Thursday, January 31, 2013


Today while I prepared dinner, the girls were playing with their Sesame Street characters.  I'm not sure what exactly was going on (especially in this picture), but there was a lot of roaring involved. 


Sophie made this craft today at church, and while it's cute, the best part was watching her waddle like a penguin when she showed it to me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


There are so many things I'm going to miss about living here, but shopping at the Red, White, and Blue thrift store is high on that list.  For example, today I found a brand new pair of Ugg boots in my size.  Do I need them?  Absolutely not.  But did you hear the part about how they were in my size and at a thrift shop?!


When Sophie and I grocery shop, she consumes more grapes than is normal for any toddler to eat in one sitting (and also, they haven't been cleaned yet!).  But she's happy, and quiet, and somehow this trumps everything else.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Today Emily and I read "Angelina and the Princess".  It's not the first time we've read it, but it renewed Emily's interest in dance and ballet.  She spent much of the afternoon at grandma's house making up dance routines and putting on various shows.  And she insisted this veil be part of her costume!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


What I wish I'd gotten a picture of today was Emily boldly and fearlessly jumping into the deep end of the pool for swimming lessons this morning.  But we've got two kids going at once, and it's hard to take pictures.  Instead, since I had a friend who lost her cat today, I'm putting up a picture of ours, who often gets camouflaged among the stuffed animals on the toy room floor.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Today Sophie was feeling a bit better (though still running a fever and not eating that well), so we ventured out to keep our appointment with Dr. Cheng.  Sophie was born with a blocked tear duct that hasn't cleared up yet, so he is going to perform a probe and irrigation procedure on Sophie in February.  Sophie wasn't crazy about having her eyes dilated, but she liked the trucks in the waiting room.


This was about all Sophie and I had energy for today (she's sick and not sleeping all that well).  Photo credit to Emily on this one!


Unfortunately, poor Sophie came down with a high fever today.  A trip to the pediatrician revealed a "nasty ear infection".  Now, I know I am lucky that this is only her second ever ear infection (and Emily has never had one!), but I hate to see my baby sick.  Bring on the antibiotics!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Someone got to open her new potty tonight, and went diaper free from after dinner until bedtime.  One accident and then one success story.  Here's hoping for more of the latter in the days to come!

Monday, January 21, 2013


I'm really wishing that the sun would stay up past dinnertime again.  These girls need a way to get the last of their energy out that doesn't involve climbing all over their parents!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


This picture is actually from yesterday, so technically I'm cheating, but it's my blog and my project, and I say it's okay.  We had an unbelievably gorgeous day here yesterday; sunny with the highs in the mid fifties.  So of course we ventured outside for quite awhile.  The girls amused themselves for a good 45 minutes doing "science experiments".  This boiled down to them each receiving a large container of water, and then putting various things from the yard (leaves, acorns, rocks, etc.) inside to see if they would float or sink.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


We had our first family movie tonight, and everyone really enjoyed "The Lorax".  The lesson really seemed to hit home with Emily, which is good.  And Sophie loved the songs and near the end, kept asking "what happened now?" about every sixty seconds.  I'd explain, she'd say "oh" and then then we'd start over.  I think a new tradition has been born.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Today Emily had her first "friends only" birthday party.  We've always celebrated her birthday with family (of course!) and when she was younger, our friends came for cake.  But this was the first year we hosted several small children.  Let me just say, loading five year old girls up with sugar and then having to be in a room with them for the next two hours was a bit more than I was expecting.  But everyone had fun, most of all Emily.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I have wanted a Garmin running watch for a very long time, and with some Christmas money, I finally purchased one.  I am in love.  It was awesome to be able to get instant feedback on my pace and how far I've gone at any given moment.  Don't think I'll ever want to run without it again!  Here's a summary shot of my stats from my first run with my new watch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


For the past few days, I have been hard at work creating a "Year in Review" Photo Album for 2012.  The final product is still in the mail, but here's a screen-shot of the last page!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I have a thing for accent pillows lately, and even though we'll be moving soon and I don't know what our new living space will look like, I just had to make these pillows mine.  Thanks to my mom and mother-in-law for conspiring to get them for me for Christmas!

