Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cowgirl Up is Back! The Power of Two and a Baby Bjorn Giveaway

If you are a child of the 80's/90's you may remember the Indigo Girls song "Power of Two". It always stood out in my mind because it was such a testament to how life's challenges are much more manageable when shared. When halved. 

The line in the song goes, "Multiply life by the power of two."

I'm from a family of three siblings and Tom grew up in a family of five brothers. We had initially decided we would probably like three to four children of our own, but each pregnancy brought its own unique challenges. After Joey was born he required a lot of extra care and ultimately seven different surgeries. We wanted the kids to all be about two years apart, but life has its own way of working things out. At one point we thought we would wait until Joey started walking to try for one more baby. With amazing timing, Joey started walking right around when he turned 4 in August last year and the next month his baby sister, Lucille Evelyn was born.

After Joey was born we questioned whether we had the energy and even the ability to have another child. He is an incredible and amazing little boy and to help him become the best person he can possibly be takes a lot of time and effort. There were many factors we thought about before trying for a third baby. We had lived in the world of children with disabilities and we now knew the reality of what can happen. We had spent nights in hospitals, hours in waiting rooms, minutes counting down the time until his next procedure would be over. What if another baby would also have a heart defect? Could we handle another pregnancy filled with endless doctors' appointments and ultrasounds? Could we do this all again?

At the end of the day we just had to have faith that whatever would happen we would do our best no matter the circumstances.

This is where the power of two came in. Part of having another baby was to provide another sibling to both Tommy and to Joey. A sibling to help Tommy some day when Tom and I are no longer around. A sibling who might just take a tiny bit of the attention away from Joey in a completely healthy way. We thought a third child in our family would be wonderful for both boys. Someone to share the life decisions with Tommy and therefore multiply life by the power of two. 

Little Lucy is herself quite a tiny little fighter. I remember going into surgery for a ruptured appendix almost a year ago in April when I was pregnant with her. I asked one of the OR nurses, "You're going to monitor her during the surgery, right?"

Their answer? 

"No. This is an emergency surgery. We will check her before and after."

And then I was out as the anesthesia kicked in. I will never forget that moment nor the two days leading up to it when I thought surely that if I was having so much pain it must be that I was losing the baby.

Miraculously, she was fine through it all. Through surgery, CAT scans, MRI's, crazy doses of pain medication and antibiotics- she was fine.

We are one grateful, grateful family.

So! Life with three kids. WOW! 

It is a lot, but it's amazing. We haven't really slowed down for a minute. Some days I wish we would so I could clean up the house more and be more on top of things, but since the day Lucy arrived it has been non-stop action. So much so, that she is now 5 months old and I am finally back to blogging. 

I'm super excited about being back because part of the big comeback is a new header on the blog featuring all three kids- photos are by the talented Nat. The new header design is by the Little Blue Deer Design. The owner over at Little Blue, Shari, is a delight to work with and I love her designs.

The other super, super exciting thing is that with this first post back I am offering a FREE GIVEAWAY of the latest and greatest Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One!

Our wonderful friends at Baby Bjorn contacted me and to win your own Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One, all you need to do is to leave a comment in the comments section sometime during the next 5 days and we will have a random drawing for a winner! 

For us, part of being able to be on the go with the kids is being able to carry them with the Baby Bjorn. I have not one, but two Baby Bjorn carriers that I used with the boys and mine are at least 6 years old. 

Have things changed! The new Baby Carrier One can work as a front or back baby carrier. It also has cushioning in the waist band and instead of putting your arms through it like the old ones it fits over your head. The first time I tried it I did not even read the directions and I threw it in the car with me and Lucy as we raced down to run Buddy Up Tennis

What is Buddy Up Tennis? It's an awesome adaptive tennis program for people ages 5 and up who have Down syndrome. It is one of the main volunteer activities I have made a priority to keep participating in even though it is nuts with three little ones. I am so, so passionate about fitness for individuals with Down syndrome and for the opportunity for people with Down syndrome to have a variety of social and active opportunities, so this is the one thing I have committed to making happen no matter how difficult it might be at times to stay organized and to get to. If you are interested in your child participating in Buddy Up Tennis, or if you would like to volunteer, please send me an email at akron@buddyuptennis.com. I am the Athlete Coordinator for the Akron Chapter and we love all our athletes and our volunteers.

