Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Cultural Experience

Rich and I decided to splurge and take Avery to a Christmas concert this year. I went to "A Gospel Christmas" last year and loved it. As I watched it last year, I thought, "I'd love to take Avery and Rich next year." I knew Avery was young, but it just seemed like something that would be so fun to bring her to. Rich and I both love African-American gospel music, and this concert is just awesome. We took her to dinner beforehand - Mexican food is always a winner! Avery got a complimentary ice cream cone and I think that's what topped her night!

Here's Avery and her Daddy waiting for the concert to start.
Avery took this picture of the stage. There was a choir of about 100 people, with the Oregon Symphony accompanying them. Awesome!
The two of us in front of the fireplace scene outside of the theater.It was a fun experience to take Avery. She got bored pretty quickly, though, and was very tired, since it started right around her bedtime. I figure she got a great cultural experience that not many five year-olds get. As we left, Rich and I agreed that next year we'll make it a date night!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Special Friend

If you know me very well, you probably know that I moved around a lot as a kid. There were a lot of great things about moving to a new state every five years or so: learning to make new friends easily; learning to adjust to new environments; and getting to see the country. However, I learned to become a bit jealous of people who had obviously known their friends for their entire lives; who had lived in the same house or town for as long as they could remember; people who had history together... So I moved to Oregon from North Carolina when I was 17, during Christmas of my junior year of high school. Talk about traumatic!!! It turned out to be a very good thing, though, as I've learned that that's usually how God works! He turns mourning into dancing, makes beauty from ashes... My friendship with Connie has to be one of the most beautiful things that has come from a heartbreaking move from one coast to another. We started out singing in a small group together as soon as I moved to town. The next year, my senior year, we were cheerleaders together. :) After high school we remained friends, rooming together the year we were both engaged to be married. We were bridesmaids in each other's weddings, and were given the wonderful gift of having daughters the same age who love each other a ton! I don't think I've ever known a woman so loyal to me and so determined for my happiness. I now have someone with whom I have history - what a gift! We got together for her 30th birthday for a little girls' lunch at our favorite family spot - Red Robin.
Wow! We sure have some cute girls!

What can I say? I know our friendship is quite unique and I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world! Welcome to your 30's Connie! Hope we celebrate your 60th together just the same way!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Holidays (part 1)

Just thought I'd catch up on a few family events that I wanted to include on this sort-of journal of mine. We joined our good friends, the Dempsters, at their newly finished vacation home in Sisters, Oregon for a couple of days before Thanksgiving. That's right. It's two days after Christmas and I'm writing about an event that happened before Thanksgiving. This is Ryan and Allie "breaking the rules" and sitting on the kitchen counter. What buddies!

Blake and Avery made a fort. Allie has a knack for pushing her way in and insisted on being a part of it. It's what 3 year-old sisters do best! So, Allie is the one in the picture with him, not Avery!

I have no idea when I even took this picture. The girls were being some sort of super-heroes with bike helmets on. I love Allie's face here...


We don't usually jump on the Christmas bandwagon that early, but there was good weather and we had a free evening, so we went on Thanksgiving weekend to get our tree. I'm so glad we did! This was the most fun Christmas season I can remember! The kids were finally old enough to really be a part of it and I experienced Christmas in a totally new way - as a mom feeding off of and contributing to the excitement of my daughters with each holiday-related activity.

Avery took this picture. She's been really wanting to experiment with taking pictures. Lucky for me (and my camera), Nana got the genius idea to buy her a kid-tough camera for Christmas. I'll do a post of some of her photography sometime soon...

We had so much fun decorating the tree together. The kids' excitement is truly contageous! I decided I liked the tradition of letting the youngest put the star on the top of the tree. Next time we'll save it until the rest of the ornaments are already on...

Aunt Jana made Avery an ornament from her handprint when she was around 8 months old. No way she's turning six in three months!!

So that's the first installment of the Rowzee Christmas season. I know you're waiting on pins and needles until I continue the saga. :) Merry Christmas (two days late)!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


It's Sunday, five days before Christmas. I just took a really awesome nap. Somehow, my house is still quiet and, even though there's a ton to do around here, it's not as blaring as it's been over the past month, so I'm going to blog. It's been almost a month and, although I've had many thoughts about fun things to write about, I haven't had even a second to try to begin. I began this school year with much prayer about which ministries in church to be a part of, in order that I not over-commit myself. Rich and I thought I had done a pretty good job. I don't believe it's the church ministry commitment that has me pulling my hair out, though. It's my helpful nature, seemingly boundless energy (which I will get to in a minute), and the adjustment to life as a mom with a kid in school every day.

