Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hanging in there!

Our poor little guy is sick again...

... but he is still hanging in there!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter Remedy

Take one dreary, cold and grey Ohio day and add some yellow, purple, blue, red, green and orange and you have yourself one very good reason to smile.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"I go pee!!!"

I guess I can be assured that the potty training is going well when my two year old jumps up from the lovely warm water of the bath tub, where he was happily at play, insisting that he uses the potty immediately. For a second, just a second I considered saying: "Oh don't worry Rowan, you don't have to..." thinking that it would take a little too long for us to dry him and reach the potty. Once again he proved me wrong as he patiently waited for his potty seat to arrive. Excellent my boy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Joy in Colour

For a while now we have not given Rowan any line drawings to colour in, mainly because he seemed to get frustrated with the activity and preferred doing more creative work. Over the last couple of months we have noticed some significant changes in his approach to his drawings and paintings but today I found myself astonished at how much his drawing skills have developed.

The picture below shows very deliberate lines, drawn very carefully so as not to touch each other. You'll see the green lines in the center of the page representing a spiral. I took so much delight in watching him do this - the care that he took with each line was something to behold. Another aspect worth mentioning is his use of colour. He now enjoys using all the colours in the palette before him. I think this is a direct consequence of the fact that he now knows that each colour has a name.

Having seen the amount of control he exercised while drawing the above drawing, Richard thought it a good idea to see how he would do at colouring in a line drawing. Again I was so very impressed. Well, impressed doesn't really do justice to the feeling of pure and utter joy that I felt watching him create the picture below. And, no Anke and Jaime, it is not just because he managed to keep most of the colouring in between the lines, but because I have been waiting for him, in fact dreaming about the day that he would show that much interest in some kind of creative or crafty activity. And now we can look forward to many many more drawing sessions, Rowan and I, side by side, happily drawing for hours on end. OK, I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, but now that one dream has been realised I have to replace it with another.

Yay! :) Well done Rowy!

Friday, January 15, 2010


While we were in South Africa Rowan learnt the meaning of the word home.

Our first week there was very busy, the sun was hot and then there was the change in time zones to deal with. We found ourselves driving a lot and meeting different people in different locations every single day. It was a bit much for our little guy at times and we frequently had to remind him as he was sitting in the back of the car that we would soon be home with Granny and Granddad. And that is how he came to know his grandparent's house as home.

He started associating swimming, blowing bubbles and chasing cats with home. Home was the place where his two adoring grandparents would welcome him with great big smiles and big hugs. He always brightened up when we reassured him that we were on our way home.

Now, since we have been back we have been trying to teach him that our little green house, the place we keep returning to all the time, is also his home. I think after about a month or so he caught on. I have noticed however, that every time we talk to Granny on the phone, he starts to mumble things about home and sometimes when we talk about home, he starts talking about getting in the car and going on the plane.

The great thing about this which dawned on me today, is that he is one very fortunate kid to have more than one place to call home.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fun and Learning at the Visitor Center

We decided to go back to one of our favourite spots again today. The visitor center at the lake has always been a great place for us to be entertained in a calm peaceful and informative setting. The displays are designed in a way that makes it easy for kids of all ages to be able to learn through interaction. Rowan is steadily becoming more aware of everything they have to offer. He enjoys pushing the buttons, listening to and then repeating the names of the animals in the photographs on the huge screen above him. Here he is, next to Olivia, looking at all the different creatures that have made this particular lake their habitat.

These turtles leaped from their rocky platforms and made a huge splash just as we walked into the room. They are very active and fun to watch.

Colouring activities playfully nestled within this hideout. What fun! I am so happy that I get to relive my childhood through Rowan. There are so many amazing places for kids these days and we are very thankful for them. As for this great spot, just around the corner from us... I am sure we will be back time and time again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Staying Active and Entertained

One of my very best ideas ever! We have removed most of the furniture from our guest bedroom and transformed it into our movement room. This is where we play, exercise and dance. It is a room that contains music, movement and good spirits.

Rowan responds very well to the classical music from the Little Einsteins. He seems to be moved by it and when the tempo or mood of the music changes, he changes his style of dancing/movement too.

We also have a sofa with cushions that Rowan is allowed to utilise in any way that he sees fit. The room is safe for all sorts of play. The photographs show Rowan getting ready for jumping. A favourite activity of course. There are balls of all shapes and sizes too. What more can we ask for during the long and cold winter months? Well... maybe some friends to share it with. You are all welcome!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For Gran.

