Thursday, January 31, 2008


I wonder if as a parent you ever stop being amazed by your children. I certainly hope not. I love that every day this girl will surprise me with what she says or does. Last night as we were preparing for bedtime, Ella was naked, running around in a circle as she sang the "Wheels on the Bus." She did it with such freedom, purpose and energy that I found myself just smiling with pride swelling inside me as I watched her. Maybe with her birthday quickly approaching (two weeks!), I'm more reflective and aware of how much growth and development she's achieved in two brief years. It's not a statement of how "advanced" I think my child is compared to other kids (because I don't think she's advanced just on par), but how fascinating it is what all kids learn to do in two brief years. How did this baby that popped out of me become this defiant, stubborn yet positively adorable little person running our household?

The most recent new developments:

*She now will "sshhh" us when she doesn't want to listen to us anymore. She puts her little finger to her lips and tells us to be quiet, especially if we're in the car singing to the radio.

*Speaking of the radio, Ella now expects, better yet demands, Sirius' Kid Stuff station almost every time she's in the car. Don't think you can fool her with another station. That girl knows when we try to pull a fast one and quickly calls us on it.

*She said the word "actually" yesterday. I attempted to explain that mommy was actually the one that possessed X object (I can't remember what we were discussing), but she stopped me in mid-sentence and said "Actually, it's daddy's," and quickly ended that debate.

*At dinner, Ella wanted mommy's drink which was a Diet Dr. Pepper in a styrofoam cup. I told her she couldn't have any because it was like coffee and was only for grown ups. She said, "No mommy that not like coffee." Again, the girl is on to us.

*She repeatedly asks for Payton to spend the night. Our standard response is always soon. Ella now responds with "Tuesday or Friday." Guess, these must be her favorite days of the week. I didn't even know she knew specific days until I heard "Tuesday" for the first time.

*She also has asked lately to go visit Aaron and Carter. (We've been trying but that household can't kick the various bugs going around.) I told her a fib the other day and I said they were out of town and when they were back that we would go over to see them. (They had been out of town one weekend, but weren't on the day Ella asked about them.) A few days later we were looking at "Ella's pictures" on Flickr. When we came across the picture of the kids from New Year's Eve, Ella unprompted said "Aaron and Carter out of town." This girl doesn't seem to forget anything we say.

I just love that little creature.

Friday, January 25, 2008

30+ Weeks

Seriously, only 10 weeks until this baby will be here. 10 weeks. How is that possible? Where did this whole pregnancy go? Today was another doctor's appointment and either my sixth or seventh sonogram of the pregnancy. I've completely lost count. Everything checked out great, finally! I had what should be my last sonogram. I love getting the chance to see the little guy, but it is a relief knowing that there is no medical reason why I need another sonogram. The good news is the placenta finally migrated away from my cervix, but the baby is now breech with his head nestled in my left ribs. The baby boy has 7 weeks to navigate to the correct position before my doc gets concerned.

Other interesting nuggets from the appointment: he is 3 lbs, 6 oz. and the doc expects him to end up about 7 1/1 to 8 pounds. I'm measuring a few days behind my due date, but the tech said measurements on breech babies always seem slightly inaccurate. He also appears to have some hair. Good heart rate. Oh yea, he's also beautiful. He had his little hand resting on his head at one point. I swooned and he has the cutest little feet.

Hopefully this appointment serves as motivation to get into baby mode. The doc gave me a big to-do for our list: schedule my maternity care appointment with the hospital. It's the appointment when you fill out endless yet necessary paperwork and are reminded of all their policies and procedures. We did order new bedding for Ella's new big girl room. Once we have it, we can select paint colors and start transforming the computer room into her new big girl room. We are definitely moving at a snail's pace. I keep telling myself as long as we have diapers and some clothes, we'll figure the rest out.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Closet cleaning

Hodge podge of closet items
Originally uploaded by mbowling
Our entryway closet had become a giant dumping ground and it was impossible to find anything unless it was the last item we shoved in it. Mike decided he had enough (and he's slowly beginning to exhibit signs of nesting) that he enthusiastically tackled the unorganized and overstuffed closet.

As he removed every last mismatched glove, black purse, ball cap and diaper bag, Ella decided it was the perfect opportunity for her to take stock of the inventory and catalogue the items, which is how she ended up in this ensemble. Of course, her coat is a daily staple, but the rubber ducky hat hadn't been seen since late summer. Ella wanted to make sure it still fit. What I can't remember is why in the world I gave her a snack while she was modeling the latest closet fashion. File that under not my brightest mom moment.

