Friday, May 27, 2011

Forever later...

Check out these new shoes. Issa's feet grew a size and a half in two months. Yikes! We both actually love these shoes, which is a small miracle. And...the poor woman who helped us is a saint. Issa needed school shoes, and Evan needed sandals. Issa has long, skinny feet, and Evan has circles on the ends of his legs. Add in the fashion factor for Issa and she had her work cut out for her! We were successful, though, and that's why we love Stride-rite...even when we are there over an hour!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Beautiful Place

You may remember from an earlier post, the kids and I go to the library almost every week. Yesterday was a doubly big day. See that book on top...that's Issa's. It's a first reader! She graduated to the easy reader section, and she is thrilled. I can't believe how quickly she is picking up reading!

And...we got to sign up for the summer reading program yesterday! Both kids got to put their names on a panda to hang on the wall, and they will get to pick up their book bag next week. The librarian was phenomenal! The kids are so excited to read their books and get their prizes. It should be fun!

I knew we had a fabulous library, but I became even more grateful when I was talking with someone from Elba. He was telling me that they had 600 books on the island. Our library has that many picture books. It truly is a wonderful place.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's a project...

Can't you tell? Issa is working on a project. This is her art table, and it makes me crazy. The rule is her "projects" have to stay confined to the table. When she's actually working on it, she spreads out to the floor, my desk, and the big table beside her art table. When she's ready for a break, she piles it all back up here. At some point (and that point is rapidly approaching), I declare a clean sweep and she and I sort and clean the art table. Then she gets a brainstorm and a new "project" appears. This is what I get for wanting a creative child.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It used to be the gallery...

Does anything look a little odd about this armoire? Perhaps a close up will help...

You may be asking what that is. The answer is's a sculpture. Issa made it. She was working at her art table, and she came down to the landing and proclaimed: "Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Ta-da!"

After a brief pause, I asked, "What is it?"

After a long pause and a look that can best be summed up as a have you gone daft look, Issa simply stated, "It's a sculpture."

Then Daddy put it on top of the armoire in a place of honor. When Issa was just a baby and started making art at school, we decided the inside of the armoire doors would be the art gallery. I didn't want children's art to take over my house--no matter how much I love it--and I truly do. That worked for a while, and then slowly, the art started to ooze. Now most doors, the kitchen cabinets, the window above the art table, and some random spots of wall proudly display Issa and Evan art. It makes me smile, and I love their creativity. I'm sure someday I will receive fewer scribbles and sculptures, but for now I will enjoy them...where ever they are displayed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Perfect Day

Yesterday was just one of those blissfully simple, perfect days. Issa and I had a girls' date! We went to get our nails done with some great friends. Yes...Issa's nails virtually glow in the dark, but it really didn't look that bright in the bottle:
After our nails were finished, we headed to the mall for milkshakes and a little shopping. We needed to find the perfect end of the year gift for her ballet teachers. She found very thoughtful gifts, and we had some great girl time. I love afternoons like that!

When we got home, it was Daddy's turn to pick dinner (everyone gets one night to pick around here when I'm planning for the week). He chose country ribs and cheesy rice, which was wonderful. It's so nice to be grilling again! And...he made key lime ice cream parfaits for dessert--with homemade key lime ice cream. The genius at work...

He wanted the creation captured, but he did not want to be part of the picture. Can you tell? My blog, my rules: he has to be in the picture.

These little beauties had homemade oatmeal crumble, key lime ice cream, and real whipped cream. They were blissful...and decadent...and blissful.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Frogs, Fishes, and Snakes...oh my!

...and for once they weren't at my house! We took the kids to the NC Museum of Natural History yesterday. I have never seen so many different frogs, fish, and snakes in one place in my life! Given our new found love of frogs around here, it was very exciting. Evan all but ran from exhibit to exhibit. They really do have a very impressive collection of animals native to NC (some alive some not so much), and it was also space day, so there were special displays about the solar system, including live versions of the animal constellations.

The dinosaur exhibit was also really impressive! I think my favorite was the prehistoric ocean tunnel--very cool. When you top it off with a picnic on the plaza, it was a perfect day trip!

