Friday, February 26, 2010

The Mexican Friday Five

I'm rather short on time today, but I wanted to share some pictures of our recent trip to Mexico.  And so, I decided to make this week's Friday Five a list of my top five favorite photos from our trip.  In short, it was wonderful!  A great way for Eric and I to connect again, and Emily had a blast at grandma and grandpa's house (thanks again to you both)!

1.  We enjoyed great, authentic Mexican food. They really let you take your time eating (and drinking) while in Mexico. They will not bring you the check unless you ask for it! And they will always bring you another Margarita or Corona!

2.  Exploring a cenote, which is basically a really cool sinkhole. There were several near Playa Del Carmen, where we stayed. It was good to explore one! We even jumped off the cliff in the background into the water!

3.  We loved the animals in Mexico, from the friendly lizards to the crafty Pelicans.  One pelican even let us get only a couple of feet away before he flew off!

4. XelHa was another highlight.  It was a huge, natural water park of sorts, with snorkeling options abounding, and other fun outdoors activities.   It was absolutely beautiful!

5.  And the absolute highlight of the trip for me was a chance to swim with the dolphins and acts as their trainer for an hour.  There are several cool pictures, and you can see more by clicking on the one above, which was my favorite.

Eric gave this gift of dolphin swimming to me as an anniversary present last month, and I've been looking forward to it ever since.  It definitely didn't disappoint!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Friday Five

This week I've been spending way too much time (and consequently, staying up way too late) watching the olympics.  And I've been doing a bit of thinking about how much time, dedication, and motivation these athletes must have.  They train years and years for a performance that is often over in a few minutes, or even seconds.  Crazy!  But I also pondered what sport I'd want to compete in if I had the athletic skills to be an olympian.  In no particular order, here we go:

The top 5 Olympic Events in which I'd like to compete

1.  The marathon.  I know it sounds crazy, but I love to run.  I've completed a marathon before, and it was fun.  Well, the first 20 miles were fun, the last six, not so much.  But to be able to do it quickly, and well, running five minutes miles (instead of what I believe was just over a nine minute pace in my race), would be such an awesome sense of accomplishment.  I'd love it!

2.  Beach volleyball.  What's not to like about this idea?  You get to spend hours of time outside on the beach training, in the sunshine, hearing the waves (I'm glad I leave for Mexico on Saturday!).  Plus, as an added bonus, you get a killer work-out every time you play.  My muscles would be so toned, and I wouldn't be so  darn pale (have I mentioned I'm looking forward to spending time in the sun this weekend?).

3.  Bobsled.  Ever since I watched the movie "Cool Runnings" as a kid, I've thought it would be so much fun.  Not nearly as dangerous as the luge, it's basically like being a professional sledder.  Every kid's dream, right?

4.  Gymnastics and the balance beam.  This also goes back to when I was younger and watched the likes of Kerri Strug and Shannon Miller win gold for team USA.  I'm pretty sure I'm dating myself here!  I would love to feel graceful and composed when walking on a four inch beam.  An yes, I remember that it's four inches because the commentators mention this every three seconds.  Not to mention all the cool jumps, twists, turns, and flips.  So fun!

5.  Soccer.  I love playing the game, and for the most part, watching the game.  I should note, though, that I understand the criticism from those who don't play.  There's not much scoring and if you don't understand the strategies, or appreciate the awesome individual ball control, it's not very exciting.  I was a solid player in high school, one of the best on my team, and I played in off-season travel leagues as well.  But I never thought I was good enough to play in college, so I didn't try (one of my biggest regrets).  I'd love to play again, especially with Mia Hamm.

What about you?  What would your top sports be?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


(Editor's note: I found this in our saved but unpublished drafts, loved reading it, and so am publishing it without Eric's permission because he is in Mexico and can't stop me.  It was written in March of 2009.)

Emily, I just want to take a minute and let you know that in the church nursery, you are legen - wait for it - dary. You have a reputation that has spread among all the nursery volunteers who have met you. Ever since your infant days, you have apparently been a model child while in nursery. According to Hannah, who plays with you on most Sunday mornings, you have only ever cried once, and on the very morning your mother and I were volunteering. When she told us this, your mother and I both sort of just sat there and said "Really? Are you sure you're not thinking of some other baby? Ours is the squirmy little child who doesn't ever sit still". Don't get me wrong, you are a great kid, but at home you cry crocodile tears if one of us dares to leave you in a room by yourself while we go make some dinner or something. I saw one of the other nursery volunteers once outside of church, and he right away asked if you were always so happy and well-behaved. On other occasions, I've dropped you off, and the volunteers say things like "you don't need a pager, do you?". For some reason, you really like it there, and I think I know why.

This may scare your mother a bit, but I think it's because you're just like me. Friends and family often tell me that you look just like me, but I think your personality is what's really just like me. New people and places are exciting and interesting, and that is just what the church nursery has to offer: different volunteers and kids regularly, and more toys than you could ever explore in one morning. At home you are stuck with the same toys, the same rooms, and the same two parents who won't let you use your toys to play "does it float?" in the toilet bowl. That's why nursery, car rides, runs in the jogging stroller, and any type of store always make you happy: they are all new and different places for you to explore. Just like me, you are a bit ADD, and don't seem to have the instinct to just turn your brain off and slow down. This is where your mother usually rescues the both of us. She will often give you a sippy cup and read you a story on her lap until you're ready for a nap or bedtime. She does the same for me too, but I usually get a peanut butter sandwich and have to read the story to myself.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Friday Five

I'm starting a new column on this blog, because I need some more accountability to write consistently, and because I like making "Top 5" lists.  So without further ado, I give you this week's list:

The Top 5 Things I Learned about Potty Training

1.  My bathroom is not nearly as clean as I imagined it was.  When you spend so much time sitting on the floor next to the toilet reading books to your toddler as she sits on the potty, you realize that the toilet is actually pretty gross.  And the floor around it? Also pretty questionable.

