Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's funny how...

There are so many times that I dream of a day off.  Of peace and quiet.  Of time to myself.  A chance to pursue things that I really enjoy rather than cleaning dishes, washing clothes and changing diapers. 

I got my days off!  Less than two weeks ago I had strep throat and Sunday afternoon I got hit HARD by that nasty stomach bug that is going around.  And so...in the last 2 weeks, 3 of those days I spent quarantined in the bedroom.  Its very quiet in here...can't do dishes or laundry and no diaper changes.  Honestly, getting a break from those things has been a little nice (although I don't even want to see the condition of our house!)

But...all I wanted those days was to be with my family!  To be able to hear them laugh and enjoy all the silly little things my babies do.  I missed my little people!  

So, its funny how the thing I thought I really wanted, I don't want at all!  I pray that I would learn to be content in the days God gives me...that I would be content today...  Stuck in a room-by myself!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Derek's 2 year pics

Just wanted to share...my adorable, crazy, cute, funny, fun and totally lovable little boy.  Here is a link to his 2 year pictures! :)


I know I am biased, but I think these are GREAT!

Friday, July 13, 2012


Things have been pretty busy around here.  Aside from the usual...we had family in for most of a week last week and had new floors put in our house (thanks land lord for that, they are really nice!)...which creates a lot of chaos.  Interrupted naps, furniture everywhere and tons and tons of dust.  I dusted...and then dusted again and again and it still seems to be settling.

All that to say...it has been a hard week.  I feel emotionally and physically tapped out.  I kind of always feel that way by the end of the day, but this week, it has reached a new level.  We are out of our rhythm.  I would never claim that the O'Dowd's hold to a routine (that would be for days long ago when we had just one baby).  But, we do have rhythms that really make our life work.  And not just work, but I think we thrive this way.  Allow me to share what has been so helpful for our family!

Rhythm #1...My favorite day of the week is Monday (strange, I know).  But for a ministry family, this is a day off and for the O's, its our SABBATH!  My soul and body need a day of rest!  We plan fun things as a family (or just plan to stay in all day and relax).  We don't do laundry or clean or make complicated meals.  I do not make the bed and get out the vacuum.  We just rest as a family and in the Lord.  Nap time is for reading and resting (not catching up on the dishes).  We do not get on the computer or check our phones.  Life pauses and we take time to really enjoy each other.  The Bibles tells us to Sabbath, and yet everyone is too busy to take a day off (all the more reason we need one!)

Rhythm #2 would be date night.  I miss date night!  We have had a regular weekly date night since our sophomore year of college (that was 8 years ago...crazy), until recently.  We have been trying to get really creative, but with two little ones, one still nursing, its been really challenging.  We will not give up though.  We are working toward a date night co-op (this has worked well before for us) and we have been getting small dates at the Frisco Rec Center where you get 2 hours of childcare a day for free.  Brooklyn is not a huge fan, so our longest date so far has been 40 minutes, but we got to relax on the lazy river together and go down the water slides (don't laugh, yes we were by far the oldest in line, but it was fun!).

Rhythm #3... Dinners together!  And lunches and breakfasts (whenever possible).  We have actually had more of these than ever with Ryan working from home; he often gets to join us for a meal during the work day.  We all sit down together and talk over the day and laugh about the silly stuff the kids do.  (Thankfully the only season where this rhythm is interrupted is with a small baby- that may want to nurse or fuss during family meal time).  Ryan also makes breakfast with Der on Saturday morning and its usually something fun that he picks (just a fun family tradition).  And as many meals as can be shared with others, the better still!

Rhythm #4... Only-child dates.  We started these when Der turned a year old.  Miss B will get the same in a few months.  Tuesday evening.  Ryan and I trade off taking Der somewhere fun.  I have so many great memories from these excursions.  The construction site, to the park, to the fire station, pet shops, the mall play area, to the train track.  And it woulnd't be a date, if there is not a treat involved...cookie, ice cream, snow cone etc. that he picks.  He knows what "date" means for him.  Something fun and a treat, but the treat is really for Ryan and I though- he is a blast to hang out with and its great fun watching him enjoy new things!

Rhythm #5. ..Community.  I am finally starting to grasp the importance of this!  Wednesday night our City Group meets to fellowship, to encourage one another, challenge each other in our faith, and invite non-believers to join us.  It is a beautiful expression of God's grace in our lives.  We love these friends and our times together extend way beyond a weekly gathering.  We do tons of playdates and dinners together and community events.  Recently Ryan joined a softball league with some of the guys.  We all have the same goals and dreams for our ministries, our families and our lives and challenge each other to fight for those things!

