O H M Y H E A R T

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toddler life

Sunday Funday|An Afternoon in the City

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I am not the most spontaneous person. Neither is my husband. I don't know if it's because we're both Virgos or if we're just set in our ways. So, I was pretty proud of us for deciding to pack up the kiddo and head downtown for the day. We were all dressed, ready out the door in an hour! Shouldn't Sunday afternoons be about finding a little adventure?   We hadn't been to the Observation Deck at Carew Tower in years but it was a perfect afternoon to introduce Rowan to a picture perfect view.   

Why does my sweet baby boy look like such a big kid these days?! Gah! It's all flying by too fast! 

We stumbled upon a climate change rally! These were my two favorite signs. After spending time on Fountain Square we hopped on the streetcar to head to Findlay Market. We've been on it a handful of times and just realized that Nick Lachey voices the stops. That is so Cincinnati!  

 

We had a quick and delicious lunch, listened to some street performers and bought some goodies before heading home. Sunday, fun day, indeed! 

Butterfly Show {family fun}

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The annual Butterfly Show at Krohn Conservatory is a harbinger of summer and one the entire city looks forward to seeing every year. The last time we went, Rowan was too little to enjoy it. so this year it was so much fun to watch him take it all in! 

"Butterfly" is a new-ish word for him so to hear him say it with so much joy as he pointed with delight at all of the gorgeous butterflies landing around us made this year's trip extra special.  And, can we talk about how wonderful it smells! Butterflies are attracted to the scent of jasmine. Krohn passes out these little scratch and sniff cards that release the scent to encourage the butterflies to interact with you. I'm not sure if there's a heaven, but if it exists, I hope it smells just like this! 

 

mornings and messes

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Looking for a quick, easy and messy way to spend the morning?  

Like all good ideas, I found this on Pinterest. There were several pins and each of them called for different kinds of paint. I used the tempera paints we had on hand. You also need a bin, lid or something to hold the shaving cream, shaving cream(the old fashioned foaming kind) and the tip of a paintbrush/toothpick to swirl the paints.  

When we were finished I took our rainbow-colored foam and let Rowan have the time of his life rinsing himself off! 

I'm trying to balance our days with structured and free play. This was the perfect activity. There was something for him to focus on but since it was creative I think to him it felt like play time. More importantly, I had a relaxing and fun morning with my little love bug! 

City Mornings

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If I could make a wish and have my wildest dream fulfilled, it would definitely have something to do with the arts. I don't know that I have the soul of an artist but I have the desire to have the soul of an artist! LOL! And, I love that we live in a city that makes it easy to pass my appreciation of it to my kids. 

With that in mind, I bundled up Rowan and we headed downtown to enjoy a morning at Contemporary Art Center. The top floor of the space is the UnMuseum for kids. Everything is kid friendly and they are encouraged to become part of the installations by interacting with them. On Thursday mornings, the CAC offers Art Play. There's a specific craft or art activity followed up with kid-friendly yoga!

It's nice to hang out in a museum where you don't have to worry that your curious toddler is climbing on and destroying a priceless work of art!

Rowan found a new favorite! There's an area that is dark with a light installation on the ceiling. The kids are encouraged to use the flashlights to interact with the lights and music. That little space was so cozy and peaceful despite the dozen or so kiddos running around having the time of their lives! 

After all of the fun upstairs we headed to the lobby for people watching, street car spotting and of course the perfect latte to end our morning.

sunflower festival {local love}

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there was a crispness in the air on sunday morning. we packed up the kiddo and headed to gorman heritage farm for the annual sunflower festival! 

i love that his gorgeous farm is only 15 minutes from our house and in a regular(and very old)cincinnati neighborhood! we had a great morning exploring the land, wandering through the gardens, chasing chickens and making our way through the sunflower maze!

we got there when it opened at 10 and by the time the crowds and the sun hit at noon we were ready to head home for a family nap.

slow {motherhood}

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sometimes i forget that it's okay to be still. i'm constantly thinking of places to take rowan, things we need to do, classes we should enroll him in. parenthood is a competitive sport these days and it takes an effort to resist the urge to follow the tide.

as he gets older, i'm loving that he's starting to enjoy "slower" activities- storytime in a quiet corner, building lego houses and arts and crafts! 

last week, i broke out the paints and resisted the urge to direct to him. i loved seeing him use his fingers, sponges and brushes to create his own little masterpiece! we had a quiet and creative morning at home. and, it was good.

  

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a day in indy{family adventures}

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on my birthday we took a little drive to indianapolis. i've been to the children's museum there years ago with my other kids but this was the first time for rowan. he loved it! we could have spent the whole day in the dinosaur exhibit and playing with the trains and he would have been 100% satisfied!

i've only started going through the 400 pictures i took that day so i put together this little video of some of the highlights.

celebrating progress {motherhood}

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a while back i posted our concerns with rowan's speech development. we had him evaluated and were not shocked when we received the news that he had a speech delay. we started a little more than six months ago.

at the start of therapy, rowan had about a dozen words or sounds that we recognized as words for specific things(for example, "nana" is his word for milk).  

like most child-rearing experiences, this process has been not what we anticipated it to be. we have a bright, healthy and curious little guy! our intial thoughts were that the therapist would come in, give some tips and advice. and with a little help, rowan would be talking in no time! yeah, nope.

at the start, it felt like we were making no progress at all! it was difficult to get him to stay engaged long enough to implement any of the strategies and techniques recommended to us. outings with him were a little stressful because he was all over the place!

We soon discovered that Rowan had some sensory issues. He is a sensory seeker. In the simplest terms, he needs lots of sensory stimulation-physical activity, touch, etc-in order to center himself enough to process the world around him. This factored heavily into the speech issues. We needed to really work on getting him centered and able to focus before we could even work on the speech aspect. Three or four months were spent trying to figure out what sensory stuff worked and what didn't. slowly we started seeing improvements. he sought out storytime. bringing book after book over to have me read to him. he would sit and build with his legos, play with his trains, and "talk" to his stuffed animals.

those gains were amazing! but, we still weren't seeing any improvement in his speech. we got into the habit of saying things over and over and over. emphasizing simple words. "up" "down" "on" "off" "eat" "go" "cup" and so on. initially, i felt a bit silly. but, the more i did it the more of a habit it became. our ST is always encouraging and reassuring. she seemed happy with his progress. while not adding any new words, he was becoming more verbal and making more complex sounds. 

it's been a sometimes frustrating and incredibly humbling journey. we are doing all we can but this speech thing will happen when it happens. there isn't anything else we can except to continue the things we've been doing.

last week i posted this picture to instagram with the caption "it's all good until he realizes the buses are not coming home with us" 

we were at story time in a local bookstore and the kids regularly enjoy playing with the toys. buses and trucks are his most favorite things on the planet and i was mentally preparing myself for the scene that would probably happen when he had to leave them behind.

we know ro has an excellent grasp of language but he gets really frustrated when he's unable to express or get us to understand his feelings. so, meltdowns are things that happen with regularity. also, he's two!  i tried to prepare him by telling a few times that we were leaving soon and we needed to leave the buses for other kids to enjoy. and so, he played. made friends with another little kid and played some more. i set the timer on my phone to let him know we had to leave when it beeped. just before the timer went off he looked up at me and said, "bus". (it sounded more like ush. but i knew what he meant!)he repeated it several times! i started crying in the middle of the bookstore and trying to get my phone out so i could get it on video to send doug! this is the first new word he's added to his vocabulary since we started therapy!!  he smiled and laughed! he was so pleased with himself. 

he has worked hard for every sound and syllable. he's been so good-natured and sweet through countless evaluations and appointments. we are so proud of him! obviously, i bought the damn bus!