Alexander Category Archives

Spring is in the air!

Stephany Bowman wearing a white polka dot, short smocked dress from ZARA. Gold sneakers from CONVERSE, and Black cat eye sunglasses from HENRI BENDEL. Annabelle, Alexander and Angelina Bomwan wearing outfits from Children's Boutique OLLIE AND MAE

Stephany Bowman, Editor of Stephany's Choice wearing a white polka-dot ZARA smocked dress, Gold CONVERSE shoes, and baby carrier from LILLE . Angelina Bowman wearing OLLIE AND MAE

Annabelle Bowman wearing a long sleeve shirt from Ollie & Mae

Stephany Bowman wearing a white polka dot, short smocked dress from ZARA. Gold sneakers from CONVERSE, and Black cat eye sunglasses from HENRI BENDEL. Annabelle, Alexander and Angelina Bomwan wearing outfits from Children's Boutique OLLIE AND MAE

Alexander and Angelina Bowman wearing Ollie and Mae

Stephany Bowman, Editor of Stephany's Choice wearing a white polka-dot ZARA smocked dress, Gold CONVERSE shoes, and baby carrier from LILLE . Angelina Bowman wearing OLLIE AND MAE

Annabelle Bowman wearing a long sleeve shirt from Ollie & Mae

Alexander Bowman wearing a swim suit from Oliie & Mae

Stephany Bowman wearing a white polka dot, short smocked dress from ZARA. Gold sneakers from CONVERSE, and Black cat eye sunglasses from HENRI BENDEL. Annabelle, Alexander and Angelina Bomwan wearing outfits from Children's Boutique OLLIE AND MAE

Alexander, Annabelle, and Angelina wearing Ollie and Mae

Alexander Bowman wearing a swim suit from Oliie & Mae

Stephany Bowman wearing a white polka dot, short smocked dress from ZARA. Gold sneakers from CONVERSE, and Black cat eye sunglasses from HENRI BENDEL. Annabelle, Alexander and Angelina Bomwan wearing outfits from Children's Boutique OLLIE AND MAE

Annabelle Bowman wearing a long sleeve shirt from Ollie & Mae

Stephany Bowman, Editor of Stephany's Choice wearing a white polka-dot ZARA smocked dress, Gold CONVERSE shoes, and baby carrier from LILLE . Angelina Bowman wearing OLLIE AND MAE

Alexander Bowman wearing a swim suit from Oliie & Mae

Stephany Bowman wearing a white polka dot, short smocked dress from ZARA. Gold sneakers from CONVERSE, and Black cat eye sunglasses from HENRI BENDEL. Annabelle, Alexander and Angelina Bomwan wearing outfits from Children's Boutique OLLIE AND MAE

Stephany Bowman wearing a white polka dot, short smocked dress from ZARA. Gold sneakers from CONVERSE, and Black cat eye sunglasses from HENRI BENDEL. Annabelle, Alexander and Angelina Bomwan wearing outfits from Children's Boutique OLLIE AND MAE

I frequently get asked questions about what my favorite baby products and accessories of all time are.

It’s true that there are products today that I would tell my younger self to invest in, and other products that I would advise against. 

One product I always loved but never had, was a sophisticated baby carrier. They always seemed a little bit more pricey than the other standard baby carriers, so I settled. Now that I’ve tried the LÍLLÉ baby carrier I wish that I hadn’t waited so long. 

It’s light, cute, and easy to strap on. Putting it on feels the same as putting on a backpack. The cool thing about this product (and I’m a sucker for this) is that it is multifunctional! You can carry your baby in the front OR on your back! 

This is the first time that I have carried a child on my back, and I loved it.

It kept my hands free, and the load was easier for my strong back to carry than pulling down on the front of my chest. 

Angelina was very comfortable back there. It was like a piggy back ride only she was much more secure. 

There were even a few moments were I sort of forgot that she was back there! 

This product is definitely a Stephany’s Choice must have item. It would also make such a cute baby gift! It comes in different colors and can hold a child that weighs up to 60 lbs!! Wow!! Talk about a great investment piece!

Thank you so much to our favorite children’s store OLLIE & MAVE boutique for these gorgeous outfits!! We love soft high quality kid’s clothes and these are super stylish and adorable! I mean, did you see Alexander’s swimming trunks?!! It’s almost impossible to find cute boys clothes like this! 

How happy is Annabelle, reading her very own Cover of Dallas Child Magazine?!! Thank you so much to the whole entire team for making us feel so welcome! This was definitely an opportunity of a life time. 

