Thursday, April 29, 2010

What? You’ve quit coming here?

But, it’s time for our bi-annual update! I’m done making (sorry) excuses for why I don’t write more often. Not only am I letting down the three fans of our blog, I’m doing myself an even greater injustice by having to organize six months worth of information and pictures at one time. Heck, I can barely remember what happened last week, much less last year, so you think I’d get my act together! I really do intend to learn how blogging should actually work but, for now, it is what it is…

Where shall we start? I believe I left off with early fall preparations for the expansion of our family. Since then we’ve had a family reunion, Halloween, home renovations, Thanksgiving, Hannah Claire’s 3rd birthday, the birth of Caroline, Christmas and now life with TWO little girls. Just typing that sentence made me tired!! To say the very least, things around here stay busy. But it is a busy that we love and wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’m still working from home and, other than that, spend most of my time carting the girls around to appointments, school, church, etc. Ryan is still enjoying his work at Emory and has also managed to take on like 43 ‘side jobs’ as well. He’s writing a business plan for a new company, researching and writing a white paper for another company, and still working on his own little BBQ venture. How he manages all that plus a house full of women, I’ll never know!

Now on to all the fun stuff* that has gone on in the Jowers’ world for the last six months; fasten your seat belts, it’s a bumpy ride!

If you’d like to read about our stuff in chronological order, scroll down to the “Room(s) for Two” post and start from there.

Life in the Fast Lane

That is what I feel like Caroline’s little life the fast lane! Didn’t she just get here? How in the world is she already 20 weeks?? Sigh.

Here are her first few months in pictures and stats:

1 month old
9 pounds, 3 ounces

2 months old
11 pounds, 9 ounces
22 3/8”

3 months old

4 months old
14 pounds, 5 ounces
24 ¼”

She eats like a champ (as evidenced by the pictures) and is sleeping 10 to 12 hours at a time every night. She’s rolling from her belly to back constantly and is working hard to go the other way, back to belly. She LOVES her big sister and is all smiles when Hannah Claire plays with her. The sisterly love is super sweet, but I wonder if they’ll still be so smitten with each other when they’re 13 and 16!!


We had a low-key Easter this year. The bunny visited and left goodies for both the girls and we spent the day at church and with Ryan’s family.

My first major holiday (Christmas notwithstanding) with two little girls and, no, I didn’t dress them in matching dresses. I suppose I’ve already failed as a mother to girls. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy more dresses when they each had such pretty ones that they’d been given on separate occasions. Thanks to Gracie for Hannah Claire’s gorgeous get-up and to Gigi for Caroline’s precious dress and bonnet! I’m pretty sure I’ll have plenty of other chances to dress (read: torture) them alike as they get older.

Every Girl Needs to Accessorize

And this cute girl is now accessorizing with glasses!

We found out in February that Hannah Claire needed glasses. We’d noticed that her left eye was pulling in every so often and at her three year old well visit the pediatrician asked us to have her seen by a pediatric ophthalmologist. Based on other people we knew who had similar symptoms, we thought we were dealing with a muscular issue and that Hannah Claire would likely be treated with a patch or maybe even surgery. Turns out she is far-sighted, and they think her left eye is pulling in because it’s the weaker eye and has to work harder to focus. So, rather than treating the muscle, she will wear glasses with the hope that when she is seeing correctly the left eye will quit turning in. She has adjusted to her frames wonderfully and (not that I’m biased or anything) looks like a doll in them! We went back for a follow-up last month and the doctor says she’s doing great. Since the left eye learned to focus “incorrectly”, she’s still relying more on her right eye to see so we will need to do some patching for a couple hours a day at home. Hannah Claire picked out a cute patch with a fairy on it and, so far, she loves wearing it. I’ll try to get a picture of her sporting the patch sometime soon!