Let's see, I'm on the women's retreat planning team that only takes one evening meeting a month and a bit more leading up to retreat in March; Tuesday night Club Rock Salt for the kids in which I lead a small group of kinder-second grade girls and teach the large group of kids once a month (that's quite a lot of work at a time of day when I'm struggling for energy - 7-8:30pm); I lead singing every other month (for the whole month) for the Sunday morning "children's church" called Rock Salt; and I assistant-teach a group of women one morning a week for a discipleship class. I guess that's a lot. I said "no" to a bunch of other requests and dropped out of my "fun" ministry - choir (more on that...)! It's good for me to write these things down. The problem is that I like to be kinda busy and I have so many interests. hhmmm....

My health: I'm b12 deficient. I'm not exactly sure what all that means, but I know it causes a lot of fatigue and my new doctor (YAY for JAY!) was the genius that decided to test for it. Never mind that I did two sleep studies, saw a neurologist specializing in sleep disorders several times, and had my blood tested by my old doctor, but my B12 wasn't tested. Evidently, I'm really, really low. It turns out that my body may have a certain antibody that is eating up my B12, since I get plenty of B12 in my diet. I will be tested for that next month. In the meantime, I'm getting monthly injections of B12 and was told that it should improve my energy level, but have not experience that yet. My low B12 level raised a question of my narcolepsy, in my mind. However, I am still extremely sleepy and can hardly stay awake at times, so I'm still looking to change medications to something more effective. On top of all that, I've developed nodules on my vocal cords that makes my voice scratchy and, sometimes only a whisper. I have to see a speech therapist once a week for a month or two and try to train myself to be easier on my speaking voice. I did not develop these through singing - I already said I haven't been performing for quite a while. My bad habit of never drinking water and only drinking coffee and diet coke (not in excess, just nothing else) has evidently highly contributed to the nodules, along with just plain over-using my voice through excited talking, loud talking, and yes, yelling sometimes! Anyway, I'm really hoping they go away soon, but am a bit discouraged at the thought of having to do this through changing something that is so closely linked to my personality. And the whole caffinated beverage dilema, since I kinda need it due to my fatigue. So, this all means doctors' appointments, and you stay-at-home moms all know how hard it is to get to the doctor with kids who have to be watched by someone. I can't just go to the doctor whenever I want and the receptionist frequently doesn't understand this when she has to give me 5 different options until there's one that will work. Example: I will be going to the speech therapist on Christmas Eve morning at 8 since Rich will be home and I don't have to ask another friend to watch my kids!

Ok, this is way too long. You have my permission to bail out on me. I'm not done yet, though. This is quite theraputic. Now I move on to my charm-making. It's fun. It makes a little money. It's a bit stressful. I did two shows that were pretty much a bust - not because of the charms, but because there were almost no attendees. I've had quite a few orders by work of mouth, though, and have found myself busy with those when my house is screaming for attention. Christmas presents had to be made for people, though! I had a ball giving the girls' teachers charm jewelry for Christmas. They all loved them and the two assistants cried! Avery's teacher assistant is expecting her first grandchild and had tears streaming down her face when I gave her a necklace with her first granddaughter's initial on it. Yay for me! :)

Next, I move on to the change of life that has come with two kids in school and one being there every day. Plus, kindergarten seems even harder because I have to be back to get her 2 1/2 hours after I drop her - not much time to get much done! They both have the same exact hours, so on Tuesday and Thursday I am scrambling to get them there on time.

Add on to that wanting to have a moment to myself, and needing to be available to hear Rich talk about his work struggles and bring him his lunch when he forgets it, and you have a very hectic life. I am so used to overcompensating for my fatigue, that I think that I should just keep going. I have a hard time letting myself sit down. The life of a stay-at-home mom is so hard - I'm in my house a lot and there is always housework to be done or children to be looked after. I never clock off. I don't get "weekends". I don't get to take a vacation unless I ask someone else to "do my work" and watch my kids. I don't mean to gripe. I love being a mom and am going to finish this race strong and with joy. My recent activity level has brought me to a point of "mommy burnout", though, and a cruise with 7 girlfriends has never sounded so good. Oh yeah, I'm going in February!!!!! I'm only a little over a month away from it!!!!!!!!! Anyway, I think I've fully explained the reason I haven't blogged for almost a month - I DON'T HAVE TIME.