Rhythm #6... Away time for mommy.  I can not be a great mommy if I am "on" all the time.  Nor can I be a good wife, or anything else either.  Saturday morning is usually my time to go to Starbucks for a few hours- to sip something yummy and pray and read and reevaluate.  It refreshes and restores my soul like few other things.  During the school year, I participate in MOPS, which is a great break for me plus the added bonus of fellowship with other stay at home moms.  I am grateful for a husband who knows how important this is!

Rhythm #7... We get up before our kids!  I found out pretty early on, that I am not ready to be a mommy (let alone the mommy God wants me to be) if I wake up to a crying, needy child demanding my attention.  Instead, we get up before them and have time to read our Bible together and pray through our day and the things on our heart.  The days I miss this time are *cough*- lets say...ugly.  I sometimes can even get some laundry started and the dishes unloaded from the dish washer before I hear the calls from the crib.

That's all Ive got (plenty, I know).  Does your family have rhythms that are helpful?  Please share! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Family Update

Since I haven't updated this thing in a while, I thought it would be fun to at least post a family update.  Things are changing quickly around here and its been a wonderful whirlwind of excitement and craziness all at the same time.

Sweet Brooklyn is going to be 9 months tomorrow!  My baby girl is flying through her milestones and growing up way to fast.  She loves...her brother, to charm her daddy, to be tackled (seriously), to be played with, to knock over towers, to make people laugh, to dance, and to push her walkers across the floor.  She doesn't like...being fed with a spoon (ms. independent likes to feed herself), having mommy leave (apparently she cried mamama when I was gone overnight last week), to be left in the nursery, or to be held when she wants to play or vice vera (she knows what she wants!).  She has only her two bottom teeth, which makes her smile especially adorable.  She giggles uncontrollably when I tickle her or blow on her belly. Her major milestones....she has been crawling and pulling up for months and actually took her first step on Saturday (just one).  I have a feeling she is really going to start taking off in the next few weeks.  We have her 9 month check up this week, so I don't have exact stats.  I would guess she is still long and lean.  Like 16 1/2 lbs and maybe 27in long.  She has beautiful long hair (its lightening up a little), dark blue eyes and a spunky easy-going personality! 

Big Brother Derek (still my baby) had his second birthday at the end of May.  We had a great time at the splash park celebrating with friends!  He loves... to swim at the rec, to be wet (sprinkler, hose, splash park, bath), to play with his sister, to roll on his sister, to jump off things (my cautious little guy has gotten quite brave), to build houses out of blocks, to color pictures, to make pretend meals in his kitchen, to follow mommy around and to talk!  He is a chatter-box (which I love!).  He is speaking in full sentences, which has been fun and diffused a lot of problems since he can tell us what is upsetting him.  He really enjoys books and soungs (which he picks up on quickly).  This weekend, he could sing most of Jesus Loves Me with out being cued.  It was a pretty precious moment.  Derek and Brooklyn are little play mates now.  They seem to always be on top of each other or in each others' space. They play chase, fetch and keep away...in their adorable baby way. It is so fun to watch them interact, but I have turned into a referee, trying to keep Der from taking her toys or hitting her or jumping on her (although she usually likes it, amazingly enough).  At 2 years, he was 20% for weight and 80% for height (basically a mini-daddy).  He has a precious big toothy smile and puppy dog like dark brown eyes, and a sweet nurturing personality, mixed with the typical two year old challenges.

Ryan finished up in Lancaster as the youth/church renewal guy.  Having more time has freed him up to really pursue photography.  There is more pressure now though that his business is needed as a source of income for our family.  He has risen to the challenge beautifully. He has been doing all kinds of pictures...from weddings and family portraits to newborns and kids and even some houses.  Recently, he did an engagement party for a professional football player and then some interior design pictures of their house.  If you haven't check out his work at his website... ryanodowd.com   He is still part-time for Mercy Church as the associate pastor.  He mostly works on the kids ministry, city groups, meeting with people, and preaching like once a month.  We have been so grateful to see God at work in our little church.  There is something so special about a church plant...like knowing everyone in the church, immediately knowing if a visitor is there, and  seeing God add to our number.  We were thrilled as a church to send out a missionary to Ghana this month and to have our first baptism celebration last month. 

