Caitlin - 7 to 8 years
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Happy 7th Birthday!

Caitlin's 7th Birthday party. She asked to go roller skating, so we did. Well, Daddy didn't - he just walked around the roller rink and helped the kids not fall down. Something about a bad pain in his knee due to falling at a previous ice skating party kept Daddy off of any kind of skates...

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As part of Caitlin's homeschool math class, she and Mommy made a big "fractal diagram" to help her understand the concept of ten ones = 10, ten tens = 100, and ten one hundreds = 1000. We took a few pictures for posterity.

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Our neighbor's daughter had outgrown her electric Barbie jeep and they gave it to us for Caitlin to enjoy for the summer. When Caitlin is done with it, we'll give it along to the another kid in the neighborhood so they can enjoy it. Here's Caitlin enjoying it after she finally figured out how to drive it. She's still working on backing up and turning and learning how to drive precisely, but she's doing OK in large spaces.

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Some pictures and a movie of Caitlin at her horse riding lessons. I think the third picture is pretty darned good - Mommy is finally figuring out how to use the camera. That said, the last few seconds of the movie are of the ground, so maybe she just got lucky... :-)

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More of Caitlin and her Barbie Jeep. She's touring the street in front of our house with the previous owner of the Jeep, Dorothy.

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Caitlin's final day at Camp Gilead. It was a day camp (she's not old enough to stay over yet) and this was the wrap up ceremony. The camera decided to not play nice, so most of the pictures stink and are out of focus. Apparently, when Deb's camera wants to use the flash, clicking the "take a picture" button doesn't mean "take the picture now", it means "start charging the flash and prepare to take the picture in about 2 seconds from now while I've started moving the camera to get ready for the next shot". Stupid design features. (How about pre-charging the flash, geniuses?) Anyways, thanks to that, I got a nice shot of someone else's head in the second picture and every chance to try and capture her doing something was mis-timed and doesn't show her much if at all. In the pictures with the green words on the screen, Caitlin is two rows behind the tall boy in the middle of the group. You can at best, see part of her head. :-/ Camera issues aside, she had fun at camp and can't wait to go back next year. She cried when she had to go home each day, and more so on the last day.

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Caitlin has learned to ride her bike without training wheels. I simply kept moving the trailing wheels higher and higher up off the ground and telling her to stay off the training wheels when she rode, and she figured it out all on her own. Deb noticed she was doing a pretty good job riding and staying upright, and sure enough, she was. So, off with the training wheels, and after suiting up in knee pads and a helmet, we turned her loose on the street around noon on a Sunday. She did pretty darned good the first time out - the video is the first try without training wheels. No practice, no retakes, no setups. Not bad at all. The second video is around 5pm after some practice time on her own. She's got the hang of turning even when moving slowly - listen to her tell me that "she didn't need to pedal" in the turn when I told her too. I thought she was going down at that point, but she did a nice smooth turn at slow speed. She still needed to work on using the foot brake (pedaling backwards) instead of her feet, but she had that figured out by 6pm when we went in for dinner. Without the training wheels and with better balance, her speeds have shot up quite a bit, so braking is now a much more important skill. I was kind of surprised at the sudden speed change, but in retrospect, it makes sense - if you can't balance and keep flopping sideways onto the training wheels, you're not going to be able to go very fast nor would you want to. As soon as you can balance and stay up on two wheels, suddenly you feel much more comfortable going faster, and you realize it's fun and you want to pedal harder. She really got moving a few times - and was having a blast. I didn't really get to experience the classic Daddy-running-behind-the-bike-holding-the-seat-to-help-them-balance routine. I tried it once with the training wheels, and my knee quickly reminded me it was a bad idea. In exchange, Caitlin learned first hand that she can teach herself complicated new skills all on her own. I think that's worth it. And besides, anyone who knows me will tell you I'm too lazy to get out there and run around behind a bike. :-)


Grandmom and Grandpop Rowand paid us a visit in August 2009 and Caitlin had fun helping Grandmom bake pancakes and then later, help us all do some cleanup work out in the yard.

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Caitlin was asked to be a "junior bridesmaid" in my sister Jennifer's wedding in November 2009, and this was the test fitting of the dress before we packed up and left to fly back to NJ for the wedding. We think she was a very pretty junior bridesmaid, but Mom and Dad might be just a tad biased...

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On the same extended trip back to my sister's wedding, we visited some old friends of mine, Roy and Kathy Wescher, in York, PA. They took us to a small county park named Nixon park (yes, named after that Nixon). It was very pretty and had lots of neat stuff, including a live, working, indoor beehive under Plexiglas. The next to last picture is the entrance to the hive that extends through the building wall - it's the small pipe below the "streak" on the wall. We couldn't figure out what the streak was from, but it seemed bee-related. There was a small pond, and a fairly complete indoor exhibit of stuffed animals (aka, prepared by a taxidermist) set up in life-like displays with descriptive plaques on all of them. The land for the park was originally donated by Bob Hoffman who was quite famous in weightlifting circles and who started York barbell.

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While visiting with the Wescher's, they took a few pictures on their camera. The first was when we helped them get a fresh Christmas tree (what a hike!), the second when we visited Gettysburg (very cool!), and the third was at Nixon park (see above).

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NOTE: There are a ton more details and pictures on our vacation page.


Preparing for Christmas 2009 at the Rowand's. Caitlin and Mommy decorated the tree this year, so it's very plain. At least Daddy thinks so. :-)

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The 2009 Rowand Family Christmas tree, loaded with gifts.

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Opening presents Christmas morning, 2009. This year Jon was home, so we had a lot more fun sharing the joy of Caitlin ripping into presents and shrieking with joy and thanking everyone for the gifts. The camera apparently had trouble focusing when the flash was off, so we had a choice between waiting for the flash to recharge and getting off-timing pictures, or getting darker out of focus pictures. Hmmm.

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The Christmas feast of 2009, with Debbie belatedly getting into the second photo. It was as delicious as it looks. We used our china/crystal/good silverware for the first time in years, and this time Caitlin was old enough to use it too. She did very well with only a couple of "scary moments". The red tablecloth and red napkins were one of the gifts Caitlin got for Mommy this Christmas. Very pretty!

The multi-color candles were made (yes, made) by Caitlin on our recent vacation to Williamsburg, VA. They had a small shop outside of town with all sorts of candles and related stuff, including an area for kids to make their own colored candles. It was nearly too aromatic for my sense of smell, but Caitlin enjoyed it, and we all enjoyed having them at Christmas dinner.

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A few movies of Christmas morning 2009.


One of Caitlin's Christmas gifts was a new bike, to be purchased the day after Christmas so she could be there to make sure it fit her, but was still a surprise Christmas morning. We wrapped up a picture of a bike and gave it to her to unwrap Christmas morning. This is her riding it around for the first time. It has a small pouch on the front with a battery powered (more batteries - yay...) speaker and amplifier that can be plugged into the headphone jack on a portable MP3 player. Now Caitlin has a boom-box on wheels.

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Our son Jon was home for Christmas this year, and he brought his camera and took a bunch of pictures and some videos of Caitlin on Christmas day. Many thanks to him for taking them and sharing them with us so we could post them here.

Not quite a "White Christmas", but heavy frost sort of counts, right?

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Mmm. Fresh turkey, soon to be much more delicious, thanks to Deb's wonderful holiday cooking skillz...

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Caitlin playing on the computer.

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Caitlin's stick bug. Daddy says: "Meh".

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The tree, decorated and loaded with presents...

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Daddy needed some encouragement to get out of bed on Christmas morning. "Ten more minutes..." lasted for an hour, and Caitlin jumped on the bed to wake Daddy up. Naturally, this resulting in some wrestling and messing around to ensure Daddy was fully awake...

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Caitlin "helping" mommy open her gifts...

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Caitlin "helping" daddy open his gifts...

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Caitlin opening her gifts...

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A group shot of the Rowand's on Christmas morning after all the presents were opened. Jon's camera has a timer feature, so we all got into the shot - cool!

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The table just before we ate Christmas dinner.

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Another group shot, this time around the table. Yummy!

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Jon and our cat, Lil, enjoying some relaxing time in the living room after the meal.

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A couple of videos of Caitlin shot by Jon on Christmas morning.


Caitlin fell while running around at AWANA on Jan 13th and broke her arm. She wasn't horsing around, it was a relay race, and she just slipped and fell exactly wrong. Fortunately it was a non-displaced break and was not horribly painful, though it's the worst she's ever experienced, so she didn't like it too much.

Here's Caitlin in her splint and sling after visiting the ER.

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Here's Caitlin in her spiffy new glow-in-the-dark fiberglass cast.

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For the medically astute and just curious, here's the x-rays. Can you spot the break? It's in the humerus, specifically the medial epicondyle. Fortunately, there was no nerve damage. There was some swelling initially, but it went down overnight.

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Cast removal day at the doctor's office, waiting in the waiting room with Mom, Dad, and Grandmom Rowand.

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Getting ready to remove the cast. Where's the power tool?

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It tickles!

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What's this non-glow-in-the-dark flesh-colored thing?

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Taking the final X-Rays to confirm all was well.

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Here's the final X-Ray's. The break is healing nicely, so no more cast. She still need to take it easy for another five weeks, though... The bright white new bone growth is clearly visible in the second one.

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Caitlin's Keepers of the Home group met at our house and made miniature dollhouses out of shoeboxes and household scraps. Some of them were pretty cool.

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Caitlin drew a picture of herself and named it "Flat Caitlin" for a school project and asked Grandmom Rowand to get pictures with it all over the place, and back in NJ as well.

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Doing schoolwork out on the deck on a particularly nice February day. The nicely freshly cleaned deck that Daddy worked so hard on... :-)

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On Feb 25th, 2010 we went to a "Homeschooler's day at the WA State Capitol" event to show our legislators that we're real people who do just fine without government oversight. We heard some lectures on current bills, had some of the state legislators talk to us, and learned a lot about our state government. Some of the pictures were shot by Caitlin on our camera. She's getting better, but still needs to learn how to properly compose a good picture. The capitol grounds were very impressive; we all learned a lot on the tour. The monuments out in the grounds in front of the main capitol buildings were very informative.

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Page last updated 12/25/2010 05:33:48 PM