Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Say Cheese

Sophie has been smiling for a few days now, but this is the first one I captured on camera.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The More Things Change...

the more they remain the same.  These picture were taken when each girl was about five weeks old.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Big Girl Beds

This past week, Emily slept in her new "big girl" twin bed for the first time.  I expected some drama, but there was none.  She did great, sleeping the whole night without a peep, and staying in her room in the morning until someone came to get her.  Also, Sophie began sleeping in Emily's crib, and no longer in her swing or carseat.  She also did great, still going three to four hour stretches at night.  Yay for my good sleeping girls!

One Month Old!

Dear Sophie,

You are turning one month old today!  As was the tradition with your sister, I will try to remember to write you a note every month.  Thus far, I have to say that you are a remarkable baby.  You seem to generally be pretty content with life, and happy to relax in a bouncy seat, swing, or someone's arms and take it all in.  When your eyes are happen, which is happening with greater frequency, they are so big and round.  I wonder what color they will end up being, dark like mine and your daddy's or bright blue like your big sister!

You sleep like a pro, generally going three to four hours between feedings at night.  Also, you are happy to accept both breast milk and formula, which has been wonderful.  I pretty much expected that I would not be able to feed you with only breast milk, as was the case with your sister, but unlike Emily, you will take either without much fuss, which has been great for both of us.

When you do fuss, I have determined that you like to swing sideways and I am glad that your cradle swing, which we lovingly selected for you, has this feature.  You also can often be found with several toys at your side because whenever Emily sees you awake and without something to do, she loads you up with baby toys.  Also, you poop.  A lot.  Well, whenever you decide to poop, there is a lot.  Enough said.

Sophie, this has been a hard month, but it is not because of you.  We have packed up our entire home and moved to a new house in a new city in the first month of your birth.  And through it all, you have been (mainly) a source of joy.  I can't wait to get know your personality more in the coming weeks, months, and years.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

Our family enjoyed a low key Thanksgiving, with Eric's parents and my mom coming to our house for the holiday.  We sure enjoyed having everyone here, and all the extra helping hands.  Emily especially liked the extra attention from her grandmothers, and a great time was had by all!

Emily helps Grandma Evonne make the turkey soup from our leftovers.

Story time with Aunt Kara.  I think each adult read these Babar books about five times over the weekend.

Making blueberry muffins with Grandma Ruth.  Emily really likes to put all the cups in the muffin tin, and she's quite good at it.

Sophie snuggles with her mommy.  She was quite sleepy for most of the weekend, but she's waking up a lot more these days!

Sophie warms up after her parents had the audacity to give her a bath!

More Visitors for Sophie

This post is a little overdue, but Sophie had a few more visitors after she was born, and here are a few more photos:

Kristy, Josh, and Micah Manion. They are such a photogenic family! We captured this one on the first try.

Tala, Val, and Tiona Sakala. Little Tiona didn't look so small next to our newborn!

Uncle Rick and Aunt Joan Plantinga reminisce about when their three children were this tiny!

Grandma Ruth arrives in town a few days after Sophie's birth and quickly snuggles with both kids!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Toddler Homophones

This morning Emily and I went downstairs to play trains while Sophie "watched" and Sarah got some extra sleep upstairs.  It was a nice quiet morning, and everything was going well.  The trains were chugging, Sophie was cooing contentedly, and Emily was entertained, so I ran upstairs quickly to print something.  I came back after one or two minutes and Emily ran up and announced "Daddy, baby Sophie was crying!  But it's OK, I gave her the fire."  Slightly alarmed, I went into the living room to make sure Sophie wasn't actually engulfed in flames.  "Tada!" Emily proclaimed.  Turns out Emily said "fier", short for pacifier, which she had given to Sophie while she pushed her in the swing.  Not only was she not on fire, but she was happy and quiet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sophie's First Visitors

Not long after settling into our hospital room, we began receiving visitors, all eager to meet Sophie.  First of course were Grandpa and Grandma with a very eager Emily, who had been waking up every morning for five days straight asking "baby Sophie come out?".

After some quality time with Grandpa, Grandma, and Emily, and explaining that babies eat milk, not saltines, we welcomed some more visitors.  Andy and Sarah Fox dropped by, and were so adept with Sophie that we thought they might like to have one of their own soon.

Next came Uncle Jeff and Aunt Kara, who rushed over from work, and couldn't have been happier to meet Sophie.  Sophie is already their eighth niece.  With only one nephew, Jeff and Kara began to consider doing their part to even out the gender ratio.

Finally, we welcomed the Kruis family, consisting of Noah, Megan, Jonah, and Eden.  Although they all enjoyed meeting Sophie, as a big brother Jonah seemed especially well versed in how babies work and how to listen to them with a stethoscope.

