Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Girls' Weekend with Rowan






Since Rowan has been so into her babies lately and so into spending time with mommy, I decided to take her on a trip to Chicago. Lance was there for work and was staying in a hotel right downtown, so I took advantage of that and took Rowan for a fun mommy-daughter trip. After dropping Tate off with my mom, we headed to the train station. Rowan loved the train ride. We looked outside, read books, ate snacks. We got to Chicago and headed straight for the Shedd Aquarium where Rowan grew pretty tired of "looking at fish all day", but loved the Beluga whales and the little canoe she could sit in. Lance picked us up and we headed to the Rainforest Cafe which was the perfect place for Rowan. While I saw some children literally hiding under their tables, I told Rowan it was just a giant puppet show and she was thrilled with all of it. And I was thrilled that she was thrilled.

Sleeping in the hotel was a bit tricky. Rowan had her own little room, but she would not stay in it, so she slept with us, which resulted in little sleep for anyone. But we weren't really expecting anything different.

The next day, Rowan woke up nice and early (of course) so we headed to a place called Day Frog downtown. It's kind of an indoor play place with doll houses, dress up, big slides, bubbles, etc. It kept us busy until it warmed up a bit and the stores were open. Then we made the treck to American Girl Place. I didn't tell Rowan until we were on our way because I knew we wouldn't be able to do anything else. She had been talking about getting a baby with brown hair and brown eyes just like her. She had been sleeping with the American Girl catalog that mysteriously followed us from NC to Holland to here. We got there. She was thrilled. She immediately named her Erica Madeline. She was in love. (Might I add, though, that since we've been home (since this trip was over a month ago now), she no longer likes Erica and only likes Clarissa because she loves a bald baby. Great.)

We ate Garrett's popcorn. We went to Millenium Park and looked at all of the huge sculptures and I even got a quick stop in at H&M, but somehow only bought a scarf for me and socks for Tate.

After we were done, I asked Rowan what her favorite part was and she said "The lions." "The lions at Rainforest Cafe?" I asked. "No, the lions that were outside of the hotel" she said. "The lion sculptures." I guess it doesn't matter how much you've planned, you never know what they're going to love the most. But I loved my time with my girl. And she loved having her very own "Girls' Weekend" with mommy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

When they grow up

This morning, during an unusually relaxing family cuddle time in bed, the conversation went like this:

Rowan: Mommy, I want to be a mommy when I grow up--just like you.
Lance: That's sweet, Rowan. Tate, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Tate: Grapes

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Forgotten, but not Gone


I have to admit, I actually forgot about this blog. Really completely forgot. I wrote one day and the next day just kind of forgot to write. And continued forgetting. Until now. In the past month, a lot has happened. Too much, really, to blog about. In short, I went to Nashville, I had my 10-year college reunion, I turned 32, we're trying to find long-term care for Lance's dad (very long story) and Lance is working virtually every waking moment.

Rowan is still loving school and is still obsessed with her dolls, particularly the bald one which is still named Clarissa. She tells me nothing about school each day except that she ate a snack and drank juice. She still asks me to tell her a story approximately 100 times a day. She no longer naps. She thinks rhyming words are hysterical. Rowan's idea of a joke: "Knock, knock" "Who's there?" "Horse"
"Horse who?" "Horse Lorse". Cue gleeful laughter.

Tate is loving having a little one-on-one time. He mostly just asks for me to read to him ("reet, reet, Mommy") and picks the books he wants. He also wants to play chase, play ball and find different animals in his room. He hates putting on his coat or having anyone else put on their coats and this all results in a major tantrum. He also hates his high chair, but has fallen out of a regular chair too many times for me to get rid of the high chair quite yet. Tate's favorite word, currently, is Obama and he says it pretty constantly, leaving people to stop me and say "Is your baby saying 'Obama'?" Yes, he is. All the time.

The kids are playing together more and more, which is really Tate just going along with whatever idea Rowan has. Lately they have been taking the couch cushions down and making things--a house, a library, a rocket. Occassionally they'll share a toy, cuddle or work on the magnetic farm together since Tate can't quite get the pieces in just right. I'll catch Rowan saying "Good work, Tate." Or "That was a great choice, Tate", though I'll also catch her pushing him and taking his toys. Tate, for the most part, is just a sweet little thing to Rowan, but today he pulled her hair and I realized that one of these days he's going to have his own opinions and it won't be quite as easy for Rowan.

Despite some of the chaos and the prematurely winter-like conditions, this fall is going well. We're staying pretty busy, sometimes too busy, and are trying to fit in something fun every day (baking, crafting, an outing of some sort). Today's was Trunk or Treat and, after Tate's nap, we'll be stopping by the Family Fun Day at the horse stables nearby and then heading to a Hope picnic, assuming, of course, that I can get Tate's coat on.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Big Week for a Big Girl



Finally. It was Rowan's big week, what she'd been waiting a very long time for. The first week of preschool. Rowan has been talking about preschool, pretty consistenly, since last year. I started talking it up this summer at some point and, this week, it finally came.

