Wednesday, October 7, 2015


It seems like every few months, I get the urge to document all the "-ings", so here's the latest on what we're up to...this time with a newborn in the mix. 

Making: progress on cleaning up our house. If you watched our last house tour, you saw the secret hoarding lair (the basement), but we actually had another den of messes out in the garage. I don't have before pictures to show off the transformation, but Dustin managed to organize everything enough to get TWO cars in the garage. It's basically a miracle.
Cooking: nothing! Well...almost nothing anyway. We've been so blessed to have people dropping off meals for us over the last few weeks. Meal planning is just about my least favorite task ever, so to not have to think about that while we get settled has been AWE-some! 
Drinking: water out of my gigantic hospital cup (because I'm practical) with a splash of lime juice (because I'm fancy). 
Wanting: the next 4.5 weeks to go sloooooooowly. I know, I know, I'm trying not to worry about it, but I'm just loving this time with my squishy little guy, and I know time will go even faster once I'm back at work.

Reading: mostly Instagram captions and Facebook statuses. Nursing gives me a ton of time to sit, but for some reason I've never been able to concentrate well enough to read anything of much substance. I catch up on blogs and articles, but reading a real live book just isn't happening right now. 
Looking: tired. (maybe because I am!) I need to figure out some sort of skin care routine, but beauty products are so not my thing. It all seems overwhelming, so I just stick with a simple moisturizer and basic concealer. I'm not getting any younger though, so it's probably time to finally act like a grown up and take care of my skin. 
Playing: bass. Well, Dustin is anyway. Somehow he ended up as the only bass player at church so he has a weekly standing gig now. He's loves serving in general, but especially loves the worship team, so that's been extra fun. Because he goes in early though, it means I have to get all the kids to church on my own, so that's been a bit of a challenge, but I figure it's good practice for when I go back to work and we actually have to be out the door on time everyday.

Wasting: time before I go to bed. I know, I know, I should sleep with the baby sleeps. The trouble is, his longest stretch of sleep starts around 9pm (sometimes, anyway...we don't really have a predictable schedule yet). I wish I could take advantage and get more than 2-3 consecutive hours, but it's nearly impossible for me to go to bed that early. So I turn in around 10 (if I'm really good) or 11 (not as good). Similar story when it comes to naptime. When he dozes off, I find myself scrambling to get a least a few things done, and then kicking myself when I realize how tired I am, but now it's time for him to eat again. I'm really trying to get better at shoving the to-do list aside, and prioritizing sleep first, but for a type-A girl like myself it's a challenge not to just run myself into the ground.
Wishing: all pumpkin foods were available all year round. Guess I'll just have to eat them all right now

Enjoying: the weather. September as a whole was delightful. We've gone outside as much as possible, taking walks, setting up the bounce house, visiting playgrounds, grilling out...just extending Summer as long as we can. I am trying not to mourn too hard, but I'm really not looking forward to Winter. At all.
Waiting: for Miller to give us honest to goodness smiles. He's grinning from time to time, but it's still not 100% clear if he's doing it on purpose. I'm excited for him to get a little more interactive (until then I'm defining his personality as "snuggly" which is really just fine with me).  

Liking: hanging out with our next door neighbors. We've gotten to be great friends with the couple next door, and we were thrilled that they had a baby (their first) just a few weeks before us. We've hopped over the fence to spend time together bouncing fussy babies and trading we're-so-tired stories. And while both of us ladies are on maternity leave, we've been taking walks around the neighborhood a few times a week with the babies. It's been so fun to be able to encourage and relate to each other as we go through similar stages, and we've loved being a part of their lives as their family grows.
Wondering: how we're going to manage when I go back to work. I'm not too worried...after all, we've figured it out twice before, but it will be an adjustment. Three kids hasn't rocked me quite like two kids did, but the days can seem like a hamster wheel, just trying to keep up with the endless, and monotonous tasks, only to get up in the morning and do it all again. I know it's going to be even tougher when we have to pack all of those things into just evenings and weekends.

