And Then There Were Four

We're creating this blog because it's the cool thing to do when people are having a baby. Just kidding, really we already have a hard enough time keeping up with everyone we want to, and our lives are about to get even more wonderfully busy. We can't wait - and we want you guys to be able to share in it too, so we both plan on reporting on it. Read at your own risk, and hopefully you'll enjoy it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Like Fudge

A quote from my good friend Amy-

"I think non- parents don't quite grasp the 24/7ness of small children. Like fudge, ignoring them for mere seconds can result in disaster."

If you've ever made fudge or had a small child, I'm sure you're chuckling and can relate to the above statement. It really does sum up our lives right now with a very active almost 14 month old little boy with a growing curiosity for all things....well actually for all things he's not allowed to have. Ben has more toys in our house than most daycare centers have in rooms containing multiple children. Toys everywhere you look....under tables and couches, taking over the living room, invading every bedroom, in the bath tub, on the changing tables....everywhere. You'd think this would keep him busy as a bee but no. Ben wants to play with the broom and swiffer. He wants to see how many of my things he can shove in his barn. He wants to take every shoe out of our shoe rack and strategically place them in secret locations all over the house. He wants to take all our remotes and point them at the TV and push buttons until something happens. He wants to try with all his might to take Brina's collar off her neck and remove the tags.

So our dilemma this year....what to do about a Christmas tree??? Brian loves the smell of fresh cut tree and really wanted a real tree. Especially since we aren't going anywhere for Christmas and will actually spend the holiday in our house, it would be nice to be festive rather than waking up Christmas morning to a Christmas-less house. But in the back of my mind i'm thinking "Ben+tree= DISASTER" So our solution for Christmas this year.....we have a 3 foot mini tree (cut off the top 3 feet of a larger tree) strategically placed on top of a card table in our living room. Out of reach but definitely still visible. I'll post pictures later of Ben attempting to help us "decorate" the tree.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Neat and Tidy

I admit......Ben was born to a woman who has many things higher on the priority list than having a squeaky clean house. Every New Years I resolve to do better and my house is always cleaner for the first few months but as the pace of life picks up, cleaning is the first thing to go.

Well...I gave birth to a cleaner. Ben is a boy who likes things neat and tidy and has taken it on himself to keep our house picked up. His favorite toy.....a broom. One of his favorite activities....taking wipes out of his wipe box and scrubbing the floor. The above video shows him neatly stacking the Christmas presents. This boy is neat and tidy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Giving Thanks

This post is a bit late....but here's a list of things I'm especially thankful for this year (2010)

- Ben. I have a healthy 13 month old who brings me unbelievable joy every single day. Yes there are challenges and it's a lot of hard work but it is absolutely worth it.

- Ben has more or less been a very healthy kid. No major illnesses or injuries! Not to say we haven't gone through boxes of kleenex to wipe snotty noses or done loads of laundry after other unfortunate reversals of fortune, but he has been for the most part healthy. Blessing.

- Ben is sleeping. At least 50% of the time, he sleeps through the night without any wakings. After going 13 months without a night of uninterrupted sleep, we'll take it when we can get it.

- Ben is happy. He smiles and laughs at anyone and everyone hoping that they'll return the smile and give him an excuse to wave his pudgy hand in excitement.

- Brian. I have a wonderful husband who I've been married to for 4 years. He is working so hard to get his PhD and I admire his persistence in the important work he is doing. He is a wonderful father who sacrifices time and time again for his son and is setting an example of what it means to be a Christian man of integrity.

- Family. We have wonderful family who have been so supportive and loving. We could not make it without them. Our awesome parents are amazing grandparents to Ben. What a blessing.

- Health. We made it through 2010 without any health problems! 2006- Katie misdiagnosed with a terminal heart disease. 2007- Brian diagnosed with epilepsy after 2 seizures. 2008- Katie diagnosed with fibrous dysplasia after docs found bone tumors. 2009- Ben was born totally blue and not breathing. 2010- HEALTHY YEAR. Praise the Lord.

- Community. We love our church family. We love our neighbors. We love our friends.

