Friday, July 25, 2008

One Fit Mama

I wasn't worried about the weight that I gained while I was pregnant.  Yes, it was more than I hoped it would be, but it was well within the normal range.  My doctor wasn't concerned, and so neither was I.   Plus, I did my best to keep active even when my running turned to waddling.  I went to water aerobics twice a week (which I highly recommend to any of my pregnant friends) and walked/ran fairly regularly.  And I knew that between breastfeeding and running/racing again, I'd lose the weight in no time after giving birth!  Then Emily came, and some of that weight did disappear.  But I also ran into some unexpected obstacles: breastfeeding didn't quite work out as planned and finding time to run with a baby who doesn't exactly love her jogging stroller is tough.  Still, I'm bound and determined that my old clothes will fit again.  I miss my old clothes, stare longingly at them when I pull out the same few pairs of shorts and pants everyday, and vow that when the leaves start to fall, and the air turns crisp and cool again, I will be able to pull on my favorite pair of pre-pregnancy jeans.

My plan is this: exercise more and eat less.  What do you think?  Sounds simple I know, but the bottom line is that to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume.  So, that's what I'm setting out to do.  My friend Sarah is going to tell me about the wonders of Weight Watchers, which I hope will help guide my eating and lead me to become more conscious of what I'm putting in my mouth.  My biggest downfall always has been and always will be sweets.  You know those desserts that are too sweet and rich to take more than a few bites of?  Well, that's not the case for me.  I can always eat the whole thing and not bat an eyelash.  But I resolve, here and now, to take back my body (and my wardrobe). By making this goal public for everyone to read perhaps I will be more motivated and finally become one fit mama.  So wish me well and here I go!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chronicles of Baby Gear

Like most new parents, we have an arsenal of baby toys at our house.   These toys, some small but most quite large and cumbersome, are beginning to take over every room in our home.  Part of me would like to prune down and get rid of some of them.  But, the thing that stops me from doing this is that we use them all from the smallest block to the Cadillac of all exersaucers!  Amazingly, each and every one of the items we purchased at a garage sale or received as a gift have come in handy at one point or another in Emily's life so far.  Here's a recap.   When Emily first came home from the hospital, the only place I could put her when she was awake (besides someone's arms) was the bouncy seat.  Almost every picture I took of her when it was just the two of us at home has a blue backdrop with stars.

Eventually, our baby swing also became invaluable, as this became the only place that Emily would nap.  This caused me so small amount of consternation, but she eventually learned to sleep quite peacefully in her crib as well (thank goodness).

As she got older, around two months or so, she came to really enjoy her play mat.  She would lay under the animals and eventually began batting them.  This was her favorite thing to do for a couple of months until recently, when she's suddenly gotten much more mobile.  Now she rolls and twists and turns right off the mat, and then gets frustrated quickly because she's managed to get away from all the fun.  Instead, she now often favors her exercauser (and the many toys that are at arms reach) quite a bit.  I mean, take a look at this contraption - even I would not be easily bored.

But through it all, the one item that I would pay ten times its cost to keep has been the baby bjorn.  When she was younger, we'd dance around the kitchen in the bjorn with bright lights and loud music to keep her awake until bedtime (it didn't always work).

And now, the one thing that will - without fail - cure her evening crankiness is a walk outside in the bjorn.  In my estimation, it's been the most wonderful purchase we've made by far.  I hope she starts to enjoy the stroller more soon though, as the little tyke is not getting any lighter!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our Little Musician

Another highlight of our trip to Pittsburgh was rediscovering a toy that Sarah's mom had played with when she was a little girl.  It looks like an organ, has keys like a piano, and sounds like a xylophone.  Emily was enthralled, and loved showing off her energetic playing style for the camera.  I'm hoping this is a sign that as she grows up she will enjoy making music.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Family Travels

In the past week, our family has traversed 2 countries, 4 great lakes, 4 states, and 1 province.  Sadly, it began with a trip to Ontario due to two deaths in Eric's extended family.  We left our house bright and early Wednesday morning for a 1:00 p.m. Memorial Service in Hamilton, and spent the day with many Plantinga relatives who hadn't yet met Emily.  I think she was a bright spot in an otherwise somber day.

We left Canada early in the evening and began our five hour drive to my parents' home in Beaver, PA.  Emily, who was thoroughly exhausted due to very poor napping during the day, slept pretty much the entire way.  We then spent a few fun filled, beautiful days in Beaver where my mom and sister were able to properly dote over Emily.

Eric and I managed to sneak away for a day and went to Kennywood, one of my favorite childhood pastimes, with our good friends Peter and Susan.  We also enjoyed a Pirates game complete with fireworks afterwards.  Sadly, the Pirates could not really make the game competitive, so the fireworks were the highlight of the evening.

We also enjoyed taking Emily to a swimming pool for the first time, eating dinner out with her, and playing with a bunch of new toys at grandma's house.

On Sunday, many of my aunts and one of my cousins came over from Ohio to meet Emily, and once again she was lavished with attention. In the afternoon, we left for home again, stopping briefly in Ann Arbor at Eric's parents' house.

We had a lovely time, and Emily was almost a perfect baby the entire trip, once again confirming her great love of people and her extraverted personality.  Today it's just been Emily and me again, and I think we're both a little lonely.  Eric and I love the life we've built in Grand Rapids, but we often miss being near our families.  Perhaps that will change someday, but until then, we'll try not be be frustrated and pull our hair out (at least some of us will).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Six Months Old!


You are officially halfway to your first birthday!  Wow.  In some ways, I feel like your dad and I just brought you home from the hospital and in other ways it feels like I can't quite remember how it felt to exist without you.  As usual, you've had a busy month filled with learning all kinds of new things.  One of the most significant is that you've finally started to enjoy eating baby foods.  It took quite a few attempts, and lots of bib cleaning as you would push out anything that I managed to get in.  In the last week or so though, you have started swallowing.  And, lo and behold, you enjoy it!  You eat banana, pears, applesauce, carrots, and sweet potatoes and seem to like them all.

This month you have also decided that you don't need to be swaddled anymore to sleep, which is a great relief to me because I kept picturing you going off to college and still needing your dad and I to swaddle you in your dorm room each night.  Peanut, your mom is really good at finding things to worry about.  I hope that is something you don't get from me!  But now, this is the face that I see when I come to your room in the morning or after a nap.

Another exciting adventure you've had is going to the beach!  Your dad and I had some business to attend to near Grand Haven and we took you to Lake Michigan for the first time.  Your face was priceless as you touched the sand and the waves for the very first time.  Luckily, you seemed to be enjoying yourself until you got a little bit chilly.

This means that you and I can enjoy many days at the beach this summer, though I'm sure it won't be quite as relaxing as it once was.  Unless maybe you want to lay quietly on a towel reading magazines with me and getting tan?  Alas, keeping you entertained is no easy task!  Your dad and I used to tell everyone who asked that you were such a good, easy baby.  I'm no longer convinced that's quite accurate - as you seem to only be content for more than five minutes when someone is actually playing with you, carrying you, talking to you or dancing in front of you (yes, I really dance).  But thats okay for now.  I'll sing and dance for you as long as you don't hold it against me later.  You and I also have started taking short jogs together, and if I keep running fast enough, it seems like a good break for both of us.

Thanks for blessing and enriching our lives so much little girl.  I never dreamed that being a mom could be this demanding and this much fun all at the same time.