Fun fact of the day: Did you know not all lizards have legs? Glass lizards look like snakes, but they are lizards because they have eyelids and their tails can come off. You learn something new every day!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nothing better than a blankie...

There is nothing better than a snugly blanket. Both kiddos love them! With the warmer weather, they have been taking turns with a light weight snugly blanket that Issa has had forever. It was really too small for either child, so when I saw these on sale yesterday they came home with me. Evan loves his car blanket!

Issa loves her butterfly version. Maybe I'll get some extra snuggles this morning?

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's that I hear? Chickens?

As a child, I was what some might call clumsy. Others might say accident-prone. Still others might say drama queen. I didn't get badly hurt, but I managed small injuries often. Any scrape or tiny cut required a bandaid, and I regailed everyone I saw with the tale of the injury. chickens are coming home to roost with my daughter.

Look at that pitiful face. She tripped on her shoe string at school and managed to scrape her elbow, hand, and both knees. When we got home, she announced this had to go on the blog because it was clearly the biggest thing of the day. And there had to be photographs of the bandaids.

Here are her knees. I think she will survive. She did manage to waddle like a duck all night just in case we forgot she was injured. Daddy put new bandaids on this morning, and I'm sure she will be well by this evening...I hope. Heaven helps us if this one ever manages to actually break a bone!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Well, Hello, Friend...

I spent most of yesterday weeding and mowing in the one dry window we had this week. We have been getting showers nearly every day, which makes mowing a bit difficult. After I mow, I always use a pool skimmer to get the grass and any random leaves out of the little decorative pond in our backyard. The pond was a birthday/anniversary gift our first year in the house, and we love it! I love the sound of the water and the sound of frogs every evening. The frogs moved themselves in the first summer, and we have watched new generations emerge every year. Yesterday, I found a new little friend as I was scooping:

A small banded watersnake has moved in. (A huge thanks to David Scott and UGA! They have a fabulous website that had this picture and a great classification guide to help me identify the little guy.) They are totally harmless, except that their primary food source is frogs. As long as he leaves a few, he can stay. (I did gently put him back in the water and walk away.) I really am beginning to think I live in the Wild Kingdom!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Officially Full at the Inn

You may recall we had some new little friends join our home last week. The frogs and snail have been loving their new home, and they have become a part of the family. The kids and I feed them right after school, and Evan still laughs the entire time. It's great!

Issa and Merliah also joined the tank yesterday. They are albino cories, and Issa named them. Issa has the thinner tail, and Merliah's tail is shaped more like a dolphin, hence the name from the Barbie movie. I have also passed the edict that there will be no more naming pets after people. It's getting very confusing around here.

The final addition is Toad, a rubber mouthed plecostomus. When I was growing up, our plecostomus was always named Toad, and the tradition continues. And...the Bower Inn is officially full--and I really mean it this time!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Assertions: A List

Yesterday was not a picture kind of day, but it was one of those hilarious, only at our house kind of days. These assertions begin in the morning and work our way to bed:

  1. The laundry just will not go away. No matter how many loads I do, there will be another.

  2. I will not be transcribing anything for the foreseeable future! I finished all of the transcribing for my dissertation, triple checked it, and then deleted the original files. That last bit nearly killed me, but it must be done.

  3. Frogs eat a lot, and the kids are still in love with the frogs. As soon as we got home, we needed to feed the frogs, and Evan laughs the entire time they eat--love it. (They are really funny to watch eat.)

  4. We have been watching too much Animal Planet. Our kids are loving learning about all of the animals, the food chain, and the circle of life. However, their imaginations have too much detailed fuel. In the bath tub, they were pretending to be birds. Issa was the mommy, and Evan was the baby. Before I knew what was happening, Issa filled her mouth with water from the faucet and spit it in Evan's mouth. While I understand this is how birds feed their babies, GROSS! This will not happen again.

  5. After numerous years of exposure, I have joined the 90% of the population who is allergic to poison ivy. Ug. (And yes...that is a real statistic. I researched it last night. It's what I do.)

  6. Issa and Miss Laura, her ballet teacher, have identical taste in ribbon. The frillier the better. I cut the tap shoe ribbons for her class last night. They are safely tucked in princess baggies and awaiting the big day!

