it and then hid it again and didn't tell anybody then that would be a sin.

Me: Right, that would qualify as a sin.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Contentsof shopping trip

I previously reported that I was going to spend a day shopping with a friend and I was very successful.

2 pairs of "Lucky" jeans - maybe I'll get lucky when he sees me in them! sorry, pun intended. I am on an eternal quest for a couple things - the perfect travel mug, the perfect sunglasses, and the perfect jeans...these come close.

1 beautiful dressy coat from oout favorite 80's store - Benetton

From the Gap - green courduroy pea coat, cream cable sweater, dark teal really soft cardigan, 2 long sleeve tees, scarf.

this sweater

1 pair brown boots, 1 pair black boots (cheap fake leather ones - $60 for both)

cashmere sweater for jason and a really cool scarf

that's all I can remember. I did get fitted by a "fit specialist" to buy some new boulder holders but haven't done that yet.

The gift that keeps on giving

Today was one of those days. The days when you just want to get back in bed and start all over.

Piper and Finn have not been sleeping well lately and I have been staying up too late and combine the two and = tired cranky mama. This does not translate well into dealing with a 2.5 year old. We had many things to do today and I started the day right by getting a shower and dressed head to toes before the girls were out of bed. That's where the positive ends.

Piper was less than cooperative when it came time to get dressed. Monday is library day for us and the books were actually due today so we had to go and storytime starts at 10am. At 9:15am I begin giving Piper warnings about how she needs to get her shoes on and be ready to go.

9:25am - no shoes on and spills yogurt literally all over her clothes

9:30am - yogurt cleaned off but no new outfit because why would I want to add more laundry? Still no shoes.

9:40am - We need to leave in 10 minutes and I am getting impatient with my dear sweet child because she still doesn't have her shoes on. I load the library books in the car and make sure I have my grocery list because after the library we go to the bank and then food shopping.

9:45am - in Piper's room telling her in a slightly raised voice that her choice is to put her shoes on herself or I will put them on. She has until I count to 3 to make her choice. One...Piper rolling around on the floor...two...throws her shoe across the room and proceeds to hop like a frog to get it...three...screaming and kicking ensues as I try to put her shoes on her feet, finally she puts them on herself when she sees me walking down the stairs towards the door to leave.

9:55am - en route to library and a little perturbed.

10:07am - only 7 minutes late and they haven't started yet, yeah!

10:10am to 10:25am - babytime/storytime during which Piper decides to crawl around like a baby making baby noises and embarrassing her mother. Finn decides to chase Piper and I am sitting in the circle sans children singing the stupid songs by myself.

10:30am - checkout library books that I pick out for Piper because she is too busy playing with a stuffed animal to notice there are books.

At this point I should've called it a day and admitted defeat and gone home to hang my head in shame, but being the fool I am I decided to press on.

We get to the bank and that's easy because it is drive-thru, no problem except that Piper is screaming at me to get her a red, no yellow, no red, no yellow lollipop.

Now to the hell that is grocery shopping with two children under the age of 3. I guess there is some holiday or something coming up because the grocery store was packed. Aisle to aisle nothing but gray, white, or blue hair and glaring faces. It wasn't so bad until Piper decided to start tackling Finn in the "race-cart".So, Finn has to be held while I am pushing and trying to maneuver the behemoth cart.

Out to the car without incident, load up the groceries in the back, shut the door, go to open the door for Piper to climb in and it is locked. Reach for my keys and...shittake mushrooms...I locked them in the car. with my cell phone.

At this point I want to cry. Just sit in the middle of the parking lot and sob but no can do with the kiddos. I make my way back up to the store to find a pay-phone when God steps in and puts in my path a friend of mine with a cell phone. Call Jason, tell him where I am and he says he'll be there in 20 minutes.

Walk down to the kids consignment shop, do a little Christmas shopping, and make our way back to the area outside the grocery store. Wait. Creepy guy is standing about 5 feet from us mumbling under his breath because I don't think he likes what Piper is doing but as long as Piper is not screaming, hurting her sister, or lighting anything or anyone on fire I don't care what she does.

Jason comes to save the day and lets us into the car. You would think that would be enough for one day, but did you read the title of the post?

Nap time was average but the real exciting part happened when the girls woke up. We usually play upstairs for a bit after they wake-up and today I had to fold some laundry so I got the girls playing nicely in Piper's room with all doors open so I could hear them. About 10 minutes later I hear the start of whimpering from Finn that turns into an all out cry. I go in to find...

