Thursday, July 31, 2008

singing and dancing with jesus!

mark's grandmother, Kathryn Nutt Shamburger, is singing and dancing in heaven with jesus! she went to be the lord on saturday morning and tuesday we celebrated her life in tyler, texas. it was a wonderful day of remembering her amazing life. grandmommy (that's what we called her) served so many roles in her life, but what i will remember most about her is her passion and love for christ and how she demonstrated christ's love in her life. grandmommy was a pastor's wife for many years and served so many, but even after her pastor husband pass away she continued to minister to her community. in those 18 years she loved, encouraged, and met the needs of so many. she was living example of "having the Word of God written on your heart." as her health was failing, and the demencia set in, grandmommy was always reciting scripture. not the same verse over and over, but all kinds of passages that would encourage you and remind you of her savior. it was such a powerful testimony of her heart! she shared christ's love with everyone. the other thing that i will always remember about grandmommy is that she was a poet. this was a precious gift that god gave her and she used it well. she had poems for all occassions in her life. what i loved most is that she could remember them all and while she was telling you a story about her life, she always had a poem to go along. most of them would make you laugh. she was witty and very funny! here is one that i especially love and heard her tell often..

I got old much sooner than I expected.
Age had crossed my mind, but that thought I’d rejected!
I meant to grow roses, the talk of the town,
Be presented at Court in a white satin gown,
Sing in Carnegie Hall, take a bow at the Met,
Preach to the lost in Shanghai or Tibet.
Meant to rock the grandchildren more—sew for them too,
Make little girls’ dresses embroidered in blue,
Do needlework, housework, and make it seem play,
Lose weight, get a face lift—model with clay.
Meant to work with ceramics, make chickens and frogs,
Roll all my newspapers into neat fireplace logs.
Meant to ride on a jet ski—go diving for pearls,
And fly across oceans to exotic new worlds.
Those far away places whose names I can’t say
Are forever calling by night and by day.
I got old so much sooner than I had expected
Age had crossed my mind, but that thought I’d rejected.
I will not get old (or at least I’ll pretend)
For deep down inside me my youth will not end!

my precious mother-in-law inherited this gift of poetry. she wrote the these words to express her feelings about her mom's life. the poem was read at her funeral on tuesday...

She’s singing now in Heaven with a smile upon her face
For she has been adopted through His free redeeming grace
Her life on earth has ended, but her voice forever rings
To tell us about Jesus and the peace and joy He brings
She sets her gaze on Jesus as she walks the streets of gold
She’s living the experience she know has been foretold
The tree of life is reaching with its branches stretching out
To feed her as she relishes God’s love without a doubt
The cares and trials of her old life she now has left behind
Walking there with Jesus through the gates that are divine
Heaven is her resting place where there is no more night
God’s own hand protecting as she stands there in the light
Her life on earth prepared her and how fitting her reward
For to her world she ministered, told others of His Word
She pointed us to Jesus, to our Home there up above
Her life was an example of the meaning of Christ’s love.

grandmommy meant so many things to so many people, but what i know she will be remembered most for is her incredible love for jesus. i am honored to have the responsibility to pass on her legacy to my own children. these words that sarah, my sister in law, wrote on her blog, i think are so perfect, "how amazingly blessed we are to have families who although are very imperfect, as we all are, had faith in a perfect Savior." i know that grandmommy is singing and dancing with her perfect savior now. how lucky she is!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


mark has been super busy this month with work and attending summer camps with our church. we love that he can go and minister to the kids and teenagers in our church and make amazing videos to remember the week, but we (his family) really miss him while he is gone. he misses us too, so about 2 weeks ago we made a short trip (45 minutes south of dallas) to children's camp in cedar hill, tx for an evening. olivia LOVED every minute of seeing her daddy, riding the golf cart, singing, dancing, and watching daddy lead the kids in worship. so when daddy left this time for youth camp, she started asking when she would get to go to camp again. youth camp is a bit farther away in brownwood, tx (about 3.5 hours away in west texas) so we opted for an overnight trip this time. on wednesday afternoon we headed west and made it to howard payne university in brownwood around 4:00. i was thinking olivia might nap in the car, but she was too excited and just talked the entire way!! as we turned onto the campus olivia spotted mark, who was outside waiting for us, and started screaming "daddy! daddy! we are here! we are here!" i don't know who was happier mark or olivia. (i was happy too, but i was missing jack already. he was at home with nana.) we unloaded and took a short look around camp before heading to dinner.

olivia and i at dinner. both so happy to sharing a meal with daddy!

after dinner we went to worship, square dance, and then finally to bed around 10:30 pm.