We have lots to be thankful for this year. At the close of a crazy, hectic day, I'm sitting here drinking tea, looking through the pictures on my computer of the past year and giving thanks to God for all his blessings.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Busy Bee

I realized I never posted pictures from Ben's first Halloween! Well wasn't his first Halloween but last year he was only a day old and still in the hospital. So here's a picture from last year and a few from this year.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Hi everyone....long time no blog. It's been a crazy crazy last few weeks! So rather than overwhelm you with a really long post, I'll give you a few short highlights with some pictures. It's official.....Ben is 1 year old!! On October 30th he officially turned 1 and celebrate we did!

Birthday fun started with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Roelofs who were in Greece on his birthday. They came to visit a few weeks before the big day and kicked off the festivities with an awesome fire engine truck that Ben quickly learned how to ride and sound the alarm.

Then over birthday weekend we had several visitors- Grandma and Grandpa Ritsema flew back to Maryland to celebrate and one of my best friends in the whole world and "Aunt" to Ben came up from Florida as well. Ben loves Aunt Jo.

We threw Ben a party on Saturday afternoon and lots of friends came to enjoy the festivities. A few highlights...

The cake....our neighbor should quit her day job and make cakes for a living. She made Ben a duplo birthday cake which was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. For those who don't know, duplos are basically giant legos....made large enough so they aren't a choking hazard. She made the duplos and lego man out of rice crispie treats and covered them in fondant. AMAZING.

We had 7 kids under 3 years old running around our house

People were way too generous and got Ben some amazing gifts- Thanks to everyone who came!

Then Ben and I took off with the Ritsema grandparents for Denver for a few days. The flight there went really well much to my amazement. We had an awesome time in Denver seeing lots of family and friends and having yet another birthday celebration with cousins Makenna and Levi and other family. Thanks to everyone there for a wonderful week! Then Ben and I flew back alone yesterday. Again the flight went well all things is just not easy with a one year old no matter the circumstances. But we're home and doing well and looking forward to settling into a normal routine again.

There's just a brief overview of the past few weeks.....crazy busy but tons of fun. Happy Birthday to the coolest kid ever :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Little Sunshine

I wish I could say everyone in our household is happy and healthy but that's not the case. Sick Mom....possibly sick Dad. Finally a healthy baby.

So as a ray of sunshine for's a video of Ben in his Halloween costume. Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

All Out

Well.....apologizes again for blog silence but there's good reason for it this time.

Ben's personality is starting to shine through and we're starting to get glimpses of what he'll be like when he's older. His obsession with pesto makes me think he'll have a refined palate. His constant wave to everyone he sees and the giant grin he gives them makes me think he'll be super social. The fact that in the last few weeks we've found all manner of items hidden in his toy barn (shoes, various toys, Brian's American Express.........) makes me think he'll be clean and organized. Another thing that's shining through is Ben's desire to go "all out." When he commits to something he commits and does it 100%. For example, when he was younger, he didn't just poop like a normal baby......he exploded and destroyed outfits. When he decides he wants to eat....down goes 2 pieces of pizza. Well...another example in our household. When Ben finally decided to get sick.....he went all out.

Ben hasn't been sick until now. We made it 11 months with no illness but he finally succumbed. It started about 10 days ago when daycare called saying he was running a fever. Then the nose started running. Fussiness set in. Saturday morning consisted of several rounds of vomiting. Sunday it was coming out the other end. Monday we developed a cough. Tuesday we went to the pediatrician and walked away with amoxicillin for double ear infections. Misery all around. No sleep for anyone. Blaaaaah.

So we've had our hands full with sickness....both Ben and Mommy. Luckily Daddy avoided it and was a wonderful caregiver to us both. Also, Grandma and Grandpa Roelofs were in town for the weekend and not only played nurse but also cleaned the house from top to bottom. Thank you!

We're disinfected and on the mend.....we're hoping for some decent sleep tonight :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dancing Ben

Ben is doing a little dance for you. We discovered his love for this song when we were watching TV and the IPad commercial came on with this song and Ben started laughing and dancing. You can't really see his feet in this video so you can't see him stomping his feet...but he's doing a little dance for you all.

By the way- HE IS WALKING. More to come on that.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Things Ben has done in the past week or two....

- Eaten 2 full pieces of pizza in one sitting

- Walked the distance of the room without holding on to anything

- Gotten used to have shoes on his feet

- Gotten his two top teeth (FINALLY....they took FOREVER)
- Packed up all the 12 month clothes and even some of the 18 month clothes

- Got a haircut

- Has learned how to "dance" to music. (Videos to come)
-Been invited to his friend Clare's 1st birthday party!
-Climbed the stairs about 10 times a day
-Taken many rides in his first's pink

Things Ben has NOT done in the past week or two.....


