Saturday, June 27, 2009

Midwest Adventure: Day 1 (Canton to GR)

Yesterday we took off on our great Midwest adventure. The first leg was a familiar one, Canton to Grand Rapids, MI. Daniel and I left the house around 10:30 am and headed to Penske. We arrived a little early so hung out in the car until Daddy was ready to join us.

Our drive was pretty uneventful and Daniel was a good passenger. This is the last trip in his carrier seat. He has plenty of room in the weight requirements, but he's getting a little too tall. We'll be shopping for his convertible seat when we return home.

Our drive was made more pleasant by the audio accompaniment of John Grisham's Playing for Pizza on CD. It's about a third string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns who gets cut and then signed for the Parma, Italy football team. I usually try to reserve a book or two online for long drives but completely forgot. So I went to the library--with a fussy Daniel--and tried to find something interesting. There are two long shelves of audio books so I just set Daniel down and prayed for inspiration. I'm happy with this choice. For the way back, we have Garrison Keillor'sPontoon.

We arrived in Grand Rapids around 5 pm. We made a quick stop at the VV's to turn on the a/c (they generously loaned us their house while on vacation themselves) before heading over to the Moores. It's always a little bittersweet driving into my old housing development because I loved living there and still miss a lot about it. But it's great to see Sandy, Caleb and Beth. They were kind enough to babysit Daniel so Niels and I could go on a date! We saw Dan Brown's Angels & Demons and liked it very much!

After the movie, we came back to the VV's and settled in for the night. The VV's have two kids so we didn't have to drag everything out of the car. A pack and play was already set up in our room and Daniel was out in minutes. Mom and Dad were not too far behind!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the Road Again

The bags are packed and tomorrow we will embark on our ten day, six stop, five state adventure! Amazingly, we fit everything we think we need in the car. We're amazed at how much a 6-month-old needs. Last month we spent a weekend in Canada and this time we had to add more to our packing list because he's now eating solids. Fortunately, we're not going anywhere too remote so we can always pick up anything we need or forgot.

We look forward to seeing many of you, and we'll try to post updates from the road. We're so grateful to our friend Ashley for taking care of our place and our sweet Bailey dog while we're gone. Now we're off to celebrate a packed car by eating ice cream and watching Michael Jackson videos.

Monday, June 22, 2009

On Parenting

Oddly enough, I've had parenting on my mind for the last little while. It really started a few weeks ago when a friend asked Niels and I if it was hard for us to get on the same page regarding our parenting style. It really hasn't been. We've been very fortunate in our marriage, I think, in that we are so like-minded. Really, there's only one issue that we have different views on, and that won't come up for another 15 years or so. I think we have some time to work that one out!

As fearful as I had been about parenting with a head injury, it's been very gratifying and encouraging to be complimented on our parenting style and unity by our doctor and others. I wish I had more energy for Daniel, and I'm sure I'll rue that more once Daniel becomes mobile, but I know he is loved as much as a little guy can be. I don't know that we'll have another child, so even when I'm exhausted or battling an epic headache, I treasure every moment I have with our precious son.

Yesterday's sermon at church was very inspiring for Niels and I. The topic was parenting and it got us talking more about our goals for raising Daniel. Here are some of our thoughts...

Parenting Theme Verse:
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ--I Corinthians 11:1 (New Living Version)

1. Authenticity
There's an old song by Philips, Craig and Dean called, "Lord, I Want to be Just Like You." The line that challenges us as parents is, "Lord, I want to be just like you, 'cause he wants to be just like me." For better or worse, Daniel is going to learn how to live his life by watching how we live ours. Already, we are becoming more aware of how the things we say or do or watch might affect or influence Daniel. And even more he can really respond or interact with us, he hears us pray together, with him and for him. We want him to see our faith as he learns about our faith.

