Saturday, November 29, 2008

turkey day at the lake...

was so much fun!!! tuesday after mark got home from work we loaded up the kids, the stuff, and the casseroles and headed to cedar creek lake to the bowlin lakehouse. this is our first thanksgiving to have the lake house so we were thrilled to spend the long holiday weekend celebrating thanksgiving and just hanging out together as a family.

wednesday we prepared for our thanksgiving feast. sarah and i finished up making some yummy pies and the girls made placemats for everyone.

olivia hard at work gluing feathers to her turkey.

the finished products!!

thursday we had a super day hanging out, making christmas ornaments, eating, and of course watching football.

the girls painting their ornaments. they are SO PRETTY, anyone want one?? olivia's turned out very "mari gras" all purple, yellow, and green.

mark and jack watching football. not sure if that is spit up or pumpkin pie on mark's shirt. :)

we also made a live "jack-in-the-box." how cute is he??

we had some family/church friends from dallas come out on friday afternoon. i played mexican dominos for the first time. it was super fun. i can't wait until i have at least 4 people together that are up for another game really soon.

it was a really great time with family and friends. as i was riding home this morning, i was thinking about how blessed i am to have such a precious family that i love so dearly. i really feel rested and ready for the christmas season. now if i can just get all the decorations up and the gifts wrapped i will really feel ready to enjoy december.

i love the fun memories that we are making as a family. look how happy everyone is!! we love the lake!

thanks bowlin family for a great thanksgiving. can't wait unitl thanksgiving 2010 to do it all over again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

thankful heart...

seems a little cliche, yet totally appropriate to post about what i am thankful for, so here it goes...

i am thankful for...

- trusting, loving, and serving a God that brings peace and joy, teaches how to love, faithfully answers prayers, and demonstrates grace.

- my precious husband. he serves our family so well.

- the opportunity to be a full time mommy! what a joy (well most days) it is to watch my kids grow and change. i love that i get to be there for the tears, the laughter, and all the sweet moments.

- my life being changed by knowing Emily Sha Martin.

- the chance to serve in the children's ministry at my church all because Sweet Hopkins believed in me.

- the unconditional love that i feel from my entire family. how lucky i am to have so many people love me so well.

- my bible study girls.

- my friends, you know the ones that REALLY know me and love me anyway. (you know who you are!)

- a restful holiday weekend at the lake with my bowlin family.

i could go on and on, but those are my thoughts for now. now it is your turn, just think about all that you are thankful for. happy thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

my sister, my sweet friend...

well actually sarah is not my sister, she is my sister-in-law, but she is amazing and i like to pretend that we are REAL sisters! (i don't have a sister so it is perfectly acceptable for me to feel this way.) this post is all about her because i was in las vegas during her birthday (which is generally when i write about the adults in my life) so i did not get to share with everyone how special she is to me. she is a kind and thoughtful daughter. she is an godly wife that loves her husband so well. she is a creative and fantastic mom. she is my husband's supportive sister. she is an aunt that loves my children almost or as much as i do. she is a true and loyal friend. i love all of these things about her, but i especially love the special relationship that we share (selfish i know, but true). i love that we can talk about christmas presents in september! i love that we both get excited about new organization ideas. i love that we are will eat chick-fil-a just so we can have time to chat while our kids play. i love our trips to canton. i love that we are family. i love that we work together well in business (hee, hee :)) or as roommoms. i love that running errands together can be one of my favorite events of the week. i love when we share a cafe max lunch. i love that sarah is such a good listener. i love that she shares her wisdom on parenting, relationships, and faith with me. i could go on and on. i am so lucky to have sarah in my life and call her my most precious friend.

sarah, thank you for loving me and living life with me. i love you!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

baby dedication...

(notice the smile on olivia's face. she is so proud to be "presenting" her baby brother.)

sunday was baby dedication at our church. we were so happy to present jack to our church family. it is so encouraging to know that we have their love and support as we commit to raise jack in a home filled with truth, love, and grace. we were thankful to have our family there to support us as well. here are a few pictures from this special sunday morning...

pop & b with baby jack

jack with his great grandpa terry. he is one proud papa!!

gramps and jack. they are always "playing" together.

in true bowlin fashion, we celebrated by all going to lunch at amigos. it was a first visit for several of our family members. they loved it, of course!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

bring on the veggies...

jack can't get enough!! jack has enjoyed sweet potatoes and carrots and he can't wait for the next jar of tasty pureed veggies. i am thinking we will go green next. maybe some peas??

notice how he is leaning in...yummmm!

"can i have some more mom? please!"i wish olivia would be this eager to gobble up her veggies, oh well! i settle for one eating whatever i put in front of him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

guess WHOOOO's three???

my sweet olivia, that's whooo! and her party was a "HOOT!" here are a few pics from the owl party in the park.

the birthday girl...

the pinata...
the cake...

the birthday wish...

the party favor...

in case you are wondering how in the world we ended up with an owl themed party, here's the explanation. olivia loves owls. still not sure why she loves them so, but she does. she really wanted to be an owl for halloween. i was all for the idea, but quickly realized that store bought cute owl costumes are impossible to find. for a brief moment i thought about making a costume, but that martha stewart moment quickly passed. i got online and found the monkey costume and made it sound like the neatest costume ever! she bought it! score for mom!! well, i think that same week we were discussing her birthday party. we were looking at invitations online and of course she spotted an invite with an owl. i couldn't say no again, so we went with the idea. i must say, i think it turned to be a pretty fun party. i loved that it was a beautiful day at the park with just enough friends to call it a party, but not so many to call it chaos. i love that karen, the face painter, made each child feel special. i love that the cake turned out cuter than i could have imagined. i love most of all that olivia is still talking about her owl birthday and she had so much fun.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a special day...

november 8 is a special day in our house. it is olivia's birthday. each year as the calendar turns to november i can't help but think about our sweet olivia. three years ago i was lying in a hospital (yes, this is a common theme with me and pregnancy) imagining if i would have a boy or a girl?? what would he/she look like?? will i have what it takes to be a mom?? what is life going to be like with a baby??
well, olivia was born at 7:56 a.m. via planned c-section. SHE was the most beautiful thing i had ever seen. i was in shock that she was a girl! in fact, mark and i were not sure of what to name her because we were convinced that we were having a boy. after an about five minute conversation in the OR we decide that olivia anne was a perfect name for our perfect little baby girl. the next several days in the hospital were so much fun. we had lots of friends and family stop by and we were happy to show off our precious new baby. really things haven't changed much, the last 3 years have been lots of fun. since she was born she has been such a gift to our family! she is adorable (if i do say so myself), funny, sensitive, thoughtful, loving, huggable, smart, a sweet friend, a great big sister, and a precious blessing.
i still not sure if i have what it takes to raise this passionate and strong-willed little girl but, i am giving it my best shot with lord faithfully by my side. i do know that life is a little sweeter with her to share it with. i know that olivia makes me smile, wonder, laugh and even cry. she allows me to see the world in a whole new way, through the eyes of a child. i thank god for giving such a precious blessing, my olivia. i know that i am not worthy of it, but i am so grateful for it!!

a few pictures to see how olivia has grown over the past 3 years...

here is olivia anne on her "birth" day...
she was cute, but looking back not as beautiful as i remember. but let's be honest, what 2 hour old baby is all that cute unless of course they belong to you. :)

here she is on her first birthday...
her first taste of chocolate. she loves it!!!

on her second birthday...
having a good ole time down on the farm.

and on her third birthday...
for her special family celebration, we all went to build-a-bear. she created "bruiser olivia bowlin." for those of you non-baylor fans out there, "bruiser" is the name of the baylor mascot.

happy birthday baby girl. i am so honored to be your mommy. i love you!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

we'll fling our green and gold afar...

** i am a little behind in my blogging due to the events of last week.**

at baylor homecoming 08. it was so much fun. the bonfire, the ferris wheel, little girls in cheerleading outfits, the longest homecoming parade in the nation, the football game, time with my bowlin family, quality time with college friends, and of course the familiar faces that i only get to see when i return to baylor's campus. i love it all!!! oh, i forgot to mention cute little boys in football jerseys or baylor colors. jack looked pretty stinkin' cute in his green and gold.

the tradition began about 20 years ago for mark when he was teeny tiny, but just 10 years ago for me when i was a baylor student. some things have changed over the years, but i love baylor and i love that we are passing on the tradition to our children and sharing that with mark's family.

the weekend began with trick or treating in a historic waco neighborhood. it was so neat because all the homeowners were sitting on their front porch passing out candy and their were kids everyhwere. we trick or treated with our cousins (of course!) and our college friends, brad and mary and their little boy, grant.

grant the sheriff, olivia the monkey, jack the banan, abby as sleeping beauty, and kingsley the blue ballerina posing before the candy collection begins

our little family

after our trick or treating adventure we headed for a quick bite to eat at a waco landmark, health camp. don't let the name fool you, it is a burger place that has been in waco for at least 60 years. we ate some greasy burgers, tots, drank some Imperial dr. pepper (the original formula) then headed to the bonfire.