I also want to give a shout out to the MS Dallas team for this gorgeous poster of Annabelle’s cover!! It is beautiful and we love it so much! The team there feels like family, and product and service is incredible.

Thank you so much for reading along! Hope you are having a fantastic week

XO

 Stephany

Stephany’s Choice: Dress: ZARA  //  Shoes:  CONVERSE  //  Sunglasses:  HENRI BENDEL  //  Baby Carrier:  LILLÉ baby 

Annabelle’s Choice: Top: OLLIE & MAVE  // Tights: OLLIE & MAVE similar here // Boots: SIMILAR HERE

Alexander’s Choice: Swim suit : OLLIE & MAVE 

Angelina’s Choice: Top: OLLIE & MAVE  // Shorts: SIMILAR HERE  //  Socks: OLLIE & MAVE  //  Shoes:  FRESHLY PICKED

 

Happy 4th Birthday Alexander!

Alexander Bowman, wearing a Pottery Barn kids knights costume, and balloons and sword from PARTY CITY

Alexander Bowman, wearing a Pottery Barn kids knights costume, and balloons and sword from PARTY CITY

Alexander Bowman, wearing a Pottery Barn kids knights costume, and balloons and sword from PARTY CITY

Alexander Bowman, wearing a Pottery Barn kids knights costume, and balloons and sword from PARTY CITY

Alexander Bowman, wearing a Pottery Barn kids knights costume, and balloons and sword from PARTY CITY

 

The Birthday Boy: Knight costume: SIMILAR HERE

Stephany’s Choice: Dress: SIMILAR HERE // Shoes: ALDO

Michael’s Choice: Suit: SIMILAR HERE // Shirt: SIMILAR HERE// Shoes: SIMILAR HERE // Tie: SIMILAR HERE

Annabelle’s Choice: Dress: DISNEY // Bow: LIBBY LOU BOWTIQUE // Coat : SIMILAR HERE

Angelina’s Choice: Dress: SIMILAR HERE// Coat: SIMILAR HERE 

Happy 4th birthday to our darling sweet boy Alexander London Bowman.

We love you so much. You are beautiful inside and out. To know you is to love you. You have such a kind and generous sprit. I learn from your optimistic character everyday! You always say things like, ” well that was silly” and laugh things off when they don’t go your way. You celebrate the littlest milestones and victories-like finding a parking spot,” We love this spot right Mom?!” Or close calls,” that was lucky right?!”  😉

Today is your birthday and I’m thinking of the day you were born in London, England 4 years ago.

Your daddy and I left Annabelle at home with Grandma and took a London taxi to the hospital first thing in the morning. I had my hospital bag packed. I had just taken a shower and my hair was still wet.

It was a foggy and misty London day in January. The streets were quiet and the cab ride took less than 5 mins. We were so excited to meet you that we arrived to the waiting room early. Your lovely Doctor came over and introduced herself. It was the first time we met her. The whole surgery team was all women and they made us feel warm and comfortable. I was so excited and ready to meet you.

We were relaxed and happy.

I waited patiently on the surgery table. A little tug and a pull, then the first sign,”his head is larger than I thought” 🙂 Next thing you know this beautiful little red boy is waived across my body, and starts sailing around the room. Hardly any crying at all.

When they placed you in my arms I burst into tears. When we looked into each others eyes the world stopped. You were soft, you were sweet. We had already met. We had known each other for a long long time. Of course we shared the some body for almost a year. It was more than that.  We just looked at each other and there was such a calmness. It was love at first sight.

The nurses wheeled us into my room, with you in my arms. Daddy went to get Grandma and Annabelle. We worked on nursing and cuddling. You latched like a pro, haha. The nurse said,”he is very good at breastfeeding”. I was so proud of you already. You were tiny and sweet. A perfect weight and steadily growing. We spent the first two days at the hospital nursing and sleeping on repeat.

The first time we left our room was to visit the pediatricians office. I wheeled you over there in your little crib cart. You were all wrapped up in your swaddle like a burrito. Cozy,comfy and secure. The nurses loved you and helped me change your little nappy.

On the third and last day Daddy took Annabelle home and Grandma stayed with me while I signed all the check out papers. A nurse walked us down to the lobby. We put on your violet leopard print fleece onesie with a hoodie and hailed a London cab! “To Marlybone please, Sir!”

No wonder you love Taxis so much, haha.

Never forget that I will love you forever. You make me so proud, the world is better because you are here. I love being your mom.

Happy Birthday Alexander the Great.

