Sunday, November 23

family pictures

aunt rikki is here helping out while we adjust to life with a new baby. while she's here, we decided to take advantage of her talents and snap a few family photos after church today.

Wednesday, November 19

hello world

on friday, november 7th at 3:07 am
baby Owen Christopher Brower 
joined our crew
at 8lbs 15oz & 21 ½ in

it was a super fast delivery. because it was two weeks before his due date, i didn't think i was really in labor when the contractions started around 1am. but i decided to drive myself to the hospital just to make sure that it was a false alarm. i got there at 2:15 and by 2:25 my water had broke and i sent chris a text saying "my water broke, better get here, its going to be a quick one i think". because bart and janie had made a quick trip to Branson, chris called Katie Smith to come be with the kids. chris got to the hospital about 15 minutes before the baby arrived at 3:07 am. wish we could say the same for the doctor! the nurses ended up delivering him because without the epidural, there was no way i couldn't not push even when they told me not to! chris was the one to tell me that it was a boy, but i was in so much pain i don't really remember. but we sure are happy to have this sweet boy with us.

not exactly sure why chris asked the nurse to take a picture right after, and I'm really not sure why i went along with it, but here it is!

jack, ellie, and charlie absolutely adore this baby.

charlie met him first, while jack and ellie were at school.
he was so sweet and would whisper every time he came into the hospital room. baby owen looks just like baby charlie did.

jack had asked me to make a pumpkin white chocolate cheesecake for his birthday. for various reasons, i didn't get around to it until the night before owen arrived. so jack and owen got to celebrate their birthdays together at the hospital, along with grandma and grandpa who had made it back from branson that evening.

headed home!

owen has been a wonderful little eater and a pretty good sleeper so far. 
as charlie keeps saying to his new brother "we're so glad you're here baby owen!"

Saturday, November 15

our special boy

i don't think little boys come any more special than jack.
he is incredibly thoughtful, sensitive, generous, intelligent, a jokester, optimistic, adventurous, focused, extremely athletic, and spiritually minded. he has his moments, like all kids do, but they are short-lived. he is my best helper and i often find myself treating him like i would a teenager or even an adult, because he is quite mature. i have to remind myself not to speed up his childhood and to treat him like an 8 year old. 
we love our jack

jack chose to be baptized a member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. about a month ago he told chris and i that he had been praying to know if that was the right choice and he knew in his heart that it was.

we all feel so blessed that grandma and grandpa could be here for this special day.

jack asked grandpa bart to baptize him and daddy to confirm him. he also had grandma speak about baptism, grandpa speak about the holy ghost, and ellie, dani & jenna sing a special musical number, When I am Baptized.  

our hearts were so touched to see the room fill to over-flowing with so many there to support jack in this decision. there were over 65 people, including his school teacher Mrs Been and her husband, his soccer coach Bryant, along with his wife Pam and their son Ducati, and our friends Mat and Julie Strasser with their two little boys. jack is a wonderful example to all and it was heart-warming to see all the people that he has already made an impression on here in arkansas in the year that we have lived here. he also had so much support from our family and friends that aren't close by. from special gifts, to thoughtful emails and cards, he was showered with kindness. thank you everyone for all the love!

after the baptism, we had a waffle bar in the gym. i wish we had taken pictures because it was seriously awesome and a total hit with all! and, it was extremely easy to put together.

aunt layna and uncle tony even sent a baptism package all the way from Hawaii, complete with baptism leis that he has hung up around his room.

this year i have made a video for each of the kids birthdays. i'm not sure if it is the fact that turning 8 is so special, or that I'm in denial that i have an 8 year old already, or the pregnancy hormones, or perhaps a combination of all those things, but making this video was an emotional project for me. emotional in a good way. packing 8 years worth of memories into a 3 minute video is challenging. what a kid! This is currently his favorite song, Riptide by Vance Joy.

Tuesday, November 4

october is over

october was nuts!
but in the best kind of way. 
we celebrated our 10th anniversary, jack's 8th birthday, halloween, the fall season, and are enjoying a visit from grandma and grandpa brower. whew! thats not to mention all of the projects we've been involved with for school, church, and of course growing a human should be added in there somewhere too.

bart and janie flew into town just in time for all of the festivities and the kids are in heaven! we get three great weeks with them before they head home and begin their adventure as missionaries in ohio for the second time. we love love love them!

on to our activities...

traditionally, your 10th anniversary is celebrated by giving diamond jewelry (trust me, i googled it). but chris and i don't do things very traditionally. instead of jewelry, we opted for something a little more exciting... chris built an AR-15 and i bought a 9mm handgun, which is a little easier for me to handle than our 45. and that way we don't have to take turns when we're shooting :) we also got our family a membership to an outdoor shooting range outside of town at a place called Thor. needless to say, our anniversary was explosive.

charlie tags along and collects all of the shells he can find, calling it his gold treasure.

the day after our anniversary is jack's birthday.
usually we make the kids wait to open presents until the evening, mostly because we can and its fun to watch them squirm and get all hyped up. but since daddy was going to be working late, jack got to open gifts before school, which he thought was AWESOME.

we visited him for lunch at school

he got a metal detector (best gift for an adventurous boy that doesn't really play with traditional toys) and tested it out on grandma's knee replacement... it works!

charlie even likes it

here's jack learning how to use his new pocket knife from grandma and grandpa. all of our pencils are sharp now, which makes me smile and think of my dad because thats how he always sharpened pencils.

jack had such a wonderful birthday and to top it off, he was baptized on the 26th, which i'll blog about separately. but it was a great and proud moment for our family.

celebrating fall in the ozarks!
we enjoyed an afternoon trip to Cox Berry Farms to go apple-picking, which was a first for me and the kids. it was great fun and even though the orchard wasn't much of an orchard, the kids are still talking about "the time we went apple-picking", which makes it a total success.

i'd love to say that we've made apple pies and crisps and applesauce and all things apple with our pickings, but we've just snacked on them and made caramel apples for FHE last monday. nothing too exciting, but tasty nonetheless!

we celebrated this year with three different outings: a school trunk or treat, a ward Fall Extravaganza, and a Halloween Fiesta at the smiths on the 31st.... all of which produced a whopping amount of candy.

this year we dressed up as harry potter, hermione granger, and dave the minion. i am seriously loving this harry potter phase in our home right now!

there was face painting at the ward party and this is what charlie looked like most of the night :)

chris won the chili cook-off for the "heartiest" chili at the ward Fall Extravaganza. he spent the afternoon smoking beef ribs then adding the meat, along with sausage and bacon, to his chili. obviously, it was out of this world delicious.
here he is accepting his award. 
he's very humble.

he has since put his "trophy" on top of our kitchen cupboards, out of my reach. i've reminded him that i am very accurate with my handgun and will have no problems taking care of it if it stays up there for too long :)

i was a bit of a grinch this year and said we wouldn't be carving pumpkins because when "we" carve pumpkins it really means "me" and i just wasn't feeling up to it this year. well, thank goodness chris isn't a grouch because when he announced we'd be carving pumpkins for FHE last week, the kids thought he was the best daddy in the world. and with all the extra adult hands around, i wasn't the only one scooping and carving, hooray!

chris had last week off of work. on thursday, we kept the kids home from school and took grandma and grandpa on an adventure up to the bentonville/rogers area. since I'm only a couple weeks away from delivering, i stayed home and went to a dr.'s appointment.

after an enjoyable visit this summer, chris took everyone to the gorgeous Blowing Springs for a picnic and a hike and also made a trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

what a month!