2. Experiences
I was reading an article in Real Simple magazine a few days ago, and our pastor said the exact same thing: buy experiences, not things. I was struck by the phrase when I first read it, because it sums up our financial priorities pretty well. As Niels and I talk about our budget, we focus on these things: giving, living, saving, going. Giving to our church and supporting missionaries around the world. Living expenses that keep us housed and clothed and healthy. Saving for retirement, major expenses, and even Daniel's education. And then going. Travel is a big portion of our budget because we want Daniel to know his family and the world. When the closest relatives are over 1,000 miles away, it takes a budget priority to make that happen. The sermon yesterday made me think about this some more. Specifically, how can we provide more "local" experiences for Daniel. I tend to gravite to extremes: hermit or world traveler. I venture out more when Niels is home, but, especially as Daniel gets older, I want us to ask each month, "Who can we serve this month?" Daniel can help me make cookies or dinner for a new mom, or make a card for family and friends. When he's older, we'd like to take him on a mission trip, whether serving Canton or somewhere a little further away. We want him to see himself as a world citizen, which means there is a world to serve.

3. Generosity
This kind of goes along with our idea of experience. My stepdad, John, taught me about saving when I was in high school. After I got my first job, he helped me open a savings account. Each time I got paid, I put 50% in savings, and could use the rest on whatever I wanted. We opened a savings account for Daniel when he was a month old. Until he's old enough to understand money, we put any monetary gift he receives into the savings account. When he's a older--before he's earning his own money--we will teach him to give 10% away, spend 10%, and save 80%. Give 10% to the church, or to buy a gift for a friend, or to help someone in need. Spent 10% on something fun for himself. And save 80% because we are providing most of his needs. When he starts his job, we'll teach him to give 10%, save 50% and spend 40%. Niels and I both paid for our own educations (and wedding), so we expect Daniel to cover a good portion of his, as well.

One way we hope to teach generosity is through our giving. In addition to supporting missionaries, we also sponsor a child, Yuliana, through Compassion. Yuliana lives in Indonesia and was born on our anniversary). When Daniel is old enough to understand, we'll have him pick out a child born on his birthday. He can get a child the same age as him and we think it will be a good way of instilling gratitude for what he has been given.

Another tradition we want to start with him is to have him pick out a gift for someone else at Christmas time. One of the churches I used to attend would collect the gender, age and interests of different children in need around the community. One year a bought a gift for a 8-year-old boy who was a Packer fan. I think it's World Vision that sends out a catalog around Christmastime, and you can buy a family a goat or a chicken or something else that will drastically change a family's economic outlook. We think it's important that Daniel learns that December is not about getting gifts (for his birthday and Christmas), as much as it is about giving generously out of gratitude. Of course, I hope we will think generously all year, asking ourselves as a family, "Who can we help this month?"

4. Prayer
Prayer is already part of our daily routine with Daniel. At night, we sing a song we made up for him, a Dutch lullaby, a blessing my Gramma made up and say a prayer. We speak for Daniel and thank God for everything from his paci to clean diapers. During the day, when he fusses, I pray with him. Most recently our prayers have revolved around sleep and digestive issues. We want to model for him that he can talk to God about anything and everything, and it's okay to ask for help. We have a little picture book that we are filling with pictures of friends and family and we will use that to help him learn to pray for others.

5. Partner
Since Niels and I both spent most of our singles lives far from family, we recognize the need for a "family of friends" to partner with us as we go through life. When we named Daniel, we chose two men that we respect and hope will be role models to him as he grows up. Some friends of ours did a little ceremony when their son turned 10 that I think we would like to follow. For their son's birthday, they invited adults they respected and had a celebration of their child's entry into adolescence. Each guest wrote a little something for the boy to encourage him on the passage. I don't know if we'll do this at 10 or 13, but we love the idea of inviting others to partner with us to teaching our son what it means to be a man. Our pastor gave a similar example of a celebration when adult men each spoke to the boy on topics: life, career, women, family, finances, etc. Another idea would be a guys-only camping trip with Niels and some of his friends where Daniel can be around godly men who can model good living to him.

As I'm typing this, Daniel is deep asleep, recovering from his six-month shots. He's such a sweet boy and we are so blessed to have him. With all the challenges of the miscarriages and difficult pregnancy and delivery, we cherish him so much. I'm so happy I am able to stay home with him. Even when the days seem long, it's easy to remember that this season is just a blip of his life and I don't want to take any of it for granted.


Baby and Bottle

Daniel's Six Month Check Up

We just returned from Daniel's six month check up and our healthy boy is taking a well-deserved nap! After his slow start, we thought for sure that he would be in the 50th percentile for weight. He feels so big--especially after we held week-old baby Winston! Alas, Daniel is 16 pounds, 11.52 ounces--placing him at the 25the percentile. He's still making great strides since starting solids. He was in the 20th percentile at his 4 month check up. His head is 16.83", also the 25th percentile. He surprised his with his length though: 27.07"--75th percentile! Tall and skinny. Where did that come from!?

Of course, the important thing to remember is that anything on the chart is healthy, it's more important that he maintains his curve. Daniel's hitting all his milestones right on time and Dr. Hood was very pleased with his progress. He took his shots like a trooper and we're sure it helped that Mommy was waiting with a bottle of the good stuff as a reward!

All in all, our little boy is doing great, and we are very proud of him and privileged to be his parents!

Sweet Sleeper

This is Daniel's new favorite sleeping position. We always put him down on his back, but somehow he always ends up like this.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Next Summer's Projects

Okay, it's getting a little embarrassing, but we promise next year we'll work on landscaping the front of the house. Priorities, I guess. Niels bought our house in February 2007. We spent the summer of 2007 moving me to Ohio and planning our wedding. We spent the summer of 2008 being sick (well, me being sick and Niels having to take care of me and the house). This summer we have a little more time, but are spending our money on baby things and travel to show off said baby. summer we will be budgeting some time and money to making our front yard a little more suburban. I did buy the tulip bulbs a year ago, so we know we'll be planting those, but Niels and I are a little clueless on what else to do. American mom, help please!!!

Daddy and Daniel on Daddy's Day

Happy Father's Day!

I love you, daddy!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Facebook has been such a fun way to reconnect with friends from my past. It has sure made the early days of parenthood much easier. I'm not much of a TV person (NFL football and West Wing on DVD excluded), so I was much more likely to surf the net during those long, fussy, clingy hours when Daniel was attached to me like velcro. In the last six months, I have reconnected with so many old friends and love reading status updates each day.

One friend I reconnected is actually a friend of my good friends, the Rossings. I met Boo because he was also in Steph and Ted's wedding. We reconnected a few years later when he sought counsel on his writing. He's a very gifted writer. We reconnected again a few months ago and I've spent some time reading his notes on Facebook. He is still a very gifted writer. And now he is taking on stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

As someone who has endured a life-changing health issue, I'm inspired by his optimism. And as today's task is bracing for Daniel's once-a-week poo explosions (really, you don't want to know much more than that!), I am grateful for the perspective in this little piece:

Goodness gracious, great balls of … fuzz?
by Brian "Boo" Wallace
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

.....The field was wide and open, a pond at one end and a little side road at the other. In the middle, strutting tall and proud across the grass, were three pairs of geese. Occasionally one of the high-held heads bobbed low and struck the ground, and there, down around knee-level (do geese have knees?) were small clouds of dirt-colored fuzz. The geese waddled on, and the fuzz went with them. This was no ordinary fuzz. It was goslings. Baby geese.
.....I couldn’t decide whether they were very cute or just kind of cute. Their heads and chests were still pale yellow, which I think if it had covered them would have made them very cute. But the rest of them was a dull brown, giving them the appearance of big dust balls. What is more, they were on the verge of leaving baby goose stage and moving into little kid goose stage. Still cute, but no longer captivatingly so. We only get to be baby cute for so long, and a good thing too. That kind of power in the hands of an adult would be … Let’s just be glad we don’t have to deal with that.
.....Each pair of geese continued on across the field with a handful of fuzzballs in tow. As mom and dad kept a lookout, the little ones busied themselves with grazing. They didn’t look up, not even when I pulled up beside them and parked the truck. They were oblivious to everything but the speck of ground right in front of them. And why not? With mom and dad on guard, they had nothing to worry about.
.....The flaw in this unobservant plan revealed itself when one little fuzzy, munching away, got separated from his own family and found himself grazing with one of the others. This did not sit well with the parents of the new group. One of them came over with head held low like a lawnmower, bearing down on the unwary wanderer. With a strike like a snake it sent the trespasser butt over beak, and a terrified McNugget went scooting off as fast as it could in the opposite direction. Up on its feet, with wing nubs held ridiculously out from its sides, it raced away, a short and aimless runny fuzzy bowling pin.
.....The poor thing had no idea where it was going. It was just running, Forrest Gump style, away from the huge goose that had snapped at it. By the time the real mom and dad of running goose noticed their little one charging off, he was already halfway across the field. They honked a few times, but he was hearing none of it. He was out of there. So off they went.
.....It reminded me of the shepherd who went after the lost sheep, because the parent geese left the other goslings where they were and they both took off across the field to corral the runaway. It was great, a high speed chase with feathers. And when they caught him, the drama was just beginning. He was still in a panic, not sure what in the world to do. He charged this way and that, heeding nothing but his innate desire to flee. Finally, after quite a bit of honking and blocking, they got him to turn around and start pecking his way in the right direction, and moments later the whole family was together again, the fuzzies eventually bedding down in the grass.
.....Parenting is a big deal.
.....Sitting here on the calendar between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I am in a position of appreciating my parents a little more than usual. When the docs let me know that what I had going on was cancer, my folks could have said “good luck with that.” It’s been a while since I was a little guy. Their legal obligation to me has been over for fifteen years. But what they said was, “come home and let us help you get through this.” Being knocked out by chemo every other week, I can’t express how big a deal it is to have a safe place to be knocked out in. Mom and Dad goose are still looking out, even now, to make sure I’m safe. Deep down, I know they always will be. I also know how rare that is, what a lucky ducky I am.
.....If you are a mom or dad, please take a moment to realize how important you are. If you are at a point with your little fuzzballs where you are weary, angry, frazzled, unappreciated, or just plain done, remember that they need you. Whether they act like it or not, they need you and they need your love for them. If you’ve got all-star chicks and parenting is the most rewarding thing on the planet, then give yourself a pat on the back and take time to thank God for giving you the “good eggs” you’ve got. Either way, your job with those kids is a big important one. I saw it over and over as a youth worker and a teacher. Your love for your kids is one of the biggest things in their entire world, whether it is present or absent. Make a brand new effort today to make sure they are getting it, and hear our silent cheers as you do.

-In honor of Nancy Dale, one tough and beautiful Mom. “Strength and a Peaceful Heart.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Picture of the Week: Week 26

I made this oneside for Daniel when he was a few weeks old. It will be retired tonight because it is a little small. But, since it is size 0-3, and Daniel is 6.5 months old, I suppose it's time. *Sniff*

New Favorite Toy

Not even sure what to call this thing, but Daniel loves it! He likes to pull on the little stringy parts. Thank you, Swains!!

Poor Neglected Bailey

Being a big sister has been a hard transition for Bailey, as she will tell anyone who asks. Though she is peacefully co-existing with Daniel, this picture about sums up her view of him:

Downsizing the Bottle Station

I found this little get-up at Babys R Us and have now reclaimed a little bit of our counter space back. Plus, it'll be nice for setting up shop when we're on our big Midwest adventure next week!

Daniel Giggles!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Knuffels met Papa

Sunday Afternoon Project

Since we went to church on Saturday, Niels and I had all day free on Sunday. I had circled it on the calendar a few weeks ago as a "project" day. Something I have been learning lately is that being a mom requires me to adjust to my head injury all over again. This adjustment is certainly easier than the initial transition, but it's never fun bumping into your own limitations. I'm so grateful to have Niels in my life and to share the joy and responsibility of raising our son together. He is such an answer to prayer!

What I am discovering about myself is that I need a short horizon and small projects. My brain becomes overwhelmed with long term goals and multi-faceted tasks. Think of a flooded engine, giving it more gas isn't going to make things better and will probably make things worse. Just "trying harder" doesn't work for me anymore. I need to have something to look forward to, and I need help breaking down projects so they don't overwhelm.

One BIG project Niels and I continue to make strides toward is combining our two households. Granted, all of our belongings from our long seasons of singlehood are under the same roof, but there is a lot of purging that still needs to be done. The biggest obstacle for me is that much of the "stuff" I have is notes and writing ideas. I still hold out a modicum of hope that I will be able to write again someday, and can't bear the thought of throwing away my research and ideas. So I have many tubs of papers. Eventually, I'll get to that.

For the last several months, the table in our basement has become our paper collector. People coming over? Bring everything down to the table? Back from a trip? Bring everything down to the table? Start a project but run out of steam? Bring everything down to the table. You get the idea. When Niels asked what project I wanted to tackle on Project Day, I brought up the table.

Having the day marked on the calendar in advance helped me start to think about what needed to be done. It's embarrassing how poorly my brain functions at times. I have 2 big filing cabinets. Eight drawers. I have a table full of stuff to file but it took me three months to realize that I could sort the table full of stuff into eight piles based on which file they went into. And even that came from Niels when I was venting my frustration. Reminds me of the fact that it took six months to figure out how to put my medical papers in chronological order after my initial fall. Sigh...I miss my brain.

One project left over on the table was "put pictures of people we know in our picture frames." It's kind of a joke around our house that we have tons of frames, but no pictures in them. Some of the frames are even hung up, but with the original pictures in them. So one day, I took all the frames and set them out on the table. Then I ran out of steam. Sunday, we inserted the pictures.

Turns out we had about forty different frames. Some were broken, some were out of date, some were not our style. We put those in our donate pile. We still had about twenty left. While I was sorting those out, Niels was backing up our photos onto our network, finding pictures to print and putting them into frames. We still have a couple left to do, but at least there are no longer any pictures or frames or scrapbooking items (put off for another day!) on the table!

As a postscript, my friend-of-the-week, Jackie, came over yesterday to hang with Daniel for a few hours so I could do some filing. I have to make a few more file tabs, but almost everything is now off the table.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Dans

A day long in the making. DK taken by DJ.

Daniel laughs

Finally, caught in the act. Of course, he's laughing at Daddy. Guess he's more funny looking!

Daniel practices his "Gramma Eyes"

Great Gramma Ann is famous for her "Gramma Eyes." Here is Daniel's impression:

Daniel's favorite teething toy!

We've bought Daniel several teething toys, but he shows no interest in them whatsoever. However, he loves fingers and chomps on his paci like nobody's business.


Getting Stronger

Daniel's getting closer to crawling. He likes to kick his legs and he has some mad swim moves. Here's a picture of him showing off his arm muscles. Pretty soon he'll be chasing Bailey around the house! (Yes, American Mom, Niels is working on securing the bookshelves!!)

Mommy! Look what I can do!

I'm so proud of myself!

Big Boy Hair!

Daniel is starting to grow his big boy hair! It looks like dark blond is going to be the color, after first tricking us into thinking he was going to have dark brown hair (at birth) and then strawberry blond a few months ago. So yes, once again, Daniel is taking after his daddy. Sigh...poor Mommy. The fun part of his hair is that he has a few random strands that are maybe six inches long! Most of his hair is now about a inch or two long, and yes, he now has more hair than his daddy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Arby Lips

Daniel has a new nickname: Arby Lips. Arbys is a restaurant here in the States and Daniel's lips look eerily similar to their logo!

Picture of the Week: Week 25

Another First

The highlight of yesterday was definitely meeting Da Dan (big Dan), but Daniel had a few other firsts, as well.

The other night, for giggles, I tried to nurse Daniel. He never really caught on when he was smaller, so I've exclusively pumped since he was 2 months old. Yesterday, when I was at "boobie class," I decided to try it again, and he latched right on. I took advantage of Betsy's scale because one of our issues before was that he wasn't getting very much. But yesterday he took a whole feeding. Yay, Daniel! I don't know if I'll move to nursing because he hurt like the dickens (!!), but I'm glad to have that option again.

To celebrate, I went out with some of the mommies to Panera for lunch. Daniel sat in a highchair for the first time:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Xiao Dan Meets Da Dan

Yesterday was a very big day for Daniel! At long last, he met his namesake, Daniel Kennedy! DK and his son, Noah, are on a little cross country adventure, driving the moving truck from Grand Rapids, MI to their new home in Richmond, VA. This, of course, follows their global adventure as they are moving back to the States after three years in China.

Yesterday, Dan and Noah, along with Dan's parents, Gene and Nancy, made a stop in our neck of the woods. It was short, but oh so sweet. Here's the two Daniels:

In a lot of ways, our Daniel reminds me of Dan's son, Noah. They are both knuffel beers / cuddle bears. Here's Noah giving Daniel the first of many cuddles:

Only a month til we see the whole Kennedy clan. We can't wait to see you Sara, Zach, Mia and Hannah!

Downhere singer goes up there...

On Monday we had the pleasure of meeting two of our friends in Niagara Falls. One is the percussionist and the other is the bass player of the band 'Downhere'. They've just won their third Juno award and in this video of Mark Martel (the lead vocalist) you can see the vocal ability of this band. We had an earlier post of him doing Queen's epic 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and in this video - after an intro on his singing background - he attemps and succeeds at one of Luciano Pavarotti's mean-stays; Puccini's Nessun Dorma. Pretty amazing for a self-tought popular music vocalist without any formal vocal training... Have fun and get ready to be amazed..!!

btw...Daniel loves this video. Whenever we play it, he stares, mesmerized. In fact, he loves all downhere!

Daniel's first trip to Handel's

During our very short visit with the Kennedys, we ventured to the Viselli's very ice cream joint, Handel's! Daniel is still a little too young to fully appreciate the experience, but perhaps his milk had a little chocolate raspberry truffle flavor to it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Our multi-national household

Today is Daniels 1/2 birthday. He's six months old and the Dutch government gave him a nice birthday present: his Dutch passport! Daniel is now an official and documented dual citizen of the United States of America and the Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Kingdom of the Netherlands).

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Daniel!!

+/- 25 Things About Being 6 Months Old
by Daniel, with help from Mommy
  1. Today is a Very Important Day, I'm half a year old!!!!
  2. I am thisclose to being double my birth weight...I am now 16 pounds, 4 ounces.
  3. Everyone thinks I'm bigger, but I'm still holding to the 20% percentile for weight. The chubby cheeks throw everyone off!
  4. I am now 26" long.
  5. I still wear my 3-6 month clothes comfortably.
  6. I still wear a size 2 diaper.
  7. I've been busy learning new things! On May 26, I sat up for the first time...all by myself! We were at Tony and Carey's wedding and I tried to take attention away from Tony's vows! Sorry, Tony.
  8. Also at the wedding, I also had my first dance with a girl (not my Mommy). Thanks, Marie! I think you're super cute, too!
  9. Now I love to sit up all the time. It's a whole new world! I've only fallen down a few times. Mommy gets very nervous about me hitting my head.
  10. Speaking of Mommy, I'm very happy that she has been able to give me only breast milk since we were in the hospital. It's been hard for her at times, she made her goal of six months. Now she's hoping to give me only breast milk to drink for my whole first year. Daddy bought us a freezer and Mommy is working very hard to fill it up with yummy milk. Go Mommy!
  11. I hold my own bottle all the time now. I can tell when Mommy or Daddy is getting it ready. When I see the blue box of milk, I wave my hands and make sucking motions with my mouth. I can't wait!!! But when I get it, I can hold it all by myself, even when it's full. And I only spill a little bit...sometimes.
  12. I did get introduced to something called food. It's like milk, but you eat it with a spoon. So far, I like rice cereal (if something's mixed with it), pears (super yummy), peaches (mmm!) bananas and prunes. I don't really like peas. Mommy says she finally found something I got from her! I'm getting much better at eating, and only make a little mess now.
  13. I'm also figuring out the sippy cup. I surprised Mommy when she left me to play with it when it had a few ounces of water in it. She checked on me and it was ALL GONE!
  14. My other new trick, which my parents are over the moon about, is that I'm now back to sleeping through the night. Sometimes I wake up once just to make sure they're paying attention, but most nights I sleep from about 9pm to 5am.
  15. On the other hand, now I don't always like to take naps during the day. This frustrates Mommy because she says it's HER nap time. I like to nap with her best. If she will snuggle with me on the couch, I'll sleep for two hours! If she puts me on the swing, I can only sleep for about 30 minutes. What can I say? Ik ben een knuffel beer. (I am a cuddle bear).
  16. I made my first art project, for Mother's Day, with the help of the nice ladies in the nursery. It's a poem about being a mommy with my footprints on it. Mommy cried when she saw it.
  17. Mommy continues to take lots of pictures of me. This month we went to a lot of the local parks. I posed on my Bumbo. I love that thing!
  18. I have a new toy. It's a blue ball. I used it to practice sitting up. Sometimes Bailey dog tries to play with it, but Mommy says it's MINE!
  19. I have a new nickname: Arby lips. Mommy and Daddy say my lips look like the Arbys logo.
  20. My eyes are still blue, and Daddy says they look like the galaxy. I guess that means they are really cool looking.
  21. My big-boy hair is starting to come in! After psyching my parents into thinking I was going to have dark hair (I did at birth), then Red, now it looks like it'll be dark blond... Just like my daddy! ;-) except I have more, daddy...
  22. Today I received my Dutch passport. Now I'm really ready to see the world!
  23. I just got back from my second trip to Canada. We saw my namesake Joel's son, Noah, baptized this past Sunday. Even though I'm 4 months older, I'm not much bigger than Noah. No hand me downs for him!
  24. On the way home from the Vriends, we saw Niagara Falls. WOW! That's a big bath tub!!! We saw our friends the Lavenders and the Thiessens there. What a random meeting. Dutchies. Daddy says there are everywhere.
  25. ON THURSDAY, I GET TO MEET DA DAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and my cousin, Noah, and my Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy). I've heard so much about this big Dan I was named for. I can't wait to meet him and show him how cute I am. He and his family are moving from China to Virginia. We'll practically be neighbors!
  26. Last Saturday, I was dedicated in front of the whole church. I had actually already been dedicated when I was just 10 days old, but that was for family. This time was for the church family.
  27. I celebrated my first Mother's Day. Daddy and I took her to a really cool manor and garden, and I thwarted mom's attempts to take pictures of me with the tulips. Sneaky, eh?
  28. Daddy turned 35 this month, but he says he doesn't feel old because I bring out the kid in him.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Baptism of Noah Vriend

Today one of my best friends, best man at our wedding and honorary brother and his wife had their first born son baptized at their church in Oakville, ON. It was a bit of a whirlwind trek north for us since Daniel got dedicated at RiverTree the evening before. So after our dedication and the photoshoot we left at 6.30pm to arrive in Oakville at 11.30pm. Daniel helped a lot by sleeping for most of the trip up.

Noah Vriend got baptized at a very nice service that was laden with children's events. There were Sunday School graduates, a children's band and one other baptism. After the service there was time for some snacks, but after the rest of the church went home for lunch, we had the special celebration lunch for Noah. Lots of yummy foods and Niels saw a lot of his friends, among others, Jeff Bakker and family, Chad de Vries and family, Al and Brad from the Rice Paddy (with their respective fiancees), Rodney Kooy and his wife and many, many more.

One other thing worth mentioning: Jen was finally able to meet Joel's parents Jake and Minka Vriend for the first time and the rest of the Vriend family that was present (in the form of Joel's Pake and Beppe and Joel's sister Deb van Duinen and her family) got a change to meet Daniel.

All-in-all, we had a great time that was topped off by a movie at the Vriend's house. During which Niels actually fell asleep... What can I say... I like my sleep.

Niagara Falls

Since we had planned to take Monday off following the baptism of Joel and Carolyn's son, Noah, we met up with some friend of ours at Niagara Falls. The weather looked dreary, but turned out to be perfect. Not too cold, not to hot, just about right. No need for a jacket, but also no need for sunscreen. Very pleasant indeed... ;-)

We saw the Horseshoe Falls and American Falls, walked towards the Hersey chocolate store and then up Clifton Boulevard to get some Timmies. For those not versed in the Canadian culture, that's going to Tim Horton's. It's excellent food, donuts, coffee and hot chocolate. For our American friends: Dunkin done right... Just look how perfect that doughnut looks...

A perfect looking donut...

The Fam at the Falls

All that water made me thirsty

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Daniel's public dedication

Back in December when Daniel was just 2 weeks old we had a private dedication ceremony at our church (see post: Private dedication). We did that to take advantage of the fact that we had all 4 biological grandparent here at the same time. Today we had the public dedication in front of our whole church together with the baby's of some of our friends.Image is the first frame of the video, but that one is a little too large for blogspot. We'll see if we can use Vimeo a little later...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Milk production = need a freezer!

Today was a milestone day! I made the decision to switch to exclusively pumping when Daniel was two months old. We upgraded from my single pump to my beloved (or sometimes despised) Pump-in-Style pump (Medela, do we get residuals for this post now??).

The milestone is that, we finally got to a point where the excess milk no longer fits in our double-door. Daniel is still eating about 4oz per feeding--about 7 times a day--but, bringing honor to my COW status, I'm able to put away between 4 and 12oz a day. We've now almost reached the 1 month supply mark and so we made a necessary purchase: a chest freezer! We're already made a dent in filling it up:

Seeing this freezer filling up makes me quite proud, given the struggles I've had with supply, mastitis, nursing, ad nauseum! My original goal was to nurse 6 months, and at points, 6 weeks seemed a lofty goal. When I learned about exclusively pumping, it seemed the best fit for us. Daniel still gets the good stuff, and I don't spend an hour every feeding trying to get him to nurse. With the new pump, I get what I need in ten minutes!

My revised goal is to be able to give Daniel breast milk exclusively (no formula) for the first 12 months, when his body can handle cow's milk. My supply still varies, depending on how I'm feeling, how much sleep I get (or don't, as the case may be), what I eat, etc. but it looks like I'm on track to have two months in the freezer right around October 9, when Daniel is 10 months. At that point, I'll start to wean from the pump, and believe me, that will be a happy day!

A little pumping math: formula would cost us about $1,300/year. Our pump cost $270. That's over $1,000 saved by pumping! Or a little less, when you factor in our new little freezer, but Niels had been eyeing one for a while for burgers, pork chops and pizza! So, when I'm tired of pumping every 3 hours, I remind myself of the savings and tell myself I'm turning into a good little Dutch wife!