Friday, September 28, 2007

Pray for Grandma

Just thought I'd pass along a prayer request. My Dad's Mom, Greta Bowers, is in the hospital right now up in Wisconsin. She's been experiencing lots of pain, vomiting & rectal bleeding. The Doctors are attempting to stop the bleeding. While I do not know all facts, it seems promising that she will be able to leave the hospital and fly home to MD. It's hard to say if this is minor or serious- as Dad says, nothing is minor at 83 years old.

Grandma is well-known by many of you who have had te priveledge of meeting her. She is witty, smart and has lots of energy. She loves her donuts & coffee, but has always been as skinny as a toothpick. She loves the Lord and calls my Dad "her Raymond" (from the TV show "everybody loves Raymond"). The most quarky thing about her is that she is a diehard Greenbay Packers Fan. This week her greatest dream came true- her niece surprised her with tickets to a Packers game- her first ever (did I mention she is a diehard fan & 83 years old- yet this is her 1st game ever!). So this week she went to the incredible game on Sunday...but is now in the hospital.

Anyways, now when any loved one is in the hospital it brings back a flood of emotions for me. It is painful to lose a loved one, and I can sometimes fear that happening again. I need to keep working on taking my thoughts captive, gaining the Lord's perpctive and resting in His perfect Soveriegnty. He has ALWAYS been faithful to me, how could I doubt the future will be any different when He is an unchanging God who keeps all his promises. Things with Grandma look positive at the moment, but I would still love your prayers!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Baby" is growing strong...

I am over half-way through my pregnancy! Unbelievable...Here I am at 5 month's (21 weeks):

I had to add these 2 pictures below for vanity's sake...they make me look a little less big-bellied :)

I feel that I am just now remembering each day that I am pregnant. This week I realized I needed to start really mentaly preparing myself for baby girl. I bought her a beautiful journal. (For those of you who don't Mom faithfully kept a journal for me as I grew up and it is a treasure! She gave me one for Alathea, to record milestones, write funny stories and keep memories in one place. I've already had to start Alathea's journal #2! I'd highly recommend it!) I think once I start writing in that I will begin to feel more like a baby is coming in less than 20 weeks. I also would love to find her some outfits of her own (at good deals, of course) or anything else that would help make her feel special. I know it sounds materialistic, but I felt that having new baby stuff helped me anticipate Alathea's arrival.

So as you can see in my picture my belly has grown quite a bit this past month! Although I have nothing at all to complain about, my back has started hurting again...a sign that I'm getting up there in months.

I have been treasuring every moment with Alathea lately. She has such the personality and is incredibly fun for me to be with. We went shoe shopping on Saturday while Joe was out of town. She was hysterical- she wanted to try on every shoe, and then when I'd ask her which one's she liked better, she'd point to her favorite pair! She also is getting snuggly- we have extended snuggle time before bed & naps each day. She often falls alseep while I'm singing to her. I cherish these times as I know when baby girl gets here, it may limit that extended time I just love with Alathea at present. Any tips on how to effectively snuggle a toddler & newborn simultaneously?

With all that said, I am genuinely thrilled about this baby girls arrival. I pray for her daily and do have many moments when I stop and realize I cannot wait to hold her.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our Latest Adventure

We spent most of Monday at the Lazy5Ranch with our great friends Nick & Reba and both of our girlies. Last fall this was one of the highlights for Joe & I- watching Alathea squeal in delight at all the animals. This year was even better. Another year older, now Alathea could say the animal names, make their various animal noises and even feed them. She seemed like such a big girl sitting next to her Daddy on the wagon ride, holding her OWN bucket of food for the animals.

We started our adventure at the petting zoo. Alathea was hilarious...running back & forth looking at every animal, clapping & yelling what seemed to be her 18-month old version of "come here!". She wasn't at all hesitant to pet & feed every animal.

Yikes! They already had fall decor set up! I'm still in denial that summer is over. Anyways, we "tried" to get some good pumpkin shots of the girls. We got some precious ones of Kathryn....but, we'll have to go back & try again for my Alathea :)

The wagon ride was a highlight...Alathea loved the horses pulling the wagon & loved going FAST! She's so funny...she'd even say "weeeee" as the horses galloped. Alathea also enjoyed her own bucket of food for the animals, which she taste-tested of course (and seemed to like). She fed most of the animals herself. As you can see, they had some pretty cool animals.

