Monday, September 28, 2015

and just like that, she's two.

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Rowan's birthday weekend = complete, and completely awesome. And apparently worthy of more than one post, since I took ten flajillion pictures that ALL MUST BE SEEN. (Kidding, I won't post all of them. Maybe three percent. So, still two to three blog posts.)

To start her birthday, my girl slept the latest she's ever slept before - 8:10 a.m.; and no, I will not round down to 8:00 a.m., because this is a small miracle in our household. J.J. and I actually woke her up, fearing that she wouldn't nap that afternoon otherwise. We rubbed her back and sang Happy Birthday, and she was seventeen emotions at once: tired, happy, confused, excited, proud...adorable.

After a quick breakfast of her favorite oatmeal, Rowan and J.J. (who had the day off) went to "The Kroger" to get birthday balloons, and we took some sweet pictures in the backyard, just like last year. Rowan was...let's say more toddlery about the photo shoot this year. Less cooperative, more apt to wander away shouting NO NO NO. It lasted about four minutes, but we got some good ones in those four minutes.

Then we took off for Rowan's birthday adventure: a ride on the "blue bus" - the University of Michigan commuter bus line. This was J.J.'s idea, and it was perfect for Rowie. (No surprise here...J.J. is the best gift-idea person ever.) She loves vehicles, especially the blue bus, and she's been talking about the blue bus ride she took during Art Fair ever since July. The wonderful thing about newly-two-year-olds is that the ride itself is the exciting part - no need for a fancy destination. There's a happy little metaphor in there for you. 

We had to switch busses at one point, and Rowan made J.J. help Curious George walk down the sidewalk, which was so cute. The funny thing is, she doesn't even have a huge attachment to this particular Curious George doll, but she was insistent that he come with us on our trip, and she clutched him close the entire time.

After our blue bus ride, we went back home to open presents from Rowan's California cousins (which were awesome, awesome presents), and my dad stopped by to play with the birthday girl. Is there anything sweeter than Rowan pretending the grooming glove from her new horse is actually Elsa's glove, and Grandpa singing "Let It Go" to his granddaughter while brushing the horse's mane? If there is anything sweeter, please. Show me.

Thankfully, sleeping in didn't disrupt Rowan's nap - which I had to photograph, because she fell asleep cuddling a green dish towel from the kitchen. ??? Toddlers can be awesome.

Green Dish Towel, snuggled right between Rowan and Baby Grace
(who is named after one of our friend's new little baby girls).

When she woke up, the three of us headed to Island Park, which is next to the apartment complex where J.J. and I lived for the first six years we were together. There's a river, a few bridges, a huge climbing structure, swings, and plenty of dirt, rocks, and trees.

Rowan was convinced the ducks wanted to share "just one Cheddar
Bunny." The ducks were totally grossed out when they tried it.

Pretending to be Elsa in the Ice Palace. Not pictured: ice-shooting sound effects.

I tried to take some pictures of Rowie with her birthday balloons on one of the bridges, but she was absolutely NOT in a picture mood, and the wind made getting a decent shot of both Rowan and the balloons impossible. We did end up with a funny series, though, when Rowan pulled the balloon bunch down on herself and disappeared, and then the wind almost blew the whole bunch over the railings...

And J.J. made me pose with the balloons, too, so I could understand firsthand why Rowan was uncooperative. They were right; I felt like a tool. BUT BALLOON PICTURES. SO CUTE. (WITH BABIES. NOT THIRTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLDS.)

J.J.'s mom joined us for a birthday dinner at Noodles & Co., which is Rowan's favorite non-pizza restaurant. She would have preferred pizza, but since that was the menu for her birthday party on Sunday, we tried to vary it up. By offering her a different combo of carbs, cheese, and red sauce. Oh, well, she loved it - and then we got to go home for cake. 

Rowan was super excited for the cake. Somewhere in between her baby cousin's birthday in early May and her older cousin's birthday in late July, she gained comprehension of the whole "birthday cake" schema: sit down, everyone sings, make a wish, blow out the candles, eat up. She and J.J.'s mom made and decorated the cake together, and Rowan was so proud of the frosting (she chose yellow), the rainbow sprinkles, and the two dozen candles she poked into it. And even though we practically had to convince her to touch her cupcake on her first birthday, she had apparently spent her second year of life preparing to dive in to this cake: 

My lucky girl got to open a present from Gramma after we devoured the cake: a balance bike, the Velo Twista. We headed right outside to test it out, and it. was. love.

Rowan has five? six? different riding toys in our garage, but this is her favorite, bar none. There aren't any pedals, which is great since (a) her legs are too short to reach most pedals, and (b) she doesn't quite have the gross motor skills to pedal yet. Instead, she uses a combination of pushing with her feet and coasting while balancing to make it go. When she gets a little better at it, we can adjust the back wheels so that she has to rely more on her balance. Rumor has it that kids end up transitioning directly from balance bikes like this one (which is also height-adjustable, so it'll still work for her as she gets taller) to a two-wheeler without training wheels.

When we finally pried her off her new bike, my sweet two-year-old took a bubble bath, snuggled for stories, and went to bed. And J.J. and I collapsed on the couch and congratulated ourselves on surviving another year of parenthood relatively intact.

Who knows what Rowan's third year of life will bring, but no doubt there will be adventures, craziness, and love. And balloon photo shoots, because I'm all about picture traditions, and because awwww:

Rowan Sophia, 9.25.14. Age one.
Rowan Sophia, 9.25.15. Age two.


  1. Such great photos! My fave is the low angle looking way, way up at her. So artistic.

    1. Well, thanks! One of these days, I'd love to get a real camera instead of just my iPhone...

  2. I know nothing sweeter than the pic of grandpa singing to Rowie. Literal tears over here (in a good way). 😢👍

    Sounds like you got all of the two-year-birthday necessities out of Ann Arbor. :) Send me that pic of you with the balloons... That's your new contact pic on my phone for sure. Hahahhaah!

    xoxo to all of you, and one last big happy birthday to Rowie!

    1. Now I need to know what my old contact pic is in your phone!! (So not sending you the balloon picture.) :)



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