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

Friday, April 18, 2014

Forty One Months!

My little Big Girl Bowen,

Spring has sprung and we're truly enjoying everything that the season has to offer. We got a little extra time during spring break to enjoy our surroundings, and then wholeheartedly went back into the swing of activities, school, and the regular business of the school year.

This month you seem to suddenly have gotten taller, louder, and even funnier - if that's possible. A break from activities has given us a chance to get to other fun things - you built a birdhouse with your dad (with tools!), we went downtown for the St Patricks Day parade, we've taken on longer and tougher hikes, and even biked around the seawall! Lately your dad has taken you out walking, where you walk Sandwiches yourself and don't even sit in the stroller! Having all this time to spend as a family has been a blessing and we're so lucky that we get to live the way we do.

To me, the older and bigger you get, the more tough it is to reconcile you're littleness with the girl you're becoming. I love my little girl Bowen, who says "gobbles," and asks for "a hug, a kiss, and an Eskimo kiss" each time we depart ways. But you're also turning into the girl who corrects your dad when he says, "bugs" instead of "insects" and a little girl who walks into gymnastics class on her own without a look back, and basically a girl that is learning to be herself more each and every day. Being your mama is teaching me that parenting is just a matter of letting go a little more each day. I'm here, giving you the best foundation that I possibly can, but what you do with that will happen on your own out in that big world. What's really scary is seeing how fast it's all going. And I also kind of wish you keep saying "gobbles" forever.

This month I've let you take the lead on your interests, and when something strikes your fancy we love finding out about it at the library. You're starting to know how to find things, and you know that the librarian is always there to help. Since we're moving a beehive into our garden soon, we've started learning a lot about bees and their lifecycle. We found a couple of bee books at the library, and have been familiarizing ourselves with their lives. You've been asking me daily when they're coming and are really excited to go sit with them and watch them - now that we've made it clear that they aren't the type who wish to play. You watch our windowsill seedling closely, telling anyone who will listen about how seeds grow and about pollination. With the wet weather in the last few days, you've been excited to see the worms returning, and stop to touch each one and say "good morning!" on your way to school. I adore your fascination with nature and hope it never wanes. When we drive in the car together, you absolutely love talking and have taken to asking me all the things I see out the window. In turn, you love describing what you see, as well as telling your brother all of the interesting narrative of our drive. I see so much of me in you and it's fascinating.

I love who you are and I love who you're becoming. You teach me more every day.

Happy forty one months, my love!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Forty Months!

My little Bowen Naomi,

What a fun and exciting month, little girl! We've done so much and learned so many things and this exciting adventure continues. Three and one third looks a lot different than just three, and I'm sure it's very different than the three and a half we have coming up.

This week we're heading into spring break, so as well as having some time off of school coming up, all of your usual activities are winding down. This set in swimming you were a Minnow, and started out with your usual intense love of water and splashing around. The progress you made, my love, was incredible. You didn't fear the pool by any means, but we were told by your lovely teacher Daniel that in order to pass the level you needed to float both on your back and front - you had to stay underwater for five seconds! Since you weren't keen at all to get your eyes or nose in the water, he worked long and hard with you on this endeavour, and slowly, you got more confortable. Your "gobbles" helped you overcome the fear of getting water in your eyes, and eventually we added a nose plug to guarantee that water wouldn't go into your nose. Eventually, after much prodding, Daniel just dunked you fully into the water and you've never looked back! Now you love getting your head the in water, and accomplished the huge feat of floating on your stomach with your face in the water. We're so proud of you, baby Bowen! On the last day you were thrilled to show us your report card and told everyone with joy in your voice that you were no longer a Minnow, but now a Guppy! Way to go, my love! The ending of your first set of gymnastics class was just as exciting. As the class prior to your was ending, and we watched the other kids jump up to the stand at the front of the gym, raise their hands way up in the air, and recieve applause from the teachers and kids as their report cards were awarded. I was a bit weary of how it would go when it was your turn, as you tend to shy away from too many eyes and attention being soley focused on you. I came back early to watch your class go through their own report card award ceremony, and couldn't hold back the tears to watch my incredible little girl recieve her own applause and report card. When your name was called you ran up to the podium, jumped up with no hesitation, and raised your arms high in the air to recieve your applause and report card. You faced your peers and then turned around to face the parents and get your picture taken. You smiled and beamed with pride and it was an incredibly moving moment. You'd done it, and I'd never seen you prouder! It was so inspiring and incredible to watch the huge evolution that you'd made in just a few weeks of this new activity. You truly surprised me, my little monkey, and I couldn't tell you enough how proud I was of you. Now we'll have a little break where we can enjoy outside and our beautiful city, before getting back into the last bit of school and the spring set of swimming and gymnastics.

This month we've started to work in the garden again, and sharing this love that we have as a family with you is really exciting. You've been helping me plant all the seedlings, and while you get a bit tired of having to wait so long for those slow little seeds to pop through the soil, you're enthralled with the process. You've been outside with me a lot, getting our beds ready for planting and helping move the worms around the garden. You love picking them up and moving them around the various beds, narrating all the while. We talk a lot about how amazing gardening is, and I try to explain it all to you as we go. You love hearing about compost and the importance of the incredible wormies, and relish reciting these details back to me. We've also gotten outside for some hiking again lately, and you seem to be more keen to stay in your hiking backpack. In these moments when our little family is in the forest, with your on your daddy's back and your brother on mine, my world is complete. We're out there all together and close and seeing the beauty of our mountains and trails, and in these moments I feel like everything in the world is absolutely as it should be.

My love, sometimes when we're walking somewhere together you stop suddenly pointing up and yelling, "Mama! LOOK!" to show me a giant flock of birds soaring above. You often exclaim that things are "SO BEAUTIFUL!" and you seeing the beauty and magnificence in this world makes me feel like somedays I'm getting this parenting gig just right. You're picking up on our beliefs and values in seeing the beauty of the world and I'm grateful to have this time to teach you such important lessons that you'll hopefully carry with you for always.

My girl, you are tall, fast, kind, and smart. You are firm about "my body" and tell people to please not touch you when it's unwelcome. You remind me that you like to wake up slowly, and sometimes need extra time for lots of hugs and cuddles. You're fiercely strong and motivated and a day doesn't go by where I'm not in awe of everything you've become in such a short time. Tonight as I put you to bed, I was once again taken aback by just how long you are. You came from inside my tummy not too long ago, and now I stare at you, several feet tall and with the personality to match. You're my sunshine, Bowen Naomi, and each day spent together is truly a gift.

Happy forty months, my amazing little girl!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Thirty Nine Months!

My big girl Bowen,

Thirty nine months, baby! Life with my little preschooler is funny and different and never fails to make me laugh. This month your communication skills have continued to boom, and often times you say new things out of the blue that leave me wondering where they came from. You are as cute as ever and your personality continues to develop and shine through.

This month we continue to enjoy winter and our busy schedule. It seems like we all thrive with this routine and predictability, and you often begin your morning by asking what day it is and what we'll do today. During weekdays you say, "Yipee!" when you learn that you're going to school or swimming, or gymnastics. I've been making a big point to enjoy some downtime also. This past weekend I gave you the option between going out to the library or relaxing at home in PJs and you quickly chose "laxing" - I think that lately it's important to have days where we don't rush out the door.

At school you're learning a lot and continuing to come out of your shell. You are always happy when I pick you up and I absolutely adore the time we spend together walking home with you chatting away about what you ate, sang, learned, read, played. At swimming lessons you are a "Minnow" and absolutely adore your teacher as well as every second of the lesson. You've perfected your back float, but are extremely hesitant to put your face in the water. I know that once you'll get it you'll have it forever, but for now you seem in no rush to try it out no matter how often we practice in the bathtub. At gymnastics I watch you be such a big girl; you're learning so fast and keeping up well with the kids who are much bigger. You love doing flips and stretches and jumping into the huge foam pit! It's crazy to see how far you've come in just a few weeks.

Suddenly you've learned how to stall at bedtime, my little monkey. We're at the point, finally, where I'm putting both you and your brother down in your own room at the same time. Lately you've been finding reasons to get out of bed - you're missing a particular stuffed animal, you need to pee, you forgot to say good night to daddy. It's funny to watch you try and push your bedtime back as long as possible. You take absolutely every opportunity to tell me that you love me, and I will never ever grow tired of that. You're a little ball of love - you love everyone around you and like to show it with your great big hugs.

Three is incredible. Three is hide and seek, and huge hugs. Three is loving school, swimming, and gymnastics. Three is tall tales and knock-knock jokes. Three is really long days and nights that pass too quickly. Three is "I love you so much, Mama" and also crossing your arms, pouting, and storming off to your room. Three is loving your animals and taking care of them like a wonderful little mama. Three is baking dinosaur cookies and then running around the house with them yelling, "RAAAAAAWWWWWWRRRRR!" Three is chasey-chasey and running all the way home from school. There is yelling "home sweet home!" when we pull up in our driveway, and pretending to be a cat for hours at a time. Three is wondering where the heck time has gone and how you could be such a child so fast. It's tear-inducing to go back and look at pictures of baby-you and wonder why, how it all went so fast - too fast?

But alas, you grow, you change, and our days together are full and beautiful. I'm grateful for each and every one.

Happy thirty nine months, my precious Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thirty Eight Months!

My sweet little girl Bowen,

Here we are at 38 months, and I'm still in disbelief. You're definitely not a baby; you left your toddlerhood behind within weeks, and now, my love, now you are A KID. You remind me of this often and with ease, "I'm a big girl, Mama! Big girls jump! Big girls can paint with finger paint!" You often tell Baden, "When you're a big girl, you can eat candy too." You crack me up, little one, and I'm having such a good time with this new chapter.

We've had a really fun month. We had a fantastic Christmas together with family, and finished up the winter break by spending a lot of time as a family and definitely getting the downtime that we needed. Christmas was such a blast. You woke up at your normal time and yelled at the top of your lungs that Santa had eaten the cookies that you made for him, and that the reindeers had eaten the carrots! You were thrilled to see this, as you'd so lovingly laid out their meal the night prior. You enjoyed opening up your presents, and were very helpful in opening Baden's for him too. You were quite gracious about the whole thing, often commenting of the things that Santa had left for everyone else. You got a big kick out of going to Christmas dinner, as you always love any event where you get to see your extended family and look forward to it a lot. This holiday season was the most fun so far; it's the first one where you really understood the loveliness and magic of all the events surrounding Christmas.

Your vocabulary continues to expand hugely by the day, and I love hearing you say things like, "Awesome!" and seeing you express your pleasures for every day life. Every single morning you ask me what we're doing today when you wake, and often the reply is greeted with "yipee!" I love seeing your happiness at life, and I'm thrilled that taking notice of the little things is paying off with you.

We've finally returned to our regularly scheduled life, and it's full and busy and fantastic. You have school twice a week, swimming once, and your first ever session of gymnastics. When I took you to your first gymnastics class the other day I felt a bit weary - all of the other kids had obviously done this already and were walking in with confidence and sitting at the designated spot. I walked you to the door, you said your goodbye, and off you went! You told the teacher your name and joined right in! It was incredible, my baby. I was so proud of you, of your confidence and your willingness to just leap into something new. We're enjoying our new semester full of learning and playing, and of course are still also finding time for fun stuff like charity and the aquarium. At this point you're leading me around the aquarium and like to show me around. You bounce around exclaiming "I'm SO EXCITED!" and don't hesitate to ask an aquarium guide why the penguins aren't in their house. You've began walking up to kids at the store and asking their names, and in turn telling them yours. Seeing the ways in which you've come out of your shell in the past few months is absolutely one of my favourite parts of seeing you grow up.

This month you also shed the last of the diapers. Your potty training journey has been a really interesting one. You pee-trained yourself about a year ago. One day I told you to pee in the potty, and you did. From then on you were out of diapers in the day without any issue at all. Shortly thereafter we noticed that you didn't have any issues sleeping without a diaper. Generally you didn't pee in the night, and on the rare case that you did need to, you woke up. Both your dad and I were absolutely thrilled with this, because you obviously have a stronger bladder than both of us combined! The only bit remaining was the poo diaper. You absolutely refused to poo in the potty, instead asking for a diaper and playing with your trains as you went about your business. One day shortly after Christmas I let you know that Santa had taken your diapers back to the North Pole so he could deliver them to other babies who needed them. You seemed to understand this. The first few times in the potty were tough and there was a bit of crying involved, but lately it's been great! You're very proud of your poo, often even asking that I photograph it to show your dad. You're still asking for your "treat" after you poo in the potty - a bite of the gingerbread house that you made with your grandparents for Christmas over a month ago. I must say that I'm really looking forward to that thing being gone! So, now you're fully out of diapers. Last month the dadus, this month the diapers, and here I have a grown up little girl.

This month your favourite things to eat are both "baby" - baby oranges and baby tomatoes. You polish off a pint of those tomatoes in one sitting and never tire of them! You love eating apple with cinnamon, so long as you get to sprinkle the cinnamon yourself. You still love a good cup of warm milk in evening, and your breakfast of choice is a bowl of "warm" rice crispies. You love being a helper and a mama, and never shy away at the opportunity to help me unload the dishwasher, or fold some laundry. You're getting good at returning your things to your room when asked, although you very often request that we do it with "teamwork." Some days are challenging and tough, as with any three year old that is learning their voice and struggling for their power, but at the end of the day watching you grow is the absolute best thing in the world.

Being a mom to you is learning to let go a little more each day. All the time I let go of this little tiny thing that I grew to the child and person you are becoming. Every day you learn something new and shed a little piece of the baby I once knew. I'm not going to look back in sadness, but only forward in joy.

Happy 38 months, Bowen Naomi!

I love you forever,

-Your Mama