Monday, August 31, 2009

As many of you know it was my birthday today. We spent the entire weekend celebrating and so I thought it a good idea to treat today as any other day in the year. I got up early and went to the gym. (Now I made it seem as if I go to the Gym regularly. Ha ha ha!) When I came back my email and facebook pages were flooded with warm birthday wishes. Then the phone calls started coming in. Wow! I was so touched by all the kind words and well wishes. People really went out of their way to make my day as special as can be.

After spending most of his day listening to me talking on the phone and via the Internet with all to relatives and friends, Rowan was delighted to be able to join Richard for an evening of chores outside.

First they had to collect some garden waste. Rowan really knows how to handle his big red shovel. I think he is ready for shoveling some winter snow don't you?

It's trash collection day tomorrow. Off they go with some rather large garbage bags all the way down our drive way.

Rowan loves to run up the driveway as fast as he can. Richard is trying to keep up. He is at a slight disadvantage though having to run bent over like that.

Tomorrow morning Rowan will be dropped off at school and we thought it a good idea to give our car it's quarterly wash. What fun!

Please hold thumbs that Rowan's first day at school will go well for all of us. I will keep you posted on how it all went down.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last night, Richard had a brilliant idea: "We should take the boat out on the lake to see the sun rise tomorrow morning." I was immediately taken by this idea and couldn't wait for the alarm to chime at 5 am.

We packed some food and drinks into a cooler. Towels and extra clothing. Camera. Attached the boat and trailer to the car. Now all we needed to do was to wake Rowan.

When Richard entered his room Rowan was still fast asleep despite all the activity downstairs. Richard managed to roll him over to change his diaper without Rowan waking up. In fact the little guy turned back on his side and took one of those deep breaths that seem to say: "Oh just a few minutes longer. I am so comfortable and so happy right now." Nonetheless adventure awaits!

When Rowan opened his eyes he realised that it was still dark outside and managed to point it out to us all the way to the car. He was so excited and because he doesn't really get to spend time outside in the dark too often everything seemed to amaze him. "Wow!" was all we heard for the first couple of minutes. The sweetest of those "wows" was when he spotted a star and said: "There it is!" with a big smile on his face as if he had finally found something he had been looking for.

The lake was calm. The water mirrored the changing sky above and the dark shapes of trees on the horizon. The air was crisp as we slowly puttered along taking in the radiance of this beautiful and blessed morning. As the sun peaked over the trees and graced our cold faces with it's warm rays, the contentment of every member of our little family was palpable and all I could do was to be completely present to this great gift. And Rowan, well, it wasn't long before he jumped up and performed his happy boat dance. Can you feel the happy energy flowing through him onto this picture?

Later on it was time for all of us to stretch our legs so we pulled up onto a small beach complete with fallen tress (i.e. lots of sticks for Rowan) and a picnic bench where we could have our breakfast. Rowan absolutely loved the idea of being able to get off the boat, look around and throw sticks into the water. He also discovered drawing in the sand and was very pleased with himself about that. So there we were. On the beach. Just the three of us in our own little world. It really was wonderful.

I am almost sure the rest of this stories goes something like this: With joy and gratitude they set forth to live their lives to the fullest and lived happily ever after.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I went to bed last night feeling a little emotional. You see, I have really been missing my Mom lately and with Rowan going to school and my birthday coming up I really would have liked to be able to share some of these exciting events with her. So, this morning as I was waking up, I still did not feel too great, so I stayed in bed for a little while longer.

I knew that Richard and Rowan were up, yet the house was completely silent. I knew they must be outside so I listened very carefully to determine if that was in fact the case. I listened and nothing. Listened some more and again nothing. "I wonder what they are up to?"And then I heard the most heart warming and healing sound in the universe. Rowan was laughing so loud and with such glee that I couldn't help but smile and feel joyful along with him. I got up and that was the start of my day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Today was a very important day for our family. It was Rowan's first day at school. Well, it was only for half an hour, but he did get to meet his teachers and new friends. He walked into the classroom with big eyes and went directly to the shelves that were stacked full of interesting toys and puzzles. He seemed to feel at home right away. I stood back and watched him interact with his new environment. The teachers both have many years of experience with children Rowan's age and this is evident in the way they manage to get these two year olds to do exactly what they ask them to do. Now that is a super power I would like to have. That's for sure.