so yummy, yet so bad for me!! i love it when i have to decide between big red or imperial dr. pepper!! i picked dp this time.

the baylor bonfire is not enormous, it is more about the experience then its size. it takes place in the heart of baylor's campus. this year we stood in the really long line to ride the ferris wheel. mark and olivia got on the ride just as they were lighting the fire so they had a really neat view. jack and i watched from down below.

waiting in the really long line. at least we got a cute picture out of the deal. oh and i guess these 2 got a ride too!!

here is the mighty baylor bonfire!!

saturday morning began bright and early as we walked back to campus to find "our spot" to watch the parade. (we have been sitting in the same general vacinity for several years now.) the kids loved the floats and the CANDY!!! my favorite was the real mascot, joy. she is so cute. after the parade we always go and take family pictures by judge baylor. we managed to get a few good ones even though our 3 year old was trying to spoil the fun.

mark has pictures like this from his childhood going to baylor events with his cousins.

joy, the real baylor bear. isn't she cute??

b and pop with their baylor lovin' grandkids (minus KK, she was not interested in pictures at this moment)

tailgating was next! we ate some super yummy hot dogs and visited with good friends. we have been tailgating together for 5 years now since leaving college. thanks to kristy, steve, kandy, and chris for organizing each year.

sweet college friends

the game ended up being really fun. you know as baylor fans when you are playing the 14th ranked team you don't set the bar high, but we played a good game. no we didn't win, but there were moments that i thought we might pull it out.

the girls enjoying their big red and baylor popcorn. this was a tradition that started at the beginning of the season with olivia and pop.

saturday night mark's family headed to pigskin (a tradition we were sad to miss out on this year, not enough tickets. :() and we went to dinner with friends. it was great to have time to just sit and catch up. sunday morning we went to bosqueville baptist church were our good friend, brad, is the pastor. he delievered a great message and mark even sang the "special music." a quick lunch with brad and then we were northbound on 35 toward dallas.

it was a great weekend. to me it is the perfect balance of tradition, family time, and catching up with friends. here's to another great year. look for pretty much the same post next year at this time as we once again go to waco to show our baylor pride at homecoming 09.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Trip to Heaven

**i wrote this on thursday and was too emotional to actually post. i know it will not do justice to convey my true feelings and deep emotions. here it goes...

this week has been an emotional one for me. two precious people in my life took a trip to heaven and now i would like to go for just a moment. i want to hug my precious friend, sweet, just one more time. i want to thank her for seeing things in me that i didn't know existed. she saw in me a deep love for christ and love of children and gave me an opportunity to serve in children's ministry for 11 years and counting. it is in those times serving that i grew so deeply in my faith in jesus christ. i also developed a deep friendship with a special lady that i feel so blessed to have known and shared life with. sweet did not want her life to be defined by her battle with cancer that she bravely fought for 12 years, but rather what a real and faithful jesus that she followed and lived her life for everyday. how lucky i feel to have been loved and mentored by her. i will miss her deeply, but i am so thankful that she is healed and for that i can feel joy!

my brief trip could not end before holding precious baby emily just once more. it was just a week and half ago that she was in my arms at our halloween playgroup, and now she is in the arms of our loving Heavenly Father. baby emily was only 4 months old and was so unexpectedly taken from this earth. i want to hold her and tell her that even in her short life she changed lives. she brought such joy to her family and even to our MPE playgroup.

i know that this brief trip to heaven is not reality, but over the course this week our family has had some unforgettable conversations about this AMAZING place called heaven. here is one conversation i had with olivia that i will never forget...

(olivia, jack and i were in the car running errands. we pulled up to Sweet's house.)
olivia: mommy, i want to go in and see miss sweet.
me: olivia, miss sweet is not here. she is in heaven with jesus.
olivia: was miss sweet sick?
me: yes, she has been sick for a long time, but now she is healed and in heaven with jesus.
olivia: was really really sick, not just a little sick?
me: that's right.
(a few minutes passed as we drove away and were driving to our next spot.)
olivia: (with tears in her eyes) i don't want baby jack to go to heaven mommy!
me: olivia, jack will go to heaven someday, but i don't think it will be soon.
olivia: ok, but mommy, i want to all go to heaven together.
me: i don't know if we will all get to go together, but i think that one day we will all be there together.

what peace it brings me on this day when i will attend the services of both Sweet and Emily that one day i will be reunited with them in heaven.

a dear friend sent me this scripture this morning. i will cling to these words. i find so much comfort in the promise we have in Christ. He will give us rest make our burden light. this is my prayer for the hopkins and martin families.

"Come to Me, all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light"(Matt. 11:28-30)