The End.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Too Quiet

I knew the kids were a little too quiet upstairs, so I went to check. Issa was quietly working at her art table. She was very focused, so I just slipped past looking for Evan. This is what I found:
That would be a travel bottle of baby lotion being emptied on his leg. He will not need lotion for a year.

Look at that face: "Am I in trouble?" Ironically, his shirt says, "I didn't do it the dog did!" I don't think that works this time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Little Ballerina

Yesterday, we had ballet pictures. Issa loves her new costume, and she was thrilled to get to wear it for more than the five minutes it takes to try it on in class. Add a special hair twist and a little bit of make-up, and she was one elated girl...

I love that smile!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This pitiful boy decided to get all four two-year molars at the same time. This little face just breaks my heart. I think I will let him live on popsicles and juice and extra mommy love. Off to snuggle...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cookies Optional

After school yesterday, the kids convinced me to get out the gel icing pens and let them go to town on some left-over sugar cookies. I thought we had more cookies, but there was only one and half left, so we got out a few Girl Scout Shortbreads, too.

They started very simply...

blank canvases...

...this is how they ended up...

...please note the pile of icing on Evan's. By the time they were finished decorating, they ate the plain shortbreads and went to watch the frogs. I wouldn't eat that much gel, either, but it sure was fun to watch them put it on and giggle!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


You may remember my external brain from an earlier post. It's a bit cluttered these days, but I can now see in pink and white that I should be able to finish my first draft of my dissertation by June 3!!!

As a ginormous step, I finished all of my data collection this week! See all that pretty yellow? That yellow indicates completion; I love seeing that much yellow! (Please ignore the post-it; it's covering my participants' names.) There is a definite light at the end of the tunnel!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


What do you think is in that bag and who do you think took the picture? You can probably guess Issa took the picture, but only the title of the post might give you the hint that there are frogs in that bag! Let's start at the beginning....

You may remember that this little man turned two last weekend. Last week, Aunt Tay Tay, the kids' Godmother, called to apologize for the gift that was on its way. She later sent me a message asking how far away a pet shop was, but I assumed she was joking. Even when I saw the box on our porch labelled "Live Fish," I thought she was joking. When the kids opened the box, I realized she was, in fact, not joking. The box had a little aquarium complete with gravel, a plant, a rock, two African dwarf frogs, and a snail. The kids and I frantically assembled the aquarium.

And this is Papa. Yep...Evan named them Papa and Nana. The snail is Happy...

...and Evan is beyond happy! The tank started here, but it later move up to his room. Last night, being me, I started researching African dwarf frogs. And although they can live in that little tank, they wouldn't be super happy. And because that's just how we roll at the Bowers'...

...we upgraded to this! We had toyed with the idea of an aquarium in Evan's room, and we decided this was a perfect excuse. I set it up today, and next week we will add a couple of cat fish. (African dwarf frogs are highly social and thrive with fish in the tank.) In case you are ever in the market for an aquarium, PetSmart is awesome! The people there are really knowledgeable, and they don't over sell. And...I swear Harry Chapin sold me pet supplies today. That voice could sell me anything.

This is Nana and Happy in their new home! Papa is much more adventurous and hard to photograph in the new home. Here's the little secret: Nana should really be Papa. Evan named the big one Papa, which makes sense since the people Papa is bigger than the people Nana, but female African dwarf frogs are larger than the males. Who knew? This is what happens when you turn me loose on the Internet!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An Early Summer Look

You may remember that we have the world's most spoiled fish. Instead of doing the writing I really should have been doing yesterday, I decided to give Bow/Bubble an early summer look. Please notice the green plants and pink accents. Issa doesn't think there is enough pink, but Bow/Bubble seems very happy. And now I should probably get back to writing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to me!

I had a truly blissful Mother's Day yesterday. I asked for a lazy family day, and that is exactly what I got! The day started at a luxurious 9:30 with breakfast in bed: coffee cake muffins, bacon, and coffee. The kids had made me cards, Brad wrote me a poem, and I get another afternoon at my favorite spa. Ahhh. We spent the rest of the day playing and working in the yard. It was perfect!