Her snack that afternoon was two tasty graham crackers with a thin spread of vanilla frosting in the middle. It was one of my favorite "special" snacks as a kid. I recall being served that mostly at bible school or camp. It made up for the days when celery and cheese whiz was on the menu. Mike said he never had the pleasure of experiencing that sweet childhood treat, so he indulged in a few. I felt sorry for the poor guy that he had to wait until his 30s to experience such a yummy concoction.

Back to the closet, Mike has it organized and everything is back in place. I now don't dread opening the door each morning to retrieve my coat and gloves. To help understand how crammed it was, we discovered a women's tan lightweight jacket in our closet that certainly doesn't belong to anyone in their 30s. If you happen to be missing a tan jacket and you're a female older than 50, we might just have it. The likely suspects claim it isn't theirs, so we really have no clue who the original owner is. It's not like we get that many visitors, so who knows how long the jacket has been residing in our house.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hangin with Trey

Hangin with Trey
Originally uploaded by mbowling
Most of you who look at this photo are going, who the heck is that guy Scott and Mike are hanging out with there? Was he some winner of some Royals' contest? Well, sort of--he's Trey Hillman, aka the new manager of the Kansas City Royals.

For the first time this year, the Royals held a fanfest and Scott and I thought it would be fun to partake in it and see what it was all about. Of course Tricia, Amanda and Ella tagged along and saw what all the fun was about. They had a lot of cool skills stuff to check out and Ella even did a couple of them! She did a 90 foot base running challenge where she ran from one base to another---with nothing but a huge smile on her face, of course. It was pretty awesome. She also hit a ball of of a tee (with Daddy's help of course). But she really wanted to spend more time picking up the whiffle balls. They had a moonwalk that she had fun it while dad and uncle Scotty got some pitch for season tickets from a sales broker. They had the model of what the "new" Kauffman Stadium will look like, and different piece of memorabilia from over the history of the Royals. It really was pretty neat!

There was a lot of autograph sessions--we saw David DeJesus, Shane Costa, Gil Meche, Joey Gathright, and finally when it was all wrapping up we got the chance to get our picture with the new manager, so that was pretty cool. He shook our hands, we got to welcome him to KC and Ella even wished him "good luck!" She gave him a high-five and he told her that she was precious. Which she IS of course.

It was a good day.

Food poisoning

I fear that baby boy bowling will never have a name. We have batted about numerous names and have discarded almost every name discussed for a multitude of reasons: like it but too popular, friend's kid has that name, not a positive association, it's already in the family, Ew! past bad boyfriend name -- otherwise not a bad name, and so forth.

Our criteria isn't lengthy -- just a solid boys name that works as a child and as an adult and is not owned by anyone else in our circle of family and friends. It also must work with Michael as the middle name and Bowling as the last. It also must flow with Ella whether casually joining their names or for me as a parent to yell in a fit of frustration.

Part of me is wants a name to pick us, similar to what happened with knowing Ella was the right name for our first daughter. It was a shared and special moment between Mike and I three years prior to us getting pregnant. I don't want to settle on a name, and I want there to a more meaningful reason to selecting a name other than I like it.

Recently though, one name seemed to be emerging from the limited list of names even under consideration. While there had not been a light bulb moment, the name kept coming to us as a central character in some of Ella's favorite books, a favorite author had dedicated one of his books to Ella and this name, etc. I was beginning to feel more confident that this was the right name for us, but not 100% committed to the name.

Mike and I decided when pregnant with Ella that we would not share a name until the baby was born. We didn't want to be influenced by others. I was taking the same approach with baby boy. At my department's holiday lunch, the topic of baby names was discussed and a co-worker suggested the name Sam. I slyly smiled and said it was a name on our list and quickly approaching the top of the list. Most at the table agreed that it was a good name for us. I wasn't prepared for one co-workers concern, "Aren't you worried they would call him 'sambo.' " I was dumbfounded and had no idea of that phrase. Before the conversation could continue, we were interrupted by the waiter.

On the drive back to work, I confided into co-workers that I didn't get the joke. A co-worker in her 50s explained to me the origin of sambo, but didn't think a potential nickname should automatically strike Sam from our list, especially ones not many in our generation were exposed to. Mike agreed, but I was less inclined. Mike and I had consulted with multiple friends and co-workers. I wanted to know who and how many were familiar with the story of sambo, and hardly anyone was, so the name was climbing the ranks once again.

