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!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Few Pictures From Denver

Cousin time!

Family Photo!

Family Dinner at the White Fence Farm

Levi, Makenna, Benjamin and Grandma playing piano

Friday, June 25, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

My facebook status on Wednesday afternoon read, "Katie apologizes in advance to whoever is sitting in row 19C on the direct flight from Baltimore to Denver tonight." In my head I was apologizing to whoever that person might be but also to the whole section of the plane where we would be sitting that evening on our way out West.

It's been a whirlwind last few days. It was a busy week for both Brian and I trying to get our work done before leaving and I feel like we barely got everything done, got ourselves packed and on the plane in time to get here and crash. As of Tuesday evening, we had yet to really pack and both had a full day of work ahead of us on Wednesday before the 6:30 p.m. flight. Our neighbor friends had awesome tickets to an Orioles game on Tuesday and we thoroughly enjoyed sitting 4 rows up behind 1st base in Camden Yards but got home close to 11:00 p.m, showered off the nasty hot humid grossness of sitting in a park with thousands of other people for hours in 90+ degree temps, then did our preliminary packing. We worked, got the rest of the way packed, thanks to a friend got a ride to the airport and started our adventure.

I love travel. Planes have never bothered me- probably because I took my first international flight across the pond when I was 4 months old. Customs and immigration forms don't phase me. I love going places I've never been and attempting to navigate the new terrain. Travel is a is fun.....except when you have children.

We're cheap and didn't feel like paying United Airlines an extra half of our paycheck to check several suitcases (ok it's not that much....but it's still a rip off). So we only checked one bag, both had a full sized carry on, the stroller, a backpack, a purse and a 22 pound baby. There was a guy in front of us in the security line who said "You guys should go in front of me...I have a lot of stuff and it's going to take me a while..." I think we probably both looked at him like "HELLLLOOOOOO!!! Our entourage here is going to take a heck of a lot longer than you." We got all our bags, strollers, etc on the belt, got our shoes off, passed security, got repacked then headed to the gate.

We were THOSE people. The people I used to look at and think "Wow....why even bother traveling when you have kids...too stressful." Also those people who I hoed would keep moving to the back of the plane and not end up sitting anywhere near me. Luckily, Ben is so stinking cute that everyone looking at him smiled and laughed at his gigantic grin caused by his new surroundings. The man sitting next to us was great. Thank you 19C- whoever you were. He was great. Played with Ben. Made Ben laugh. Politely turned and looked out the window when it came time to nurse.

We left Baltimore around 7:00 p.m. in hopes that Ben would realize that was bedtime and fall asleep and sleep for the entire flight. Ha. Hilarious. Little creature was way too enthralled by the people, noises, lighted signs and posted placards to sleep. Luckily, he didn't fuss and barely even cried until he was just so tired that there was no other option. It's a 3.5 hour flight...Ben fell asleep finally with about half an hour left before landing. So he not only missed east-coast bedtime by 3 hours, he missed mountain time bedtime by an hour. He finally fell asleep after quite a bit of standing and rocking in the back of the plane. Woke up right when we landed and was awake in the airport and the entire car ride back to my parents house. He finally went down for the night around 10:30 p.m......mountain time.

All in all he was a trooper. His parents were exhausted and spent most of the day yesterday relaxing and watching World Cup. We are in Denver, headed up to the mountains this weekend for my cousin's wedding and having a great time with the family. Pictures to come!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

When I was growing up, my mom always provided wonderful, colorful meals- colorful meaning plenty of fruits and veggies. The more color and the darker the color....the better it is for you. A plate consisting of all white/cream/etc either means not enough nutrient or too much cauliflower. With our CSA, we have had no excuse for partaking in a nutrient lacking meal. Another delicious omelet for breakfast, salad for lunch and a homemade arugula, walnut, ricotta pesto for dinner. This to a great start with homemade raspberry scones with fresh picked raspberries from the patch in our backyard. The Roelofs family is "going green" in more ways than one- literally eating a lot of green food.

Correction....the Roelofs family minus the youngest member. The other day Ben was mouwing down banana out of the feeding sack. I figured he had enough banana for the day for fear of digestive disaster further down the road but he still seemed like he wanted something to eat. I was eating a bowl of peas and thought it would be worth a shot to put some peas in the feeding bag and give that a whirl. We've tried baby food peas and that definitely was met with gags, but maybe fresh, whole peas would be different. He enthusiastically took a chomp.......
Looks like Mommy and Daddy will be eating all the greens this year. Back to bananas and yogurt for Benjamin.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


New developments in Benj's world! Another lesson in parenting....enjoy every stage because it will pass soooo quickly. I feel like he is growing up before my very eyes every single day. I look at him and can't believe he's the same person as the tiny mewing thing we took home from the hospital 7.5 months ago.