Loving: getting ready for Halloween. I'm a little embarrassed to admit how many costumes I've bought...but you know, it's sort of my thing. Poor little Miller might be stuffed in a themed outfit every day for the rest of the month. But to be honest, I'm not even a little bit sorry.
Hoping: I can get my act together to plan Piper's birthday party. It's less than a month away now, so I should probably start doing some of those ideas I've been pinning. 

Marveling: at how fast the kids are growing:  Miller's chunky body, Piper's long legs, and Fin's expanding vocabulary. On one hand I want time to slow down so I can savor who they are in this moment, but I'm also so excited for the stages they're entering. It's all just so good.
Needing: an extra set of hands. And SO much more patience. (or maybe fewer, more obedient, kids?)
Smelling: Miller's sweet little baby head. There's a limited time to enjoy that so I'm enjoying every second of that signature baby scent.

Wearing: anything that fits. I know it's still early, so I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. Most of my regular clothes technically fit (not bragging) but it's my shape that has changed, so I'm still feeling squishy and frumpy. Plus, nursing makes a lot of my wardrobe impractical, so getting dressed isn't exactly fun. I'm not excited to say goodbye to Summer, but I'm looking forward to cooler weather so I can wear more layers and button downs (practical and flattering). But I don't want to hide in clothes just because I'm not feeling confident, so I'm also trying to start exercising so I can look and feel better.

Following: advice of people wiser than me. Or at least trying to. I'm lucky to have a community of young mom friends, but I find myself continually looking for women a few steps ahead of me in life. Teach me your ways, wise women! 
Noticing: how much of an extrovert I am. I love having this time off to get in a rhythm with our new family but I find I have to make sure to arrange time get out of the house and interact with (grown up) people or I'll go nuts. I've been trying to strike a balance each day of downtime (naps) and a planned activity- like a play date, lunch, or church group. Anything less and I feel drained from the repetition of baby care. Anything more and I get wiped out from doing too much and crave simple cuddle time. 

Knowing: that marrying Dustin was pretty much the smartest thing I ever did. I didn't know exactly what I was getting into back then, but somehow he's turned out to be an even better partner than I could have imagined. Plus he can make waffles with one hand, while rocking a baby to sleep with the other. #likeaboss

Thinking: that I get just a little better at this baby thing each time. It's a shame I couldn't just skip to the third one without all the insecure theatrics I went through the first time around. 
Bookmarking: more quilt ideas. For someday...
Opening: lots of mail. We're so grateful for all the cards and gifts from sweet friends.
Giggling: at Fin's antics. She is a handful for sure, but she makes it impossible to be mad for long because she's so dang cute. She's constantly in trouble, typically for kicking her sister (we actually had to move her carseat to the back row of the van for a few days to try to teach her a lesson...) or for being wild at dinner. But her sweet smile, and goofy giggle tend to keep us from holding it against her. She is always quick with a snuggle or with the irresistible request, "Daaaaddy...I need sumpin'!...Pwease?" so she knows the way to our hearts.
Feeling: really lucky. And happy. And tired. But mostly happy. 

P.S. more life lately updates, including the last list of ing-things
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Friday, October 2, 2015

Roller coaster of love

Last Saturday, Miller turned six weeks old. It's a pretty big milestone for a lot of reasons- it can typically be a bit of a developmental turning point when babies turn from little blobs into...well, little humans. But also significant, is that six weeks marks the halfway point in my maternity leave. I'm trying really hard not to get too worked up over the passage of time during this newborn phase, but I can't help but have some anxiety about how fast this phase is going. 

It all reminds me of a roller coaster- but not for the typical ups and downs of parenting reasons.  
You see, pregnancy is an uphill climb. You feel every single click click click of the ascent as you fill with anticipation of the ride ahead. Then there is a quick pause as your heart stands still, and you reach desperately for something to hold on to during the quick and slightly terrifying decent. 

After nine long months, you're handed a baby, and you're off on the wild ride. 

But quickly you reach the base of the first hill, and you realize that while you didn't fully know what you were in for, and you're still a bit scared out of your wits, you're actually also loving it. By then it's just in time to start another climb- this time with the momentum of the first hill to help. 