That was until last night when Tricia and Scott were hanging out at our house after a trip to the Royals Fan Fast and an introductory dinner for them to Sweet Tomatoes. The topic of names came up and we decided to ask them about sambo. Tricia knew, but I should have figured with her mom's background and Tricia's love of reading. The agreement was Sam is a good solid name and Sam Michael Bowling definitely has a nice ring to it. I also explained how Sam was the initials of my siblings in birth order (Scott, Amanda, Matt -- yet I didn't work in Justin, so it was more a convenient reasoning for Sam.)

Tricia said Ella and Sam out loud and commented how sweet that sounded and then she reversed the names. The minute she did, I knew the name had been kicked off the list permanently. Sam and Ella. (Tip: say it aloud and you'll get a good laugh. Hence the title of this post.) Separately both are great names, together, it's just not meant to be. I couldn't believe it hadn't hit Mike and I before, but we only ever said Ella and Sam, never Sam and Ella.

Sigh, I'm disappointed because none of the other names under consideration are jumping off the page. We still have 2 1/2 months for this boy to marinate, so hopefully another name will emerge a winner. If you happen to ask for an update, don't be surprised if my response speaks to the merits of Cletus over Mortimer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Slumber Party

Slumber Party
Originally uploaded by mbowling
After some gentle reminders, Comer shared the pictures from New Year's Eve with us. The kids looked so adorable laying next to each other. In this picture, they look more annoyed with us. I'm confident that they knew we were making a feeble attempt to induce sleep, so the adults could enjoy some "kid-free" time. It wasn't meant to be, but they did stay distracted long enough for the the women to victoriously and soundly defeat the men at Scene It. Who knew the movie "The Unforgiven" would be the obscure and correct answer that sealed our victory. I hope a rematch is in our near future.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Where, O' Where is Sleep?

Seriously, all I want to do is sleep, and I can't. Insomnia fascinates and frustrates me. It's so bizarre to want something so desperately and yet have it be so completely unattainable. I have been awake since 2:30 and it's now 4:30. I went to bed so exhausted. I have a big day at work and this is not helping.

To demonstrate how random the thoughts are that keep me up, here's a quick running list as I lay on the couch attempting to will myself back to sleep:

It's taking a few minutes to get the thoughts going. Maybe I shouldn't encourage them. Maybe this is a positive sign that my brain is currently free from randomness and could actually focus on falling back asleep. Maybe it's trying to lure me back to bed only to rev up the minute my head hits the pillow and then torture me so. Nope, here they come:

*Do I have time and the energy to make Ella's birthday invitations? Do I really need to make invitations if we're doing a low key birthday celebration? Should I really send invites if it's primarily family? Can't I just send an email with the details? If I do that, does that take away from her birthday or reflect poorly on how special we think it is? Have kids birthdays got a bit out of hand?

*Did I really need that second cookie last night? I told the girls only one cookie, but then stole another one after we all changed in our pajamas. Shame on me.

*Should we start officially potty training Ella? She's practically requesting a new diaper after each time she's wet and she's willing to attempt to change herself if you won't do it. It's quite the site to have your child run down the hall with her pants around her knees, with her naked bottom peeking out from her shirt and her diaper in one outstretched hand as she requests a wipe. She asked me to change her as we rocked last night (yes, I'm actually got the chance to rock her a few nights this week.) I opted not to because we had just put a fresh diaper on. Am I sending mixed signals? Was I being too lazy?

*I need to get my haircut. It's getting way too long and my drying time is increasing.

*Did I get the load of reds in the dryer?

*Why is Yoshi so annoying? Why can't he be a dog instead? Will we ever have the type of schedule where we could have a dog?

*What's on tap for this week? What are we going to eat this week? Ugh, I have to make a grocery store run. Why do I hate the grocery store so much?

*Did I pass my gestational diabetes test? As my doc says, no news is good news, so hopefully, I didn't fail.

*Why do women battle insomnia more then men?

It's almost 5 am. I promised myself I would try again at 5 to fall back asleep if only for an hour. Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Beautiful Words

Lately my little girl has been uttering the sweetest phrase. No, it isn't "I love you" or "you're the best," but rather "NO NO NO, FOOTBALL, DADDY!" And then she promptly walks over and shuts off the tv. Ah, I love that little girl.