olivia and daddy at the square dance. o was having tons of fun, but as you can see she is VERY tired and ready for bed.

the next morning we went to meet mark's family group, team pre-historic, i.e. cavepeople. (every family group was named after ancient civilizations- random i know). they had bible study and then headed out to the rec fields for games. to show their team spirit the family group wore costumes, fred flinstone shirts for the guys and animal print for the girls. sweet nicole, mark's co-leader, made an outfit for olivia. it was the cutest thing and nicole amazed me by putting it together in about 2.3 minutes. olivia had so much fun during rec. she followed her daddy around, rode on his shoulders, and cheered his team on!! her favorite cheer was "C to the A to the V-E-M-A-N, we're CAVEMAN, we're CAVEALIOUS!" so funny to hear her sing/chat it.

o and dady at rec. daddy in his flinstone shirt and o in her animal print. the pic doesn't really show how cute o's outfit was.

this picture shows just how much fun o was having.

sadly our time was up, we had to say bye to daddy, get back in the car, and head to dallas to pick up jack! olivia talked about camp the entire way home (no nap again!).

as i am writing and reflecting on this experience, i am realizing how blessed i am. i have a husband who uses his gifts to serve the lord, a little girl who gets to witness this and who ADORES her daddy, a sweet mom who will gladly watch jack so we can make fun trips like this one, and a flexible 9 week old who loves being anywhere he is loved. god is so good to me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

lovin' the library

the other day after picking up the girls (olivia, abby, and kingsley) from school, sarah suggested that we take the girls to the library. it is air-conditioned, a good place to visit, and not home!!! olivia is always a little cranky after a long day at school, so i gladly agreed.
i am going to insert a short confession here-- i have been a first grade teacher, reading specialist, and have only taken my 2.5 year old daughter to the library 4 times, this one makes 5! she begs to go every time we drive past it, but i can't seem to find the time. so sad i know. please don't judge me. we read at home all the time, i promise!
ok, on with the rest of the story... so we arrived at the library. i reminded olivia before we went in that she needed to use her library voice. you might be thinking, stephanie you don't take her often enough for her to know what a "library voice" is, but she loves the library so much that she knew this meant a whisper voice. as soon as we walked in the door she ran over to the kids section with her cousin abby, and in a very LOUD voice expressed her excitement at the site of the books, pillows, cool window, and little chairs. immediately she started grabbing books off the shelf and asking me to read them. she was so "lovin the library" and i was feeling so guilty that i had been denying my sweet little girl this experience on a more regular basis. she did calm down after a few minutes. she and abby found a good book (i think it was about princesses) and read to each other. so sweet!

of course the highlight of every trip to the library is checking out new books to take home. olivia was so excited about her selections and carried them proudly to Rah-rah (aka sarah) so she could could take them home and show daddy. thanks sarah for letting us check out books on your card since we were at the dallas library. this was a great day. we have been reading these 2 books every day for a week, SO i will be returning the books soon AND planning our next trip to the library!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

goodness sakes alive, abby is FIVE!!!

happy birthday abby!!
my adorable niece is turning five today. it is unbelievable that five years ago today i was sitting the hospital waiting room (for several hours, poor sarah), surrounded by family all waiting to catch the first glimps of the new baby. on that day we didn't know if it would be abby or luke? soon we found out that it was abby!! her daddy proudly rolled her out and showed her off to everyone. i fell in love instantly!! i knew abby would be a special part of our family and our life, but i don't think i truly knew what a blessing she would be. so now after five years of sharing life together with abby, i am even more in love with her today than i was the first day of her sweet life. she is one of the most special people in my life so today this entry is all about her! abby is funny, sweet, creative, compassionate, sensitive, talented, and loving. she always makes me smile with her hugs. she makes me feel good about myself with her sweet compliments. she adores her cousins, olivia and jack. she loves her family with all her heart. here are a few of my favorite pictures of sweet abby...

i love this one because you can see abby's fun personality.

this picture is great because it shows abby being the big girl. she is such a great big cousin and big sister!! kk and olivia are so lucky!

this is abby on a ride all by herself. she is so brave and adventurous.

this is just abby! my very favorite picture of her. totally natural. totally beautiful.

abby i hope you have the very best birthday! i can't wait for more lunches at chick fil a, trips to the mall, weekends at the lake, holidays, trips to the beach, and just being with you. happy birthday!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

all dressed up and no where to go

summer is flying by so quickly. i really thought this summer would be low key and a bit boring since having a newborn. boy was i wrong! i feel like we are so busy and always going here and there-playdates, swimming, ballet & tap, lunches with friends, and running errands around town. we have had a few days just playing and hanging out at home. i love those days because olivia is her true self and sooo funny! here are some pictures from one of our recent "at home" days. olivia was into the dress up clothes and jack and i just sat back watching the fashion show (with the camera, of course). enjoy!

