Tuesday, January 29, 2013


So with all of my baby growing, I tend to get a little worn out and achy right after (and sometimes before) we put Alli to bed.  Ryan and I used to play games or watch TV on the couch until 10 or 11PM.  But with the backaches and sleepiness that accompany the wonder of pregnancy, I have to go lie down in our bed as soon as my schedule allows.

More often that not, especially in the first trimester and the beginning of the second, I was asleep between 8PM and 9PM.  That left Ryan a lot of time to himself, most of which he spent incessantly flipping channels on the TV.

I know I am not the only woman whose husband has terrible taste in movies, right?  I mean, how many times have you seen Back to the Future III and My Cousin Vinny?  More than I care to count.  And this man can turn to a movie, watch 10 minutes of it right in the middle, and then flip the channel to start it all over again.  Drives.  Me.  Crazy.  Hand me the remote and give me HGTV and Bravo.

I really love my man, I do.  But one more Karate Kid, and I might just scream!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Name Game

When we had our little Allison Bryanne eight years ago, we were so in love with our sweet baby girl that we talked and talked about having another one.  Due to college, deployments to Iraq, and careers, our second baby dreams were put on hold for a long time, but I had this little sweet girl's name picked out then.

We love to use family-type names.  Alli's name came from my grandfathers' names - Alfred and Alan.  As a "Lauren," I grew up without a nickname, so I loved the idea of her having a nickname.  I didn't want a name that was too out there, but I wanted one that gave her her own identity.  In a generation of Addisons, Ellas, and Olivias, I hoped Allison would be common enough to not be strange 30 years from now, but not so common that there were five others in her class.  So far, so good.  Her middle name, Bryanne, has Ryan's name in it, which was extremely special at the time because he was in Iraq for his first tour.  She's actually lucky enough to have two nicknames - Bryanne has been shortened to "Bree" and "Breezy" over the years, which she loves.

My goal with Alli was for the world to call her Allison with her close family members being the only ones who called her Alli.  But our little sweetie took on the full personality of being an Alli, and it's all she'll answer to from anyone.  The only issue we run into sometimes is spelling, but she's so quick to correct people now that it's really not a problem.

Anyway, I've had little girl #2's name picked out for about seven years now, and I'm so thrilled that I have the opportunity to use it!  So, without further ado, our second daughter's name is going to be...

Riley Rachelle Lowe

I grew up riding horses with a girl named Riley, and I've always been a huge fan of the name.  It's seen a popularity surge in recent years, but was #29 on the Baby Center names list for 2012 (Allison was #37 in 2004).  So I'm hopeful there won't be 10 Rileys in her kindergarten class, but it's not a name that makes people say....what?  Rachelle is my amazing mother's middle name, and it's taken from my grandmother's maiden name Rachel (which happens to be my middle name!), so we're able to introduce a new name into the fold, but keep it in the family too.

We've been calling her Riley since the day we found out she was coming, so we're completely used to it and comfortable with it.  I can't wait to hold her in about 18 weeks and get to call her Riley in person!!  And if you're wondering if Alli approves of her little sister's name, check out her work at a local baby store while we were crib shopping a few weeks ago...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mid-Pregnancy Ultrasound

On Thursday of this week when I was 21 weeks and 5 days, we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  Ryan and I debated whether or not to take Alli, and decided last week that it would be best if we left her at school in case anything was wrong.  But fate intervened, and Alli was home from school that day making sure she was 24 hours fever free after a low-grade fever with no other symptoms.  I was determined not to miss this very important appointment, and I was absolutely sure Ryan needed to be there.  So we took Alli (who had been fever free for a while, but we were extra careful and the waiting room was empty).

I was extremely nervous for this ultrasound, because I knew it was very important as far as measuring our baby's growth and development.  People focus on the gender-reveal portion, but that's really the least important thing the tech is going to check.  By the time we got called back, my heart was pounding.  I went back alone first, and they said they'd called Ryan and Alli back later.  The tech asked if she could bring a student in with her to observe, which was fine with me.  I laid down, they put the warm goo on my stomach, and off we went.

The ultrasound tech examined the baby's heart and she started exclaiming over how clear the picture was.  She commented that everyone should wait until they were almost 22 weeks, because you could tell such a difference between 18 weeks and 22.  She showed the student all of the chambers of the heart, checked out all of the organs and spine. Over and over, they both said "Oh my gosh, this scan is so clear.  This baby is as close to perfect as you can get!" That really made me relax and enjoy the process.

