Thursday, September 27, 2012

I have peppers!

Remember my big plans to plant a garden this summer?  And then about half way through the summer my pepper plants and basil had grown, but the peppers still didn't have any fruit.  My cherry tomatoes did well, but my squash and zucchini had failed miserably, remember?

Well come the beginning of August the pepper plants were huge!  But still no fruit.

Pepper plants & Basil end of June
Pepper Plants and Basil now

I must admit I was a bit down-trodden towards the end of the summer as well.  It did not flourish as I would have liked.  I've never really had a green thumb, BUT I had high hopes.

Well towards the end of August I noticed that I had 2 peppers on one of my pepper plants!  Needless to say I was ecstatic!  If nothing else, I had succeeded at growing SOMETHING.   And then as the month of September came and went, the peppers multiplied!  And a couple even turned red!  I love red peppers!

Also in early to mid-September Chris pointed out that I had a cantaloupe growing!!  How sweet is that?!?

The super sad thing is that I went out a couple days ago to again admire the one piece of fruit my plant had yielded- AND IT WAS GONE!  Something ate it!  Talk about disappointed.  I have no idea what happened, but the whole thing is gone!  No evidence of anything.  I'm guessing a deer?  Gardeners always seem to blame things on deer and bunnies, but this job seems to big for a bunny.

And then my sweet potatoes are underground, but at least the leaves on top look pretty good.  I'll dig them up in a couple more weeks.

So I had had big plans for the Fall.  I was going to continue with a Fall garden of lettuce and broccoli.  (I don't really like collards and some of the other greens, so no point in trying to grow them.)  I had actually started some lettuce and broccoli inside in our sun room, but guess what?  Yep, they died; they sprouted and were looking good for a couple weeks before I managed to kill them.

And then the more I thought about it the more I realized I really don't want to be hauling the hose out the back of the garage and around the corner to where the plants are all fall.  Its a huge pain and since it will be getting dark earlier it will be more challenging for me to go out and water after I put Phoebe to bed.  I'm going to take a break this Fall.

But next Spring and Summer I have big plans.  You see Chris is going to help me build 2 square raised beds that we will put in the small grassy area directly behind the garage.  This way I won't have to haul the hose out quite as far AND there will be plenty of sun.  (Some of my original planting areas this past summer did not end up getting enough sun.)  And I'm starting a compost pile.  I keep reading and hearing that good soil and good compost are the keys to a successful garden.  We try to do most things green around here (recycle, cloth diapers, cloth napkins, and I try to be mindful of packaging and what types of cleaning products I use) so why not compost as well?!?  I will tell you more about our attempts at composting later on.

But now that you've seen my mere little garden let me show you my inspiration!  This is what some good compost can do for you :)

Well good compost, some land and a little red barn.  Every garden is going to look better with a little red barn.

This is the garden of a lady at church.  She is an avid gardener and LOVES teaching and educating school children and just about anyone about organic gardening.  She has been a great resource and her garden really is an inspiration.  Phoebe and I have taken several field trips over to her garden and she has even allowed us to come over and pick fresh produce when she is out of town.

Check out these trellises they have made for peas, and beans, and anything else that you can grow UP!

I just LOVE sunflowers.  How amazing would that be to have a row in your garden?

She's got a few more sweet potatoes than I do.  Yeah, that's a lot of sweet potatoes.

And how cute are these peppers?!?  I think they are called Christmas Bell Peppers, or something like that because they are in the shape of a Christmas bell.

And if the vegetables weren't enough they even have bee hives to make their own honey!

I will keep dreaming (and practicing)...
The best gardening advice I've ever gotten: There's always next year!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{WIWW} Hiding the Bump

I feel like I'm at that awkward stage of pregnancy where (if you don't know me) you would take a second look and think "is she pregnant or does she just have a gut?"  If you know me, you would have no doubts.  Although I am feeling huge for being just shy of 16 weeks, I'm sure most of it is in my head.  Even so, I'm not trying to rock the bump quite yet.