Rowan, who normally sleeps in until 9:00 or so, was a bit disgruntled when I woke her up before 8 to get to school by 8:45, but quickly woke right up, dressed herself in her green butterfly dress, ate breakfast, got her backpack all ready, allowed me to take a few obligatory "first day" pics and we left. And she loved it. With Rowan's active imagination, it's a bit difficult to know what happened in reality and what happened in her imagination. But I'm pretty sure she sang songs, read books, painted and played with her friends. And judging by her conversations with her imaginary friends during nap time, her teachers said lots of "por favor" and sang a specific song called "Bienvenidos Aqui".

Rowan also rediscovered dolls this week. Never one for dolls before, when we moved to our new house, I kept her dolls in a box since she, not even once, ever played with them. But lately, she'd been carrying around tiny dolls (part of her doll house set) and calling them her babies, cuddling them, pretending to be their mommy. She even occasionally did this with stickers from her Little Einstein's book. So, I went downstairs and found a tub with some dolls in it and brought them up. And life has changed completely. One doll quickly became her favorite. She named it Clarissa, after a girl in her class. Then the next day she named it Polly Pocket and the next day it was Lucy. Well see if a name sticks or if she just continues to name it whatever works that day. Today she brought Lucy to Target with me and I indulged her by letting her bring in her baby doll stroller and walk around Target pushing her baby stroller while I pushed the cart. And, I have to say, it might have been one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

Tate and I are enjoying our new time together. Building with blocks, reading books, playing just the two of us. He continues to be obsessed with monkeys, dogs and milk. He loves music, dancing and being tickled and thrown in the air. He doesn't say a lot, but his favorite words are milk, hold you and woof woof (and, of course, Mommy, Daddy and RoRo).

Tonight while we were dancing around the kitchen, Tate discovered his shadow. I'm not really sure how it took 18 months, but unlike Rowan's sheer delight when she discovered her shadow, Tate did not like it. Not at all. He looked at it, looked at me and his eyes widened. I showed him how his shadow moves when he moves, how my shadow moves when I move. He seemed okay with it for a minute, but when we walked out of the room and our shadows came along, he was, again, unhappy, So, I turned off the light and figured I'd save it for another day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bye-Bye, Dada


Here Tate is, at 18 months, and he's now given up calling Lance "Dada". It is now "Daddy". Lance is just a little sad about this. It's just another way he's becoming a little boy. For some reason, I'm still "Mama"--at least most of the time. I've heard "Mommy" just a few times, but "Mama" is his word of choice for now. He also refuses help on the stairs and refuses to slide down on his belly. So far this has resulted in only one fall.

I remember that Rowan, between the age of 18 months and around 22 months, grew up so quickly. Her speech went from single words to short sentences. She learned her colors, shapes, letters and numbers. She started having opinions about her clothing and hair. Her favorite color was blue. She was obsessed with art projects and one particular pair of blue socks that were way too small for her.

It will be interesting to see how the two compare. What color will be Tate's favorite? Will he love to talk? Love art projects? Will he care about his clothes? Will he still be content following around his 3-year-old sister or will he have his own opinion about what we should do? I can't wait to see what Tate has in store for us.

In the meantime, Rowan is three. Really three. The person who came up with the term "terrible twos" never had a three-year-old. If she would only nap, life would be better for all of us.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tate, 18 months


Just the title of this blog alone makes me both a little sad and a little excited. Sad because my little baby is just not so little anymore. At 18 months, he wants to do everything by himself. He screams if I try to help him up or down the stairs, throws himself onto the floor if I try to feed him, immediatly tears his socks and shoes off after I've put them on. However, pretty much any other time, he wants to be held, wants mommy there, wants to sit on my lap. And sometimes I just love that. I love rubbing my cheek against his, marveling at how smooth and soft and flawless his skin is. I love how he gives kisses almost constantly at times, how he says "love you", how he nuzzles in to my neck, even if it's just for a few moments. And I know, as he gets older, he'll only get more independent. So I'll miss those sweet moments with my little guy. But I'll also love watching him entertain himself more. I'll feel better leaving him with a babysitter and at church. I can't wait to hear him talk, really talk, in his own little sentences.

At 18 months, he is saying a lot more than the 10 or so words at 15 months. He still loves to mimic animal noises, loves books (especially "Barn" and "Pet Show"), likes to sit in his rocking chair and say "rock rock", requests "snacks, crackers, bar, milk, drink", always wants to play with "arrow" (pronounced "R O", which is Rowan), asks to talk to "Susu" or "Dada" or "Grandma" on the phone and probably says the word "Mama" hundreds of times a day (that is not an axaggeration). Other than "mama", his favorite word is certainly "no", but pretty close is "dem", which somehow means yes. He keeps me entertained and is so energetic I can't sit still for a minute.

