Sunday, February 1, 2015


This is probably the hardest part in the home building process...waiting for everything to start. We are waiting for everything with the loan to be finalized. We were told it would take about 2 months and we are halfway through that time. It will be a bittersweet moment when we finally close because then we can start the actual house building but it will also mean we have to say goodbye to a big chunk of our savings.

In the meantime, the builder has been out to the property to do a soil test, we have an address, and we decided where we want the front of the house to be.

 Here is Miss Carter staking out where she thinks the house should be.

And here is a panoramic of our acre. The house will face towards the street on the left. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Colors

Chris played around with photoshop a bit and redid the colors on the house we saw last week. We are not finished choosing colors, but we have chosen a gray siding, red door, white trim and white shutters. So this gives us an idea of what it will look like.

Monday, January 5, 2015

We Are Building!

We looked for a house for a few months. The area is really growing and although we found a few houses we were ready to put offers on, they were pending days (sometimes hours) within being put on the market. It was a frustrating experience but then Chris's grandpa offered us an acre of land and then building became an option. 

It took a few months of talking to 5 different builders before settling on one. A week ago we signed a contract to build and we should be ready to move in this summer. 

We are excited for this next step in our lives and can't wait to move in, decorate, and make it our home!

It is a 1 story, 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house. We decided to do 4 bedroom instead of 3 because the plan is to say here for a while. 

The builder is building another house with the same floor plan but three bedrooms about 1 1/2 hours away from us that we went to see last week. So this is similar to what ours will look like:

And then this is my favorite part. The kitchen. It has lots of cabinets and it opens right into the living room.

This is more similar to what ours will look look with the wall oven and the island at one level instead of part of it raised. 

I am going to try to continue to blog about this. I have been obsessed with reading other blogs where people are building houses. If anyone knows of one, let me know!

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Goals

1. Move into our new house!
2. Graduate from Grad School!
3. Host a Christmas Party in our new house. (Hosting stresses me out so it will take me a year to plan this thing.)
4. Read the Book of Mormon twice.
5. Expand my Teachers pay Teachers store.
6. Read 30 books.
7. Go on a vacation. Chris wants Europe, I am fine with anywhere not in Texas.

And as always, spend time with this little girl. That's not really hard to do.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Accomplishments

This was the most stressful year of my life. I went back to work after maternity, was enrolled in grad schools classes all year long and had to balance home, work, church and personal stuff all at once. But I am proud of what I was able to accomplish this year.

1. Got a 4.0 in all my grad school classes. (6 of them)
2. Lost 10 pounds. Back to Pre-Pregnancy weight.
3. Got a new job that pays more.
4. Signed a contract to build a house. After 7 months of praying, thinking, talking...we finally did it two days ago.
5. Read 26 books.
6. I survived without any major breakdown. I did not think I was going to see the end of this last
semester, and I have celebrated by doing absolutely nothing work/school related the last 2 weeks.
7. The most important part of my year was when I got to spend time with my little family. Chris and Carter make everything better.

I expect 2015 to be a completely different year than 2014 but it is going to be a good year for the Stowe Family.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Books Read

I didn't do this last year, because I didn't not realize how much time a baby and grad school would take up so I didn't read many books. This year, I set a goal of 25 and I read 26. 

Here are the books I read in 2014 in reverse order. 

The Cuckoo's Calling, Robert Galbraith (really J.K. Rowling)
The Song of Quarkbeast, Jasper Fforde**
The Abundance of Katherines, John Green
Death of a Maid, M.C. Beaton
A Hat Full of Sky, Terry Pratchett**
I Shall Wear Midnight,  Terry Pratchett**
The One, Kiera Cass
Wedding Night, Sophie Kinsella
Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett**
The Bride Wore Size 12, Meg Cabot
Nation, Terry Pratchett
The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, Rob Thomas 
The Elite, Kiera Cass
The Woodcutter, Kate Danley**
The Selection, Kiera Cass
Under the Dome, Stephen King
Reached, Ally Condie
Promised, Caragh M. O'Brien
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman**
The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
The Saber-Tooth Curriculum, J Abner Peddiwell
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak**
Cultural Politics and Education, Michael W Apple
As Texas Goes, Gail Collins
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

** Books I recommend because they were good and there was no language that I can remember. 

I read a lot of Terry Pratchett this year. The series I read by him was the Tiffany Aching series and I loved it. It started with The Wee Free Men which I read last year. I would recommend all 4 books to anyone. I loved them. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Life in July

I like keeping a blog. But with everything on my plate, it isn't near the top of my priority list. And since Carter has been born, I have been really good at sticking to my priority list. It is necessary in order for me to do everything.

One quick blurb about my life for the next 10 months, and then onto Carter.

I will be:
  • starting a new job in a new district, teaching a new subject and a new grade (6th grade math)
  • Enrolled in 3 grad school classes this fall (I've only been doing 2)
  • working on my capstone research project in addition to the 3 classes
  • building a house and hopefully have it done by April
  • sticking to a very strict budget, which means more cooking and less eating out!
I think I got it all. I keep dreaming for the day in May where I have graduated, have my Master's, am moved into the new house, and am done with the school year. I can do so much with my time! Scrapbooking! Reading! Crafting! Blogging! Sleeping! I'll have so much time, I won't know what to do with all of it. 

Now Carter. Our almost 9 month old! EEK!

I can't imagine life without her. She is absolutely the best thing we have every made. My favorite thing about her is how she can get anyone to smile. I can't count how many times I'll look at her in a public place and she is just smiling away at a person until they smile back at her. 

Here are pictures from the last month. 

She doesn't like it when we close doors on her. She wants to explore everywhere and not be restricted in any way. That is a flashlight in her hand. She doesn't seem to like normal toys. She'll carry around socks, a piece of cardboard, a metal container, tupperware lids, and spoons. 

Charleah and I were talking about how our babies don't seem to just fall asleep in random places. They definitely have to be force to go to sleep. Then the next day Carter fell asleep like this. 

We went to Austin last week. This is the only picture I got of the three of us. It is at a graffiti wall. It was also before Carter busted her nose at the hotel. 

Carter busted her nose at the hotel about 20 minutes after we checked in. Part of the bed frame was broken and sticking out hiding underneath the bed skirt. She tried to pull herself up on it and fell, resulting in a lot of blood. Chris first reaction "She is going to need stitches" I felt so sick about it. I am not the best around blood from other people.  She cried for about 3 minutes and then was fine. Until the doctor tried to clean it and she had to be held still in order to do everything. Do not tell this girl she can't do something. Luckily, the doctor just put some "medical grade super glue" on it. It already looks so much better. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pics of Carter

I haven't posted in forever and not I am procrastinating a 15 page paper that is due on Wednesday. (I am on page 10, so I deserve a break.)

So here are some random photos of Carter.

She love look at phones. I turned the camera on my iPhone on one day and we got some selfies. 

Her she is playing tug-of-war with the napkin. She is such a good baby when we go to a restaurant. I don't think she has screamed once at one.

Love it when she falls asleep in my arms. When she is tired, she likes to cuddle.

Cutest baby!

I get pictures like these when I am at work. I miss her so much when I am there so little pictures like these brighten my day.

For the first two months of her life, Carter had a hard time gaining weight. This picture is taken a month a part when we started feeding her more formula. Her cheeks got so much more chubby.

She went from 1% weight at 2 months to 18% at 4 months.

Life is just better with her!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Miss Carter Avery

We have a baby! She is now 16 days old, but those 16 days have gone by so fast. It seems like she has always been here.

She came 8 days before her due date, which I was convinced was not going to happen. I needed her to come on her due date so I could finish up some projects for my Master's program and take a midterm. But Carter came on her own time.

This is the story of how I had a natural childbirth-even if that wasn't the plan.

The day before, October 23, I felt great. Several times that day I was asked if I was feeling anything. I had not. I had not had one contraction or even fake contractions. I felt normal-or as normal as one can feel while 9 months pregnant. I planned on going to work the next day. I had parent conferences scheduled, tests printed, papers to grade, etc. 

I had class that night which ended an 1 1/2 hour early, so I used that free time to go to bed. I was sleeping by 9pm. At midnight, I woke up with some cramps. Nothing too major. I got up, walked around a bit, got out the heart monitor to make sure the baby was still alive (she was) and went back to bed. Around 1am, I realized that I wasn't going to get any sleep with my "cramps" (I was refusing to call them contractions). I went to the couch and downloaded an app to track my cramps. They were happening about every 3 minutes and were about 1 minutes long, average. But I wasn't in too much pain. And she wasn't due for another 8 days!

I eventually decided to run a warm bath and sit in there for awhile. Things slowed down a bit and were less intense. However, when I got out, that was not the case. At 4 am,  (I was still calling them cramps in my head) I had decided that I probably shouldn't go to work that day and I started timing again. They were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 1-2 minutes. 

A little before 5am, I woke up Chris because I realized that I was in a lot of pain and just in case I had to go to the hospital, I probably shouldn't be driving myself. He called into work and I called the hospital. The nurse told me to drink some water, take a tylenol and lay down on my left side. If I didn't feel better in an hour, then I should come in.

Well, I called into work and decided to take a shower while Chris got some tylenol. By the time he got back, I guess I sounded like I was in pain and he decided we should go to the hospital right away and not wait an hour. But I really wanted to finish my shower, so I sent him to pack a bag while I suffered in the shower. I was still sure that these cramps would go away and that I would be coming back home before the end of the day. Chris kept trying to rush me, which was the one time I snapped at him. I kept telling him to be patient with me. 

At 6 am we were on the road and I was kind of screaming by this point. It hurt. I have never had such bad cramps in my life. We made it to the hospital around 6:30 and I had to stop a couple of times walking in because of the pain. (I did not want to be dropped off and walk in all by myself while Chris found a parking spot.)

We got checked in and into a room and  I heard the worst words of my life. "Well girly, you are at 9cm." I knew that I was not going to get an epidural which was not the plan. I did not want to feel the pain- the pain I had already felt for 7 hours. At 6:58, I was at 10 cm and time to push.

I pushed for 2 hours. The on-call doctor said that she thought the baby would be there by 7:30. No such luck. I was just hoping to have her out by the time our families showed up. They were an hour away. That also didn't happen. My doctor came in around 8:30 and mentioned using a vacuum to help get her out. And at 8:50 I asked her to use it. 

At 9:03am, Miss Carter Avery Stowe was born. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. And she had a lot of hair. 

Life is mostly definitely different now. I don't really have a sense of time as I get used to being on her schedule for the moment. Chris took off a week of work and had to go back this last Monday. That was hard, I wish he could stay home with us forever. 

She is mostly a good baby. She cries when she is hungry. She doesn't like her feet touched, and she doesn't like her feet covered up with a blanket. She hasn't really liked sleeping in her crib, but I think I found a solution for that. 

She is just adorable and I really can't imagine our lives without her. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Everything is Changing

It has been awhile. I feel like not much has happened, but when I think about it, there has been a lot of changes in our family the last few months. 

Chris and I took a very long vacation to Washington D.C and New York this summer. It was so long because half of it was paid for by the Mickelson Exxonmobil Teacher Academy I attended. We flew in early so that we could have some time when I would not be in workshops. While there we rode a bus to Washington D.C. and back, saw a lot of broadway shows, watched my ankles swell, and sweated through the worst heat wave in NYC ever. We had a lot of fun, but I am still glad to be home. 

We drove up to Oklahoma to go to Adison's wedding. And then they came down the next week for an open house here. It was a fun week to spend time with him and Alyssa. 

Charleah had her baby at the end of August. She is now over a month old. Which is just absolutely crazy. And I think she looks more like Charleah every single day. I can't wait to see her at Christmas. 

I started grad school. When I tell people I am in grad school, most of them look at me like I am crazy for starting grad school at the same time I am expecting and will have our first baby. But it is literally free. I pay nothing. (Except for the pack of oreos I had to buy for class last week.) A free master's from the University of Houston. I couldn't pass that up when I got accepted. This weekend will be spent watching conference and getting ahead so that when the baby does get here, I have all my assignments already done. 

Our baby is closer to getting here. These last months have felt like forever and I feel like I have been pregnant forever. But I am also glad for the time to prepare for it. And these last 4 weeks will be spent preparing a lot of stuff. Since the only thing we have done is set up the crib. But I kind of feel that is the most important thing. I am not too worried about getting everything done before she gets her.

We still don't have a name chosen. I have just decided that I am going to meet her first and then I'll know better what name to pick. We do have a short list of names we both like. 

My coworker pointed out to me yesterday that I could have the baby in two weeks. I am not counting on her being early. I don't have things set up for my sub when I am maternity leave, which is really the only thing I feel like I need to get done before she gets her. I plan on getting that done in two weeks. So, she can't come early. 

This is me at 19 weeks, 24 weeks, 30 weeks, and 34 weeks. I am now 36 weeks and feel like I have really started to pop. Plus, I am waddling everywhere. No matter how hard I try to stop it. 

Well, I expect the next post will probably be a couple months away. We'll just be waiting for baby, working, studying, and possibly getting things set up in her room.