We had a lovely Christmas, spent with both sides of the family, that included the usual presents and way too much food. I’ll let you enjoy it via pictures:

Sweet Caroline

Princess Jowers II’s official due date was December 17 and, given that I had gestational diabetes (again), we knew the doctors wouldn’t let me go past that date. Knowing that we could have the baby and be home well in time for Christmas was comforting considering we had a three year old who wasn’t going to let something as minor as a new baby sister interfere with Santa making a stop at our house. Plus, my mom, aka Gracie, already had her travel-to-Atlanta-in-time-for-my-ASC-Christmas-concert-then-stay-for-baby’s-arrival-and-through-Christmas plans all set. Ah, the best laid plans…

I had a regular 39 week appointment the morning of December 8, where the doctor made it clear that I was ‘ready to go’ at any time. No big deal, right? Women walk around for weeks ‘ready to go’, often sailing right past their actual due date. I had stuff to accomplish before this baby got here…hair appointment on the 11th, ASC Christmas concert to sing in on the 13th, pedicure over the weekend, a few Christmas presents to finish wrapping, etc. Baby girl and I were chatting regularly about her impending arrival, and I had made it clear to her that she was not allowed to arrive prior to 11 PM, December 13. Clearly, she doesn’t listen well. I woke up running a fever in the wee morning hours of December 9 so by 5:30 AM we had packed up Hannah Claire, dropped her off at Gigi and Baba’s house and were checked in to the hospital. Thinking maybe I had an infection of some sort brewing and with baby already making progress on her own, the doctors decided they would admit me and just help things along. That was at 8:30 AM and at 1:53 PM Caroline Rose Jowers entered the world. Us Jowers girls, we don’t mess around! She weighed in at 6 pounds, 14.9 ounces (just 1/10th of an ounce more than Hannah Claire when she was born) and measured 18.75 inches.

Caroline was sweet from moment one. And she’s still sweet. She eats well and sleeps well and is a happy, content little girl. Hannah Claire has loved her from the get-go. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well she has adjusted to being a big sister. We figured she’d do well but, in all fairness, she IS only three. So far she is nothing but loving towards Caroline and super helpful when Mommy and Daddy need her to be. We’ll just see what happens when Caroline is old enough and mobile enough to get into Hannah Claire’s stuff. Might be a different story then…

All in all, life with two little princesses is going well. We adore our girls and we seem to have settled in well to being an official family of four!

Seriously, Santa, enough already!

December is always crazy busy but we figured things with a newborn and a three year old had the potential to be insanity, so we took Hannah Claire to visit Santa and ride the Pink Pig early in the month, before Caroline arrived. This was the first year Hannah Claire seemed willing to sit on Santa’s lap by herself, and she and Daddy had rehearsed the questions Santa was likely to ask. Hannah Claire had her answers down: “Yes, I’ve been a good girl,” “I’d like you to bring me a kitchen”. You know the usual stuff. And then we get to Santa, who apparently has it out for parents of unsuspecting toddlers.

Santa: Hannah Claire, have you been a good girl this year?
HC: Yes, I have been a good girl!
Santa: So, what would you like for Santa to bring you?
HC: I’d like a kitchen! So I can cook like Mommy and Daddy.
Santa: And what else would you like?
HC: Um, a bouncy ball.
Santa: And what else?
HC: Oh, a yo-yo!
Santa: And what else?
HC: (looking at Daddy like “we didn’t rehearse more than this, did we?”) I like movies.
Mommy: Okay, sweetie, big smile for your picture!

Really, Santa, what is your problem? Do you not see Mommy trying to give you the universal “cut it out” signal by running her fingers across her throat?? The girl said she wanted a kitchen, bouncy ball and yo-yo. There’s truly no need to make her think of more things she would like to have. Granted, it was probably the first Tuesday evening in December and there were like two people in line behind us so I’m sure Santa thought he was just being nice…but the twinkle in his eye seemed a bit devious, if you ask me.

Having successfully let Santa in on her wish list, Hannah Claire was ready to ride the Pink Pig. For those of you not from Atlanta, I don’t know how to explain this Christmas tradition but a tradition it is, and Hannah Claire was more excited about this than anything else that evening. We convinced her to eat dinner first since the Pig was near where we had parked the car and eating first meant not having to traipse back and forth through the mall four times. Being the awesome parents that we are, we purchased our Pig tickets before going to see Santa so we were set to ride as soon as we finished dinner. Being the not-so-awesome parents that we are, we failed to check out what time the Pig quit running for the evening. When we arrived back at the tent, Hannah Claire excitedly pulling us all the way, it was locked down tight. Oh the sadness on our little girl’s face. We promised we’d bring her back ASAP. She took it like a champ, and even posed for a few pictures with the Pig paraphernalia. We made it back a few days later and all was right in her world.