notice the comments olivia made to accompany each fashion selection. they are direct quotes!

olivia: "take my picture mommy before i go to the baseball game and then to ballet because i look so pretty."

olivia: "baaaa! baaaa! baaaa! now i am a dancing sheep. i am going to get baa (that is her stuffed lamb) to dance with me."

olivia: "mommy, look at me now! i look like a really pretty easter bunny!"

jack is smiling because he is just glad he can still sit in his swing and watch his big sister. all too soon he will have to wear these crazy outfits too!

i must admit, i am probably the main reason for being on the go all the time, but i am also so thankful for days at home. without them i would not have pictures like these and a true sense of who my sweet children really are.

Friday, July 18, 2008

just add water

today we were invited to my sweet niece's birthday party. abby is turning 5 and wanted to have all of her friends and family over to celebrate. this year abby decided to have a flower party. the kids had so much fun playing on the BIG water slide, painting pots, planting seeds, and eating yummy cupcakes. here are some pictures from the fantastic flower party!

here is the birthday girl on the water slide. she is getting soooo big!

olivia was playing on the rocking seal while ALL of the other children had fun in the water. she is not a fan of the BIG water slide. :(

abby helping olivia plant her flower seeds in her freshly painted pot.

olivia's favorite party of any birthday party- juice boxes and cake! mmmmmm!

sarah and abby reminded everyone to just add some water to their pots when they get home and soon they would have some beautiful flowers. it might also be true, that when you add water to any event with kids (well, unless your name is olivia bowlin) that there will be laughter and smiles. abby, thanks for including us in your fun day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

baby jack time

this weekend olivia went to the lake with nana, gramps, gram lois, papa, and gram millie (my parents and the grandparents) SO that meant that i got to have some sweet quality time with baby jack. they left saturday morning and mark was working all weekend. i had jack all to myself all day saturday and for about half the day on sunday. i have been in love with him since i found out i was pregnant. the attachment grew as he began to move around in my belly (he reminded me frequently that he was in there). my heart was so happy when i heard his first cry and held him in my arms. but, after this weekend i have fallen even more in love with my sweet precious baby! i savored every moment we had together just the two of us. during each feeding we did not have a sweet big sister interrupting us or have to listen to some cartoon on noggin in the background. i was able to just sit and look at his cute face and even got a smile or two back. the way he looks at me melts my heart every time. i am thankful for so many things in life, but this weekend i was able to appreciate the all the little moments with baby jack that often go unnoticed.

jack right before one of those sweet moments. he was very hungry.

since it was a "mommy & jack" weekend i dressed him in my favorite outfit. mark and my mom call this a "girly boy" outfit, but i LOVE it!

by the way, thank you nana (aka mom) for having olivia at the lake. i know she had a blast!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

liquid gold

we have finally found it!! what is "it" you might be thinking? well, since this mama can't nurse her baby (for various reasons i won't go into), finding the right formula has been quite an adventure. we have finally found one that "agrees" with our sweet baby jack. we like to call it "liquid gold" since it is pretty pricey. of course, it is worth every penny.

jack is not spitting up, his tummy doesn't seem to hurt, and he is consistently making dirty diapers for me to change- all good things! :) so the search is over. this may not seem like a big deal to most, we are thrilled. after 7 weeks, 5 different varieties of formula, several tummy aches, and some tears (both mommy and jack) we could not be happier about our "liquid gold" find. jack seems just a happy about it too...

baby jack napping comfortably (as a result of "liquid gold") with wubba right beside him.

here he is after enjoying 4 oz. of deliciousness. one of jack's favorite "wake time" activities is watching his mobile. he loves to follow the orange dog.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

nana it is your special day!!!

today is nana's birthday! nana is a super special lady to everyone in our family. she is a wonderful example of a supportive and caring wife. she shows unconditional love as a mother. she is a proud and precious "nana" to her 2 grandchildren- o&j. she loves her son-in-law like one of her own. she is helpful, organized, happy, thoughtful, generous, and genuine. she is also a loyal and dependable friend.
so today mom, nana, nancy, nanc (whatever you might call her) we celebrate you! we hope your birthday is a wonderful as you are to each of us!!

here are some pictures from our "july birthday dinner" at arthur's. it was a fun night out and some really tasty food.

mom and mark enjoying and posing with their birthday creme brule.

the blanchette fam- chris, steph, mark, sean, dad, and mom

my cute little brother, sean sipping a cup of coffee to end our evening.

thanks dad for a fun night to celebrate mom and mark!! it was lots of fun!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


