Saturday, February 28, 2009
This is the song Niels sings to Daniel each night at bedtime. Here are the lyrics, with the English translation.
Ik ga slapen, ik ben moe,
'k sluit mijn beide oogjes toe,
Heere houd ook deze nacht,
over Daniel getrouw de wacht.
I'm going to bed, I am sleepy
Close both my eyes
Lord, also this night
over Daniel faithfully watch.
Moppie (or Mopje)
| || |
Are you hungry?
Heb je honger?
Are you sleepy?
Ben je moe?
God bless you!
I love you!
Ik hou van jou!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Daniel's at a fun age where he's fascinated by mirrors. After all, there's always such a cute little guy in there! Last weekend, Niels and I went searching for a mirror for his room. We found a STEAL at a great little store by our house, The Flower Factory. The mirror we bought has an espresso and silver frame, the same elements on his crib and furniture. Best of all, we got it for $15! We love it!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Little Dan has some big shoes to fill...
However, after 10 minutes of pumping with the super-duper Medela Pump-in-Style she only got 0.5oz. Since our little boy takes almost 4oz per feeding we quickly realized that this was not good. Having plenty of feedings at home, even some free formula, and quickly running out of our supply we had some decisions to make. With Daniel being exclusively on breast milk - and being in a foreign country - we had no idea what type of formula to get. Combine that with Jen actually feeling worse than in the morning and without too much milk a very fussy boy, we decided to cut the trip short and head home. Remember the planning thing from part 3 and Daniels audible laugh about that... our little prophet!
Jen called her OB to get her a prescription for jump-starting her milk supply and after letting our own house and Bailey sitter know we'd be coming home at 3am on Sunday-morning, we left around 10pm and with a 30-minute stop at the border pulled into the drive-way at 3:05am. On the way home Jen was able to pump about 3oz total so we had some food for Daniel.
We felt pretty bad about the decision to go home early, since we haven't seen Gary since July 2008 and had to cancel two prior visits due to the pregnancy complications. We haven't seen de Vries family since our wedding, so we were really looking forward to seeing them as well. However, we had to think about the health of our family first and are now making plans to be back in Canada for Easter 2009.
Jumping ahead a week and Jen's mastitis has cleared-up, her antibiotics did their trick and with her milk-supply at 90% of the pre-mastitis level. Daniel was doing great throughout it all. He is a great traveler and doesn't mind the long drive at all. On our next trip at Easter we'll have to worry more about Jen than our little boy.
Pretty weird, eh? (some of our friend might not be too surprised though...)
We went in to get some ideas for our house, since the IKEA products are all very European-looking (...) and match-up well with our decorating taste. We saw plenty of nice looking furniture and got a number of ideas, including an iron wire to hang up school or home-made projects for once Daniel gets old enough. Although that was a cool idea, we actually found something we've never had in our marriage and single-life. A matching set of plates, dishes and cups. Yes, we had 5 TVs right after we got married, but no matching tableware...
On the way back to Oakville, only about 20 minutes, we stopped at the Oakville Mall to visit 'The Bay'. That's a true Canadian department store, albeit looking very similar to a regular Dillards or Nordstrom. While waiting for the light on the highway-exit we were talking about the planning for the rest of the trip. Right after we talked about one of the plans Daniel made his first audible laugh as he knew something we didn't. Well, his ancient namesake was a prophet and as it turns out, so is our little boy...
Jen also saw some great Crock-like 'klompen'. They had the shape of a clog, but were made from the same material as Crocks. Unfortunately they didn't have her size, but also no label so we have no idea how to get them. And silly us, we didn't take a picture of it... Maybe Joel can take a picture on his way home from work... ;-)
Friday night we hung out with Joel and Carolyn. It was a pretty low key night as I still had a fever and Carolyn was feeling the joys of being 5 months pregnant. We were surprised how prepared they are for the arrival of their little "Buzz." It helps that they have lots of siblings with kids! If their interaction with Daniel is any indication, they will be great parents. Carolyn especially had Daniel smiling and cooing like a little flirt! We tried in vain to capture the moment, but the little sneak wouldn't cooperate!
Joel & Carolyn with a tuckered out Daniel
Joel with Daniel Joel
The main purpose of the trip was to introduce Daniel Joel to his Joel namesake, and Joel's wife, Carolyn. We also made plans to visit our friends, the Lavenders, the de Vries, and Gary.
We had a bit of unexpected excitement on the way up. All week, I had been feeling run down. I thought maybe it was just the stress of trying to figure out how to pack and travel with a newborn. And Daniel was a little fussy on Thursday morning so I finally just threw a bunch of stuff in the car (my brain wasn't working well at this point) and figured if we forgot anything, they DO have stores in Canada! We met Niels at work and showed off our little guy to his colleague's before heading out. I was really looking forward to sleeping in the car because I was still not feeling well. Things went downhill quickly after we stopped for dinner. It was a windy day, but I just couldn't get warmed up after we settled in at Subway. And my appetite was gone. So I went out to the car to warm up. When Niels and Daniel joined me, I had the heat cranked to 90 degrees and my teeth were still chattering. Shortly after we got on our way, I lost my supper. (Thank God for Subway bags!) Finally, we decided to stop at the ER in Buffalo, NY. I was pretty sure I had mastitis, and sure enough, 90 minutes later we had drugs to go with my diagnosis.
We still made it to Joel & Carolyn's at a decent time and I immediately went to bed. I was warned that it may be a day before I start feeling better. We had pretty low key plans for Thursday, just the visit to the Lavenders, friends of mine from my "old life." I had stayed with them a few times when I was in Nashville for work. They had moved back to Canada when their first son was born. They now have a second son, Bram (rhymes with Sam). We had a fun time catching up and soaking up their parenting wisdom. This is one of my favorite pictures, with two happy moms and Bram studying Daniel.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
We received an early Valentine's Gift from Papa John and Grammy Pat--another beautiful quilt! With the unseasonably chilly winter, it's been so nice to use these great new blankets for our cuddles with Daniel. Thanks, Papa John and Grammy Pat!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
We finally have the last of our Christmas gifts sent. We gave the grandparents all photo frames with Daniel's birth stats. The American parents have Imperial measurements and Dutch Opa and Oma have metric. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of theirs!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Since Daniel was born 8 weeks and 2 days ago, I'd had roughly 20 pictures taken of me with my son, and I think maybe all of them were taken while I was under the influence of some heavy duty happy pills. (Not to mention that my body was in a state of utter confusion). Even now that I'm drug free, my days with Daniel don't always allow time for such luxuries as a shower or getting out of my PJs. Let's just say I haven't been ready for my close-ups.
After a very vocal day yesterday, sweet Daniel tuckered himself out today. He slept in, took a nice nap in the afternoon, AND finally rewarded me with his first smile. It's been a good day. To commemorate, I showered, put on make up, did not put my hair in a pony tail and attempted to take some pictures of us. The smile continues to be illusive, however, here are some pictures of Danny and his mommy (and yes, mom, we're playing Gin 13...make sure to show Gramma!)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
- I was born on December 9, 2008. (I just realized the alliteration with Daniel and December. I love alliteration!)
- It’s pretty unanimous that I look just like Daddy.
- I do have Mommy’s long eyelashes, though.
- And Mommy's full-body hiccups. I’m told they’re pretty funny to watch.
- I’m not smiling yet, but I’m saving up to really wow Mommy and Daddy.
- I was named Daniel after Mommy and Daddy’s good friend Dan Kennedy, who lives much too far away in China, mostly because they think Dan is an amazing family man and Christian, but also because it was while talking to Dan in China that Mommy realized she loved Daddy and wanted him to be her husband and my Daddy.
- I was named Joel after Mommy and Daddy’s good friend Joel Vriend, who also lives much too far away in Canada. But I’m pretty excited to meet him later this month.
- Mommy just realized that I wasn’t named after any Americans.
- In addition to being an American, I am also a Dutch citizen.
- Gramma Chi calls me “Danny Boy” because I’m a little Irish, too.
- Mommy and Daddy also call me DJ, Deej, Buddy, and Professor Poopy Pants.
- They made up a song for me and sometimes it’s the only thing that calms me.
- Rattles scare me. I cry every time.
- Mirrors intrigue me, but I get jealous when Mommy kisses the boy in the mirror.
- I have funky big toes.
- When I sit on the couch with Daddy, I usually fall asleep. When I sit on the couch with Mommy, I hardly ever fall asleep.
- There’s no where I’d rather be than Mommy’s lap…and sometimes Daddy’s.
- Don’t even think of putting me in the swing or bouncer when I’m upset…or awake for that matter!
- I will sleep in the car seat during a car ride. And I take my longest naps when Mommy leaves me in it when we get home.
- I love my big sister, Bailey Dog. I like to watch her.
- Bailey Dog doesn’t yet love me, but I’m growing on her. She’ll now sit in Mommy or Daddy’s lap with me. When I first came home, she would just run away.
- I rolled over for the first time when I was 5 weeks old. Mommy didn’t believe me so I did it again, two more times, once for Daddy. But I’m done with that and haven’t done it again since.
- It took me 8 weeks to regain my birth weight, but now I’m growing fast!
- I’ll wear my last pair of newborn diapers this week. Now I’m a size ONE!
- Life on the outside is pretty great!
Moose was the nickname of Jen's grampa--Daniel's great-grampa--Leo. Unfortunately, Grampa died before Daniel was born. Niels and I found this moose outfit when we returned from Alaska (also known for moose). Of course, I can't help thinking of Grampa when Daniel wears this outfit.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Dear Friends and Family,
Wow…what a year 2008 turned out to be! As most of you know, it was pretty hard year, but it ended on a very high note. It seems fitting that the verse to sum up our year is Romans 8:38--And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We’re changing things up a little with our annual letter. Instead of our traditional chronological list, which would seem a little repetitive, we’re going to list our top ten memories of 2008.
10. Finding Out We’re Pregnant! – After two miscarriages, we were thrilled and more than a little apprehensive to learn we were pregnant again. Receiving this good news at Easter gave us confidence that this new life would finally result in a little one for us to hold. We were very blessed to have an amazing OB, Dr. Brister, who would keep very close tabs on Jen for the next nine months.
9. Hosting our first Catanarama! In January, we invited our local friends over for our first annual Catanarama (yes, we’re planning to repeat in a few weeks!). We had five games set up around the house and our friend Ashley won the tournament. The night was a huge success, as we increased the Canton Catan addiction percentage a few notches.
8. Visitors! July was a busy month for us. Over the fourth, we were visited by our good friend Gary, who ventured south from the Great White North. We greatly enjoyed introducing him to our local friends. At the end of the month, Jen’s dad, sister Liz & nephew CJ made their way from Minnesota. It was fun to show off Jen’s growing tummy, and CJ declared that he would be having a boy cousin. Two weeks later, we learned he was right!
7. Local Travel. This year we explored the local scene. We lasted four innings at a freezing Cleveland Indians game in April, hiked Gorge Park in Cuyahoga Falls, explored Hocking Hills during a spontaneous day trip, celebrated Koninginnedag (Queens Day) with other Dutchies, commemorated our first anniversary with a special evening out in Cleveland. We also made two trips to Grand Rapids over Memorial Day and Labor Day. It turns out that the latter would be the end of our travels for the year as Jen was put on bedrest shortly after we returned home. Of course, our most common travel destination over 2008 was to the OB clinic and Labor & Delivery!
6. Giving up the condo. After two years on the market and many price drops, we made the difficult decision to pursue a deed in lieu of foreclosure. We made two house payments for about 18 months and just got to a point where we couldn’t do it any longer. Not our proudest moment, but making the decision has lessened the financial and emotional stress greatly.
5. Niels is a Dutch Celebrity. The historic implications of this year’s presidential election have gained the world’s attention. One Dutch TV program chose Canton, OH to represent the average American. Niels was profiled at length and our Dutch family had great fun watching us on Dutch national television.
4. Niels Gets His Green Card. It took the US government record short time to decide that we really loved each other and should be together. Just days after our interview with immigration, Niels received his Green Card!
3. Jen’s Health. This has been the hardest year, physically, for Jen since sustaining her head injury in 2004. After our first miscarriage, the doctor found a lump in her right breast. It was 6.5cm when removed in February, and gratefully, benign. But the story of the year was the pregnancy, with Jen’s body fighting her every step of the way. All told, we had 3 trips to the ER, 1 night in ICU, 8 trips to Labor & Delivery, 11 weeks of Hyperemesis Gravidarium (severe morning sickness), including 6 weeks on a 24/7 pump of Zofran, 3 weeks of restricted activity, plus 9 weeks of bedrest due to pre-eclampsia and 14 weeks with an insane headache. The actually delivery went well, but Jen has had several complications since, including one very scary day when Niels wondered if he would be raising our son alone. As we close down the year, Jen is still dealing with high blood pressure, swelling, muscle spasm, and some residual effects from her head injury crashes in the hospital. It still sounds like a lot, but she’s improving more each day.
2. Our Alaskan Cruise – After we had our second miscarriage we wanted to make sure to be away on vacation when the due date for that pregnancy would come. With Jen having been on a cruise and Niels having been to Alaska we decided to give each other a taste of both so we booked a cruise to Alaska on the Holland-America Line… It turned out to be Spirit West cruise (if we would have booked through them) featuring (among others) Bebo Norman and Phil Joel. We didn’t get to see Bebo perform, but we did talk to him and were fortunate to sit through a performance of Phil and his wife. But the real highlight was being on a cruise together in the only two weeks of the pregnancy Jen actually felt good. Alaska was great and so was the food! Love cruising, that will be continued… and our number 1 memory of 2008…
1. Daniel Joel’s safe arrival! On December 9 at 7.47am our bundle of joy, Daniel Joel de Jong arrived at the talented hands of our awesome OB Dr. Brister. We are so proud to be parents of this little man. We named him after two people we greatly admire and in 2009 we will make sure he meets both! We want to thank God, almost all the nurses at Aultman (minus 1 in particular…), both our parents and our friends for making the weeks after the delivery a little less crazy. Today he’s 7 weeks old (yeah, we’re writing this in the last week of January 2009) and we love him more each day. Pictures of him can be found at his own PicasaWeb site: http://picasaweb.google.com/danieljoel08
• Trips to Grand Rapids, Hocking Hills (OH), explored the local attractions (Mercy Medical, Aultman Hosptial, Stark County Women’s Clinic), and many a side-trip to Target Pharmacy and the Mercy ‘Professional’ Pharmacy.
• Alaska, Seattle WA, Canada (BC) and a brief stop-over in SLC and PHX (that is Salt Lake City and Phoenix for all of you not versed in IATA airport codes).
Plans for the new year…
• Single-home ownership
• Sleeping more than 3 or 4 hours at a time
• Having a healthy baby growing into a toddler
• Christmas in Holland
• Showing off our son to anyone crosses our path (possible trips to GR, MN and China)
• Going to Canada from Feb 13 through Feb 22 (thanks to Penske for the meetings in Toronto on 17, 18 and 19 Feb!!)
Top 5 Things We Like To Do:
1. Play Catan, Ticket to Ride, Phase 10, and Gin 13 (Thanks, Gramma)
2. Hanging out with our small group, which are now addicted to the first two items of our #1 thing we like to do.
3. Be a family with Niels, Jen and Daniel (oh yeah, and Bailey)
4. Watching the 2008/2009 SuperBowl and looking forward to the NFL 2009/2010 season with NFL Sunday Ticket
5. Watch “Big Bang Theory,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Chuck”
I'm finally putting my lingistics degree to use!
According to Dunstan, the five universal words (or sound reflexes) used by infants are:
I'm hungry - An infant uses the sound reflex "Neh" to communicate its hunger. The sound is produced when the sucking reflex is triggered, and the tongue is pushed up on the roof of the mouth.
I'm sleepy - An infant uses the sound reflex "Owh" to communicate that they are tired. The sound is produced much like an audible yawn.
I'm experiencing discomfort - An infant uses the sound reflex "Heh" to communicate stress, discomfort, or perhaps that it needs a fresh diaper. The sound is produced by a response to a skin reflex, such as feeling sweat or itchiness in the bum.
I have lower gas - An infant uses the sound reflex "Eairh" to communicate they have flatulence or an upset stomach. The sound is produced when trapped air from a belch that is unable to release and travels to the stomach where the muscles of the intestine tighten to force the air bubble out. Often, this sound will indicate that a bowel movement is in progress, and the infant will bend its knees, bringing the legs toward the torso. This leg movement assists in the ongoing process.
I have gas - An infant uses the sound reflex "Eh" to communicate that it needs to be burped. The sound is produced when a large bubble of trapped air is caught in the chest, and the reflex is trying to release this out of the mouth.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
UPDATE: Despite having 3 TD passes and 377 yards, Kurt Warner had to sit idle on the sideline and watch the Steelers make what ESPN called a 'monstrous, improbable drive' to score one final TD with 35 seconds left to win Superbowl XLIII (43). Here's a link to ESPN with the story.
Congratulations to the only team to win the Superbowl 6 times: Pittsburgh Steelers