This is Alathea with her Daddy waving good-bye to the animals.

Our Buddies...we're so glad our girls are buddie's too! By the way, little Kathryn was there too, Nick's got her in a backpack!

Lastly, Alathea was too funny in this picture. She wasn't sure what to do when the large birds "attacked" her food :)

Praise God for another fun family day! We're hoping to go back to the Ranch again this fall...its way to fun to do only once a year. We'd love to have ya join us!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Birthday Visit

I turned 25 this past Friday! WOW! I can't believe I actually am 25. It seemed like I just turned 23. I'm sure it only feels wierder as each year passes from now on :)! The best part about my birthday was that My Family came in town to visit! They were only here from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. A short visit- but us Bowers know how to pack 2 days full of fun!

Alathea had her 1st experience at "Build-a-Bear". Pop-pop bought her a monkey that made sounds. I thought she'd be too young, but she loved picking out her monkey, helping to stuff it, putting not one but TWO hearts in the monkey and then giving it a bath with Daddy (above). Below you can see she loved "monkey" so much she smothered him with hugs on the ground!

Alathea enjoys all the extra attention that Aunt Julie & Uncle Rocky give her! They were "babysitting" her while I had coffee with Dad one morning- she enjoyed a fun wagon ride with Rocky sprinting as he pulled her in the cul-de-sac!

She also adores her Pop-Pop. She was giving him lots of kisses & hugs this weekend.

This picture (above) cracks me up! After everyone flew in on Saturday we ate lunch at Brixx in Birkdale, then shopped a bit, then went to Starbucks. This is Rocky & Joe at Starbucks. Once the food was over they were SO bored. Just look at their faces!

Saturday night Dad let me choose a restaraunt for a birthday dinner. I chose PF Changs....yummy! We then spent the evening at Northlake, where Alathea played & went to Build-A-Bear. After that we stretched the day out even more & rented a movie. Although it was a super quick trip, we had a fantastic time together! I love my family!

I don't have pictures loaded from this yet, but that evening we celebrated at the Lechner's house. Marian made my all-time favorite meal- her delicious veggie soup! To top it off I had the most delicious lady finger cake. I was so blessed!

Also, on Friday, my actual b-day, I had a blessed day as well. It started with a surprise Starbucks trip with my buddies Jenny M & Reba. Then I spent the morning with my precious girl. Joe took me to lunch & spent the rest of the day with me! It doesn't get any better than that!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Splash Planet

This past Monday Joe sadly had to work, so Alathea & I made the best of the day. We went to Ray's Splash Planet in uptown Charlotte with Carolyn, Wes & Savannah for the first was incredible! Normally it is pricey, but Carolyn informed me of Mom & Toddler Day- we both got in for a total of $3- not bad! The best part of it all was seeing how much Alathea enjoyed herself. She was in water heaven- a zero entry pool, fountains, water slides, water buckets, and even a lazy river. The lazy river was her personal favorite. She got to sit on Mommy's lap on a float. We must have spent over 30 minutes just going around the lazy river. The best part for me was that she gave the sweetest snuggles the entire time! I was in no hurry to get off either!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Go Panthers!

Alathea loves that she has the same Panthers Jersey as her Daddy

Little Cousin Panthers Fans!

Below: Alathea & Mommy went out for Starbucks to celebrate the Panthers win (any excuse I can find :)...she's eating the cup of whipped cream they give her at the Davis Lake Starbucks

Alathea with her buddie's

The Crossway Staff at the tailgate party

Silly Daddy's (Joe & John above) and their Sweet Daughters (below)

Panthers 27- St. Louis 13! Its a happy day in the Lechner home. Panthers won their first game! This weekend we did a bit of "prep" before their first game. All of the Crossway staff and their familie's had a tailgating picnic on Friday (although there were way too many of them NOT wearing Panthers). And today the entire Lechner's family had a party at Jon & Heathers for the game. Alathea was decked out in her Delhomme jersey all weekend....complete with a pretty Panthers-blue necklace. Good times! Lets hope the rest of the season is full of Panthers wins too!

Why Joe doesn't need a boy...

"Was that fun little girl??", notice in the 1st picture that Joe is over 6 feet tall. See that Alathea is WAY higher than Joe is tall...she must be at least 15 feet in the air! The funny thing is that she LOVED it! She is quite the little adventurer. Joe loves playing "rough" with her- he loves teaching her how to kick & throw a ball (she's actually pretty good at it!). He has even taught her to love the Panthers. Even with her limited vocabulary, she knows how to say "football" and can recognize it on TV. She even enjoys watching it! (The funniest thing is that when she see's the Panther's logo of the panther head she'll say "meow"- it drives Joe crazy. He keeps trying to teach her that Panthers don't meow- they roar!). Her new favorite is wearing her matching Panthers Jersey with Daddy.

With all that said, I still hope Joe gets a boy one day. He adores his precious girl and is thrilled about having another one...but I still think it would be cute to see a mini-Joe one day :)

Also- anyone who knows Alathea would know that she is all-girl. And Joe certainly treats her that way. He loves her pretty dresses, her necklaces and pink shoes. He wants Alathea to be girly and certainly feminine. He just likes a sporty girl too (hence why he married one :).

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And we're having...


Surprise, surprise, huh?? Most of you all guessed it right. Honestly I thought I was having a boy, guess I can't trust my "instincts" :). Both Joe & I are thrilled about another girly. God has been so kind to bless us with two of them! I'm so excited for the Lord to bless Alathea with a sister so close in age. I was getting a little nervous myself today thinking "will we ever have a boy?"- but hey, thats not in my hands. The Lord knows what's best. And Lord willing more babies in the future...maybe a boy will show up somewhere :)

Alathea was a bit scared that they were hurting me during the she sat next to me watching their every move

The "four" of us had a celebration lunch at Brixx afterwards (Alathea looks a bit stunned...maybe because we kept telling her she was going to have a baby'll be interesting as the universe will not just revolve around her anymore :)

And now, the sonogram pictures. We didn't get any great ones, except the one of her "private parts"- the nurse said "98% sure its a girl":

Joe LOVES being a Daddy of girls...he'll tell anyone that. But he was funny today as he realized he is now officially out numbered. He was sobered as he thought of all the crazy girl emotions that he'll have to be surrounded with in the future :)

Well, our next step is giving HER a name! Any sugguestions :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day in Boone

"Come here horses!! Neigh, niegh"

Look closely, bubbles are everywhere! Alathea is heading back for more horses!

Alathea is holding her toy horse that Daddy bought her

The Crew: Joe, Jeanie & Alathea, Chris & Kathryn Flannigan, Steve & LIzzy Honea, Katherine D., Zach J., John Brown, Jon Shea, Dave & Anne Malament

Below: That's Joe on the rope swing!

We did it again! We decided to take another very last minute trip (like decided the day before :)- this time to the mountains in Boone. We debated about just relaxing at home this weekend after Joe's ordination test Thursday & Friday (all the guys passed!!). But, in the end we decided to join a bunch of our friends in the beautiful mountains of Boone...and we are so glad we did.

We all stayed at Chris Flannigan's parents house. They live on a couple of acres in the valley with the most beautiful 360 degree view of the mountains. Absolutely gorgeous! Staying at their home and enjoying their hospitality was worth the trip alone. Alathea started screaming in delight as we pulled into their driveway as she saw five horses. The Flannigan's property is surrounded on three sides by a horse stable. Alathea was in her animal heaven! Most of the time we spent there she was outside banging on the wooded fence saying "niegh, neigh" trying to get the horses to come near her. She also enjoyed running around on the property with their three dogs (made me wish we had property & dogs!!). Another hit was her little bubble machine we bought her on clearance last month....everyone (even us "grown-ups") used an entire bottle of bubbles with that thing!

We also enjoyed some traditional "Boone" fun. We went to the Mast General Store & bought candy and Alathea her very own toy horse (she was thrilled!). Then on Labor Day we all hiked to these local falls. They were beautiful. The fun part was the huge swimming hole. Despite the ice cold water, all the boys loved the rope swing. Most of the girls simply "watched", but Lizzy & I got the guts up to go down the natural rock water slide. It was SO FUN!! As cold as I was, I'm really glad I did it. The locals said we win an award for the first Charlotteans to do that (I know thats not true, but its a nice pat on the back :) As much fun as Alathea had, the only thing she didn't like was the swimming hole. WAY too cold for her little body. She just played with the rocks. What a fun little adventure we had. Our first to the Mt's since Alathea has been born.