Photography: The RetroPenguin

Merry + Bright, ColoredOrganics

Annabelle and Alexander Bowman wearing matching lougewear sets from ColoredOrganics

Annabelle Bowman wearing lougewear set from ColoredOrganics

Annabelle Bowman wearing lougewear set from ColoredOrganics and Pink Bow from Libby Lou Boutique on ETSY

Annabelle and Alexander Bowman wearing matching lougewear sets from ColoredOrganics

Annabelle Bowman wearing lougewear set from ColoredOrganics and Pink Bow from Libby Lou Boutique on ETSY

Annabelle’s Choice: Loungewear set: COLORED ORGANICS \\ Bow: LIBBY LOU BOWTIQUE

Alexander’s Choice: Loungewear set: COLORED ORGANICS

And just like that Christmas is over. Typically I would be having Christmas withdrawals but this time I think I’m ready to celebrate the new year.

Now that Annabelle and Alexander are getting older it’s a lot more pressure to try to find them gifts that they will love. More importantly we try to keep things fair for the two of them.

Alexander got a big, huge, police car (his dream come true). All he wanted this year was a police car with,”lots of buttons, two seats, a siren, and it can go forward and backward”.. Annabelle is super into dolls this year and just wanted an American Girl doll. We ordered one that looked like her with blonde hair and green eyes which she promptly named, “Antoinette”.

I was freaking out on Christmas eve because Michael and my dad assembled the police car and it was totally massive. It took up my whole kitchen floor. When I looked over at the doll it seemed so small in comparison. So, we started to wrap tons of other gifts for Annabelle to try to make up for her “smaller” sized pile.

Two years ago we bought Alexander the perfect gift, one of those non battery operated cars and he loved it. I don’t think he even knew what else was under the tree. He spent the whole day jumping in and out of his car.We expected the same thing this year. All he would want to do was get in and get out.

To our surprise, all he wanted to do was unwrap gifts. In the end we put him in charge of unwrapping gifts for everyone. He opened all of Angelina’s 2 presents (haha) and all of mine. I’m not sure he was all that worried about what was in them. I think the thrill and surprise factor was what was he enjoyed.

Annabelle loved everything she got. She seemed really happy. All random and small gifts went into the stockings. DVDs, coloring books, fresh socks, some sweets, etc… It was a first for stockings and a huge hit.

The best part of the whole day was when my Grandparents arrived at noon for lunch. It made our day complete. The kids were so excited to show them what Santa got them.

My mom brought the kids metallic sneakers that lit up into flashing colored lights. Annabelle and Alexander put on a dance performance with their neon shoes. Watching them move so freely and so happily made eveything worth it.It wasn’t what they recieved or how much they received that made their day special. It was the feeling that they were heard, they were important, and that Santa thought they were very “good” this year. It was having their Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, Uncles, Mom and Dad with them all morning and afternoon. We admired them, listened to them and cheered on their performances. 

In the end, cliche or not, it was these moments, that made our day special. They are the most important things in the world and they are my gift, everyday of the year. 

Thank you so much to Colored Organics for these super soft and cozy matching loungewear sets. Use the discount code: STEPHANY25 and receive 25% off your purchase!! 

Merry Christmas from our little family to yours.

Photography: Ashley Kay Photography 

Winter Days, ColoredOrganics

Alexander Bowman wearing Colored Organics Vest and shirt

Alexander Bowman wearing Colored Organics vest and shirt. Stephany Bowman in a lace Nordstrom dress and Angelina Bowman GAP

Annabelle and Alexander Bowman wearing Colored Organics

Stephany Bowman from Stephany's Choice wearing Nordstrom lace dress. Angelina Bowman is wearing baby GAP. Annabelle and Alexander Bowman wearing Colored Organics

Stephany Bowman wearing Nordstrom lace dress. Angelina Bowman in a hair bow from Claire's accessories and outfit from Gap baby

Stephany Bowman from Stephany's Choice wearing Nordstrom lace dress. Angelina Bowman is wearing baby GAP. Annabelle and Alexander Bowman wearing Colored Organics

 

Stephany’s Choice: Dress: NORDSTROM \\ Shoes: SIMILAR HERE 

Annabelle’s Choice: Top: COLORED ORGANICS \\ Skirt: COLORED ORGANICS 

Alexander’s Choice: Top: COLORED ORGANICS \\ Vest: COLORED ORGANICS \\ Pants: SIMILAR HERE

Angelina’s Choice: Dress: BABY GAP \\ Tights: BABY GAP \\ Shoes: BABY GAP

Just a couple more days till Christmas and I’m starting to panic slightly because 90% of my gifts this year were purchased online. Only a handful of those items have arrived. I guess I had a late start ordering my gifts. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I was even sure about who the final guest list would include.

The reason the gifts are taking so long is because each one is custom made. When ever I order something that is personalized like this it takes me forever to create it. I chose every single detail and want it to be just perfect. 

There have been so many wonderful memories and moments shared that I wanted to bring my favorites to light. One gift that I have ready and under the tree (thankfully) is a huge piece of fabric that I ordered for my mom with a photograph of a beautiful building in San Remo that my father took. 

She is very crafty and I can’t wait to see what she does with the fabric. If she loves it I will go ahead and order more items with the same image. Hope she loves it!

I ordered Michael a large picture of Angelina for his office because he doesn’t have a picture of her there yet(third child problems). He only has one of Annabelle and Alexander. Angelina just turned one, so I think he will be appreciative to have the missing image!

For my Grandparent’s I ordered them each a personalized coffee mug with their names and a picture of a red bird on them. They love to have a cup of coffee in the morning and my Grandfather is an expert bird watcher so I hope they feel like I put a lot of thought into their gifts.

My only regret this year is that I wasn’t able to personalize the Christmas stockings in time for the holidays so we may have to skip out on that tradition this year. 

All I want for Christmas is a cozy morning in my pajamas with Christmas music playing in the background. A huge cup of boiling hot chocolate and all of my gifts wrapped under the tree. I want to make sure the kids are totally surprised and excited about the presents. I’m a little worried that Annabelle’s gift isn’t as “big” as Alexander’s and that she will be upset about this. There has been so much pressure mounting for Christmas. Every time they want something from target or a new toy my excuse has always been,” you have to wait for Santa”.haha. If they have been acting naughty I say,” Santa’s watching!” This is probably not your best parenting technique but until I find something more effective I’m going with it! -at least for two more days…

Thank you so much Colored Organics for the softest outfits!! 

Thank you for reading along, what are you excited to give under the tree this year?! 

Photography: Ashley Kay Photography 

Family fun in OshKosh B’gosh!

Angelina Bowman in an OshKosh B'gosh Fur coat

Annabelle Bowman wearing aOshKosh B'gosh Faux fur coat and Croc Rainboots

Alexander Bowman wearing aOshKosh B'gosh Orange boys sweat suit

OshKosh B'gosh Orange boys sweat suit

Annabelle Bowman wearing aOshKosh B'gosh Faux fur coat and Croc Rainboots

OshKosh B'gosh Orange boys sweat suit

Alexander, Annabelle, and Angelina Bowman of Stephany's Choice wearing OshKosh B'gosh Kids

 

Annabelle’s Choice: Coat: Oshkosh || Boots: Crocs || Bow: Libby Lou Bowtique || Tights: Similar here

Alexander’s Choice: Sweatshirt: Oshkosh || Sweatpants: Oshkosh|| Polo: Oshkosh || Shoes: Similiar here

Angelina’s Choice: Coat: Oshkosh || Tights: Oshkosh || Hat: Similar here

I am so excited to be teaming up with one of the most iconic brands, OshKosh B’gosh!!! This is such a “pinch me” moment as I grew up with this brand, and now dress my own children in their adorable and wholesome clothes.

A lot things I’m drawn to are things that I grew up doing and loving. There is definitely an element of nostalgia there. I have to admit that I am a very sentimental person. Haha. Especially around this time of the year. Something about the holidays, the music the decorations, remind me of days past. 

I’ve picked out a couple of my favorite staples from Oshkosh’s winter collection. I love the bright colors, mix and matching everything. Occasionally, when I dress up the kiddos I don’t end up putting them in what I originally envisioned. Either they aren’t feeling the look, or something is in the wash!! Yup, totally unintentional. Most of the time, however, it all comes together wonderfully. Honestly though, kids can make anything look cute- especially when they are happy and having fun.

Afternoons with nothing on the the schedule is one of our favorite things in the world. We love to go to the park as often as we can. This spot is right by the school and sometimes I try to pack a little picnic to bring along. I’ve even stopped by our local Krispy Kreme donut shop, and pick out half a dozen fresh goodies 🙂 Of course, I try to grab a coffee for myself from “StarBUGS” too,  and a magazine if I’m feeling ambitious- which I never end up reading! I’m always terrified one of the kids is going to end up falling into the water. Probably Alexander…ekk..