Her entire head covered in sunscreen. Her head was white and creamy and greezzyy. Piper thought she needed some sun protection I guess. The really bad part of this is that Finn had gotten it on her hands and was rubbing her eyes. She was screaming and wouldn't open her eyes and kept rubbing them and I immediately put her in the tub and began to clean off her head and flush her eyes with water. I was scared.

She finally started to open her eyes while I was nursing her and she stopped crying. I called my dad (he is our pediatrician afterall) and he said as long as she stopped crying while she was nursing she would be fine.

Dinner was cereal.

Now, I am worn out and it is late again and Jason said as I was getting up to go to bed:

"Do you remember when I used to tell you that you reminded me of the little coppertone girl and her dog? Well now you smell like her too."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

By Edgar Albert Guest

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tomorrow and what I used to do

Oh, I am so excited. Tomorrow is Dad's day at labschool so Piper and daddy are having a date and Finley is going to spend the morning with her Aunt Rebekah so that means I am going SHOPPING! I realized that I don't really have anything to wear to NYC in December when the average high is like 45. Now here in the sunshine state we see temps like that maybe 1-2 days a year so I need to find some warm snuggly stuff. Plus, I need some new "other things" because "the girls" (and I don't mean my kids) aren't quite the same size or as perky as they used to be. They might need a crane or a very good push-up contraption. Anyway, I'm going into Orlando to shop with my best friend from high school, Kelly and we are going to spend some moo-la!

Part 2

I realized after reading a comment by my friend over at Can Do Attitude that some of my numerous readers probably don't know that I used to have a regular job...yes, I used to teach Kindergarten.

It's king of an amazing story. I graduated from college a semester early because obviously I am a genius, and I came home in December ready to work, kinda. Jason and I were engaged and planning our wedding for May so I was living with my parents until then. My dad got a call from the principal of the private school I attended from 6th-9th grade and asked if I would come in an interview for the position of the kindergarten teacher. It was sad because the former teacher had passed away over the Christmas holiday (she was only 26). The principal had gotten my name from the school nurse who has known me from when I attended school there.

So, I when tin for an interview expecting very little. We talked about the experience I had (very little) and my experience losing one of my best friends while in college. Both the principal and I felt that God was showing us that this was the right place for me to be because I could help the kids through the very difficult rest of the year. I was up against another woman who had taught for like 15 years, but God will not be ignored and I got the job.

It was nice to be back at the school where I knew a lot of the people and felt very at home. The hard part was winning over people and the kids who loved the former teacher. The principal had warned me that the class had been difficult to manage and that there were some "problem" kids. I had no idea that children could actually behave that badly but it was nothing compared to my second year teaching. But my third year was heaven compared to the previous 2 years of hell.

I loved teaching and I do miss it and plan to go back to it when I am finished being pregnant and my children are older. It is the perfect job because you are on the same schedule as your kids and have the same holidays. My plan is to go back to school and get my master's degree while the girls are still small so I will be prepared when I want to go back, but who knows what the future holds?

In style

it's always sorta cool when you see someone on TV or in a movie wearing something that you have hanging up in your closet. It has happened to me a few times and it makes me feel like when i do haave the chance to look decent, I am actually in style!

That and having Piper do my makeup for me, wish i had a pic to share with you...I am sparkly and gooey and glittery and techno-colored!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Apology and stuff

So sorry for the pity party yesterday. Enough.
I have these 2 shoeboxes on the very top shelf in our closet and they are filled with memories of me and jason. I'll give you a peek inside.

Contents of the boxes:

List of story ideas for a series of children's books that I want to eventually write...might be in another lifetime but it will happen.

A gift certificate for "Jason and Shannon Gowdell" to the Island Inn in Sanibel Island, Florida...my parents gave us a minivacation there as a Christmas gift in 2001. We had a great time there.

A class picture from my first year teaching (the class from hell, but not as bad as the following year), the same year we were married. I had long hair and the dog chewed up the picture on the bottom corner.

picture of the first volleyball team I coached, also chewed.

ticket stub from the Orlando Magic vs. Detroit Pistons 12-28-01. That was my Christmas gift to jason that year.

receipts from the tuxedos rented for our wedding

other various ticket stubs - nelly furtado (3-16-02) FSUvs. NC State (11-10-01) James Taylor (6-1-01) Brevard Manatees vs. Fort Myers Miracle (6-23-01)

brochures, maps, receipts, itineraries from our honeymoon to Costa Rica

various forms of birth control that my MOM bought for me for our honeymoon because I had just started the "pill" and wasn't sure that it would be effective. Really. Gross.