Monday, January 14, 2013


Like most parents, we've had our share of toys pass through this house.  Some that I think are pretty cool go virtually unused, but not this Leapfrog pen.  Both of my girls will use it to read stories for a long time.  Today, I tried to read a book to Sophie and she declared my version not as good as the pen.  Apparently I don't do a good Flounder impersonation.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I grew up going to Soergel's apple orchards in the fall, occasionally getting flowers from their greenhouse, and visiting Dudley, who is the largest pig I've ever seen.  I loved it.  And now, with the addition of this store, my love for Soergel's has grown.  It's an entire store with row after row of gluten free items, including baked goods from Glutteny, a GF bakery in the city.  I came home having spent a bit too much money, but having a well stocked pantry.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Swimming lessons began for real this morning.  To say that things were a little chaotic might be an understatement.  I thought it was efficient to have the girls taking lessons at the same time, which may be true, but it's also a little overwhelming.  We found out that Sophie still *loves* the water, though she has a little more respect for it than in the summer.  Emily was initially pretty upset that we forgot her goggles, but by the end, she was remembering how much she enjoys the water (with the condition that it goes nowhere near her eyes).

Friday, January 11, 2013


Eric and I on the Duquesne incline, the very spot where he proposed almost eleven years earlier.  Here's to ten wonderful years of marriage!

To my husband, on our Tenth Anniversary

Dear Eric,

Today we have been married for ten years.  A decade!  That's big stuff.  I know we can't take the time right now for a big, fancy, proper celebration. But I do want to tell you (and everyone else who is reading this) some of the many things I love about you. You deserve someone bragging about you a little.

When we were married ten years ago, we were only twenty one.  Twenty one?! Would we let our girls get hitched that young? (No, the answer is definitely no). We were kids, truly.  Yet there we were, standing in front of our friends and family, promising to love and cherish each other for the rest of our lives.  Honestly, I'm not sure I knew what a huge commitment we were making. Heck, I have a feeling I still don't truly grasp how big it is. Maybe when we hit our 50th anniversary I'll finally get it, I don't know.

What I do know is that each and every day we make that same choice again; we choose each other. We try and put each other first. To love selflessly, and put each other's needs above our own. Or at the very least on an even level with our own desires. And you do this for me. I see you doing this for me, even if I don't tell you. You selflessly love me in a million different ways.

And I love you too.

I love that you make me laugh (even when I'm mad. No, especially when I'm mad).
I love that you take care of me.
I love that you know how I'm feeling just by looking at me.
I love that you add spice to life, never wanting things to get boring.
I love how possessive you are about your nail clippers.
I love that you always sneeze in multiples.
I love that when we see people DOING THIS, we both understand they are yelling.
I love that you can't stay mad at me.
I love what a wonderful, caring, doting father you are to our girls, even in this busy season.
I love that you think dessert without chocolate is not truly dessert at all.
I love that you try to keep up with my ever changing favorite yogurt flavors (peach is back at the top, by the way).
I love that making you cookies (or heck, even a sandwich) is all it takes to get back in your good graces.
I love that you are a man who knows how to say “I'm sorry” and isn't afraid to do so.
I love that you always have a bit of a sparkle in your eye when you get excited.
I love the way you talk about the adventures we'll have when we're sixty.
I love the way you root for the Steelers!
I love the way you can (and do!) find an analogy for anything.
I love that you tell me I'm beautiful, smart, and caring (but you don't need to be so surprised when you remark that I'm funny).
I love how patient you are, and how utterly unflappable you are, even in a crises.
I love that you continue to be baffled why more companies don't make a size 12.5 shoe.
I love that you try to love me as Christ loves the church; unconditionally.

We've had challenges over the past ten years for sure, and I don't doubt we'll have more. But I wake up every morning so very thankful that God brought us together. I see the wonderful ways that you support me, ways that you're there for me, ways that you make me better. I will always choose you, choose us. I'll always be proud to be your wife.



Thursday, January 10, 2013


After enjoying a few unseasonably warm and sunny days, today was cold and dreary.  Perfect for snuggling on the couch and watching the Berenstein Bears DVD that the girls got for Christmas.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Today Sophie wanted to pick out her own attire, and might I say, she did pretty fabulously.  Here she is doing her impression of a toddler model.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I'm not sure there is a more girly girl picture in existance.  My daughter (the elder one) added a few stickers to this dazzling unicorn picture.  Then she asked me to help her color it in an effort to procrastinate having rest time today.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Exactly one week ago, our girls became cousins for the first time.  They now love saying hi to her on faceTime any chance they get.  Tonight Sophie hugged the iPad as she said "hi baby juwia" (or baby Jesus, but I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt this time). 

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I have been completely captivated by this book today.  It's over 400 pages, I started it yesterday, and I'll finish before I go to bed tonight.  I absolutely love the "can't put it down" novel, and this definitely qualifies!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


This morning the girls and I got up and readied ourselves for swimming lessons at the YMCA.  But when we got there, they told us that lessons don't start until the following week, and we couldn't even use the pool.  As Emily repeatedly said, "what a bummer"!  So instead, Eric took the girls to the mall to play for a bit, where they met new friends, including "baby Jesus" (which is what Sophie has taken to calling every new baby she meets, including her new cousin), and snapped this picture.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I'm quickly discovering how much I love doing this!  It forces me to take five minutes and create a lasting memory, all while stirring a spirit of thankfulness within me.

Recently I've been remembering how early Em gave up her naps.  When she was Sophie's age, she was pretty much done with naps.  Sophie, on the other hand, is a wonderful sleeper.  She sleeps almost twelve hours most nights, and still usually takes a two hour snooze in the afternoons!  Here she is this morning as we most often find her: clutching her bunny with a book or two within reach.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Sophie is a big fan of Diego these days, and she is forever asking to read this book.  Today she pointed to an animal in the book and said "what dis mommy"?  I was folding laundry, but glanced over quickly and told her it was a monkey.  She looked at me, smiled, and said "no, mommy dat a sloth".  Yup, I was just corrected by my toddler.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Emily!


Today we celebrated your fifth birthday, just two days after we welcomed your first cousin into the world: Julia Beth Plantinga! These five years have been filled with lots of growth and change, and it's hard at this point to imagine life without you, or even what you were like when you were only two or three years old. I think this picture from earlier this week of you making a snow angel captures it well: you are growing up so quickly that your mother and I can hardly keep up. Even your coat and snow pants barely fit (and if you knew the effort your mother makes to keep you girls not just clothed, but stylishly clothed, all while trying to appease the cheap Dutchman she married, you would know that she is not often ill-prepared in the clothing department). You have grown up so much, and I am incredibly proud of the little girl you have quickly become. You are smart, cheerful, caring, obedient, empathetic, and a great deal more.

I am perhaps most impressed at what a wonderful big sister you are to Sophie. All the instruction manuals for raising children say that when you have a second child, the first child is supposed to get jealous and whiny and generally behave badly. Well, you did not read any of those instruction manuals. Instead, for five days in a row before Sophie was born, you woke up in the morning and asked "baby Sophie come out?". You were ecstatic when you met her. When you first met her, you were happily munching on saltine crackers and I told you that Sophie was hungry. You immediately handed her your last cracker (a food which the toddler version of you often acquired by throwing tantrums). Others in the room didn't seem to think much of that, but I knew then that you were head over heels. Since that time, you have continued to ignore those instruction manuals, and been incredibly loving and caring to your little sister. You are what I call a "little mother" to her.

Sometimes I try to explain some of this to you when I tuck you in at night, but you are still only five years old and often just worried about how many stories we can read before I turn the lights out. So instead I'm writing it here, where you can read it once you are older. Perhaps it will be when you are a teenager and you have decided that your father has ruined your life by embarrassing you.

In any case, I'm so glad I got to help you celebrate your fifth birthday. As I write this on a cold day in January, my only regrets are that I can't take you camping right now (something you bring up FREQUENTLY), and that I am finishing graduate school and am often too busy to spend more time with you. Happy birthday Em, I can't wait to spend another year with you!




Today we celebrated Emily's 5th birthday.  She requested a dinner of chicken nuggets and french fries, with ice cream for dessert.  She got to do pretty much whatever she wanted, which included skipping rest time in lieu of watching her Felicity (American Girl) movie, having a lot of chocolate milk, and opening another round of presents. We love you, Em!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


This year, my resolution is to capture our everyday life in snapshots, and upload the pictures to our blog.  I have no idea who will be interested, or if I can really keep it up, but it seemed like a good goal.  To start things off, here is a picture of the girls after they have "helped" me bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies!