The Special Van

August 6, 2011

Honestly, this post is a long-time coming.  And I’m not sure my storying telling will do it justice- but this is a moment in the Bowman family story that I don’t want to forget… it’s all about the special van…

Back in January, Chad sold his truck- which was quite a feat considering it was a huge diesel and the economy stunk and gas prices soared.  So we thanked Jesus and move right along, before anyone could change their minds.  But this left Chad without a truck- and honestly, we didn’t have our money saved up for another and we were only paying cash- no loans- no matter what! So enter Chad’s friend (also named Chad) whose Dad had a work van that Chad could by for $500…. Chad saw it and decided this was the way to go for a short time and brought that puppy on home…. to our driveway…. what looked like a child molester van, with rust on the bumper and dents all over it.  There wasn’t a key to the doors, so he couldn’t lock it from the outside BUT you could get locked on the inside. It was straight scary.

Now my husband is a manly man- he can rough it if necessary– he went down to New Orleans to clean up after hurricane Katrina and lived in his truck and showered in an out-house like building.  He can wear the same 2 outfits for a week if necessary and can find a way to fix things, at least for the time being, even without the proper tools.  He’ll climb on roofs, clean up bugs, wipe off spider webs, and even clean major poop explosions with no problems or complaints. But he can also be high maintenance- for instance, his food can’t be too cool and his coffee has to be steaming.  He stomps around like a small child if the house is too hot when he’s trying to fall asleep and if you try to have a conversation that he’s not ready to have, well, he might as well just lay in the floor and throw a temper tantrum, because that is better than what will actually happen. And his pillow is a big deal- we’ve cycled through several in our marriage that just were unacceptable until I finally took him to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick his own– the perfect pillow was $100… and we bought two of them.  But if he’s in the driver’s seat when I need to make a Starbucks drive thru run, there will certainly be a comment about the price that makes me and the Starbucks employee turn as red as tomatoes.

As if that’s not enough- the man is so sensitive and will do ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING for me and our boys.  A sweet moment will always bring a tear to his eyes and anytime he has to apologize, it’s SO sincere that it leaves everyone involved with a tear or two. He tries hard to meet my needs and speak my language- he even left me a sweet card filled with a love note for each day that he was gone last week- now that’s a fun thing to wake up to- and words are so not his thing.  He’s quite possibly the hardest worker you’ll ever meet as well.  I’m telling you, he’s the guy you want supporting your family. (He’s taken, so you can’t have that,sorry.) Needless to say, Chad is in NO WAY a cookie cutter man- he’s well rounded with a new adventure around every corner– but there is no amount of manly or hardworking or high maintenance or rough and tough or laid-backness that would make this van a pleasure… or even bearable for that matter!

The thing smelled and different compartments and do-dads were falling off  on the inside. There was only a driver seat and a passenger seat and it was a safety hazard for anyone involved. Part of the inside had even been on fire at some point. There was no heat, and Chad got stuck on a bridge in a ice storm and had to sit in the ice box until he could get off- he wore gloves and a knit hat just to drive it in the winter. Shortly after getting the van, the breaks went out completely WHILE Chad was driving, on the interstate, IN TRAFFIC in Atlanta. He found a guy to fix the breaks and a buddy to drive in front of him (in case he slammed into him!) to drop the van off.  That was fixed for a month or two before the power steering went out and the break fluid started leaking. His lats were actually sore from driving the thing and he developed new muscles trying to steer.  Seriously. One day, while I was worrying about his safety he explained that “well, the breaks work just as hard as you can push them- but if someone pulls out in front of me, I’m going to have to hit them.” And two different times, the horn started going off in the middle of the night– hoooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnkkkkkkk.  The first time, it took us a while to figure out what was happening and the second time it was just funny.  Both times it was around 3am in the POURING rain and thunder.  Chad would don a rain coat, go out to the special van, hit the steering wheel and it would stop.  Then he would come back inside, crawl in bed, and we were lay there chuckling and giggling for over an hour before we could settle down enough to fall back asleep.  I was pregnant and had crazy hormones and found this way more funny than Chad did…. maybe because I wasn’t the one in the rain, but still, I would laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe.

BUT Chad had a certain caliber of work truck that he wanted- it had to meet certain standards and he had to be able to pay cash for it- end of story. So he never complained about the van. He just drove it. It fell apart and cost him a lot of time and energy and he just drove it.

We finally reached our cash goal and we were about to go test some trucks the weekend that Jack decided to surprise us, so that got put on the back burner. (Or so we thought!) On Monday night after Jack was born, we all headed home and Chad headed back to work on Tuesday… in the special van. Then on Wednesday night, while I was home with our new baby, Max, and my mom, watching the American Idol finale, I got a call from Chad that he was on the side of the interstate and his van was dead. Like not another bit of life left in it and could I come pick him up.  I had to rush to him, in order to get back to feed the new baby that was eating every 2 hours.  Chad threw his tools in my car, and hoped in. (I must say, I’ve never picked up anyone on the side of a interstate with cars rushing by- that is nerve racking!)  He had to call a tow truck immediately and have it towed to our house because apparently it would be stolen off the side of the road to be sold for parts.  So with a new baby, and very little sleep, Chad had to wait up for the tow truck to deliver it to our house.  And of course, I was afraid that the thing would sit there forever because how were we going to move it?  It was dead!

Within 24 hours, Chad found someone that would come get it from our house and give Chad $400– the guy was either going to salvage it or it’s parts, and the scrap metal. BUT I didn’t care, this was the best news I could think of- someone was going to come get it and make it disappear forever and was going to PAY us– hahahahaaaaaa– sucker!!!

So on the Friday after Jack was born, as I fed my new baby, I starred out our window as one happy lady– watching as it pulled away:



Things that make me crazy, annoyed, freaked out, and happy

July 12, 2011

This post is all about me.  Can you tell by the title?  But that’s allowed because this blog is about my refining, and let me just tell you, I am being refined!

The thing the makes me crazy:

THRUSH!  So here’s the short of it- if you make it to 36 weeks pregnant, you get tested for Group B strep, if you’re positive, then while in labor you get antibiotics.  I didn’t even make it that far, so I got antibiotics just in case, then I got another dose because he was a little guy, then he came down the birth canal and entered our world.  But who knows what antibiotics do besides killing bad bacteria? It kills good bacteria- which leads to yeast.  So for weeks Jack had a very white mouth, cheeks, and tongue.  Which is thrush- a yeast infection.  It wasn’t a problem because it didn’t bother him…. until he passed it to me.  Which means that after about 4 weeks of absolutely painless, easy breezy breast feeding, we took a turn for the worst.  Imagine shards of glass under your skin, cracks that burn like fire, and then high electricity volts streaming through your upper body for about 20-30 minutes after he’s done eating.  Which equals about 40 minutes of H-E-L-L every 3 hours.  I’m not kidding, it’s worse than the 50 hours of labor without any drugs that I went through to have Max.  And it will not go away.  I’ve heard and read that this is the end to breast feeding for most moms, but he is a preemie and I just can’t stand the thought of not nursing him- he needs it.  Ah!  So I’m fighting through, with toes curled and heavy breathing, 2 prescriptions from my doctor, acidophilus supplements for me and baby Jack, and pure stubbornness.  But I’m going crazy!  Mainly because “they” (the doctors and nurses) know that because of the antibiotic the we’d be more succeptable to thrush but they never mentioned it to me– I could’ve started the supplements early, washed everything thoroughly, gotten Jack an RX early, but nooooooooooooooooo, I’m must suffer and go crazy!  Not cool.

The thing that makes me annoyed:

REFLUX/GAS!  So Jack has a super senstitive tummy- that’s fine, he’s a tiny tyke, I’m a-ok with that.  I’ve had to cut dairy, chocolate, and even sips of wine.  In case you don’t know, that includes pizza, cheese dip, ice cream, Starbucks drinks, desserts, my food staples.  But honestly it doesn’t annoy me- he’s so darn cute that one look at his face, and you’d do it too.  BUT I’m not losing any weight.  Hello!  Major high calorie groups are eliminated from my diet with no results… now that’s annoying!

(I did get cleared to exercise as of Friday, so maybe that will help… that is, if I actually find (MAKE!) time to exercise!)

The thing that freaks me out:

SIDS:  Aka sudden infant death syndrome– you know, when you baby dies for absolutely no reason and no one can explain it.  Our little man loves sleeping on his belly, but I’m only ok with it if I’m right there– so I started googling to find out if tummy sleeping is really related.  AND do you know what I read many times?  That preemies are MORE susceptible or at a higher risk or whatever. AH!!!  I’m going back to work Monday and my sweeties are going to be left with wonderful people, but they are people that are not me, and there goes my head and my worry and Satan is just having a hay day.  So while freaking, I’m praying (a lot) because of course God is in control and He told me not to worry.  And also I printed this list and I’m insisting our sitters read it before I step one foot out of the door– they are going to think I’m nuts, and I am.

The list from the SIDS awareness website:

1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though they may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a much higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs. (For Jack, in Nap Nanny, Swing, or Bouncy Seat)

2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby – no covers, no pillows, no bumper pads, no positioning devices and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.

3. Keep your baby’s crib in the parents’ room until the infant is at least 6 months of age. Studies clearly show that infants are safest when their beds are close to their mothers.

4. Do not place your baby to sleep in an adult bed. Typical adult beds are not safe for babies. Do not fall asleep with your baby on a couch or in a chair. (Feel free to hold Jack while he sleeps, just don’t nap yourself while holding him J  If you get sleepy, place him in his Nap Nanny or swing, then take your snooze)

5. Do not over-clothe the infant while she sleeps. Just use enough clothes to keep the baby warm without having to use cover. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS. (For Jack, just light clothes and his swaddle blanket while sleeping, nothing else.  If you’re holding him while he sleeps, then feel free to snuggle him in a blanket- he loves that!)

6. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don’t have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.

7. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.

8. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).

9. Offer your baby a pacifier. Some studies have shown a lower rate of SIDS among babies who use pacifiers. (Jack likes the paci in order to fall asleep but won’t keep it in his mouth- just use it to settle him)

10. If your baby has periods of not breathing, going limp or turning blue, tell your pediatrician at once.

11. If your baby stops breathing or gags excessively after spitting up, discuss this with your pediatrician immediately.

12. Thoroughly discuss each of the above points with all caregivers. If you take your baby to daycare or leave him with a sitter, provide a copy of this list to them. Make sure they follow all recommendations.

And lastly, the thing that makes me happy:

VIDEO MONITORS!  We didn’t have these the first go around- our house is tiny, so I resisted.  I didn’t even have a monitor at all- seriously! But then you find yourself going in to check, when you weren’t needed, causing a debacle, or getting yourself out of bed because you think you heard something, only to awaken yourself (and the child!) for no reason.  And sometimes, you don’t go in when you should’ve… like per-say, “diaper” issues. So my aunt sent us her video monitor that she wasn’t using anymore.  And we set it up on Max and are so thrilled with it that we bought another for Jack.  So at night, I wake up, look to my right, get an image of my two, beautiful, wonderful, sleeping boys and go right back to peaceful sleep, and a happy grin plastered across my face.


Conquered! And Lessons Learned.

June 25, 2011

This week, we have conquered this whole growing family/ 2 children under the age of 2 bit– check it out:

On Saturday, we made it to a wedding, all bathed and dressed, and 20 minutes early, with feedings timed perfectly– and it was an hour away.

On Monday, I did a full out trip to the grocery store with both boys… I wore Jack and pushed Max 🙂

On Tuesday, the three of us spent the morning at the Atlanta Aquarium with our friends Lisa and Haven

On Wednesday, I took both boys out to dinner to say goodbye to our dear friend Michelle without Chad

On Thursday, we went out to breakfast with Chad and then went to a play date

On Friday, we ran errands all morning- the kind the caused me to get the boys in and out of the car 6 times!  And I partook in my first girls night out since Jack’s arrival, sans kids (which is actually hard on a mom- hard on the heart and it takes a lot of planning on the front end even if you are leaving them with their dad!)

Now please tell me this at least puts me in the running for mom of the year, or super mom, or something!  I’m exhausted!

Now for what I’ve learned… all from experience:

#1.  Sleep is important!  Thank you Moms on Call and their swaddle for drastically changing our nights around here.  Now I am physically able to do more than just “get by” and wait until my next sleep time- hence our week 🙂  But if you’re low on sleep, don’t go!  You won’t have enough steam or enough patience to make it through the outing

#2. Dress for the occasion- think through nursing in public and a youngster pulling on your clothes.  Think about bending down and holding both children at one time.  Will everything be covered?  Will any lumps or pregnancy rolls show? Can you access everything you might need?

#3.  Be prepared to sweat.  It’s hard work.

#4. Think through your day- what might you need?  Maybe some extra snacks or if you have a spitter like me, then extra burps clothes, bibs, and clothes.  Sunscreen and hand sanitizer too.  But get the travel size of everything- so you can carry it.  And make sure it’s all in ONE bag only.

#5. Let people who offer to help, help!  Someone will see you coming and hold the door. Don’t feel embarrassed, just be thankful! And let the Publix people carry your groceries out even if you used to do it by yourself.  A Stranger might offer to hold something for you, let them.  And since you are providing cute kids for everyone to see, don’t feel like a nuisance.  Instead note that your kids are brightening their day!

#6. Give yourself plenty of time.  You canNOT get out the door quickly.  You canNOT get in the car quickly.  You will load and unload kids one  by one.  Plan for it.  And then add 20 minutes.

#7.  Make sure you have a way to contain the kids as needed: park by the cart return, get the cart first, then unload kiddies into it.  Or wear the baby so you have free hands for the toddler- this is especially important in parking lots.  Always take your stroller in your car just in case… I counted on a stroller being available in Kohl’s and ended up exhausted without any of the things I went in for! And double strollers are most definitely worth the $$!  Someone is going to “need” you, and you must have somewhere to put the other one, that’s safe and secure, when that happens.

#8. Don’t view pulling in your driveway as the finish line- you’ve still got miles to go, unloading everyone and getting them settled and unloading your stuff.

#9. Don’t fill up your day- plan for down time. And when the kiddies are taking that down time, then you take it too- you don’t have to nap, but at least read, or sit, or find more stuff for your pinterest boards.  Or you will go insane and act like a crazy person.

#10.  Anytime you can, help as sister out!  If her hands look full, offer to help.  If the door is closing on her while she holds 2 babies, jump out of your seat to run and help!  Don’t fret being awkward or invasive, offer to help anyway!

Wordless Wednesday

June 15, 2011

Kindof.  I can’t say nothing. But just check out these pictures… some are Max and some are Jack… and the resemblence makes me speechless… hence Wordless Wednesday 🙂

Max- almost 6 weeks old

Jack- almost 4 weeks old

Max in his Moses basket

Jack in the Moses basket

Max sleeping in my lap

Jack sleeping in my lap

P.S. Today is Wednesday, right???


June 6, 2011

Do you have weird things you think or do that really make no sense at all?  I have a few I need to confess BUT I want to hear yours too…

#1.  I love how Mickey Mouse and friends dance at the end of Mickey Mouse Club House– they seriously sing a song called “Hot Dog” and I wait the entire episode for those 30 seconds… when people aren’t looking, I practice dancing with them….

#2.  I think one of my feet is prettier than the other, so if I feel like people are looking at my feet or if attention is being draw to my feet, I put the “pretty” one on top of the other, nonchalantly.

#3.  I recently learned from The Bert Show that I’m old and it was a hard pill to swallow 😦  On National Donut Day- the only day since having a baby that I was in the car during Bert Show hours- Jeff Dauler was talking about what age is appropriate for wearing words across your rear end– you know, like the word “pink” etc… and he said that it’s only appropriate between the ages of 18-28. Anyway, I don’t EVER wear anything that draws attention to that area, especially NOT words so it’s not like that bothered it- but it was realizing that I’m almost done being in the “cool, hot, young” age bracket.  Just yesterday I was in college, right?

#4. When I was a child, my  mother used to split our napkins in half– she says we didn’t use them so it was a waste to give us a whole one, but I think she was just pinching pennies.  Regardless, it scarred me! As soon as I began buying  my own napkins, I swore I would only buy the expensive, think, luscious Vanity Fair white napkins.  For years, they are the only napkins that have been allowed in my kitchen- and they still make me happy.  Seriously.  Well about 6 months ago, I was at Target and we needed napkins, but I had left my good Vanity Fair coupon at home… so just one time, I bought the “off” target brand, with a bright colored pattern, thin and scratchy.  I bought the small package, and yet, they lasted FOREVER- the darn things wouldn’t go away- I swear they were reproducing!  I began putting 2 in Gabe’s lunch box, just to rid myself of them, but they still stayed around forever.  I WILL NEVER give into the temptation to be cheap again!  It haunted me for far too long.

#5. With both boys, I have kept the positive pregnancy test for the duration of my pregnancy.  Just in case I have to prove it- because that makes sense, right? Like in a basket on my dresser that other people can see if they walk in my room. And for some reason, I can only bring myself to throw it away once I’ve brought the baby home.  Because then it’s a sure thing?! BUT since Jack came home early, I haven’t thrown it away yet.  I think I’m waiting until June 23rd.

What unexplainable things do you do or think?  Please share!

National Donut Day

June 4, 2011

I should be embarrassed about the lengths I go to for a donut on National Donut Day.  I’m not- but I should be!  Last year I trekked my kids half way across Florida on foot to get to a donut shop– they handled it well– here are the pictures to prove it:  but it almost killed me!  I should’ve learned…. but no!

This morning I woke up, as a mother of two children under two years old, knowing full well that it was National Donut Day- but also knowing that I had not slept more than 2 hours in a row in 2 weeks and that my body felt like it had been run over by a mack truck.  I also thought through the logistics and knew that I’d be sweating before we even got to the donut store.  But for some reason, that didn’t stop me.

I fed Jack at 8, loaded him in his car seat, got me and Max ready, and got all 3 of us to the car by 9am.  (yes, there was sweat, but it was minimal)  With the help of the minivan AC, I was cooled off by the time we reached Krispy Kreme… as in heaven on earth.  And don’t you worry, the HOT NOW sign WAS most definitely on!

It has been in the high 90’s all week here in the ATL, which means that even at 9:20 in the morning, it’s HOT– like jump in a pool hot.  So upon arrival, I got out the stroller for Jack, loaded him in it, got the bag in just the right position, then got Max out- but since the parking lot was hopping and I fear parking lots with small children, I didn’t let his chubby feet hit the ground until we were safe inside.  Have you ever tried to hold open a door with your body, and use one arm to push a stroller through it, while holding a 28 pound toddler on your hip with your other arm?  Let me just say that by the time I reached the counter, I had “new mom” and “donut addict” written all over my face, by beads of sweat.

So as I’m ordering, Max is happily back on the ground, screaming “BIIIGGGG Donut!” over and over with a huge grin on his face. Others are chuckling- but I’m just hoping for the moment when we are actually settled at the table, enjoying the darn things.  Once we get our half dozen of hot donuts and my cup of decaf coffee, we begin to navigate to a table.  But have you noticed that KK’s are exactly 4ft by 4ft, and my stroller is at least 3ft by 3ft, and it was seriously and act of God that we made it to a table, without knocking everyone over.  But we did. Alas!

At this point, all my hard work became worth it- my sweat dried up, the embarrassment fell from my face, and Max and I dug in! Within minutes, we were covered in glaze and dancing to Christina Aguilera’s “Come on Over” and watching through the window as millions of other donuts were being made.  Max ate 3, THREE donuts, which means I only got 3 too…. I guess he is helping me lose my baby weight– thanks Max.

Luckily, my sweet friend Erin came over with lunch, to meet baby Jack once we made it home.  And then Max, and Jack (and ME!) slept for 3 hours.  We were worn out from our donut adventure- but it is a holiday worth celebrating for sure!

Why God Didn’t Give Max a Sister

June 2, 2011

Right before baby Jack surprised us, baby Evie came over and spent several hours with us.  It was the first time and it was love– for both me and Max!  But it became pretty obvious VERY quickly why God decided that Max most definitely needed a baby brother this go round:

While Evie was sleeping, Max was being oh-so-generous and sharing his toys with her….

They were all balls!

And he was so proud and so sure that that was exactly what she needed- he kept telling me about it over and over: “Baby Evie, night night Max balls”

And it was then that I knew the reason for another brother in the Bowman house, rather than a sister– a poor sister just couldn’t survive in such a climate!

And this last picture is just cute:  I came around the corner from the kitchen and I saw Max and asked what he was doing– he told me “I talking baby Evie golf- hit it in the hole!”  He was teaching the girl about golf– doesn’t she look thrilled?

Also, just for laughter, please notice how my boy does NOT use prepositions– apparently they are a waste of time and he does quite well communicating his point without them!  Ha!  I just love him 🙂