Not reading the directions for the new Baby Bjorn carrier was not my best idea, but with the help of a couple of moms who were also at Buddy Up Tennis, we were able to figure it all out and Lucy was quickly facing out and watching all of the action in no time. 

The updated version also has the option of a baby cover, which actually clips onto the Baby Bjorn. This is great because my old method was just stuffing a blanket into the front of it. I honestly did not think that there was much that Baby Bjorn could have done to improve on the carrier, but they really have. I'm so, so excited for this opportunity to give one away to a Cowgirl Up reader! These are valued at over $150 and they are awesome.

We actually use a number of the Baby Bjorn products and they are such great quality. We have one of their stools in each bathroom for the kids. We have one of their potty chairs (that's going to be our next major adventure with Super Joe) and one of their baby seats and Lucy loves bouncing in it an playing with the little wooden toys.

BABYBJĂ–RN Wooden Toy encourages play in the bouncer

Step Stool • Orange

I'm so excited and so honored to share their great products with all our readers and can't wait to see who wins one!

Please leave a comment answering the following question if you would like to be entered in the contest for a chance to win your own Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One-

Who do you turn to when you need to multiply life by the power of two?


  1. I always turn to my husband. We don't have relatives near us so he's my support system. I'd love to win one of these! I'm expecting baby #4 (total surprise at age 39) and we are caught unprepared because we donated all of our baby stuff after baby #3 six years ago.

    Thanks for the chance!

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

  2. Just started following your blog! Our family recently moved from NE Ohio to Louisville, KY. Your family is such an inspiration! We just had our third child & even though none of our children have special needs, we are finding life to be challenging some days! God bless!

  3. So sweet, Jen. I've never read your blog before. It's beautiful.

  4. I turn to my husband and my inner self. emilyemahr (at) yahoo.com

  5. I love how strong you are, no matter what challenge's you are faced with!! A true inspiration!!

    With no doubt about it, I turn to my wonderful husband, Jason, when I need to multiply life by the power of two. We had a 3 1/2 year struggle with infertility, with countless doctor's appointments and ups and downs throughout the whole process. I could not have been nearly as strong as I was throughout the process unless he had been so supportive as he was. We were blessed with a beautiful baby girl in October, and I cannot imagine how I could have survived the last 4 1/2 months without him. Being a first time mom is more than rewarding, but also so exhausting!! She has brought Jason and I even closer (which I didn't think that was even any more possible!!). People say you fall in love with your husband all over again when you have a child, and I now know this is absolutely the truth.

  6. My fiance, he is seriously the best dad, and can tell when I just need a little extra help or some alone time. Plus, 90% of the time he gets up in the middle of the night when our toddler gets fussy.

  7. I just had our second child 6 days ago...with 2 under 2, I don't know what I would have done without my husband and family. My husband kept my toddler busy while the baby spent countless hours at the breast. My family provided meals and babysat while we napped.

  8. I definitely turn to my husband who is an amazing, devoted father. Lucky for us his mom is the most devoted grandma ever and her support is so helpful.

  9. My husband! He's my everything. I talk to him about ANY and EVERYTHING.

    Enjoyed the read! Thanks for the chance!

  10. I am so glad I found Your blog. You have a wonderful family with three beautiful kids! Being a first time mom after waiting several years, I know how hard it is to take care of Your children. I must say You inspired me a lot!
    When I need to multiply life by the power of two, I turn to my family (parents, sisters) and...myself!
    Thank You So Much!

    Fiona N

  11. My wife, Regina. She's all I got!

    1. Hi Joseph! Please email me your mailing address. You won the giveaway!!! Congratulations! email- jenniferdawntowell@gmail.com

  12. Growing up with me and my sister and now I'm expecting our first child I def want another so they will have someone as well! But I turn to my husband he is the first person that I turn to for advice my rock my support, my life wold be dim without him.. thirdly I have three furbabies who are my heart theye fill my life with joy everyday!! I believe I am a truly blessed person to God be the glory!!

  13. My husband -he has been an absolute rock star as we navigate parenthood for the 1st time w/ a newborn. You have a beautiful family. I admire your strength despite having been dealt some real challenges!

  14. My husband is there for me on a day-to-day basis but when I send up the bat signal, my girlfriends rally around me with love, sympathy and understanding.

  15. Brian HollingsworthMarch 7, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    My power of two is my wife Ryan! We always try to communicate and talk things through. And with a new baby on the way, we need to be a good team! Thanks for the thought provoking blog post, Jen!


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