I like this sweater because it is easy to throw on over a plain white shirt on a cool evening.  And with Fall on its way, we are having more and more chilly mornings and evenings! 

Sweater- Gap
Earrings- I don't know they are old.  But I love them!

This isn't necessarily a fashion statement, but its a super soft and comfy shirt!  I love shirts with thumb holes and the neck is kind-of fun too!  And black is a nice slimming color :)  Its a Columbia shirt from the Destin outlets that I picked up early this summer.  Out of all the different sports wear companies, Columbia has not traditionally been one of my favorites, but their stuff is growing on me!  And of course the outlet helps :)

This next picture is a little light (does that mean its over exposed?) But you can see the details of the shirt a little better.  Including the kangaroo pouch.  I don't know why but I love kangaroo pouches!

Chris actually bought me these shoes for my birthday.  He saw them on sale at REI and thought I would like them!  Isn't he great?  He really is a good shopper when it comes to buying things for me.  They are Jambu and I love them!  They are comfy and cute.

pleated poppy

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Second Pregnancy

I know it is still early, but first 15 weeks of this pregnancy has been a very different experience from my pregnancy with Phoebe.  And don't get me wrong- I am not complaining at all!  It really has not been bad at all- just different.  My pregnancy with Phoebe was almost so picture perfect that of course it couldnt' be repeated.

  • When I found out I was pregnant with Phoebe I was SO anxious and thought about the baby ALL THE TIME.  I was so worried something would go wrong.  So worried.  I thought about the possibility of horrible very frequently throughout the entire pregnancy.  I did multiple ultrasounds of myself at work and listened to the baby's heart rate at least once a week before I was feeling regular movements.  I immediately wanted to know what I could and couldn't eat and do.  
  • This pregnancy I have barely thought about it.  I really have not been anxious at all.  I have forgotten that I was pregnant many times and haven't followed those "dos and don'ts" very well at all.  I have not done one ultrasound on myself or listened to the baby's heart rate.

  • I started taking pre-natal vitamins when we were just thinking about maybe having a baby last time
  • I didn't even think about taking pre-natal vitamins until 2 or 3 weeks after I knew I was pregnant.  And even then I'm embarrassed to say I didn't think of it on my own.  Someone else was talking about me taking them (assuming that I was) and I thought "hmm, that would probably be a good idea"

  • I was not nauseous when I was pregnant with Phoebe.  (I could count on one hand the number of waves of nausea I had)  I did not have headaches with my first pregnancy.
  • Although my nausea was not near as bad as it could have been and it certainly didn't last the whole first trimester, I had about 3 weeks of feeling nauseous and it was not fun.  And the headaches- I get them all the time!

  • I had no food aversions at all
  • Coffee, yogurt, and nuts I couldn't eat for the longest time  (I still can't do yogurt, but thankfully coffee and nuts have made the good list again)

  • My abs held that baby pooch in so well the first time.  I wasn't showing for the longest time
  • I certainly started showing much earlier this time.  I was bigger at 14 weeks than I was at 17 weeks last time
(And yes I remembered what shirt I was wearing when I took my first belly shot last time at 17 weeks and I put on that same shirt again)

14 weeks

17 weeks
March 2011

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Phoebe's excited...

Yep, God-willing another Baby Bowen should be making its appearance mid-March

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Garage

I really wish we had taken some before pictures of our garage.  It was a mess!   Stuff piled everywhere!  Over the summer we bought some shelving and organized a lot of it.  Then when my dad came in July he made a "tool hanger" out of a 2x4 and some large nails so that we could get even more stuff off the floor.

We normally have some camping chairs hanging up here too...  I guess we were sitting on them this night

And then a few weeks ago Chris and I bought a roof-top carrier for the car.  Thanks to some Kennesaw State reimbursement money for RUF scholarships and an REI credit card Chris had a pretty nice REI reward from last year.  We had been planning to put that reward toward a roof-top carrier and roof rack.  Then when we were walking around REI one day they were all 20% off so we went ahead and did it.  We probably didn't need it quite yet, but in the future we will be driving more for family vacations and it is amazing how much more stuff a kid requires.  It was clear that at some point in the near future we were going to need some extra cargo space.

So great!  We bought our roof top carrier, but then we had to figure out how to store it in our garage or townhouse where the walls are quickly closing in on us.  I am so proud of my husband.  Look what he concocted!

He used a closet hanger and closet rail to hang our roof top carrier on the wall of the garage.  Thanks baby!

{WIWW} Accountability

I am typically not one to highlight my outfits or wardrobe because really I don't consider myself that stylish (that is why I look at all all the rest of your blogs!)  But when I came across this link-up from the pleated poppy I thought it was a fabulous idea.

She is a SAHM (or stay at home mom for those who are not hip on the short-hand) who was needing some accountability for getting dressed each day.  I CAN TOTALLY RELATE.  It is so easy for me to stay in my PJs or simply run around in sweat pants and a t-shirt all week long and feel like a complete bum.  So this is now my accountability for showering (yes) and dressing myself at least a few times each week.

Actually I will confess at the beginning of the summer I was feeling a bit down about my closet and very much wanting to go on a shopping spree because I felt like I did not have anything to wear.  I also felt like I would wear the same thing all the time because it was easy and I don't have time in the mornings (or afternoons) anymore go try on different things to put together an outfit.  It needs to there in front of me so I can just put it on.

I felt like I had a lot of clothes from college and yes even high school, but was wanting to personify more of the mom/pastor's wife roll than the single college girl.  And in all fairness I was pregnant last summer so didn't have any new summer clothes and was in Kenya the summer before so it had been a couple years since I had done any summer shopping.  So with some extra money I hired a girl to come do a wardrobe consult for me.  She came over and helped me go through my closet and put together outfits with clothes and accessories I already had!  It was fabulous.  It turned out I had way more outfit possibilities that I liked than I had realized.  She took pictures of everything for me so I would remember it all.  The only thing I regretted was her not being able to stay longer and put together more outfits!  She did confirm that I wasn't crazy and I really did not have a lot of summer clothing, but we put together some great Fall outfits and she helped me incorporate a couple of accessories and shoes that I had bought but didn't really know how to wear or what to pair them with.  So now that its starting (hopefully) to get a bit cooler and more "Fall-esque" I am excited to show off some my own closet shopping!

Ugh, I hate pictures of myself- I'm going to have to work on these, but unashamedly here you go (these for the record are not outfits the "stylist" helped me put together)-

Shirt- Target (a couple years ago)
Jeans- Gap skinny Jeans.  My absolute favorite.  I wear them ALL the time
The earrings are hard to see, but they are cute.  From one of my favorite boutiques in the Highlands from my college days
Cardigan- Also Target
Shoes- Ecco.  Love Ecco Shoes.  Love the Ecco outlet in Dawsonville even more

Dress- Gap
Scarf- gift from a friend from India probably about 5 years ago
Earrings- from that same boutique in the Highlands.  (All my fun jewelry is probably going to be from college) I must do a better job getting pictures of the jewelry
Shoes- Also Ecco.  These red shoes are my favorite.  There is no place like home

pleated poppy

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Final Birthday Post

Just wanted to post a few more pictures from Phoebe's birthday celebrations!  Her actual birthday was Friday, August 3rd.  My parents were here, so she opened presents and we went out to dinner.  She actually did quite well opening her presents- better than I expected.

Chris and I gave her a pair of shoes, which was quite the ordeal.  We wanted to get her some shoes in anticipation that she would be walking or at least cruising soon and would need something on her feet when she's not at the house.  I had searched through boxes of shoes at Once Upon a Child and I kid you not could not find one pair that fit!  Her little feet are so narrow that there were gaping holes on the sides of her feet and the poor girl would just walk right out of them.  So we ended up at Stride Rite paying as much (if not more) for a pair of shoes for my one year old than I would for myself.  But she got some cute pink sneakers that she wears ALL the time now, so it was well worth it.

