Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ideal vs. reality

I thought I had an ideal family night planned for us last night. We had a Groupon to use at 84 East in Holland, so I thought we could go there for dinner, take a walk out to the pier to watch the boats and get ice cream on the way home. It sounded like a fun family summer night to me! Well, an ideal night suddenly turns into reality when you're dealing with a 3 yr. old. He spent our time at 84 East refusing to eat his dinner, jumping up and down in the booth and complaining that his stomach hurt. We told him that since his stomach hurt and since he didn't eat his dinner, he wasn't going to get ice cream (this would set in later in the evening). Once we escaped dinner before ruining everyone else's dinner experience that night, we took a walk out to the pier (after driving to the beach first!). Kaden loved seeing everyone fish and all of the boats going in and out of the channel. Then, he decided that he wanted to go in the water, which we told him we could come back and do another time. He wanted to go in the sand, yet didn't want to get his feet dirty...another issue. He finally decided to step in the sand and we let him run around for a few minutes. Once we told him we were leaving, he refused to put his shoes on and Andy had to carry a screaming child back to the car. I wasn't going to let Kaden ruin my ice cream experience, so we stopped for ice cream and I returned to the car with 2 ice cream cones- one for me, and one for Andy. Kaden, of course, asked where his was, and with tears in his eyes looked at me in disbelief. Mom- how could you not get me an ice cream cone?!? I offered him his chicken nugget from dinner, which to my surprise, he actually ate.

He calmed down on the ride home and I made him an ice cream cone when we got home since he ate his dinner leftovers in the car. It was still a fun night, but definitely not the ideal family night I had in mind. Andy and I agreed that next time maybe we'll get a babysitter and enjoy the evening a bit more! :) But, as all of you know... the reality is... each kid, as great and cute as they can be, has their moments. This was one of our sweet child's.

Looking at the boats with Daddy

On the beach with Mommy

Playing in the sand

28 weeks

I really should take belly pictures more often and blog about my progress, but it seems like the weeks just fly by! I know I say this all of the time, but your second pregnancy is way different than your first. A certain 3-yr. old in our house keeps a lot of my attention these days! :)

So, here I am... large and in charge.

Once I posted this picture, I remembered that I had taken a belly picture of myself in this skirt when I was pregnant with Kaden. Below is what I looked like at 35 weeks pregnant with Kaden. Oh my. I'm WAY bigger now at only 28 weeks. I suppose it does make a difference when you have 2 in there instead of 1!! :) That also probably explains why I feel more like I'm 35 weeks pregnant instead of 28!

How do I feel?

This is probably the first time since early in the 1st trimester that I don't answer, "Great!" anymore. I feel kind of like I did in the 1st trimester. I'm nauseous again in the morning, and I really have no appetite lately. I seriously get full after eating only a few bites at any given meal, which I think is because my stomach doesn't have any room to expand with those 2 girls in there! Of course, then I'm hungry about an hour later and we start the process all over again. So, I'm basically hungry all of the time, but nothing sounds good and I get full after a few bites. I guess I don't have to worry about gaining tons of weight!

I still haven't had any major cravings since the 1st trimester craze of salad, pickles and egg/cheese sandwiches. Twice in the past 2 weeks I've craved a brownie sundae and driven myself to Burlingame Dairy Dip at 10pm to get one, but other than that, not a whole lot sounds good.