2 cuties in their tubs.

olivia and jack posing for the camera. olivia really has that fake smile down!

olivia and jack both love bath time. olivia could play for hours (if we let her) washing her baby, singing songs, swimming, or "making cake" (a.k.a. pour water from one cup to another) in the tub. jack loves to just sit back and relax in the nice warm water. he does get a little cranky when washing his head.

here at the bowlin household we make up silly songs for everything and bath time is no exception. while getting all clean in the tub we sing "wash your body" (sung to the pop tune from j.t. "rock your body"). when getting out of the tub the songs continue... we like to sing "baby burrito" (sung to the tune of "baby beluga") when o&j are all wrapped in their towels. daddy's favorite is "pour some powder (or lotion) on me" (sung to the popular 80's rock tune "pour some sugar on me").

here are my frog and duck "baby burritos." i really could just eat them up!

silly yes, but it makes our kids smile and so it is totally worth it. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

the fourth was full of fun

the fourth of july always seems to be a really fun time for our family. in the past we have spent it on the lake with the blanchette fam or on the golf course at the country club with the bowlin fam. this year we began a new tradition- on the lake, spending time with both families. pop and b (those are mark's parents) bought a lake house in the fall, so this was our first fourth of july at the new lake house. the lake house itself is wonderful, but when you add family it becomes even better. we especially love the lake house because we can spend time with my family (the blanchettes) who have a house just a 20 minute boat ride or car across the lake. it is such a blessing to have all my family so close- even at the lake.

our little family. not the greatest pic, but i had to include it.

olivia loves to be at the lake because her family is there, but she is not so much for getting in the lake.
olivia and "rah-rah" (a.k.a aunt sarah)
notice olivia's shoes- this was o's favorite look this weekend... life jacket, diaper, and dress up heels. lookin' good o! a little classy (the shoes), a little trashy (the diaper), and of course safety first (the life jacket).
olivia and kingsley snackin'.
sweet cousins. kingsley, abby, and o.

olivia did go on a boat ride and loved it as long as the speedometer did not exceed 12 mph. oh well!

we went over to my dad's farm (yes, my dad has a farm just down the street from my parents lake house. it is his "hobby farm.") to meet the donkey, rico. they feed him animal crackers (his favorite treat). they also saw the miniature cows (sean and matt) while we were there.

abby petting rico.

abby and olivia went to the garden and picked some green tomatoes, yellow beans, onions, beets, and a green pepper. gram lois (my dad's mom) was teaching them how to determine which veggies were ready to be picked. the best part was bringing the veggies home and eating them. we had fried greem tomatoes for dinner that were delicious. fried green tomatoes are mark's favorite!

the fourth would not be complete without a firework or two. mark and christman gave us a pretty good show, but the neatest thing was sitting on the dock and looking in every direction to see "big booms" (as olivia calls them). what a sight!!

here is one of the smaller displays that christman and mark showed us.

it was a great fourth filled with precious family and the start of new traditions. can't wait for many more years together. check back for more july 4th entries. their will be another one soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

happy birthday to daddy!!!

today o&j's daddy is having a birthday so we want to celebrate him!! happy birthday to daddy!!! he is the greatest husband and most wonderful daddy in the world. we are such a lucky family to have him in our lives! here are a few pictures that show just how wonderful he is, especially at being a daddy...

daddy and olivia make sweet music together.

olivia loves for daddy to read bedtime stories.

olivia and daddy at youth camp last summer. "GO TROLLS!"

daddy can always make olivia laugh. (he makes me laugh too!)

daddy loving on baby jack. they already have a special bond- jack gave his first "real" smile to his daddy! :)

mark is a loving, wise, caring, funny, thoughtful, and compassionate daddy and husband.

happy birthday!!! we love you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

florida family fun

our family from florida made the LONG trip to texas for a little visit. we did some dallas sightseeing and then headed to cedar creek lake for some fun in the sun.

olivia, timmy, and p.j. at the bronze cattle drive in downtown dallas. (i have lived in dallas most of my life and never knew this existed- actually pretty neat!)

olivia loved playing with her cousins, p.j. and timmy. p.j. and timmy loved meeting the newest member of our family- baby jack. of course aunt laura and uncle pat were really fun to hang out with too(we just didn't get many pictures of them- sorry:)).

the cousins hanging out on the deck. what a view!

timmy and olivia became fast friends. here they are watching the sunset.
jack bonding with his big cousin, timmy. p.j. and timmy loved holding baby jack.

uncle mark came up from houston to see the florida folks, but he really ended up bonding with jack. look how relaxed they are!

we had a super fun time! we are so blessed to have such a special family and especially those that will travel for days to come and visit.