Friday, February 9, 2018

Our Sweet Obo

 Dear Owen,

Tomorrow you turn TWO years old! It's unthinkable to me that you're turning two and yet it seems you've always been with us. You are such an integral part of our family fabric, offering comedic relief, a taste of reality when we've pushed you past snack or naptime, and you bring SO MUCH LIGHT & JOY to each of our hearts.

Actually, you bring smiles and laughter and warmth into the lives of every person you encounter. Today we were at Trader Joe's, where you insisted on walking, helping me push the cart, and following me through the entire store. Nearly every person commented on how adorable you are, how chill, how sweet you were as a helper, and the list goes on. It's true, dear boy, you are an absolute blessing.

We have many nicknames for you. You are known as "O" and "Owen Bowen," which we shortened to "Obo." I can be found walking up to you saying, "Sweet O," and I've heard Papa call you "Obo" a fair amount. I guess those are the main names we have for you. Ian often calls you "Owen Bowen," perhaps because he is often called "Ian Bian."

You are speaking in complete sentences and WOWING us daily with your vocabulary! What fun it is to hear you navigate the English language with ease. You LOVE reading all of the song books we have and just yesterday you sang the ENTIRE song "A Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night." I have it on video to prove it. Amazing!

Right now you sleep in the play room and you typically go to bed around 6:45. You can be heard chatting and giggling to yourself for a while after and then you drift off to sleep on your sheepskin, with  "epard" (leopard) tucked tightly in your arm. In the morning you read and chat in your bed for a while before you start calling, "Mama, Mama! I awake!" When I answer that I am coming you quickly say, "Okay!"

That's one of your favorite words right now. "Okay!" You say it with such elation that it makes me smile each time.

"Owen, are you ready to go?"
"Okay! Les go!"

"Owen, it's time to get dressed."

Even when you're upset and we are explaining what we can do to make it better, you respond with a pitiful, "Okay." And it melts us a bit more.

It's safe to say that you are a beach boy, through and through. Even when it's twenty degrees outside, you can't keep your hands out of the sand. On this day in January, you ripped off your mittens to get your hands nice and sandy. What fun this summer will be with you!

Whatever your big brother is doing, you want to do too! You two have quite the rambunctious and loving relationship, with some squabbles thrown in-between. We don't have to worry too much about Ian overpowering you, you typically hold your own and let him know exactly what you're thinking!! We're proud of how you use your voice to express your emotions and know you'll become even more articulate in the future.

It's quite often that we find the two of you cuddled up reading books or when you're watching your show of the day. You come up with all sorts of adventures to do together and it's just so fun to observe!

We aren't sure how much you understand about this baby growing inside of Mama, but you are absolutely fascinated by the one at the library! Every week during our visit, the FIRST THING you do is find the baby and take care of her. Here you had just given her a little kiss. All the heart eyes. I know it will be far different to have a living baby enter our home and lives, but I am hopeful that you will love this sweet baby too. You have such a tender heart. When we see babies in public, you often comment on the baby and grow concerned if it's upset. I'm looking forward to seeing you as a big brother, but I am grateful to cuddle you as my littlest baby for a few months more.

Oh, sweet Owen. You fill our days with silliness and happiness. 
 You remind us to explore and seek and learn from the eyes of a child.
 And when there's a grin on your face, you can bet we're smiling too. You have a way of spreading contagious joy to all you meet.

Oh, dear Obo.... I'm sure I'll be adding to this post a lot as things come to me over the next few days and weeks, but I had to get some of this down. YOU ARE SO DELIGHTFUL!

We love you ever so much. I can't believe we get to laugh with you and watch you grow and learn every day. What a GIFT.

Love you, love you!
Mama, Papa, Ian & Baby B

Sunday, January 21, 2018

December 2017

December was a great, fast month, full of lots of family and the warmth of the holidays.
 Ian with his stack of new library books. His favorite time of the week, I'd wager to guess.
 We took the train to Boston to visit Mark & Meg and go to the Boston Children's Museum.

 Jim and Ian went all of the way up this incredible contraption at the museum.
 Owen was sacked out for the first part of our visit.
 Walking around Boston's harbor always holds beautiful sights and views.
 One morning the two older boys gifted me breakfast in bed <3
 This is one of my favorite photos... Ian chatting with Jim between splitting logs, and both of them in their element, outdoors.
 We chopped down our own Christmas tree at a place right down the road from our house. These boys sure do love each other.
 After we found the perfect tree,
 we enjoyed some delicious cider, cooked over a fire.
 And snagged a photo opp :)
 I've always enjoyed putting ornaments on Christmas trees, but doing it with Ian is the absolute best. We reminisce over each one, who gave it to us, and who made it (mostly him!). Each year he gets more excited about it.
 Perhaps it's pregnancy related, and perhaps it's just the exhaustion that comes with raising two boys, but during the afternoon naptimes, I am TIRED! I enjoy soaking up some mama time, drinking tea, napping, or reading a good book. Naptime is not a time when I try to get everything done; it's my time too.
 We did a lot of rearranging of furniture and finally decided upon an arrangement that would put the Christmas tree right in the middle of the action in our house. All of the seating was located around it, too, ensuring that family was all in the same location during the family visits.
 We all got knocked down with colds right after Thanksgiving and they stuck with us for a while. Sweet Owen fell asleep in my arms in the middle of the morning, which is not normal. I'll take those darling cuddles, thank you!
 Watching these brothers learn to share and play with one another is (mostly) fun. We have the occasional squabble and argument, don't get me wrong, but I love the way they love each other.
 One afternoon Ian chose not to take a nap, but then promptly fell asleep as soon as quiet time was over.
 Jim gave Owen a much-needed haircut and Ian, of his own motivation, held his hand to help him to be "brave." What a sweetheart <3
 One night I met our friend Kate for a girls' night out. It was low-key with chai teas and flourless chocolate cake, but it was so nice to have a night out with a friend.

 A local family organization organized a wagon ride event at a local farm and it was really fun!
 We looked at all of the animals,

 And then we enjoyed a sleigh ride as a family the morning of the first snowstorm in our area.
 We were SO happy to have this snow. HOORAY!
 We immediately pulled out the snow gear and our sled!
 Owen soaked it all in, his first snow since he can actually appreciate it!
 Our home is so cozy in the snow.
 They could choose to sit in two separate chairs while viewing their "show," but they usually end up cuddled in the same chair.
 Our yard is so beautiful right after a snow!! I love watching the sun peek through the trees at the start of the day, causing them to glow a beautiful golden color around 8 AM.
 The beams still have me drooling.
 Owen wasn't smiling for long, since he did a face plant into the snow right after this picture, but they love adventuring together. We hope that will continue to be the case!

 When you are a giant marshmallow in your snowsuit, sometimes you need a little help getting back up the hill.... Never fear! Big brother to the rescue.
 Our new ornaments this year came from my sweet friend, Valerie. These are handmade by an 89 year old woman in Georgia. Each one uniquely beautiful, as snowflakes truly are.

 Ian's morning job is to let the chickens out of the coop. It was 27 degrees that morning and he walked out there in his boxers. He came hurrying back, but casually strode down the path and it really cracked me up.
 Mmm, nothing like fresh snow!
 16.5 weeks in this picture! Baby started to flutter the week before this was taken and boy do I LOVE feeling him/her move within!
 Owen was NOT happy to be in the snow one day, so Ian played outside and I flitted inside and outside checking on each boy. Whenever I was outside, Owen watched us through the window and blew kisses and waved, before going back to his place. So sweet.

 One Saturday morning, Ian and I went on a mama-son date and it was lovely. We went at saw a production of "A Christmas Carole" at the local library and then went out to lunch for burgers, fries, and a shake! He was so sweet, wanting to cheers our glasses and tell me about everything he was observing. He offered me a bite of his burger saying, "It's really good, Mama! You should try it!" We had such a fun time together! I definitely believe that it's important to take this time with each kiddo and can't wait until the next time!!
 Snow on snow on snow!
 I made some new, no-bake cookies for Christmas this year! Three different kids, to be exact. I think our favorites were dark chocolate chips melted and mixed with roasted peanuts, then put in drops onto parchment paper. SO delish.
 Ian made everyone candy canes out of beads and pipe-cleaners. He did a different pattern for almost every single one.
 Christine came for most of a week and then my mom and sister arrived with my niece-pup, Zelda. She's a beautiful chocolate lab.
 We found Cosmic Kids Yoga during the VERY COLD spell we had and we couldn't wait to share it with Ama! My mom is a trained yoga instructor.
 That's the life!
 The pups enjoyed playing in the snow together, and we appreciated how much it wore them out!
 Jim and Ian made gingerbread houses-- thank you Carole!! It was funny to watch Ian make it because he wanted to do it EXACTLY like the picture. We didn't have quite enough icing to do what they did on the roof in the picture, so Jim wrote an "I" on one side of the roof and an "O" on the other. Ian wasn't too please with him taking this artistic license, but he recovered.
 It's the most wonderful time of the year! Sweet Zelda cuddling her mom's foot, presents under the tree.... a warm house, filled with family.
 My mom took this picture of me and Owen and I love it. <3 I think we were reading on of his favorite song books.
 Christmas cards just might be my favorite tradition of the year!!! I love the excitement of checking the mailbox and then finding dear and smiling faces looking back at me. And then I love hanging them up to enjoy (we had two packed strings of cards this year and it was the BEST) throughout the holidays and after. Truth be told, it's January 20th and our tree and cards are still up. Yikes.

But really, thank you for sending us cards and for keeping this tradition alive.
 I think I am 17 or 18ish weeks here.
 Ian loved having Ama in the back of the car on the way to the beach. He told her story after story.
 Here are my new Christmas boots!! Since I opened them, they've been my footwear of choice. They are so warm and cozy and dry and PERFECT for this very cold New Hampshire winter. Bogs are VERY common up here and now I know why. These are rated for -13 degrees F! Thank you, Mom!
 Here's the HUGE stretch of sandy beach at "Dog Beach," as our friends call it. I think it's actually called "Seapoint Beach," or something like it, and it's in Maine.
 Here's our Christmas Eve beach crew!
 Owen & Ama love. <3

 Unfortunately, this is the only picture I got of our Christmas Eve feast. We enjoyed roast beast, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes, and green beans with toasted almonds. YUM! Thank you to Mom for her labor of love, once more, in preparing this beast!
 Christmas morning Jim made a rockin' breakfast after we opened the stockings and then we opened presents for much of the morning.

 It's so magical to share Christmas with these boys. They loved every minute of it.
 Owen is a very careful unwrapper. He rips off tiny strips at a time and Ian always showed him a corner and how to get it started.
 A super sweet moment came when Owen opened the mother panda bear that Jim and I gave him. He was SO excited and I wish I had it on video. He said something like, "Oooohhhh Pandaaa!" And then quickly Ian ran to get his favorite toy, the baby panda (which cups to perfectly into his little fist), and the mama and babe were at last united.
 Ian was very patient through the turn-taking, but was always thrilled when his turn came back around!

Jim and Ian quickly set about making Owen's parking garage as soon as the gifts were opened.
 Soon it was time for lunch and naps for the boys, but once they were up, we all set out on a little hike around our property trail.

 Jim and Ian shoveled snow as we waited for Grumps to arrive. He drove up from Virginia on Christmas day.
 And arrived wearing a Santa hat and with a big red bag!! HELLO SANTA!!
 On Boxing Day Jim returned to work and Dad shooed the rest of us out the door, while he watched the boys for the morning, lunch, and put them down for naps! Mom, Phoebe, and her boyfriend Will, and I went to Portsmouth for some exploring, shopping, and a seafood lunch.

 When I'm not pregnant, I am looking forward to skating here! There's a huge fire pit in the middle of the ice, where you can cozy up to the flames and get warm before heading back out on the ice. Brilliant!
 One of my favorite things about life these days is the after-dinner activity. Our boys can be somewhat active after dinner, so after they are full and have sat with us a while, they are allowed to ask to be excused and Ian, at least, takes his dishes to the sink. Once he's done that, he's not allowed to run around in the kitchen or the dining room. The rules were that he can sit in his chair, or he can leave the room. Well, the boys figured out a caveat.... they are allowed to stay in the dining room if they scratch our backs! And so they do!! It's pretty much the best thing ever, and our guests heartily agreed.
 Mom and the boys made gingerbread men!! Oh my goodness, they were sooo good. Ian had fun decorating them, too. We've read those books a lot (we have a few versions of them) and Owen can often be heard saying, "Can't get me I di ginbread man." It's adorable. Ian says it too, though much clearer ;)
 We had fun listening to everyone read the "Cajun Night Before Christmas" book we have.
 Phoebe & Will went on to Portland, ME to visit some friends, and we spent one more day with Mom & Dad. We went to the Children's Museum in Dover for the first time and it was a hit for all of us! A very fun way to spend there last morning here.
 On this particular morning, I bundled Owen and Ian up for some errands in -4 degree F weather. Whew!! Sorry kiddos.... Owen fell asleep buried in all of his layers and I couldn't resist snapping this picture.
 Gramee & Grandpa came for the weekend around New Years' and we had our second Christmas celebration!! It was VERY cold outside and so we stayed cozy indoors and skipped frigid outings. Jim & John took both cars to get oil changes, which was wonderful.

We so enjoyed getting to host our families over the holidays, the first in our new home. Everyone traveled a LONG way and we are so grateful that they chose to spend the holidays with us.

Now, to take down our tree and Christmas cards.... one day... one day ;)