We loved sharing the joy of Sophie's birth with so many visitors, and will look forward to more over the coming days and weeks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sophie Grace Has Arrived!

This morning at 9:01 God blessed us with the birth of a healthy little girl, Sophie Grace!  She has a little head of dark hair, weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and was instantly loved.  Sophie has been making cute little fussing noises, but is very sleepy and not interested in eating yet.  Sarah's c-section went very well, and she is already happily resting in her hospital room. Praise God for the gift of another wonderful little girl!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A New Chapter

As the scheduled c-section date for our new baby approaches, I find myself anticipating how much life is about to change. Before Emily was born, I was so anxious and excited to meet her! Since the last few weeks of pregnancy aren't really enjoyable for any woman, I woke up every morning hoping that it would be the day! This time around, we've had November 17th circled on our calendars for months. Yes, there was always (and still is, I suppose) the chance that this little one would come early, and I had moments where I wondered (due to my insanely busy fall) whether this would be the case. But in my mind, I was always planning on this baby coming on a particular date, so the anticipation this time around has been a little different.

Now that this date is almost here, I'm once again anxious and excited. But this time, I'm not really that anxious about the arrival of a newborn. In fact, it's my hope and plan that I ENJOY our new daughter's infancy more than I did with Emily. I questioned every decision when Emily was a baby, responded to every cry, and was - to be perfectly honest - a little astonished when she hit her first birthday and I had managed to keep her alive that long. There were many times that my family exchanged looks with one another (yes, I saw them) when I demanded that Emily be woken up from a nap exactly on time, or not fed until she was scheduled to be. (Though, to be fair, my rigid schedule had our baby sleeping through the night by eight weeks and never looking back). And, my poor husband more than once had to remind me that our daughter was a baby and not a robot when she wasn't doing what a particular book said that she should be doing. This time around, I'm hoping to be a little more relaxed, and to spend more time cuddling our new daughter even if the books say she needs to learn to fall asleep on her own!

My anxiousness this time around is focused more on the other members of my family. I worry about losing what little free time Eric and I manage to spend with one another when Emily is asleep or in her crib for quiet time. I worry about focusing even more of our energy and time on our children, and not paying enough attention to each other. And, while I think that in the long run, Emily will love having a sister (I know I love my own sister SO much), these are going to be a tough couple of months for her. She is going to have to adjust to a new baby, less attention from me, and a move to Pennsylvania, leaving behind life as she knows it here in Grand Rapids. She's an easy going kid, and I'm sure she'll be fine, but I've been conscious to try and enjoy these last few days of time with her, trying in some way to prepare her for what's ahead, and stock up on our time spent together. To that end, here are a couple of pictures of Emily from this past weekend while she is still an only child!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Photo Update

Even though we have been busy this fall, we have still been able to enjoy some fun and festivities.  Here is photographic evidence!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Emily Prays

We have a family prayer that Emily enjoys singing before meals, and I wanted to record it so that I can listen to it when she's sixteen and screaming at me for not letting her borrow the car to drive to her boyfriend's house.


In case you need some translating, the words are:
Heavenly Father, Heavenly Father
We thank You, We thank You
For our many blessings, For our many blessings
Amen, Amen.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Future Home

Last weekend, our family made a quick - but busy - trip to Pittsburgh.  Eric and I toured several houses that we could potentially rent while he completes his program at Pitt, while my mom graciously watched Emily so we could better concentrate on the pros and cons of all the houses we visited.  Our goals were to find a house that a) is close to Oakland, the part of downtown where Eric will commute for the majority of his classwork, b) is somewhat close to my parents, so that they can more easily help with childcare we can see them more often and c) provides enough space (both inside and out) that we can live as a family of four without losing our sanity.  We toured several homes, some new and shiny and others older and rundown.  In all, I was surprised at the poor condition that some renters kept their residences.  I hope our renters like to clean!  Maybe that should be part of our application.  When you spill juice on the floor, do you a) clean it right away with the appropriate cleaner, b) wipe a paper towel over it or c) pretend that you can't see it and maybe it will go away?  Anyway, we found a house that met our criteria in Bellevue, a neighborhood just to the North of the city of Pittsburgh.  It is a fairly nice walkable neighborhood for walks and runs, and we got a lot of house for our money (3 BR, 2 Bath).  There is a great fenced in backyard, and the previous renters are even leaving us their swingset.  Score!

One more thing we can check off our list.  Now we pray steadfastly for the right people to find our Grand Rapids home!  Here's a picture of our new place.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Count is On!

My life right now in numbers:

44 - Days until Baby Plantinga #2 is due to arrive.

68 - Days until we are planning to move to Pittsburgh.

90 - Days until Emily turns 3 whole years old.

3 - Number of classes I have left to teach this fall.

12 - Days of work I have left (my last day is 11/5/2010, but I only work part-time).

2 - Number of tours that our current favorites to rent our house have been on.  Our fingers are crossed.  Please cross yours too.

7 - Number of houses that our on our list to tour and possibly rent in Pittsburgh.

1,050 - the estimate of the moving truck company to get our 4 BR house moved to Pittsburgh.

2-3 - Days that the company estimates it will take to get all of our stuff driven to Pittsburgh.

91 - Days until Eric begins his Masters in Anesthesia Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

0 - What our income (from jobs, not loans/grants/etc.) will be for the first part of 2011.  Are we crazy?!

1 - Number of times I almost had a panic attack this morning after making this list.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Look at Me Mommy!

Emily yelled "Look at Me Mommy!" - and this is what I found.

Emily continues to be a source of joy to us, especially in the midst of such a busy time in our lives.  She both makes me laugh and want to pull my hair out about a hundred times each day.  She is talking like crazy, and singing all the time.  Most times whatever song she has in her head turns into Jingle Bells, so I think she'll enjoy Christmas this year.  She has pretty much given up her nap completely, but will happily read books for about an hour in her crib every day, which has been a huge sanity saver.  I'm a big fan of daily quiet time, and I'm not sure how easy this will be to enforce once she moves into a "big girl bed", but for now it's a good part of our daily routine.  Emily has been mostly potty trained for a couple of months now, but was showing a bit of regression, so we instituted the M&M reward policy every time she initiates going to the potty and has dry underwear.  Wouldn't you know we haven't had a single accident since we started that?!  She really must be her mother's daughter!

I am continuing to feel good during this pregnancy, though I am feeling quite large now, and will be ready to have my stomach (or tummily, as Emily calls it) return to a normal size soon.  I am struggling to have enough energy to get through everything on my long, daily to do list, and at the end of each day feel like I've run a marathon, but so far God is giving me the strength that I need to carry on!

Eric and I are also anticipating a move to Pittsburgh in the middle of December so that he can begin his masters program in anesthesia at Pitt in January.  He's excited for a new challenge, but we'd appreciate thoughts and prayers during our upcoming transitions.  Moving with a newborn and a toddler will certainly prove to be a challenge, as will finding the right people to rent our home, and finding the right home to rent in Pittsburgh, but we are taking one day at a time and trying to trust God with the rest.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top Chef

Our apologies for not blogging very faithfully.  We've been rather busy, and while I don't expect that to let up anytime soon, I want to keep documenting our adventures as a family.  Lately Emily has been very happy to help me in the kitchen.  She loves cooking and baking, and an added benefit is that we've discovered she's much more likely to eat what we eat for dinner (as opposed to say, another peanut butter and jelly sandwich) if she has a hand in making it.  Sunday night we made a spinach, onion, and cheese quiche, and she quickly ate her piece with excitement at dinnertime.  She has also discovered the great tradition of licking the utensils after you're done, and here she is getting a head start on the banana bread dishes while I was putting some of the ingredients away.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bathroom Etiquette

Today I'm at home with Emily and just witnessed what may be the first step towards reconciliation in a decades-long debate between the sexes.

Me: Emily, I'm going to the potty, please play with your toys.

Emily: What, why?

Me: because Daddy has to go potty

Emily: Oh, OK. Wait!

[Emily runs into the bathroom and puts the toilet seat up]

Emily: There, now you go potty, OK?

Me: Wow, thanks Emily!

Apparently all that potty training time in the bathroom has taught her more than just where the pee pee goes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Elsa and Isaac Tie the Knot

This post is a little late, but we've been so busy since arriving back from PA almost two weeks ago!  On July 24th, we had the honor of watching as my little sister, Elsa, and her long-time boyfriend, Isaac, tied the knot.  This was Emily's second gig as flower girl, and she did a fantastic job.  The wedding coordinator at the church said she's one of the best behaved girls she's ever had.  Clearly she missed the tantrums that accompanied the obedient behavior, but overall, Emily did great! Thanks again to grandma Evonne for tagging along this weekend and watching Emily; it allowed the rest of us to really enjoy the weekend and cherish our family time together!

I also had the privilege of being the matron of honor, and making a toast at the reception.  Here's part of the toast I gave to the happy couple:

In many ways, Elsa and Isaac are pretty similar. For example, they both have a flair for the dramatic, which can lead to some entertaining arguments. In other ways, though, they are exactly what the other needs. Isaac, I've never seen anyone that can make Elsa laugh and smile like you can. And Elsa, Isaac's affection for you is obvious, even in those moments when he seems to be utterly exasperated by you. Isaac, as you already know, Elsa is sensitive, caring, faithful, and extremely generous with her time and her love. I know that she'll always be there for you, and that in return, you will honor, respect, and love her right back. Please raise your glasses with me to the happy couple!

Congratulations Elsa and Isaac!  We're so happy for you!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Emily Reads About Jesus

Tonight when I arrived home from work I walked into the middle of a book reading session, led by Emily. Emily was reading books that were (supposedly) about Jesus. After finishing the first book about Jesus (aka Elmo sticker book), she moved on to this Berenstain Bears book.


In case you didn't catch that line near the end, Emily says "I have go potty about Jesus!". Although I couldn't stop laughing while listening to Emily read, I am nonetheless excited that she already seems to grasp the central message of the gospel: (A) Jesus loves you, and (B) we should announce this to everyone in a loud voice.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adventures in Pregnancy

I'm now just about 21 weeks pregnant with baby Plantinga #2, and in contrast to my first pregnancy, for the most part this one seems to be flying by.  Now that the morning sickness and exhaustion have passed, sometimes I even forget that I'm pregnant!  That is, until I try to squeeze into a space I normally could and realize my expanding belly won't let me.  Eric and I decided to find out the gender of our second child because we're terrible at waiting, and because it seemed practical to know if we needed to stock up on blue the second time around.  Between 16 and 17 weeks, we had a nurse on Eric's floor who used to work as an ultrasound technician give me a quick exam.  This revealed that we were going to be the parents of a little baby boy!  We were excited to hear the news, and also to know that everything seemed to be developing normally.

Then, yesterday, I went to my official mid-pregnancy ultrasound at my doctor's office.  After carefully measuring the heart, brain, kidneys, lungs, arms, legs, and several other body parts, it was determined that our baby is healthy and all looks great!  But then, when she asked if we wanted to know the gender, a funny thing happened.  She happily declared that we were having a girl.  Um, what?!  I was having a boy.  Where did he go?  It seems that our first results weren't as accurate as we would have liked, but this second set of pictures, taken with better equipment and at a later stage in the pregnancy, should prove to be much more reliable.  So, now we're adjusting to having a second daughter join the family in a few months.  And, we're trying to teach Emily that it's no longer a baby brother in mommy's tummy.  So far, that hasn't been successful.  She's a little confused, and to be honest, so am I!  But we're happy, ecstatic even, that our baby girl is healthy and growing.   Here are a few pictures!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pickerel Lake Triathlon 2010

On Saturday I had the opportunity to compete in the sixth annual Pickerel Lake Triathlon.  After whetting my appetite last year with my first ever PLT, I was eager to try another.  Organized by Jason and Randy and company, this is a triathlon where everyone knows each other, there are no entry fees, the course is slightly adventurous, and when you finish, Uncle Marv hands you a t-shirt.  I did very little training this year, especially with regard to running, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  My goals were to (a) not get a speeding ticket on the way there (like last year), (b) not accidentally start the race from the bathroom (like last year), and (c) finish strong.  As luck would have it, I achieved all three.

The weather was great, and the water was just the right temperature for swimming.

Despite veering off course several times during the 1/3 mile swim, I was out of the water in a respectable 12:00.

After that, it was transition time and off on the 9.5 mile biking leg, which I finished in 39:58. I had a good solid bike ride, except for the home stretch, where I accidentally took the wrong road, costing me several minutes of carrying my bike back and forth through the woods. The 5.5 miles of running was much tougher, since I was both tired and not well trained. The highlight of the run was the aid station where Sarah and Emily cheered me on, and Emily ran at me yelling "Daddy!".  After that, I tried to just keep moving until the end, and finished the run in 46:33, a pace of 8:28 min/mile.  I finished 7th overall, with a time of 1:38:31, a mere 5 seconds faster than last year.  If nothing else, I am consistent. My three clear areas for improvement this year were (1) deviating from a straight line during the swim, (2) a wrong turn on the bike course, and (3) a slow run.

After everyone had completed the triathlon, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with friends.  We went out on the motorboat with Jason, Melissa, and Esther.  Emily loved it, although she was a bit nervous at first.

Emily loved playing in the sand even more than the boat.  She especially liked playing with Esther.

They ran around together like they were sisters.

Emily also discovered the Elenbaas's jumbo dog, which is almost as fun on land as it is at sea.

It was a fun day, and a great way to celebrate the independence day weekend.