Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here is a copy of the first (and only?) Christmas letter that we've ever sent. If you didn't get one I'm sorry, it's probably because I know you read this blog. Or because you live in Vancouver and know what we're doing. Or because I didn't have enough stamps to send one to everybody. Or because you're blog-stalking me and I don't know you.

Whatever the reason, due to the magic of technology you too can be a part of our lives!

Dear friends and family,

Well, another year has come and gone and for the first time we have decided to write a Christmas letter. We have graduated, moved, bought a house, gotten a “real” job, and had a baby so pretty much every aspect of our lives has changed in the last year. As good a time as any to update everyone I’d say!

Tyson graduated last December from BYU with his Doctorate in Electrical Engineering and got a job with a company called nLight doing high tech top secret stuff. It’s not really top secret, but since I do not have a PhD in EE, it may as well be. In Tyson’s own words; “I work on designing and manufacturing lasers for various government uses.” Ok, maybe I know more about his job that I thought because those ended up being mostly my own words. Anyway, since nLight is in Vancouver, Washington we moved here at the end of last year and began a life outside of Utah. Tyson is also working hard in church with a calling as a primary teacher. He teaches the 10 turning 11 year olds and they love him.

I (Mari) graduated Summa Cum Laude in December from UVU with a Bachelor in Music Education. Before the ink on the diploma dried we found out I was pregnant and eagerly began preparing for our baby’s arrival. I elected not to get a job and instead spent my days searching for a house that we could raise our family in. We found a beautiful new home and quickly discovered that one apartment worth of furniture does not a decorated house make. I have loved the opportunity to paint and decorate our home although I still have a long way to go. I am also working hard in church with callings as ward chorister and as 1st counselor in the Young Women’s presidency.

Logan Grant Lowder was born September 25 after a fairly easy 23 hour labor. He has been a wonderful baby who already sleeps through the night and eats like there’s no tomorrow. Tyson and I will do anything to make him giggle and spend countless hours tickling, cooing, and grinning at him.

The three of us are thoroughly enjoying our transformed lives here in Vancouver. We have made so many friends here already and have found that we don’t miss being in school at all! We are looking forward to the next year and can’t wait to see what it brings us. If you would also like to see what it brings us, you are welcome to visit our blog at You can also go there to see a current family picture since my desire to send a birth announcement usurped the traditional family portrait.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tyson, Mari and Logan Lowder

And, as a bonus for reading the blog you get a family picture too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Miracle!

If there ever was a time for miracles, this would be it! Unfortunately with the stress of shopping (which is normally a fun thing), struggling to come up with the perfect presents, fighting crowds and traffic, and watching our bank accounts dwindle down alarmingly fast I think lots of us feel more stress preparing for Christmas than we should.

This year I've been trying to look for happy little things that make the mundane activities miraculous. Allow me to share them with you.

1. Tyson and I went to Winco on Saturday. A bad idea in general to be true and an even worse idea the Saturday before Christmas. But alas, it's grocery day so we went. And what do you know, we got the closest parking space in the first row we went down. And when you're carrying a heavy sleeping baby and it's raining that spot becomes all the more coveted.

Christmas miracle!

2. During that same shopping trip we discovered raisin nut bran (Tyson's favorite cereal) was on sale. It's never on sale, at least at winco.

Christmas miracle!

3. My trunk has a hard time latching closed and there have been several instances where I've come out of a store to find it open, and my car not broken into.

Christmas miracle! (and a reminder to always double check it after I think I've closed it)

4. Last Saturday (again) we went to wal-mart. This was a worse idea than going to winco but it had to be done. After looking for a parking space and realizing the parking lot was full all the way to the end of the lot, something I'd never seen before, we questioned our sanity but drove around to find a place anyway. We completed our shopping and joined half the store in waiting to check out. We happened to be standing right next to lane 13 which wasn't open. We daydreamed about how wonderful it would be if an employee came out and said to us "I'm opening right here, come on over". But that never happens, right?

Until it does!

Seriously 2 seconds after I contemplated putting our stuff on the belt in faith that someone would magically appear to check us out, someone magically appeared and invited us to check out on lane 13.

Christmas miracle!

5. Logan slept all during that huge shopping trip.

Christmas miracle!

And here's the best one of all.

6. After paying an extra $1000 in totally unexpected medical bills we got a check from our mortgage company for over $1000. Something about how they overestimated something so we overpaid by that much.

Christmas miracle!


Paying your tithing miracle!

Either way, yay!

So, my friends, if you're feeling stressed this season don't forget to look for the miracles in your life right now. Pay extra attention the next couple of days and tell me about them. Or your spouse, or your kids. No matter what, find a way to let the chaos lift you up.

Love you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Hurrah to December!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread mania!

You would think that 4 adults + 2 premade gingerbread creations would = a fun night of Christmas crafting.

But alas, you have entered the house where easy things become hard and thus we have this,

and this,

and a little bit of this.

Speaking of making easy things hard, I accidentally put my pictures on the left instead of the middle and now I can't control my blog. This is why I find what works for me and stick with it. I don't want to start over so you get what you get with this one.
Mom made the comment that she loved how our train was just like the box... besides that the lines were twice as messy and 4 times as thick.
Whatever mom, whatever. Pretty sure they're only twice as thick.
Personally I liked how my dad got creative with his side of the roof.
Mom's side.

Dad's side. When asked what it was, he said a smile. I figure it's like that commercial with all the faces in household objects. Sometimes you can see it, sometimes you can't.

In the end, we found a special sort of pride at conquering the gingerbread. The roof didn't slide off the house and the train didn't tip over.

Total success.
And I somehow put this last picture on twice. I'm just gonna leave it as a final testament to this jacked up entry.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Logan's big day!

We blessed Logan on Sunday!
We started off the day by having to wake Logan up at 9:30 so that he would be ready for church on time.
I know, right?
I just gently unswaddled him and made some casual coughing noises while he stirred, hoping it would ease him out of dreamland without making him cranky. It totally worked.

And I know I'm totally not biased but holy crap, isn't that the cutest little outfit you've ever seen!?
Actually, I probably shouldn't say words like crap when talking about something like a blessing... but then again maybe I should because guess what leaked out of his pants after church.
Yeah, it never ends.
We were very careful before church to prevent any mishaps though. I put on his bib as soon as I got him dressed and then I heard him go potty pretty much immediately after (of course) so I quickly yanked his pants off until he was done and I could change him.

Here we are doing a little more quality control...
So I am posting this picture because I think it's a good one even though none of us are looking at the camera and also, let's be honest, I look about 10 lbs lighter than I really am. It was a wonderful lucky thing. Those are Tyson's parents by the way.
Here's sweet Logan with his other set of grandparents, my mom and dad who were able to fly from Michigan for the event!
In reality, we blessed him this day because they would be here, not the other way around.
Tyson did such a wonderful job doing the blessing in spite of Logan crying not before, not after, but during the blessing. Whoever was in charge of the mic kept it right at Tyson's mouth though so we could hear him very clearly. It was wonderful.
After sacrament meeting we went back to our house with friends and family and enjoyed a fabulous meal.
Here's the spread of food we enjoyed. So delicious...

Funny story about that poinsettia over there; I was tidying up the kitchen when I noticed a puddle of water underneath the pot. "Wonder where that came from?" I thought to myself, milliseconds before the truth hit me.

"Mom, (in my sweetest innocent voice) did you water my poinsettia for me?"

"Yeah I did."

"Well thank you but... it's fake"

Guess that's one good looking fake plant although according to my Mom it looks a little dry. Ha! Luckily the Styrofoam was no worse for the wear although the fake dirt on top washed away a little revealing some of the white stuff underneath.

Poor Logan got so tired at the end of the day. Here he is all tuckered out after getting changed into a new outfit due to the poo.

It's hard being a star!

Monday, December 14, 2009

GOOD Mom vol. 1

So I was making a video for my mom of Logan and me. After carefully setting it up on the windowsill, propping it just so, and finding the perfect zoom to maximize Logan's cutability I started recording.

He giggled a couple days ago; I was trying to recreate that moment.

I failed.

But anyway, mid tickle I looked over and noticed a SPIDER CRAWLING ON LOGAN'S CHAIR!!! Darn you, real Christmas tree and the nature you've brought into my home!
(This one had built its web between a chair I sit in every day and the tree. Shudder...)

You know me, you know my fear of spiders, you wont fault my first instinct that made me shriek and push the whole chair away from me. But no, must save the baby, must fight the natural man. Or was I already fighting the natural man by not saving my young at all costs?

Whatever. I grabbed my baby out of that thing and stood up, ready to walk away from the whole situation until Tyson got home.

And yet... taking my eyes off that spider would mean that it could creep around anywhere he liked and surprise me in some other terrifying way. Sorry spider, once you leave the ceiling you have entered my territory. Death must ensue. My weapon: a shoe.

