Christmas this year was great! We spent it with my family and had a lot of fun. We got some great presents and are definitely grateful for our family's generosity! Here are some highlights: 

Dave's new biking jersey. And I think between the two of us, we acquired approximately 488 new pairs of socks.
I got some fun new kitchen toys (of course?).  Including an immersion blender and this beautiful dutch oven.  
As usual, the year ends with waaaay too much candy.  I don't know, who is complaining? Not us.  Dave loves tootsie pops. I did put a ton of candy in our study to save for July, which is when we should finish what is in the kitchen. Actually, we'll probably save it for trick-or-treaters.   
Here is the thing: Dave is really good at presents. He also has great taste (though other times in the year I have to drag an opinion out of him..) He made (sewed!) this little chapstick holder because everytime I change from jeans to pjs, I spend the whole night trying to find my chapstick.  (which you think would be in my pants pocket, which sometimes it is, but more often is not.)
Our media collection also increased. (we looove deleted scenes)
Dave also got a fancy remote control helicopter, which he loves and flies often.  I'm terrible at flying it.  

Next week I will post the projects I made for Christmas gifts.  Just you wait, they are awesome!!

on an unrelated note

I did not think it would be so hard to find a pair of flat, dark brown boots.  That fit and aren't ugly.  I mean, seriously, I'm not thaaat picky.  I am not even looking for a specific design, just those four parameters. (ok, and I don't want to pay a million dollars for them)

Doesn't seem that hard, does it?

But I have looked everywhere (ok, not everywhere, but seriously, who does that?) and right now am just giving up.  I think that is how it works, right? You stop looking for something specific and then it just comes?

And you know, I feel like screaming to the universe: "with all that has happened, can't I just find a freaking pair of brown boots??"

on time

Earlier this year, I wrote about how I couldn't wait for 2011 to end. 

And here we are, at the end.

And I feel like I have nothing to show for it.

I feel like that is not my fault, because I definitely thought I knew how this year was ending and how next year was beginning.  But that is gone now, and what is left looks like we are just repeating this year again. 

And sure, I have a year of career experience under my belt, a new hobby of biking and I am a better cook now.  Dave finished his classes and is almost done with grad school. We have done a lot of fun things, but I am ready to move on. And all I see are more months where everything is uncertain. As of December 31st, we have reached the end of our plans.  And we'll know what we are doing soon enough (one thing I do know is that we are four months from a washer/dryer. and I will just cling to that), but we are in the same place as we've been for a while, and the view from here is a little gray.  (name the reference??)

Even with all that has happened, this year has been good. We have been blessed and are looking forward to this new year. The end of a lot of things and the beginning of other things.  And boy, am I ready for other things.

I'm trying not to be too disappointed because things are different than I thought they'd be, but you know. It just happens that way sometimes.

here is to 2012!

have a safe & happy new year!

dawn of redeeming grace

we have never been more grateful for our Savior as we have been this season. Merry Christmas!

gingerbread houses

Our friends invited us over last night to make gingerbread houses (with graham crackers, the new gingerbread!) and it was very fun!  Dave made an awesome airplane.  Mine was pretty run-of-the-mill but it still brought some Christmas spirit! We also got to play with a cute baby, so that was a plus! 


Two weeks ago, or, a million years ago, we went with some ward friends to see the lights at temple square.  We also ate at a fun diner and stopped at h&m (kind of lame!).  It was fun!  It was cold and crowded, but the temple was breathtaking as usual and the lights very festive.  And it was a full moon, which was kind of cool!




Last night we went for a "light drive" with some other friends.  We saw some beautiful (& huge!!) houses with some great lights.  We also tried some Starbucks hot chocolate and caramel apple cider and it was delicious (lacey, you guys should give it one more try :)). 


this house!  those pillars! bah!! 


I can't believe it's been a week.  I feel like it's the longest and shortest of my life.  We have been trying to keep busy, and that includes, in true winter break fashion, staying up until 12 or 1 or 2 watching TV and then sleeping in until 9 or 10.  yikes.  I feel bad about that just happens.  We are still pretty productive during the day. 

Here are some of the good things from this week:

Flowers. We have been the recipients of beautiful flowers. I really wish they could last forever. They are all so wonderfully arranged. I love that they have wintery greens in them. Their color, scent and the fact that they are flowers in December have really helped our home to feel a little more peace and beauty. All the flat surfaces we have (5) are topped with flowers. 


Work Christmas party. thai food, white elephant and ugly sweaters. It was fun and it was nice to be in the company of our friends! (missing: front of sweater = huge, puffy snowman)

Wedding dress shopping. my sister and sister-in-law are both getting married in the spring.  I went dress looking with my sisters-in-law on Saturday. (hopefully she doesn't mind this picture!) Kristy tried on a few dresses and I kind of wanted to try some on for the fun of it. But I didn't. Then we had dinner with Shanna, Evan, Calvin and Kristy and it was fun. Also, I have the cutest nephew. 

Christmas. We're plugging along trying to finish up shopping and sewing and other things for Christmas. I finished Dave's shopping quite early and thought I was totally on the ball. Oh well. We aren't really stressed about it and it's part of the fun, I guess. Here is our little Christmas tree (and festive flowers) with some presents under the tree.  

 Caramels. We made some apple cider caramels and it was quite the process. I made the first batch on Monday afternoon and it turned out harder than rocks. Oops. We tried again later that night (that was the night we stayed up until 2) and with our combined efforts, it worked. constant vigilance. 

thank you so much.  we have been so touched by all the comments, emails, texts, calls and service sent our way these past few days.  we have felt your prayers and are so grateful for your kindness, well wishes and hope.

every day it gets better.  less of the absolute sorrow we felt on wednesday/thursday and more feeling normal.  we still strive to fill our days with as much activity as we can, because distractions definitely help.

sometimes though, we still feel like we are drowning and our hearts will never be okay. and I'm sometimes scared that all I'll see when I close my eyes for the rest of my life is our little girl on the ultrasound screen. 

but we are holding on to the beautiful hope and truth in our life.  and when that is all we have, that is enough.

our baby girl.

Dave and I lost our baby girl yesterday.  It has been quite a 24 hours.  We are fine, physically, but it has been an emotionally exhausting time period.  Week actually, since things kind of started on Monday. Everything came back fine and everything was fine until it wasn't.  We are glad that we got to sneak one more ultrasound in there, since that is the only way we really knew her.  We spent a long night at the hospital and are glad to be back home.  We had great nurses and doctors who were so kind to us.  

Our hearts are broken because we won't get to know our little baby in this life, but find peace in knowing we'll meet her someday because we are a forever family. We are so grateful for that knowledge.  It helps, but even in this short time, it still hits us sometimes (or once an hour?) with such a force I am not sure how we will ever be ok

What happened was quite a rare thing to happen at 20 weeks and was kind of a big, sucky fluke.  Our baby was so perfect looking and it was so hard to say goodbye. But we have felt such love from our family and friends and are so grateful for the love you have shown us!

Quite the turnaround from a 20 week baby bump picture, I know.  I feel like this is the next thing in a string of tragedies that have affected people I love. (I'm calling it the Bowen 11 curse and I hope it stops with me!)

it's a...

 baby girl!  
and we're so excited! 

The voting was close (from the blog, at least).10:9 in favor of a boy...and I was in the boy camp!  To be honest, I did want a boy more than a girl. And if you think I'm a terrible person, read this. I really liked her thoughts on this.   

So, yes, "in my heart of hearts", I was hoping for a boy...but I wouldn't say I was disappointed to be having a girl.  Just surprised because I felt like I "knew" it was a boy.  Ah well, always next time! 

However, we are both very excited to be having a little girl!  We feel blessed to have a healthy (and modest/stubborn) baby girl on the way! 

(we're almost halfway there!)

halloween party

I forgot to post these around Halloween.  I thought they were cute so I'm posting them now. These are from our ward Halloween party (where Shanna and I both placed in the pumpkin pie contest; her pumpkin cheesecake won and it was soo good!)

Also, if anyone can identify the black thing that Dave's head is in?  Another character from stitch? 

Here is Calvin being a blue crayon.  Cute! 

English Trifle

Our ward Christmas party was an around-the-world dessert theme.  Our families hail from England and Denmark, mostly.  Dave did serve a Spanish-speaking mission, but has not incorporated much Spanish cooking into our lives.  And since I got the sign up and always wanted to make a trifle...

I started with this perfect pound cake.  I can't believe how nicely it floated out of the pan.  One thing is I had to cook it a bit longer than it said (dumb oven/elevation?) and the outside was perfect.  I didn't realize until the next day that the inside was still a bit underdone.  (the toothpick came out clean, but it looked wet). So I cut them into cubes and tried to dry them out by basically making pound cake croutons. (but not too crunchy)

Yum! Costco has fresh raspeberries for pretty cheap and Dave really wanted to stay home so he could eat it all.  It did go pretty fast at the party (and sad to say, it does not look nearly as nice when it gets served...but that did not deter anyone.) It was easy to make and fun!  The reason I was worried about wet pound cake was it was going to be covered in raspberry jam. I knew the bread would get wet, but I didn't want it wet and underdone. 

I didn't try any of the final product, but I did make a taste test of extra cake, raspberries and cream.  Still good :) Not as perfect as Martha's, but what is?  They must have made a lot more whipped cream than the recipe called for.


It was fun to try my hand at some English Trifle and hopefully I made some ancestors proud.  It was probably not super legit, as there was no custard nor alcohol, but what can you do?

p.s. I'm loving watching the voting results...last night it was tied.  I really want to know who voted for what (and why?) indulge me if you can!

needed: little bum

Look how cuuuuuuute!  So, we're going to do/try cloth diapers.  I am not morally against disposable diapers at all (hello, vacations!) but I do like the benefits of cloth.  And so we are going to try them.  We've had some friends do them with success and that definitely encourages me. The modern all-in-ones are basically just as easy as disposable, except you have to wash them.  And from what I hear, you do a lot of laundry with babies anyways.  So I'm not worried about that.  PLUS they are just stinking cute. 

And I would be lying if I said that using cloth diapers wasn't part of a bigger plan to make SURE our next apartment has a washer/dryer in house.  Haha, just kidding, but the timing works out great because heaven knows I'm NOT doing cloth diapers without a washer in the next room. 

have any of you tried cloth diapers?  can you even wait to see our baby with a little blue-diapered bum?

FOR THE RECORD: cookies from dough that has been refrigerated for 2 days was the clear winner.  I would never, ever turn down a chocolate chip cookie that was not refrigerated, etc., but we ate those yesterday and were like "wow.  these are freaking delicious." And since it wasn't a side-by-side test, it was based on how we remembered the other ones tasting, which were also really good. So just try it sometime. 

ALSO: I am putting a poll up since we'll be finding out the gender in the next if you care to vote, vote away!