I am still loving my gig as a stay at home mommy (although there are hard days like any job).  The warm weather has been especially fun with my babes.  Last week, we went swimming in some form or fashion 6 days in a row.  We have been staying busy with playdates, trips to the rec center pool and the Frisco library.  We have a splash pad in our neighborhood which we regular after dinner as a family.  I have been challenged trying to patiently love my two year old and keep my darling speed crawler from eating bugs and grass.   Last week, Ryan and I enjoyed a much-needed, fairly be-lated 6 year anniversary overnight stay at the Omni.  We loved reading by the pool, eating good food that we didnt cook (or have to clean up after), and enjoying uninterrupted conversation. 

Though I thought there wasnt too much to report, this has turned into a long post, so I will end there  :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Sweet Gig

I sometimes find myself envying others who, for example....get to shower every day, or enjoy a quiet car ride, or sleep in, or who are able to get out of the house without packing up the car (diaper bag, stroller, snacks, water bottle, blanket, etc.).  And then I try to really SEE my life.

I have a pretty sweet gig!  Like...I am the best at getting my babies to smile!  What a special job...and I get to see more smiles that anyone else.  I know exactly how to tickle my kiddos so that they laugh...the right spot, with the right amount of pressure, for the right length of time.  I know what my little boy is saying- I can interpret what he says and how he says it- better than anyone else.  I get to spend a lot of time outside- digging in the dirt, going down slides, meeting friends at the park, going for mid-day walks. I am the one my babies want when they are hurt or sick.  Daily, I get lots of hugs and snuggles and am able to make memories with them.  If there ever was an ideal job- this has to be it!  So, here's to showering less, getting less sleep, and not getting out much...cause in turn, I get so so so much more!  More of my family!

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My smiling sweeties!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The beauty of brother and sister!

We often have country music on in the background at our house.  Today I was holding Miss B and wiggling her little hips to the music when Der took her hands and said ‘dance bookie baby’.  He wiggled his cute hips, held her hands....and they danced together.  Der followed the dance session by giving his sister a huge hug, and then another and another.  I held back tears as I watched my little boy truly enjoy his sister's company, and she was absolutely enthralled with him! 
Yesterday, on our way out the door Der pointed to the seat in the stroller next to him and said ‘Bookie Baby HERE’ with enthusiasm.  He wanted to make sure his sister would be sitting next to him!  And then after offering her his snack and water, he took her hand and held it for several minutes.  He adores his “Booka Baby”!!   I have been telling him that Baby Brooklyn is his best friend…and its already starting to look that way!  They are buddies.  He asks for her and many times she has been crying till she spots her brother and then her gaze is fixed on him and her problem forgotten.
There is something so special about the relationship between brother and sister.  I know because I had a wonderful big brother.  I remember how excited I got when I saw his car in the driveway which meant that he was home from college for the weekend.  I loved that he drove me home in high school and we would blast Dave Matthews Band from the car.  I remember lots of late night chats and the night we watched a scary movie home alone and both ended up sleeping on the sleeper sofa out in the gameroom because we were so afraid (I think he was  17 and I was 15).  I have so many fond memories with him…and I wonder how he was with me when I was as little as Brooklyn is now.  I bet he was just as sweet!
I love family.  I love my family!  I am so grateful that God in His divine wisdom designed children to share parents and be brother and sister.  What a beautiful idea!  It added beauty to my growing up years and it added beauty to my day today watching my 20 month old and not even 4 month old dance, hand in hand!  BEAUTIFUL!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ordinary Days

My days seem very ordinary.  It is hard to distinguish one from another right now.  Aside for the cute things that Der does, or maybe an explosive, record setting poop that got everywhere (lovely, I know!), each of my days seems very much like the day before.  I find myself saying the same things, reading the same books, offering meals, changing diapers, folding laundry, picking up toys, playing pretend...

But...I like to think that it is in the ordinary things that my children will be extraordinary (or at least all that God intended them to be).  If I didn't stay home with them, I would miss so so many opportunities to love them and teach them.  Just when I find myself getting weary of these ordinary days, Der figures something out that we have been saying or doing for a while and I realize that all this repetition really matters!

So mommies out there...God has given you a monumental task, to teach, train, love and shepherd your children.  Your life will be full of ordinary days, but an extraordinary legacy!