Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bowen: 48/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

I'm a big cousin! 

Bowen: 47/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Birthday girl! 

Bowen: 46/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

The best little baker ever! 

Bowen: 45/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

So proud of your pumpkins! 

Thirty Seven Months!

My sweet little baby Bowen,

Happy 37 months, little girl! I guess no one really says "37 months," but instead you're just a wee bit over three. As we've realized, the quick changes of babyhood are waning, but it's still such a joy to watch you learn and grow and change. Recently reading a parenting book, I learned that toddlerhood ends at 36 months and then starts the "preschooler" era. You're a preschooler, baby!

This month we had some exciting milestones. Early in the month we finally said goodbye to one of your first loves - the dadu. Your pacifier had been with you from the start; we'd pushed it on you when you were a tiny little thing and then let it go to long because it was a huge source of comfort for you. Eventually it was relegated to only in the house, and later on to only in bed. Finally, we literally pulled the plug, with us probably more nervous than you. One night the dadu fairy came to take all your dadus to other little boys and girls who needed them, and left you a lovely little toy puppy to take care of. You seemed to agree with the trade and after a few restless nights you adapted. Such a huge part of your "littleness" is gone, my love.

My little girl, you're so sweet and thoughtful to others. At the park a little while ago you noticed a little tiny pinecone. You picked it up immediately, exclaiming how sad it was that he was all alone and without his mama and daddy pinecones. During the walk to school the following day, you pounced on a large pinecone and proudly exclaimed that you'd found the little one's mama! You were so pleased, and thrilled to be reuniting this pinecone family. I think these thoughtful little things that you think about are incredible, and I'm really loving watching you start to think of the world around you and in turn, discover your own place within in. You are amazing, my little girl. You tell me often that you're my "kid," and not my baby anymore and I'm really seeing this preschooler leap to grow up and "be big."

This month we've been winding up for the holidays and enjoying all this season has to offer. We took a hike into the mountains to find our perfect little christmas tree, and you loved looking at our decorations and gingerly placing them on the tree. I love telling you stories about each one, and look forward to watching our collection grow and you and your brother get bigger. We've been doing a lot of baking for friends and family, and you're turning into quite the fantastic baker. I'm so proud! So far you've visited with Santa three times; once with your Gamma at the yacht club, once at the mall, and once at the pet store when we took Sandwiches for his own yearly visit. Each time you're excited by the prospect of Santa, but definitely shy away when you actually see him in person. It must be overwhelming, after all that hype and talk surrounding the guy! Each time you prefer to keep your distance and certainly don't want to be too close. You also had a fantastic time with your family and cousins decorating your very own gingerbread house! You were in deep concentration and placed each candy exactly where you knew it belonged. That night you exhaustedly dropped into bed and wanted nothing but to take your gingerbread house to sleep with you. The most important thing that you've learned this holiday season is the concept of charity. I thought it would be tough to teach such a thing to a three year old, but surprisingly, it's been easy! All month we've been volunteering with the Christmas Bureau. We've been emptying the toy donation boxes at the mall, as well as helping to move donations around town. We talk about charity a lot, and you often tell us about the things that you would like to give to another girl or boy that needs it. You're understanding how good it feels to help others, and how most of the time it's nicer to give than receive. The best part was when we were emptying a toy donation box for the first time to take over to the Christmas Bureau. You handed me each lovely toy one by one, said goodbye to each, and wished it a nice life in its new house. You have such a kind heart, baby girl. We've also made up a Christmas Hamper for an elderly couple, and I'm really excited to see your face when we go deliver it together. I'm so grateful for this time together and the luxury of being with you daily to teach you what is important about this season.

When you're pregnant or a new mom people bombard you with stories and cautionary tales, but the one that rings most clearly and most frequently is the warning that "it all goes so quickly!" and holy cow, does it ever. How is it that you're over three and that you're the big sister to a seven month old brother? Where has the time gone? What have we been doing? It's very strange. On and on it goes, but I continue doing my best every single day to be here in the moment with you.

Happy thirty seven months, my Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Thursday, November 14, 2013


My sweet baby girl,

Today you are three years old. Three long and wondrous years where you've grown and changed, which have all passed in the blink of an eye. For over a thousand days, our days have mostly been one of the same and I can't even seem to remember much of life before that bright morning in November.

Firstly, what an exciting month we've had! I feel like school has completely changed your world; both your social skills and your vocabulary have grown exponentially since you've been there. You've really opened up, and instead of quickly shying away from strangers you've blossomed like never before. When we get a coffee, you'll actually walk up to the counter and order what you'd like! (You usually get hot chocolate, and mostly the response has been positive!) It's been a while since you told me you were going to "be shy for a little while." You say all sorts of incredibly cute things like, "How was your day, mama?" or "What are you up to?" You're getting better at the "please" and "thank yous" that are expected of you. You love telling me that you're a mama and that your babies grew in your tummy until they recently came out. You talk about "your family" constantly, which was one of the first learning units in school. I love it when you come home from school and tell me exactly what you did and learned. When prompted enough you tell me about polar bears, and squirrels, and birds and all of the other fascinating stuff you learn. Once monthly you bring home your art folder with as much pride as humanly possible. I love all the beautiful things you make, my little one. Recently you had the great privilege of bringing home the "treasure bag" from school. You were given your clue, "Something you sleep with" and had to find something in our house to bring to school to show. You chose Teddy, your yellow teddy bear that you've inherited from your dad, and were giddy with excitement when you came home to tell you about how you showed Teddy to all of your friends and even let them touch him! A couple of weeks later you brought him to school again for the "teddy bear picnic" and loved telling me about how you two ate cookies together. This talking, laughing, animated person you've become is incredible, my Bowen. I never imagined how much joy you could bring into my life.

When we were measuring your current hight, your dad noticed that the amount you'd grown between one and two was much bigger than the amount between two and three. And I guess that's how it goes, baby girl. The growth and change will probably wane, now that you're so grown up. The changes are less huge, but still as momentous. I love seeing you learn; I can actually see it in your eyes some days; this is one of the happiest joys of my life.

There were a huge bunch of important events in this past month, baby Bowen. We visited two pumpkin patches, which had you absolutely thrilled. Your absolute favourite part was riding in the wheelbarrows, and with much deliberation, picking out the absolute perfect pumpkin. Halloween itself was fantastic. There was a lot of buildup, with you choosing your zebra costume and trying it out every few days. We talked a lot about trick or treating leading up to the big day, and once it finally arrived you were ecstatic. I was planning on just going to a few houses around ours, but after each one you kept asking to go to more houses! Your brother was snuggled up in his carrier, and you were nice and warm in your fuzzy zebra outfit, so on we went for over an hour. You were excellent at saying both "trick or treat!" and "thank you!" and could hardly believe just how fast your candy bucket was filling up. It was amazing, your excitement and seeing how you really got it and loved it for the first time ever.

After Halloween was done, you truly got into birthday mode. You'd tell anyone who'd listen that your birthday was in "No! Bember!" and that you were going to have a party! You often did "pretend birthday" where you'd build a cake out of puzzle pieces and have us blow out the candles and say, "YAAAAAAY!" and clap. Every single aspect of this was imperative to you. A few days before your actual birthday you were celebrated at school; you brought some chocolate zucchini cupcakes to share with your friends, decorated a birthday crown (that got an incredible amount of use out of it!) and all of your friends sang "Happy Birthday!" to you. A couple of days later, we celebrated by throwing you a big party! We rented out the gym and bouncy castle at Gleneagles Rec Centre, and threw you your biggest ever party! In your words, there was "a bouncy castle! And cupcakes! And balloons!" Sixteen of your closest friends and their parents were in attendance, and you had an amazing time. I was a bit nervous that you'd be a wee bit overwhelmed, but it was rather the opposite - you were THRILLED! You were beaming as big as I've ever seen when we sang to you, and you invited all of your friends to help you blow out your candles. So much fun, my little baby!

Three, my love. You're a wonderful and amazing three year old ball of love. The changes in you from when you first came to us, and even from last year, are truly incredible. Every day you make me smile, laugh, and think. You are my world, my love, my sun and moon. I'm so lucky to have you and to teach you and to watch you bloom into the amazing little thing you are.

Happy birthday, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bowen: 44/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Making friends at another pumpkin patch! 

Bowen: 43/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Hooray for fall! 

Bowen: 42/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Loving our homegrown watermelon in the middle of October! 

Bowen: 41/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

A yearly family traditon: Westham Island Pumpkin Patch! 

Bowen: 40/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

A visit to baby beluga. 

Bowen: 39/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

An event so momentous that it deserves a compilation of photographs: FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL! 

Bowen: 38/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Summer bounty! 

Bowen: 37/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

We're on a boat! Travelling to Powell River to visit friends.

Bowen: 36/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

One of the absolute best parts of the summer - a bouncy castle/sprinkler combo! 

UPDATE! Bowen: 35/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Tractor riding at the berry farm!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thirty Five Months!

My big girl Bowen,

Here we are, just one month shy of your third birthday! Amazing, little baby! It feels like you just joined us, but when I look at you I'm amazed and proud of you and the lovely girl you've become.

This month has been all about structure. On top of your twice a week at school, you've also started music lessons and swimming again. At school you're thriving. It took you a bit to "break out of your shell," as Mrs. Symons, your teacher says, but now you seem quite keen on going. Every Tuesday and Thursday we wake up bright and early and walk to school together. I notice how you don't necessarily walk slow, but it takes a long time to get there. You stop to look at the ground, the trees, the street, the dogs, the other kids walking. Your sense of wonder and curiosity is awesome, and I love giving ourselves twice as long for these necessary observations and wonders of the world. It's easier to drop you off these days, and anytime we part ways lately you ask for at least "one hug and one kiss!" When we pick you up, you're just SO excited to see us and love showering us with tales of all of the exciting things you've done during your school day. I'm so proud and happy for you - you've come such a long way from not letting me out of your sight. You're growing up and changing, and I know that this does not come without growing pains for both of us. But you're doing it, and my heart just brims with happiness seeing you stretch your limits and horizons and see all of the new things you're able to do as a big kid. On Wednesdays we participate in our Music Together classes, with you usual teacher, Katie. You look forward to these days, as it's our last remaining class "together." Remember when all of our activities were joint ones? You're stretching out your wings, little one! At music you love doing "teamwork" when it comes to putting away the instruments, as well as strumming on Katie's guitar and giving her a huge hug at the end. While you tend to stay pretty quiet during class, I find you randomly belting out the songs during the week, so I know a lot of this stuff is getting in. And our living room dance parties at home are getting more fun as you get older! On Fridays we go to swimming lessons, and it's incredible how on these days it's never a problem to get you up and ready to go. You absolutely adore swimming, my little fish. This semester you're in "Jellyfish" and seeing your laughter and glee in your eyes as you swim is fantastic. You've been working on jumping into the water and getting your face in there as well. You really have no fear these days, my baby Bowen! Our weeks are all the same, but still filled with fun and laughter and excitement and I love that it's my job to do these things with you. You've even gone on a couple of sleepovers to your Gamma's house, and have done amazingly well being away from Mama and Daddy! We're so glad that you have family that is so loving and close. On our non-activity days, we try to make the most of our "down time," whether daddy is home from work or not. We go on walks, play at the aquarium, and often visit the library. I love the life we're making together.

More and more you're becoming interested in your multitude of toys, which is a good thing considering how much room they all take up in our small space! You love having tea parties with a lovely tea set your Gamma got you, and you're always certain to offer everyone seconds. You're getting better at putting things in their place, although you often time prefer to do "teamwork" to put things back. Understandably so! You love playing with any sort of dolls and stuffed animals, and like to say that you're "a good mama!" You walk them around in their stroller, cuddle them when they cry, and make sure they play in all the same little stations as your brother. It's funny how now that Baden has learned to roll over, all of your babies are learning to roll over too! At home you're always keen to jump into bed for a good cuddle, and are understanding the rules of eating at the table. Your appetite these days is pretty good, and although you certainly indulge in the occasional gummy or lollypop, your eating is quite varied and healthy. Your Dadu is almost gone, except for in bed. I know you have quite a strong attachment to it still, but I also know that it'll be fading away within the next couple of months.

I'm still amazed at what an incredible sister you are to Baden. You truly haven't experienced any jealousy issues at all, and in fact when I try to make time aside for just you, you always ask that your brother join us too! It's so sweet to watch you with him; you often tell him not to cry and not to worry, and you always jump at the chance to feed him or hold him. I'm so proud of you, baby monkey!

Your talking is getting faster and clearer, and you talk from the moment you awake to the moment you sleep. You have the cutest expressions, like, "Baden! I am so glad to see you!" and "What a nice day, Mama!" Oftentimes out of nowhere you start running around going, "Shadow! Where are you, shadow?!" which I have no idea where you picked up! The other day as we finished decorating the house for Halloween, you said, "Good job, mama! Give me a high five!" You make me laugh so much, my little Bono.

This month we gear up for your big birthday party; your first one out of the house where all your friends will be. We're looking forward to it! You tell anyone who'll listen that your birthday is in "No! Vember!" and I look forward to seeing how you react to all the excitement. Baby, you're the best daughter anyone could ever hope for. I'm thankful every day to be your mama.

Happy thirty five months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thirty Four Months!

My beautiful big girl Bowen,

Happy 34th month! You're my sun and stars, baby, and it your love amazes me daily. I'm in awe of how far we've made it - you haven't been here that long, yet thinking about life before you is so strange also.

The biggest highlight of this month was you starting preschool. Preschool, Bono! Can you even believe what a big girl you are?! We talked about this momentous event a lot beforehand, and your opinions wavered daily. Some part of you was happy and excited, and a little part of you kept warning me that you didn't want mommy and daddy "going bye-bye" and that you would most certainly cry if and when we left. Well, the first day was a success. There were a lot of nerves (mostly mine) and all of us walked you there, minus your puppy. I went in with you first, and you were very shy (as you told me you would be). Eventually you asked for daddy to come in, so we switched. After daddy stayed with you for about ten minutes, you told him it was okay to leave, and we anxiously awaited for the end of class just outside the door. 45 minutes later you were done, and came out happy and smiling! Your teachers really made you feel at easy and comfortable, and it showed! Today it was just me dropping you off. Getting you there in time for the early 8:45 start is tough, but with you having two painfully punctual people for parents, I know we'll always be able to manage. Today you sat right down to do a painting, and when I told you I was going to leave and come get you in a bit with Baden, you hesitantly said okay. An hour and a half later you popped back out and were as happy as you could be! You told me about the things you'd talked about at school, and even stepped back in to say "bye!" to your teachers a second time! You spent a long time playing in the playground after school amidst the bigger elementary school kids and seemed to be having a ball! I'm so thrilled for you, my baby, of how you're coming into your own. It's incredible to see you stepping out of your shell and becoming more strong and confident in who you are on your own. It makes me beam with pride to see you as this grown up little girl, laughing, smiling, and speaking in full sentences. I'm happy with our decision to send you to this preschool this year, and I know you'll have a great time in the next couple of years.

This month has been full of newness and change, as fall often is. We've been transitioning from the lax and freedom that summer entails, into more of a regimented schedule. I think everyone is happy with a schedule - you like knowing what to expect and we seem to function better with order all around. Your favourite activities this month are reading, running, and playing in the playground. You're so brave, my little monkey. You had your first big fall the other day, and it just freaked me right out. You were walking to the very top of the playground, by the big kid slide. As you neared the top you fell through the bars and sailed (seemingly in slow motion) all the way to the ground. You feel totally parallel to it and actually bounced twice. After a terrifying moment of silence, you screamed as I'd never heard you scream before. Aaaand, I've heard you scream before! You recovered quite quickly, but the whole way home you were telling me that it wasn't so much "owwy," but just "very 'cary!" The next day you were totally ready to head back out to the playground, just as if nothing happened. Your favourite game this month is "being puppies." You crawl around with Sandwiches, telling me that "all puppies are hungry now! all puppies want a walk now! all puppies are thirsty!" Then, eventually you get into his bed for a cuddle, telling us that "all puppies are tired now!" You love it when I give you a bowl of water to drink off the floor. You're very sweet with your puppy lately, and in fact, with all dogs that you meet in our travels. This month you're quite fond of saying, "I'm still little, mama!" and certainly, I so agree, my baby.

Finally, at almost three, we've gotten into a good bedtime routine. Since you don't nap now, you're pretty exhausted in the early evening, so I moved our family dinner time up until six. This makes everything a tad more rushed, but it also is better in the end because you're more of a participant in our dinners. After dinner you get to play, or bathe, or spend some time with our students before you declare that you're "tired!" and head off to bed. In bed you get one book, some milk, and I tell you: "Do you know that you're strong? And brave? And beautiful? And smart? Do you know that I love you?" Most days you know all this, and I know that as you grow, what you hear over and over is what you'll believe. So this is what you'll believe.

My darling baby, I see both your father and me in you, but mostly you are yourself. You ARE strong and brave and beautiful and smart, and you show us this every single day. You're determined, and you don't let us forget it. I grow as a mama while you grow as a girl, and I'm loving every minute with you.

Happy thirty four months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bowen: 34/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Nothing beats a day at the beach! 

Bowen: 33/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

My ray of sunshine.

Bowen: 32/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Our summer was filled with lots of street fairs, music, and plenty of time enjoying our city. 

Bowen: 31/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

We talk about it all the time: "I am strong, I am brave, I am smart, and I am beautiful" 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thirty Three Months!

My Bowen Naomi,

Every time we hit the eleventh of the month, I continue to be surprised. "I can't believe another month has gone by already!" I tell myself. Thirty three months since I became a mama; your mama. It seems like no time has passed, yet it also seems to be a lifetime ago. A few days ago you looked really big and tall, and just "kid-like" to me, rather suddenly. I measured you on our usual wall, and sure enough, you've shot up a couple of inches in just as many months! It's incredible how fast you're growing, both physically and mentally.

This month we've continued to enjoy our summer vacation. Your daddy was off work for a while, so we've spent quite a bit of time together as a family. One of your favourite pastimes is visiting the park, and lately you've been quite keen on making friends. You told me that you like to walk up to people and say, "I'm Bono, can I play with you?" which I think is an absolutely wonderful thing to say. When you make friends, you love bringing them over for me to meet, as you proudly hold their hand and exclaim, "My friend!" You tend to look up to older people, especially girls who are five or six. I love how you've become more confident and self assured, and watching you explore that part of yourself is amazing. I love your confidence these days.

Along with an increase in confidence, your increase in vocabulary makes things fantastic. It shocks me sometimes, when I find ourselves having full-fledged conversations together. You talk from the moment you wake until the moment you fall asleep. While you're not quite there on your "s" sounds (making words like sleep and snake sound extraordinarily cute) you've really caught up on your pronunciation, and you're quite easy to understand these days. Every time I say thank you you happily exclaim, "You're welcome!" in the cheeriest voice I've ever heard. You also love asking about people's tastes: "Mama, do you like baths? Do you like noodles? Do you like puppies?" Today when you noticed my eyes tearing from cutting onions you said, "It's okay, little mama." I love when I hear myself in the things you say to your animals, like, "Don't worry, little Beary. Mama'll be back soon."

Along with an increase of vocabulary, has come an increase in fears. I know this is right on par for you developmentally, but it's so sad to watch you being so afraid suddenly. Your most prominent fears are owls, lions, and "angry men." I really have no idea where these particular fears came from, but we assure you many times a day that neither an owl, a lion, or an angry man will come get you. And that if they do, of course we'll protect you. I tell you often that it's my job to protect you from scary things, and I hope I can keep my promise as long as possible.

We've had a lot more downtime in the summer than we generally do during the year. We've spent lots of time together, just being a family and enjoying getting used to your little brother. We're lucky that he's a lovely and easy baby, so that's hasn't really been too difficult to do! We spend lots of time in our yard, planting and admiring our veggies, as well as enjoying the little turtle pool and the sprinkler. You love playing with your trains, lining them all up and loading them into a truck. You speak quietly to them, and have quite a laugh with Thomas and Rosie daily. You love the idea of birthdays and birthday parties; you often tell me it's my birthday and talk about the balloons, decorations, cake, and presents that we'll have. Today you came inside to happily exclaim that "It's gnomy's birthday today!" We've been going to the library often and your favourite book this month is "Llama, Llama, Red Pyjama." You've been obsessed with watching Curious George, and couldn't be more excited any time we cave and let you watch an episode. we've been talking about a lot of upcoming changes lately. It's been lovely to spend so much downtime together at home, but I'm also looking forward to the lovely cooler fall months when you start "school" and our regular activities resume.

My love, as we move into big changes this fall, I impossibly seem to love you more and more every day. As you quickly turn from a baby to a toddler to a little girl, I can't believe my capacity for loving you; every stage of you is more incredible, funny, and interesting than the next.

Happy 33 months, my Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bowen: 30/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Proud big sister! 


"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Enjoying a sunny day in Horseshoe Bay with Daddy! 

Bowen: 28/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Sunday morning pancakes!

Bowen: 27/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Sushi date with my little munchkin! 

Bowen: 26/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Best little taster and helper around! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thirty One and Thirty Two!

My dearest baby Bowen,

What a month it's been! Just as I thought, everything is hugely different from the last time I wrote to you. We've changed and grown, and our world has shifted to accommodate our newest little family addition. Not only that, but somehow my days, weeks and months are blurring together, and somewhere along the way we lost a month. Like always, the days are long but the time is short - even though there's less time now I still want to make a big effort to continue your letters. Sometimes it sounds like the most difficult thing in the world to get to the computer at the end of the day, but I know when you read these letters back way in the distant future, it'll be such a neat thing to see what you were up to, my little monkey.

I don't know where to even begin! Your thirtieth month on earth began much like the others. We busied ourselves with fun and activities and books and movies and drawing and all the other things we like to do. You continue to love swimming and music, and also continue your recent aversion to staying at school on your own. The last few months you have been definitely having "mommy" time and been incredibly clingy to me, which is understandable with all the changes as of late. Things were all going along as usual, and then suddenly and expectedly, everything changed.

Your brother arrived in this world a little earlier than we expected, and along with a few more complications that were foreseen. We all had to step up to the occasion, but you, most of all were affected by the events. It was hard for you to be away from your mama for the week we were in hospital, and it was hard for me to watch you struggling with the newness of it all. On the bright side, however, it was also a wonderful learning and growing experience for us all. You got to spend time with your daddy, and see how much fun being with him can really be. You got to get closer to your grandma and other family members, and I think it opened your eyes to the fact that you actually don't need mama as much as you think all the time! When we finally got home is when the fun really began!

Seeing you grow and change and become a big sister has truly been one of the highlights of my life. Today I overheard you say, "It's okay, Baden, Mama's coming back soon. Don't worry!" while I was up fetching something, and it brought tears to my eyes. Seeing you two have a bath together gives me joy. Taking you on a walk together is amazing. Seeing you sing to him, or pat his leg, or bounce his chair - all of it fills me with awe about your incredible capacity to love and care for this new part of our lives. Anywhere we go, you love introducing him before yourself and telling people he's your brother. You've so risen to the occasion, my baby, and I couldn't be prouder. Holding my two babies gives me a feeling of completeness and joy that I just didn't even know was possible.

Aside from our entire universe shifting a little bit, we've been continuing to enjoy life, my funny little sidekick. Your daddy went back to work after a month of being home all together, and we've been moving on as a little unit of three now. You're truly a summertime baby. We're loving the summer, and fill our days with finding new water parks, running through the sprinkler, playgrounds, playing in the garden, beach time, and exploring new places. It's nice to have this time off from scheduled activities, as every day is a little bit different and we can take a slower pace getting started on our days. Lately you love running around naked in the yard, and the moment we arrive home you don't skip a beat in taking all of your clothes off! You hate wearing hats, so we've compromised on sunscreen and so far we seem to be doing okay in warding off the sun. In the last couple of weeks you've decided that you like to pee outside, and no matter how much I discourage it (and bribe you with gummy bears to pee on the potty) you tend to run outside and pee on the back lawn. I'm not really sure where you've gotten this from, but I'm thinking that maybe your brother Sandwiches has something to do with it! No matter where we go, your absolutely favourite game is "Hide and Seek." You find incredible fun in both the counting (with your eyes peeking open) part, as well as in the hiding part. Often you ask that we both hide at the same time, but that gets pretty old once we realize that no one is playing the "seeking" role. You really make me laugh, my Bowen.

My love, you challenge me daily. We're at the age of a lot of talking and even more "why's." Most everything is met with a "why" and sometimes I find myself sinking into bed at the same time as you, sure that I can't utter a single word more than I already have in the day. And it's in times like these that you turn to me and hold my face and say, "I love you, mama." That's when I have to scoop you up and hug you and just love, love, love you. My goodness, it doesn't get better than that. There are times that I feel like I will loose my mind I have to deal with another screaming fit at a grocery store, but then there are moments like the one above, and none of the rest matters. The tough parts so pale in comparison to the joyous with you. I'm raising a smart, quick, funny little ball of amazingness and there's nothing else in the world I'd rather be doing.

Bowen, the space in my heart for you gets bigger all the time. At some point I was scared that I wouldn't have enough room or love for everyone, and I couldn't have been more wrong. You taught me the ropes of this mama thing, and I couldn't be more grateful. Now you're showing me more of who you are; this wondrous and tough toddler and I'm thrilled that I'm yours and that you're mine. Let's keep doing this thing together, baby.

Happy birthday, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bowen: 25/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Bowen is very sociable; she's made friends with several of the statues in our yard. Her favourites are always the Buddhas and the Gnomes. 

Bowen: 24/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Getting caught red-handed in the hummus! 

Bowen: 23/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Finger painting rules!!! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bowen: 22/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Bouncy castle! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bowen: 21/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

All caught up now! 
Here's my fearless little climber. 

Bowen: 20/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Sunday morning pancakes! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bowen 19/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Beautiful spring on Calverhall Street! 

Bowen: 18/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Bowen loves that gnome like you wouldn't believe, and she sure makes an excellent mommy! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bowen: 17/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Bike rider! 

Bowen: 16/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

A morning walk is that much more fun with a friend. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thirty Months!

My little Baby Bowen,

I can't believe it's been two and a half years since you came to us! Two and half years ago you made your world debut and not a thing has been the same since.

Your toddler-ness this month is incredibly hilarious. You just suddenly do things that make me burst into laughter and really wonder where these things come from. You love walking around saying, "One, two, tree, four, five, SIX!" and the question of the day/hour/minute is always "Why?!" Food that's dipped into everything is always done so out loud, with a "Dip, dip!" You love screaming "Cuddle me!" when you need hugs and kisses or a nice morning cuddle from mama or daddy. You absolutely love swimming lessons and tell me what you learn at the pool following each lesson. Your absolutely favourite friend is "Gnomey," a very heavy garden gnome. You carry him around everywhere we let you, and you often pick up up, rock him gently and sing him an incredibly adorable song that goes, "Little baaaaaaaby." You're so loving and tender with Gnomey and relish your role as his mama.

Like always, my little baby, you're growing and changing and everything moves way too fast. This month, however, has certainly not been without its challenges. You're fully into toddlerhood, which leaves us often struggling between what you want to do and what needs to be done. Your thinking is more advanced than your vocabulary, which certainly presents its own set of conflicts. In addition to that, this month has left me physically hurting and exhausted, as the end of a pregnancy tends to do, which you've been having trouble dealing with as well. I don't blame you one bit - I'm frustrated as well! I'm not as active as you're used to; I can pick you up less, rarely chase you when you want to play "chasey" and avoid bending down to your level with my hurting hips. I think all this affects you more than you can tell me - you're used to your mama being there full and a hundred percent always, and it just hasn't been so. But I promise, little monkey, things will change once again. Physically, I will soon feel better and before you know it we'll be playing "chasey" all over the place! I never want you to think that you're not the top priority because that's exactly what you are, and I'm sad and frustrated that this month you haven't received a fully healthy and energetic mama that you deserve. But this too shall pass. Lastly, this month has been really tough because you've been really suffering from separation anxiety. From one day to another you've stopped wanting to be left at school, when Cypress Corner was something that you've been enjoying weekly for a couple of years! The change happened incredibly quickly, and now you start talking about "no school!" the night before, and will cry unconsolably if I'm out of your sight there. We're really working on it with them, and I've been staying with you at school while this has been going on. You're such a strong willed and brave little girl, and I know that this is just temporary. I've always taught you that mama always comes back, and I want you to feel that in your bones. I will never leave you, my baby girl, and your sudden fear makes me really, really sad.

Just last night you and I were watching some live music at Lonsdale Quay and really enjoying a bag of kettle corn. Suddenly a little girl walked up to you and told you that her name was Isabella, and asked what for yours. "Bono," you said. She took your hand and along with another little girl, you guys danced in front of the stage for a long time, having such a magnificent time in your own little world, spinning and kicking and dancing like little girls do. Not once did you look back at me or have to keep me in sight like you have lately at school. So I know this will pass, my darling Bowen. You're feisty and strong and full of dancing and life, and I know that your independence will return just as quickly as it left. I want you to be exactly who you are, always.

I have to admit, my beautiful Bowen, today's letter has been really hard to write. Our life as we know it is coming to an end quickly. This month you have been very aware of the new baby boy that's about to come into our lives. You are often lifting my shirt to give the baby a kiss or to offer him your dadu. In the morning you ask me if he's awake yet, and wonder about what he's doing. All this time you've been my one and only baby, and suddenly, probably before your next monthly letter is penned, you will be a big sister. I know you'll fit into the role like it was made for you, but it's also sad to see this end of an era. It's just been us until now - the other day as we had a sushi dinner together I was so cognizant of the fact that our days as just you and me are so numbered. We'll still get time alone together, sure, but we'll also have a new little buddy to share our time with. It'll be different and it'll be wonderful, and nothing will change how I love you. But these last two and a half years, my baby, I wouldn't give them up for the world, and I will never ever forget them. When you were born I became a mama, your mama, and nothing in the world has given me as much laughter and joy as that. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you, my Bowen, and I hope you always are sure in that fact.

Happy thirty months, my beautiful daughter!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bowen: 15/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Slides and Sunshine! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bowen 14/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Nothing beats a hot chocolate, but truly nothing beats some daddy time! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bowen: 13/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Playing with flour is awesome! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Twenty Nine Months!

My little baby Bowen,

Here we are again! Like everyone says, days are long but time is short. I can't believe it's been another month!

This has been a month full of questions. You ask about simply everything, and it came out of nowhere! One day you were just stating things, and the next you started asking questions. "What is that?" "What's going on?" "Who are you talking to?" "What are you talking about?" "Where are we going?" "Why? Why? Why?" It's questions, all day long and nothing short of a real answer will satisfy your need to know! Seeing you so curious about the world is amazing, little baby. In terms of communication, you're opening up a lot to friends and other kids also. I notice you say your name a lot more when people ask you, and whenever you see a big group of "big girls" playing at the playground you can't resist saying hello. Oftentimes you lift up my shirt and say, "Hi, baby brother!" and with a pointed finger state, "Soon!"

This month we celebrated Easter in the traditionally secular way, which basically involved a lot of chocolate! You were absolutely enthralled with the Easter Bunny. When I took you to see him at the mall you immediately hugged him and just sat beside him staring, smiling, and holding his hand. When it was no longer your turn, you stood aside just waving and looking at him. You loved leaving him out some carrots the day before Easter, and couldn't get enough of talking about him. The day before Easter we went to a big public egg hunt at a local park, where there must have been a thousand other kids. You rushed onto the egg hunt area, picked up a couple of little eggs, and said, "All done!" quickly walking away to eat them! At our egg hunt at home the next morning, you couldn't believe all the neat stuff the Easter Bunny had left in your very own back yard, and truly relished turning over each object with wonder. Holidays with you are so incredibly fun, Baby Bowen! I know I say it often, but all seeing all these little things through your toddler eyes truly makes my world spin!

With the weather getting better we've been enjoying walks and a lot of time at our local playground. You really prefer to walk anywhere over getting into your stroller, and even though it takes more than twice the amount of time it's well worth it in your amount of fun! You've become an incredibly climber and I so admire your fearlessness! You love filling your pockets with rocks and bringing them home to share and inspect. With my growing belly we've traded in our more rigorous hikes for leisurely ones around the neighbourhood, and it feels like that's the way we'll keep it for the time being. You've also been asking to ride your bike a lot, which you enjoy every facet of - especially wearing your helmet! You're getting so amazingly agile with the things you do, my little monkey.

To tell you the truth, as days slip away from us I'm getting more and more nervous. I feel an intense need to love and enjoy and relish every second we have together because soon our world will be different. Carrying your very big brother, my body isn't feeling at it's best and I've been dealing with a couple of weeks of intense back problems, which makes picking you up difficult - something you're not too keen on understanding. You love asking to be held like a baby when you're tired or stressed, so the fact that I haven't been able to as much as usual definitely affects you. Anyway, I've been really trying to put aside the pain and discomfort of this latter part of your brothers pregnancy to cuddle and play and love this last time together as just you and me. The day you were born I was changed forever, and every day thereafter I've been only your mama. I can't believe that will change so soon. I know that it's the best thing in the world and I know that our family will love and accommodate our newest little member, but it's also becoming very difficult to say goodbye to this special "us" time. So I will continue to love it and appreciate it and hold it as close to my heart as I possibly can.

Happy twenty nine months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bowen: 12/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

You're an expert tower-builder, little one! 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bowen: 11/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Not a portrait of you, exactly, but lately you've inexplicably taken to setting your shoes outside, although no one else in this house does so. Your need for orderliness is fantastic and so cute.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bowen: 10/52

"A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Never too rainy around here for a good swing! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Twenty Eight Months!

My little Baby Bowen,

Oh, how it makes me weary to type "twenty eight!" You're such a little girl right now, and it's so startling to realize how horribly quickly this is all going. You've grown and changed this month, and I would say that the biggest leaps and bounds are coming out in your personality. You know what you want, little one, and watching you get it is a joy.

This month your communication continues to increase at an astounding rate. You love narrating what you're doing, and I get a constant stream of, "Mama? Me yawn. Now me yawn again." And just as often as "Mama? Me sneeze now. Funny! Me sneeze!" You often ask me "Mama okay?" and I'm always happy when you answer "Me okay too!" Recently when people ask you your name you say, "Me, Bono!" which you seem to like a lot better than your actual name. Lately I hear you parroting ourselves back at us, and yesterday while blowing bubbles you said, "Good job, Mama!" You're absolutely adorable, little one. You're chatting from the moment you wake up to the moment you sleep, and communicating with you in this way, finally, is amazing.

We've had a lot of fun this month, baby. You've started to really pretend lately. You love it when I set you up on the counter to spend time "making coffee." You pretend to make coffee in our bodum and then have everyone sample for their approval. You always happily explain, "Coffee yummy now!" We've also been spending a fair bit of time outside, getting the garden ready for the season. When I was turning the garden beds you fell in love with "wormies" and now every time we walk by them you ask if you can play with wormie or if she's sleeping. If I manage to find you a worm you love holding it and parading it around the yard, showing it the various attractions. The other day you gave wormie a bath, which perhaps wasn't the best idea on my part. When you get tired of holding them, you exclaim that wormie is hungry, so she must go back in the garden bed. I'm working hard to make you fearless about the little critters we cohabitate with, and aside from a little incident where your father said, "Ewwww!" about a spider, we see to be very on track. Spending time outside has been a lot of fun this past month, and you really love contributing to our work there, whether it be digging around with the tiny spade or collecting rocks in a bucket. It's going to be a wonderful gardening  season, Baby Bowen!

This month you finished up your first round of swimming lessons, and you'll start again in a few weeks. Watching your confidence grow in the pool has been amazing, and I'm so proud of what a water baby you are. Now you're much more open to getting your face wet, and even blow bubbles underwater! We're also finishing up the last week of music class, and then we'll only have one more round before baby brother comes. We've also been spending a lot of time walking around the neighbourhood and walking to our local park. Before you were only into the swings, but now the slide is by far your favourite. Your favourite expression when we're there is, "ONE MORE TIME!!!" When we walk around you're great at knowing to hold hands with me on the street, but that you have free reign over the sidewalk. I absolutely cherish these little times of ours and days that are trivial and mundane to most mean the world to me. This month you've also had your first dentist visit, in which you did really well! We'd talked about how you were going to open your mouth. You were ready to go when it was time, and answered with a resounding "Yes!" when he asked if you had been looking at pictures of alligators in preparation for your visit. It's very cute that you're also going to the dentist your dad went to when he was little! Another big hit lately is drinking out of water fountains. I'd never imagined what a pleasure it is for you, but any time we're near one you seem to gravitate towards it instantly. You always end your water fountain visits with an ecstatic, "Water's yummy!"

I think a lot about when you become a big sister, my baby. I know you'll be an excellent one, but I also realize how hard it will be at first. It melts my heart when we're leaving the house and I hear you say, "It's okay, Wichies," because I know this kindness will carry onto your little brother. But I also think about how rocked your world will be. You've been my everything for your whole entire life, and now suddenly you'll have to share this time and space with someone else. I know that in the long run it's such a precious gift for you to grow up with a friend, but I think that it might be tough for us all in the short term as we get adjusted to being a bigger family. I never want you to feel left out or to think you're not as precious as before, because my baby, nothing can ever change how much I love you.

Baby monkey, I'll never be able to express how much I love you and how much you've changed me. We have our long days and we have our hard days, but most of all we have our precious days. This time with you is something I never take for granted and something that I always want to remember.

Happy twenty eight months, my Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama