Sunday, July 24, 2016

Miller to the Eleventh Power

So here's the little intro part where I should write something profound and meaningful, and demonstrate my love for my sweet sweet little boy. But all I really have is:
Sorry about your Ace Ventura hairdo, buddy. 


Goofy curls aside, this little guy is such a love. He has a passionate streak that's coming out more and more, but that little fire just adds to his charm. It blows my mind how much he changes every month, but in the end one thing is constant: he is the best little addition to our family I could possibly imagine.  

Previous months: 123456789, 10.
(and 11 month old Piper, and Fin). 
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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Garbage and Gatorade

The other day I felt convicted by a viral Facebook video.

(pause for just a minute to reflect on how extra-bad that feels. It's like lowest common denominator shame. But the truth comes in all forms, so here we are.)

It was a quick little clip, and one which you may have already seen...it's garbage day, and as the truck pulls up to their house, a couple of little kids run out to greet the guys, excited to see them and bring them each a bottle of Gatorade. It seems like a weekly ritual, as the two workers are greeted by name ("Hi, Mr Rob!") and they happily get out of the truck, scooping up the kids, and letting them "help" load their cans on the truck.

And that's it. 

But it's also kind of everything. 

The video is barely over a minute, but it was enough to show me how community, and serving, and love is done.

I often lament (in a self-aware manner of my #firstworldproblem perspective at least...but lament nonetheless) that I struggle to find time and ways to serve in my community. After all, I have three small kids, and a full time job...even the smallest efforts seem like just too much on top of everything I'm already trying to juggle. I can't bring someone a meal, or visit them in the hospital, or drive down to the soup kitchen...I've got my own little people who need me. And even if I could serve- where are my opportunities? Where is the need? Maybe if we were in the city...but out here in the suburbs? At my office? Many of the people I'm surrounded by each day are better off than we are, what could I do that would even be worthwhile?

(This is where God...and Facebook...step in to basically say: Ummmmm, you're missing it, dummy.)

I may not have a ton of extra time (who does?) or endless streams of money (who does?) but I do have garbage men, and I do have Gatorade (well...I could get some, anyway). I actually even have three little helpers!

Yes, it's reasonable to feel strapped for time, and buried under children. And yes, it's fair to struggle with knowing where to serve, who to serve, and how to serve.

But serving doesn't have to be hard. Community doesn't have to be complicated.
Loving others can (and should) be woven seamlessly into your life (my life), even if that love just looks like a couple of cold drinks for someone who could use them. In these hectic and full days as a mom of little ones, I may not feel like I have much left to give- but I assuredly still have something someone needs. Maybe it's a smile, it might be a hug, perhaps it's advice, or just a well timed bit-moji text encouragement...In the end, it's all just compassion. And there's no reason I can't have that.

Let's go give love like a toddler greeting a garbage man. Loudly, messily, simply and with our whole hearts.
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Seaside in Seconds

Last week we took our first big family vacation- a roadtrip to the beach! We spent a week in Seaside Florida, and in true Bowden fashion it was nothing short of a traveling circus. There were moments I thought we might not make it (there's nothing easy about a 13 hour trip with three tiny people- and their tiny bladders) but there were just as many moments when I couldn't even handle the perfection.

I know I couldn't possibly be more of a broken record these days. We get it, traveling with kids is hard, and beautiful. Parenting is hard, and beautiful. Life is just so hard and beautiful. But seriously....it is! I prepared for the week to be exhausting, and frustrating, and fun...and it was all those things. And more...

We drove, swam, cried, napped, played, dug, built, hurt, snacked, complained, walked, burned, laughed, learned, screamed, drank, argued, ate, schlepped, tanned, peed, raced, slept, danced, cooked, sang, sweat, colored, cleaned, ran, shared...We did a whole bunch of really regular life, in a really stunning place, with some really fantastic people, and somehow it all added up to far more than the sum of its parts. I have a camera roll full of snapshots, and a mind full of memories. And my heart- it's really full too.

There's no way to fully document the comedy/tragedy, and heart-bursting magic of it all, but I did make a mashup of some snippets of our week together. Good or bad, I'd jump back into every one of these seconds in a heartbeat.

  Seaside in Seconds from Courtney Bowden on Vimeo.

{Film shot and edited entirely on my phone, with the 1 Second Every Day, and Splice apps}
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Never Forgot-ten

Don't worry, I didn't forget our little animal's ten month birthday...I just had to postpone the photoshoot a couple of days due to him getting a fever. Miller was a bit under the weather when we traveled to Philly last month, and he turned out to have a double ear infection. Poor little bug! (I could have done a photo montage of my sad mama face) So we had a week of sweaty, snotty cuddles, but once the amoxicillin kicked in he was back in action. Good thing too- because we had a whirlwind couple of weeks celebrating his sister's third birthday, and then going on our first big vacation as a family of five. So our scheduled documentation got a little unscheduled.

It's easy for a third baby to get a little lost in the shuffle sometimes (thankfully we at least remembered to pack everyone in the van for our trip, and avoided a KEVIN! situation) but thankfully Miller is easy going, and doesn't mind rolling with the craziness around here. Plus, I'm pretty sure he knows we love him to bits, and I would never forget about him. (Except that one time in the church nursery, but I went back right away, so it barely counts).  

So a little late, but still a LOT cute...here are nine snapshots of ten month Miller: 




Previous months: 12345678, 9
(and 10 month old Piper, and Fin). 
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Blogger Haiku

Summer is busy
Can't keep up with blogging it
Here are some pictures














(thanks for checking in
hope you're scrolling at the pool
grab a popsicle).
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What a trip

They say there's no such thing as a vacation with kids. Well, do you know who they are? Me. I am they. And hear me say to you: there's no such thing as a vacation with kids. 
We just got back from 4 days in Philly, and while I would call it many things (a trip, a visit, a whirlwind adventure!) a "vacation" would not be one of them. Because though it was actually quite lovely (in pockets...at times...) I'm fairly certain people sleep on vacations, so by that criterion alone, our weekend was disqualified. (I would argue that the true hallmarks of a vacation are returning tan, fat and happy...maybe even with a bead or two in your hair...but that seemed like an impossible dream at this point, so I was willing to set the bar low:  I would have settled for just fat. But alas, my kids wouldn't even let me hit the breakfast buffet in peace...)

So no. This weekend was most definitely not a vacation. But it was a trip. 

As with most endeavors these days- there was good, there was bad, and there was ugly. Sometimes all of them within a matter of minutes. There were points when I contemplated, seriously contemplated leaving at least one of the (screaming) children on the side of the road. But somehow, mercifully, there were just as many moments when I wanted to stop time and bottle up their exact essence right now because they're each just too perfect (and funny, and adorable) to comprehend. And then they'd scream some more and I'd be back to my plan of leaving them at the nearest service station to fend for themselves. You know. Just til they're 18 or so. (Don't worry...I'd never actually abandon my children. And if I did, it'd be at one of the really nice rest stops with an Auntie Ann's. I'm not a monster.) 

Traveling with kids is memory making on warp speed...it's highs and lows jammed back-to-back too fast to make much sense of them. You're laughing and crying, and yelling, and hugging, and when it's all over you look at each other and promise you'll never do this again, simultaneously knowing you absolutely will. It is yin and yang. Bitter and oh so sweet. 
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Catching chicken nugget throw-up in a towel, confirming our suspicions that yes, Fin does indeed get carsick. 

Glimpsing in the rear view mirror to see sisters sharing their toys and helping calm down their baby brother. (and maaaaaaybe taking a Dramamine induced nap).
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Turning a 4.5 hour trip into 6, due primarily to the longest rest-stop lunch in history, inclusive of one water bottle related tantrum, and no less than four separate bathroom trips. 

Catching up with old friends, chatting, laughing, and staying up way past our old-lady bedtimes. 
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"Sleeping" sandwiched between two little bodies, striving to keep everyone quiet enough to avoid waking the baby before the sunrise. 

Organizing glee-filled races to press the "excavator!" button (again, and again).

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Nursing a sick baby at 2pm, while my lunch sits juuuuuust out of reach. 

Getting snotty, but heart meltingly sweet snuggles from the fever-stricken baby. 
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Seeing the clock strike 11pm, and 2am, and 6am (and maybe a couple hours in between).

Watching Piper swim a lap around the entire pool by herself (with a little help from her floaties). 
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Running out of discipline options at bedtime, putting Fin in the bathroom for (yet another) time out. 

Laying next to her afterwards to try to talk about being a better listener, and having her rub my arm with her jelly's ears as a silent form of apology.
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Packing everything we could possibly need for an day spent a family's house, and realizing we didn't 
bring a pack and play for naps, and oh...we're also out of diapers.

Watching Dustin's family embrace the girls and seeing them play with their cousins like they've known them forever. 
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Accidentally bringing up religion and politics, in one very ill-conceived attempt at conversation.

Holding hands with the girls after a long day, telling them, "I love you little people.", and hearing Fin, with all the sincerity in the world reply, "I love you too, Mom. And you love me. And I love you too."
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I could go on forever, highlighting tiny snippets I never want to forget (mismatched flip flops, unbridled enthusiasm over Fruit Loops, searching for duck logos on every hotel surface), and mini-nightmares I'm thankful are already fading from my mind (the whining. oh the whining. SO MUCH whining). This weekend was the full spectrum:  the absolute worst...the holding puke in your hands, strung out to your wit's end with complaining, bleary-eyed exhaustion, worst. And the absolute best...the childlike wonder, heart might burst, memories for a lifetime best.

It wasn't a vacation. But it was a trip
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Little Pip-Speaks: Volume 25


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

The: The hits just keep comin' edition..

Pip-speak #1: 
Piper: Will you get a towel for my seat? Because I have short sleeve legs.

Pip-speak #2: 
Piper {delaying bedtime. Again. Some more. Always}: Daddy, will you come back up? 
Daddy: No, Piper. It's time for bed. Go back in. I love you.
Piper: But Daddy! I can't tuck myself in. What do you think I am, an adult?!

Pip-speak #3: 
Piper: I got the instruments down. 
Mama: Really? How'd you do that?
Piper: Just carefully. And believing in myself. 

Pip-speak #4: 
Piper: These shoes kinda squeeze my front toe and my back toe. 

Pip-speak #5: 
Mama: Did you know that your ears and your nose never stop growing? 
Piper: Really? 
Mama: Yep. So Daddy's all done growing taller, but when he's old, he'll have big giant ears and a big giant nose. 
Piper: Like Papa! He already has a big nose and ears!

Pip-speak #6: 
Piper: I am running out of all of my patience on Fin.

Pip-speak #7: 
Mama: Are you a baby whisperer? 
Piper: Yeah
Mama: Do you know what that means? 
Piper: Yeah. It means you get babies quiet when they take a bath. 

Pip-speak #8: 
Daddy: Girls, doesn't Mama look pretty today? 
Piper: Yes. And Daddy, you were the handsomest of all the other church boys. 

Pip-speak #9: 
Piper {while driving by Grandpa's office}: Which grandpa works there? Grand pop?
Mama: No. Grandpa. My daddy. 
Piper: Oh. The old one?

Pip-speak #10: 
Piper: Mama, what's on your arm?
Mama: {Freaks out a little}
Piper: Your hand! {hysterical laughter}
Piper: ...Daddy...what's on...
Daddy: Piper, you can't ask again. 
Piper: Yes I can. 

Pip-speak #11: 
Piper {laying down to sleep}: Is it tomorrow yet?

Pip-speak #12: 
Piper {looking at a picture of babies on my phone}: Who's that? 
Mama: It's twins. Aren't they cute?
Piper: Yes. They look very the same to me.

Pip-speak #13: 
Piper: G'mi, how long has it been since I told you I love you? 
G'mi: Wow, don't really know, Piper.
Piper: I think it is long overdue. 

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And not to be outdone...we have also have a little(r) sassbucket on our hands:

Finnish #1:
Mama: What are your fish named? 
Piper: Silvie Goldie
Fin: Strawberry whipped cream head 

Finnish #2:
Fin: *Coughs* {pause} That was a bless you. 

Finnish #3:
Fin: {Saying one of Uncle Jeremy's trademark lines}
Mama: Are you Uncle Jeremy?
Fin: No I not!
Mama: You sure? You sound like him. And you look like him!
Fin: No! Uncle Jeremy doesn't have a jelly. 

Finnish #4:
Fin {getting frustrated with one of her toys}: Oh my dangit! 

Finnish #5:
Fin {creating something out of blankets}: That's his head, and that's his body, and that's his bummie. 
Piper: Fin, what are you building?
Fin: Umm
Piper:Is it a sea cow?
Fin: Yes. It is a sea cow. 

Finnish #6:
Piper {upon seeing the playground we took her to}: Aw, there's mulch? I don't like mulch. 
Fin: I will hold your hand, Piper so you don't fall down in the mulch. I promise. I promise, Piper. 

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