2 pairs of sunglasses, one with no lenses

some "love dice" that you roll and it comes up with stupid things for you to do, let's try it - Roll #1 Fast and furious smooch, Roll #2 wrestle massage, Roll #3 hugs now. Lame

And 2 cards that I gave Jason for halloween, don't know when but I'm guessing it was before children. Written inside the cards - "I love you and I hope you have a fun Satan's Day" and "Eventhough you hate me...I love you"

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I was planning on writing something about the things I am thankful for since while we were in the car tonight we realized that Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow, but I am just not in that frame of mind.

I am feeling down. Take a diet of no sleep due to children that wake up throughout the night on staggered schedules, children that are sick, starting a new business, Jason working like a madman, and then throw it in the bathtub that Finn pooped in tonight and yup, that'll do it everytime.

I went through a time of depression when I was in college, "acute situational depression" is what they called it. I didn't get out of bed for a long while, wasn't eating, wasn't sleeping, barely making it to class, wore the same pair of sad denim overalls for days on end, and couldn't watch TV or listen to music (it literally made me sick). I would cry without reason or limit. I finally broke down and told my parents what was going on and we agreed to meet halfway between home and college where my brother lived. I started taking meds and made an appointment with a psychologist. What a joke he turned out to be. He told me that all my problems were caused by me not knowing what I wanted to major in at school. I do agree that the uncertainty in my life was causing me to lose faith and be filled with doubt and anxiety, but I don't think that picking a major would solve that problem.

Anyway, I say all that to assure myself that I will not let it get that bad again. It's scary for me to think that I could go to that place in myself and not be able to find my way out. I get so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start. I have been getting so frustrated with my girls for no good reason, they are good girls and they are just doing the normal things that girls there age do, but it is so magnified in my eyes.

I think about the things I should be doing as a wife and mother and human being and I feel like a failure. And then I feel even worse that I am dwelling on these micro-issues when there are so many other problems in our world. I mean, there are people who have been devastated by hurricanes or tornadoes and here I am feeling sorry for myself. Lame.

I need to give myself like 5 more minutes of feeling like this and then just stop it! It is a choice to feel this way or to change my attitude.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Snug as a Bug

It gets really frustrating when you have to keep going upstairs to put your child back in bed. We are in the midst of that battle with Piper. She requires us to put her back in her bed at least 5 times and even then Jason usually lays down with her until she is asleep and then I have to go up there and wake him up because he inevitably falls asleep inthe process. He calls it his "nap" so he can stay up late and work.

Did I mention he started his own company?

Anyway, Jason is at a Lab School meeting tonight that I am not attending because I feel like doo-doo and so it was my solitary job to put Piper to bed. And, sheis medicated (for a cold, really) and had no nap today so you'd think she'd be exhausted, right?

I have now been up there a total of 3 times but this last time, well, she just knows how to twist my heart up, you know? I am putting her back in bed and I say, "Piper, you need to stay in bed. I am not going to come back up here and put you back in bed. Stay in your bed. I love you, goodnight."

She rolls over and through her thumb in her mouth says, "I love you Mama. I need to give you a kiss." And she kisses and kisses and kisses.

Manipulation? Yes. Did it work? Of course. I love that Bug.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Finley Claire

I just uploaded a ton of pictures from Finn's first birthday. We had a small fmaily party on the actual day of the party and then I had a party planned for Saturday but both Birdie and Bug had nasty green snotty noses so we improvised and had a get together at the park. I had already ordered the cake and balloons so I just everyone to stop bu if they wanted. It turned out to be awesome and we had great fun with bubbles and silly string and cake and presents. It was a beautiful day to celebrate my beautiful girl.

And this last one of Jason is well, just funny.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Date Night

date night tonight with this sexy guy I know. We are going to have Thai food (yum) and I'll probably have a plum wine (yum yum) and then after dinner I think we are going to... Circuit City (betcha didn't see that coming).

Friday, November 11, 2005

New York City

I don't think I have been this excited in a long long time, well, probably since the day Finley was born...anyway...

I just finished making reservations at this really cool place and I already made the flight reservations (really cheap too, I might add) and we are going to NYC in December. Three whole nights!

