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!

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....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tooth Troll?

When I was a kid, I was always looking for ways to make money. My American Girl doll needed new clothes and accessories, Clare's boutique stocked the latest and greatest plastic jewelry and hairclips, and Limited Too had all manner of girly, flowered clothing to buy. So....I raked leaves, shoveled snow, babysat. But...the least labor intensive, but possibly most painful means of collecting money came by way of the magical tooth fairy (aka Mom and Dad) who visited my room the night after I lost a tooth. I would go through the exciting ritual of putting the gross, dead hunk of enamel under my pillow and wait until morning when I woke up and the tooth would be gone and be replaced with moolah. Easiest $20 I ever made (not $20 per tooth.....20 teeth x $1.00 a tooth).

Well....Ben is being visited by the other teething creature that I'm going to call the tooth troll. I looked up the antonym for "fairy" and came up with ogre, gremlin, troll. We'll go with proper alliteration and call it the tooth troll. Unfortunately this little bugger won't bring Ben any money and isn't nearly as exciting. I noticed in Denver that Ben was grabbing his ears like crazy and continued to do it when we got home. I took him to the doctor worried about either an ear infection or possibly something wrong due to pressure changes on the airplane. No infection....just teeth. There's a nerve that runs along the gumline up to the ear so it's common for kids to pull at their ears when they're getting their bottom teeth. No actual teeth coming through, but lots of ear pulling and LOTS of cranky baby.

Luckily, trolls can be staved off. They still manage to rear their ugly heads but they are restrained with the help of baby Motrin, Oragel, and Sassy Teething Feeders filled with frozen foods and ice cubes.

On a side note....another thing that should be banned for parents of young children (besides daylight savings/timechanges).......FIREWORKS. Light sleepers + the 4th of July = COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Post-Vacation Blues

Coming back from vacation is always a drag. There's that initial "oh it's nice to be home again" then BAM.....blues. When on vacation, one tends to forget that work is piling up and isn't going to get any easier while you are gone, the house isn't getting any cleaner, life isn't always as exciting as it is with lots of other people around. I'd say it's a fair statement that everyone in our house has post-vacation blues except for the dog who is happy to have us home again.

The bluest in the house is actually Ben. Even though it was exhausting to travel and go from place to place, I think he was energized and enjoyed having so many other people around. Yesterday he was bored out of his mind with just mommy around for entertainment. He's acting up (as much as an 8 month old can act up) and is just generally displeased with the ho hum of everyday life. He misses having 3.5 year old Makenna and 16 month old Levi playing with him (no....the solution is not that Ben needs siblings right now). He keeps trying to engage Brina, but she lazily stares at him and refuses to participate.

Here's to hoping for a weekend that gets us all back to reality. In the meantime....more pictures from vacation!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

In the Zone

Greetings from flat, humid Maryland. We took off yesterday morning, flying over the beautiful Rocky Mountains then landed with a quite beautiful view of the Chesapeake Bay as we circled the airport. Fun to see God's creation in two totally different ways.

Colorado was awesome. We spent the first few days down in Denver spending lots of time with Grandma and Grandpa Ritsema, visiting Great-Grandma Miedema and Great-Grandma and Grandpa Ritsema, playing with the Duntsch Bunch (cousins Makenna and Levi and Uncle Matt and Aunt Emily), and spending a wonderful afternoon with long time friends. It's always hard to find enough time to see everyone while we are there so we use every spare minute to socialize.

My cousin, Rachel got married in Estes Park so we took a sojourn up to the mountains for the weekend and stayed a few days before coming back down to the city. Our family has a house up in Grand Lake so we always go there whenever we head for the hills but Estes Park was beautiful! We haven't been there in so long and I forgot how amazing it is. The wedding was outdoors and perfect...they'll have incredible pictures!

Then we did the whole airport thing again yesterday and flew home. Ben really was a trooper for the whole trip. He was lugged around all over from place to place and really did quite well. Even the airplane trip yesterday was relatively smooth. The man we were sitting next to has a 6,4,2 and 10 month old at home so he said his ears were immune to any fussing Ben might have done. It also helped that there were two young kids sitting directly behind us, a crying baby two rows up and a cranky toddler to our left. Unlike the flight out to Denver, Ben wasn't the only youngin on board.

I would like to propose a motion.....that mothers of children under the age of 1 do not need to participate in either Daylight Savings or time changes across the country. Forget Eastern time, Mountain time, Pacific should all be one time for those with babies......"Scheduled time" is what we'll call it. Who cares if it's still light outside...that's what dark sheets are for. Who cares if it's dark outside already? Two words for you.....Thomas Edison. Time change sucks when you're living with a baby. Poor Ben really only slept about 45 minutes yesterday so I did nighttime routine at around 6:15ish which is earlier than normal but he was so tired. He got a bath, we read a book, he ate and promptly fell asleep. Too bad his body had adjusted to mountain time and it felt like 4:15. About an hour later I hear "meh meh meh meh" coming from the monitor and I walk in to find him sitting up in his crib ripping the animals (velcro) off his mobile. He looked at me as if to say "Nap time over!! Play time!!!" Nope's bedtime out East. Playtime in the West=bedtime in the East. Needless to took a while to get him back to sleep. We hoped that since he thought it was too early to go to bed he would sleep until normal time mountain time as well which would have meant not waking up until 8:30 or 9 this morning. Of course not...up at 6 like normal.

More pictures from Denver to come (by the way Mom and Dad....can you email me a few?? ) :)