It's amazing to imagine what he's going to be like as he gets older and amazing to spend all of this time with him while he's little. Happy 18-month birthday, Tater Tot. I love you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bad Mom

We're here, in Plainfield, attempting to have a mini-vacation while we're staying with Lance's dad. It's been, well, not exactly a vacation. We headed into the city yesterday where we went to Navy Pier, rode the ferris wheel and watched part of the air show, all of which was nice. What was not as nice was keeping the kids entertained on the hour plus train ride each way, navigating our way around the city amongst all of the people there for the air and water show, and dealing with the very hot weather.

And I, in vacation-mode, was a little more relaxed in my parenting than usual. So, as Lance was getting money from an ATM, Tate and I watched Rowan play "King of the Mountain" on a railing. And just as I was going to tell her it was time to get down, she fell, directly onto her forehead. This resulted in a large bruise, lots of crying and Rowan wanting to be held a majority of our walk.

Not having learned my lesson, when we were in downtown Naperville today, we stopped for the kids to look at a fountain. I held Rowan's hand as she walked along the ledge around the fountain. Then she got down and Lance and I were talking. And she got back up, started walking around by herself, and fell into the fountain. Face down. I ran to her, but a man was already helping her out. She was scared and soaking wet and crying--loudly. An older man, who watched the whole event, was glaring at me and shaking his head. I wanted to run over to him and say "This was an accident! I'm really not a bad mom. It was just a lapse in judgment. Really, I play with her. We bake cookies together. We do art projects. Really we do! See my diaper bag? There are healthy treats, activities, even dry clothes for her to change into! We read books. I even listen to Veggie Tales in the car. And I'm constantly telling her stories." But telling him wouldn't make her dry and happy.

So hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. I will be a better mom. We will have more fun. We will do our best to enjoy our last day here. We'll start off with a better plan, I'll be involved, observant. We'll have a wonderful day as a family.

When She Grows Up

The other day, after seeing the doctor yet again, Lance and I were talking to Rowan about what she'd like to be when she grows up. She usually sees a male doctor, but for the lovely job of having an abscess drained, he actually scheduled her an appointment with my OB, who is female. Rowan was very excited about having a girl doctor. And, I must admit, Dr. Gootjes was amazing with Rowan. A few stickers and suckers and that abscess was poked and drained without sedation! Lance said "Rowan, would you like to be a doctor when you grow up?" Rowan looked at Lance and said "No." "Oh," said Lance, "don't you think it would be nice to help people feel better when they're sick?" "No, Daddy," said Rowan, "I'm going to be the president when I grow up."

At three, Rowan has no fear of failure, no concept of strengths and weaknesses, no reason to believe that she might not be president one day. And I love that about her. I hope that she'll stay like this forever, always full of confidence, sure of herself, sure of her future. Because she really could be president one day. Or a teacher, a doctor, a ballerina...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Recent Rowanisms

Rowan has been saying the funniest things lately. Of course I always say I'm going to write them down, but then something comes up, I don't write them down and I forget them altogether. Here are the only two I can remember right now. Hopefully I'll remember some more. But if I don't, maybe I actually will write them down next time.

Rowan, this morning, while we were playing "Red Light, Green Light", stopped briefly when I said "red light" and then started running. I said "Rowan, you can't run a red light." Rowan said "Mommy, it's okay. It was a blinking red."

Rowan, last night, when she finished going to the bathroom and had a large piece of toilet paper stuck in her bottom said "Mommy, look at my cottontail!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Busy

What can I say? We've been busy. Really busy. In a good way (finally!) Summers seem to be the time when we have so much less scheduled (preschool, MOPS, etc.) but are rarely actually home. Or at least not inside. Tupper Lake deserves a full post--or a few of them. The rest of our summer has been, well, summer. Lots of time at the beach, the park, playing in the kiddie pool in the backyard, watering flowers, jumping on the trampoline, meeting neighbors, playing soccer. As usual, I am LOVING summer and all it has to offer!

The kids are loving summer, too. Tate wakes up, runs downstairs and immediately stands at the back door yelling "Out, out!" He loves swinging, climbing the rock wall and ladder (all by himself!) and sliding, splashing in the ridiculously small kiddie pool, and playing "chase" on the trampoline. He is talking a little more and continuing to be an early riser (though it's more like 6 and less like 5). Rowan also loves being outside. She can finally ride her tricycle (yes, we've been working on that for a while) at least relatively well on her own, loves watering flowers, jumping on the trampoline and doing anything with her friends. And she's still obsessed with the presidents. Some days are great. Some are pretty terrible (I have to remember she's three). She and Tate generally get along.

Dinners have recently consisted of grilling out here and there, grabbing some sort of leftover or cereal, then eating a popsicle on the back deck or biking to Houseman's for ice cream. Yes, we have some stressful things we're dealing with, but we're doing our best to just push them aside, at least for a while and enjoy this perfect season of summer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Early Mornings



Lately Tate has decided morning is the best time of day. And when I say morning, I mean early morning. Like 5am morning. Somehow I have been blessed to have a husband who will get up with him and feed him before getting me up. Then I get up and we play. Tate is very into climbing and reading books. So, he climbs onto chairs, tables, beds. Then we read. Generally around 7:30 he wants to be held and is hard to please, so we read for a bit and then he goes down for a nap around 7:45.

Then Rowan gets up. And we play and read and eat. And both kids get quite a bit of one-on-one Mommy time which they love. And, I'll admit, I'd always rather sleep in, but it's kind of nice having a little time with each of them. Tate has been able to choose his own books instead of just listening to the ones Rowan chooses. Rowan has been able to do activities that are too hard to do when Tate is up (like make a fort, do projects with scissors, try to ride her bike).

Hopefully (one day very very soon), Tate will take a hint from his big sister and start sleeping peacefully until 8:00, but until then I'll do my best (with lots of help from Lance) to enjoy these fleeting moments with my wonderful kids.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Father's Day




Baked french toast, chocolate lasagna, dinner with friends. And a few silly pictures as part of Lance's Father's Day present.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Splish, Splash

Quick recap of the past week--celebrating Lance's birthday, planting 3 memorial trees (2 apple and a cherry) in the backyard, lots of playing outside in between the raindrops and some playing outside in the raindrops. Rowan and Tate are best friends and love playing together, making my job as a mom that much nicer.
video

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tate at 15 months



I still can't believe how fast time flies. My little guy is already 15 months old (and I am on the planning committee for my 10-year collge reunion)! I'm at a point in my life where the days seem long but the years seem short. And my little baby is growing up so fast. At his appointment he weighed in at 23 pounds, 12 ounces--quite normal for a 15-month old boy. Only 4 pounds lighter than his 3-year-old sister. He says a few words--mine and no are the current favorites, along with mama, dada, baba (bottle), drink, cracker, ball, dog, book, bubbles and a few more I'm sure I'm forgetting. He's also into animal sounds, his favorite is "ah ah" for monkey.

Tate is also very into books lately, which is somewhat impressive considering I read to him all of maybe 10 times in his first year of life. He hated sitting still for books, I didn't push the issue. But now he loves them and has very strong opinions about which ones I should read to him.

Another big hit at our house is the new trampoline. So. Much. Fun. The kids love it (mostly Rowan as Tate kind of just runs around and falls down) and the parents love it, too. We even snuck out and jumped on it tonight after we put the kids to bed. Silly, I know, but we had fun. I can't get enough of this warmer weather and want to spend every moment outside!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Politics, According to Rowan

Rowan has become somewhat obsessed with the presidents of the United States. It all started when she heard a song about the presidents and one was named Madison. Since she knows three girls named Madison, she was very excited that there was a song about them. When I told her that this Madison was actually a boy and that Madison was his last name and his first name was James, she found this to be hysterical. So much so that she asks to hear the song repeatedly. By now, she knows most of the presidents in order and thinks our next vacation should be to go visit Obama in the White House.

Tonight's "Tell me a story" time went something like this.

Me: "Rowan, who are the characters in your story tonight?"
Rowan: "Harrison, Madison, Tyler and the nice Adams."
Me: "What is the setting?"
Rowan: "The real White House--not just the pretend one."
Me: "What is the plot?"
Rowan: "The plot is that we are all going to visit Obama in the White House."

Remembering Grandma Mary







Mary, we'll miss you so much--picking strawberries with you in the spring and picking apples with you in the fall, eating your yummy sugar cookies and gingerbread men at Christmas, grilling out in your "screen house" in the summer.

In addition to some of my favorite pictures of my mother-in-law, I'm also posting Lance's final post on Mary's Care Page.

Missing my mom.
Posted May 19, 2009 12:57am
As many of you may already know, Mary passed away during the early hours of May 17th. Her daughter, her son and her brother were with her when she died. She was not in pain nor was she suffering. It was peaceful and dignified.

Mary's journey in her fight against cancer was one of ups and downs. She was devastated by her diagnosis during December of last year but never gave in to the disease. Although Mary's body was compromised, her mind and soul remained strong. As she weakened it seemed that her love and compassion strengthened. She took every opportunity to tell those around her how much she loved them and how much they meant to her. Little did she know how influential and inspiring she was to so many.

As a mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend and co-worker Mary didn't hold back. Mary wasn't afraid to tell it to you straight - whether you wanted to hear it or not, if she thought it would help, she said it. She was a strong Catholic woman with a love for God. And it was her faith that helped her climb out of the lowest valleys and celebrate on the highest peaks. She fought for those who couldn't fight for themselves - the weak, the ill, the less fortunate which often times included her family and friends. The fight that lived in Mary was never touched by the cancer that invaded the rest of her body. And that fight now lives on in her kids, her siblings and her friends.

So you might be wondering where was God during Mary's fight? Where was the miracle that we asked for? And I'll tell you that God held Mary's hand this entire journey. And he did perform miracles almost on a daily basis throughout Mary's life. Miracles that included minutes of pure joy and clarity with her four grandchildren only hours before her death. Miracles that included two brain surgeries that allowed a husband and wife to hold hands and go for walks. Miracles that brought a son and daughter from NC and TX back to MI and IL within months of Mary's diagnosis. Miracles that brought Mary to a facility to be cared for by nurses that she helped teach. Miracles that allowed Mary to die with the peace and dignity that she deserved. Miracles that give Mary a chance to spend eternity with the one who died so that we could be forgiven.

I miss my mom and always will. I'll miss the way she kisses me. I'll miss the way she holds her grandkids. I'll miss the way she cares so thoughtfully for my father. But I will celebrate her life and will never question her love for me. I will remember her every time I kiss my children and every time I say the words I Love You. I love you Ma.

I hope you'll join Mary's family and friends at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Canton, MI on Friday, May 22 to celebrate her life. Visitation will be from 10am - 11am followed by a service and celebration luncheon. Per Mary's request, food will be provided by Palermo's and dessert will include plenty of brownies! Please join us for any/all of the day's events - and please celebrate Mary's wonderful life!

Thank you for your wonderful messages for Mary via this site. They helped Mary realize it was OK to let go and it has helped her family thrive during this most difficult time. Mary was a good listener and she loved to listen to your thoughts, stories and prayers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Evening's Funny Quotes

Lance and I were discussing Dancing with the Stars, a show we don't really watch, and were talking about who we want to win. Rowan pipes in and says "Who do you want to win, Mommy? Dora, Boots, Backpack or Diego?"

Lance: "Rowan, do you love your brother?"
Rowan: "No" (pause) "Well, I guess I love him a little because God made him."

Rowan, on a walk tonight: "Daddy, let's just stop and look at this bird poop."

Rowan, telling a story in the style of You are Special, Little One:
"Daddy, with your Dora eyes and your sweet smelling fur, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always. Mommy, with your beautiful boots and your sweet smelling dinner, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always. Sebby, with your tail and your sweet smelling doggy food, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always. Harley, with your doggy fur and your sweet smelling basement, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always."

Rowan, tonight after her bedtime prayer: "So if God and Jesus both live in Heaven, do they share a room? Like they're havin' a sleepover?"

All that between dinner and bedtime.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Life in a Small Town

Another gorgeous Friday. Since Lance was leaving for the weekend this evening, we decided to make the most of the time between his arrival at home and his departure for his parents' house. A yummy dinner (walnut encrusted tilapia with maple butter that Rowan ate seconds of!) and then a bike ride to Houseman's with a stop at the park on the way home. At Houseman's I looked around at all of the locals enjoying ice cream with their families. We all walked around downtown and I thought about how nice it is to have some little local stores within walking or biking distance. A jewelry store, a hardware store, a few restaurants, a barber shop, a meat market with much better meat than Meijer and, of course, an ice cream store. I watched the local high schoolers gather across the street from Houseman's in, what I'm assuming, might be a Friday night ritual now that it's nice out. I could kind of (just a little bit) picture us living here for a while. Then the kid with the pickup truck and a Confederate flag drove up.

All Boy

Many of my friends with boys tell me at some point or another "He's all boy" when describing their little guys. I always inquire what, exactly, they mean by that. They'll generally tell me about the rambunctiousness of their child, how he loves to play in dirt and play with trucks and run around tirelessly. And, when I was a mom of just a girl, I would think to myself "Don't all kids do that? Certainly my daughter does." I sort-of rolled my eyes at the "all boy" comment.

Today, however, I got a little dose of what "all boy" means. This morning Tate ran over to me, looked right at me, headbutted me in the face, laughed and ran away. And all I could think was "He's all boy."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where to find us all summer long...



the sand table. Both kids can't get enough. So much fun! So much dirt! Maybe by the end of the summer I'll have the whole "cleaning the sand off the children before coming inside" routine down to a science. Maybe I'll figure out how to keep wet sand from staining clothes (really, I thought it would just rinse out. But, no! It stains!) Rowan loved the sand table last year and this year, Tate is clearly following in her footsteps. I think the pictures say it all.

A Beautiful Day




Prior to our three-day stretch in Canton, our whole family actually got to spend Friday evening and Saturday together. We got pizza and had a picnic at the park on Friday followed with a trip to Houseman's for ice cream. Gorgeous weather. Lots of fun. Hiking, swinging, much needed family time. Saturday it rained. A lot. Lots of playing inside, putting away winter clothing, bringing up summer clothing. Running errands. Going out to dinner. Just being a family. And loving every minute of it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Three-Year Stats

So, I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I think this year has been particularly emotionally draining and when it comes down to writing about my daily activities, I am just out of energy. But I'm starting to realize that finding the good in each day is what I need (and now that spring is finally starting, I think it will be a bit easier). My children are wonderful. Rowan is extremely creative and funny, Tate is learning new words and doing new things every day. And I'm missing out on recording all of this. So, though I've said these words before, I really am going to try to be better about recording this journey.

Monday was Rowan's 3-year checkup at the doctor. A nice appointment--mainly becuase there are no shots. She was hilarious. Laughing every time the doctor touched her. Squirming around on the table, making funny faces, trying to take a deep breath. The whole time I was thinking "Oh, I wish I had brought the video camera." It was just hysterical. Dr. D was impressed with Rowan's intellect (spelling her name and some other words, counting to 100, reading a few short words phonetically), but a bit perplexed by her motor skills (climbed right up onto the table and can do a somersault, but is unable to pedal a bike, throw and catch a ball, eat well with utensils and draw a smiley face). So we are now in the process of making calls to have an OT/PT evaluation done. In the meantime, I suppose I should make more of an effort to make sure Rowan is working on these skills.

As for the stats, Rowan has grown a whopping 1.5 inches in a year. A whole year. 1.5 inches. In her defense, I think the 2-year measurement was probably not quite accurate as she was supposedly 34.5 inches and in the 75th %ile. She is now 36 inches and in the 25th %ile which is perfectly aligned with her weight of 28 pounds, also in the 25th %ile. Her head, of course, is considerably larger than average. Which, of course, is to make room for that big brain of hers. All in all, a pretty good appointment.

Rowan continues to love stories, but my creativity is begining to wane. I have taken this opportunity to teach Rowan what characters, setting and plot are and I ask her to tell me a little bit about each one prior to the story. "Rowan, what characters would you like in your story?" I say. "Me, Tate, you, Daddy, my friends, my cousins, Hot Pink Girl, her friends, her cousins, the Care Bears, the word friends, and all of their friends and cousins, Grandma Jackie, Aunt Michelle, Grandma Mary, Grandpa Carl..." I then generally tell her that three characters would be a good number and then randomly pick three. The setting is often Hot Pink Girl's house and the plot generally has something to do with going to Word World or eating cupcakes. She also loves any opportunity to go outside--sidewalk chalk, bubbles, swinging and attempting to bike (which inevitably ends in disaster as she cannot pedal, but she loves it anyway).

Tate is getting more and more adventurous. His favorite thing right now is to climb on something (preferably the piano or the train table), stand up and do a funny little dance/shuffle. I tried to get a video clip of it, but it didn't turn out so well, so I will try again. It's so funny. I can't even get mad at him for standing on the table because it's just so cute. He also loves racing up the stairs and hiding in Rowan's Rose Petal Cottage. As for eating, some days he eats well, other days he eats nothing, but he refuses to be fed. So, mealtime is a complete mess with Tate holding a spoon, but eating something like chili or oatmeal with his hands. Harley and Sebastian are loving it.

As for Mary, it's been a rough week. 5 days in the hospital, 1 day at home and back in the hospital. Lance went from Chicago to Canton to home where he's been working nonstop. We're hoping for a weekend where we can all be together--even if it's doing boring things like yardwork and laundry.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tell Me a Story, Ma.

Rowan has a new obsession. Well, not new, exactly, as it's been going on for a few months now. I keep hoping maybe she'll grow out of it, but, alas, I think it is just a part of our lives now. This obsession is stories. Not books, necessarily, though she loves those and would read all day if I had the time to read to her. What she wants is stories. As in me, making up stories and telling them to her. Constantly. I am not exaggerating when I say she asks me to tell her a story over a hundred times a day. I haven't actually counted, but I really wouldn't be surprised if that number nears a thousand some days. It is just ridiculous.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like that she enjoys hearing stories, but I think maybe, oh, 3 or so a day should suffice, in addition to the many books we read. As soon as we're in the car or we're not playing anything requiring talking, she starts to ask for stories. The conversation goes something like this:

Rowan: Tell me a story, Ma.
Me: Well, maybe if you ask nicely.
Rowan: Mommy, tell me a story, Mommy, please.
Me: Who would you like to have in your story?
Rowan: (typically, though this occasionally changes) Me, Hot Pink Girl, Eloise, my friends, my cousins, the Word Friends (from Word World, which she has seen maybe three times), Mommy, Daddy and Tate
Me: What would you all like to be doing?

And on and on it goes until I weave some sort of story with way too many characters and a very limited plotline. And as soon as I am done, it begins again. When we were in Charlotte, Trang couldn't stop laughing as this is really what the conversation with Rowan was like all day.

Rowan has also taken to calling me "Ma", reminiscent of a girl from Jersey. I do not like it. So, every time she calls me "Ma", I say "My name is Mommy or Mama, not Ma." Where did she come up with this? She continues to call me "Ma" unless she is asking for something and then she will call me "Mommy".

Random side note. In the car tonight on the way home from a yummy dinner at Marie Catrib's, Rowan was talking about doctors. And Tate said "doctor", clear as day. Lance and I looked at each other and then, of course, tried to get him to say it again, but he wouldn't. Then right before bed, I asked him to say doctor and he did. Another word to add to the list, I guess. Maybe a future career choice?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tate's Daily Schedule



Tate would like to report that today was like any other day for him. It started at 6:30 with lots of screaming in his crib until Mommy came in to get him. It continued with a firm refusal of breakfast and then lots of crawling up the stairs quickly, laughing and sitting on the landing waiting for me to catch him, tickle him and take him back down the stairs, only to continue this stair-chasing another 20 or so times. Then it's up to the bathroom to brush teeth where Tate refuses to allow me to brush his teeth. Then it's time to randomly pick up the step stools in the bathroom and walk around the room with them, then set them down and step up and down, up and down on them. Then pick the up again and walk around. Then it's time to get dressed which, of course, Tate refuses. This is when Mommy has to put Tate in a hold reminiscent of WWE wrestling in order to get him dressed. Then it's time to go downstairs and play with balls and chase the dogs until Rowan wakes up. Then there's lots of following Rowan around (he is now saying "Ro Ro") and repeating the morning activities.

Lots of movement, lots of action, lots of personality. Tate is a mover and a shaker, people. No reading books for him. No being strapped into a highchair (or, even worse, a carseat). Even with all of the action, Tate still loves to be held (when the time is right, of course) and is the sweetest little thing. He continues to be obsessed with Mommy, which is both sweet and irritating (mostly to Daddy) and wants to grow up to be just like his sister who, in his eyes, can do no wrong.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What's Cookin'?




Yesterday was Rowan's 3rd birthday party--a cooking theme. Making chef hats, wearing aprons, making pizzas and fruit parfaits, cooking books, cooking songs and, of course, an apron cake. We kept it SMALL, as cooking with 2 and 3 year olds seemed a bit daunting and it was perfect. Rowan had a great time, I was never too overwhelmed (except when I attempted to write "Chef Rowan" on Rowan's cake and the frosting kept coming out of the tip. Hence the large "3" on her cake instead). Since Rowan's birthday isn't actually until the 10th, I feel no need to get all sappy about my little girl growing up--at least for a few more days.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fancy Nancy


A month or so ago, Rowan discovered Fancy Nancy at the library. Cute books, cute illustrations, fun vocabulary. Rowan is definitely not the girliest of girls, but she does love to dress like a princess and, at least for a while, thought Fancy Nancy was just great.

So, two weeks ago, Rowan and I got decked out and went to the Mother/Daughter Fancy Nancy party at the library. She was all decked out in a fancy dress, ballet shoes, a crown, a wand, lots of jewelry. I even donned a tiara and we set out for the library. She made sunglasses and a bracelet and drank pink lemonade out of a goblet. Best of all, however, she discovered jelly beans. "Oh Mommy, these are so yummy. I love these beans, these pink and green beans, they are so yummy. Can I have some more beans? Please, Mommy?"

Overall we had a fun time, just the two of us. Times like this make me excited for all of the mother/daughter times yet to come.

What's Cooking?

All winter long, Rowan and I have spent quite a bit of time cooking together. During Tate's morning nap, we tried to have some special time together, and what better than baking? Cookies, muffins, pancakes, raisin bars. Lots of stirring, mixing and tasting. So when I found a local cooking class for 2-4 year olds, I jumped at the chance to sign Rowan up.

Over the weeks she made pancakes, pizza, dirt pudding and "hamburgers and hot dogs" (which were really cookies sandwiched to look like hamburgers and bananas in a hot dog bun with peanut butter and jelly). She had to miss the last class and the field trip to Cold Stone (which, let's admit here, I'm sure I was more sad than she was about that one). They also had songs, parachute time, bubbles. She had a great time and, not surprisingly, won the messiest shirt contest. So, her 3rd birthday party will be a cooking party. This weekend, she will have 5 friends over to make pizzas and fruit parfaits, decorate chef hats and celebrate her birthday. So, the rest of this week, I'll be making aprons and placemats for the little kids and I'm actually really looking forward to this party!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Big Birthday, Tate!





It's official. As of yesterday, my sweet adorable little baby is now a (gasp!) toddler! I suppose he's been a toddler for a few months now with all of the walking he's been doing. But there's something about that one-year milestone that gets me. When a baby is first born, his life is measured in weeks. After about 12 weeks, you tell people how many months he is and it's sort of relieving not having to keep track of the weeks. At one, however, when someone asks Tate's age, I could just say "one" and it would be totally accurate.

I managed through the day without too many tears. I caught myself with a few trickling down occasionally, but I wasn't the water fountain that I was when Rowan turned one. I really just tried to enjoy Tate's day with him. We played. We ran. We knocked down lots of blocks. I sang "Happy Birthday" too many times to count. We cuddled.

I thought back to a year ago when my little guy was born, my long labor, my c-section and all of the complications that came along with it. And I think what a small price that was for such a huge gift. There are days, like today, where I really can't get enough of my little guy. Where I contemplate waking him up from his nap just to cuddle (but knowing that he would never just want to cuddle for more than a minute or two). He greets me every day with an almost ridiculous number of kisses. He lights up when we go get Rowan up in the morning. There is nothing he likes more than being chased, except maybe being held if it's that time of day. He is such a mama's boy. His favorite toys at home are the ball popper, the toy phone and the blocks. His favorite toy at Susan's house is the Disney Princess vanity. He loves to chase Harley and Sebby and pull on Sebby's beard and tail.

