Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve and 28 Weeks

Dear Baby,

Today you are 28 weeks old. That means 7 MONTHS!! Today is the first day of the third trimester. We're in the home stretch kid. It's also Christmas Eve Eve tonight. You will love Christmas! Lucky for you, I pretty much listen to Christmas music when ever I feel like it all year round. I usually only listen to it in my car or when I'm by myself so that your dad won't make fun of me. But I figure if I introduce you to it early on as well, you will naturally see how wonderful it is to listen to the catchy joyful tunes all year long. And then your dad will be out numbered! Does that sound like a good plan or what?!?! And just wait until you hear the story behind the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate. It's a pretty amazing story, I'll tell you all about it.

Next Christmas I'll be holding you. But this year I will treasure having you tucked warm and cozy and safe inside my belly.

Dear Santa, I have everything I need.


Friday, December 17, 2010

27 Weeks

Dear Baby,

What a couple of weeks it's been!! You actually turned 27 weeks yesterday and are definitely now full blown athlete in my tummy! But I love it. Except for maybe when you kick my bladder. That one I'm not too fond of. Especially in situations like Wednesday night, I was stuck in the car for two hours on my normally ten minute commute home from work because of the icy weather. Well, mostly because of unsafe drivers and people who freak out in response to bad weather. But we'll talk more about all of that in about 15 years or so. I did appreciate your company during that time, but again, I could have done without the bladder kicks. We also found out some news at the Dr.'s this week. Your legs and head are measuring 3 weeks ahead. Um, WOW. They said that meant a few different possibilities:

A. You had a growth spurt and would now slow down and let everything else catch up.
B. Due dates are not an exact science and I just might deliver a couple weeks earlier.
C. I may just give birth to a big headed, long legged baby.

Your dad and I are pretty positive we're looking at scenario C. You'll see when you meet the rest of your family. Your cousins are fairly long with big heads as well. But don't worry, I'll be able to give you plenty of advice and help you through the years of high water pants and never finding hats that fit. Throw in some really large feet, over sized glasses, and an overbite and you'll basically be re-living my childhood. I hope I'm not scaring you! You will be absolutely perfect and one day you will look back at your childhood and it will be the most treasured time of your life. I treasure my childhood memories dearly! And I can not wait to bless you with that same gift. Be prepared for lots of love and laughter and joy and music and adventure! You are so loved already it is ridiculous.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

25 Weeks

Dear Baby,

Today you're 25 weeks old! Crazy!! I can't believe how quickly time is flying. Last week was Thanksgiving Day, and I don't think I could be more thankful. But you might want to ask me that again next year too :)

Your dad and I spent some good old quality time together and with family. It was so neat to watch all of your cousins playing together and knowing what a fun, loving family event you will get to be a part of next Thanksgiving. Oh, and that woman below is your great grandmother. Just another amazing woman who will be in your life.

Then it was off to the cabin! We can't wait to take you to the mountains, and quite often! It's one of our favorite places. We had such a cozy perfect night.

We had hot chocolate,

treats by the fireplace,

and we played Scrabble until 2am. I promise we're cool.

I'll explain the game to you when you're older. But just so you know, we didn't have a dictionary with us and there was one word I tried to use but your dad said it didn't count because he didn't think it was in the dictionary. The next day I was curious, so I checked on the was so in the dictionary. I realize this doesn't mean much to you right now, but it was a small victory for me :)

I'm so crazy about your dad kid...and you will be too.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

23 Weeks

Dear Baby,

Your dad is working late tonight. It doesn't happen a lot, thank goodness. I just miss him so much when we don't get to sit down and have dinner and spend our evenings together. Speaking of dinner though, have I told you what a great cook your dad is? Delicious! Of course I'll be providing your meals for a good while. But he can't wait to start cooking for you too. Now don't get me wrong, you'll eat just fine when your dad's not home. I can cook. Your dad just likes to add a little bit more pizazz to his meals. It's something he truly enjoys. But take tonight for example. I made a scrumptiously delicious pot of white chedder macaroni and cheese...and added sausage!! Ummmm, fancy!

Oh, and I read that you can now hear all the way through my belly. Yay!! I've been looking forward to this. My car CD player isn't working and I do not have a radio antenna, so I could use some company when I'm driving by myself. I hope you enjoyed the songs I sang to you on the way home today. I can't wait to sing to you while you're in my arms.

I'll make sure your dad tells you goodnight when he gets home.

I love you,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

22 Weeks

Hey Baby,

I think you look forward to Thursday night yoga just as much as I do. I definitely feel some downward facing dog going on in there! I am so thankful for your movements. Last Saturday morning your dad and I were eating breakfast in bed and for some reason I started to worry that maybe I was just creating in my head what I thought was you moving and maybe I hadn't really felt any movement at all. Just as my mind was starting to get the better of me, I prayed for God to remind me that you are in His hands. You are being fearfully and wonderfully knit together and I have faith in that promise. wasn't a few minutes later that low in my belly, I felt a clear as day, no question about it, THUMP THUMP THUMP! It was amazing! God heard my prayer and whispered in your ear to give me a little assurance :) And now I feel your taps and thumps every day and I so look forward to them.

Sorry for the short letter this week, but I have to go. Your dad just got back from Kroger with my weekly 2 gallon milk supply and he is now making some sugar cookies :)

I love you, I love you, I love you,

Monday, November 8, 2010


So I've been terrible about posting new photo shoots lately. I don't know...I guess it's just been a little distracting growing my first human being inside me and all :)

But a few weekends ago I had a session with the Guy family, which included the very cute, very fast moving 2 year old Sofia.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

21 Weeks...almost. And a really BIG event!

Dear Baby,

You won't be 21 weeks until tomorrow. But I wanted to write you early because you were a part of something really big last night and I wanted you to know about it. Last night your Great Uncle Nathan was elected to be the next Governor of our state. And you were there!

It was such an exciting and emotional night. I believe that one day you will actually learn about the November 2010 election day in school. And you will no doubt grow up in our family learning about what a privilege and responsibility it is to vote. And last night was an example of the power people have to make change just by their individual involvement and willingness to say, "No more. This is the kind of state and nation I want to live in and I won't settle for anything less."

But really I can't wait for you to meet and know your Uncle Nathan and Aunt Sandra. And to tell you about this race and their integrity. You will learn what it means to take the high road and not lose focus on your goal. You will learn what it looks like to lean on faith and family when you are being attacked and surrounded by lies and deceit. You will learn about the strength and courage it takes to answer the call to serve and protect people you love, people you don't know, even people trying to persecute you. You will learn about a man who at the end of every day, after all the stones have been thrown, has a heart full of truth and wisdom, and a foundation built on faith in God, and so he was victorious.

"We cannot control the evil tounges of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them." ~Cato the Elder (Roman orator and politician, 234 BC - 149 BC)

I was holding your cousin Maeve when it was announced that Nathan won the race and we were all cheering as he stepped up to the microphone. Your Uncle Nathan then raised his hand up in the air and shouted, "To God be the glory, great things HE has done!" Maeve asked me what he was doing and I told her he was praising and thanking God first. That is what I want you to learn child. To God be the glory and it is God that is in control. I'm telling you, you will be so proud of your family. Not to mention you'll be raised in a better state!

The only thing that would have made last night better would have been to have Grandma Deal and Grandma and Pop Dunagan with us. Their pride and love would have filled up that room brighter than any star. You would have even felt it all the way in my belly! But their spirit was no doubt present. And their role and involvement in this achievement began long before any committee, organization, or campaign was formed. And speaking of stories, kid I can't wait to tell you about your Great Grandparents. That's really where Uncle Nathan and Aunt Sandra's story begins.

It won't be long before you are with us to see the rest of this story unfold. But you know what is the best part?!?! I was already pumped about you trying Aunt Sandra's greens and cornbread for the first time...but now you just might be trying them out in the Governor's mansion ;)


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yee Haw!! 20 Weeks!

Dear Baby,

What a great week! Your dad turned 31 this week. I know it sounds old, but I promise it's not. He still has so much energy. You might even have a hard time keeping up with him. You also turned 20 weeks today!!! We're half way there! I get to meet you in only a short 20 weeks. If it goes as fast as this first 20, I might as well see you tomorrow. We also had an ultrasound this week. Your sisters were very interested...

I want to go ahead and apologize if having sound waves shot in to your warm, cozy little home was annoying or uncomfortable. But it was so cool! You were making little sucking movements with your lips and drinking away. Daddy says you must take after me already if you're staying so hydrated. Another similarity we already have? Your legs kid! Good grief. Your dad now calls you Legs McDowell.

I'm trying to relax my abs as much as possible because I felt bad you looked so cramped in there.

If you have my leg length, I hope you take after your daddy's strength and coordination. Maybe you'll play soccer or basketball or be quite the dancer. But that will have to come from your Uncle Tyler. Unfortunately the rhythm gene skipped your dad and I. Although, I feel like I've got some pretty good moves, but your dad says I just look like I'm marching. We'll wait and see what you think.

I also found out…I am feeling you! A lot more then I thought I was. During the ultrasound I thought my stomach was growling. Nope. The Doc informed me that was you. She showed me what you were doing that made me feel the growl. The next day I was in my toning class and during a thigh buster move I felt the same growl. Is that your way of saying, "GO MAMA GO! YOU CAN DO IT!" Or was it, "MAMA, GO LAY ON THE COUCH AND EAT SOME ICE CREAM!" Hmmmmmm? I wonder…

I love you so much baby, from your little sucking lips to your long flamingo legs. I'll see you in 20 weeks.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Week 18

Dear Baby,

Holy crow kid, you're growing like crazy! I had a pair of my regular pants that still fit last week. 5 days go. That means growth in less than one week. That is FAST. Sometimes I catch my profile in the mirror and I'll call your dad to come look and we'll be all, "Ahhhhhhh, we're pregnant and there's really a baby in there!!" I think I'm feeling some of the early signs of movement, but I'm still waiting for an upper cut or good solid round house kick. Whatever you feel like. Oh, and your room is really starting to come together...well, just in my head at the moment. But it's going to look great and you will love it, I promise.

I already love you more than cereal and the color green.


In case you missed that bump...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Week 16

Dear Baby,

Yesterday you turned 16 weeks old. So...Happy 16th Week Pre-Birthday!!! I can't believe in 5 months and roughly 17 days I will be holding you. I just wanted to tell you thank you for letting me feel better. Not that you were too hard on me during the earlier months. But I am enjoying having most of my energy and appetite back. And it couldn't have come at a better time, with the start of Fall and everything. The weather is incredible! I'm sure you'll love Fall as much as I do. I plan on spending a LOT of outside time with you. And if the weather starts making you feel a little frisky as well, feel free to give me a little nudge or flutter. I promise I won't mind. And by the way, you are really going to LOVE your Daddy! He's got so much to teach you it's crazy. Plus he's a lot of fun and he likes to laugh. It's really easy to make him laugh too. Although sometimes he laughs when you're not trying to be funny, which can make you mad. But then you realize, why fight it?!?! And you start laughing right along with him :)

We are so ready to teach you unconditional love.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

A long and heartfelt post

This is probably one of the longest posts I've written, but I had a lot to say. And really it could have been a lot longer :) After reading this, I hope you'll also read this from my cousin, Katie.

If you ask people who really know me, they would probably tell you I'm a laid back person but that I can also get pretty heated and intense when it comes to things I'm passionate about. I used to consider myself passionate about politics. It's hard not to be when you have a clear sense of how you want to live your life and what you want your future to look like. But during the past few years something changed.

I have never missed an election. When I'm asked as a citizen to vote, I do my research and I place my vote. That goes for local, state and national elections. But where I used to enjoy and seek out a good political debate, now I would rather just stay out of it. I believe this has happened for a few reasons. One, quite frankly its scary right now. It became hard not to get frustrated, upset and worried, and I didn’t want to become that angry person. I was forced to find a balance of being involved enough to do my part because our elected officials do have the ability to help shape our futures, but I also had to remind myself that my trust and future is in God and I will always have the ability to go after what I want even if the road to get there becomes more or less difficult. Nobody has the ability to take away my joy and my peace. Second, I've always felt it's much easier to attack someone for making what you think is the wrong decision to fix a problem but how often do you have the solution that will fix everything? Things are so complex right now and there are so many layers to every issues, I do not envy anyone in those positions called to solve the problem. When you're not looked to for the answer, you can choose to only vocalize the ones you're confident about and simply shy away and avoid the ugly and complex and confusing ones.

So that's where I am right now. I am not apathetic by any means, but I found my energy better spent by focusing on what I can control and how I will build my future, not wondering and crossing my fingers and hoping that the entire country will start making decisions as I see they should be made.

With that said, I wanted to bring up the Governor's race. The Republican candidate Nathan Deal happens to be my uncle. His wife, my Aunt Sandra, is my dad's older sister. I don't feel the need to re-write everything that's being said about Nathan. Hopefully you've seen his ads and mailers that simply tell you about his life of service and what he plans on doing for the State of Georgia. You know, the things that I would assume an educated voter would want to know about. But more then likely, if you spend any time on the Internet, you've seen the attacks on who he is as a person. I try to avoid most of them. I know how elections work, they can get ugly and I knew to prepare for this. But man, is there anything more frustrating then seeing something in print that is completely skewed and misleading about someone you love and respect? And what’s even more frustrating? It’s the number of people who are perfectly willing to take it as solid truth, period. I've been praying about my attitude towards all of this and how or even if I am supposed to respond. It seems that the media and Atlanta newspapers are not interested in Nathan's political views, the issues he supports, his past votes and accomplishments in Congress, and his thought-out plan and vision for Georgia. Apparently they only want the personal stuff. Well, I thought I could help them out on that.

Growing up I loved our visits to Uncle Nathan and Aunt Sandra’s. We’d wind up the long dirt and gravel road to the old A-frame house tucked in the bottom of Skitt’s Mountain. My memories of Uncle Nathan usually include him in a tucked in button down shirt with jeans and cowboy boots. The house was full of family, laughter, music and food. It was also common to find a place to nap after one of those full meals!

Something I’ve always been most proud of is the family I come from. I’ve written about them often and I talk about my family even more. I do realize that for the majority of voters, you don’t get to truly know the candidates and where they’re from and what they’re made of. But I can tell you, from how Sandra and Nathan were raised, to how they raised their children; you won’t find a better stock of loving, hard-working, honest, generous, respectable people. And though you might not have the chance to sit down and talk to my Uncle Nathan, find out for yourself what he stands for. Visit his website, Nathan Deal, and see if his vision for Georgia doesn’t sound like a place you’d like to live. And if you’re not sure about something, there’s a link where you can ask HIM about what he thinks and what he plans to do. And not just Nathan, but I wish you could get to know the whole family! I heard Aunt Sandra speak at a Ladies Republican lunch and she started off by saying she wasn’t good at the speeches, but she sure loved to talk! She loves people and she loves good old fashion hospitality and conversation. Sandra was the oldest of 4 kids and her and my Aunt Brenda helped raise my dad. They are such reminders of my grandmother, Ida Lou, and I cherish my time with them. Sandra makes cornbread just like Grandma did and can teach you how to make the best pot of greens! And I wish you could get to know their four children, my cousins Jason, Mary Emily, Carrie, and Katie. Being older then me, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t admire and look up to them. You probably won’t find a set of siblings more different! They’re a mix of dreamers and doers who have all gone after what’s important to them and what makes them feel alive, and that’s what we need more of. It's clear that the example set was to follow what you're heart called you to do despite the sacrifice and cost. But even with differences, this family, my family, will always come together. Unconditional love was not only taught but was and is lived out everyday.

And I’ll be honest, part of me wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t elected. Simply because I know the attacks won’t stop. And unfortunately I feel like most of our country simply wants to look at the elected officials as either a savior or a scapegoat. Nathan is simply an educated leader and a selfless servant, has been his entire life. But selfishly, I want nothing more than for Nathan Deal to be the next Governor. Not because he’s my uncle, although because he is I have the luxury of knowing down to my core that he is the best man for this position. I want him elected because my husband is a small business owner who has worked for everything we have and fights to maintain it. I want him elected because in March I will give birth to our first child. I believe with everything in me that Nathan wants to help lead Georgia to a better future, the kind that I hope and pray will be available to my child.

My family and I have done our parts in letting people know why Nathan should be elected, but it is in God’s hands. My prayer is that our state is ready to be led in the right direction, and if so the right decision will be made. If not, my hope and my future will still remain in the Lord. And thankfully I know that Uncle Nathan and Aunt Sandra feel the same way.

My final thought is that I will continue to pray for the campaign process to change. Wouldn’t it be nice for all the other candidates to spend their money, time, and energy simply letting people know who they are, what they stand for, what their vision is and how they plan on realistically achieving those? I would love to see we the people demand that we have had enough of trying to slander and skew any piece of information to convince the voters why they should not vote for the other guy. Wouldn’t their time and ours be better used if they simply told us why we should vote for them?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rockport, Maine

I'd say right in between those tree's is a perfect spot for a little New England cottage getaway...

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I realized I haven't officially announced something to the blog world.

This March Steven and I will be bringing in to the McDowell!

We could not be happier and I still have to pinch myself to see if it's real.

I haven't bought anything baby, so I wanted to at least get something.

Having this baby is going to be such a celebration and according to my 3 year old niece, every party has to have balloons. So I thought it was perfect!

Though I am marveling at how quickly this baby is developing daily and I'm fascinated at how much is already complete even at almost 12 weeks along. But I have to say I am definitely looking forward to a belly more like...

Even with all the foretold discomfort and everything else that comes with it.

Because as of now, if I don't remind myself that I really am only months away from holding my first born, I'm left with this:

My baby "bump" looks more like when I would simply eat too much spaghetti for dinner. I'm discovering new hairstyles that work with grease because no matter how much sleep I get, I'm simply too exhausted to wash my hair in the mornings. Oh, and my jeans are now fastened with rubber bands.

So until I get to feel the kicks and wiggles going on inside of me, I will focus on our to do list.


2. Close in the screen porch, which hasn't had any screens for over a year, so that we can
turn that into the office, so that the current office (the one containing the snake)
can become the nursery.

3. Teach our 3 precious dogs how to actually be dogs, since that human/dog line has been
pretty blurred over the last 3 years.

That's about it for now. I'm trying to keep this list short and attainable and only focus on a few things at a time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Norwood 4

Meet Charlie...

And his big brother Jack.

And the entire precious Norwood family.