Monday, June 23, 2008


Today we went to John Ball Zoo - after a couple other stops we had to make. We got there around 12:30 so it was already pretty busy, but eventually we found a place to park.

I probably sound like a scrooge but I would much rather get there when they open and avoid some of the crowdedness... something to keep in mind for next time. However, we had eye appointments this morning, and then stopped for lunch at Russ' so we didn't get there as early as we should have.

Anyway, we had Lucy in the stroller most of the time, and saw a lot of cool animals. The snow leopard was hiding, which bummed me out - but we did get to see the new Lion exhibit, which is set up really nicely but the lions are hiding way up in the back, up on the top of the hill. There is a stairway lookout that can get you a closer view, so we went up there and the male turned around, so I got to get some good photos of him. They were just lazing around like lazy lions. C'mon lions! Earn your paycheck! Climb the trees and growl! At the lower part of the exhibit there are thick glass walls where, conceivably, the lions could come right down and be inches away from your face! That would be awesome! Lucy was pretty tired, even by the time we got there, and it's hard to get great pictures that include both the child and the animals... but I think she enjoyed herself (despite the fact she looks quite serious in almost all the pictures she is in). She fell asleep in the car on the way home - but when we put her down in her bed she woke up and stayed awake for the rest of the afternoon... geesh.

As she gets older she will hopefully be more and more interested in what she is seeing, and be able to walk more and not get knocked down by kids running through at top speed. So, we hope to go back at least one more time this summer, and maybe get a glimpse of that alleged snow leopard.
Here are our photos

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Leg Fun

I realize I haven't posted anything new in a while. Well, I haven't taken any photos in a few days (that's a long time for me!), and we haven't been up to much of anything exciting. Ron has been working quite a bit and in the evenings we try to relax... put our feet up.... speaking of which:

I had my doctor appointment for 24 weeks last Wednesday. Everything is looking/sounding good as far as the baby goes - heartbeat around 160 (although that seems to change every time) and my weight is slowly but steadily increasing (fun stuff). The only thing wrong is my dumb right leg which seems to be doing an inferior job of handling the extra blood volume that comes with pregnancy. Poor circulation has always been a problem for me, but never to this extent. Pregnancy also causes blood vessels to dilate and along with other hormonal changes it makes varicose veins pretty common, especially if they run in the family (which they do in mine). So, this has become an issue for me, and not only are they unattractive but potentially dangerous to my health (could lead to blood clots, etc.). It finally got to the point where I was concerned about it, and I showed my doctor. She actually seemed a bit concerned too (and she's a very laid-back type), so I was given a prescription for a sweet (not really) orthopedic compression stocking. It's significantly darker than my normal paleness, so I'm thinking about trying to even that out with self-tanner on the left leg. It actually makes my right leg look almost too flawless (which is far from the usual state of my legs). I will be wearing this for the rest of the pregnancy, for the rest of the summer and into fall. After the baby is born I will have surgery and hopefully take care of the problem. I know I would qualify for treatments to be covered by our insurance, since it is beyond cosmetic.

I'm blogging about it as a way to get over my self-consciousness which is making me feel stupid about wearing anything but long pants to hide the stocking. I just have to go about my usual business. There are MUCH worse things that can happen during a pregnancy, and this is only temporary. Most people aren't going to think much of it and I'm more aware of it than anyone. The good thing is, the stocking helps tremendously with the pain that I was experiencing, which was getting suprisingly bad. I almost can't stand not to wear it now. Also, I got an open toe one so I can wear sandals, and I only have to wear it on one leg (thigh high). They have a maternity version which goes up and over a big pregnant belly - but I imagine that wouldn't be very convenient when you have to pee every half hour, since it's a battle to get it on and off.

And here's a weird side effect: after I climb into bed, I yank the thing off and throw it to the floor. A few minutes later I get hit with a crazy headache located at the base of my skull. I attribute this to a sudden change in blood pressure when the blood vessels in my leg are no longer constricted by the stocking. It feels similar to the withdrawl syptoms of stopping drinking caffeine.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Look Ma, No Pacifier!

When Lucy was a newborn, we were all about the pacifier. I believe that the sucking reflex is a natural comfort for babies, and it was true for Lucy - it soothed her in her bassinet next to our bed. When it fell out of her mouth (before she developed the wonderful skill of grabbing it herself and putting it back in!) she would cry, and I would be thankful for glow-in-the-dark pacifiers. I was on pacifier patrol, and it drove me absolutely crazy (just not as crazy as trying to sleep next to a screaming baby, so what choice did I have?). Then a very short time later she moved to her crib at night. She was now downstairs in another room, as it was at our old house. She was sleeping for longer stretches, but I'd still have to get it for her now and then. She was never a thumb-sucker for whatever reason.

Before too long she could locate it, even in the dark, and she was set to go. By the time she was one, she was only having it in bed at night and during naps. Rarely did she have one in her mouth, unless something crazy was going on and she needed extra soothing.

Now that she's all adjusted to her new bed (I still have to make her quilt which I may start this week), we decided to change another variable. The collection of pacifiers always at the ready suddenly vanished this evening. When Lucy went to bed, we read her a story and kissed her goodnight. She was laying down peacefully, and when I shut the door I peeked in through the small opening to see her hunting everywhere among her blankets and all the other bedtime stuff to find it. I can only imagine what she was thinking: "I know it's gotta be here somewhere!" She got up, looked under her bed, laid back down with a book... I left her alone, and a little while later I heard a noise. She had gotten up to get a toy from across the room. As soon as she saw me she ran back toward the bed and put her head on the pillow as if she was there all along. "No more toys, it's bedtime." and she ended up staying in bed with a book. It took her a little bit longer to drift off, but Lucy is sleeping without a pacifier FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE. No screaming either.

I couldn't resist - I took these in a dark bedroom with just the hallway light on. Since it was so dark, I knew I had to use a long shutter, and therefore also a tripod to avoid moving the camera, and a remote shutter release. Yes, I went to all that trouble which only took about 2 minutes... I might be a bit crazy, but I think it was worth the extra effort, because it's next to impossible to get a good picture of a sleeping angel like this - especially without a pacifier in her mouth.

The pictures were so red due to lack of adequate lighting, but a little fixing up on the computer and voila! Adorableness.

Anyway, I think pacifiers are great inventions and I plan on giving one to our next baby from day one if s/he seems to want one... but who knows. My friend's daugther who is Lucy's age never cared for them and slept fine without one. I'm not saying they're bad or good or when is the appropriate age to take them away. That differs with every individual child and/or parent. I will say that I hope they stop using them by the time they can ride a two-wheel bike... but for US this was a good time to try this step, and it was successful. Considering she's never gone a night without one, we're pretty proud of how well she handled the change.

Father's Day

Sorry I haven't updated this in a while... we've been pretty busy and when I have had free time, I haven't felt like blogging. Anyway, this past weekend was Father's Day. We went to church in the morning (where Lucy did awesome in nursery!), and then straight to Grand Haven for the day and hung out with my parents. We also saw quite a few other friends of the family - some who I hadn't seen in years - and Lucy had another chance to play on the beach ("beach! beach! beach!"). This time she was even more fearless when it came to getting in the water... and she sat in the waves, letting them knock her right over. She loved it, but the rest of us thought the water was a little chilly! Another day at the beach, and this time she only got a tiny bit of sunburn on her face, but it's already almost faded. I took more photos, and when it comes time to do this year's album (I'm making a book with Blurb instead of a typical scrapbook... I'm already 60 pages in!), I will have plenty to pick from to remember the summer. We plan on taking her back to the beach throughout the summer, because it's a great way to tire a kid out (well, it tires us all out), and she has so much fun!
So even though it's belated, I should mention that I'm very blessed to be married to a guy who makes such an effort to spend quality time with his daughter. She has him wrapped around her finger, as they say. Lucy loves him back too, and every day when he comes home she goes nuts and runs over to him squealing. In his free time, the first priority is to make sure he can see her, and he is always making the most of opportunities to teach her new things... as well as just goof around and be silly. We always try to be a team when it comes to parenting - which isn't always "black and white" or easy, or simple, and it's nice to be with someone who is so involved and cares so much about how our kid(s) are raised. So happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, as well as the dads-to-be!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Heritage Park

Today we had a picnic lunch at Heritage Park in Grandville. We even have a real picnic basket - a wedding gift - which hasn't gotten much use (only once or twice), so hopefully we can start doing this more often. Those are IBC root beers, by the way. Lucy was drinking Carpi Sun.

There is a beautiful pond with a trail going all around it, plenty of wildlife, and a great playground. There also seems to be a lot more open space than some other parks for running around, and it would take a long time for Lucy to get anywhere near the parking lot or the street... we just have to make sure she doesn't chase a duck into the water.

Here's a photo of a Great Blue Heron - it wouldn't let me get very close, but it was pretty cool to see one on the pond amidst so many ducks. I guess seeing ducks gets old for me...

Across the pond from where we sat is the old #10 Schoolhouse. Kind of scenic... I guess they give tours. For now we've just peeked in the windows.
After eating, we went to the playground where Lucy burned off some more energy. It was humid and warm, even though it wasn't very sunny - and before too long she started looking really red in the face (I had sunscreen on her before we left so I know she wasn't burning). I was starting to overheat myself, so we called it quits and made our way back to the car. Here are some more photos.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beach Bum (a happy one this time)

Lucy hated sand the first time we took her to the beach this year (Tunnel Park), but since taking her to Grand Haven - today was the second day in a row - she absolutely loves it! When I pulled up to my mom's site at the state park, and she got Lucy out of the car, Lucy made a bee-line for the sand to play with buckets and shovels, filling them and dumping them out. Of course I was prepared for both Lucy and myself to be protected from the sun (I burn just about as easily as a baby anyway). It was quite warm most of the day, and down by the water, the breeze was perfect... not too cold. Thanks to multiple coats of SPF 30, Lucy didn't get burned at all!
Lucy was hesitant to get near the big lake, but eventually ventured in as far as her shins (with somebody there to hold her hand!)... which is a good start! She wasn't even all that willing to go touch the water with either myself or my mom, but a family friend Sara was the lucky charm. Lucy felt like she had a new buddy, and went with her to fill her bucket with water... coming back all proud, excited, clapping and grinning ear to ear. It was so cute to watch her play and get all sandy on the same beach I went to so many summers as a kid. Actually it's just fun to watch her play like a "kid" no matter where we are - like she is really starting to enjoy trying new things and can do so much more than she could last year. We ended our stay with an ice cream cone and headed home (no nap) around 4:30. She fell asleep before I even got to US-31, but was up for the rest of the night until bedtime...

...sidenote: the bedtime process took about 20 minutes tonight! Getting shorter and shorter!

Anyway, I think we're going back to Grand Haven on Sunday for Father's Day so hopefully the weather is nice! More photos from today HERE.


For the past 2 nights Lucy has slept in her big girl bed in her new room! We're excited to be taking steps toward this, but it wasn't without a bit of a battle. The first night (Monday) she thought it was a game for the first 10 times she came out. Then the crying began. After about 25 times out of bed she started hauling everything with her: her blankets, little pillow, Pink Bear, and baby. Eventually she began to slow down and stayed in bed until she fell asleep. It only took about 51 times putting her back, and just about an hour. The first couple of times we take a little extra time to say goodnight again, give her a kiss, etc. but after that it's just a matter of physically putting her in bed to send the message. It might sound harsh but it's the proven method from "Super Nanny" and we're believers that she tends to have success so her methods must be worth a shot (the idea is to not give the child what they're trying to get from you - engagement, conversation, and more time awake).

Then last night she remembered. Her screaming was as if she was in agony, and she's so strong that it was literally impossible to keep in laying down long enough to even leave the room. Although she fought harder, she fought shorter and was staying in bed / falling asleep within 45 minutes. I have to say the fact that she was screaming so intensely was hard to handle (I didn't really feel "sorry" for her, but probably for hormonal reasons, her emotions rub off on me), and I was so tired from carrying her - she seems to weigh more when she's fighting you - that Ron took more turns than me. Toward the end I did resort to staying in there, rubbing her chest until she stopped hyperventilating. That helped a lot and then I was able to walk away. She started crying instantly but stopped that on her own after a couple minutes, and I could peek in and see her lay back down on her own. She got stubbornness from both of us, in case you're curious.

In the morning(s) she might get out of bed but she doesn't leave her room - or hasn't tried yet - and she's in a great mood. We're hoping by the end of the week the shrieking stops. All in all, it's going pretty well!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Splish Splash

Lucy got a new pool - one that requires no pumps, filters, bags of shock, vacuums, or "winterizing"! She loves playing in the water. Even though it wasn't very hot after the thunderstorm, she went in and had some fun. More photos here.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's A...

Today Ron and I went to the doctor for my ultrasound (22 weeks). The technician checked out all the body parts, organs, etc. and we got to see our baby hiccuping in there, and kicking its legs around. The whole time, it had it's hands in front of its face like it was going to play "peek-a-boo" but never took them down for us to get a good look.

We also were able to find out the baby's gender this time... (if we had wanted to!) However, we opted out again. We aren't going to know until it is born, so using this photo of Baby's feet, you can make your best guess. We're having a... baby with feet!

When I was pregnant with Lucy, we had a technician who went crazy with the picture taking. Her name is Joy, and she printed for us almost 30 pictures (as well as the photos on CD). I think we were spoiled, because this time around the technician only gave us a few (see them here), partially because the baby was being a little camera shy. Although we don't have as many photos, it was very cool seeing the baby moving around, kicking, and opening and closing its mouth (we could see the lower part of the baby's face at times). I just realized that the baby holding its arms/hands in front of its face is a habit established a little while ago - if you look at this earlier post which shows Baby at the 12 week ultrasound, hands up by the face. The measurements all look right on, but the baby is measuring a bit longer than average (which is actually "normal" in our case). All those measurements are estimates based on femur length, head circumference, etc. The weight estimate was 1 pound 3 ounces... but like I said that is only an estimate. Even with today's technology, they have been known to be far from accurate.

The other good thing about not having an excess of photos is that we won't get as much "It looks like a ______" or "It has Ron's feet, so it's a boy", that we got last time. I don't mind just-for-fun guesses (I even added a poll in my sidebar if you feel so inclined...), but I suppose I do get annoyed when someone tells me what sex the baby is with this attitude of certainty and insight (that may be my one real pregnancy pet-peeve). Unless of course someone can determine gender from the bottom of a 22-week fetus's foot. Last time I was told I was having a boy because my face didn't change. What? The bottom line is everyone has a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly, and even then it's just a matter of chance they are right. Now that I have that out of my system...

No video today either, although we brought our camera. It was just a matter of not speaking up on both our parts, and that's alright. There should be one more chance toward the end of this pregnancy to do that. It's just amazing to see a baby in there, moving around... and after seeing it, we'd love to share that with others. I look forward to ultrasounds as a little "treat" to get you through the weeks and months, but I am making my best effort not to wish away any of this pregnancy, and to enjoy each stage for what it is. It may be the last time I experience this process (not that we're making any permanent decisions yet, but I always imagined having 2 kids, but who knows I guess).

Also today the baby gave me my first uncomfortable kicks. Don't get me wrong, feeling the baby move (even when there is some discomfort) is probably my favorite part of the pregnancy... but I've entered the stage where sometimes those kicks catch me off-guard, like HEY watch it. That just means he or she is getting bigger and stronger, and those kicks and rolls are actually very reassuring!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


A little over a year ago I decided that I wanted to start collecting vintage Pyrex pieces... Ron, Lucy, and I were at an antique store and I kept noticing all the fun colors and patterns - they had so many great pieces I wish I would have taken advantage and gotten more! We'll have to go back. Anyway, I bought my first large bowl and since then have acquired only a couple more pieces. I'm trying to stick with a color scheme of turquoise/teal, oranges, and greens - but I've already deviated from that with a black and white snowflake dish.
Here's an example (although I don't own this):
I like collecting these because they're very affordable, common, fun, and easy to find. They don't have to be in mint condition to look good, either. I think I need to get back into it, because until recently I hadn't added anything to my collection, but my mom found a set of mixing bowls (Butterprint) for $3 at a garage sale. Check out all these amazing patterns.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Grand Haven

Yesterday was such a nice day, we we desperate to get out and do something - so we went to Grand Haven and walked around with Lucy. In the photos she is ringing the bell on this buoy... other kids were doing it, so we thought it was okay for her to do it too. We didn't really do much besides look at boats (there had been a big fishing tournament and Lucy got to see some real pros cleaning salmon down at Chinook), and get a little exercise. I didn't even take many pictures. Lucy enjoyed the scenery and we're looking forward to going back many times. The Pronto Pup line was way too long, so we skipped that, and it was actually quite chilly by the channel - so ice cream didn't really sound good either.

After we left we went to Main St. Pub in Allendale for dinner, and Lucy squirmed in her high chair like never before. She even discovered a leg under the table to push off of, and almost toppled over backward a couple times before we resorted to holding it down with our own feet (because I don't think she realizes she could fall and get hurt). She wasn't misbehaving, but was just really hyper and saying "hi" LOUDLY to everyone, and jabbering - although we continued to tell her to use her "inside voice"... or a couple times resort to a "shhhh!", or a french fry to quiet her down! There's only so much you can do, ya know? At least she was a happy loud kid so hopefully we didn't annoy the other people too much!

And... it's June - so I have new blog colors (inspired by the pretty blue of our neighbor's pool just uncovered yesterday).