Monday, January 11, 2010

That's what he said!

The new year is less than two weeks old and already I have broken a promise to you. Yes, I missed two days of blogging. The first time was because I was out having fun with a friend during the time I normally would have written a post. The next day was Sunday and after a very nice and relaxed weekend I didn't feel like writing. So sorry folks.

Rowan went back to school again today and seemed to have enjoyed it. I am never really sure though since he is now in the habit of saying yes to every question I ask him when I pick him up from school. "Hi my boy! Did you have fun at school today?" "Yes!" he says with half a smile. "Did you get to play outside today?" "Yes." "That must have been cold. Did you wear your gloves?" "Yes." "Did you do any painting or drawing?" "Yes." As it turns out they didn't actually play outside and he didn't do any drawing.

So what exactly do I make of that? Does he not understand what I am asking him? Does he not know the difference between yes or no? Perhaps he has noticed that the word, yes has much better results than no when directed at your mother. He could also just be tired and feel like he should at least say something to please his Mom wether or not it actually relates to the question. Or could it be possible that he has learnt from his Dad that the only way to keep Mom happy is to say yes and agree with everything she says? My guess is that he is too busy settling into the comfort of his carseat with his goldfish crackers in one hand and a bottle of water in the other thinking to himself: "Ah! Now if only I could have some peace and quite around here. Yes (out loud). That would be great. Yes (out loud again). Let's go home. Yes (out loud again). I can't wait to play with my trucks." And all the while Mom is smiling feeling confident that the boy has had a lovely day of playing, drawing and painting because that's what he said.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Still Snowing... Still Sick...

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But at least it's Friday! Have a happy weekend everybody!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Beautiful Winter's Day

We woke this morning to find the ground covered with snow. The snow was steadily falling and the forecast predicted snow all day long. Sigh... I thought immediately after "Ooh, how pretty!" because I wasn't really looking forward to finding things for us to do inside all day long. But we didn't have much of a choice because Rowan was still coughing quite a bit. So we ended up doing some drawing and painting. We played with Rowan's cars and watched a couple of shows on DVD. Before we knew it, it was nap time and by the time Rowan woke up again the ground outside was covered in about a foot of snow and the snow was still coming down. The house was quiet and the two of us were in the living room slowly making our way toward the windows and soon we found ourselves sitting on the chair next to the window staring out at the snow being blown around by the wind. For just a minute or two we enjoyed the peace and quiet Winter had brought us. With my son on my lap there was nowhere else I would rather be.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Special Day

Today is January 6th. It is an important day. Today is the day that we traditionally remove our Christmas decorations and today would also have been my mother's 59th birthday.

I wasn't really looking forward to this day because I was afraid of how I might feel about my Mom not being here to celebrate her birthday with us but as it turned out instead of spending a lot of time thinking about her and getting sad, I ended up spending almost the entire day communicating in some form or another with all the other special ladies in my life. All of a sudden I received call after call and message after message. What strikes me most about this is that none of them even knew that I needed some emotional support today yet there they were.

Poor little Rowan, still feeling under the weather, didn't get much out of it though. I was so busy talking with everyone that he had to find ways to keep himself entertained. So for that, my little guy, I am really very sorry.

Well, we are getting ready to take our decorations down and as we do this I will be reflecting on all the blessing we received over the last year most of which came in the form of the beautiful people we share our lives with. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Day

Today was Rowan's very first snow day which meant that he got to stay home from school. I imagine a lot of the kids that had the day off, got to go outside to play in the snow but alas our little guy is feeling sick again. He has been coughing quite a bit and has been pale and tired all day long. It seems to be getting better but if things don't clear up by tomorrow we will be paying another visit to the pediatrician. We'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day Back at School

When asked: "Are you excited about school today?" Rowan, without hesitation smiled and said: "Yeah!" We were very relieved to hear this since it has been over a month since the last time he attended school.

So off we went in the freezing cold. We had to pack his snowsuit and boots so that he could join his friends outside on the playground. The drop-off went very well.

At the end of the day he seemed quite content and when we got home we were surprised to find his backpack filled with gifts. It seems that some of his classmates had given him all sorts of treats over the holiday period while we were in South Africa. An invitation to a birthday party, a candy cane and hot chocolate and some Holiday cards not to mention the Milka chocolate slab! Rowan was so happy when he saw the chocolate and we had to let him enjoy a piece. He was in heaven!

There were also some other goodies in his backpack and it made me feel very glad. There were several paintings, drawings and paper cuttings which means that Rowan has finally started enjoying some of the more creative activities at school.

