Monday, May 25, 2009

Our Memorial Day

While there are a lot of upsides to the hours that Eric works (twelve hour shifts three times a week), one of the downsides is that he often has to work holidays.  And this year, Memorial Day is one of them.  So instead of celebrating today, we took off on a family adventure yesterday to Millenium Park.  We'd never really spent much time there before, but what a treasure!  There are fantastic trails, the best playground I've ever encountered in this area, as well as a splash zone and a "beach" of sorts.  Emily was in seventh heaven the entire time we were there, and Eric and I had a blast as well.  Oh, and the best part was that you typically have to pay between Memorial Day and Labor Day to use the beach and splash zone, but since we were there the day before (when there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the mid 70s) we didn't have to pay.  Here are some of the pictures we captured!

The swings are always a big hit!

She was a little unsure of all the water at first, but caught on quickly!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Animal Sounds

Thus far, Emily know the sounds that three animals make: a sheep, an elephant, and a cat.  She often refuses to cooperate in front of an audience, but when she's at home and less distracted, she's more than willing to indulge us.  Here is demonstrating her prowess while simultaneously reading a book.


Sunday, May 17, 2009


Emily is learning the concept of hot. Here, she explains the intricacies of hot food to Sarah.


Animal Sounds

Emily is in the process of learning animal sounds, and although she often gets shy when asked to perform in public, Sarah was able to capture her on video the other day.

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

Animal Sounds from Eric Plantinga on Vimeo.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Summer of the Garage Sale

I have a confession to make.  I'm becoming a little bit obsessed with garage sales.  I mean, they are so exciting.  And here, in Grand Rapids, we are so spoiled.  On a given Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, I can easily find at least a dozen good sales within 10 miles of our house.  The things are so cheap and the best part is that at every stop, you have the chance to find something perfect that you didn't even know you were looking for.  And for so much less than you know it's worth. That gives me a little bit of an adrenaline rush right there.

So this is what I've decided: I'm going to chronicle my journey to garage sales this summer.  And I've set a goal.  I'm going to re-sell enough of what I buy to pay for the rest.  In other words, I'll either break even or be in the green by the end of summer.  And when I finish, I'll still have a bunch of new, cool things.  This is going to be quite the challenge, but eBay will be my friend.  Off we go!  First, I have to start by reminding everyone of the bread machine I bought last month.  It was $5, but has already paid for itself in my mind (to the tune of several whole wheat loafs, three different pizza doughs, and a tasty cinnamon raison loaf).

Then, just yesterday I saw an ad in craigslist for a sale in EGR for "TONS of girls clothing 0-3T - all name brand".  Clearly more investigation was needed, as I'm admittedly pretty picky about Emily's clothes.  I ended up spending a total of $45 but purchasing the following: three swimsuits, two pairs of shoes (size 6 and 6.5), eight tops, two dresses (one that will be perfect for Easter next year), three pairs of pants, one skirt, and three pairs of pajamas (all either sized 18 - 24 months or 2T, most for fall and winter wear).  I plan to sell at least two of the swimsuits on eBay starting tomorrow, as well as one skirt I already had similar to one I just bought but like better.  That's acceptable, right?  But wait: my blog, my rules!  We'll see how far out of the whole I climb, but for now, clock me in at negative $50 total.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sixteen Months Old!


First, I'm sorry about the delay in writing your monthly letter.   It may be the first time I've been sluggish in posting this, but it likely won't be the last.  It's been a busy week. We were in Pittsburgh visiting your grandma Ruth and pap pap Barry this past weekend. Also, I was running the Pittsburgh half-marathon.  It was a whirlwind trip, as we also visited your aunt Elsa at Grove City, and got to have a celebratory lunch with the girls in her sorority.  You, little one, were not so well behaved at this lunch, but I'm sure I will have forgiven you by the time you read this.  Speaking of your behavior, you sure are learning the art of the temper tantrum.  You can pout and whine and even wail with the best of them, all over the fact that I won't let you go outside to run around in the rain or give you a THIRD(!) muffin.  Yes, what a bad, mean mother I am.

You continue to learn how to communicate with us, and are saying a few more words.  What's amazing to me, though, is much you understand.  You can retrieve just about any object that I ask you for, will run to your booster seat if I mention eating or being hungry, start removing your socks if I tell you it's bath time, and practically spring to the door if I mention the words outside or walk.  You are also really fond of signing "please" and "more", and alternate those signs repeatedly for something you want.  Your sign for please is not quite right, but it's so precious that I haven't had the heart to change the way you sign it.

You love to swing.  We're working on a good place to put one in our yard - our trees are surprisingly limiting - but at the park you'll stay in one for at least half an hour.  You are getting bolder on slides, and will sit down and try to go by yourself.  You also interact with other kids we meet at the park, following them around, watching them so intently.

You're doing a bit better entertaining yourself while your dad and I do other things, which is great because getting chores done around the house is much more manageable.  You especially like to "help" load and unload the dishwasher, and will even grab the detergent out of the cupboard when it's time.  So smart!  You also know what sounds a sheep and elephant make, and we're working on a dog.  You have become attached to a board book called "Peekaboo Bunny" from the library this past month, so much so that I ended up ordering a copy for us to keep.  If we try to read you another book at bedtime, you will push it away and sign please, reaching towards where you know we keep your beloved book.  Oh, and finally, your hair was finally long enough to fit into pigtails this month.  I normally only pull part of your hair up, because attempting more than that requires the help of clips and you pull them out quite swiftly, but still, you're becoming more of a toddler all the time.  Happy growing, little one!



Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Return of the Pittsburgh Marathon!

After a several year hiatus,the marathon returned to the city of Pittsburgh this past weekend.  I did not run it.  I did, however, run the half marathon, which is, in my opinion, the best racing distance.  I believe this marks the fifth or sixth half marathon I've run in my life, but it was by far the most difficult.  The race itself wasn't so bad.  The weather was pretty good (upper 50s and cloudy for most of the race), the crowds were amazing by virtue of sheer number, and my new ipod +nike accessory helped me know exactly where I was and how fast I was running throughout the race, all while playing rocking tunes.  No, the race wasn't so bad, but the training was another story.  So many obstacles!  First, I sprained my ankle about seven weeks before the race.  Initially, when I could bear no weight on it for the 48 hours following the sprain, I didn't think there was any way I could make it.  I called and asked for a refund on my registration fee and they said no.  Um, what?!  But, that gave me the push I needed and after only 10 days I attempted a short run.  It was a success, and so off I went, trying to get my mileage up without re-injuring myself, a delicate balance to say the least.  That was the most difficult hurdle, but I also battled illnesses and severely inclement weather.  One thing that makes training for races so much more difficult with a baby is that I can't run when I want, when the weather is doing something other than say, pouring down buckets of rain on my head.  But alas, I made it through.  It wasn't my best time (I finished in 1:54, for an average mile pace of 8:45) but it was important to me because it proved my determination to succeed, to finish what I started.  Eric and Emily were, as always, my biggest cheerleaders, but my mom and step-dad were also there, cheering and waving as I approached the finish line.