Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nine Fabulous Years

Happy anniversary to the love of my life - the one and only Ryan Lowe!

I can't believe it's been nine years since we first said "I do."  I knew he was the man of my dreams the second (time) we dated.

For nine years he's been my rock, my partner in crime, my best friend, my biggest fan, my equal.

We went from the humblest of beginnings, survived years apart, and built a life together that I absolutely love.

We've bought houses, raised babies, vacationed, fought, struggled, laughed, cried, comforted, celebrated.

God knew what He was doing when He paired us up - I needed a steady, level-headed, laid-back partner to bounce my wound up neuroticism off of.

He's an amazing husband,  a fantastic son and son-in-law, and one of the best fathers I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

The fact that my girls have him as an example of how a man should love a woman is the best situation I could hope to bring them up in.  He's patient, respectful, and indulgent, but he's more than willing to give me guidance, persistence, and a kick in the rear when I need it.

He's hands down one of the funniest men I know.  Our humor is perfect for each other.  He's broadened my horizons and definitely decreased my taste level in movies and TV, but I don't mind.

I am always excited about our next adventure together - the next vacation, the next day at the pool, the next baby, the next ridiculous but fun purchase, and the next Saturday night we spend drinking wine and watching a movie on the couch.

I can barely stand for us to be apart - I think it stems from the years we spent apart when he was in Iraq.  I dread business trips and nights away.  I can hardly stand to go do anything without him because he makes everything more fun for me.

I love our inside jokes, our silly routines, and the funny way we say things that only we understand.

I love that there's a person on the world who above everything else wants me to be happy.  I know that he will do his best to provide me with whatever it is that I think I need to enjoy my life, even at his own expense.  He gives me unconditional love.

He immediately blended into my family and is now an irreplaceable part of football season, holidays, and vacations.

We've not gone without our struggles.  Great marriages are filled with peaks and valleys and we've had our share of both.

Happy anniversary, Ryan.  I can't believe it's already been nine years since we joined our lives together.  Thank you for the laughs, the tears, the babies, the homes, the love, and the memories.  I couldn't imagine my life without you!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Resolutions - Looking Back & Forward

It's that time of the year again!  You know, the time of year when you make promises to yourself and your family that you won't keep and vow to change your life, only to give up on it a few weeks or even days later.

In the interest of stepping out against the crowd and actually changing my life for the better and keeping myself accountable, I'd like to follow up on the goals I made this time last year before I set any moving forward.  If you want to read last year's full post, you can see it here.

2013 Goals - Follow Up
  • Have a healthy, happy baby in May.  I met this goal in the sense that we did have a happy, healthy Riley Rachelle, but we actually had her in June!  I only missed this goal by three days, and the point was more that she be born and born healthy, not hit her due date.  I got a little impatient waiting, but I know she came at the perfect time for her.  I give myself a check on this one.
  • Be a more involved, active, and present member of my family.  This one is going to be a lifelong struggle for me.  I'd like to think with 12 weeks off on leave and working from home 2 days a week to be with my girls that I've gotten better, but there's still a lot of room for improvement here.  I am going to say this one is still a work in progress.
  • Blog more.  This is by far the most posts we've had at the Lowe Down in one year, and I want to thank all of you for that!  Hearing how much you enjoy reading about our little slice of life keeps me going even when I don't think I have anything to say.  My goal last year was to blog twice a week, and we fell a few posts short of that this year.  Given that we had a newborn, I think we did pretty well.  I give myself a check here.
  • Get the house decorated.  This will always be a work in progress for me.  I love to decorate and redecorate.  I don't think I'll ever sit back and look around me and say "done!"  But we got the majority of the house painted and decorated this year, even with Riley coming mid-year.  There's more to do, but I've actually relaxed and enjoyed the process for once.  Check here.
  • Lose the baby weight.  This one isn't going well.  I have not been able to get motivated since having Riley.  No check here - more work to be done.
2014 Goals
  • Lose weight.  I really can't blame Riley anymore, so I'll stop calling it baby weight.  This year I'd like to really get in good shape.  Ryan and I have a new elliptical machine coming, which was my favorite machine to use when I was pregnant with Alli.  We as a family are going to do a whole lot better on our eating in and cooking healthy meals for our girls.  We did all right on that portion last year, but there's always room for improvement.
  •  Be a more involved, active, and present member of my family.  I told you this one was going to be a lifelong event.  I need to get up from my desk between 5:00 and 5:30 and stop working until 6:30 on the days I'm in the office.  I need to put the phone down and pick up the deck of cards.  And moreso than last year, I need to not let "grown-up" things like shopping and decorating and cleaning interfere with "kid" things.  I want to make sure Alli and Riley have a fun, wonderful childhood because I know that time is so fleeting.
  • Get the house organized.  Two of the four members of my household are junk hoarders.  This is totally against my nature, and I get extremely frustrated when I'm surrounded by chaos.  I'd like to invest some time in organizing the cabinets, closets, and pantry and make sure we keep it that way.
  • Take care of myself, too.  Not only do I want to lose weight so I look and feel better, but I want to be sure I take time to take care of myself in other ways too.  I want to paint my fingernails more, take time to style my hair, and get back into caring more about my wardrobe.  It's hard to be motivated to do that when you're overweight, so I hope losing weight really helps to motivated me on that.
  • Continue to blog.  I love it, you love it, and I hope one day my kids love it.  Keeping a record of what we've done for a solid year helps me to feel accomplished and proud.  It also helps me to meet all of these other goals I've set.
Happy, happy new year to all of you.  May you resolutions be attainable, life-changing, and positive, and may 2014 find you counting your blessings and looking forward to what's coming.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 In Review

I really feel like it wasn't that long ago that I was writing the 2012 in review post, but here we are almost a year later, and we're reflecting on 2013.  I can say with confidence that 2013 was the fastest year in the history of the Lowe fam.  Here's the Lowe Down on how we spent our 2013:

  • Places We Traveled - This section is a little smaller this year than it was last year, but to be fair, we had an extra traveler who isn't exactly easy to pack up and take a million places.  And the Razorbacks were terrible, so no one wanted to go see them play anywhere!  This year we did our annual jaunt to Destin, but with a five week old.  And we went down to New Orleans last month for my cousin Brooke's wedding.  On the way, we also stopped over in Ruston, LA where my mom's sister and our cousins live.   Both trips were so much fun and full of family time.  In addition, I went solo to Colorado for a girls' trip to celebrate my friend Kerri's bachelorette party. We also spent an entire afternoon in Clarksville/Lamar, Arkansas visiting old sights from my grandfather and grandmother's growing up.  Alli even got to meet her great great great Aunt Kathryn.

  • Things Alli Did - Alli had yet another wonderful year.  She became a big sister, spent a summer home with her mama, won her class Spelling Bee and came in second in the school-wide one, and graduated from second grade and started third.  She cantered and jumped her pony, played soccer, and paddleboarded and parasailed in Florida.  She loves to draw, play her Skylanders video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and her little sister.

  • Things Riley Did - Oh, you know, besides being born??  That's right, she did more than just come into the world this year, but that's by far her biggest accomplishment.  We welcomed this sweet little girl in June of this year, and she's changed our worlds for the better.  She's also rolled over, can sit up unassisted, babbles constantly, and eats solid foods.  She's been to the barn, the soccer field, Bourbon Street, swimming, and the beach to name a few.

  • Fun Things We Did - Besides events and travel for the girls, we had our first ever trip to the Gentry Drive Thru Zoo, our Diddy ran a half marathon, and we painted almost our entire house! There was a baby shower for Riley, snow in May and snow on Alli's birthday in December.  Alli went to horse camp, soccer camp, and Camp Wilson.  We spent almost a month in Little Rock this summer where we ate lunch with Tata at Heifer Village and went to the Museum of Discovery twice.  Alli met the Ninja Turtles at Arvest Ballpark.  We saw baby Evie at the barn when she was just hours old and celebrated the centennial of my sorority Delta Delta Delta at the University of Arkansas.

What a year 2013 was!  We added to our family with Riley, Emma Grace, and my cousin Brooke marrying Keith.  We lost my Pawpaw's brother Uncle Don, but my last memory of him was wonderful, sitting at his table during our jaunt around Clarksville this summer.  I spent so much time with my family with 12 weeks of maternity leave and two weeks at Christmas.  Alli grew and developed as a rider, a student, a soccer player, and a person.  And our precious Riley was safely born and has grown leaps and bounds ever since.  2013 has been one of my favorite years so far, and I am so anxious to see what 2014 has in store!