Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baby Boys Never Wear Pink

I'd like to share something I find humorous--and a bit annoying. As a mom of a baby girl I must express what I believe to be common sense in the world of gender identification of babies.

Sophie wears a variety of colors. She wears her fair share of pink, but she also enjoys modeling such colors as purple, yellow, red, aqua, green, and yes, even blue. I completely understand the question I hear so often "Oh, what a beautiful baby! Boy or girl?" It is hard to tell the gender of a baby when most all colors are gender neutral. I get that, and it doesn't bother me. (Although I once had someone ask me the question when she was wearing blue--a blue DRESS. Let's get a clue please) However, there is one "for sure" marker that I would think people would "get": Baby boys never wear pink.

No parent will ever dress their baby boy in pink. No pink shirt; no pink pants; no pink socks; not even a pink bib or binkie. Now at home, a pink bib or binkie is a definite possibility, especially when the older sibling is a girl--hey, if you've got 20 pink bibs, use them! But, I dare say that in public the pink bibs stay home. Now, once a guy reaches a certain age, pink is fine. But unless one is up for ridicule and abuse, I think pink should be left in the drawers until about the age of 15. And this is especially certain for babies. Have you ever seen a baby boy dressed in pink? I doubt it.

So, maybe people just don't pay attention. But please, if my daughter is wearing pants with little pink flowers on them, pink socks, and a pink bib, you don't need to ask if the baby is a boy or girl.

I'm just saying. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We'll Never Have A Savior On Capitol Hill

No candidate is perfect. And as Derek Webb says, “We'll never have a savior on capitol hill.” Obama doesn’t have all the answers, and I don’t agree with everything he believes. However, after many months of thought, prayer, reading, and listening I am voting for Barack for a number of reasons. My friend, Brad Irwin expressed my similar conviction better than I can:

“The great presidents inspire. Franklin Roosevelt failed to end the Great Depression, but he won re-election because the American people believed in him. Eventually, he led the country through World War II and back to prominence and prosperity. John Kennedy badly mismanaged the Bay of Pigs invasion, but the American public responded to his vision of a more just future for all people in America. Ronald Reagan had his share of scandals, but he inspired the country to be strong and to prosper. Whoever we elect in November will disappoint and fail from time to time, but what we need now is a leader who will inspire us to hope. Barack Obama is one of the most inspirational figures to emerge in the history of American politics. I believe his charisma alone will accomplish a great deal more than McCain could do even with all his years of Washington experience.”

The abortion issue is a hang-up (understandably) for many. As a mother, I have a deep conviction that all life is sacred. When I look at my amazing baby girl I am convicted of that over and over again. And for me, that means a consistent ethic of human life (as consistent as one can be). I don't think there is a political candidate, Democratic or Republican, that would ever concede that they are pro-abortion. (It really irritated me, by the way, that McCain kept saying "pro-abortion" last night in reference to Obama.) Pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion. Pro-choice (in all respects) is what our country was founded upon. Isn't pro-choice how we were created? My personal stance is that it is not the government's job to outlaw abortion. I think it is vitally important to make sure other alternatives are made available & more prominent. It is our responsibility not only to love and give voice to the unborn child, but to love and support those who are struggling with the decision.

I am (in general) against someone else taking a life that doesn't belong to him/her. So, I don't support the death penalty. I don't support war in general (there are certain circumstances where I do believe force may be justified--such as if our country decided to go into Darfur and stand up to protect the innocent who are unjustly being raped, murdered, and tortured—but I think in all circumstance war should be a last resort, not a first resource), and I don't support abortion. And there are also other "life" issues that weigh into my decision such as poverty and hunger in our country as well as in others, the AIDS epidemic in Africa, human trafficking, and the very existence of nuclear weapons among other things.

All that being said, I do not believe that we have a right or responsibility to control a person’s choice. I do not have the right to force my beliefs onto someone else, no matter how strongly I may feel. That is partly what makes our country what it is. And more than that, I think choice is part of what it means to be human. That certainly doesn’t mean that all choices are good or healthy. And I think as people of God we do have a responsibility to encourage good choices.

This is my opinion—one that in many ways is still in evolution. I don’t in anyway claim to be right—in fact I may be wrong. I am sure you will find inconsistencies in what I think. All I know for sure is that “by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I am on a journey, just as we all are, and I am trying to figure out what it means to be in allegiance to a King and His kingdom.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

An Update Is Way Past Due!

Things have been super busy in the Bowers home lately. We moved back to Rochester on August 31, and we are living with my parents until we sell our house in Lansing. I began my grad classes once again and also began a new part-time job with the Rochester Church of Christ doing special publications (from home). Brian began his job at Rochester College and is currently preparing to take his comps for grad school. He will be graduating in December, so we are excited about that. Now on to what you all really want to know:

Sophie turned 6 months old on Sunday, and is doing really well. She is 17 lbs, 5 oz and 26 inches long. She is in about the 50th-65th percentile for both her height and weight--right on target. She has finally figured out how to nap for longer than 45 minutes (cheers!!!!), and is now down to a 1 1/2-2 hour morning nap, a 2 hour afternoon nap, and evening cat nap. She is eating solid foods like a champ--fruit and oatmeal cereal for breakfast, veggies and fruit for lunch, veggies, barley cereal, fruit, and for the first time tonight--meat, for dinner. She gets a bottle as well at each meal and then a bottle before bed. She sleeps from about 8:30-7:30/8:00, but we usually still have to reposition her and give her the binkie a couple of times in the night since she has begun rolling all around. She has gotten really good at rolling--she is on the move. And, her doctor says that her gums are pretty swollen and that she will likely be cutting teeth soon--she has been a drool factory in the last few days! She is also really good at playing by herself and staying entertained for chunks at a time. Her favorite thing is still walks in the stroller (she loves looking at the leaves). She is having fun going to Bible class on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. She is truly a joy to everyone around her.

The last six months seem like they went really fast in some ways, and in others it seems like Sophie has been with us forever. She is awesome, and we are so enjoying watching her grow and discover and learn--it seems like it is something new every day. We are blessed.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Coming Home...

So, we are officially moving back to Rochester in about 2 weeks! Brian will be starting a position in the enrollment services office at Rochester College the beginning of September. We will be living with my parents until we can sell our house here in Lansing, which will be tough in this awful market. We are excited for this opportunity, especially to be back with family and friends, but we will also miss friends here in Lansing. So, life will be full of newness and change once again.

Sophie is great--she is growing and changing so much every day. She is awesome...such a blessing. Here are some recent photos...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Pictures...3 Months Old!

Sophie with Kevin and Sara at Rochester Church.

Falling asleep on Grandpa at Panera.

Laughing at Chris at Elevate.

Enjoying Sunday morning class at Rochester Church.

Watching the ducks at the Duck Pond in Rochester.

Lots of giggles!

First time sitting in the Bebe Pod!

3 months old!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

New Sophie Pictures...

Here are the latest in the Sophie gallery!

Sophie helping Dad at the Habitat for Humanity house.

Getting reading for a walk with Mom.

Lots of smiles!

Hanging out at Dad's softball game.

10 weeks old!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Becoming Babywise

Sophie is now officially 2 months old! She is beautiful, healthy, and happy. We have her 2 month check-up on Friday, so I will update then on her newest stats. We took her to the doctor last week because she had a little cold and I am a typical worried mom. She weighed 10 lbs, 4 oz, which was 1 more pound more than 8 days before--wow. So, I am curious to see what she has done since then. I think she has spent the last month catching up, so I expect her weight gain to slow down a little bit. Her cold is much better, by the way. We began running the humidifier and sucking out her nose (which she just loves...not so much). But, she sounds much better and the congestion really seems to be much better.

So, the last couple of days we have been trying to work on the last skill we have yet to get a grip on with the whole Babywise method of parenting. She has done great with the eating schedule from the beginning, and has always done well with the pattern of eating then having wake time. The part we have not done well with is nap time. She does great at night--she knows when it is "bedtime", and we don't have to help her go to sleep. (She is not yet sleeping through the night yet--still waking us 1 or 2 times to eat--hopefully that will come soon!) But, nap times have been pretty irregular and unpredictable. So, we have decided to really do exactly what the book suggests and when it is time for her nap, just put her down and let her learn to self-sooth. This usually means some crying (sometimes a lot of crying, which is the hard part), but the end goal is that she learns healthy sleep patterns. So, we are now putting her down in her crib for each nap time when we are home. There have been some really frustrating nap times in the last couple of days, but it seems to be getting a little better. The hard part is sticking to it (and not crying with her!), and knowing and reassuring each other that we are doing what is best for Sophie. I would love to hear your experiences with the whole self-soothing/crying thing from any of you all who have used the Babywise principles!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sophie's Smiles

Here are some smiles we have caught on camera!

Monday, May 12, 2008

1 Pound,10 Days and Smiles!

Well, we just got back from the doctor for a weight check and Sophie gained 1 pound in the last 10 days! I knew she had gained a pretty significant amount, but I wasn't expecting that much. She is doing really well. Last week, after many tears and days of frustration, we transitioned her to feeding solely from a bottle. I am pumping, so she is still getting breastmilk, but my supply just wasn't sufficient to match her needs. So, she gets about 1/2 and 1/2 formula and breastmilk. Anyway, she is happier and I am happier knowing she is eating and being satisfied. So, our little Sophie is now at 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Her cheeks are chubbier and she is starting to get a little belly--sooooo cute! I'll have to post some newer photos soon. Also, she has given us her first smiles! She first did it about a week ago, and it just about melted our hearts. She is amazing!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Good News From the Doctor

We received good news about Sophie's MRI today. There is no communication between the dimple and the spinal cord or the spinal column, so we are in good shape. Nothing to worry about. Thanks so much for all of the prayers said on our behalf in the last few days. Today was also Sophie's official 1 month check-up. She is doing great. She is up to 8 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches--growing at exactly the rate she should be. We have had better success with nursing in the last few days, which is encouraging. She is beginning to latch better without the shield. However, she is deciding that she is not very interested in her daytime naps in the last couple of days. That makes keeping her on her schedule a little difficult, but I have to remember that she is still in the learning stages of her eating and sleeping cycles. She is trying really hard to begin baby talking. She opens her mouth really wide as if to try and say something, so I would imagine in the coming days she really will begin to coo--fun! She is also flirting around with smiling. I don't think that will be much longer, either. My mom and I did her 1 month photo shoot yesterday and got some great pictures. We put her in the dress that I got my 1 month photos taken in--pretty awesome.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quick Update

Sophie did great with her MRI. We should have results tomorrow afternoon, and I will update as soon as we know anything. Thanks for your continued prayers!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sophie Pictures

Here are some newer Sophie pictures for your viewing enjoyment--isn't she gorgeous!?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Four Weeks Old

It is hard to believe our little baby is already four weeks old. It has been challenging, amazing, complicated, and rewarding all at the same time. Sophie was 7 lbs 6 oz at birth and lost 15 ounces in the first few days bringing her down to 6 lbs 8 oz. She then began the upward climb, and we had her weighed on Friday (4 weeks old) and she was 7 lbs 15 oz, just under 8 lbs. She will officially be 1 month old on Monday. In some ways it seems like it has been longer (that is the sleep deprivation talking!), and in others it has flown by. Breastfeeding is our biggest challenge. She is still having difficultly latching on correctly and we have to use a nipple shield to help her out. And we have continued to supplement her at each feeding with an extra ounce of milk. She is also a sleepy nurser--she likes to dose in and out, so it takes awhile to feel like she has really eaten fully. So, feeding is an event to say the least. It is also a full time job. We feed her 8 eight times a day, and the process takes about an hour each time. So, over the course of 24 hours, at least 8 are spent on milk production and consumption! And that doesn't count the time spent preparing and washing bottles and washing breast pump accessories. All you moms out there who are blessed with an easy time breastfeeding--count your blessings! I have wanted to give up numerous times, and have had several emotional fall outs, but we are hanging in there. I have been encouraged by several friends that it does get better with time--I hope that time comes sooner rather than later. That is what we are praying!