Tate, I hope you always have such a zest for life and are a mama's boy forever. I love you, little Tater Tot!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vacation






I think we chose the best possible week, in terms of weather, to visit Florida. It was literally sunny and 80 every single day. We chose the worst possible week, however, in terms of health. Tate, Rowan and I all had pneumonia and though Rowan and I improved drastically once on antibiotics, Tate did not. All in all, though, despite the sickness, we had a pretty good week.

Bringing my mom and sister along proved to be more than just a good idea. I am relatively certain the vacation would have been a disaster without the willing help of an unconditionally loving grandma. Seriously, my mom somehow kept up with Rowan's energy, took Tate for walks and watched both children twice so Lance and I could get out--once to go canoeing and once for Valentine's Day dessert.

Rowan spent every day playing at the playground, playing at the beach and swimming in the pool. She got more and more adventurous in the pool and loved jumping off the side. Tate got out the first day and the last two days and also loved the pool. We also went to the Everglades Alligator Farm (where Rowan held a baby alligator and a snake and we all took a very fun airboat ride), Theater of the Sea (where Rowan got to have a kiss from the sea lion, Mimi) and to a dock where Rowan threw dead fish to the tarpon and pelicans. She remains my fearless child.

It was so nice to be away from the cold, to have Lance away from work and to spend the week as a family. I'm already looking forward to our next vacation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Slacker

So, here I am, a full month and a half into the year, and so far beyond breaking my resolutions that I'm wondering why I even pretended to make them. Bible reading has gone completely out the window. And, as for documenting my kids' lives, clearly that hasn't been happening either. Quite pathetic.

So, I'm going to take some time playing catch-up. Or at least trying to. I'll give our vacation a post to itself and try to remember what the Pellow clan has been up to the past few weeks.

Tate has been very big into giving hugs and kisses and I'm loving that. He, like Rowan, is not a cuddler. Unless he's almost asleep or we're walking, he does not want to be held. He wants to move. Quickly and constantly. Though he is active like his sister, at least for now he doesn't seem to have the need to climb. By this age Rowan was climbing up and down stairs, climbing on top of the kitchen table and climbing up and going down her slide by herself. Tate, on the other hand, has only made it up two stairs and just stands behind the slide, watching. I'm pretty grateful that Tate has either not yet figured it out or has no desire to be a climber. Nice.

Rowan continues to be obsessed with Dragon Tales and is constantly imagining that Emmy is with her. Or that she herself is Emmy. In that case, Cassie is with her. We are constantly chanting "I wish, I wish with all my heart, to fly with dragons in a land apart" while holding onto something that is the pretend dragon scale. Then we're going to Dragon Land and celebrating someone's birthday. When I say constantly, I really mean it. This happens many, many times every day. She also occasionally pretends to be Pinky Pie (a My Little Pony she got for Christmas) and I am Minty and we both yell "It's today" and get excited about Pinky Pie's birthday while gallopping around.

I'm still trying to find a good balance in taking care of the kids and myself. I feel I am constantly choosing between the two. When I am a good mom, I have a messy house. When I have a clean house, I am not such a great mom. And this seems to be how it is in many areas of my life. I can have one, but not the other. At least not at the same time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Uh-oh!

Tate's new favorite word is uh-oh. He loves to sit in his highchair, drop things and say "uh-oh". He does this over and over again, making meal times a bit lengthy but also pretty adorable. He has a little cold this week that is keeping him up at night, so when I'm so tired all day, it's nice to be humored by my now 11-month old little guy.

Today we had a lengthy playdate with Lily, Ally, Brady and Georgia. Rowan had made Valentine's cards for all of the kids and was so excited to give them to her friends. When Lily came in, Rowan handed her the Valentine and Lily looked at it and threw it back at Rowan. I could just see the hurt in Rowan's eyes and I wanted to scoop her up and protect her from all of the many, many hurts she's going to have in her life. But, Rowan bounced back on her own, gave out the rest of her Valentine's cards and had fun with her friends.

This afternoon, after naps, I brought in a tub of snow and let the kids play in it. We made a little snowman and a snow "sandcastle", then we made snow ice cream. It was a lot of fun, but a huge mess, too. Tate thought the snowman was hysterical. I put it outside and he would run over to the window and start cracking up at the snowman. But, it didn't last long as the dogs knocked it over and ate the carrot and raisin embellishments.

Lance is back home and we're loving life!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Past Few Weeks, In Pictures








The past few weeks have been emotionally draining for Lance and me and I haven't really had a desire to write about all of the details of Mary's cancer. The kids, however, are blissfully unaware. They miss their daddy who has been gone for almost 2 weeks now (first on business to Atlanta, then to Canton to take care of his parents), but we have tried to stay busy. So, I'm taking a break from writing and am just going to post pictures. In the photo montage are pics of Nathan's 1st birthday, the GR Children's Museum, the Kalamazoo Museum and fun around the house.