I'm hoping to be a bit more frequent in my blogging now. Life has finally slowed down for a bit and I'm hoping it doesn't pick up to it's recent crazy level when the new year comes.

I know no one is reading at this point, but I will share a verse I came across recently. 2 Corinthians 3:5 "Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." I find comfort in the fact that I am not competent to mother my children in a godly manner without His strength. I've been quite weak lately and am a living example of His strength being made perfect in my weakness. Lord, work through me, use me, and slow me down!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Avery's Prayer

Last night at bedtime prayers, I had to rush out as soon as Avery had prayed so I could scribble down her precious words...

"Dear God, thank You that we can have a fun time together. And thank You that you didn't lie and that You're the perfect One. And thank You that You didn't have any accidents when You made the world. And thank You that magic isn't real - like magic carpets and stuff. Amen."

Allie's prayer went something like this: "Dear God, help us to be good and thank You for the gooey geyser. [peels of laughter..] And thank You for the gooey geyser [more laughter...]. And thank You for the gooey geyser [still more laughter...] Amen." (the gooey geyser being something from a Dora movie) That kid thought she was SO funny!

My prayer: "Lord, thank You for the blessing of my husband and daughters. Thank You that they know You and grow their hearts to a better understanding of Your love and what You did when you sent Jesus to die on the cross for their sins. Let Rich and I love each other and You more every day. Amen!!!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Something I overheard this morning...

When I heard my daughters up at 6:45 this morning, I thanked the Lord for an extra 45 minutes or so of sleep. Yep, Allie's had me up by at least 6 every morning lately. Poor girl has been really sick. Now that her fever is gone, she's just coughing and feeling miserable. So we were up A LOT last night. Anyway, Avery had gotten up and seen Allie laying on the floor and I guess some maternal instincts kicked in. This is as close a version as I can remember to their conversation:

Avery: "Are you OK?"

Allie: "Yes, I'm having a hard time cleaning my nose."

Avery: "Do you know what Mommy told me a lot and a long time ago? She said that you can pray to God in your heart and He will help you. Like you can ask Him to take away your bad dreams and give you good dreams or you can ask Him to help your nose feel better."

Allie: "I'm having a hard time cleaning my nose."

Avery: "I think you had a hard time sleeping because you were coughing a lot and it kept you awake."

Allie: "I'm just having a hard time cleaning my nose."

Avery: "You can go tell Mommy and she will help you."

Allie: "Yeah, I can go get in bed with Mommy and sleep with her if I have a hard time sleeping."

Avery: "Wait here and I will go talk to Mommy." (to me) "Mommy, Allie's having a hard time."

And as they went downstairs to watch Curious George on PBS, I heard them say:

Avery: "Allie, I'll let you pick whatever show you want." (which is moot since there's only one channel with kids' shows on at our house)

Allie: "And can I sit in the soft chair?" (obviously one source of contention in our home)

Avery: "Sure!"

Folks, kindness DOES occur in our home! Praise the Lord! You can imagine the beaming smiles Rich and I had on our faces as we listened in our bed...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

See the Resemblance?

I thought it sounded fun to show the resemblances of our daughters to their parents. I will probably try this again when I find even better examples, but this is pretty close. This first picture is of me with my brother, Ryan.
The ages are not quite the same - I was a couple years older than Avery is here.
This is Rich's 2nd grade picture. He's SO CUTE!
Wish I had the perfect picture to show how much Allie looks like her daddy! Again, this is not quite the same age, but she's making a similar face.
I don't think I'll even go into how our girls resemble us in personality! That is better just witnessed in person. Oi!

