Tuesday, September 8, 2015


My sweet little Bowen Naomi,

And just like that, the time is here. Four and three quarters years down and off you go into kindergarten, or "big-kid school," as you call it. 

How did it happen so quickly? The days are long but the years are short, as they all say. And now, in the seeming blink of an eye, you are entering the next chapter of your life. 

The summer has been amazing. We completed every single item on the "Bucket List" and you were thrilled to no end at each adventure. You swam in the ocean, finished your library reading club, spent weeks on Bowen Island, ate ice cream, and had countless hours and picnics at the park. You laughed and cried and stomped and got a little less sleep than usual. You grew and learned new words and I marvelled at how suddenly you are so easily understood and your vocabulary is so vast. I wonder all the time how this suddenly happened, but these wonderful last few years have all been leading us to this very moment in time. 

My girl: you laugh easily, but you also anger easily. You love playing with your brother, especially a game where you get to be the Mama and call him "dear" all the time. In fact, he often asks for the dear game himself and you love leading him around and making the rules. You love riding your bike with training wheels and your helmet. You dream of one day having tassels on the handles. You have come out of your shell: you talk like there's no tomorrow and you're having an easy time incorporating yourself into groups of new friends. You have absolutely no qualms about what this next year is to bring. These days you love dancing, farting, music, swings, climbing, helping with the garden, making jam. You are kind and loving, and you're the best translator in the world for your brother. This summer you learned not only to fall asleep on your own, but also to stay in your own bed for the night. You're still fiercely cuddly, especially in the morning. You thrive on routine, and you need five kisses as well as intricate knowledge of "what are we doing tomorrow?" before you sleep. You are the sweetest little girl and these last 4.75 years of life together are have been amazing.

As for me: I'm nervous. I've raised you with constant reminders that "you are brave, you are strong, you are smart, and you are beautiful." This is something you've heard every night at bedtime for your entire life. What if there are mean kids? What if someone excludes you? What if you can't open your lunchbox? What about wiping your bum? I'm feeling like this has all been a great dress rehearsal and that real life, or life on your own, begins now. I'm pulling for you, baby. I know that you will fly.

Today, on the eve of your last night before being a kindergartener, I asked if you'd be my little baby forever. You answered quickly and with assurance that you'd be my big kid forever. You are ready to take this on, my beautiful girl. I'm so excited to see what this year brings. 

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Thursday, November 13, 2014


My sweet Bowen Naomi,

This is four! Here we are, with four entire years behind us. The time we've known each other seems so vast. So much has changed in this time, and it seems incredible that you've only been in our lives for four years. You're a child now - the babyness, toddlerness, preschoolerness of you is rapidly slipping away, and here is little girl Bowen with so much to think and do and say. It's incredible and it makes my head spin.

I don't even know where to begin.

Bowen at four is chatty, smily, and beautiful. Bowen is smart, and funny, and loud. Bowen loves being outside, no matter the weather. She cares about the earth and talks constantly about taking care of it. Bowen has grown from a little shy baby to a confident and quick-to-speak little girl, and I couldn't be more proud.

Our days have become quite busy lately, between preschool, forest school, swimming, and all of the other fun events and activities that fill our days. You love going to both of your schools and I love hearing all about it once you're done. These days there seems to be no separation anxiety at all, and you're quite quick to break off from me and join your friends and teachers. In the forest, I love seeing you in your element and when you begin to refer to the trails of Lynn Canyon by name, I know we've found our people. In swimming you've been working a lot on your forward glides and have been making huge leaps in your water abilities. We've been inundated with birthday parties lately, and you love any chance to play with your friends outside of school. You love saying happy birthday to your peers, and are always excellent about thanking the hosts for inviting you.

It's hard to get down into words all of the facets of your personality, my love. Lately you love joking around and think that farting and burping are both hilarious topics of conversation. You've been asking a lot of questions lately, ranging from birth to death to dinosaurs. You're excellent at entertaining yourself and finding things to play with at home. These days you dress yourself entirely and love being in charge of what you wear.

Last month you got to experience the joy of Halloween, and from the moment we began to decorate the house in preparation for it, you loved talking about "spooky" things and all of the candy you'd attain trick or treating. You chose to be a garden gnome this year, and got a thrill out of telling everyone that you were a "gnomy." Thanksgiving, also, was a great event where you were thrilled to be spending time with your family and eating turkey. We're so lucky to have so many we love close by.

The biggest event lately, of course, has been your birthday. For the first time we chose not to do a big party, and when I asked what you'd like to do for your birthday, you asked to go get a slurpee with your family. As a gift, you asked for a robot and as your special meal you requested a turkey dinner. I loved putting together everything you'd asked for - it's so neat to see your choices and preferences and the things that you ask us for speak so much to your personality and to the little girl that you've become. We've been lucky to have your grandparents around a lot more this fall, and you were thrilled to have them with you to eat your special dinner and to help you blow out your candles. Seeing your happiness in blowing out four candles and making a wish is amazing. I love you so much and I love seeing the joy in your face and in your life.

My love, in the blink of an eye you have grown so much. You care so much about the world around you. There's seldom a day when I'm not pulling rocks or pinecones out of your pockets, or that you're not enjoying your newest sticker obsession. I love your observations on the world and seeing life through the eyes of a four year old. You're the best cuddler I know, and when your dad is home you're asking him to cuddle constantly with you. Your joy and passion for life is contagious, my Bowen.

I love you so much, and I love seeing you grow. I can't believe we're standing at four merely the blink of an eye after that drizzly November morning when you came into our lives. I can't wait to continue this adventure by your side.

Happy fourth birthday, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your mama

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fourty Six Months!

My darling little girl,

Time is going so fast! We're already ten days past your monthly birthday and we haven't even stopped long enough to breathe and notice all the changes that abound before us. This was a big month of change - summer wound down and slowly we're settling back into our routine.

We ended the summer with visiting your Gamma and Poppa's boat, where you did all sorts of exciting things like catching prawns, crabs, and shiners. You loved boat life and getting to spend some time with those near and dear to you. We finished up summer by enjoying some beach days, some parks, and soaking up as much of the summer as we possibly could. We visited the library often, where we participated in your very first summer reading club. You picked up garbage from the streets, talking often about how it's not nice for the Earth to be covered with litter. We stopped watching movies, and with the extra bit of free time you had, you've learned to entertain yourself by riding your trike in the front of the house and playing with your brother. You requested yet another trip to Science World and loved absolutely every minute. There's so much for you to see there, and it's so much fun to take you! We talked a lot about the upcoming school year before it began, and once it finally arrived, I knew you were ready to take it on.

The day that you went back to Sunshine Preschool was wonderful. You were absolutely thrilled to be returning to some familiar faces and excited to meet "new friends," as you say. You gave me a quick goodbye and were off looking like you felt right at home. When we picked you up, both teachers told us that you'd talked their ear off about how your summer was and then recounted to me exactly what it was that we'd done all summer! Your enthusiasm for life is amazing, my love. It's truly incredible to see the changes in your from this year to last, and when I was talking about it with one of your teachers it actually brought tears to my eyes. She reminded me that it's also "an age thing," this growth in you. Last year you barely wanted to stay and you had a hard time adjusting. These days you're eager to get into a new situation and you don't mind at all being left with others. You're keen to open up and talk more, and love sharing things about your life with those who will listen. Last year your coat-hook photo was grumpy and obviously taken under duress, and this one could not be more opposite - you're radiant and beaming. I love seeing you grow and change and become this incredible little girl.

You have also started Fresh Air Learning, or "Outside School," as you call it. It takes place in Lynn Canyon, which is an amazing forest filled with beauty and wonder. You've grown up experiencing the North Shore mountains, so what an excellent venue for you to continue your schooling this year! So far you love your teacher and everything that Outside School allows you. In these two hours you're allowed to play with sticks and stones and mud, to jump into log stumps and climb as high as so want (so long as you can you can get down!) and you're thriving in this environment. Your teacher comments on your engagement in the class, and it's wonderful to see you in your element.

As well as your schools, you've also started your next set of swimming lessons. This term you're a Killer Whale - you're at the highest level you can be at for your age! I must admit that it's not always easy to get us out to lessons, and there's a lot involved in everyone being ready on time, but at this point we're two years into your swimming carreer and I'm impressed at how much you've learned and how comfortable you are around the water. You love going and seeing the joy in your face at the pool makes every tough instance of getting out of the house well worthwhile.

My girl, I love your vigour for life. I love it when you run up to me and say something random and hilarious like, "Mama! I love monkeys! I really love them!" or when you see something great and say, "That's fantastic!" with the most enthusiasm I've ever heard. I love that no matter what, you can find the moon in the sky, and that your favourite conversation topics as of late are about the owies on your knees and your latest poop in the potty. I love your bravery, and your desire to climb trees. I love that you ask, "How do you know that?" at every question I answer, which makes me think about exactly how I know that, indeed!

Some days are tough, and some days are long. But like they say, the days are long but the years are short. Not too long ago you were mumbling "apple" as your first word, and now you're teaching Baden how to talk. And speaking of Baden - some days you love pushing him down when he totters along, but just as often you're helping him up, showing him how to safely look both ways on the street, and hugging his head. You love life, and I love life with you.

My heart burst with love for you, my Baby Bowen, and I can't wait to see the adventures that we'll embark on this coming school year together.

Happy Fourty Six Months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fourty Five Months!

Dear Baby Bowen,

Well, hello, three and three quarters! We find ourselves here, with you speaking really clearly and pretty eloquently, with each day that passes leaving you acting like more of a caring, feeling, thinking grownup. This summer with you has been the best yet and sharing adventures together as a family truly makes this whole journey even more amazing.

While I thought that the deviation from routine during the summer months (or month, after all is said and done, summer is incredibly short) wouldn't fare well with your very orderly manner of being, but rather the opposite is true. We've done so much this summer, my love! Trying new parks, joining the library book club, swimming in the ocean, berry-picking, eating outside, playing in the pool, running in the sprinkler, eating popsicles and freezies, staying up too late. Summer has been rich and sweet and full. We've grown used to this slower and lazier pace where we actually get to wake up, play, slow down, and enjoy. These days you start your day with breakfast, and then a long while is spent out front where you play with your brother and ride on your tricycle, occasionally giving him a ride too! While I know that the business and newness of fall quickly approaches, I'm really trying to stop, look around, and enjoy this time as a family.

In August we had three weeks off together as a family, starting with your daddy's birthday. This year you were great at picking out gifts with me, and a much better secret-keeper than last year! You were thrilled to make him a beautiful birthday card, and not only did you help make his birthday cake, but you were entirely responsible for decorating it! Of course, he absolutely loved it and you were truly as proud as could be. We spent some time riding bikes and attending the Pride Parade with our old friend Mike, and then we were off for a week to Bowen Island! Getting you to understand the concept of the cabin and what our vacation would entail beforehand was difficult - you kept inquiring about marshmallows and fires; you were imagining a "camping" situation more than a cabin one. When we finally arrived, you took a look around the cabin at Hood Point and were quite pleased with the surroundings - both the bunk beds and the plethora of toys met your approval. The first evening, after realizing that you there would be no usual after-dinner movie you had a brief moment where you wanted to go home. After you'd come to terms with that small part of it, however, it was smooth sailing from there! Our days fell into a lovely rhythm of hikes, lunches, naps, and big ocean swims. You got very comfortable swimming from the beach, as well as jumping off the dock! You've become such an amazing swimmer this summer, my love! At one point you found a rolly-polly bug that you named Sarah, and set up a whole obstacle course and home for her, and spent a few hours playing with her until she made her escape. In the end you did get to enjoy some camping standbies - we had hot dogs one day and you regularly asked for a marshmallow after dinner, but you truly took to cabin living as if you were meant for it. You were the biggest treat for mosquitoes, but didn't seem to mind much if enough calamine lotion as applied. You slept at 7pm every nights after zero complaints and actually stayed in your bunk for the entire night until morning. It was a truly fantastic week for us, and actually the longest we've been away from home since you were born!

It's amazing to me what a big girl you are, my love. Today we went on a hike to Quarry Rock and you actually walked the whole way! More and more you ask to walk, and you're covering longer distances each day. You ask complicated questions that take me a little while to answer, like "Where will Sandwiches go when he's really old?" and "What's the difference between joking and lying?" Sometimes you say hilarious things like, "I just farted on your car!" or "the pigs are ready to eat!" when you actually mean "figs." The very best thing this month is your love of your brother. A few times I've seen you tell your dad very sternly to "BE NICE to my little brother!" and you love nothing more than holding his hand when he walks around the house. You were just as excited as the rest of us when he took his very first steps not too long ago and seeing the love develop between you two is incredible. Sometimes when you get angry you say that you don't want to be his big sister anymore, and that Sandwiches can be his big sister instead. I tell you that this is fine, but also remind you that one day you'll be happy to have this little brother at your side.

Baby girl, this summer has been the best. I'm standing at the edge of it, nervous about all of the new things to come but also feeling a bit melancholy about all that is behind us. At this time next year you'll be about to head into full-time school. I can't believe it and I don't even want to think about it yet. At the edge of this school year, you're about to go into three times a week preschool, as well as a new outdoor preschool which you're really excited about. New environment, new people, new adventures. Onwards and upwards, my baby monkey!

Happy 45 months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your mama

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fourty Four Months!

My sweet little Bowen Naomi,

What fun summer is with a preschooler! I bet I said the same about summer with a baby and then with a toddler, but your vigor and excitement for life, and summer in particular, makes it even more fantastic. This month we've enjoyed a more relaxed pace but finding myself exhausted at the end of the day, I wonder how it could be flying by so fast. We're already halfway through our first month "off," and I know that we'll be back into the swing of the fall before we even know it. I find it so important to slow down, sit, savour this magical time with you and your brother.

After you ended school, we began filling our days with fun summer activities. We've visited several different water parks, and made sure to try out some new playgrounds. We've been to Science World for the first time, and the sheer volume of things to see and do absolutely amazed you. We spent hours there and could have absolutely stayed for hours longer. We loved the Canada Day parade, and it fills me with joy that you never tire of parades - just like your mama! The past week was spent at "summer camp," which was put on by Sunshine Preschool - your regular school and your regular teachers. The theme of the week was camping, and you guys delved into all sorts of camping related tasks, like setting up tents, eating s'mores, taking about fire safety, and the usual fun school play. I was curious of how you'd react about doing school every single day, rather than just a couple of times a week and you absolutely took to it instantly! It was never a struggle to get you ready in the morning; every single day you just woke up, ate breakfast, and were ready to get going! I have no doubt that you'll be absolutely thrilled when you go back to school next year for three days a week, rather than your prior two. Each day for camp you said goodbye to me right at the door, and off you went. I love how you feel comfortable in that environment and am already looking forward to the next year at Sunshine. The teachers asked each kid at the end of the week what they would bring camping with them and your reply was "my blanket, stuffy, and pillow."

Aside from those activities, we've filled our days with fun, water, and sun. We eat dinner outside almost every day, and you love sitting on the steps and looking at the view as we eat. We splash in the pool, play on the slip and slide, and run in the sprinklers. We eat popsicles on the grass, watch the bees, and you spend the majority of your time naked. Summer is at it should be around these parts, and it's beautiful.

This month we've started a "responsibility chart" for you, where you get smiley faces for each day of fulfilling a particular responsibility. At the end of the week if you've gotten all of your smiley faces, you get to pick out a candy of your choice. The first week you picked out a lollypop the size of your head, and the second week was a stick of liquorice. I really wanted you to start doing more things for yourself, since it seems like me doing too much is getting a bit too comfortable for you! Your tasks this week are to dress yourself, to not whine, to pick up all your toys, and to use your pleases and thank yous. You love sticking on your smiley faces, and you have taken well to being reminded about your responsibilities. In addition to these big girl tasks, you love constantly counting to ten, helping a lot with baking, and teaching your little brother things like how to properly descend stairs.

I look at your long and lean body and I'm truly amazed. I'm amazed that so recently I could curl you up and you'd fit into the crook of my arm. That you came from me. That you've grown and learned, and these days you go out into the world as your own person. I'm amazed by you, baby girl. My love, you are a dreamer, a talked, and the joy of my life. Your wit makes me laugh and your cuddles make me melt. A Shakespeare quote makes me smile and think of you only: "Though she be but little, she is fierce." You are fierce, baby girl, and I could not be prouder.

Happy fourty-four months, Baby Bowen!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fourty Three Months!

My sweet little Bowen Naomi,

Happy fourty three months, baby girl! This month we embark into your third summer, and it's shaping up to be the most exciting yet. You talk about summer all the time, and while you haven't yet grasped the fact that our days will be more open and more free, you seem incredibly keen for all these coming months have to hold.

This month, I've seen the biggest development in you come through socially. So many times I've observed you going up to another child and asking if you can play with them. On the few ocassions when you've received a negative response, you simply move on and ask the next person. You love playing with other kids, and seeing you do this - simply engage in unstructured and imaginative play is amazing. It makes me wish that friendships were as easy to make as an adult. Perhaps they should be! We've continued on for the last little bit of swimming, gymanstics, and preschool. Your preschool is about to finish for the year, and it's still amazing for me to think about the incredible growth and change that you've had in the first year. You're nothing like the little baby I dropped off last September with tears in both our eyes. Nowadays you have no qualms about being left and generally give me a cheery goodbye as you set out on whatever interesting topic you're scheduled to learn that day. The same goes with staying with other people: you absoutely adore the times you get to stay on your own with your grandma. You look forward to it all week, and absolutely love all the attention and time devoted to you. I can see why! You're so lucky to get such special time with such special people. This month you even had a sleepover at Grandma's house and loved it! You were quite proud that you stayed in your bed all night! It's so lovely watching you learn and grow, and in turn show such pride. I love it. I love you, my little girl.

We've had some exciting events this past month. It was your little brother's first birthday, and for this you were very excited. You told him all about cakes, cupcakes, balloons, guests. You were thrilled to help him blow out his candles and open his gifts. I was impressed in your understanding that it was his birthday and not yours, and also in your willingness to participate. You also took your bunny stuffed animal to a sleepover at the library earlier in the month. We drove her there, and as we walked her in you told her that sometimes you were scared too, but not too worry because you'd be back. There were a bunch of kids there to drop off their animals too, and after some stories and songs, everyone tucked away their animals and tiptoed out of the room. When I asked you if you thought she was having fun, you were certain that she was and that she wasn't scared without you. It was such an exciting thing to go get her the next day, and see that indeed, and much like you, she'd done great at her night away from home! As well as that, we've already gotten in one beach day and two parades! Much like your mama, you love parades and are excellent at waving and getting yourself some candy! At the beach you dug with friends, didn't hesitate to jump into the ocean, and had a great time enjoying the sun. It's shaping up to be a fantastic summer, baby girl!

This month you ask me constantly to "tell you a story." Your favourites seem to be when I tell you about the day you were born, and when your dad tells you about the day we brought home Sandwiches. You love asking the same questions over and over, and it seems like you're getting the workings of the world clarified in your mind. You too, love telling stories, and they all tend to involve both wolves and a little girl named Bowen. You love rocks and bringing huge rocks into the house seems to be a constant battle around here. I find them tucked into your bed and in your toy box. You love making your brother laugh, and will run around the house like a crazy person or make hillarious noises in order to do so. You make my world go round, little girl, and you make my life the best place to be. Thank you for making me smile every single day.

Happy fourty three months!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Three and a Half!

My dearest Bowen Naomi,

Happy 42 months, my love! Here we are, together at three and a half years old. You're my little girl and your strong presence and big personality continue to amaze us. Three and a half years ago you entered our lives and things were never the same.

My baby, it seems like your letters keep getting later and later. For some reason it's increasingly difficult for me to get on the computer after a long day and put down my thoughts. Likewise, early mornings are tough too, since this is the time when your little brother is the most active and awake. It seems like a few minutes alone on the computer is a complete rarity these days, but I continue to jot these little notes of your doings as the month goes on. Your life is so quick, so precious, and I know that without writing it down I would forget it too quickly. I'm glad that we'll both have these little letters as reminders as the years keep speeding by.

This month we enjoyed Easter. You were so keen on all the Easter egg hunts you were involved with and felt so greatful that the Easter Bunny had even made a stop at your house. You loved having a family dinner, as you relish any opportunity to be around your grandparents as well as eating desert! Dying eggs and Easter crafts were adorable this year, and even decorating the house for it was an exciting event. Family is really what makes these little holidays precious.

This month we've spent a lot of time looking at our new bee hive in the backyard. You've been really interested in learning about them and you love standing by their home and singing them both Twinkle Twinkle and a "Bee Song" that goes something like, "Buzzz, buzz, buzzzzzzzz!" You stop to look at rocks, trees, nests, and twigs on your walk to school, and it's seldom that you don't arrive there with some piece of nature in your hand to show your teachers. One of your favourite things to do when we're walking together is to pick up litter. I think it started with you seeing your dad pick up garbage once, but since then you walk nowhere without your eyes scouring around for any sort of garbage on the ground. You beam as you collect it and then proudly dump it in the garbage. I love how good you are to the Earth.

Lately you love hearing the same things over and over. You often ask about what happens if there's a fire, and point out fire hydrants when we pass them by. You like asking about clouds and rain. You like asking the same things several times to see if you get the same answers from different people. It's so neat to see your brain work, little one.

We continue to help at Meals on Wheels on Mondays, and you absolutely love feeling helpful. It's not the most exciting of jobs, but when we deliver the food to the church you always insist on carrying in a bag of buns and putting it in it's proper place. I'm proud that you're learning that it's our job to help. Every so often you help with things like feeding Witchies, unloading the dishwasher, or setting the table, and the positive reinforcement you receive seems to make it more than worthwhile for you.

Lately you've been interacting a lot more with your brother, both in positive and negative ways. You're really firm on the fact that you don't want him touching your things because he puts them in his mouth, and you find your animals being wet to be one of the more revolting things you can think of. Sometimes you find a replacement toy (albeit, not as good as the one he originally had!) to put in his wanting hand, but lately you just push his hands away and tell him, "No, Baden!" I've said, "Treat each other with kindness!" more times in the last few months that I had in my entire life prior put together. On the other hand, sometimes you can be kind and loving to him, giving him kisses, patting his head, or gently chanting, "It's okay, it's okay" when he cries. In the morning when you wake up and Baden comes screeching towards you with an excited squeal, you're quick to tell him that you're "waking up slowly!" and would like a little while longer. All in all, seeing the relationship between you two develop is incredible and I can't wait to see what the future holds for it.

My Bowen, you are so, so loved. Every day I make sure know know this every day, and every day you make sure I know it too.

Happy three and a half years, my Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama