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, March 27, 2011

I = eye

Ben and his alphabet puzzle. In the bottom video note what happens when Ben hears Grandma say "I"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Small Increments

Humbling experience. Call me me overly confident but now that I'm a part of the "mom's club" I feel fairly confident about my ability to mother. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely times where I feel completely clueless and wonder what the heck I got myself into 17 months + 41 weeks and 26 hours ago. But for the most part, I think I've got a decent handle on the mom thing. I can smell a poopy diaper from across the room even if nobody else can. I don't wake up to jackhammering in my bathroom but will wake at the tiniest peep coming from the nursery. I can successfully cook an entire meal with a 26 pound dead weight squiriming on my hip trying desperately to touch everything in sight with sticky little fingers. I have favorite board books memorized to the point where I can be doing something completely unrelated but still "read" to Ben as he turns pages. Yes.....goodnight moon, goodnight mush, goodnight to the brown bears, yellow ducks, purple cats. Of course each new stage takes some adjustment and getting used to but before long I can don my "supermom" cape and say that I've successfully accomplished the next phase of life.

Well.....I got humbled. All supermom abilities flew out the window along with my cape, and confidence. Over the weekend I got the experience of parenting a middle schooler. My good friends had a long trip to make on Sunday and their 6th grade son didn't want to spend the afternoon sitting in the car, so he came to hang out with us. He's a really cool kid, Ben loves playing with him and we were pumped to have him with us for the afternoon. I quickly realized my own lameness.....I'm way too old to be cool. My house is equipped for a toddler, not a teen. My pantry is stocked with food that no teenager would go near. My taste in movies, TV, books, and music is as foreign to him as disco/neon was to me when I was his age. I'm too old to be cool, and too young to be a "mom" so I was just sitting in a land where my parenting superpowers were naught, and I might as well have had gray hair, no teeth and been huddled under an afghan. I am a technology savvy person for the most part but still had no clue about some of the things he was talking about. The lingo has changed and my "teen talk" is sorely out of date and out of style. I'm not that far out of high school all things considered but I might as well have graduated 30 years ago.

Poor kid....probably thought Brian and I are the lamest bunch of people ever and will probably never want to step foot near our house ever again. To his parents- if you're reading apologies if you got an earful on the car ride home about why he was left in the boring capitol of the world. We had fun....I bet he did not.

It's a good thing that children grow up slowly and change comes in small increments. I have plenty of time to prepare before Ben hits middle school years. Mom and Dad need all the time they can get.

Friday, March 18, 2011

15 Minutes

Things that SHOULD last 15 minutes.....

- Long, hot shower
- 2 mile long run
- Cookies baking in the oven
- Daily phone call with family or friend
- Reading a chapter of a book
- A sermon

Things that SHOULD NOT last 15 minutes.....

- Ben's nap today

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Benjamin Button

On Tuesday night, Brian and I picked up a Redbox movie, The Curious Story of Benjamin Button, and watched it while eating dinner. For those of you who haven't seen it, the main character is a man named Benjamin Button who is born "in reverse." He is born as an old man trapped inside a newborn's body, and as time goes on he gradually gets younger and younger. He dies as a baby with dementia and other elderly ailments and literally lived his entire life in reverse.

Fitting in some ways to our own Benjamin who I feel is living a bell curve life. He had a normal life for the first year but is slowly turning the corner and heading back to being in his newborn state. For many 2-3 weeks I had a blissful existence of sleeping through the night where each morning I would wake rested instead of red-eyed and stumbling like a drunkard to the coffee pot. seems as though we're heading backwards and Brian and I probably look awful. We haven't had a good night in a few weeks....and I'm not talking about waking up once or twice or even three times. I'm talking hours at a time awake either in there with him making sure he's ok or listening to him cry.

I don't want to complain. I look at the world news, I look at our local news. I hear stories of friends who are going through painful and awful things and I know I shouldn't complain. But give me a minute here to vent and say that life for us right now is hard. Not just because of the sleeping is just hard. Add sleep deprivation on top of that and it creates my current state of "funk." I always end up feeling this way after being with family and then leaving or having them leave us. When we got back from Denver, Ben moped around and cried for no reason, throwing temper tantrums for no good reason. When Brian's parents left this past weekend, Ben wandered into our guest room where they were sleeping and kept pointing at the bed going "ooh? ooh?" We miss our family and wish we lived closer.

But....we know we are here and in our place in life for a good reason. I have a great job that for the most part is very enjoyable. Brian is at one of the top schools in his field working on a PhD that will open many doors and opportunities for him. DC/Baltimore is an exciting place to live. Plus I found out that one of my best friends who I was in school with pre-K through College is moving here for a few years. Shouldn't complain. Will stop doing it right now. Wish me luck tonight....could REALLY use some sleep.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Forward

Reasons our household is ready/excited for spring....

#1- NO MORE COLD/FLU SEASON. It seems as though we've dealt with one round after another of illness in our house and I'm so ready to throw open the windows, air out the germs and suffer from allergies rather than colds and vomiting. Poor Ben was sick again this past weekend....only a other symptoms but still not fun for him or us. Luckily Brian's parents were in town this weekend so we had extra hands to help, extra arms to cuddle. Time to be done with cold and flu season.

#2- Regular outdoor walks. My pediatrician is from the midwest, has good midwestern blood that is immune to cold and able to handle snow in vast quantities. She was of the opinion that we could take Ben out in any weather as long as he was bundled up and properly dressed. We probably could have......but we ourselves must have lost the midwest in us and our move south of the Mason Dixon has destroyed our tolerance for the cold. Ben will enjoy sitting in his jogger or his pink car much more when it is warmer and we'll enjoy taking him out again.

#3- We have an exciting spring coming up! We're looking forward to visits from both sets of parents, my siblings, 3 weddings, a trip to Denver, a trip to Michigan and much more.

Ready for spring!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This is My Story

True confession....I'm somewhat addicted to the TV show "The Gilmore Girls." I love the dialogue, the themes and especially the small town of Stars Hollow where the show takes place. I love the idea of living in a small town where everyone knows each other, everything is local and everyone participates in town events.

Maybe that is what prompted me to attend our "Linthicum/Shipley Association" meeting a few weeks ago. There has been an increase in crime as of late and many of the locals are complaining that it is due to our local light rail stop. There were police officers, transit authorities, our delegates and hundreds of neighbors who all showed up to discuss closing the light rail. Now there are signs all over my neighborhood and I'm getting about 15-20 emails a day about it. I had to chuckle at the meeting about how up and arms people were getting about the whole thing. We live in a suburb of Baltimore City.....of course there is going to be crime. But what struck me is how the "group think" mentality sets in so quickly and all of a sudden everyone is on board with something they otherwise might not have been. Everyone wants to be part of something that is greater than themselves.

People ask me (my husband included) why I waste the time training for long distance races and then waste money paying to run them. Why wake up before dawn to fit in 17 miles of running when you could be in bed sleeping or enjoying an extra cup of coffee over the morning paper? Why lose toenails, get awful chub rub and not be able to walk because of joint pain for days on end? Same reasons as the town meetings.....a desire to be part of something greater than yourself. There is very little that exhilirates me as much as running in a group of thousands of other people who are just as crazy as me, who have trained just as hard as me, are probably in as much pain as me....all trying to accomplish the same thing. There's this amazing sense of community and camaraderie (another CLOSE THE LIGHTRAIL email just popped up in my inbox) associated with running and that definitely contributes to "runners high."

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. For those who don't know what that is....Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten season. There are 40 days (7 weeks) leading up to Easter where we in the Christian church remember the death of our Lord who sacrificed his life to pay the penalty for the sins of all believers. These 40 days are spent in prayer, remembering Christ's death and anticipating his resurrection on Easter Sunday. In many ways, the meaning of Easter for me is also being part of something greater than myself. I believe that Christ's death and resurrection impact my life in such a way that I am a completely changed person beacuse of it. I think every other Christian would agree with me on that point. Easter is not about some scary large white bunny or chocolate eggs (even though I loooove them). It isn't an isolated event that happened thousands of years ago where some really good man died and people are still talking about it to this day. No- it impacts me and changes me. The Easter story is MY story. The Easter story is OUR story. Together we travel down the road of life striving towards the same goal....just like the homeowners and just like the crazy runners.

So I guess my challenge to my Christian readers.....spend this Lenten season focusing on our story. Is his sacrifice the main undercurrent for your life's story? For my non-Christian readers....join the community. Be part of something far greater than yourself. You won't regret it :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rocky Mountain High

Reasons why Ben and mommy love Colorado.....

#1- FAMILY!! Happy 60th Birthday to Dad!

#2- Beautiful weather!!

#3- Grammy and Grampy read as many books as Ben will bring them....Go Dog Go!
#4- New toys! Thanks to Makenna and Levi for sharing
#5- Lots to do at the grandparent's house!

#6- Everyone is one place! Got to see Uncle Dave (haven't seen him since last Christmas), the Duntsch family, Great Grandma Millie, Great Grandma and Grandpa Ritsema, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles!

We had a wonderful time in Denver!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Newborn Ben

I was looking through some old pictures on my parents computer (Ben and I are Denver right now) and came across this video. This was taken 3 days after Ben was born, his first full day at home. A few thoughts ran through my head....

1- OHHHHH. So little. So cute. I miss that stage of life...time to do it again.
2- Oh wait. I drank an entire pot of coffee this morning to compensate for lack of sleep for the past few nights. No more babies until this one sleeps.

3- I don't believe he was ever this small....

4- Newborns sound like baby birds. Their noises sound like helpless little chirps.