Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mastering the Art of the Spoon

Monday, March 22, 2010

Daniel's Signs

A New Favorite Toy

When Niels and I first got married, I found some word flashcards at the dollar store. There are about hundred of them, each with a simple photo and the word written in English. My idea was that I would use them to learn Dutch. So Niels taught me all the corresponding Dutch words.

It didn't take me too long to master the list, so they were put away. I found them about a month ago, and started showing them to Daniel. I had no idea how much he would love to look at these cards. When we aren't playing with the cards, they are kept in a drawer by his toy box. For the last few weeks, he will go over to the drawer, then whine and point until we take them out. When we open the drawer, he pulls out the cards. Every time.

He's really impressed us with his ability to learn, too, because we can put a few cards on the floor, and he can pick out which one we ask for, in either English or Dutch. He's right about 90% of the time!

He just pointed to the milk card. If you know ASL, you can see that he is signing "milk" as well.

"Okay, Daddy. Let's see the next one."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Spring Day in the Park

Faces of Daniel

Daniel is full of fun expressions. Here's a few he likes to do these days...

You want me to do what?
I don't think I like this.
Yes, I do! (He loves to wag his tongue)

A Bench in Time, v. 3.0

Spring has sprung so it's back to one of our favorite parks. Here's a look at Daniel on his favorite bench.
March 19, 2010 (15 months old)

November 11, 2009 (11 months old)

May 21, 2009 (5 months old)

Daniel and the Spoon

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Photo Shoot of Spring 2010

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Silly Little Dutch Boy

Oma gave me (Jen) this Delft-style apron for Christmas and it quickly became one of Daniel's favorite toys. He's constantly pulling it off it's hook and dragging it along like a security blanket. It's quite adorable, really, to listen to him babble to it as he walks up and down the kitchen, and in circles. It's one of his favorite activities and keeps him plenty busy while we're making dinner.

Niels made a few modifications to it to make it Daniel-size. It lasted for a little while, but he'd still rather drag it than wear it. Silly boy!

Knuffels! Hugs!

On top of the world, or at least, the treadmill.

Daniel the Lion.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Photo Shoot

It was a beautiful day out so Daniel and I went back to Boettler Park for a walk and photo shoot. I've learned that it's not nearly as easy to photograph a mobile child!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

15 Month Appointment

Daniel had his 15 month appointment (and shots) today. He continues to be a healthy boy, and was even in pretty good spirits despite the fact that all four molars are coming in--ouch!

He's now...
27 pounds, 8.52 oz/12.5 kg (90% percentile)
33.072 inches/84 cm tall (95% percentile)

It's a beautiful spring day here in Ohio. Daniel had fun discovering the window. See for yourself...

Sacred Marriage conference

Here's something to file under the "Isn't God awesome?" category...

Just before Niels and I got engaged, we attended a FamilyLife marriage conference. (FamilyLife is the publisher of Generation Ex). We had a great time, and it was a fabulous way to start our marriage.

Our goal was to attend a marriage conference of some sort every year. While we didn't get to a conference during our first year of marriage, we were able to get away together on our Alaskan cruise for the one week my health was good in our first year!

A few weeks ago, we saw an ad for a marriage conference through our church. Of course, with Daniel, it's a bit harder to get away. So we were trying to decide if we were ready to be away from Daniel for two days. (I wasn't!)

I've been a bit under the weather the last week or so, partly fighting off a cold, definitely struggling with head stuff (killer headache, vision issues, nausea, dizzy, etc.). So I have been doing a lot of sleeping and resting when Niels is home. On Saturday, Niels noticed that Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, and my favorite Zondervan author was flying into Ohio, according to his Facebook status. He suggested I call him.

I was still feeling under the weather, so I napped instead. The next day, Sunday, I slept most of the morning and into the early afternoon. When I woke up, I checked Facebook and looked up Gary's schedule. I saw that he was doing a Sacred Marriage conference about 40 minutes away from us. Usually, he does these conferences over the weekend. This one was Sunday and Monday. Most marriage conferences are at a hotel, requiring parents to find someone to care for their child overnight. This one was at a church, and offered free childcare! The first session started in 90 minutes!

I called Gary to let him know we were coming while we scrambled to get dressed and packed up (not so easy when you have a toddler!). Gary called us when we were about 10 minutes away and told us childcare was full, but that he would talk to someone. Niels and I wondered if we would have to sit in the back or tag team. But when we walked into the church, we were warmly greeted and happy to discover that Daniel had a place with the friendly nursery workers.

Ten years ago, when I first read Sacred Marriage, I was single and not so keen on the idea of marriage. I read it, along with 20 or so other marriage books, as a judge for the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's Gold Medallion awards. Most marriage books tend to rehash the same things over and over. Sacred Marriage's subtitle is "What if the purpose of marriage is to make us holy more than to make us happy?" The idea of marriage as a spiritual discipline intrigued me, and by the time I finished the book, I really wanted to get married. That's when I started praying in earnest for my future husband!

When I started working at Zondervan, I campaigned hard to be Gary's marketing director, and my proudest achievement there was showing the rest of Z what a treasure we had in Gary. I sat in on part of one of Gary's marriage conferences when I was working at Z, and quickly added a new line to my bucket list: attend a Sacred Marriage conference with my husband.

Niels and I had a great time at the conference. After 15 months of parenthood, it was wonderful to have that time to ourselves to remind us of the importance of our relationship as husband and wife. It was also very good to revisit Gary's insight as a married person.

Monday afternoon, Niels, Daniel and I met up with Gary at a Starbucks so I could introduce Gary to the men in my life. We had fun catching up and sharing our story with him. Of course, being around Gary made me miss my old life and ability to write, but also gave me renewed gratitude for the life God has given me instead.

Now I've got my eye on this one for our next conference! Wonder if FamilyLife offers an author discount?

Daniel starts Swim Class

Last Tuesday, Daniel started swim class at the Green Y. I say swim class and not swim lessons because the purpose of the class is help babies and toddlers (6 months to 2 years) feel comfortable with water. Daniel won't come out of the class learning any strokes! I took Daniel to a swim class when he was 4 months old, but the class got cancelled because there weren't enough babies.

Funny thing...when I went to sign up Daniel, all the day classes were full. When I asked Niels if he was okay with signing us up for a night class, he said, "Of course, I want to be there!" Bath time is usually boy time, so swim class is now an extension of that. As you can see, both my boys had a great time!

Daniel checks out his new swim clothes.

My handsome boys

Checking out the big tub!

One of many water toys

Friday, March 5, 2010

Visa Journey - Update March 2010

Today I got an email from the USCIS notifying me that the application to remove the conditions on the green cards has been approved. Next step: application for naturalization can now be submitted as of the end of December 2010. After that - and another couple of hundreds of dollars - I'll be a US citizen as well as a Dutch citizen, but the average processing time for the N400 application is about 6 months...