There are also lots of ducks and geese here and the kids love to feed them. Sometimes the birds can get a little aggressive and competitive fighting for the bread and I panic slightly:) The kids don’t seem to notice at all and love every minute of it. Honestly, when the kids are happy I am happy. Sometimes I think it’s easier to take them out, rather than just keeping them at home all afternoon. Sure some days they need to come home and relax, but for the most part a little fresh air and a walk in nature is probably not a bad thing. Or are they just in it for the donuts?!! 

This is also the best time of the year, not too hot, not too cold. Just perfect.

Now that Angelina’s starting to walk around I hope she doesn’t get too intimidated by the birds. I think they are probably about her size or taller. It’s going to be a lot of fun watching her out there. Alexander is great a throwing the bread into the water. The only problem is a lot of the time he eats up all the bread before even throwing one crumb to the birds. haha. Love that cheeky boy so much 🙂 ♥

Thanks for reading along, did you wear OshKosh as a kid? What was your favorite item?

Photography: BeckleyPhoto.com 

 

Thankful

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Stephany’s Choice: Dress: GAP || Bag: GAP || Shoes : SIMILAR HERE

Annabelle’s Choice: Top: SIMILAR HERE || Skirt: TARGET || Shoes: SIMILAR HERE || Bow: LIBBY LOU BOWTIQUE 

Alexander’s Choice: Top: GAP || Pants: SIMILAR HERE || Shoes: SIMILAR HERE

Angelina’s Chioce: Top: GAP || Pants: GAP || Bow: NORDSTROM

Thankful. One powerful word that I don’t use nearly as much as a should. Today I’m pinching myself. I am typing these words as the warm sweet smell of turkey baking in my oven fills the house. The Thanksgiving Parade is on channel 5 and the children are playing dominos with Michael. I can hear them laughing. Everyone is in Pajamas and is relaxed. There is nothing on the schedule for today or the next few days but togetherness (and lots of delicious homemade food). 

This year we have kept our canned items to a minimum. Cheating only with gravy, apple pie, and vanilla ice-cream. Everything is homemade. Um, OK as I write this I immidiatly realize that Michael’s the one that made pretty much everything this year. Let’s see : Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and salad. Yup. I think we should include Michael at the top of my thankful list this year.

Family, Family, Family

My husband Michael. He’s there during the good, the bad and the meltdowns. He’s my best friend. 

Speaking of best friends, I wouldn’t be able to put together any kind of thankful list without my mom. I basically count on her for everything. She has high standards and is really picky. She also has a really playful and free side to her that is daring. I’m really inspired by her fearlessness and her generosity. Pretty safe to say she’s the best Glamma ever. 

Right behind every great woman is a wonderful man. My dad. The sweetest and most thoughtful person. I never have to ask my dad for anything twice. He’s always looking to help and improve on any situation. I know he’s always just a phone call or text away. An expert on everything from camera lenses to minivans. My dad is someone I know I can always count on.

Last and certainly not least, my children. Yes, the three little people that stole my heart. I am so thankful to know them ,to love them, to laugh with them. They come to me when they are happy and when they are sad.

I am so proud to be their mama. I am thankful to them for making me a better and happier person. I want to be the best Stephany I can be for them. I never want to forget their huge toothy smiles. Singing along to songs on the radio in their car seats. Pointing to things out the window,” LOOK AN AIRPLANE!” and even the bad days. Losing a friend on the playground. Falling off the scooter. Or frustrations with not being able to nail the perfect cart wheel. 

 New friends and devoted readers

I want to give a personal thank you to all of you who have supported me and encouraged my work. This is such a personal platform for me to share and express my ideas and life. It’s so intimate as I try to be as honest and forth coming as possible. I am so grateful for everyone that has been on this journey with me. I have met so many gracious and beautiful people. I am inspired daily by your kindness and warmth. I hope I can let you know how much your love and support has kept me driven to do my best to produce truthful material every week here on www.stephanyschoice.com.

“Today, I am grateful for family who are friends & the friends who become family”.

Thank you, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Photography: Ashley Kay Photography

 

Mad about Plaid

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Stephany’s Choice: Dress: GAP || Scarf: GAP || Tote bag : GAP || Shoes: SIMILAR HERE

Annabelle’s Choice: Top: GAP || Jeans: GAP || Shoes: TARGET || Bow: LIBBY LOU BOUTIQUE

Alexander’s Choice: Top: GAP || Jeans: GAP || Shoes: GAP

Angelina’s Choice: Top: GAP || Jeans: GAP || Shoes: GAP || Headband: Similar here

It’s finally starting to feel like Fall here in Texas, and I’m loving every moment of it. It’s a relief to be able to jump out the door and not be sweating beads by the time you’ve buckled your kids into their car seats! I love all the things that Fall represents like being cozy, layering up, and spending more time indoors. I’m thinking family games, trips to the library, baking, crafting, funny movies, and long Autumn walks. I’ve also signed the kids up for some fun after school activities this semester and I really hope they love them.