We are going to a Knicks game and maybe a show and we are trying to get on Late Night with David Letterman and Good Morning America. Oh, and no kids, they are staying with Jason's parents. I am a little torn about that, I already miss them and it is still a month away.

It is going to be so cold and we are going to have so much fun! Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Central Park, Greenwich Village, SoHo, China Town,the Empire State Building, Barneys, Bloomies, FAO Schwartz the list goes on and on...

I haven't been to the city since I was in elementary school so if you have suggestions for sights to see, places to shop, or places to eat please let me know!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Lactivist

My hubby wrote a post over on his blog about a fellow blogger who is trying an experiment. Her experiment involves setting up a business online with no money out of pocket and trying to turn a profit in 30 days. This experiment is supposed to illustrate how the internet levels the playing field between big corporations and small business.

I'm all for experimentation but what I love about her challenge is what she decided to promote as her business, The Lactivist. It's a cafepress shop selling cafepress stuff with slogans she came up with to promote breastfeeding. Some of my favorites:

"my baby doesn't like to eat in the bathroom...do you?"

"My kid's no weener."

Dutch Oven

In our little family there are times when we will be in bed and can't help but let a fart escape, but the trick is to let is simmer uner the covers until just the right moment and then time the release. You can either let it creep out slowly or you can fan the covers in triumph. This lovely act is called the "Dutch Oven" in our family.


Jason putting Piper to bed

Piper looks up at Jason: "Daddy, I need the covers down."

Jason: "Why do you need the covers down, Piper?"

Piper (pushing the covers off): "You smel that, Daddy? I farted! It's a stinky fart!"

End Scene

At least we're teaching her something, our little prodigy. I'm so proud.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

For God's sake WOMAN!

So supermodel Heidi Klum is back at work walking the runway scantily clad in lingerie for Victoria's Secret...


Nothing like that to make us ordinary humans feel inferior. Boy, does that get my panties in a bunch. hahahahahaha

get it? lingerie...panties in a bunch? Sometimes I really crack myself up!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I have the most massive headache and I can't remember the last time I had a headache like this but Piper gave me a head massage and it did lift my spirits some.

This weekend is Finn's big birthday part and I spent some of today preparing for it...getting balloons and favors and such. The funny thing is that when I dropped off the girls at Mom's Day Out, I noticed that just about every other mom I passed was dressed the same way as me...like we had just rolled out of bed, put our hair up and put on some clothes that looked like we possibly were going to or had already worked out but really just comfy clothes to be lazy. We gave each other knowing looks and smiles and felt guilty about not keeping it together. On the other hand, Oprah did another show about "real" women and how advertising is changing its focus away from unattainable beauty to real-life everday beauty from overweight beauties to freckles and stringy hair. I was encouraged by this, but where is the line between real-life beauty and "letting yourself go."? I think it's all about how you view yourself and your own opinion of yourself.

It made me think about the Oprah show I saw last week about women who had just "let themselves go." It kind of ticked me off. Truthfully, the women who were spotlighted on the show had some major issues that led to their downfalls. It was depressing to watch. But it made me think about the show "What Not to Wear" on TLC. Now eventhough I do like that show for the hosts witty and sarcastic remarks that ultimately humiliate the poor innocent soul that had been nominated, I have to take issue with the operation as a whole. Most if not all of the time the people they are "making over" do need help, the help they give is not realistic. They throw away ALL of your clothes and then give you $5000 to buy an ENTIRE new wardrobe in one of the most expensive cities to shop, NYC. The hosts also give you "rules" to follow and examples of appropriate ensembles. What really irks me is the outfits that they expect you to put together and wear to places like the grocery store and carting the kids around. I'm sorry but there is now way that I am going to wear something that I have to iron or have dry cleaned on a daily basis.

What happened to staples like a nice white t-shirt and a pair of good fitting jeans with flip-flops or a cute pair of sneaks? It does make me think about myself though. I don't usually wear make-up unless it is a special occasion and you're lucky if I spend more than 5-10 minuteson my hair. I am trying to look more put together so that Jason doesn't look at me and want to throw-up.

Does this post have a point?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dear Finley,

You are one today. A whole 365 days old. My baby stinker muffin.

I have loved you since the day I found out I was pregnant. You were a surprise to me, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. I remember telling your daddy. He had been in New York when I found out and so when Piper and I went to pick him up at the airport, I made a sign that said..."Jason Dowdell, Loving husband and father of 2!" He didn't get it at first and I had to read the sign to him , but then he realized what it meant and we got to share all the happiness that I had been trying to hide when I talked to him on the phone.

I was sick all day every day for 17 weeks. After that, it was a beautiful pregnancy. I talked to you al the time and after we found out you were a girl, I called you by name. When you were born, you came quickly and without incident and you became another piece of our family puzzle. I loved the time I got to spend with you while we were still in the hospital, just you and me getting to know each other and working things out.

But coming home with you was exciting. I was now a mother of two under two and it was going to be crazy. We got into a routine after a while and things smoothed out. You nursed like a champ and slept, well, not great but not terrible either. You fit right into our family while still being your own individual person.

You love music and watching your sister dance. You eat anything and everything. You smile all the time and you are learning to communicate with us through words and signs. You're stubborn and persistent and love a challenge. When you get mad, you get REALLY. MAD. But when you are happy, well, the sun shines through your smile.

On this, your first birthday, I wish you all the joy that I have felt being your mother. You are beautiful and charming and smart and alive. You bring new things to our life as a family and I know that you will achieve greatness, my love.

My baby, one year has gone by way too fast for your Mama.

Happy Birthday Finley!

Finley's Birth Story:

My labor with Finley was not at all like my labor with Piper. On Friday afternoon I started having very mild contractions that didn't even slow me down at all. They closest they got were 10 minutes apart so I didn't even count that as labor. On Saturday we decided take Piper to the park and walk around the amphitheater in Cocoa Village to see it a good walk would get the labor going and the contractions closer together. There were a few times that I had to actually stop and breathe through the contractions, but I was more excited than feeling any pain.

Later that afternoon I decided that it was time to get the show on the road and we took a VERY brisk walk around the neighborhood and got the contractions to 6 minutes apart, but when we got home, they puttered out to 10 minutes again. By this point I was getting tired and I thought I was in for a long haul. I called the labor and delivery floor to ask them what I should do because I was in labor, sort of. The advised that until I was having contractions 3-5 minutes apart consistently for at least an hour, I needed to stay home and labor there, no matter if it took a billion days. Honestly, I asked them, "How long do I continue like this...forever until they are that close together?" I was a little miffed.

Finally at around 10:30pm the labor took off and I was having EXTREMELY painful contractions 2-3 minutes apart. What happened to the 3-5 minute apart thing? Skipped it. Needed to get to the hospital ASAP. Called my mom and dad and brother to come stay at the house with Piper until Jason's mom and sister could come because he was closer and we had to leave like yesterday.

Off to the hospital and into the ER because it was after hours and they wanted me to sign in and stuff and there I was doubled over in pain, right. Up to L&D and into the room breathing through contractions that were one on top of the next. I never intended for a drug-free birth, believe me, so when the nurse came in I asked (while shaking because I was in transition) her to check me so that they could (insert laughing) call the anesthesiologist for my epidural (more laughing, hysterical laughter even).

"Honey, I'll check you but I'm telling you that there is probably not time for the epidural," the nurse said while giving my mother this look. A look that said "Yeah, this baby is coming now."

I was 7-8 cm dilated. No drugs. Too late.

12:15am - checked into hospital

12:25am - 8cm dilated

12:30am - 9cm

12:35am - 10cm

12:40am - waiting for the doctor and MY DAD (he didn't believe me that I was really having the baby right NOW!) to get there to have this baby.

Pushed for 8 minutes

12:50am - Welcome to the world Finley Claire!

More to come!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Favorite things about Finley

In honor of my little bird's first birthday...

* Short labor - so short in fact that there was no time for drugs and your Grandpaw almost didn't make it in time for the delivery. Checked into the hospital at 12:15am and you arrived at 12:50am.

* Breastfeeding - you took to it like a champ and haven't quit since and although I say that I really want to wean, secretly I love our special time together that just you and I share. If and when you wean, I know that it will be harder on me than on you because it signals you growing up and becoming more independent and you won't need me as much anymore.

* You were a surprise. I had only weaned your sister 2 weeks earlier and ***SURPRISE*** you were on your way, and what a sweet surprise you turned out to be, my love.

* You are a wiggleworm and I swear that you have not sat still unless you are sleeping since you were born. You keep me on my toes and by the end of the day, I collapse in exhaustion and satisfaction from the great day that we shared.

* You love love love your big sister. When she walks in the room, your face lights up and a smile flashes across your face. You laugh with her and at her and you are learning to stick up for yourself and not let her push you around. You will be great friends and you are already on your way.

* As excited as you are to see Piper, multiply that times a million and that is how excited you are to see your daddy. And, oh does he love you. You wrestle together and laugh and act silly and crazy. I love to watch you play together and have fun, and just recently you have become really attached to him and cry whenever he leaves. Although I hate to see you sad, it's nice to see how much you love your papa.

* The only thing that absolutely works to calm you down when nothing else works is to sing The B-I-B-L-E. Sing it loud and clap and you have one happy little girl.

* You are like a garbage disposal when it comes to food. Put it in front of you and you'll eat it or at least out it in your mouth until it is sufficiently mushy and then spit it out all over and down your shirt.

* You have a great sense of adventure. You explore any way you can and are not afraid to try new things and attempt anything you physically can. I have to keep a constant watch on you because who knows, you could wind up climbing up the bookcases or swimming in the toilet.

* You have an infectious smile.

* You are learning and doing something new every day. From "dada" and "mama" to "pu-pa" (piper) and "uh-oh" almost walking and always bouncing and dancing, your life is new and exciting every morning.

* I love the way you curl up into your little ball when I put you down for your nap or for bed. You scoot your little legs up under your belly and let out a big sigh and go to sleep.

Finley, you are so special and unique. From the time I found out I was pregnant to your birth until now, your first birthday you have blessed my life and our family's life. Love you little Birdie.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Go try this personality test over at Can Do Attitude. It is neat and interesting and you can see my score in the comments.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Too. tired. to. post. BUT? I have to. win. Take that, jason!

One time when we were driving to Captiva, Florida for our summer family vacation our car was struck by lightning and it blew out the radio along with a tire and shredded the wind-surfing sails that were strapped to the top of the car.

Another time we were in the Cayman Islands and there was this dining table that was made of glass. The whole thing was glass and my dad was setting up a puzzle or game or something and the table just collapsed and shattered into tiny pieces. That same vacation, our wave-runners were stolen from our house.

On another trip to Captiva, we were on a boat and had brought one of those big beach umbrellas to shield us from the sun while we were fishing and it blew into the ocean. Well, my dad jumped in after it and when he got it he just stayed there treading water. But, what we soon realized was that the umbrella was open and so was filling with water and dragging him down. Yeah, he was drowning but he wouldn't let go of the umbrella.

We took a cruise in the middle of a tropical storm.

We went on a surfing trip to a remote island in the Bahamas and the house we stayed in had no windows or doors, hence no AC and moths the size of soccer balls. But, the boys did surf naked.

While Jason and I were on our honeymoon to Costa Rica, we were greeted by a man who said he was a "taxi driver" and took our luggage and was walking us to his "taxi" when he was surrounded by police. We quietly took our luggage and found out that the taxis are run by the government and all the drivers wear uniforms. Nice to know!

These are just a few of our adventures while traveling. There are many more as it seems that we always seem to get into trouble in one way or another.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Can I wash your hair?

I can't quite recall the first time that Jason and I met although I do know that I was in Junior High which made him...well, older. We went on a church choir trip together, well, not together together, but we did ride on the same bus and he did flirt with me along with any other female that was on the trip. Yes, he is one sexy man! I will spare you the details (because Jason would kill me if I told you the things he said to me) but I will admit that I had the hugest crush on him, the kind of crush that young girls write about in their diaries. The kind of crush that makes your heart beat faster at the thought that he might be where you are going, or even better...where you will land.

Our lives continued, sometimes intersecting, sometimes on different maps, but God had a plan. We both were parts of other serious relationships, and not so serious ones also. I had some growing up to do and so did he.

When we started dating, I had just ended a college romance and Jason was not to keen on starting something with a college girl home for the summer break.

"This isn't going to be some summer fling that you just forget about when you go back to school in the fall. If we start this...I'm in it for the long run."

Summer is an electric time for new love. I remember the tangible anticipation I felt waiting for that first kiss that ended up being 2 weeks after our first "date." I remember when we aired our "dirty laundry". We spent a lot of time together, being with each other, getting to know each other and building a great friendship. We had creative dates like trips to the planetarium, walking on the beach, and picnic lunches. We were the only two people in the world that summer.

Summer turned to fall, and I went back to school. Jason was also still in school, so the long-distance relationship began. I am not a fan of these kinds of relationships, but you do what you have to do to keep what you know you can't risk losing. Things change when the mind is occupied with things other than the focus being entirely on the relationship, but if you don't work on it, you don't deserve it.

It was a long 2 years of driving back and forth. We weathered some scary times and dealt with unhealthy attachments. It was time.

The night Jason proposed, I knew it was coming. I didn't know his plan, but I already knew the result. He proposed at the end of our evening together while we were standing together at the end of my parent's dock over the river. Torches were burning and the summer moon lit the water. It could not have been more perfect or more "us".

Since we have been married our life together has been a whirlwind of jobs, houses, pets, children, and stress, but most of all laughter, spontaneity, and love. Love so deep, so high, and so big that nothing will contain it or compress it or devastate this love.

What I'm Doing Now

Here are some of the things that I am currently "into"...you can answer the same on your own blog if you like?

Currently listening to:

Well, it seems that I have been feeling nostalgic for my college years because I have been listening to some old Dave Matthews and Counting Crows. There is never a bad time to listen to these bands, in my opinion. I have also been listening to the new David Gray which is calming and relaxing as always. Some songs I have sought out on my ipod have been "Yellow Taxi" by Matt Costa, "No Other Way" by Jack Johnson and the classic "Under Pressure" - Queen and Bowie. But, my current favorite song, and you're gonna laugh, is an acoustic unplugged version of "Missing You" performed by John Waite. Yes, I am serious.

And the girls have been listening to "Songs for Wiggleworms" by Various Artists. I like it because it doesn't make me want to rip my ears off and throw up, you know?

I got most of these from itunes.

Currently Reading: (because you should always have a great stack of books on your nightstand)

I just finished The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank. I am a fan of her's from The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing (one of my favorite books of all time) and this book did not disappoint. Definitely a "chick" book, but worth the read. If you want to borrow my copy and save purchasing it, you can leave a comment with your email and we'll go from there. The story follows a woman through her life from about elementary school on and I could definitely relate to her plight. Funny and poignant and very easy to read.

So, since I just finished that, I moved onto the new Jennifer Weiner, Goodnight Nobody . I am liking it so far only at chapter 4. Seems a little "Desperate Housewives"ish and funny. I read Little Earthquakes and that gave me faith in this author. AND, she has a blog. Cool.

Piper, Finn, and I have checked out numerous books from the library (we go on Mondays) and this past week we brought home Sheep Don't Count Sheep, The Hello Goodbye Window, and I See A Song...those are just 3 of the like thousand we checked out. We read 2 every night.

Jason is reading The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil. That's his thing, although he tells me about it and it seems very interesting.

Current favorite candy: (since we have like 84 pounds of it here form Halloween)

Mine - Starbursts and M&Ms

Piper - some honey caramel EXTREMELY sticky thing

Finley - got into my bowl of Halloween M&Ms I had out on the coffee table for guests and they seem to be her favorite.

Jason - you'll have to ask him, but I suspect that he will eat whatever Piper worked to get because it tastes so much sweeter when it's free.

Current favorite picture of the girls:

Current Guilty Pleasure Blog Read:

Celebrity Babies

Conversations About Famous People

Current project(s)

Well, this weekend we are taking up the indoor/outdoor carpet on the back porch because it is nasty, and since the weather has been gorgeous I would like to set stuff up out there for the girls to play...painting, water play, bubbles, etc. And since it is screened in, they will be contained.

Next, Finley will be one next Monday (be prepared for sappy, wet with tears post) and I have to finish preparing for her party which will be the following Saturday. I love birthday parties (or is it birthday presents?).

Craft-wise I am working (knitting) on a funky pink scarf for Piper and then I will start in on Christmas gift that I plan to make...problem is I'm not sure what I'm gonna do there? I also need to start thinking about Christmas cards and such which makes me realize that I need to learn how to use photoshop.

I am also thinking about changing up my blog, HHHMMMMM.

I think the project list could go on and on. And on. on. Did I mention that Jason quit his job and started his own company?

Current favorite thing to do with the kids:

Walking the dog with the girls in the beautiful weather

Reading to Piper

Setting up obstacle courses out of pillows for Finn and watching her work her way up and down and rolling around and occasionally landing on her head (she'll be fine).

Current Competition:

Blogfighting with Jason Egan and his "Can Do Attitude"

Maybe I bored you, maybe you got some ideas or suggestions. Make your own list.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Napping House

Naptime at the Dowdell's

Things you might not know about me

1. if you want to get me to try or do something all you have to say is "I bet you can't..."