Now if all fairness, I did convince Payton and Ella to let Mike watch the end of the Giants/Cowboys game tonight. They both wanted him to turn off the tv, and I convinced them that he should get to watch the rest of the game. He did buy us pizza after all.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lost my chair position

I am trying not to take in personally. I am really trying. Yes, the but is coming. But my child refuses to let me rock her. Yes, she's growing up and I need to let go, and all that other parenting mumble jumble. I wish it was that simple. Understand though, it's not that she's giving up being rocked. No, that's not the case. If it was, I might be able to handle it better. The issue is she just refuses to let ME rock her. Daddy is the only one who can do it.

Oh sure, mom is good enough to read "Let's Go to the Zoo" and "Olivia" 10 million times in a row with Ella on my lap nonetheless. When the lights are shut off and her music is turned on, her only request is "Daddy rock." I beg, I plead, I demand. It gets me nowhere except I end up feeling like a 2-year old, rather a 2-year old with a broken heart. I thought maybe after a few nights she would be back to preferring me, but nope. Every night for what the last two weeks, no matter how I play the game, the end result is the same: "daddy rock."

Don't get me wrong I love that Mike and her have such a special bond. I just miss that quiet time with her in my arms. She's showcasing her independence more each day that even kisses and hugs are few and far in between, so I was relishing our quiet cuddle time, and now I don't even have that. I knew she would eventually push away from me. I just didn't expect it would be before her second birthday.

Monday, January 07, 2008

How to keep yourself afloat in water.

Essentially that is what Ella is learning to do. Or more like thats what Amanda and I are paying her to learn.

Ella is officially taking swimming lessons! We figure if this girl is going to be a fish, she better learn how much fun you can REALLY have once you learn to swim. She's taking them at the Bonner Springs YMCA. Which, by the way is not an easy place to find, even though my Garmin led us straight to the correct address, they have it stuffed inside of an old school. I have no idea why they felt the need to make it about as hard as all get out to find. We also may have missed a few signs that pointed us to the right direction. Oh well.

Even though we prepped Ella saying that this was like swim "class", she really wanted to run around and play like it was the middle of July and the sun was beating down. I got in the 3 foot WARM (oh it felt SO good) pool and I held her the entire class. And for those of you who know Ella--this was not something she enjoyed for 30 minutes straight (The girl just wants to wiggle her way out of Daddy's arms). But regardless she put up with it once she realized that couldn't touch the ground.

We worked on kicking on our bellies and back. We learned to throw a little bitty rubber duckie and kick in the water towards it, with Daddy's help of course. And we worked on blowing bubbles in the water too. And there was no way anybody was going to peel that huge smile on her face the entire time. 30 minutes came and went so quickly for her she fought tooth and nail getting out of the water. As did Daddy, that water was WARM! But alas, we wouldn't have fit in too well with the next class as we were not 70 year old women.

We have assured her we will be back next Saturday for more swimming lessons, and I'm sure she will be all ready to go when Saturday comes.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The First Day of 2008

Pure Bliss
Originally uploaded by mbowling
It was COLD. It was Windy. None of that stopped Ella from loving every minute of sledding on the first day of '08. She giggled with pure joy each time she was pushed down the hill. We lasted maybe a 1/2 hour in the frigid air, but enjoyed each minute.

It's hard to believe the holidays are over. I have loved having some extra time with Ella these past few weeks, but it's time to assume a more normal routine. I suspect tomorrow will be tough on all of us.

We rang in the New Year with the Comer family, who we actually hadn't seen in some time. Correction, we celebrated the last few hours of 2007 with the Comers. Ella made it to 11 pm before we decided to call it a night and head to our house. The night was also meltdown free, which was a pleasant surprise for both sets of parents. We tried to get the kids to all fall asleep in Mike & Jen's bed around 10 pm. We turned on a movie as they snuggled next to each other, but 20 minutes later they made their way downstairs to rejoin our party. (It made for the cutest picture, which Mrs. Comer better email me!)

Overall, the kids played quite nicely together, allowing us adults some time to socialize, eat and laugh. I should add drink to the list, but I was just a spectator in that arena last night, along with the DD. Only a few short months to go before I'll be able to indulge again. Sigh....I really only miss it on nights like New Year's Eve. I love me some champagne!

Well, happy New Year to everyone.