Right now, I feel like we've made it over that first hump, felt the exhilarating rush of the steep drop, and worked ourselves up another hill as we've fought to get adjusted and figure out exactly what this 3 Kid Coaster has in store for us. For me, the six week point of maternity leave is like the momentary pause of that second peak...just enough time to look around, glimpse the track I've already traveled, and realize the ride is going to be over before I know it. 

And just like a roller coaster, there's no way to slow down. I can't go back and relive the rush of that initial drop, and I know I'll never be able to take it all in fast enough to remember every bit of the twisty-turny, topsy-turvy course we're on. And looking for the end of the track won't do anything but distract me from the ride.

So instead, I'll force my hands up in the air, feel the wind in my hair, and scream my lungs out, soaking up the exhilarating mix of joy and fear that I could only dream of when I got in line for this crazy ride.

It's all downhill from here, and I'm convinced that is the very best part. 

P.S. Dustin: don't be too shocked if after the ride, I look at you with wild eyes, high on adrenaline and exclaim: Let's do that again! ;)

Photo credit: Shutter & Glass Photography
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pack it up, pack it in

Today I have a quick lesson in the art of diaper bag packing. Three kids in, I must be an efficiency expert now, right?


I present: The Newborn Edition

Mama things: wallet, sunglasses, a pen, hair ties, chapstick, phone, and keys (not pictured, but tucked safely in the outer front pocket). Easy peasy.

Baby things: diapers, wipes, extra outfit, hand sanitizer, wet bag, changing mat. 
When the baby doesn't even know he has hands yet, the packing is delightfully light. 

And now...Diaper bag packing: The 3, 3 & Under edition

Kid things: 
  • toy cell phone (so they have something to fight over)
  • more pens...I somehow always end up with so many pens
  • tissues (that they'll either use up in 2.5 seconds, or refuse to bother preferring their sleeve instead)
  • sunscreen (that they must apply their "own self"!)
  • assorted bows and clips that they've ripped out of their hair (minutes after demanding to have them put in)
  • (broken) crayons
  • chapstick (yes, there should be two...I will regret that error)
  • random toy pieces from a kid's meal purchased at some point in the last month
  • sippy cups, because: so thiiiiiirstyyyyyyy (apparently all the errands I take my kids on take place in the desert)
  • sunglasses (again...Ohio is a hot, blinding desert, obviously)
  • shoes (because the preschooler will eventually need them because she insists upon wearing flip flops even though they hurt her feet) 
  • more shoes (because once the preschooler has shoes, the toddler will want to change out of her flip flops too)
  • stuffed animals, more stuffed animals, and the head of a pig costume that the toddler has gotten strangely fond of carrying around
  • art masterpieces that should not under any circumstances be folded or "crampled"
  • at least 7 baby socks so little mamas can dress up their baby brother
Not pictured (but likely in tow): used tissues, toddler diapers (not because I forgot to photo them...more likely because I forgot to pack them...) and my behavioral incentive of choice (bribe): fruit snacks, 

So basically I'm one kid away from official pack mule status. Throw a blanket on me and call me burro. (Do burros get naps after their treks? If so....I'm in.)

Can anyone else relate to this struggle? What's the strangest thing you've found lurking in your bag?

{Madeline diaper bag care of Lily Jade. All thoughts (and excessive amounts of junk) are my own}

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Monday, September 28, 2015

A little-ish quilt for our little-ish guy

You know the best thing about having a blog?
Expressing yourself creatively? Making connections with others? Recording priceless memories?

Or: having a spot to shamelessly brag about stuff?

Oh yeahhhhhhhhh.

Ok, I kid. A little. But seriously, wanna see something sweet I made? ;)
I'm talking about the quilt...but technically I made those sweet little piggies too. I'm pretty proud of all of it. 

As you know, I've gotten into quilting, and at this point it's pretty much a sickness- I'm totally addicted. I'm following fabric shops on Instagram, pinning new ideas, and strategizing how I can cover every bed in my home in pieced printed goodness.