We also gave her a bubble machine and toy house, which she loves!  And an antique letter box so that Chris can write her letters every year and we will probably give them all to her on her 16th birthday or something like that. Both Chris and I have antique letter boxes with letters from each other from when we were dating (and some since) and plan to do this for each of our children.

My parents gave her a book (which is always a hit), a giggling monkey (which she thinks is hilarious), a singing ball, and a rular/measuring stick.  I had seen these on pinterest and thought it was an adorable idea for recording kids heights, instead of using the old fashioned door frame- especially since we currently don't own our townhouse or plan to live her forever.  I believe Leah and Kyle had made one of these for their daughter as well, if I'm not mistaken.  Anyhow, Dad made it for Phoebe and it looks fabulous!  Thanks Dad!

Then on Saturday Chris' family came down and Phoebe got to celebrate again.  Among other things she got a Radio Flyer wagon that she loves to be pulled around in outside, and a little mini-wagon that she also loves.  She crawls into this in the family room and just sits there waiting for you to pull her around through the house.  Knox always follows, so we have a mini-parade.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Cake

So I had heard around the rumor mill that lots of kids do not like their first birthday cake.  But almost ALL of my friends kids have devoured their cakes and loved them!  Well, we all know how Phoebe is with food and she was not about to put something new in her mouth.  And she cried when we tried to feed it to her (story of my life)

Getting excited.  She knows there is something headed her way...

Needing a little help blowing out the candle

She played in the cake much more than eating it 

Here is a two minute video of her cake extravaganza

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Party

If you were around when Chris and I got married you might notice that this birthday invitation looks slightly familiar.  Yep, we used the exact template we designed for our Save the Date.  We already had it and it was easy to drop in new pictures and new text.  I had found several birthday invitations I liked on Etsy, but of course they were super expensive.  And there was nothing I really like on Shutterfly or Snapfish that I liked that was in our budget. For the record, if you ever have printing needs,  Overnight Prints is fabulous and very affordable.  We designed the postcard (also cheaper postage) using Pages on the Mac and then uploaded the design to Overnight Prints.  They cost us .17 cents a piece for custom invitations.  Now, when we did our Save the Dates, we ordered enough to qualify us for free shipping, but of course we didn't need as many birthday invitations so we did have to pay shipping (which I hate) but they still ended up being less expensive than any other option we had looked at.  We have used Overnight Prints for a couple RUF mailers and events and have always been very impressed with the quality.  We will probably use them for Christmas cards this year.

I didn't really have a party theme, just more of an informal BBQ to get friends together to celebrate.  Honestly, it was more of an excuse for us to see and hangout with some of our friends and neighbors we hadn't seen in awhile.

I decorated mostly with tissue paper balls (not super original these days but cute, cheap, and easy) and a pink birthday banner that I made.  I had goals of making some paper or fabric triangle banners as well, but what can I say- it didn't happen.  I had made the tissue paper balls and banner about 3 weeks early and then things seemed to get busy so not much else got done.  There were a ton of tissue paper balls though!  When we went to put them all up the night before the party I was quite surprised at how many I had made.

I had also printed out all of Phoebe's monthly diaper pictures and hung them around the french doors out to the Florida Room.  It was fun to see how much she has changed over the past year!

So I majorly failed taking pictures at and before the party. I'm sad I never got a picture of the food table and decorations.  They were cute.  We had a fruit and veggie platter, chips and bean dip.  And then we served the burgers and hot dogs before cake.

It was a fun afternoon!  Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with us.  We probably had about 25 people here (which is about at max capacity for our little townhouse) plus several kids running around.

Check back on Friday for the infamous cake pictures