Finally, they called Alli and Ryan in.  The tech turned the screen so we all could see, and she started pointing out body parts - feet, legs, arms, lips.  Then she got a great profile shot, which made Alli declare "I can see her nose!"  So she finally understood what she was looking at.  It was a really neat moment.

Then it was the moment of truth.  The tech asked Alli what she preferred - a brother or a sister.  Alli answered "Sister!!" immediately.  In her mind, there's never been any other option.  So the tech took a look (I'm pretty sure she already knew before she acted like she was looking...) and confirmed, "You're getting a sister!!"  We were all thrilled, even Ryan who had halfway been hoping for a boy.  Ultimately, all any of us wanted was the glowing ultrasound report.

The tech then said that I was scanning so well that she just had to flip on the 3D to give us a look at what we'd see in 6 weeks for our full-blown 3D ultrasound.  She said sometimes she won't do this at our stage because the babies look so skinny, but she felt like ours would scan so well.  We were in awe!  How can you not be??  Look at that little face!!

I even got to do a fun gender reveal at work - we had Ricks cupcakes delivered, and my friends opened the box for the surprise.

We are so happy and blessed to be welcoming another little lady into our life, and I'm so relieved that she got such a wonderful report.  I can finally feel good about painting that nursery!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pregnancy Update - 21 Weeks

How far along: 21 weeks

Size of baby: According to The Bump, baby Lowe is the size of a pomegranate, weighing 12.7 ounces and measuring 10.5 inches long (almost double the size of our last update, if you're keeping score).

Maternity clothes: Still in them.  Still loving them.  Just added a new pair of brown work pants so that my co-workers don't have to live with my gray-black rotation only.  And I'm obsessed with my maternity jeans.  I may wear them forever.

Gender: We're finding out for sure TOMORROW!! AHHH!!!!!

Movement:  Movement has been up and down.  It was really strong and constant from weeks 17-19, but 20 and 21 it has slowed down some.  I've read that it's totally normal because baby is doing a lot of growing right now, but that doesn't stop me from poking my belly every now and then to get him or her riled up!

Sleep: Sleep got better for a few weeks, but I can't seem to get comfortable right now.  I'm hyper-aware that I need to sleep on my left side, so I think about it way too much.  And I still wake up at least once a night with a full bladder.

Symptoms: I still have some back pain, and I still have heartburn.  And I can still smell everything.  I'm thirsty all the time too!

What I miss: Wine and coffee.  Coffee and wine.

Cravings: SWEETS!  Fudge, ice cream, sweet tea, cookies, candy, pie.  I have a ridiculous sweet tooth right now and I can't get enough!

Food aversions: Nothing really.  I don't love beef (other than in spaghetti-form), but I'll have a burger if the mood strikes.

Best moment this week: I'm sure it will be finding out officially what we're having.  And also the fudge I bought yesterday.

What I am looking forward to: TOMORROW!!  Holding this little sweetie.  I am stalking everyone with a baby on Facebook because I can't get enough of them!  My baby shower in late March.  And, as always, decorating the nursery around the beautiful new crib and glider we bought last week.

Just a reminder that I've still got it.  And I rock reindeer pj pants all year long.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Paint Party - Office Official

One of my very favorite rooms in our new house is the office.  It's right off the living room, and it's pretty much a formal room for pretties.  The computer gets to live there (not on the kitchen table which makes my heart happy), we have bookshelves for books, awards, and glass animals, and it's a zen place to get away and do a little studying or blogging.  One day it's going to be an awesome homework room for the chillins too.

So in our quest to eliminate the builder boring paint color pre-baby Lowe's arrival, we tackled the office a few weekends ago.  I was anxious to get ahold of this formal room and paint it an actual color to make the beautiful moldings pop.  Here are a few shots of the room pre-paint:

Talk about blah, right?  After much consternation, debate and a few testers, we settled on Behr's Simply Sage for the top half and Dragonfly for the bottom half.  Simply Sage is (spoiler alert) going to be a major paint color in the house, but I wanted to make this room a little more special.  Ryan and I worked tirelessly on this space while Alli's room was drying.  We even enlisted a little child labor.

Once done, we stood back, admired our handiwork, and solemnly promised each other we'd never tackle two rooms at once again.

I wish I knew how to work my fancy new camera, but the top half looks nothing like the original wall color.  Maybe I'll capture better pictures of it in the daylight.

Of course, there's still a lot of work to do, like curtains, art, and getting my framed diploma on the wall. I'm also wondering if we can handle a big tall houseplant that is cat safe?  But those things are all a lot easier to do with a teensy weensy.  Painting - not so much.  I'm not quite sure what all is going to evolve in there, but I'm excited for the ride (Decorating is a process.  Deep breath.  I will enjoy the process.  Repeat to self).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Paint Party - Alli's Room

Well, it's week two of the new year and I'm already behind on one resolution - posting twice a week.  But I did make some pretty good headway on another goal - getting the house decorated!  Builder beige is just not my best color, so it was time to get a little color rolling up in here.  Two weeks ago, Ryan and I started in on our room and bedroom.  I'll post some pics of that later, but my focus here is the most important room in the house.  Once we finished our room, we immediately had to get rolling on Alli's.  With new baby on the way, we needed to get hers wrapped up first.  You can't exactly paint your second child's room before you start on the first one's, can you?

Here's where we started.

Cute little room, but pretty darn blah, huh?  Definitely not reflective of the huge personality who lays down her head there.  So after a week or so of considering paint chips, I decided on Behr's Seafoam Pearl.  It was a subtle blue, high on the color chip.  Enough to change the wall color, but not enough to blind you.  Alli had other ideas though.

She picked Mint Majesty.  I cajoled, but to no avail.  She was adamant.  So I, never one to squelch the wall hue dreams of a color lover (hello, teal living room and hot pink bathroom), did what any good mother would do and caved.  "Two gallons of mint majesty, please."  I mean, I may never have another little girl to paint for.  Who am I to deny teal walls?  When I opened the paint can, I was a little taken aback.  It glowed.  No kidding.  But Alli and I got to work.

Okay, I got to work.  Alli painted our entire family's names on the wall.  I'm pleased to report that Ryan has taken over cutting responsibilities (some new fangled tool he found that he loves), so your girl is back to rolling only.  With a Darth Vader mask, a fan on high, and getting asked four times a minute "Are you okay?  Don't overdo it!"  The joys of pregnancy.  At the end of the night, we ended up with this.

What a difference!  Doesn't it look more like a cheery little girl's room?  I love how a little paint makes the furniture and accessories pop!  We still have a ways to go - curtains, more art, a new dresser...but the walls are ready to rock.

Side note - who are you people who take pictures of your children's rooms where they look pristine without a toy in sight, save maybe an antique wooden rocking horse that's for looking only?  I declare this room as close to pristine as it'll ever be.  I'm just glad I remembered to put up her water glass before I snapped these shots.  Small victories, friends.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The scene is Saturday night.

Me: "Alli!  Time to get in bed!!"
Alli:  "But I don't want to go to bed!  I don't like going to bed!"
Me:  "Why not??"
Alli:  "Because it's not fun to go to bed."

Ah, my child. One day you will appreciate bed time.  One day, it will be the only time in your day when you get a minute of peace from the constant responsibilities of caring completely for a life other than your own.  One day, it will be the only time you get to have a mature, unfiltered conversation with your partner about whatever you want - work, movies, food, your kids.  One day, it will be time for uninterrupted, guilt-free you time to watch HGTV, read Southern Living, or surf the web.  One day you'll be 20 weeks pregnant and will barely be able to keep yourself upright past 8PM every night.

Until then, please enjoy your boundless energy.  It's making me sleepy.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Maternity Clothes

I tend to shy away from words like "maternal."  Society has made "matronly," "maternal," and "maternity" into bad words - synonyms with "old," "frumpy," and "boring."  Not something you want to be called at any stage in your life.  So buying clothes with this moniker isn't exactly appealing.  Plus, who wants to spend money on clothes that you're only going to wear for half a year?  I can barely keep up with my normal wardrobe.

But after nearly a month of being pretty darn uncomfortable in my work slacks and jeans, Ryan finally convinced me that it was time to go.  We had a free weekend last weekend sans Alli (she was staying in Little Rock with her Tata), so we headed out to the three or four places in all of northwest Arkansas that sell clothes for the ladies with babies on board.

The first stop was Two Chic in Fayetteville by Party City.  It's a really small store with a lot in it, so it was hard to look at.  Plus, everything was $60, $80, or $100.  Not really how I wanted to spend my budget - a dress and some leggings and I'm done?  We didn't spend long in there - long enough for me to try on some Citizen jeans, exclaim over how comfortable they were, try on the prosthetic belly they put in the changing rooms, and boldly proclaim to Ryan that we didn't need to spend this kind of money.

Next we headed to Motherhood Maternity (two bad words in one store name, help) in Rogers.  This place was not my style at all.  The clothes felt cheap and truly frumpy.  I got very discouraged, and even pitched a mini-fit over the a w f u l jeans they had.  Near tears, I agreed to purchase two pairs of work slacks in black and grey, one terrible pair of horrendous jeans, and a pair of leggings.  I was done shopping for maternal clothing, I announced to Ryan.  It was humiliating, demeaning, and depressing.  And I was done.

Next we stopped by Belle Boutique in Rogers to spend a giftcard.  I got a cute, comfy Piko tunic (which is longer than the Piko shirts I usually wear) to go with my new leggings.  I was still pitching a fit while we headed south to Fayetteville.  Ryan then began dialing on his phone and pulled up Masons, one of my fave women's clothing boutiques in Fayetteville.  "Yes, do you have maternity jeans?  And what time do you close?  Thank you."  He was headed to Masons.  Fit over.

The minute we walked in, they greeted us (these other stores besides Belle need some help on their customer service.  I'm sensitive and pregnant and shopping for elastic waistband pants.  Be nice.).  They took me right back to the "special" jeans for "special cute pregnant girls!"  Their words, not mine.  But it worked, and I bought it.  Hook, line, and sinker.  Thirty minutes later, I walked out with a pair of Citizen maternity jeans, happy as a clam.  I just got them back from the tailor, and they are perfect.  I'm in love.  Worth every penny to make me still feel cute when I look like a whale.

The next day we went to Old Navy, which was fine.  I tried on a ton of clothes and walked away with some shirts and a pair of skinny jeans.  I think I'm set for a while, until spring comes and I need some short sleeves.  And we returned those awful jeans Motherhood Maternity.  Thanks for the $40 work slacks, but your jeans?  Woof.

Something else we picked up at Masons?  A sequined elastic waistband skirt for our anniversary dinner/New Years Eve.  We went to Bordinos with friends and were home and asleep by 10PM.  Ryan had to talk me out of snuggling with my Citizen maternity jeans.  Best. Anniversary. Present.  Ever.  Can I just say that all jeans should be elastic at the top?  I think there would be less crime and fewer wars, people.  I really do.

Happy happy eight years!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013

After looking back on last year (and it's always good to look back, don't listen to people who say otherwise), it's time to look ahead to the wonderful things 2013 has in store.  It's already been a great year for us - Ryan felt Baby Lowe kick for the first time a few nights ago!  But there's much more to come, so here's a look at some of my goals for 2013.
  • Have a healthy, happy baby in May.  I don't have as much control over this as I would like to, but my biggest goal for 2013 is to have our sweet little bundle of joy, successfully introduce him or her to the household (sorry, Landry, you won't be the baby anymore!), and all in all make this huge change as smooth a transition as possible.  During this next half of my pregnancy, I want to eat better now that the morning sickness is gone, exercise more during the warm spring months, and do my best to not wind myself up too much over baby gear, nursery decor, and reading too much info.  There's such a thing as being too informed.
  • Be a more involved, active,  and present member of my family.  The stress of being a mom and holding down a full time job gets to me a lot.  My job is not an easy one for 8-9 hours a day, and I don't often come home in the mood to give myself to my family like I should.  I want to put my phone down, leave my stress at the door, and be everything Ryan and the kiddos need me to be.  I'm not asking for perfection, I'm just asking for more cooking and family game nights, and less TV, Facebook, and tears over something that happened at work that day.  I want to relax and enjoy life more, and stop worrying about what I should be doing or what I don't have.
  • Blog more.  I've always been a writer - when I was Alli's age, I used to fold paper together to make books, then write a story and illustrate it.  It was a great creative outlet then, and this blog is something I truly enjoy now.  I also love the documentation of what's going on day to day in our home.  It's so nice to read back over posts from last year and relive things I would have otherwise forgotten.  This is going to be even more important in the coming year with our bambino on the way.  I'm hoping to get up to 2 posts a week on average.  That's going to be quite the challenge in the midst of a newborn, but I really hope I'm up to the task.
  • Get the house decorated.  It doesn't have to be completely done a year from now.  In fact, I'll just go out on a limb and say it won't be.  But I'd like to get started painting (builder tan = booooring), decorating, and continuing to make our house a home.  After Christmas, I finally felt like I was coming home to my house.  It's only taken four months!  But I know the more I put my creative stamp on the place, the more it will feel like mine.  And with our little bitty on the way, the crunch is on to get some of the major rooms done already.  I do want to relax and enjoy the process though - I tend to get wound up about not getting things done immediately.  Home decorating is a process, and one that you should enjoy.
  • Lose the baby weight.  We've still got a good six months before I have to get rolling on this one, but once I have the baby, I want to work on getting in shape the right way.  Again, that means more cooking and less pizza.  And more exercise.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Back on 2012

Can you believe we had 73 posts in 2012?  That's a new record at the Lowe Down, almost 1.4 posts per week!  I would like to get closer to 2 posts per week, but we'll get to 2013 goals in another post.  In this one, I'd like to reflect on some of the bigger things that happened with us Lowes in 2012.
  • Places We Traveled:  In addition to our annual jaunt to Destin, FL with my family, we were regular Southeastern Conference trotters this year.  We went to College Station, TX and Starkville, MS for Razorback games.  For Spring Break, we took Alli to Branson, MO, for the first time to experience Silver Dollar City.  We also spent a weekend in Nashville, TN with my grandfather right before he passed away - a very special time for me.  Ryan went to Ft. Smith for the wedding of a best friend, and we of course made countless trips to Little Rock to see our family.

  • Homes We Bought:  There's just one to list here, thank goodness.  We spent the majority of the year looking at older homes downtown, as I have a noted fixation with all that is old and was hankering to redo a pre-1940s charmer.  Ryan was hesitant but willing, but eventually we had the come-to-your-senses discussion and decided that we needed more space before we needed more projects.  We rented our first home and bought a bigger new construction close by.  I have to say, it's probably one of our better decisions.  Space reduces stress, people.  The new house also afforded us the ability to host Thanksgiving with 16 people here, a wonderful memory in a new place.
  • People We Lost:  I'm sad that this even has to be a section in our year-in-review, but our family lost two members this year.  First, in April, we lost my dad's mother Grandmama.  She had been in and out of the hospital for much of the year up until that point, but that doesn't make anything easier.  I did drive down on a Wednesday with Lindsey to spend the day with her about two days before she passed away, and that's a memory I'll cherish forever.  Then in June, my mother's father Pawpaw died from complications following surgery to remove his bladder due to cancer.  His death was a huge surprise and a blow to the entire family.  A week before his surgery, Alli, my dad, and I joined the family in Nashville, TN where he was having his procedure and we spent the weekend with him.  I wheeled him around the Country Music Hall of Fame, and that again is a time I'll never forget.

  • Things Alli Did:  Where to begin?  Alli had yet another banner year, riding in horse shows, having a dance recital, graduating first grade and starting second, turning eight, and losing a ton of teeth.  She's continued to grow into one of the most beautiful, strong, confident, and kind people I've ever met.

  • Concerts We Attended:  Ryan and I went with some friends this year to see Hank Williams, Jr. for our second time, which was a ton of fun.  When I was standing in the wine line, however, I heard a distinctive riff, followed by "Wanna get to Heaven gotta D-I-E, you gotta put on your coat and T-I-E..." I whirled around and had my first encounter with Jamey Johnson (singing Waylon).  So began a new musical love affair.  But more importantly, Aerosmith came to Fayetteville.  And I went.  Scream.  
  • Childhoods We Relived:  For my birthday this year, Ryan and my mom shocked me with riding lessons!  I spent the next several months (before we found out about our big news) riding every single Sunday.  I fell in love with the sport all over again and my new companion Freedom as well.  It was a wonderful stress reliever and the happiest I've been in a long time.

  • Family Members We're Adding:  In losing two people this year, our family has also been blessed with news of upcoming additions.  My cousin Lisa is due this month with her first baby, a little girl named Emma Grace.  And eight years after Alli, we Lowes also got to share the wonderful news that we are having a baby due in May.  No one is more excited than big sister!!

So there's the Lowe Down on our 2012.  It was a wonderful, terrible year filled with extremes on both ends.  Here's hoping 2013 is filled with just as much love, family, and blessings and a little less heartache.  Happy New Year!!