So after finishing the epic task of the big quilts for the big girls, it was time for the newest Bowden to have a quilt of his very own.(no, he's not in his crib yet, and even if he was, he wouldn't be allowed to have a blanket, but no matter. He needs a quilt, I say. Needs.) I fell in love with this quilt by Ashely, of Film in the Fridge (she's one of my favorite quilters...and was the inspiration behind my first ever quilt) and knew I wanted to try something similar. I've never worked with actual quilt blocks before- the rest of my quilts have been more large scale geometrics, so I thought it would be a fun new challenge.

My very generous friend and fellow quilt addict Sarah had some Charley Harper fabric left over from a baby quilt she made (if she blogged/bragged I would feature it here...but you'll just have to imagine how beautiful it is), and she offered to send it to me. YES!! Charley Harper art was a part of Piper's original nursery, and is now the girls' shared room, so it's special for me to be able to include it in Miller's room as well.

I started it a few weeks ago (aka about 20 seconds after I received the fabric), and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and easily it came together:
A photo posted by Courtney Bowden (@bowdenisms) on

I followed Ashley's instructions, just scaling down to make it baby sized (my squares were 6" before being sewed together, so the finished size is around 32"x45". Ish...I'm still a little loosey goosey with this whole quilting thing). I bought solids to coordinate with all the animal prints, and added in a few prints I had used in the girls' quilts. This quilt was a much different process than I'm used to. The design was already worked out, so I didn't have to put a ton of thought into the was just a lot of cut, cut, cut, trying to make sure everything was perfectly square (as I said...perfect isn't exactly my thing, so that was a learning curve). So I cut a ton of squares to start out (about two of each fabric) hoping that would be enough to make it all work. I layed out everything before piecing together because I'm crazy like that, but if you're braver/less OCD than I am, you could probably just wing it, and it'd turn out just as cute. Once I had it the way I liked it, the squares came together pretty quickly, and then it was super fast to chain them together into the full quilt front. 

And do I need to tell you, I just love it? Because I do...

Full length shot made possible by Piper, my semi-reluctant photoshoot assistant. She agreed to help when I told her she could stand on the furniture.

It's so perfect for Miller's room...the fabrics tie in all the colors I was already using. It's like Charley and I (and Miller) were meant to be.

For the back, I wanted to make the whole thing look like one big version of a square from the front. Buuuuuuut, it's not a square. So I just made something up, using the same general idea, featuring my favorite prints (I bought the polka dot to coordinate with the others, planning to use it as my backer). It was fun to improvise, and again, I love how it ended up feeling similar to the girls' designs. They're a little quilt family.

I did the quilting myself this time because it was small enough to manage on my regular machine. I went with diagonal lines in varying distances, just like the girls' quilts. It was easy to do, I love how it looks with all the other diagonal lines happening in the piecing, and it has the bonus of being a fun little connection between all of the kids' quilts.

For the binding I just did a plain grey. I love a printed binding, but there's already so much pattern going on, I felt like it was best to keep it simple. 

But a baby quilt wouldn't be complete without a baby to enjoy it! Miller told me he loves it, and is so proud of my handiwork, and is thankful to have something so special to enjoy. Oh wait- I mean, he didn't throw up on it yet, I think he's a fan.

Don't you just love it? And him? Heart emojis for dayyyyyyyysssssss.....

Super special thanks to Sarah for making all my artsy dreams come true! (and to you all for enduring my bragfest). Now it's on to my next challenge...(I might run out of beds soon...but I'm not sure that will stop me...)

Oh, and if you also can't get enough quilty-fun, you can check out my pins, or follow along with #stitchittogether on Instagram. (if you make something, feel free to jump on the bragging bandwagon- hashtag it or leave a link in the comments so I can see and fawn over your hard work!)
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Miller's Monthly Muggin'

As hard as I try, I can't possible come up with a fresh take on the whole time flies thing. But seriously you guys. It does. And it IS. Somehow I'm pretty sure Miller arrived yesterday, but actually it's been almost six weeks since his birth. How?