Thursday, September 23, 2010


Forgot to mention.......
Mission #1 of the week while Mom was here was to find shoes.
Mission #2- haircut. See why????

Monday, September 20, 2010

Let the Artwork Begin

I'm now officially a mom. Ok...I was a mom from the moment Ben was born. Through the rite of passage of over 24 hours of pitocin induced, epidural failed labor I became a mom. Through the hazing/initiation of 9+ months of sleepless nights I became a mom. From the moment I looked at this tiny perfect human being who grabbed my finger, who knew my smell, who was at his happiest in my arms, who I realized I would sacrifice anything in this world for, I became a mom.

But now I'm really a mom. I now have my child's artwork hanging on the refrigerator. I've entered the phase of hanging awful yet wonderful pieces of "art" all around the house and displaying them like original Picassos. I still remember the hideous dog treat Christmas tree ornaments, and drawings of people who were built like ladders with purple stick hair proudly displayed in my house growing up. I remember how much pride I took in them and how much I loved it when my parents gushed about how great it was....and now I'll do the same for Ben.

Ben is too young to even realize what is going on, but it's never too early to start. Here is Ben's first "artwork."

Note: The flower stem is actually 3 of his footprints. Because of the previously mentioned "lack of arches" in his chubby feet, you can't really tell that they're footprints but look closely for the toes and you'll see them :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shoes?? Who Needs them??

Greetings and sorry for the delay in posting. We've had a busy busy last week and there just wasn't time to do everything. We had a wonderful week with my parents, who flew out from Denver last weekend and stayed with us for the weekend, then left in the middle of the week to head to Amish country, then came back again towards the end of the week and stayed until this afternoon. Our week was filled with fun- lots of good food, shopping, beautiful weather, a stroll in downtown Annapolis, the golf park (driving range and mini golf) and of course lots of playing with Benjamin. Thanks to Mom and Dad Ritsema for a wonderful week!

Mom and I had a mission this week- find shoes for Ben. I had one of those "bad parent moments" when the daycare kindly alerted me that Ben really needs shoes and is at the age now where he should be wearing them most of the time. He spends most of his time on his feet or crawling now- no more laying down in a play gym kicking around. So we needed to buy him some shoes. Normally this wouldn't be a problem- we could have gone out to any store that sells baby stuff and found tons of really cute shoes in any shape, size or color. BUT- not all children have feet like Benjamin's......

Ben has "bubble feet." From the bottom they look like normal feet.....big for his age and kind of chubby with a lack of arch, but normal. From the top, they almost look normal too. But if you look from the side, you can see our dilemma in buying shoes. He has this chub on the top of his feet....almost like they are stuffed with something soft and squishy. This chub makes it impossible to find shoes that will actually fit on his feet. Length- no problem. Width- no problem. Height- major problem. So we looked all over creation and this is what we came up with. The ONLY shoes that will fit him for now. Not extremely fashionable....but at least Ben has shoes and warm feet for the upcoming winter.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Over the weekend, we were cleaning the house and I decided to tackle the huge bins of baby clothes in the basement. I've just been throwing everything "baby" in giant Rubbermaid bins, swearing I would organize it and label it so when the next child comes around (NO THIS ISN'T AN ANNOUNCEMENT), I would know exactly where everything was and wouldn't have to spend my first few exhausted days of newborn parenting digging through bins for clothes in the "NB" size and for swaddling blankets. So I tackled the project and was met with two main realizations....
#1- Ben has more clothes in those bins than Brian and I combined have in our closets. Even with the the loss of several onesies that were cut off his body and quickly disposed of to avoid smell and poop, he still has SO MANY CLOTHES.