2.  My daughter goes to the bathroom a LOT.  I guess she has a small bladder, and isn't accustomed to "holding it".   But seriously, I think she uses the potty at least two dozen times a day.  And by uses it, I mean uses it successfully.  The kid pees quite often.

3.  Emily is very terrified of toilets without kid seats on top of them.  There was an incident at our friend Julie's house this week that I thought might scar her from her great progress using the potty, but she bounced right back as soon as she wasn't scared out of her mind that she was going to fall in!

4.  Potty training requires more patience than I have.  It's one thing when we're at home, and I can easily stop what I'm doing every time Emily indicates an interest in using the potty.  But when we're on a play date at the mall and the potty is good five minute trek away from our friends, it's another story.  Emily requested to use the potty three times in the span of just over an hour.  Doing the math; a five minute walk to the potty + two minutes sitting time + three minutes washing hands + five minute walk back x 3 = 45 minutes of potty time and about 20 minutes of playing.  But how do you say no?  You don't.  Instead, you fake patience.

5.  Even though we're not out of the woods yet (still in pull ups, no underwear yet), this is so much easier than I thought it would be.  I dreaded this stage of parenting more than the nights of interrupted sleep with a newborn, and more than anticipating a teenager with an attitude problem.   Instead, I learned that there is nothing worse than being sleep deprived for several weeks.  And, Emily has initiated sitting on the potty on her own.  Even with the MANY trips we are making, it's not so bad yet (knock on wood).  Now if we could only get back to napping regularly...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Going to the Chapel

At the end of last month, our family participated in the first of three important weddings that will take place in 2010.  In the summer, my baby sister will be getting married, and we'll add another member to our extended family.  And in June, two of our very best friends are tying the knot as well.  But this first marriage celebration was for Eric's brother Jeff, and his new bride, Kara.  It was such a fun day, filled with a lot of smiles and laughs (and pictures, oh so many pictures!) and a few tears as well.  It was freezing outside; in fact, I don't think it left the single digits all day.  But the sun was shining, and everyone seemed to be having fun.  I'm sure once we see all the professional pictures, I'll add a few more photos, but for now, here are some of our favorites!  Welcome to the family, Kara!

The beautiful bride!

Eric giving Kara a hand with her dress.

Our family before the ceremony.

Jeff and Kara with the many flower girls and the "flower boy".

The Plantinga brothers with their beautiful wives.

Eric and I at the reception.

Emily poses with Jeff and Kara. She wanted to be in every picture that day!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It's been a busy past few weeks in our household.  This past weekend, our whole family took part in wedding festivities officially welcoming Kara into the Plantinga family (pictures, and a full recap, to come soon).  While we've been neglecting the blog a bit, I wanted to take a moment to write down some of the many memorable things that Emily has been saying or doing lately, as this blog has always been a sort of substitute baby book for us.  So here we go:

  • Emily has started to say what she does and does not like.  In the past few days, she has told me she "yikes" circles, eggs (which she actually will not eat), watching George (Curious George, that is),  play-doh, and friends.  Friends generally refer to our good friends Andy and Sarah.  I think Emily believes their last name is Friends.

  • If we tell Emily something that she does not want to hear, like it's time to go to bed, she puts her hands over her eyes as if that will somehow eliminate her from hearing or having to obey us.

  • She has a firm grasp on what things she is not allowed to touch, only sometimes she thinks it applies to everyone, and if I pick up the TV remote, she'll sometimes tell me "no mommy, no touch".

  • She picks up on and remembers things so quickly.  I read her a new book about Percy the Pig one time, and hours later she asked to read Percy.  I had no idea what she was talking about, and she had to remind me who Percy was and where the book was!  She also likes to narrate to me what's going on in the picture of books.

  • She has a very good grasp on at least three songs now: her ABCs, Jesus Loves Me, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

  • She has become very interested in sitting on the potty right AFTER she has actually dirtied her diaper, and will become very agitated if we don't let her before putting a new diaper on.  I see potty training in our near future, hopefully with a slight adjustment on the timing of the aforementioned sequence.

  • She is very, very good at puzzles, and can also identify a circle, square, and triangle.

  • When we tell Emily she is a big girl, she'll respond back to us.  "No.  Mommy/Daddy big girl".  As you can imagine, daddy gets quite the kick out of this.

  • She likes to take her pajamas off in the morning, and we'll often find her naked in her crib in the mornings.  She'll look up proudly and say "I change!" (as in, I change my clothes)!

  • She has started saying (well, whining would be more accurate) "I can't" to things she either can not or does not want to do.

  • Her vocabulary grows daily, and often says words I had NO idea that she knew.  This morning, on our walk to Julie's house, she said "careful mommy, snow slippery".  And yesterday, she found a small bag of sun chips, brought them to me and said, "I want this".  I responded by telling her we could have a few with our lunch soon, and she looked at me again and said "I need this".  I don't know if she truly understood the subtle difference in meaning, or was merely trying another phrase to get me to open them sooner, but what a smart girl!