Our two-year-old

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This last week has been such a busy one!  Rowan’s second birthday was Tuesday.  At the end of last week, my plan was still to have his toddler friends and moms meet us at Explora! (the science center) for the toddler hour on Monday morning.  I realized, though, in looking at their website on Thursday that the coming week, of all weeks, was their “closed for cleaning” week for the year.  So, I had to quickly scramble and come up with a new plan.

The new plan I came up with was to have the little soiree at our house.  There were to be nine toddlers, three babies, and their moms, plus my parents and my Auntie Marlene and Bernie, visiting from New York.  I decided I would not cook, but would rather order all food from Le Chantilly, a french bakery here in town where I worked between the ages of 18 and 20.  So, on that morning, my mom and Marlene picked up the goodies from Le Chantilly (quiche, petite fours and profiterole, and a cherry strudel) and the came over before 9.  Mommies and kiddies starting arriving at nine and as it turned out, two toddlers couldn’t come (one was sick, the another had a doctor appointment).  Having seven was plenty, though!  I had also decided to hire a clown — yup.  I really vowed to myself that I wouldn’t have a big bash for Rowan until he was old enough to remember it, but I guess I backed away from that some with this clown, Lovedeedoo.  She was more of a Raggedy-Ann than a full-blown clown and she was perrrfectttt for the kiddos.  She sang songs, played guitar, did some little puppetry with mouse finger-puppets, made balloon animals — she was great.

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Rowan was so, so excited when each new friend arrived to the door.  He does the most adorable excited-kid thing these days: he clenches his fists and bends over just slightly and squeals and goes running to where the person is coming from — like to the staircase, in this case.  That was a bit of liability because he wanted to hug his little friends as they walked up the stairs.  I had decorated the living room with balloons, number-two little paper stands, paper chains, and some hanging letters that spelled out “R-O-W-A-N” — pictures are here for you to see!

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Eric was out of town this week, unfortunately, for a Tableau conference in Seattle, an event which afforded Eric opportunities to tell me many a crazy story.  But, we really missed him this week. I also made Rowan’s two-year-old movie this week, something I did for his first year too.  It really pulls on my heart strings even to watch it, even though I made it and took all the footage!  Just seeing Rowan’s evolution is amazing . . . while he isn’t the biggest talker, the biggest boy, or really even a grown-up-guy yet, his progress in the last years is amazing to see.  From not walking, to walking; from not eating a wide array of things, to eating what we eat; to having basically no hair, to have the cutest shaggy ‘do.

Anyway, back to his birthday-week story.  On Tuesday, I was in Socorro all day and that was his actually birthday day.  I popped into Whole Foods on the way back to my parents’ and bought him a sweet little cake, which he l-o-v-e-d.  I bought him a few presents while we were in Breckenridge, but I didn’t even give them to him because he got SO many cute toys from his friends and my parents got him an airplane/tricycle kind of thing and a little tricycle/balance bike kind of thing.  Now, I have lots of thank-you cards to write.

Rowan had his music class with his cousin Nat on Wednesday and they both struggled a bit to keep it together, to focus, to do what Miss Vicki said — I really do think we might need to go back to Toddler Tunes I.  Anyway, also this week Rowan spent a lot of time with Auntie Marlene and Bernie.  It was so wonderful that they were in town and he really took to them with such affection.    Oh, I forgot to mention that Rowan loves to say “Nat!”  (Here are some Marlene and Bernie photos.)

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And Rowan’s daddy arrives back to town today and Rowan will be glad.  He’s been asking for “dada” all week!  And we have one more little party on Sunday, from 10:30-12:30, this time for our friends and neighbors (maybe decorated again like the Monday one, below).  Eric’s mom will be in town and it will be a good time to celebrate our happiness at Rowan’s second year and to look forward to his third!

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A sweetiepie

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I wanted to write a quick post about what a sweet boy Rowan is.  I know I’ve said this before.  But, he really, really is.  I see him interact with other little ones and he is just so gentle, not pushy, not grabby  . . .  willing to share.   When he’s playing with his little “cousin” Nat, and Nat takes something away that Rowan’s playing with, Rowan does get upset, but he’s easy to refocus; he does not have big meltdowns for that.  This is not to say that Rowan never has big meltdowns, because he does and I’ve written about those . . .  But, Rowan is a little “love”– generous with hugs and kisses.  Yesterday, when I had a stomach ache and was lying on my tummy on the couch, he wanted to climb up with me, but first, when I said “do you want to rub mommy’s back like I rub Roro’s back?” he came right over and gently rubbed my back.  When he goes to sleep sometimes, I rub his back in his crib, though, recently, he hasn’t wanted that, and just wants to hold my hand or play games where I kiss his hands when he pokes them through the crib slats.  He thinks that is absolutely hilarious.  But, he remembers the back-pats and -rubs and he was willing to try to help mommy when she wasn’t feeling her best.  That made me feel so happy about the kind of little boy he is.

When we got to Nat’s yesterday (to drop off some peaches), Rowan squealed with happiness even as we were driving past their neighborhood and into their gate.  When Lia and Eli came outside, he was ecstatic.  When he and Nat saw each other in the foyer, both were really happy and Nat gave Rowan a quick hug right away!  Then, Roro reciprocated and Nat had already moved on, eager to play.

I’ve hear people say that your child or children’s dispositions evolve independent of any genetic input you have.  If your child is bossy or soft-spoken or super kind or really sweet or an incredible brat, perhaps your parenting has nothing to do it or how you were as a kid … or maybe it does.  I don’t know.   But, in addressing the point that some features are “inherent,” I guess maybe I’d say that’s true.  Rowan is sometimes just such a heart-melting sweetiepie or a patient, giving boy, that Eric and I look at each other and say “wow! he sure didn’t get that from me!” Not that Eric and I are greedy, selfish, or not nice people (I think we’re pretty nice), but the degree of Rowan’s niceness sometimes strikes us as a quality that must have just developed on its own, like it grew in the little, singular being that he is.  He is his own person, and some of his lovely qualities just prove that to us every day.  

Anyway, I digress: some folks have also said that whatever foundational qualities your child has as a kid will be apparent as he or she grows — I really hope Rowan’s generosity and kindness are these kind of qualities, his loving nature.  I am not trying to send the message that he also isn’t a cheeky jokester — because he is!  That he isn’t a kiddo who sometimes pushes the  limits and cries and screeches — he does all that too.  But Eric and I are just so heartened that he is relatively patient, really loving, and not really possessive with his toys or with other kids’ toys when he’s at someone else’s house.

I guess we’ll just have to see what kind of little boy Rowan is as he grows up, what kind of teenager (yikes!), and what kind of man.  I really hope we’re regularly proud and happy. I know there will be innumerable trying times — I am just using my personal history and, well, everyone’s, as the reason for that statement!– but I hope Rowan’s foundational features of generosity and lovingness persist, whatever changes occur in our family, in our home, in our world.  Through whatever of those changes he experiences, I hope his confidence in and knowledge of our deep, deep love for him is never shaken, that he never doubts our love.  I hope the qualities I’ve written about here are solidly a part of him.  I love those characteristics in my dear Roro.  I just love this little boy so much; I want to cherish each adorable hug he gives me and each kiss, each cute smile he shares from across the room, each giggle.  I know that’s not possible, but my interest in documenting so much — in this blog, in pictures, in my hand-written diary, in video–comes out of my knowledge that his toddlerhood (like babyhood) passes by so quickly, and if what everyone says is true, he’ll be off to college before I know it.  Whoa — I just want to slow down and enjoy my little boy, my precious perfect guy.

The pictures in this post, by the way, are of Rowan and Nat in the sand play area at the Albuquerque Botanical Garden on Friday and of Rowan, his awesome babysitter, Eric, and I harvesting our first pumpkin of the year.

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To Colorado and Back!

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Well, Eric healed up from his coxsackie infection and we were able to head to Colorado on our planned trip to see the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  This was the third time I’d gone, and Rowan’s second time.  This year, we drove up to Breckenridge, stayed overnight there (with a quick pop-in to our friends’ pizza place in Alma) and then we stayed two nights in Boulder.  Boulder was an amazing, wonderful town!

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Rowan did so well on the drive to Colorado and on the drive home.  I did sit in the back with him much of the drive to Breckenridge.  He wanted my company.  We practiced holding two fingers up if someone were to ask “Rowan, how old will you be on your next birthday?”  He can’t really manage the holding-two-fingers-up dexterity, but with the help of the other hand, he tries!  In Boulder, we went the first night to a delicious vegan and vegetarian restaurant called Leaf and Rowan was a champ at dinner.  It was pretty late for him, but he ate well and was really content. The next night, we went over to some friends’ who live in Denver and ate there.  Rowan was over the moon for all of their sons’ toys, particularly their cars and trucks.  They have a huge Great Dane too, and Rowan thought she was really something!  Getting Rowan to actually eat any dinner was a challenge because he was so distracted by all of the toys.  He tried to give their four-year-old son a big hug and kiss but that little boy wasn’t so sure about that — Rowan was pretty forward — ha.  Rowan also leaned into to him, when they first met, and patting his chest said “Roro,” as if to say “I’m Roro, yes, that’s me!”  Their older son actually had a friend named Rowan who was also called Roro.  Below is Rowan and his daddy before we went to watch the pro stage in Vail.

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On Monday morning, my old friends from Ballet Renaissance Brianna and Radek (see all of us below!), who live in Estes Park now, drove to Boulder to have breakfast with us. Rowan was a champ at breakfast too, which we had at Snooze.  He loved his pancakes and stole some potatoes off of Radek’s plate.  While on the trip, Eric did some great riding, which I was relieved at because I wasn’t sure how he was going to fare, given that he’d lost seven pounds the previous week as a result of not eating during his illness! 

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Annndddd, I went back to work last week. Proof of that is below.  Tuesday was my first day of teaching.  I drove down both days (rather than carpooling) and everything was pretty smooth — nothing feather-ruffling or unusual.  Just typical first-week-back stuff.  I am glad our secretary still had lots of good candy on her desk.  I did get asked to chair a search committee and I accepted.  I am really invested in who we hire to replace the social scientist, our former department chair, who left in the Spring.  She taught cultural anthropology and women’s studies.  I am hoping we hire someone who is a human geographer.  We have our first committee meeting tomorrow (which was a nightmare to schedule), so we’ll see how everyone else on the committee feels about that idea.

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As for research, I got my D. H. Lawrence article submitted.  I also submitted an article, which was supposed to be part of a special journal issue but which totally stalled out, to a very prominent journal.  This is the article on Gertrude and Raymond Bonnin in Washington D.C.  I really doubt this journal will accept it, but if it did, my word!  That would be awesome.  And, I finally think I am about done with my part of the collaborative article I was writing with a junior colleague and a senior college.  I am really ready to be done with that one.  Ha.  And then, I am not sure what I still have to do for the book chapter I am working on with two other colleagues, but I sent my “go through” of it to them about a week ago.  That’s a pretty good list!

Let’s see– what else is new with Rowan, the apple of my eye.  He’s still not much of a talker, but he’s really trying, using the words he knows over and over and over. He did choke a bit on a strawberry today, while Eiise was giving him his snack, and I about have a heart attack every time that happens.  That is my worst nightmare. And Rowan starts to panic and cry whenever he gets something slightly stuck.  So, he was crying and coughing; I could tell what was going on from down in my office, and so could Eric from his.  So, we dashed to him, and I grabbed him and pounded his back and out popped the strawberry, though it might have just fallen out of his mouth, as it might’ve already been un-stuck.  He just gets really scared and I think that’s the worst part.  But, ugh, so scary for all of us.  That happened about a week ago too, with a piece of PB&J.  I know things like that are going to happen and I like to think I am prepared to jump right in and do the proper thing 

Rowan hasn’t poured anything on the floor in the last few weeks, but he has poured his milk out on his highchair tray.  That to us is a surefire signal that dinner time (or lunch or whatever) is over.  He also has taken to “reading” stories to his big turtle stuffed animal.  That is super cute.  He also wanted to take one of his rabbit toys over to my parents’ this week.  He is such a little character, that Rowan.  We love him more than I could every capture in words.  Though, in this last year in this blog, I’ve tried.

More in a week!  Rowan will be two in two weeks!!!    

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My sabbatical ends… tomorrow

We’re still up to our eyeballs in apples around here and that means lots of applesauce, apple cakes, apple conserves, and sliced, frozen apples:

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Also, yes, it’s that time: the end of my sabbatical year.  I go back to teaching on Tuesday, so technically Monday is the last sabbatical day.  I am all ready for the semester to begin, in terms of having my syllabi written and copied and up on my website.  I still do need to do some website updating, but my website is such an ol’ clunker I really need to redesign it, or outsource that to a pro this time.  My HTML skills are, how shall we say, passable.  The site’s done a decent job over the years but it really needs a fancy new ‘do.

Things have been pretty illin’ here at our house for the last week. By last Monday, Rowan was in the clear from his coxsackie virus, which produced his high fever and throat blisters at the end of our Montana trip and the few days following.  I seem to have steered clear of getting it, at least I haven’t so far and I am praying I don’t.  My mom hasn’t either.   She and I were the first to be exposed to Rowan at his most feverish, so you’d think if someone was going to get it, it would’ve been one of us.  Well, nope.  Eric got it, and he got it really bad.  He got the full-blown hand, foot, and mouth — he has little blisters on his hands and feet and big gross white ones in his throat.  I’ve even been sleeping in the other room to stay out of his way.  He is in misery.  It’s awful.

Despite us being nervous that we might be carriers of coxsackie, we’ve done some things this week, Rowan and I.  Most interesting for him has been seeing his cousins again.  We saw them at my parents’ Friday night for some pizza and ice-cream sandwiches.  Then, Rowan and I went over to their house this morning bearing a dozen donuts from Rebel Donut (see below).

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Rowan was so upset when Lori and family left my parents’ on Friday night and he was beside himself upset when we left their house this morning.  But he and I had a good time picking up our donuts at Rebel Donuts this morning before we went there; Rowan looked so excitedly into that donut case!  They have some really neat flavors and they’re really jazzy-looking, so they were a feast for his little eyes.  We also went to Costco with my mom on Saturday and he got the treat of looking at all the vacuums they had there for sale — the boy still loves a vacuum.  His toy vacuum that I bought on Craigslist last week is still a big hit.

So, starting Tuesday, Rowan will be back at Grandma and Grandpa’s all day Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Every week.  But this coming week, my first week back, Eric, Rowan, and I (provided Eric is well) are headed up to Colorado for the US Pro Cycling Challenge, a race we’ve enjoyed watching up there a few other years.  We’re looking forward to seeing some Colorado in this late-summer.

Rowan has been learning, to put it nicely, “boundaries” recently — and testing them for sure.  The boy dumped a whole green smoothie on the floor off his highchair this week while looking at me and smiling.  My mom said he was “testing” at her house too.  I know this all comes with toddler territory, and I am really looking into ways to not just be a “no!” chorus, because apparently that’s not the most effective way to teach a a kid through this stage of learning, of development.  I’ve gotten some good tips from friends in my Facebook mommies group and I’ve tried to employ them.

Well, not much more to report this week.  I did make it to ballet and decided to take some pictures (below) before the semester gets back into full swing and I might never get to class again . . . ha.

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Oh, and I did some side-by-side comparisons of my lil’ guy and his daddy and the resemblance is amazing!!!

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I’ll write again soon and tell how my first week back was.  Rowan will be two in three weeks! I am planning to make him a zipper, tie, and button doll from a vintage pattern, so maybe I will have made some progress on that that I can report on.  And I can sure report on my garden, with its amazing quantity of butternut squash and an abundance of tomatoes, that poor Eric can’t each right now because their acidity would really terrorize his blistered-up throat.  And then there’s the peach, cherry, apple conserve I made and canned last night . . . yum!

 

 

One more week of summer and my sabbatical

Rowan will be two years old a month from, well, two days ago.  Eric will actually be out of town, at a conference in Seattle, where Neil deGrasse Tyson is the keynote speaker, of all things — for a conference for programmers working on Tableau!  But, that’s pretty cool.  I am excited for him.  But, we will miss him on Rowan’s birthday proper.  But we will have a family and neighbors’ celebration the weekend after, and I think Eric’s mom will be in town then too.    We had such a nice time for Rowan’s first birthday; it wasn’t a big party, but the dearest people in our little boy’s life were there.  The friend who helped bring him into the world, Alexa (and her family) was there, Pearl was there, and our dear friend Liz and her family, and some of our neighbors, plus Eric’s mom, and my parents were all there.  Sounds like  party, doesn’t it?  Below are a few pictures from September 9th last year.

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So last year, for his first birthday, we had a dinner and Rowan opened some presents.  It wasn’t a big kids’ bash.  I know lots of people do that, but it wasn’t something I felt was going to be enjoyable for him at that age.  And we’re not doing that again this year.  But, the dinner and lunch or whatever we do will be bigger, because now we have my cousin Lori and her family here and we will have them with us, I really hope!  The above photos really drive home the amazing point that it’s almost been a whole year!  My goodness!  This boy is just growing up (well, he’s still a tiny youngster) so fast but is still cute as a button, to me, and to everyone!  Here he is below playing with a musical installation at a playground in Billings.

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So, we got back from Montana on Friday.  On Thursday, Rowan spiked a high fever, all of the sudden.  It was high all night, despite the Advil I gave him, but we brought it down a bit with that and cold towels, and a tepid bath.  It was pretty stressful.  It was down a bit the next morning and we left for our flights home and Rowan seemed to be in a pretty good mood.  But, by the time we were about to de-plane in Albuquerque, the fever was back up quite high, 103.  So, we went to After Hours Pediatrics that night and it turns out, from looking in his throat, that he has a form of the Coxsackie virus (which also causes Hand, Foot, & Mouth). His manifested only with the throat blisters and high fever.  I think he’s feeling better today, but he still awoke and pointed both at the outside of his throat and then opened his mouth and pointed to the back of his throat.  I can’t get a good angle, and he won’t open his mouth wide enough or for long enough, for me to really see back there.  We haven’t been able to see Lori and family over the weekend because we really don’t want to get any of them sick, since those kids start school this week!

We had such a nice time in Montana.  See Rowan smelling the flowers at Grandma Marion’s? And see my mom and Auntie Pam kissing Grandma Marion on her 91st birthday?

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Rowan really did it up at the parks we went to, at the Billings library (where maybe he got this virus, since he’s a championship thumb-sucker and the play areas at libraries are dens of germs??–see the awesome play area and reading area below), at my Auntie Sue and Uncle Mike’s in Bozeman, at Grandma’s, at the zoo with Auntie Pam and Colton and Maddie (below), at Red Lobster where we celebrated my Grandma’s 91st and he got to see the lobsters in the tank prior to their becoming someone’s dinner, with my Uncle Pat (see below) when he stopped by, laughing hysterically with my Uncle Roy when he and Pam came for dinner, and on many walks around Grandma’s loop, where we saw a kid in a red wagon that Rowan really wanted me to catch up to, and we saw many bunnies, and we saw the open-door-garage-parties the retirees a few doors down form my Grandma seemed to be having every night!

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I actually managed to come close to finishing my syllabi while we were in Billings. They’re done now.  I still have a few things to do this week: finish the works cited and notes for my D H. Lawrence and American literary criticism article, work on trimming down a book chapter I’ve written with two colleagues about our Writing Program, and write the guy who was going to edit a special journal issue that an article of mine was to be a part of and tell him I am pulling my article out because I really want to get it in print — so I will send it out elsewhere.  That’s kind of a bummer –a journal issue on Capital Indians (I should elaborate here, but am in a rush!) would be a good read, I am sure, and the contributors are good scholars (not to toot my own horn, but you know, the other folks, I mean).  But, it had stalled out and I can’t have this article just sitting around, now can I . . . 

Rowan was a really mama-choruser while he was really sick — “mama mama!” every few seconds.  I felt so badly for him.  He has been clingy and really wanting only mama.  I don’t know if he foresees some changes on the horizon, the first of which will be him spending two long days at Grandma and Grandpa’s per week, starting in a week.  

Rowan is really, really into dump trucks and construction equipment right now and we watched some movies on my iPad on our Billings to Albuquerque flights, which I’d actually saved to use on our trip to Europe, which he really loved.  Now, he knows to go get my iPad and bring it to me, pointing to it as if to say, “let’s watch those trucks! bulldozers! street levelers! workmen!” I don’t know if I should just loosen up, but I don’t want to have him watching the iPad when we’re at home and could be doing other things, like reading about construction equipment, or playing with toy trucks, you know . . . I don’t want to be a blindly obedient ideologue, to some ideology of no “screen time” for him, because he does have some “screen time” — very little — and he really likes to watch that three-mintue construction clip.  I am just sort of torn about what to do in this regard.  He did watch some HGTV this morning too and was super excited about the guys and gals building houses and doing repairs with drills, hammers, and other equipment.  The boy sure loves tools!

Tomorrow I thinK Eric is going to take him to swim class; I think he’s well enough for that and he has no fever, so his contagiousness shouldn’t be an issue — that’s our plan.  Otherwise, this week will have him spending some time with Elise, spending lots of time with mommy, spending a morning with Grandma so I can go to ballet, spending some time in the garden (see our latest below!), and going on some stroller rides in the neighborhood, if the really-the-bane-of-Sandia-Heights gnats are not out in force.

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Montana time!

We’re in Montana! We arrived to Billings yesterday after pretty uneventful flights. Rowan only slept for about 40 minutes on the second flight; he was pretty good and I kept him pretty entertained with some of the things from our international trip … his blue box of books, animal figurines, and stickers was a hit once again.

In this last week, he got to spend two days again with Elise; she’s been coming for all day Wednesdays and Thursdays in the second half of summer. We spent time in the backyard, as we typically do, but it’s actually been reasonably rainy in Albuquerque! We had a really nice family walk on Saturday morning around the big loop, which I really enjoy. It was pretty cool outside because we had rain most of the previous night before. In fact, there was so much rain in the downtown area that Central Avenue was even flooded. On Thursday evening morning, Rowan & I went to the Juan Tabo library and returned his books and we saw that the mural that they’re expanding on the front of the building is coming along …it looks so beautiful! Rowan enjoyed playing with all of the playthings there … he loves it. Going there is a good way to spend some time for sure. On Wednesday, night we went over to Lori and Reed’s and had dinner there and of course Rowan was thrilled to see his cousins and really enjoyed playing with their V Tech toys. They have the Alphabet Train Station too and lots of Little Tikes outdoor toys , including a lawnmower, which Rowan is over the moon for. He also loves the toy baby stroller and Amelia let him push one of her baby dolls in it, which he really liked.

On Friday, we stopped by Pearl’s house and saw Marsha, Marsha’s daughter Kristine, and her husband, and Marsha’s granddaughter (Pearl’s great granddaughter), Gianna. Rowan really loved her baby doll as well! And he loved it when Gianna , who is six, chased him back-and-forth around the side of the house.

Rowan has been a bit of a boundary-pusher recently. I think since he’s on the cusp of two, he is getting to the point where he is starting to act out a bit. I’m trying to find a good way to respond to that; my mom says that no reaction is probably the best reaction, to not make a big deal out of something. But I still try to discipline him immediately & swoop him up, put him in a chair, and make him sit there as I count to 20. But here at my Grandma’s house, he’s really been a bit of a challenge. In her formal living room, he’s tried to take some of her delicate things into his hands and one of them, a bell, he actually threw across the room while giggling! It was terrible. We had to move all of those delicates way out of his reach & we’ve insisted that he play only on the kitchen floor now.

I took him to a park over by my Grandma’s old house this morning and let him run around to try to burn off some of that mischievous toddler energy … perhaps I shouldn’t even called it “mischievous” because I don’t think it’s necessarily out of any mischievous intent … Anyway , Rowan enjoyed playing on the playscapes, but he also enjoyed trying to put the gravel in his mouth and he enjoyed that even more after I told him to stop doing it the first time. Nevertheless, the park was a success. And then we went to Target let I him ride around in the cart basket, rather than in the sitting area. While there, I let him play with a pretty cute electronic dog guitar, hard to describe but super cute, and it kept him occupied… I might in fact get him one, though I don’t typically go in for such bells and whistles electronic toys. I’ve just been kind of against those, but all of his little friends have them, and I guess there’s probably nothing wrong with them… he certainly loves his Alphabet Train Station that was a hand-me-down!

Once Rowan is up from his nap, we plan to go to Costco & maybe the public library … fun times so far in Billings!

Here’s Rowan last Friday at the Albuquerque Museum’s Christo and Jeanne-Claude exhibit, in the interactive “umbrellas” area with Pawnee:

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Here are some of our ripening tomatoes:

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And here’s Rowan playing on the floor of his Great Grandma Marion’s kitchen:

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Some fun activities and gorgeous hair

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Rowan has really gorgeous hair. He doesn’t have a whole lot of it (but it really has grown a lot since April!), but the color is amazing and when it rustles in the breeze, you can see all of the highlights layering strand by strand on top of each other. My mom just this morning called it “Julie hair,” like my hair when I was little, but then she corrected herself and said mine might have been lighter. But she added, “isn’t it beautiful.” Just a statement. It is. There’s no question.

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We went to my mom and dad’s (there I am with my dad, above!) this morning and hung out with Grandma and Grandpa for a bit, after a jaunt to Lowe’s, where we got a new swamp cooler pump and looked at the drills, lawn mowers, circular saws, two men trying to load a ton of decking onto a rolling cart with a fork lift (they had some funny missteps along the way), a man driving the floor cleaner . . . this was a real treat for Rowan. Then, at Office Depot where I returned some empty printer cartridges, Rowan chose a water color paint box, which I let him pick out and he carried it all the way to the counter and reached way up to give it the cashier. At Grandma and Grandpa’s at his plastic picnic table outside, he tried out the watercolors. Pretty soon though he wanted to go to his favorite place: the sandbox. Then, he was pointing to his two front teeth, saying “eat” so we had to go inside and try to get some food in the boy, because this morning he was being a bit of a toot and didn’t want his strawberries (threw the lovely strawberries from our garden on the FLOOR. And laughed! For shame!), the applesauce with cherries that I made, and only had a few toast with peanut butter bites. You can see him below in a better high-chair moment. He really was a toot with eating this morning and found some glee in that tootiness. Maybe that is his “terrible twoness” emerging? Though, I really hate that expression, anything with “terrible” attached to a kid (even if it describes an age and not explicitly the kid) is pretty awful in my opinion. He is just learning his boundaries, and I am doing my best to not get frustrated but to enforce clearly and with explanations that he may or may not understand. Sometimes we just need a quiet change of scenery (amid his screams and back arches in my arms) and to re-boot our systems with some time in his room in the recliner. We, in extreme circumstances, take to looking at pictures of dogs or cats on the iPad and that seems to do the trick. Distraction = return of happy guy.

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I wanted to note some of the fun adventures Rowan has had in the last two weeks. There have been a lot of opportunities to play with his “cousins” (my cousin Lori’s four kids), we went to the zoo with Maren (who was visiting with her mommy and daddy from Norway; see Roro and Maren below), there was a trip to the Rail Yard market with Pawnee and Denise, with lunch at Java Joe’s (and listening to all the amazing machines there: Vitamix! Espresso Machine! A photo of all of it is below!) afterwards, there was a first shaved ice experience at Bahama Bucks with Pawnee on Kirby’s birthday (Kirby got a snow ball, sweet thing, and you can see us below!), Rowan had a visit from four ballet gals to his house and some playtime with all of them in the yard, we took a trip to the library and Roro had some impromptu play time with two little boys who were there with their dad and baby brother (they played in the puppet-show house at the Juan Tabo library and Rowan was a giggly happy guy with some fellas to play with!) . . .

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We’ve done some shopping, some receipt-getting from the cashiers (Rowan loves to be handed the receipt!), some riding in the stroller in the grocery store (affords mama fewer frustrations with having to prevent him from trying to climb out of the cart seat), there was music class (below, Rowan waits for his sticker at the end of class), we visited the UPS store with mommy to watch them make copies and mail her book manuscript back to UNP . . . What a world this is for the little guy. And I say that in all candor, because despite all of the horrible things that are currently going on in our world (and I think that’s a statement that will persist in its truthfulness at any moment, unfortunately), he knows nothing of those things and can take great pleasure in small things, like dumping all of the blocks out of his Mega Blocks truck or playing with his light wand or seeing a kitty-cat.

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I hope Rowan’s adjustment to being at Grandma and Grandpa’s for two full long days each week, when I go back to Tech, is smooth.  He loves being there, but now that he’s able to articulate “mama?” and will be able to voice more questions and desires, I hope he isn’t too needful of me while I am away in Socorro all day.  I am sure he’ll settle in quite well after a week or so.  I can’t believe this yearlong sabbatical is almost over.  Wow.  We have our trip to Montana still to look forward to and enjoy and we’ll hope to have a fun, relaxing time with family there, though I do want to finish off one more project while I am there.  But, I hope to maybe take him to Zoo Montana again, to the public library there, and to some fun parks — and to Bozeman, such a beautiful city and my mom’s hometown!  We’ll see family there and in Billings, where we’re staying most of the time.

The little guy is sleeping right now after a morning of playing with Simon and Julia. Such a cute trio they are.