Skating was something that I loved doing so much when I was growing up in Switzerland. Yes!! You may be surprised to learn that I grew up in Zug, Swizerland!! We moved there when I was about 4 years old and stayed until I was 12 (6th grade). Often people ask me if I speak fluent German, but actually we went to a private English school with other kids who came from an international background. We grew up loving Winter sports (naturally). A lot of our filed trips where to ski villages in the mountains or our local public ice skating rink on Fridays. We also skated on the weekends, skied on holidays and with the family. The mountains were huge and vast, with bright white powdery snow. The local ski villages were quaint and cozy, small and private. We would ski for hours and then stop for lunch at the top of the mountain peak. Usually, a packed lunch provided by the camp, a sandwich, apple and candy bar. The sun would be shining and we would lay in the snow, sing songs, and get ready for the final round of ski.

At the end of a great day we would walk down the village to our cabins with our skis over our shoulders. After warm showers and getting into cozy clean clothes we would write in our journals, and catch up with our roommates (about 4- 6 kids in a room). Then finally the cafeteria for dinner. One of the best nights was fondue night where we would sit boy, girl, boy, girl around a big pot of fondue. Everyone would have a long fondue fork with a piece of bread for dipping on the end. If your piece of bread fell into the fondue then you would have to kiss the person (boy sitting to your left). It was a lot of laughs and a lot of fun. Of course on other nights, bonfires, scavenger hunts (not one of my strengths) and fashion shows.

I love these precious memories I have from growing up in Switzerland and I will cherish them forever. 

 I haven’t hit the slopes in years and I miss it so much. I think the last time I put on my skis was before I had Alexander (can that be right?!!) I really want to plan something for Michael and I in February somewhere, maybe Colorado??

So, I’ve gone ahead and signed the kids up for some ice skating lessons this season. I hope Annabelle and Alexander can learn a few skills and have as much fun on the ice as I remember having. Last week was their first time and they did such an awesome job! What I was the most proud of was that they never quit. They fell a few times but just got right back up and kept on trying. They had such a great attitude and never gave up. My little mama heart was just bursting with pride. Of course I want my children to have success in any and many things that they strive to achieve but the grace and character they demonstrate when it doesn’t always go their way is just as, if not more important. I hope we can continue to achieve both. In any case, I’m not sure there was ever a day where they didn’t make me so proud. 

What sports did you grow up loving? Thank you for following along! Please feel free to ask me any question in the comments below.

Photographer : Beckleyphoto.com 

Happy First Birthday Angelina!

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Stephany’s Choice: Dress: Free People || Shoes : Topshop

Michael’s Choice: Suit : Similar here || Shirt: Similar here || Shoes: Similar here || Black tie: Similar here

Annabelle’s Choice: Jacket : H&M || Dress : Similar here || Pink shoes: TARGET

Alexander’s Choice: Blazer : Similar here || Shirt: GAP || Pants: Similar here || Shoes: GAP

Angelina’s Choice: Crown: ETSY || Outfit : ETSY || Boots: Similar here

Happy Birthday to my sweet little Angel, Angelina Luella Bowman! I cannot believe how quickly this year went by. Two nights ago we went Trick-or-Treating and it brought so many memories back from last year. I was heavily pregnant (obviously) and had such a busy day. My mom was in town to help with the baby preparations and we were buzzing around town trying to get everything perfect for Halloween night. We thought we had 5 more days since I was signed up for a scheduled C-section. What we didn’t plan for was later that night I would have terrible pain. Shooting cramps. We called the hospital several times but all they said was “take a bath” or “it’s just cramps”. Finally at around 9 am after a terrible night of pain and stress, and a lot of lost blood: Panic starts to set in. I’m thinking the worst. My mom threw a bathrobe on me and basically pushed Michael and me out the door. I’m so lucky she was able to stay with Bella and Xander so we could rush to the hospital’s emergency room.

It was Sunday morning post Halloween night and the streets were sober and empty. I remember being terrified and just sobbing the whole car ride. Had we waited too long? What were we thinking? Why didn’t we just go to the hospital for a check-up instead of just waiting and waiting at home. I mean, I was 9 months pregnant and scheduled for birth days later?! I’m really happy that everything went smoothly because there was a moment in that car where I questioned everything. Time froze and all I could do was pray and hope. When we arrived to the ER moments later and I was an absolute mess. In tears, exhausted (bloody?!) and in full hysterical panic mode. All I wanted to hear was my baby’s heartbeat and all I wanted to see was my babies face.

Thankfully, the nurse did a quick ultrasound and we could hear the heartbeat, strong, steady. Beautiful. Michael had a flight to Canada that afternoon and so he was on the phone trying to cancel all his reservations. I can’t believe how nonchalant we were. Playing around with nature’s time lines. We weren’t ready for baby but baby was ready for us. So, just like that, they pushed us to the top of the emergency C-section list. We would be the first ones to have a baby in the surgery room that morning. 

Before you know it, I am being wheeled into the the sterile, cold room where my child will be born. Shots, tubes, epidural, lights, masks, gowns, gloves… Curtain goes up, husband by my side, hand squeezes, tears of joy, tears of humbleness. And then, the most beautiful sound in the world. Her. Her little, tiny, precious, strong, little voice. The anesthesiologist whispers under his breath, “it’s a girl”, and the nurse announces “It’s a beautiful little girl of a strawberry blonde complexion”. Weight. Height. Then finally in my arms.

She was beautiful, she was perfect, here she is, and she was mine, and I was hers. She had her daddy’s nose, and my eyes. She was small but strong. She had a little crease at the top of her nose and little ears. Wispy hair, and long fingers. Soft buttery skin. I fell in love at first sight. 

After we arrived to our room she nursed like a dream. Then for hours and days, nurse, water, sleep. Repeat. Michael sent a message to my mom at home, she must have been so worried!! “We have a beautiful little girl!!” It was such a wonderful surprise, we thought that it was going to be a boy the whole time. Not that we knew for sure, we decided to keep it a surprise this time and it sure was. The kids arrived a little later that day, Annabelle seemed concerned that it was a girl at first. Possibly a little worried about the competition( you should see how much they adore each other now!!). Alexander loved her right away. He told my mom on the way home that “Angelina is my best friend”!! So sweet.

We didn’t have any baby girl names picked out. We did have a short list of boy names that we had to throw out the window! We didn’t want to choose an “A” name just so it could match. We wanted to choose something we loved. We did feel, however, that it had to have the same weight and feeling of the other two. So we went back to the list of names that we could remember that we liked when we were picking out Annabelle’s name. Suddenly out of the blue Michael says, ” what about Angelina?” And it was perfect. Mom rushed out to the store with Annabelle to find some girly baby clothes, and show Michael which stroller and carseat we had been looking at. After a couple of days I was strong enough to take a shower and move around the room a little. Angelina never left my side, not for one single moment. She was a great feeder and loved to be tucked into my arms. I slept with her on my chest and she was my only focus. The kids came to visit after school for a couple of hours each time.

At the end of my hospital stay I was back on my feet and ready to come home again. We strapped her in her car seat, and brought her home. I can’t imagine my life without her. She wakes up with a huge smile every single day. She gives big hugs and laughs easily. She can walk a few steps and reaches her little arms out like she wants to give you a hug!! She walks with a look of pure concentration and determination on her face, ending up with a giant smile. She can say “mama”, high five with her daddy, eat popcorn, play blocks with her big brother, and dolls with her sissy. She still has no hair but her head feels like a warm fuzzy little peach. I love you so much my sweet baby, I am so blessed that I get to be your mom on this amazing adventure together. 

Photography: theretropenguin.com

The Incredibles

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Stephany’s Choice: Mrs. Incredible costume: Similar here || Boots: Similar here 

Michael’s Choice: Mr. Incredible Costume: Similar here || Sneakers: Nordstrom

Annabelle’s Choice: Violet Costume: Similar here

Alexander’s Choice: Mr. Incredible : Similar here

Angelina’s Choice: Baby Jack: Similar here

Trick or Treat?!! Hope you are having an Incredible Halloween!! Ok, I’m not going to lie, I’m totally getting carried away with all the Incredible references. Honestly, being a super hero for the day is a really awesome feeling, and being united with the kids is even better! I’ve had this costume in mind for a few years now, but last year I was 9 months pregnant on Halloween and just so busy planning for baby. In other years we were a family of four and Annabelle had her own ideas of what she wanted to be. This costume was an easy sell. Everyone knew who the Incredible family was (we own the DVD) and everyone agreed that they were happy to dress up as a superhero! I was undecided as to what level I wanted to take the costume to, wigs,etc.. But we decided to settle on this, the simplest version. Sometimes simple is best, it’s more streamlined and less fussy, and becomes more impactful.