I really need to practice my accuracy in shoe throwing so I can hit a spider from afar, but I've been busy doing other important things like raising a child and feeding my husband so I had to maintain a firm grip on the shoe while I beat that spider down. I emerged victorious and looked up to see the camera still recording.


I gave that camera a point (it would have been two handed but I was still holding the baby) and said "HA! Take that!" to my mom who had once expressed disbelief in my ability to kill a spider on my own.

I then picked up the camera to find that my heroic act had NOT been saved for posterity seeing how I neglected to push the record button.
So be it.

This is Logan's "chair" in case you were wondering.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just because

Well ladies, looks like that husband of the year award has been clinched.
If not it's Mr. Congeniality for sure.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I made this for him

I'm so glad he's totally into my crafts.
This will surely continue as he gets older.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bad mom Vol. 2

Told ya there'd be more.

Well, bitty baby is 2 months old now and he had his Dr. appointment exactly on his two month birthday, last Wednesday. He's running a bit big which is fine with me except that I have to carry him everywhere. Here are the stats:

Weight: 12 lbs 10 oz - 75%
Height: 23 1/4 in - 70%
Head: I forget the exact number but 60%

I was thinking his head would be bigger? He seems pretty well proportioned though.

So for Logan's 2 month appointment he of course got a ton of vaccines. Oh the trauma.

We started with an orally administered one. The nurse was saying beforehand that some babies liked the taste and some babies hated it. With Logan being so happy cooing and gurgling she was betting he'd like the taste.

Here's hoping she's not a betting woman.

After the crying, gagging, and coughing was over it was time to pin him down for the shots. I'm sure you can imagine how that went. He reached a new level of loudness that I'd never heard and I about joined in with him when I glanced down and saw the little blood pools forming on his legs. I LOATHE getting shots myself so I could totally empathize with his pain. I still feel like I deserve a reward when I get a shot and don't cry.

I was worried that he would be super cranky after all that, but after a feeding and a short nap it seemed he had pretty much forgotten all.

Fast forward to later that night. We were getting Logan ready for his bath and discussing how to best get those band aids off. Mom and Dad thought to themselves we'll just get it over fast with the quick pull.

No. Mom thought that. Me, the mom, you know, the one with the intuition and stuff?

Tyson went along with it and in one swift yank we brought back all our baby's pain and agony and he wasn't as quick to forget this time. We snuggled and cuddled and tried to pacifier him up and then just stuck him in the bath to get it over with. This was where we added insult to injury by singing "If you're happy and you know it" and then dissolving into giggles because his face just wasn't showing it.

Poor baby.

An hour later we got him calmed down, fed, and in bed. I was gearing myself up for him to be fussy all night and wake up every hour or so wanting to be held.

Wrong again mom.

He slept 8 hours straight.

Might've had something to do with all that crying?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brother/Uncle came!

Austin came to visit us from BYU for Thanksgiving. His visit was preceded with some questions via text:

A: Do you have towels?
M: What? Yes, of course we have towels.
A: Does Tyson have a pair of brown shoes I could borrow?
M: You could, but he wears a size 7 (Austin wears an 11)
I suppose he was packing at the time.

Logan loves him, although it's sometimes a love mingled with fear.

We decided a trip to the coast was in order. After a delicious visit to Tillamook where I conceded that my craving for their ice cream wasn't just a pregnancy thing, we went to exotic Cape Meares.

I tell you this as if you should know what it is.

It's pretty much some gorgeous cliffs.

And a lighthouse.

And the closest scenic point of interest next to, of course, Tillamook, my real reason for driving two hours away from home. Dang that ice cream, I can't get off it!

We stopped at the beach on our way out for no other reason than to say we were there and snap a quick picture. You can't tell here but Logan was not happy.

Maybe you can tell.

Overall, the trip was awesome except for that part where Logan decided he'd had it with his carseat and started to seriously lose it. The result of this was me nearly losing it and a 45 minute stop at home depot (the first place I saw off the freeway) where I ended up feeding him while sitting on the bathroom floor. But alas, we did make it home in the end.
p.s. I totally didn't expect so many awesome comments on the working out post, but I should have because you guys are awesome! Thanks so much for all the advice!
Here's the plan for now: I borrowed P90x from my brother in law (thanks Tad!) and I started it yesterday. So far so good! I like it because a) I can do it at home while the babe is asleep b) it has variety and room for improvement c) no one is around to laugh at me while I flop around the floor like a dying fish trying to do AB RIPPER X (spoken in an echoing man voice).
I do, however, fully plan to make Tyson do it when he gets home from work so I can laugh at him.