I took him to church the other day and prayed he would behave and let me get a few hours of work done. The janitor at church hadn't seen him in quite a while and was amazed at how much he had grown. He saw him and said "What a jolly little fella!!" Jolly- that is a good word to describe him. When I hear "jolly" I think- happy. Ben is definitely that. He has developed this new high-pitched noise that almost sounds operatic. He "sings" while jumping in the jumper, sitting on the floor and yes...will occasionally take breaks from nursing to whistle a happy tune. "Jolly" also immediately brings to mind a nice plump, round person. 22 pound Ben is definitely that :) I'm starting to think that people will look at us and think I'm one of the mothers that decides to breastfeed their 9 year old because by the time I wean him, he'll be the same size....ok maybe not but you get the point.

Here is a classic picture of Ben that shows off his newest and most exciting skill. This is the pose I find him in now the majority of the time....on the rug in the family room and even in his crib upstairs when he's supposed to be napping and sleeping. His sleeping has definitely been further hindered by his new found ability to move around....who wants to lay down and sleep when you can be up on all fours scooting around backwards? (Yes....he can go backwards but hasn't figured out the forwards thing yet so he is permanently in reverse)
Our weekly CSA share arrived on Tuesday and we've been having a lot of fun experimenting with new recipes and vegetables that we normally don't eat and maybe even have never tried. We made a yummy stirfry with mizuna, delicious omelets with garlic scapes, arugula, feta and spinach, and Brian had fun figuring out what to do with and orange beet. Of course Ben has no desire to participate in our weekly yield...he's happy to eat bananas and occasionally baby yogurt.
Naptime is over...I just heard the tell tale "thump" coming from the crib upstairs followed by the sound of velcro. We have breathable bumper pads in his crib because for a while he would stick his arms and legs through the slats and then scream like he was mortally wounded until we went in and freed him. We put the breathable bumpers up and they connect by velcro. Little man has discovered that velcro is fun and makes lots of noise when you pull it apart. It totally terrified one of poor babysitters who heard the noise coming through the monitor and thought someone had broken into our house and was upstairs doing something to Ben. "Thump thump thump....KRRRRRRRRRR" The sounds of my house this morning :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mary's Hands

The actual date of this post was May 26, 2010 but it's getting posted today- to share a bit with you about the life and legacy of a dear friend who has gone on to be with her Maker. I wrote this earlier as a diary and more of a way to collect my own thoughts- possibly something I'd share with Benjamin someday...but today I will share with you.

- I went to see Mary tonight on my way home from work. On the drive there I was thinking about my last two visits with her. She and Dave came over to our house and politely ate my ugly blueish tinted blueberry scones and didn't cringe like I know they probably were doing on the inside. We sat in my family room on the couches and Mary would not let Ben out of her arms. She held him, rocked him, sang to him and even changed a diaper :) The second visit was less than a month later, after she had been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She watched Ben play on her family room floor but didn't hold him because she feared she didn't have enough strength. After another month and a half passed, what would she be like today? How much more of my dear friend could this awful disease take away?
What I saw tonight was a paradox.....proof of the awful sin that has so quickly destroyed our world but also proof of grace. Grace- to see a husband so tenderly caring for and loving his wife even to the very end. Grace- to see a daughter who dropped everything to be with her parents and do whatever they needed. Grace- to see their family surrounded by so many people who came to visit from all across the country. Sin- to see a shell of the person who used to be so vibrant and full of life. Sin- to see one who used to still run daily, and be so busy always helping others, now confined to a bed, in pain and unable to move or communicate. That was not Mary....and that is not how I'm going to choose to remember her.
While I was sitting with her I looked down at her hands. While most of her body no longer looked like her, I could easily and immediately recognize her hands. Not that she had extremely recognizable hands....but her hands still looked like her hands. These were hands that successfully raised two children, held and nurtured 3 grandchildren, lovingly partnered with her husband, Dave to do good work for God's kingdom. More familiar to me, these hands were the hands that held a choir folder in the alto section, hands that always were willing to prepare food for potlucks and other church functions, hands that worked to throw my baby shower for Benjamin, hands that played piano in church even though she always was nervous and dreaded doing it, hands that helped kids with crafts at church, hands that served as a youth group leader, children's worship attendant, nursery helper, hands that immediately welcomed every visitor (including us) and made them feel like they had a home in our church and in her life.
These are hands and a heart that I will miss terribly when they are gone. These are hands that I wish Benjamin would be familiar with when he grows up. But tonight, when I left their house, I found myself not wishing for Mary to remain on this earth in the state she was in, but rather anticipating God's promises to her that I know lay in store for her in heaven. If ever a woman to be on the road to's Mary. So my prayer tonight for my dear friend was this...

Precious Lord, take her hand- lead her on, help her stand.
She is tired, she is weak, she is worn.
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead her on to the light,
Precious Lord, take her hand, lead her home.

The Lord took Mary home to be with him last night.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Ben, Brina and I are holding down the fort this weekend. We dropped Brian off at the airport yesterday morning and he arrived safely in Grand Rapids, MI a few hours later. His cousin got married last night and he was able to be there to celebrate with them! Since we were gone for Memorial Day, we're going to Denver in 2 weeks and then going to Michigan in August, we figured it would be best for the rest of us to stay behind in Maryland. So we're holding down the fort. I've discovered it's a lot easier to do the single parenting thing if you keep busy and don't stay in the house all day. The hours go by a lot faster and it's a lot more enjoyable to be out and about doing we're using this time to do lots of fun things!

Yesterday we took off in the morning to visit friends from church. They live about an hour away (without traffic) so I timed it so that Ben would take his morning nap in the car. He fell asleep about 10 minutes into the drive and woke up when we were less than a mile from our destination....perfect. The ride home....not so much. There was definite screaming involved but we survived. Then we embarked on a new adventure....something Ben has never done before but will definitely be doing more of in the future----swimming. Ben loves the bath (yes he's even grown to love his duck tub) so I hoped he would enjoy the pool. I went with my friend who has a 4 month old son. Before I had Ben, I would have have looked at two women walking with their babies and their multiple bags in tow and thought they were absolutely crazy. Oh wait...I still look at what we did and think we were slightly nutty but
between the two of us we managed to get changed, get both kids changed and in the water successfully. With two kids their age, we were hoping for 5 minutes in the pool before one child melted down. To our great surprise, both kids loved the water and we had a very nice time sitting in the shallow water with our splashing babies. Glad to know that Ben loves water! I might actually have to invest in swim gear that fits him this summer!
Off to a nice start this morning with a long walk with my friend whose dog, Finn is Brin's best

Brian returns this evening and we'll all be very glad to have him home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


A few quick updates from our world today.....

- It was another 5:00 a.m. morning. We got up and Ben was super cranky and kept rubbing his eyes so I knew he hadn't gotten enough sleep. I kept trying to put him back down and he didn't want to have anything to do with it. At one point in time I had my eyes closed, had him up on my shoulder and was rocking him going "shhhhh". Even with my eyes closed I knew that his little chubby face was less than an inch away from mine and he was staring right at me...smiling. I opened my eyes just a little bit and sure enough- big grins for mommy. He was saying "Mommy...why are your eyes closed? Mommy...playtime." I kept my eyes closed and kept shhhhing for a minute or two but it was hard to not smile back knowing that he was persistently staring at me. Then his little mouth closed in on my nose and he started sucking away. Couldn't help it...burst out laughing. Pulled him off my face and we went downstairs to play for a while. Then I finally got him to sleep and went back to bed myself. No sooner did I get in bed than I hear Brina the dog start whining at us to get out of bed, let her outside and play. Can't win the sleeping battle.

- My deepest apologies to our awesome babysitter for the brown poop stain on her sweatshirt :( Poor friend....took Ben out for a while this afternoon and when she got back, Ben was in a different outfit and there was an unfortunate stain on her sweatshirt.

- Made some awesome food with our loads of lettuce from the CSA. I used the garlic scapes and spinach to make a fritatta and used the chard to make something similar to grape leaves except with chard. Yum yum....this CSA is going to be fun.

- Nothing like killing two birds with one stone. I went for a run and was about 2 miles away from home when it started POURING. I was so wet I could have gotten away without my post-run shower.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Check Please

Today was one of those of those days similar to the experience of eating in a restaurant where you ordered something that looked and sounded fantastic and when it finally arrived it either tasted like feet or had a hair in it. Today was kind of one of those days where I wish I was Phil Connors in Groundhog Day and got another chance at today tomorrow. I know many people will read this and think it's silly....tons of people had days way worse than mine. And mine wasn't necessarily bad....just disappointing in a way.

I was quite excited for my day off today. Every other day this week is a work day including the weekend coming up so I was excited for a day away from work at home with Benj. My day started when my little human alarm clock began blowing raspberries in his crib at 5:00 a.m. His latest sleeping pattern....only up twice at night which is awesome. That's far better than normal. But now he's chosen 5:00 as the optimal time to begin each day. 5 isn't an awful hour to wake up if you're headed to work, but when you're home with baby, starting the day at 5:00 a.m. means it will be a "2 breakfast" kind of day....stumble to the coffee pot and eat some cereal to make it through until the first nap then promptly nap when he does then start the day all over again normally at the time you originally were hoping to wake up. Silver lining....we had "family nap" in the bed together this morning. That was nice.

We went on a lovely walk with a friend in the morning since the weather was perfect. Endorphins were was happily panting, Ben held up great until the very end. Picked him up out of the jogger.....code brown. Adios outfit....Hola to the stain on my jogger. Silver oxy clean.

We had lots of errands to run today as well. We were going to meet up with another friend for errands and started at Barnes and Noble hoping to grab a drink and hang out while the boys slept. Neither boy slept, no drinks were had and we both knew our children well enough to part ways quickly and get our stuff done before meltdown baby decided to make his appearance. Silver lining....we're planning to hang out this weekend.

Ben and I took off for Babies R'Us. I have had problems with this particular store in the past and didn't really want to go there but I checked online for the thing I was looking for and this was the only store that had it in stock so we reluctantly took off. Imagine if gas stations didn't have gas or if restaurants were out of food....that's about the equivalent of Babies R'Us not having diapers. One would think it ludacris...agreed. Ludacris. No size 4 diapers. Strike 1. Then we went to look for more mesh bags to go with Ben's teething feeder thing. Bananas and yogurt....the only things I can get in him other than breastmilk. The sales associate says "yup those bags will fit into the teether you have...they aren't the same brand but they're the only bags we sell and we only sell one kind of teether so you should be good to go. Strike 2. Got home....definitely didn't fit. Got home....looked at receipt and they used my 20% off coupon on the box of baby Q-tips I bought which saved me about .25 cents. Strike 3. So as of tomorrow Ben might not have diapers to wear, he won't be able to eat any solid food at all, but (silver lining) at least he can clean his ears.

Flummoxed...we left for the Asian market. For those who don't know, I am about as Asian as the wok in my kitchen....I bought it at Ikea. Yes looks are deceiving but don't be fooled- I speak more Dutch than Korean, have Dutch windmill towels in my kitchen and here's a secret...I eat very poorly with chopsticks. I have inherited a love for rice and buy it in bulk at the Asian supermarket. I was checking out and the woman who was checking me out started speaking to me in Korean. I politely shook my head and said I don't speak Korean. For some reason she didn't quite get it and continue to speak to me in Korean and then got frustrated with me for not understanding her. I felt bad. Silver lining- Ben was fascinated and enjoyed the market.

We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) this summer. We paid money upfront and will get veggies from a local organic farm for the next 26 weeks. Today was our first week of produce and I was soooo excited for Brian to come home with all the veggies. I was picturing delicious stirfry and experimenting with fun, new recipes. Let's put it this way....we have 4 kinds of lettuce taking up space in the fridge right now. Silver lining.....weight loss program 2010 in the Roelofs' house has just gotten a lot easier.

So anyway...that was our day today. I guess I was just anticipating something that in reality just didn't quite make it. I shouldn't complain because it really wasn't a bad day....just not all I hoped it would be. Ben was happy and seemed to enjoy being out and about and having mommy home and with him all day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ben's "Do"

Time for a silly post....I was looking at Ben this morning and was thinking the same thoughts I think every single day "I can't believe how much he's changed." But this morning I wasn't thinking about the fact that he's eating grown up food (kind of), or tripled his birth weight, or about the fact that his head no longer flops as though it's going to roll of his neck. This morning...I was thinking about Ben's "do." See the following examples.....

Ben's "5 minute old" hairstyle. Note that what appears to be too much product in the hair is actually amniotic fluid....gross.

Again, not too much product....this time it's vegetable oil. Pediatrician said to douse his head with oil (almost Biblical) then scrub at it to get the cradle cap off. He wasn't pleased....

The king of all bald spots including the "little man rat tail" more bald spot and a full head of hair.

Daddy says...."next step....mohawk"

Friday, June 4, 2010

Travel Baby

Hi all- sorry for the week of blogging silence. We were gone on vacation over Memorial Day weekend and when we got back my computer died. I use my work laptop for just about everything and have about 4 years of work stuff, pictures, music, etc on it. We got back from our nice relaxing vacation and the hard disk decided it had had enough of me and quit. So.....without a working computer and without pictures/videos etc, it has been a blog-less week.

To update on the last week....we took off on Thursday night for upstate New York to visit Brian's parents. They live in this awesome small town called Hamilton that somehow seems to be beautiful year round. Summer weather is and not at all humid and winter is snowy and gives the town a very winter wonderland feel. They live on the campus of Colgate University and it's always nice to go there and walk around.

Ben did great! He's in a very active stage of life right now and I know it's only going to get busier and busier but he no longer likes to be contained by anything (carseat, stroller, bumbo). So I was worried that the 6 hour car ride would be miserable. He did well all things considered! As long as someone was back there with him playing with him and changing out the toys in front of him, he did fine. We only had one small meltdown on the way and one medium sized one on the way back but definitely nothing that was more than we could handle.

The first of our summer vacations was lovely. It's always nice to see family and have family see how much Benj has grown. Thanks to Mom and Dad Roelofs for a great weekend!