#2- I packed clothes in sizes NB-12 months and couldn't believe my kid is almost a year old. A year ago at this time I was sweating profusely because of the heat and extra 50 pounds of weight I was carrying around. I was sleeping on the loveseat because that is the ONLY place I could get comfortable and not have leg cramps and reflux. I was nesting like a mad woman and preparing a nursery for a baby I'd never officially met but who I already knew. When we were getting ready to leave the hospital, we almost had to take him home in diaper and blanket because the clothes we brought were wayyyy too big. Maybe it was my fear of birthing mondo-baby, but I was overly concerned that there was no way my child would fit in those TINY clothes. My mom went out and bought some premie stuff because that's all that would fit him. Now I look at those same clothes and can't believe Ben was ever that small.
Updates from our world: Child care is going really well. Ben is doing great and so are mom and dad. he's getting a lot more used to it and really likes the social interaction. Ben is a super social kid....we went to visit our friends who have a daughter who is a few weeks older than Ben and he continually was trying to engage her in play. Poor girl was probably thinking " GO AWAY! STOP POKING ME." If you want to read more about our fun morning, read her blog. We're looking forward to a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Ritsema next week!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I went to back to Grand Rapids, MI for a quick 24 hour trip. I attended a roundtable discussion on youth in the CRC...quite interesting. Anyway...Ben and Daddy held down the fort at home. I admit, I was looking forward to a night in a hotel room by myself with a full night's sleep. I was praying that Ben would be good for Brian and sleep well.

Well....I fell asleep at woke up around midnight thinking I was hearing things. I heard a baby crying and totally thought my poor brain was just conditioned to hear Ben at that time. Nope....they put me in a room next to someone with a baby who woke several times in the middle of the night. Not cool. Oh....and Ben slept 13 hours straight through for Brian without waking up. Happy for him...bummer for me.

These are pictures of Ben at his first baseball game- we went to watch the Washington Nationals game over the weekend.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Ladies Man

Ben started child care today. Brian and I spent a lot of time thinking about this and debating and we finally started looking for a place at the beginning of the summer. We found a place that we love that happened to have an opening and Ben began today. We love our babysitters....all three of them are wonderful and we feel totally comfortable leaving Ben under their care. The problem is that they are all students so their schedules change each semester and their availability goes down. So Ben was dropped off this morning at the child care center.

Of course he cried when I passed him off to someone else. He does this routinely though (church, babysitters etc) so I wasn't surprised or alarmed. I left the room and went to do some paperwork and by the time I came back and looked in the window, he was pushing a truck across the floor with squinchy face on. Ben is in a classroom with 5 other kids ranging from age 3 months to 1 year. They are all female. The guy/girl ratio is highly unbalanced. If Ben were 18 years older, he would think this equation rocked. But he's too young and has no idea that he's surrounded by females and will most likely be playing barbies and dress up unless some boys come in the classroom.

He did great. The people watching him said he did fantastic. 2 solid naps- one of them 2 hours long. I don't think he's ever slept that long for me. Didn't cry when going down for nap. Ate green beans. Amazing. We feel really good about the set up and we're thanking God for providing this center for us.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A few pictures

2 pictures from Michigan that Grandma and Grandpa Roelofs took for us!

This is what we like to call "Squinchy face" Combination of smushed and smiling face

Sitting on the hotel bed in the froggie jammies :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby in the Bano

Several years ago, we went on a family vacation with my family to Aspen. My niece, Makenna was about 8 months at the time, so only slightly younger than Ben is now. I clearly remember one day when the housekeeping staff came by to clean the rooms and we had to tell them not to clean the bathroom because she was in there sleeping. At the time I was somewhat disturbed that my precious niece was sleeping in the bathroom....the place where we go to shower, wash our hands know. But my sister defended her sleeping location saying it was in a separate room from them and was quiet and dark. I admit....I was skeptical. The housekeeping staff apparently thought it was a bit odd as well because one woman pointed at the bathroom door and said "Baby in the bano???"

Well......Ben slept in the bano and Emily was 100% right. The only place where Ben would sleep on our trip. As soon as we moved him out of our room and into the bano, he slept much better. We had a lovely trip and Ben was a trooper. In 8 nights, we were in 4 different locations. We logged countless hours in the car, he was constantly surrounded by new people and new places and he did really well all things considered. There were days when he got no naps at all and the idea of a "schedule" flew out the window somewhere in Western Pennsylvania. The first few nights of attempting to "co-room" with our child were somewhat of a failure. The first night he was in his pack and play only a few feet away from our bed and we woke up at 3:00 a.m. to "mamamama" and "dadadadada" from Ben who was standing up staring at us from over the rail. Second night, we hung a sheet between him and us so he wouldn't see us thinking maybe that would do the trick. No go. Third night, after he was awake 3 times within an hour of us entering the room, mom and dad surrendered and went downstairs to sleep on the pullout. Ben had the largest room in the house all to himself. The next night we got to a hotel in Grand Rapids and thought "why not give the bathroom a try?" Worked like a charm. Who knows....maybe at this point in time he was so tired from lack of nap and good night's rest and he would have slept anywhere but I'm convinced the bano had something to do with it. Dark, quiet, separated from mom and dad by drywall and studs, perfect. Baby in the bano. I will say that Ben not only slept better but enjoyed the acoustics. He could shriek and go "ah ah ah" really loudly and the bathroom amplified his little voice and gave it a nice echo quality that only spurred him on to louder calls. A combination between a crowing rooster when the sun goes up and a hilarious hotel wake up call.

We had a lovely time in Michigan seeing family and friends. We also got to witness the marriage of dear cousins/friends who we love. So happy for them! Thanks to everyone who helped make it an enjoyable week. Thanks to Nana and Pop-Pop for their help with Ben. Thanks to all those who tolerated my AWFUL golfing skills (no skill at all). Thanks again to those who lent us stuff for the drive out and the drive back. Thanks to Ben for being a trooper. I'll post pictures later of Ben in the car....priceless.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Driving and Driving and Driving

Well we made it.....we left Maryland yesterday around 2:00 p.m. and arrived in Cadillac, Michigan a few hours ago. We spent the night in Cleveland last night to break up the was still a long drive.

Ben was a super trooper. We cheated a bit and put him in the forward facing carseat for the road trip. He slept, he ate cheerios, he played with toys, he fussed, he watched Baby Mozart. We got two tips from people before we left included the temporary loaning of a portable DVD player, the other included advice of half a benadryl. No drugs. DVD player was life saving. Baby Mozart and Elmo and Friends provided hours of entertainment for baby and parents alike. New toys gifted from a sweet boy at church also made the trip much easier. Nothing like new toys to play with!

We're looking forward to a couple of wonderful, relaxing days in Michigan. More updates to come as the week goes on. For now....we are here, enjoying the cool weather, dry air and family reunions.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

4 Years

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband, best friend, father of the coolest kid in the world. Yay for 4 years of marriage and God willing, many more to come!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Water Weekend

We had an awesome weekend. Ben loves the water and he got plenty of it!

We bought a small inflatable pool for our backyard and Ben (and Brian)enjoyed a swim on Saturday afternoon.

Then on Sunday after church we went over to our friend's house, the Dykstras, from our church. They have been so awesome to us since we moved to Maryland. This was yet another example of their kindness and friendship to us. We had a nice lunch together then went out on their boat. They live on an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay so we set off in the late afternoon on a beautiful ride. Ben loved the boat! He seemed a bit confused by the wind blowing his face and hair but he got used to it and enjoyed the surroundings. Brian and two of their sons jumped off the boat and took a swim and all was well until they got back on and we were going to head for home. Turned the luck. Turned the key again....still no luck. Dead battery. Luckily we weren't too far from home so the boys jumped back in the water, grabbed rope and tied it to them and started swimming us home. Nothing like a good workout for the day! All of a sudden Brian felt a stinging sensation and thought he was swimming through seaweed. Next thing we know we hear the communal cry of "JELLYFISH" and all three boys make a mad dash for the boat. Unfortunately, they forgot they were still tied to the front of the boat so there was some scrambling to set them free and get them on board safely. No permanent damage done....a few red marks and a towing to shore and all was well (hoping we can say the same for the battery???)

It was a wonderful water-filled weekend! Ben was exhausted....loved it all.....but was exhausted.

Friday, August 6, 2010


It really is too bad he's about to exceed the weight limit on this thing. It has provided hours of fun and laughs as you can tell :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Ben has quotas- once they're filled....they're filled. He's like a gas tank with the warnings...once your tank is full, don't try to top off or you might overflow. Maybe every baby is like this. Maybe mine is just special. But Ben's life has quotas.

Sleep quota- Ben must have some kind of internal clock that gauges exactly how much sleep he needs per day. When he has had that amount of sleep....he's done. No more. So now that he's sleeping more or less through the night and getting more in the p.m., bye bye naps. For the last couple of days, it's literally been bye bye naps. Maybe 15 minutes here or there but not a good hour or two hour long nap yet this week. Nice to sleep at night, not nice to have a cranky, sleepless child during the day.

Food quota- Mid-chew, Ben decided his food quota for the day was done and promptly spit out the mouthful of tomato puff and yogurt yesterday. Done. No more food. Tank is full. Quota met.

Carseat quota- Ben has decided he hates his carseat. No kid probably really likes riding in the car, but Ben has decided no more carseat. He does fine for about 15 minutes then BAM- meltdown mode. This will make our 12 hour car ride to Michigan in a week really interesting.

Cruising Quota- Ben has thinned out...but he's still a bit chubby. He can only support his own weight on his arms and legs for so long before he just collapses like a little beached whale. Then he'll rally and out he goes again. I can actually see his arms and legs (crawling) or just legs (standing/cruising) start to shake.....BAM. Down he goes. Lay there. Breathe. Inhale. And out we go again.

Anyway- there's an update on development from our neck of the woods. Fascinating and busy time of life for us!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Calm After the Storm

Well the week of total chaos has come to a close and life is returning to normal- normal is still busy but nothing like last week. The SERVE project went well in many ways- no serious injuries, everyone made it home in one piece, we maintained power after a huge thunderstorm that took power from everywhere around us, the teens and leaders seemed to enjoy it and get something out of it. All in all I'd say success. Wow was it exhausting. Even with Ben's new found ability to sleep more or less through the night it was totally draining. Thanks to Brian's mom who came for the week and was a huge help.

Ben has proved that he is able to sleep through the night. I'd say he's about 3 for 7....slept almost straight through 3 nights of the last 7. 3 of those he woke up maybe once or twice, 1 of those was a marathon night for mommy and baby alike. When he does sleep longer stretches, I'm finally starting to adjust to it and unfortunately get used to it :) I'm not waking up every few hours thinking I should go in and check on him.

We aren't sure why there was such a sudden switch in Ben's sleeping patterns......I'm not going to question it, not going to wonder....just be THANKFUL! A few theories....

- ACTIVITY. For those of you who have parented a 9 month old, or babysat a 9 month old, you'll know the feeling of sounding like a broken record "," the ache in the back from picking up 20 + pound children and holding their hands in the air while they "walk." Ben does not sit still. Not for a second. He is on the go. Go Go Go Go. He's probably exhausted at the end of the day from all the movement.

- Solid foods. Brian's mom did a wonderful job getting Ben to eat all kinds of new foods. He ate everything from potatoes, to fruit, to glorified expensive Gerber tomato puffs that look like cheetos. Something he really liked strangely enough...pesto. I gave him some pasta with pesto on it and he actually liked it. The kid who wouldn't eat any baby food likes pesto. Go figure. Refined taste buds. Maybe the solids are filling him up more so he can go longer at night?

- Answered prayer? On Sunday our pastor was talking about praying for dumb things. I don't think this qualifies. I have prayed many times that Ben would sleep more at night. For his sake- he needs rest. For our sake- we need rest. Him not sleeping was definitely a lesson in patience and waiting on the Lord.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Night #2

I went to bed last night preparing for the worst....figuring I got lucky the night before but would probably up at least 5 times with a crying Ben.

Went to bed....woke up around 12:30- no crying

Woke up around 2- no crying

Woke up at 5- a few little "mews" coming from the crib.

Slept straight through 7:30-5 a.m. then went back to sleep until 6:30!!!!!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GET READY FOR THIS.............






Not sure if he was exhausted, if he was being nice to his parents who were exhausted or if he just decided it's time to try something new.....but he did it!!!!

All smiles in our house today :)

Monday, July 26, 2010


HI all
Sorry for blog silence over the past few days. I'm sorry to say it will probably remain that way for the rest of the week. If you're curious what we're up to (at least what Katie is up to), check out Right now our church and our sister church are hosting 80+ teens and leaders from across the US and Canada for a SERVE project through Youth Unlimited. To say that it's been a busy week so far is a gigantic understatement. Thanks to Brian who has taken over Ben and house duty. We unfortunately had our AC die over the weekend and we've had record heat....major bummer for all, especially Brian and poor Ben who is always sweaty and has developed a heat rash on the back of his head.

Ben is all over the place.....getting into everything, moving everywhere, never staying still. Brian and I are amazed to watch him because it seems like so much has changed in such a short period of time. 9 month appointment on Friday showed him in the 97+ percentile for height (30 inches)but his weight has evened out to about 70%. (22.6) Our doc predicted tall and skinny :)

More updates from our household later when this crazy week is done. Check out the other site if you're interested in following what's going on!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Not gonna around here has been rough lately so not much to write about today. Rough for many reasons but just rough. Stressful working on childcare issues, physically sick from exhaustion, financial woes, to do list is long enough to keep me busy until 2014 (and still growing)....just rough. But............I know we have lots to be thankful and grateful for. Some pictures to brighten my day

Friday, July 16, 2010


If you all rack your brains, I'm sure you can think of several moments in your life that are too embarrassing to summon out of the compartment in the back of your brain where you've attempted to stuff it away out of memory. I have many of many that the compartment will allow no more until it's emptied. So, here are a few that will hopefully make you laugh and lighten my load- being tricked into eating dog treats (thanks Em and Dave), wearing my basketball shorts backwards in a game and having the ref stop the game to have me change. Backing into my Bible teacher's car in the school parking lot in front of him and half the school...convinced the "CRUNCH" sound was a paper cup or water bottle being run over??? The one I wish to purge/share today- picture this: Sheridan High School 2001.....track meet. Gun goes off, I take off out of the blocks charging towards the finish line. Hurdle 1- cleared. Hurdle 2- cleared. Hurdle 3- BAM...TUMBLE.....SMASH......BLOOD. For those of you who are familiar with that school, you'll remember what that track was like and not be surprised that I still have scars on my legs from that tumble. Anyway- that was my first and last attempt at hurdles.

That being said- I get another shot at my own house. My once beautiful house with perfect coffee table and hardwood floors now consists of rugs covered with random toys, open spaces and GATES. The other day I was in the kitchen and Ben was in the living room playing with toys. I was getting a glass of water when all of a sudden, I see Ben rounding the corner and CRAWLING full speed into the kitchen. The light went on and he figured out the moving forward thing. I've heard rumors that bigger kids don't crawl so I was convinced that he wouldn't but all of a sudden the light went on and we have a mover. Baby on the go. So last night we went out and bought a massive gating system for our house that is now taking up part of the dining room and most of the living room. We have to step over them to leave the main room, step over them to go upstairs....constantly step over them. Poor Brina is baffled by her new restrictions.

The gates are necessary....take that back- they are mandatory. The "T" in "TULIP" is clearly evident in my beautiful baby boy. He doesn't go after the multitude of toys within arms reach. He goes straight for the DVD player, the outlets, computers, Brina. My new broken record phrase of choice is "No, Ben, No!!" Ben laughs. He literally thinks it's a joke and laughs at me when I say "No." Hmmm....

Anyway, pictures and video to come of our new home set up and our mobile man. Hoping these gates are nicer to me than hurdles....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oxo Baby

A quick fyi.....if you register at Bed, Bath and Beyond when you get married and they ask "Do you want to just register for the entire Oxo wall instead of going through and scanning each individual spatula and can opener separately?" The answer is yes. For the past 4 years I have had our "oxo drawer" which is jam packed full of random kitchen tools- some of which I've never used. they have a use. I read somewhere that the average American family spends $11,000 on their first child in the first year of life (not including hospital bills). If one thinks about it....that's just about right when you think of all the gear, diapers, food, etc.'s one way to cut down on that 11G.....bust out the oxo drawer and tupperware. Have no fear, I am not letting Ben play with EVERYTHING- took out the zesters, bottle openers, etc and am sticking with spoons, spatulas, and his favorite...turkey basters.

Oh...for all the CRC readers out there- make sure to check out page 63 of your July Banner. Ben's first appearance in the Christian Reformed Church :)

Friday, July 9, 2010


There is nothing that can prepare you for being a parent. can read books, read articles online, babysit all you want, but nothing can prepare you. It's kind of like in my childbirth class when they made me clench my fist around a baggie full of ice cubes to simulate labor pain and practice breathing through "the pain." The baggie is similar to parenting books......only a faint glimpse of what is to come. When Eve was cursed with the pain of childbearing, it definitely was a doom greater than having a numb hand.

I was talking with friends today about parenting....answering many questions about everything from what kind of diaper pail we use, to epidurals, to co-bedding vs. crib bedding, to how to tend to the umbilical cord before it falls off. I realized while talking with them that before Ben actually came on the scene, I had little to no idea about newborn and infant care. But somehow, when he came out.....WaLa!! Maternal instinct kicks in and somehow you just know. Of course that doesn't mean that there weren't/aren't plenty of moments where I'm thinking "WHAT THE HECK??" Overall though....somehow all of a sudden you just know what to do when it's your kid.