We are looking forward to see what the rest of the school year has to offer and will keep you posted.

By the way. The school is having an open house soon if any of you are interested just let me know.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Is it a Kitchen or a Workbench?

This Mom and in this case even the Dad thought it a good idea to get Rowan a little play kitchen. He has shown much interest and likes to make all sorts of dishes for Richard and I to try out. Mostly we get to munch on some yummy cakes or cakee as he calls it. He also likes to pretend to wash his hands. I thought the kitchen would be a great learning tool. You know, he would learn about arranging glasses neatly on a shelf and hang his pots on the hooks that were so thoughtfully provided. He did all that and then it seems he got bored because soon the sink was taken out of the counter top leaving a gaping hole that you can throw stuff into and there were hundreds of little toy cars and tools in the microwave. I guess it was to be expected. It is still fun though and he loves it.

Rowan's idea of being industrious in the kitchen.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


This evening we thought we would take our potty training to our number one store. (Ha ha!) We have been couped up at home all day (doing really well at the potty training) and really needed to get out. So we grabbed our coats, gloves and courage as we headed to IKEA.

As we arrived I explained to Rowan that we had to use the potty before we get to play with all the toys and he gladly followed. I was amazed to find that he was still completely dry even after we got stuck in traffic for a very long time and to cut a long and boring story short I will just say that he did it! I was elated!

As we walked through the aisles I was all smiles, not because of all the items on sale but because I felt such joy in the fact that we had achieved such success so quickly after starting potty training. I also couldn't help but think of my good friend Lynn because she wrote a blog about finding the joy and spirit of Christmas at Walmart in her post entitled Spirit of Christmas on Sale at Walmart. So I was very tempted to name this post Joy on Sale at IKEA but just didn't have the guts to do it even though I had even more good reasons to do so.

You see, not only did Rowan successfully use the potty, he also for some or other reason chose IKEA as the place to blurt out his very first clearly articulated sentence as we were passing through the cafeteria. "I want a juice." he said with every little sound vocalised perfectly. Not only that! Later on, after months of calling water, juice, he decided to say water! In an American accent too! How's that for progress? As we were sitting at a table overlooking the escalators he waved at the people saying: "Hi people!" - another word he has never used before! And then, as we were getting ready to leave and he noticed all the dessert was gone he very casually uttered the following: "Cake is gone. Bugger!" Richard and I looked at each other in disbelief and when Rowan repeated it we burst out laughing! What fun!

Well, there you have it. Another great day. This year is off to a very good start.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 1 of 2010

Before I get into the main portion of today's post I feel like I need to recommit myself to posting a piece every day of the year. You see, the last portion of this year has been very challenging for many reasons and at times it was hard for me to find the time, energy and inclination to take a moment in front of the computer and try to report on our day. So, I apologise to all of you that have been checking in day after day only to be faced with the other day's entry. I am back now. Willing and able to share those special and sometimes even the seemingly ordinary and perhaps boring moments of our life. I will try my best to be creative, diligent, positive, entertaining and insightful and for those days when eloquence, optimism, coherency and drive escapes me I ask that you... well... maybe just send some good wishes our way. So, here we go!

Day 1 of 2010 proves this family's willingness and dedication to get things done. Yes! On the first long weekend of this year we chose to commit ourselves to one of the most feared responsibilities of being parents: we chose to teach Rowan the fine art of using the potty once and for all.

I will start by admitting that Richard and I know very little about the process of teaching a small child to use the potty save for the bits and pieces of information we gathered from the world wide web. We really just went into this process hoping and trusting that we would figure it out as we go along. So the official report on this day is as follows.

We tried our very best to stay positive and optimistic. As far as patience goes I would have to give Rowan most of the credit. That boy handled the constant nagging pressure coming from us very well indeed. Statistically we had 3 hits and 4 misses which means that we had a success rate of approximately 42%. Well, that statistic is for the more scientific minded of you. Now for those of you who like to be a little more hopeful and think outside of the box I will submit the following assessment: every time there was a miss, Rowan had the opportunity to refine his senses and hone his skill. Therefor the misses were not misses at all and thus we really had a 100% success rate!

Pretty great for the first day of the year, wouldn't you say? Well done Rowan!

I have to laugh as I review this post before posting it because I didn't realise that hits and misses could be taken to mean something entirely different when it comes to a boy using a potty :) So just to clarify, what I mean by hits and misses is really whether or not he was successful at making it to the potty in time. It's funny.