Sleep has been pretty good I think. We are getting about 6 hours total a night in chunks, and we seem to be adjusting pretty well. We have been keeping her on a flexible 3 hour schedule of feeding, wake time, and sleep. She doesn't always take as long naps in the day as I would like, but she seems to be doing pretty well at night time. She usually does well with us just laying her down to sleep without having to be "put" to sleep first.

What is for sure is that Sophie is the most beautiful baby I have ever laid eyes on. And we are not the only ones who think so. Everybody comments on just how ADORABLE she is, and it is true. She makes the cutest faces and noises ever. I can't wait to see her personality continue to develop.

I will request that you all keep little Soph in your prayers this Tuesday. She has to have an MRI, which will require anesthesia. She has a little dimple right above her bottom, and although her doctor doesn't think it is a concern, he wants to be sure that it doesn't "communicate" with the epidural space in her spine. We had an ultrasound a couple of weeks ago, and although they were able to see that there was no problem with the spinal cord, they were not able to determine the other. Hence, the MRI. We are praying that it is really just a surface thing that isn't a big deal, and we ask you all to pray the same.

I will work on posting some new pictures soon. I am planning a big photo shoot for her 1 month birthday!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sophie's First Week in Photos

Okay, our baby Sophie is completely awesome in every way. What a ride! Things are going well, and we are getting at least some sleep! Nursing is challenging, but she is doing pretty well. We attended worship time with the church this morning, and she slept the whole time--way to go Soph! My mom has been with us all week and is going home on Tuesday--she will be sorely missed. I will update some more about our experiences with her later, but I wanted to add some more photos for you to enjoy.

Sophie's first moments of life out of my belly!

About an hour after delivery...

With Uncle Kevin before leaving the hospital on Sunday.

First introduction to our cat Angus.

Watching the Tigers season opener with Dad
(Cabrera is Sophie's Tiger--because he is new too!)

A moment with Mom.

Reading with Nana.

Finger feeding with Dad (go Mountaineers!)

Getting ready for her first walk.

First walk downtown Lansing at the Capital Building.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sophie Brynn Bowers!

She's here! Our little baby Sophie was born Friday night at 9:18 p.m. I went into Crittenton Hospital at about 10:00 to be induced, and they started Pitocin at about 11:30. My water broke on its own at about 3:30, and I had a very easy early labor until about 5:30. At 5:30 the contractions hit pretty strong at about 3 minutes apart. My doctor arrived shortly after that and checked me, and I was at about 4.5 cm dilated. From there things get a little blurry! The contractions really began coming fast and furious, and by about 7:00 they were almost right on top of each other. They gave me a little dose of Stadol, and it made me sleepy and groggy, but did nothing to ease contraction pain. Sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 I thought I was going to die, so I asked for an epidural. Brian was amazing and talked me through about an hour of really hard contractions, and no epidural (the epidural doctor was with another patient and couldn't get to me yet). Finally, realizing that this was getting intense, the nurse decided to check me. Well, no wonder I was in so much pain--I was at 9.5 cm. Way too late for an epidural! So, after about 3 more hard contractions, I was fully dilated and effaced and felt a pretty strong desire to push. So, as soon as that happened I felt better, actually. The contractions were not as painful, and pushing felt relieving. So, I began pushing at about 8:00, and Sophie was born at 9:18. My doctor put her on my belly right away and she looked great. Her color was awesome, and she let out the cutest little cries you've ever heard. I got to hold her there for about 5 minutes, and then they took her over to check her out. She was wonderful in every way. My doctor (who is amazing, by the way) got me all fixed up and I was able to feed Sophie about 30 minutes after she was born.

She has been an amazing little person so far. She is sleepy, but has kept us up most of this morning because she has been awake. She is feeding pretty well, and is just the cutest little girl ever! I'll update more later and post more pictures, but here is a picture for you to enjoy!