The Good News and the Bad News

Which do you want first? Let’s go with the bad news: our home renovation project. Due to its unhappy ending, this story will be brief. We hired a company to convert our existing screened-in porch to a four-season sunroom, build a deck off the sunroom, and replace the countertops, sink and flooring in our kitchen. We’ve talked about taking this project on for years and, with our family growing, now was the time to make some additional space. With the hope of being finished before the baby arrived, we started the project in October. It’s March. And we still have no deck and no new kitchen sink or countertops. Suffice it to say, our contractor turned out to be a bit shady and hasn’t been back to our house since mid-December. We’re in the process of taking him to court, but until the case is settled we can’t hire another contractor to finish the work. So I look at my deckless backyard (where my hubby’s and my daughter’s toys should be) and my ugly old countertops and I fume. Daily. Once the legal dust has settled, I’ll be sure to update.

On to the good news: The day after Thanksgiving, Hannah Claire turned 3!! How my baby is three years old, I have no idea. It blows my mind to think she’s already that old, and the glimpses we see of her even older self come much too often. She’s 3 going on 15 most days!

In the past, we’ve had Hannah Claire’s parties at our house. But, with the baby due just weeks later and our house in disarray from the renovations, we decided to let someone else do all the work this year. We celebrated her big day at Greene’s Fine Foods in Decatur and, I must say, it was well worth it! Greene’s is an adorable little candy store where the kids get to make their own treats. Hannah Claire had a blast with all her friends and family and scored some serious loot.

With Thanksgiving and Hannah Claire’s birthday behind us, it was time for the countdown to Caroline. We had three weeks until her due date, December 17. Little did we know we wouldn’t be counting down as long as we thought!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fall Family Fun

In early October, we traveled back to St. Simons for a reunion with my mom’s entire side of the family. It was great to spend time with cousins, aunts and uncles that we rarely get to see. Ryan impressed the family with his awesome BBQ. Hannah Claire became fast friends with her second cousins Lizzie, Janie and Maggie. They had a fabulous time playing on the beach and fighting for lap time with their uncles. And Ryan and I got a quick glimpse of our soon-to-be reality: a family full of girls!!

A couple weeks later, we made our way up to Coon Creek for “Coonstock” at my aunt and uncle’s place in the North Carolina Mountains. Thank goodness I was eight months pregnant ‘cause it meant I got a warm bed instead of having to sleep outside in a tent. It was freezing outside, but we still had a fabulous time.

We, of course, rounded out October with some Halloween fun. There was the Fall Festival at church and the traditional trick-or-treating with Noah and Carter. Hannah Claire dressed up as one of her then favorite book characters, Poodlena – a sassy poodle that adorns herself in pink and lives in a New York high-rise.

Room(s) for Two

I’m pretty sure I promised pictures of Hannah Claire’s big girl room, so here are a few:

The inspiration for the feel and colors all started with a mirror we found during a shopping trip while in St. Simons. Note to anyone thinking about redecorating a room: re-doing a room around an accent piece is a big old pain in the tush! Finding bedding and a wall color took more time and effort than we’d counted on, but it came together well. Ryan and our brother-in-law, Jonathan, put up the woodwork and then Ryan and I painted everything. Gigi and Baba helped pick out the awesome new bedding (that I intend to send her to college with!) and Gracie helped sew all the fun bed pillows and the valence for her windows. Hannah Claire adores her new space and still, six months after ‘moving in’, invites anyone that walks through our door to come see her cool new room!

Caroline (Yeah, she’s here. Has been for months, but that’s a whole other post) has successfully taken over the nursery. For those who weren’t around when Hannah Claire was born, here a few pictures of the mural Gigi painted over three years ago. How awesome is it that two sweet girls have gotten to use this special room?