But as much as I try to deny it, my sweet baby is growing up. The bright side is that means I've had more time to smother him in kisses. And as he gets bigger, there's more surface area to smother in kisses. This is what your mother does, Miller. Try to get used to being a good way. 

So last week we celebrated the one month milestone the way we always do around here...With a photoshoot. He may be the third kid, but that doesn't mean he's getting out of the monthly face collages. On the contrary, it actually means he's required to be a part of this tradition. I make zero apologies.

What a squishy old man! (Also known as tiny angry Dustin). For fun, I checked out Piper and Fin's one month photoshoots and somehow, Miller actually looks like the two of them had a baby (Fin's first shoot, and Piper at one month).

But regardless of who he resembles, or how judgy his mug is, we adore this little (big) guy. He's just so awesome...I go on record saying that the first month with babies is pretty much the worst- I mean, magical, yes, but also so stinkin' hard- so if it only gets better from here, I don't even know what we're in for. I just know I'm in love.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Little Pip-speaks: Volume 20

Pip-speak #1: 
G'mi: Piper your manners were so good! 
Piper: Yes. They were so good no one even heard them!

Pip-speak #2:
Mama: What do you think we did before you were born? 
Piper: Wash dishes! 
Mama: Anything else?
Piper: Take care of your belly because it was so big!

Pip-speak #3:
Piper: Fin, I'm gonna start ignoring you.
Fin: *does nothing*
Piper: No, I WILL!
Fin: *does nothing*
Piper: Don't...!
Fin: *does nothing*
Piper: I AM!!

Pip-speak #4:
Piper {seeing a picture of my mom zipping up my wedding dress}: Look! It's G'mi's hands, when she was not old. She wasn't old then. But now she is.

Pip-speak #5:
Mama {driving by a school}: You could be a crossing guard when you grow up.
Piper: Nah. I want to swim with dolphins.
Mama: Oh- you want to be a dolphin trainer. 
Piper: Yes. {long pause} What's a dolphin trainer?

Pip-speak #6:
Piper {seeing me putting in my extensions}: Mama, why is your hair on the dresser? Fin, don't touch. That's mama's hair! 

Pip-speak #7:
Piper: I know a thing or two about dance parties: Fin loves them. 

Pip-speak #8:
Mama: Daddy and I are going to a conference. Do you know what a conference is? 
Piper: Yes. It's somewhere you go when your kids are at school. 

Pip-speak #9: 
Piper: Fin, did you get up all by yourself? 
Fin: Yeah! 
Piper: I will take that as a yes.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

House of Bowden: 3D*

*ok, obviously not really 3D. but it sounds cool. 

This is it! The triumphant conclusion to House Tour Week! Dun dun dun DAHHHHH (how do you type that and not have it sound ominous? I was going for celebratory....)

So far I've shown off photos of the guest room, and the girls' shared bedroom, (and gave you a peek at Miller's room recently too) but I thought we were due for another video tour of the house in total (the last one was almost a year ago!) We haven't done any other major overhauls, but there are little updates here and there that are worth mentioning. Plus it's fun to see it all at once in context. Through the wonders of technology (aka my iphone) you can feel like you're here live and in person!

It is eleven I'll keep my set-up rambling to a minimum (I apologize for the length, but it does include footage of a sleeping baby Miller, so that should make it worthwhile). But I at least have to mention the #showyourreal of it all- this is about the calmest and cleanest my house ever is. The girls were at "school" and we had just picked up everything in preparation for our cleaning lady to come. (Yes, I have to clean for my cleaning lady. Is that the biggest White Whine ever? Trust me, I know how fortunate I am...) So please don't think we always have things show-ready over here. Most days, we're lucky to have everyone dressed, and enough clean plates for everyone to eat off of. (don't believe me? Stick around for the end where I finally show you the basement. Aka my den of hoarding shame).

C'mon in, and enjoy!

House tour- September '15 from Courtney Bowden on Vimeo.

P.S. The official House Tour Week may be over, but if you're itching for more decor goodness, you can see all of our house updates on our "home page", view #houseofbowden pics on IG, or check out the homestead archives.
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