I'm sure there will be times when Ben will look back and say "WHAT THE HECK???" and wonder what on earth his parents were thinking or doing. He'll wonder how he survived infancy and worse he'll survive the teenage years with such crazy parents. For example......took Ben to get his passport photo. Poor kid....will have this photo stuck with him until he's 10 :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bring On the Heat

Bring on the heat.....oh wait.....Maryland brought it already. This is a year of records and I'm not sure I like being a part of it. We had record snowfall this winter and now record heat this summer. For what seemed like months we drove by the snow dunes on the sides of the roads and especially in the overflow parking lots of BWI airport. We live minutes from the airport and every morning I would drive by the mountains of snow that they moved off the runways and into overflow parking. Record setting. Now.....we get the heat. Yesterday we hit 105 with a heat index of close to 110. I had the central air running our house all day as well as window units upstairs and fans and our house never got cooler than 82 degrees. Granted we are part of a program with our provider that they control our air during peak hours (and yesterday was the definition of "peak"). Also our insulation is probably as effective as an umbrella made of gauze...but still.....82 in our house was as good as it got. Poor dog literally moved from vent to vent in search of the cool air.

But- we may have found the secret to Ben's sleeping success.....HEAT. He napped harder and longer than ever yesterday and I'll attribute it to heat. Hot temps make everyone feel groggy and miserable and I think poor Benj was included in that. So it's a catch I enjoy getting more work done during the day while Ben naps, even if it means I'm constantly damp and gross or do I prefer shorter naps but being hydrated and cool?

Heat not only makes people gross, it makes other things gross as well. Take for instance my diaper bag today. I was driving Ben to drop him off at the babysitter's house and was heading into work. It's about a 25-30 minute drive and what I didn't realize was that the nice, fresh 8 oz bottle I had just pumped had flipped upside down in my diaper bag and the contents were covering everything....clothes, diapers, toys. I've smelled my fair share of sour milk.....the milk that Ben spits up, the milk that has been sitting out too long on the counter because I haven't washed bottles lately, the milk on the blankets and burp cloths. Gross. Absolutely gross. So....the thought of my diaper bag in the 100+ heat filled with breastmilk was enough to make me gag on the spot. I could practically see the bag and the contents inside growing....growing all sorts of disgusting things that only bleach or fire could dispose of. I got to the house and went inside and made an attempt to clean it as best as I could. Thank goodness for AC.

Here's to hoping for cooler days to come.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Leave it to Darth Vader

Two recent developmental changes in Benjo lately....both led to interesting crib experiences.

First- Ben is teething so he feels the need to chew on, the carpet, my arm and now...his crib. He also has learned to pull himself to a standing position (doesn't always get all the way up but can definitely get on his knees). He's learned that the crib slats are perfect for doing pull ups and pulls himself up to the rail of the crib. A combination of those two things has led to Ben doing what Brian calls "Beavering." Our little beaver/termite/teething 8 month old happily chews on his crib if we don't come to him quickly after he wakes up or if he's awake when we put him in. We bought one of those convertible cribs that turns into a daybed then eventually into a double bed. Too bad it'll be gnawed away and we won't ever want guests to sleep in it because they'll wonder why our furniture looks like driftwood.

Second- Unlike the tiny mewing thing we brought home the hospital, we now have Benjamin the intrepid chunker. He is fascinated by EVERYTHING and wants to explore using his new-found mobility (he still can't crawl forwards...only scooting around backwards). He still manages to get around and is into everything he isn't supposed to get. We have all manner of toys spread around our house yet the only things he truly wants to play with are the things he shouldn't be getting into....remotes, cell phones, power cords and most recently.....the monitor. Ben was down for a nap the other day and I was downstairs working when I heard a new noise coming from the monitor upstairs. I've gotten used to his cooing and shrieking. I've gotten used to hearing the WHAP when he brings his legs up (probably to suck on his toes) then forcefully slams them into the mattress. I've gotten used to the ripping of velcro as Ben pulls the breathable bumpers off his crib. This sound was new. It sounded like Darth Vader....loud, hollow breathing- like a hospital respirator or an oxygen tank that scuba divers might use. Alarmed, I ran upstairs just in time to see Ben breathing into/chewing the monitor base. Brian taped it to the crib so it wouldn't fall when we moved Ben into his own room many months ago. Ben had found a way up to the monitor and ripped it down and was happily "Darth Vadering."

Never a dull moment in our house....