The school officially starts on the 1st of September and although I still feel a little nervous about my little guy going off into the great big world all by himself, I must say that I do feel a lot better after today's introduction. I think he is going to enjoy school and all the new friends that come with it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursdays are the days mom goes to art classes, she's been making excellent watercolors.

So Rowan and I went for a drive, he gave directions and we ended up at the Caesar's Creek Nature Center (his favourite place). Unfortunately it was closed, so we had to content ourselves with a short hike to the water.

Then later this evening we made the second of the trucks from Granddad's Lego present. This one was less involved than the first and Rowan helped out even more than last time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Afternoon in the park with Mom and Dad.

And then, in the evening Rowan received a special surprise in the mail. You see it was Rowan's Granddad's birthday just the other day so he must have decided that Rowan needed a gift too.

Rowan was very excited to see the box with it's pictures of trucks on the front. We were a little concerned about opening it at first because of all the small pieces, but he was so happy about his new toy that we thought we'd see how he would handle it.

He really did a good job of helping his dad put together a big dump-truck. He had the wheels on the axles without being told how to do it and then found the little Lego man's hat, head, body and legs and put them together all by himself too. Soon the truck was complete.

Rowan really loves the Lego creation. I think he likes it more because he saw how it was made from scratch. The rest of the evening the truck went everywhere he did. The little truck driver must have got quite tired of getting in and out of the cab all night!

Thanks Granddad!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The taller these two towers grew the more Rowan's excitement grew. I think he must have applauded his construction at least three times during the course of building. At the end all he could say was "It's high high! It's high!" with a great big grin lighting up his face and his arms reaching for the sky.

Somehow I don't think we ever grow tired of building things higher and higher. We are always curious of exactly what would happen if we added just one more brick and then if the tower is still standing maybe just one more. We build and build until finally there is a collapse. And then we say: "Oh no! What happened?" as if we didn't see it coming. Well, that's human nature for you I guess.

Just look at that face.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rowan is always such a good boy when I have to cut his hair. He sits patiently without any complaints as I snip away at his long hair. But you know? Now that I think about it, it is no surprise that he is so calm - he knows he is in very capable hands. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Good Times

Peacefully adrift on a lake between a blanket of clouds and the watery depths below, a little boy finds his rhythm - his excitement too much to be contained. His feet start stomping as the vessel keeps rocking and two smiling parental faces observe the innocent and spontaneous childlike dance of joy.

"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rowan spent the afternoon helping his Dad build a deck. He takes his job very seriously and always insists that he is the guy that should be handling all the tools. He really is learning a lot. Richard takes the time to explain to him what he is doing and Rowan always seems very interested.

See the big grin on Rowan's face? Well what you don't see is the huge spanner he is holding at his side. He is getting ready for some spanner action.

Then for some relaxation. Lying down in and being covered by cool damp sand is as good as going to the spa.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rowan has always enjoyed it when Richard and I would bring one of his animals or dolls to life by making it talk and walk or whatever comes to mind. Today Huckleberry was the chosen one to spend the entire day with us. The three of us, Rowan, Huck and I, played for a very long time in Rowan's playroom, but after a while Rowan really grew tired of it all and with a sigh grabbed Huck by the hand and dragged him over to the living room with him. When I got to the living room Rowan had placed two chairs facing the television - one for Huck and one for himself. He then ran to the pantry and grabbed the tub of mixed nuts which he then shared with his good friend Huck while watching his DVD.

You know what? I think Rowan is just going to love making new friends in school. I think he is ready.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting out of Trouble the Easy Way

So they tell me that a two year old will, every so often, want to assert his/her own will whether the parent thinks it's a good idea or not. So, for example, when I ask Rowan not to let the water run from his mouth and onto his shirt, there is a good chance that he might completely ignore me and do it anyway. One thing they failed to tell me about though, was the fact that when said two year old realises that the parent has become quite upset by his/her act of defiance, he/she will act as if it was an accident and seem totally surprised by what had just occurred. Rowan has managed to perfect his performance in this regard and not only does he seem surprised by what he had done, or should I say what must have happened to him, he also adds just enough of the cute factor for me to forgive and forget without any repercussions. He manages all of this through the use of two little words: "Oh dear!" Now imagine those words sounding oh so sweet as they almost melodically accompany the most innocent expression that those two big blue eyes of his can convey.

Gran, I think I remember you saying "oh dear" a couple of times while you were visiting. I think it rubbed off on Rowan. It is just too cute for words. You must be very proud.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Maiden Voyage

Somehow, we managed to talk ourselves into buying a boat. It is not something we ever thought we would ever be doing as a family, but here we are. A little jet boat, currently named "Lil Sas" (given by previous owners.)

So, this evening we decided to take it out for it's maiden voyage. We live near a lake and it is actually possible for us to take the boat out in the evening after Richard gets home from work and still have enough time for all our other nightly rituals.

Rowan behaves himself very well on the boat. He seems comfortable and relaxed. When the boat is moving he calmly sits back and just takes it all in. When we come to a stand still he excitedly gets up and starts looking around over the edge into the water to see if he can spot some fish.

There are a couple of small islands in this lake. The photo below shows where we stopped next to one. There is a small alcove to the right. When Richard pointed it out to Rowan, Rowan said: "Hide! Hide!" I bet he was already imagining himself running in there to play hide and seek.

So we turned the engine off and spent some time looking around at the birds, stones, plants and alcoves. Then... when Richard tried to start the engine again there was nothing. Not even a click. Immediately these two parents started panicking inside. We were quite good at not showing just how freaked out we were about this situation. I mean, the rain clouds seemed threatening, it was getting late and we couldn't possibly swim to shore. What to do?

After a little while I got up and waved at the nearest boat. They saw us and came over to us to see what was going on. Just as we were preparing to have them tow us back to the dock, I, Elaine, had a bright spark. Yip Rowan, if you are reading this some time in the future, girls can fix boats too! It turns out we didn't have the boat in neutral which meant it wouldn't start. A simple little safety precaution got the best of us.

So with lots of adrenalin pumping through our veins we cruised back to the dock and were home just in time for dinner. Phew! What an exciting evening and that in the middle of the week!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time to harvest the tomatoes




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Monday, August 17, 2009

I have really been trying to get Rowan to pronounce his words a little more clearly these days. Most other toddlers around us seem to respond quite well to their parents' prompts to repeat the different words they say. Rowan however must have inherited his mother's obstinate and rebellious nature when it comes to taking instruction from others.

This evening after his bath while we were getting ready for bed Rowan needed one of the lights to be turned on and said: "Ight!" I was delighted in the fact that he, for the first time, pronounced the t. When he saw how happy I was he smiled and looked quite proud of himself. I took this as an opportunity to try one more time to get him to repeat some words after me, so I started with: "Rowan, say light." He said nothing. So I tried again and yet again nothing. Then I decided to turn it into a bit of a game. I said: "Dad, say light." After a few seconds Richard realized what I was trying to do and chimed in with "light." We went back and forth between the two of us and then directed a word or two towards Rowan. He actually repeated a couple of words after me and I was very pleased indeed.

Then he decided to make the game a little more interesting and when I said: "Rowan, say water", he said "juice!" This made us all chuckle because for a while now everything that is in liquid form is called juice, even though he always used to call it water. Just before bed as he was on his way to his bedroom I said: "Rowan, say: I love you." He took a second to think about it and then blew me a kiss. That will do son. You do it your way. Have a good night.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The heat and humidity that we have been experiencing lately makes it very difficult for us to spend time outside during the day. In the early morning the trees in our back yard casts a wonderfully large shadow over our terrace and Rowan's sand box so we try to make the most of it by going out there as soon as we possibly can. That is exactly what Rowan and Richard did this morning while they let me sleep in for an extra hour or so. Wasn't that kind of them? Thanks guys.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

On this hot and humid August day we made our way to the Ohio river to catch a glimpse of Cincinnati and it's surrounds from our friends boat. We love being out on the water and although we normally prefer a more natural setting, this trip certainly did not disappoint. There were so many interesting things to observe: buildings, bridges, barges, trains, cranes and even a boat with wheels! I don't think Rowan could have asked for more wonderful things to see. All his favourite things on display. Much to my surprise, however, he very calmly sat in his seat and just took it all in.

Given the thumbs-up, the big smile on Richard's face and the eventual exhaustion of our little boy, I think it safe to say that we had a pretty good time. Thank you Nick!

Friday, August 14, 2009

After a busy day of swimming and playing in the sand with his friends and then again later in the evening with his Dad, Rowan settled quite comfortably in his bath robe.

But just as he was getting a little bit too relaxed in his arm chair Richard called him over to do some baking. Yes! That's right! The guys prepared dinner for us tonight - a homemade pizza. Will pizza making become a regular Friday night ritual? Well, judging by the pile of dishes in the sink and the actual cost of homemade versus store bought, I think not. It was fun to try it out though and I must say it looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It is Thursday evening and I have just returned home from my watercolour painting class. I will admit that after three hours of creative expression and good company, I am not feeling too enthusiastic about staring at the computer screen and trying to recall something special about our day. The truth is that our day has been an ordinary one and nothing new or interesting happened. But when I think of my favourite moment of this day I am excited to share it with you. It was a simple moment but something that warms my heart.

This afternoon Rowan and I were playing with his building blocks. I really got into building a magnificent structure that would house his little people and even some animals too. I was excited to see just how he would enjoy this new creation of ours. Unfortunately he thought it better to just demolish it. All that work and thought gone in an instant! I was already quite tired at this point and upon witnessing the collapse of my handy work I buried my head in my hands and just sat there for a few seconds. Then I noticed Rowan getting really quiet. He gently took hold of my arm and pulled it away from my face ever so slowly. As I looked up into those big blue eyes of his he stepped right up and gave me the gentlest and most loving hug. I just smiled at him and thanked him for his thoughtfulness and told him not to worry, "I was just resting my head."

He stepped back again and went right back to playing with the blocks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our boy has taken to singing. He makes up his own tune and the words are really all experiments too. In the morning when he wakes up and is patiently waiting for me to come and greet him I can here him singing over the speaker. Sometimes I feel like just sitting there for a while just to listen to those sweet sounds. That is exactly what I did this morning and much to my surprise "La laa laa la" turned into a very beautiful and lyrical "where you, where you, where, where, where are you?" Isn't that something?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One activity that keeps Rowan and I entertained for a very long time is playing with these wooden trucks on this rug.

The trucks have all undergone some character development over the last few weeks. When we started out all they said were "too too!" and "brrrm!" and now they are having long conversations with each other. Rowan will shout from across town: "Hey! Where you going?" then I will say on behalf of the red dump truck that I am delivering some sand. After delivering the sand I have to go over to Rowan's front loader to get some more sand loaded onto my truck. All the while Rowan is talking. When we are done loading the sand he shouts: "Bye!" and so it goes over and over again. Sometimes I invite him to come along and look at the fish in the ocean or perhaps the camel in the desert (all on the same rug). Lately he has taken the character play one step further and decided that when he is tired the trucks must be tired too and will have to rest along with him. They gladly oblige.