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!!!