2. i am adopted

3. i am a slob...seriously, a slob of the highest order

4. i have taken prozac for depression

5. i have been married for 4 years 5.5 months

6. it is sometimes too much trouble for me to capitalize me "i"s

7. when i was little i wanted to change my name to stephanie (as in stephanie zannoni in grease 2)

8. one time when i was about 10 years old, i answered the phone at home and the person on the other end said they were the casting director for Les Miserables in NYC on BROADWAY and that they needed some extras for the show and would I be interested? turns out the person on the other end of the phone was my dad...not funny.

9. i LOVE fast food...especially french fries!

10. now this last one is hard for me to admit because no one out side the family knows this story because I have been too embarassed to tell it but here it is:

one morning we had this evangelisim drive at our church where they taught us how to present the gospel going door to door. Now, this is definitely not my style, but then we were sent outin groups to go down a street in our area and invite people to our church and witnes to them. We had a big greasy breakfast and then we were off. My group was me, Jason, and my dad. It started out easy enough and people were nice, but then I felt it. That rumble in your stomach that you know means trouble. The cramps were so bad that I had to stop and squat on the ground. My only hope was that one of the people we had talked with would let me in their home to use their bathroom. Thankfully, someone did but it turned out to be not soon enough. As I was running up the stairs i was so relieved to be finding a bathroom that my body signaled itself to relieve itself. Yeah, I didn't make it. I pooped in my pants. I pooped all over their bathroom and I treid to clean it up. There wasn't really a chance that these people would visit our church any time soon.


So, I was reading one of my friend's blogs, Can Do Attitude (love that name!), and one post in particular was about habit forming skills. Jason Egan was writing about how easy it is to fall out of a habit like posting to a blog, especially when you don't have a large readership. And I whole-heartedly agree, so I issued a dare...try to post for at least 21 days in a row because I remember reading somewhere that in order to form a habit, you have to do something 21 times in a row.

And so another challenge was issued to me to do the same and we would see who had posted the most on November 22nd. Now, I am not one to back away from a challenge (although I do wish he had used the words "double-dog dare") and the game began. I am now seeing that he is for real as he has posted multiple times in the last 24 hours and now I need to step up my game.

I have only spoken with Jason a few times on the telephone and he seems like such a soft-spoken and sweet-natured guy, and I am afraid that this is going to get ugly. On top of that he has incredibly cute kids. I must not let me competitive "exuberance" take over and make me rotten. So, this will be a lesson for me in more than one way. I will form 2 good habit...the posting and keeping my competitiveness in check.

Now, I challenge you, my readers (all handful of you) to go and read Jason's blog and you be the judge. All in all you will benefit the most because you will have so much content to read. He has some really interesting things to say about technology and life in general. I have already learned some things by reading his blog and I'm sure you will also.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Month of Halloween

Once upon a time there was a flower fairy princess ballerina named Piper. She was the most beautiful flower fairy princess ballerina in all of the land and everyone loved and adored her. Everyone that is, except for the town skunk, Finley. Finley was jealous of all the beautifulness that was Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina and of her sweet scent, not like her scent since she was a skunk.

So Finley hatched a plan to take away all of Piper the beautiful flower fairy princess ballerina's sweet smells on the night of the big fall festival. When the night finally came, Finley the skunk put on her sweetest smelling perfume to cover up her skunk smell and headed over to the fall festival. There she saw Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina but something was wrong.

Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina had a mess of sticky red gunk all over her beautiful flower fairy princess ballerina dress and it smelled so foul that everyone was running away holding their noses and breath so as not to smell her stinkiness. Everyone that is, except for Finley the skunk. She decided that she needed to help Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina because she knew what it was like to be alone and smelly.

She made her way over to Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina and began to clean off the red stinky gunk and wipe away the big fat tears that were rolling down her face.

"Why are you helping me?" asked Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina.

"You were all alone and I know what that feels like, to be alone and smelling not so pretty," said Finn the skunk.

"Thank you so very much," Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina said and gave Finn the skunk a big snuggly hug.

And as she gave the hug something magical happened, because you see if you are given a hug by a flower fairy princess ballerina, all of the sweet and beautiful scents are given with the hug and you smell just like a beautiful flower fairy princess ballerina! And from that day on, Piper the flower fairy princess ballerina and Finn the skunk were best friends and of course, lived happily sweet smellingly ever after.