25 December 2011

Christmas in Colorado

This year, Jordan and I celebrated our very first Christmas together. Two years ago he was in Germany, and last year he was Afghanistan. It was so much fun to mesh our family traditions and come up with a few of our own. We can't wait to share them with our little one next year!



My little sister, Aimee, flew in to celebrate with us! On Christmas Eve we had a Mexican fiesta, watched The Grinch, and hung out in our cozy new Christmas jams (Thanks, Mom!). On Christmas morning, we had our traditional breakfast, opened gifts, played games and then joined some friends for dinner. Here are a few pictures from the weekend...


 [pardon the mirror picture]
[left to right: Jordan, our friend Dan, Me, Aimee]


Aimee also "rainbow-tized" our DVD collection 
(within an hour of arriving, none the less).

Merry Christmas from the Dowlers in Colorado!

19 December 2011

The Name

The official announcement of our baby's name has been long awaited. We've managed to remain pretty tight lipped about it, telling very few people. But now, it's time to tell EVERYONE and we couldn't be more excited! Without further ado, I give you.... the name:

*DRUM ROLL PLEASE*
*****
******
*******
*****
******
*******
*****


:]

Only a couple more months until our little boy is here!
Chandler, we can't wait to meet you!

17 December 2011

Oven Baked Potatoes

These potatoes were ridiculous. So delicious. So easy. And I will repeat, SO DELICIOUS. I normally make potatoes on the stove, but this was definitely easier.

Oven Baked Potatoes

2 large potatoes, scrubbed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Slice potatoes into 1/4 inch rounds
3. In a bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, Italian seasoning and salt.
4. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil.
5. Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Top with parmesan cheese and bake an additional 2-5 minutes.

I think next time I'll make them using red potatoes and lemon pepper, to go with breakfast! Yum!

16 December 2011

SGT DOWLER

After almost 2 months, Jordan was finally pinned this week! For those who don't know, that's fancy army speak for a promotion. He was technically promoted to E5 (Sergeant) on November 1st, but the pinning ceremony didn't take place until this week, which was frustrating on all sorts of levels.
Jordan called me about 15 minutes before the ceremony started, telling me to hurry up and get there because it was happening "right now." So I rushed to the his troop building on base and when I got there, all the men in his troop were in formation WAITING FOR US so they could start. That was a bit intimidating to walk into, let me tell you. The Captain asked me if I'd like to personally pin him in the ceremony (in front of everyone) and nervously, I said yes. I had no idea what I was doing, but I ripped his old rank off and slapped the new one on like a champ.. except that I managed to slap the new rank on upside down (woops!). After the ceremony, his platoon lined up to congratulate him. In true Army tradition, anyone with the same rank or higher got to punch him in the chest. The lower enlisted men shook his hand like gentlemen.
Here are a few photos from the ceremony...





 CONGRATULATIONS, SGT DOWLER! 
I LOVE YOU!

14 December 2011

Easy Baked Pasta

I've been making a lot of great dinners at home lately and eating at restaurants a lot less. I overheard Jordan raving about my cooking, the other night at a friend's house! I believe his exact words were, "..some of things she cooks BLOW MY MIND!" That's a HUGE compliment, especially coming from such a picky eater!


BAKED ZITI

1 lb rigatoni (or whatever tube shape pasta you like)
1 (15 oz) container of ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp parsley
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jar tomato sauce

1. Cook rigatoni in pot of boiling, salted water. Drain when pasta still has some bite to it. It's also going to cook in the oven and you don't want it to be overcooked. Reserve a little cooking water.
2. In mixing bowl, mix ricotta, garlic, 1/4 cup parmesan and 1/2 tsp of parsley. The rest of the cheese and parsley will be used the top. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add ricotta mixture and 1/2 of the tomato sauce to the pot of pasta. Mix until pasta is completely coated. If it's too thick, add a little of the pasta water. Spread evenly into a 9x13 casserole dish.
4. Spread the rest of the tomato sauce over the top and add mozzarella, parmesan and parsley to the top.
5. Cover with foil.
6. Cook in 350 degree oven for 30 mins covered, then 15 mins uncovered (or until cheese melts).
7. IMPORTANT: Let pan sit for about ten minutes before cutting.

Serve with garlic bread and a salad. VOILA! Another super easy, delicious, husband approved dinner!

On another note, I have a new love in my life... Pintrest. It takes up so much of my time, it's ridiculous. Facebook who? I'm all about pinning. If you don't know what Pintrest is, you're missing out. On a lot. DIY projects, amazing recipes, home design techniques, ideas for kids crafts; you name it, Pintrest has it. I highly recommend you check out the site, if you never have!

09 December 2011

27 Weeks

People ask me all the time, "What does it feel like?" in regards to the baby kicking... As of now, I have a new answer: Imagine a mini Carlton from Fresh Prince doing the Cha Cha Slide. Now imagine you swallowed him whole. Voila! No more goldfish/butterfly/gas analogies.

Seriously though, this baby is on the move all day, everyday.  I've heard fetal movement is a sign of intelligence... If that's true, I think I'll be giving birth to the next baby Einstein! He tends to like my right side better than my left, which typically makes me look a little lopsided. I like to make the joke that there's not enough "womb" for him on the left side.. ha. ha. ha.. not funny, right?

Highlight of my week: At about 27 weeks along, I am now able to balance bowls of cereal and soda cans on my belly, without them spilling (until le bebe decides he's done being a shelf and kicks them off). For anyone who's ever been pregnant, that's an accomplishment! I can't believe I'm already in my third trimester- this pregnancy has completely flown by! Ask me the same question in about 10 weeks though and I may give you another answer...

[Baby Einstein]

06 December 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Need another hot (easy) meal for a cold day? I've got your fix, right here!
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
2 1/2 cups milk
5 small/medium potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
Salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Sour cream
Green onions, chopped 

1. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, 2 cups milk and 1 teaspoon salt. 
2. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. 
3. Lower the heat to medium-low, stir, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. 
4. Add 1 cup chicken broth, then mash or puree the soup (depending on your soup preferences).
5. Season with salt and pepper (If you want an extra kick of flavor, add some garlic/onion powder).
6. Add 1 cup shredded cheese and stir. 

Divide the soup into bowls and garnish with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, sour cream and green onions. Enjoy! 

Check me out, I'm turning into a regular Betty Crocker!


05 December 2011

Date Night at the Dowler's


a christmas tree, a fireplace,
fluffy marshmallows to roast,
a snowy night, a good movie,
and a handsome husband to cuddle with.

is there anything more beautiful?
i am grateful.

03 December 2011

Operation Happy Holiday

Yesterday Jordan's brigade did a ruck march for the homeless. They arrived at 5:30am with empty ruck sacks (fancy army term for backpack) and filled them with donations of clothing, canned goods, blankets and more. They march 8 miles in below freezing temperatures to deliver the items in front of a soup kitchen downtown.
Jordan was the only soldier with a stroller on his back, so he's pretty easy to spot in the top photo (right lower corner).
I love that the troops are involved in their community, especially during the holidays. There are so many people around here in need of the things we tend to take for granted and this is such an eye opener.
Thanks, Raider Brigade, for taking the initiative to make a difference!

02 December 2011

25 Week Ultrasound

Today, we had a growth scan ultrasound again. Long story short, our civilian doctor in Utah screwed everything up, so now we have to re-do everything with our new doctor on base. Everything. Including all the uncomfortable, invasive procedures (ladies, you know what I'm talking about), blood work, ultrasounds.. you name it, we're on round two. Although most of it is a hassle, we love getting to do the extra ultrasounds. Our little tiny guy is growing so quickly and we're glad not to be missing any of it.
All of baby's organs and extremities are still in place and growing perfectly, his heart beat sounds perfect and he's still a boy. Here's a photo of his cute little profile, and one of his open mouth and nose (which may be hard to see if you're not familiar with ultrasounds):


Ahem.. Please pardon me as I brag, just a little...
My belly is measuring about 26.5 centimeters, which is right on track. At 25 weeks along, I'm proud to announce a gain of only seven pounds (all in the belly, thank Prada). About halfway through the ultrasound, the technician saved herself a spot in paradise by saying, "Man, there's not an ounce of fat on you- all muscle!" She was talking about me, not the baby. Believe me- I asked. I wanted to leap off of the table and kiss her for her incredible words of kindness! I'm not sure how eating candy and cookies and ice cream every day for twenty five weeks translates into "not an ounce of fat," but I'm not going to question the lady.. she's the one in the medical field, not me!

I can't wait to announce this little love's name so I can stop referring to him as just "baby" on here! Stay tuned, that's coming sooner than you think...