The rest of the weekend is going to be busy with one thousand Halloween parties, and then we will leave the trick or treating till Monday. We will probably plan to leave the house when it starts to get dark maybe around 6:30pm or so and walk a block to some of the homes that have dressed up their entrances with spooky Halloween decorations. I would say one to two hours will be perfect for walking around the neighborhood. It’s also a lot of fun to see how everyone else has dressed up and check out the other costumes and cool decorations. Last year I was the size of a pumpkin and walked so much I literally felt sick that night.. what I was really going through were contractions and I ended up giving birth to Angel the next day!! It’s known as the “Halloween effect” apparently when you are heavily pregnant and you go “trick or treating” with your other kiddos, it tips your pregnancy over the edge and can induce early labour!! Or that’s what I was told! The hospitals expect and influx of patients coming in the next day because of this reason!! I guess it makes sense, I had never heard of such a thing in my life but there we were the next day, in the emergency operating room for the day’s first urgent C-section! Crazy, spooky… I thought we would have plenty of time (another week) after the Halloween festivities to prepare for baby. I guess Angelina had other plans!! In any case I feel so blessed that everything was smooth and I had this perfect, healthy little girl. I was worried that she would be born on Halloween, then I became worried that she may have had a complication, then finally I was so appreciative that everything went smoothly. Halloween will always be a really fun time with the kids, but it will always remind me of that last day that I carried my last sweet baby in my belly. It will forever be, Incredible. 

Photography: www.theretropenguin.com

 

 

Spooky Fun with Pottery Barn Kids

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Stephany’s Choice: Dress : Free People || Pink Flats : Similar here || Shorts : Similar here

Annabelle’s Choice: Butterfly Costume : Pottery Barn Kids

Alexander’s Choice: Dinosaur Costume: Similar here and here 

Angelina’s Choice: Kitty Costume : Similar here

So apparently we love dressing up. Any excuse to dress up in a costume is exactly where we want to be. If Annabelle could wear some crazy princess, butterfly, unicorn combination every single day she would. Alexander would happily dress up as a Fireman or anything that makes him feel he is one step closer to being able to drive a fast car. Last year he begged me to dress him up as a garbage truck!! Being the devoted parents that we strive to be, we actually did some web searches ” Toddler Garbage Truck Costume”, needless to add that it turned up nothing. Although I think Amazon may have had a cardboard recycling truck box that you could strap on…We went with a lion costume( second year in a row :|). He didn’t seem to mind and the kids were so good about knocking on the doors,” Trick or treat ?!” and soon after , ” Thank you!” -Then Alexander’s final parting words: “ROAR!” Hahaha.

We have this Pottery Barn Kids store close to our house and right next to our neighborhood Starbucks and I love any excuse to stick my nose in there. Even the kiddos love going in. The staff are so friendly and they have little train sets and cars that they don’t mind if the kids play with while I stroll through the place. My favorite times to go are when there is something seasonal going on like Easter, Valentines Day or Christmas. Decorating a table for a party is almost as much fun as getting dressed up for one. Especially a theme party (in my opinion). I love that they have cute personalized options too. I have some personalized Christmas dishes for the kids and they are some of my favorite table decorations of all time. I also love these tumblers. I have them with the witches and they are the perfect size. The quality is really good too, I throw everything in the dishwasher and while they don’t look brand new anymore (I’ve had mine for a year now) they still look pretty good. For decorating a party table with a theme you don’t have to buy every single thing on the table in that same theme. You can choose key colors, maybe 2 or 3 and then sprinkle a couple of spooky Halloween pieces. I think that’s almost better because when there is too much stuff on the table or too many decorations your main pieces may get lost in the mix. A few chunky ones, and a couple of detail items are just perfect! I’m getting more of the tumblers and then I think I’m going to get these cute personalized pumpkin plates. Alexander’s Dinosaur costume is sold out online but I think the hood was kind of bulky anyway and started sliding off in the store. Probably not a bad idea to have them try on the outfits before purchasing, just in case, if you can. They look different on the kids than they did on the shelves and sometimes the fit isn’t comfortable or overwhelmens the child. Bella chose her outfit and seemed really pleased with it. Angel’s was cozy and comfy too. All around, we had the best time, and we will definitely be going back for more!! I wish they made adult costumes ?!!!!

What’s your favorite local store? Do you prefer to get dressed up or dress up the table?! Thanks for reading along with me!!

I want to give a special thank you to the Pottery Barn Kids staff on Knox: Dale, Kyle, and Jennifer! Thank you for teaming up with us, and for being so generous!! 

Photography : Theretropenguin.com