Monday, November 9, 2009

My First Craft Fair

Well, I thought I'd update ya'll on how the craft fair went this past weekend. We had a lot of friends come out and support us and it was so fun to see you all. I went into it simply hoping I would cover my cost. It was really hard buying supplies ahead and not even knowing if anything would sell. However, I actually met my cost and made some money on top of it! The response was really good - my little charms seemed to be quite popular. Here's a few pictures of our booth.
My jewelry is on the right side of the picture. The sign along the back says "Baglady By Design" for Connie's business and on the left of the picture is our friend Wendy's little spot for her photography (she's awesome! check her out at www.Kivettphoto.com).
Here's the majority of my charms. I started out with 107 total. Some of those are displayed on various chains I had available. After all my orders were completed, I had only 30 left!

The pink page in the frame was my price sheet: $6 per charm and chains ranging from $6 - $12. Pretty affordable! The brown page in the silver frame listed a special: 4 charms for $20!

And this is the whole reason I even did this - the dearest, sweetest gal in the whole world - Connie! She has really inspired me to simply challenge myself and try my hand at creativity. She is so good at what she does and has so many ideas and dreams. I won't go into why I love her so much - that's for another post. We've been good friends since I moved to Oregon (I think 14 years ago) and she's never been out of my life. In the past 10 years, I could probably only count on two hands the number of days we haven't at least talked on the phone (maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's close!) We got to spend a whole day together and I think we had a pretty cute booth! Not too cluttered, but full of beautiful stuff! The day was great!

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Initial Inspirations"

That's what Connie came up for as a name for my little initial charms I've been making - "Initial Inspirations". Catchy, huh? So, I didn't come up with this craft on my own. I saw a friend's jewelry who had copied something she had seen and I just loved it. She was kind enough to show me how to make my own, and then I shared the love. I got the supplies and started making the charms for friends, or having them over and helping them do it themselves. Since then, so many people have noticed and admired the cute little things, that my friends encouraged me to do a booth at a holiday fair this year. I don't pretend to be any craft genius, but I think practice and a bit of an artistic eye (at least interest) has brought me to a place where I've got a good assortment of a lot of cute little charms. So this Saturday, Nov. 7th at Pringle Elementary school here in South Salem, I'm sharing a booth with my pal-of-all-pals, Connie Libby. Everyone knows what kind of beautiful bags she makes! She will be selling some other adorable things as well. She has a ton of these cute little Posy pins that are made out of various coordinating fabrics that I just know are going to sell like hotcakes! Plus makeup bags and coin purses, as well as handbags and totes. So, our booth will have quite an assortment of pretty items - I don't think anyone will need to go to any other booth! :) Here are a few pictures of a very small sample of what I'm making. I'll also be selling a few different kinds of chains.

These are the charms I've been wearing recently. Both of my daughters' names start with "A", thus the initial.

This is a sample of the small flower that I make. I think it's so cute on a little girl! This isn't the best picture, but you get the idea!

This is Avery's necklace on her. The focus didn't work to well, but you can see it's so cute on her!

I admit I'm a bit apprehensive about actually trying to sell these. I really wouldn't be doing it if I hadn't been encouraged from many of you that people really do like these and will want to buy them. We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Allie at the Pumpkin Patch

I got to go with Allie to the pumpkin patch last week with her preschool class. It was so fun to be with just her this time. This kid keeps me on my toes and is often a source of anxiety for me, but - boy, is she sweet!

Allie on the hayride.

This is Allie with her teacher, Mrs. Wood. Avery had her last year and we just love her! For several days before the pumpkin patch, Allie made sure I knew that she wanted to sit next to Mrs. Wood on the hayride. She got her wish!

This is the pumpkin she picked out and got to take home.

Everyone gets to pick an apple out of the orchard. Allie couldn't wait to take a bite!

Mama and her little "punkin"!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Our whole family is having a great time this year with the soccer season. Allie is participating in the Soccer Starters program, but likes to be difficult with it, despite the fact that she likes to play soccer. We will not quit, though! It's paid for and she's just being a stinker!
Avery, however, is just old enough to really appreciate the sport. And, I have to admit, that girl is a pistol out on the field! She has fun and tries pretty hard in practice, but when she's in a game, a whole new Avery emerges. She's by far the smallest on the field and I think she took her coach by surprise. In the few games we've played, she's been referred to as "our secret weapon", the "next Mia Hamm", and "our defensive specialist". When the other team has the ball, I always hear her coach yelling, "get it Avery!" She has no thought of fear as she runs right into the pack and attacks that ball and whoever stands in her way.
Avery is the closest blonde in the white shirt and black pants. She got the smallest shirt available and she's still swimming in it.I like this picture - Avery was off the field at the time (they play three on three). She had stepped past the cones and was seriously considering kicking that ball.
This says it all. Avery is in the center.
Daddy and his soccer girls!
Avery had taken a picture of me, but I opted not to include it. It was a non-shower-throw-on-a-hat kind of soccer morning and I didn't think that was fair to my readers to be exposed to that kind of shock...
We love soccer! I do admit that we've had unusually sunny, dry weather for October and I'm not sure how much I'll love it in the cold rain. So far, though, I just really like the regular family activity on Saturdays and I really love watching Avery have so much fun on a team! Fun times!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Encouragement of the Word and a swell sister-in-law

My niece, Makinley, is close to celebrating her first birthday. For her baby shower, before she was born, I was asked to share a little devotion on motherhood. At the time, I had a two and four year-old and was still in the thick of it. Any mother who has hit those ages with their kids knows what I mean. Even for the most patient of mothers, those ages are hard. You've been at it a while now, you've been exhausted for four straight years and can probably count on one hand the number of times you've slept through the night. I even have excellent sleepers, but almost every night there was some reason to wake me up - someone was sick, was sad, had peed, was scared, the list can go on and on... So, my devotion was focused on God's mercies. How faithful He is to forgive us, strengthen us, and enable us to be godly mothers! I brought a special coffee mug with me that day which I bought for myself a while ago with Lamentations 3:22-23 on it. It was my regular coffee mug I used every morning and it never failed to remind me that I have His faithfulness and compassion on my side as I start another day training and loving my children. I told Jana (in front of all the ladies) that I couldn't part with it, but I'd look for one to get for her. However, a month or so later, I headed out to visit her. She was having a pretty hard morning, since I'm sure the baby had arrived by then, and I tucked it in my purse and presented it to her. I felt it was time to pass it on. Yesterday, I went to visit Jana in the hospital as she was caring for Makinley, who had been very ill and had been admitted overnight due to severe dehydration. She, being the thoughtful person she is, had made sure to bring a gift she had been waiting to give me, in hopes of seeing me while she was in town (she lives 30 min. away). Wouldn't you know it, she found another mug with the same verse on it?!?I have to tell you, this verse never gets old! His compassions are truly new every morning! What an awesome promise to (literally) wake up to every morning! If you are trying to fill your life with anything but God's living Word in hopes of finding contentment, friend, you will always be disappointed. Thank you, Jana, for such a thoughtful gift (and for searching for a year for it)! As for an update on Makinley, she is spending another night in the hospital and is still pretty puny, but she should mend soon. Thank you, Lord, for your Word, your faithfulness, and your healing hand!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Family Beach Trip

My parents treated the family to a couple nights at a house in Lincoln City, which is right on the Oregon coast. The house was big enough for our growing family. With four original kids, three spouses, and three-week-old Jeffery Scott making five grandchildren, we needed lots of space. It was perfect weather for a weekend at the beach!

This is Avery and Nana flying a kite.

Poor Nana was abandoned and stuck with two kites!
Josh flew is fancy kite - one kite, two strings.

I just liked this picture of Richie.

Allie looks so innocent here... Looks can be deceiving! The house we stayed at was separated by three levels, which made it a little hard to keep an eye on the busy three year-olds. Allie reenacted the classic story of "Adam and Eve" with Roderick. Roderick sat by and watched her scribble with a ball point pen on the flat screen TV and then was handed the pen by Allie while she said, "Now it's your turn." He didn't bite, though. Way to be strong, Roderick! Thank the Lord Rich was able to repair the TV with his glasses cleaning wipes and an hour of patient rubbing.

There's the two rascals!

My big kindergartener with her name written in the sand!

What a beautiful mommy/daughter pair Jana and Makinley make!

Nana and 4 of her 5 grandkids. It was just about a perfect night on the beach!

Papa is passing on to another generation the art of roasting "the perfect marshmallow".

Daddy and Avery enjoying the fire.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for such a wonderful weekend! My camera died before I got any pictures of Jo, Ryan, Jeffery, or Megan, but we had fun with all of you guys! What a blessing to have had such a great time together!