I also want to share the treasures that came home from school; they make me smile every time I see them. You may recall the great bulb debacle that came home a few weeks early. (It has been safely transplanted to the garden, by the way.) Well...these little seedlings came home Friday. Issa isn't quite sure what they are, so we will see.
Both kids made some coffee filter flowers to add to my collection, and Evan made this little pot and planted the begonia for me!

Issa also made this bouquet of tissue paper flowers and a card. Everything is proudly displayed on the mantle, where it will stay for a while.

The time as a family was the best gift of all, though. I am so blessed that two little angels call me Mommy!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trains, Dinosaurs, and Motorcycles--Oh my!

As promised, here is the recap of Evan's birthday adventure. He started his day by opening our gift...

...a brand new Thomas engineer cap. He was already beyond excited, and then we told him we were going to go ride a train! If anyone is around NC and has a train lover in the family, the NC Transportation Museum is a must see. It used to be a functioning rail yard, and now it is a museum for all things train. They also have an impressive historic view of all types of transportation from canoes to planes, including cars and motorcycles.

May 7 is National Train Day--who knew?--so it was a red letter day at the Museum. The Motorcycle Classic was also going on, and I think I saw more motorcycles yesterday than I have in my life. Since Evan's new hobby is looking for motorcycles, this was more than he could stand.

We started with a ride on a passenger steam train. It makes a 25 minute loop around the yard, and you can see all kinds of train cars parked on other tracks. They also have a really nice narration of the history of the rail and the train itself. Evan spent the trip looking out the window yelling, "Choo choo, motocycle, choo choo, motocyle, choo choo, motocycle..." I think you get the idea.

Then, we got to ride the caboose train, a train made of one engine and four cabooses. It only comes out for special occasions! We rode in the little red caboose, and I think I sang the song about a million times. Daddy and Issa sat on the top...

...but Evan and I took the lower seat.

After a lovely picnic, we headed to the round house. Evan and Daddy checked out all of the engines (I think there are twenty in the round house), and Issa and I made masks from Dinosaur Train. We also got to watch a brand new episode...

...and pose with the characters...

...and ride the turn table. We ended our day with one more ride on a diesel passenger train. It truly was a perfect day for our little train lover! Happy birthday, little man!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy!

This sweet little boy is two! I love how he nibbled his cupcake at school yesterday. I do not love that I probably need to stop calling him my baby. He really is my big boy now (who will in some ways always be my baby--just saying). We've had an incredible day, but I thought I would save the big adventure for tomorrow's post and focus on his cakes today. It seems appropriate for the official big day.

So, I may have mentioned a time or a million that Evan loves dogs. Consequently, he took a dog cupcake cake to school yesterday...

This one I did not make. School rules say it must be purchased--fair enough. This one, however, I did make:

I'm more than a little proud of this one! He really wanted a Clifford cake, and it was even red velvet to match the big red dog. Issa picked the exact Clifford to put on top, and I think it came out really well!
May all his wishes come true now and always...

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Good, The Ugly, and the Terribly Sad

If you are looking for a warm fuzzy post about the kids, you might want to come back tomorrow. It's Evan's birthday; I promise it will be wonderful. Today, though, I need to talk about a dissertation.

As you may recall, my original dissertation blew up. The good news (actually, great news) is that it has now taken a new and far more interesting form. I spent several hours this week rewriting chapter one of the dissertation, and I'm quite pleased with it. The picture above is the visual representation. I know it looks a little ugly and blank. When I showed Brad, he looked at me like perhaps it was time I talk to a professional. It's actually very nuanced and makes perfect sense to me, and it got me writing--a very good thing.

Yesterday, I took chapter one to my participants to see if they agreed with what I was finding. This kind of member checking is so terrifying. There is a real risk they could say no and I am back to square one. Fortunately, they all agreed, and I got the highest compliment a researcher can get: "You really made me see this in a new way. You really get us--better than I did."

Even after all that, I got in the car and cried yesterday. My poor school is so under-resourced. I took colored Expo markers as a thank you yesterday, and two teachers actually got teary. Another teacher showed me her receipt file she keeps for tax purposes; some of the items should just be basic supplies for any teacher. Paper? Really? Teachers talked so openly about anxiety medications and the prayer they need to just get through they day. And yet they after day...year after year...because they consider it their calling, their identity, and their "privilege." I am so humbled by these women.