I'm getting bigger, obviously. This has posed some problems. Sleeping is not quite as easy anymore. I feel like I'm always squishing those babes. I can't get comfortable on the couch, in chairs, in bed... not anywhere! Standing up for long periods of time makes my back hurt because I'm so front heavy (is there such a thing?!?). I'm also finding that with this pregnancy I'm carrying all up front. This means that a lot of my maternity clothes from Kaden don't cover my belly so I've resorted to some of Andy's t-shirts for bed and around the house. Or, I just wear the same things over and over again as I make it work over the next couple of months. My stomach constantly hurts because of the growth. Not a stomachache, but instead, just a dull pain in the front of my stomach that reminds me that it's stretching. I wonder if it's possible for someone's stomach to actually explode? I figured if Kate Gosselin could stretch for 6 babies, I can stretch for 2 without too many difficulties! :)

The girls like to move. ALL. OF. THE. TIME. When I start to complain about it, I stop myself. This is what I prayed for. The movement is a reminder of those 2 blessings in there and that they're alive and well. Baby B likes to make large movements on the top of my belly and Baby A has the hiccups quite often and makes softer, slower movements since she's down deeper in there. If I put my cell phone on my stomach when they're moving, it typically gets bumped off because of the action. It is strange feeling 2 babies move. They usually move around at the same time, but oftentimes one will move and get settled, and then the other one decides that she needs to do the same. Oh, girls.... what will you be like when you're born? My guess is Baby A will be calm, cool, and collected and Baby B will be crazy. Fabulous.

The to-do list before the babies arrive is getting shorter. We're making progress on the room, sewing projects are getting completed, and reality is setting in (as much as it can I guess).

I see both my high-risk doctor and my OB/GYN every two weeks. It makes for a busy summer running back and forth to dr's appointments all of the time and finding babysitters for Kaden, but I'm thankful for the constant monitoring to make sure all is well. The glucose test results were fine, but despite the extra iron I've been taking, I'm slightly anemic, so we're monitoring that.

All is well. 20 weeks ago I wondered if I'd even make it to this point. I have so much to be thankful for! It's hard to believe that the doctors won't let me go more than 9-10 weeks from now. That is craziness. While it scares me beyond belief, it also makes me so excited. At times I feel guilty that I won't be able to give Kaden as much attention, but I know it's healthy and he's ready to meet his sisters, too. He needs some playmates! :) Speaking of Kaden, check out our family pictures we had taken a couple of weeks ago. Kaden was SO sweet in kissing my belly, and his personality shines through. Thanks to Photos by Kaity for the awesome pictures. You can check them out here (then click on "portraits," then "rysdam").

I'll keep you posted as I continue to go from doctor to doctor, but for now, that's the update over here!

Capturing Conversations

Last night, while stalling for bed, Kaden decided he had to poop again. Mind you, this would have been the 3rd time that day, but I'm not going to argue with a kid that says he has to poop. He sat on the toilet for quite awhile and then decided he didn't need to go to the bathroom anymore. His comment to me was, "Mom, I don't have to poop right now, but maybe while I sleep Jesus will make more poop for me and I can poop tomorrow."

Jesus can do all things, you're right, Kaden! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011


Kaden is a boy after his parents' hearts. He LOVES the Calvin College Knights. He went to several basketball games there this year, and every time we drive past or go to Calvin, he asks if the Knights are there. We tell him that they're home for the summer! :) This past winter I had season tickets to the basketball games, and we hope to get season passes again this year. We figured it'd be something special that we could do with just him especially with the craziness of the twins coming soon. Plus, it doesn't hurt to work at Calvin and get perks for games! :)

When we found this Armor of God set in my teaching supplies when I was cleaning out for the mega garage sale, Kaden was SO excited. He loves his (yes, he took full ownership of it as soon as he saw it) Knight set and talks about how he's going to be a Calvin College Knight when he gets bigger. I'd support that decision if he still thinks so in another 10+ years.

Today when we were driving around running errands, Kaden said, "Mom.... Calvin College Knights!" Sure enough. I looked over and saw a Calvin bumper sticker on a car we were passing. He even asks if the Calvin College Knights are playing when he sees a team wearing maroon on ESPN. This kid doesn't miss a beat.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Water balloons

Someone thinks that doing water balloons with his daddy is the best thing ever! :)

Not sure who had more fun here... hmm...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The big 3-0

No, not 30 weeks pregnant (I WISH!, although only a few short of that!). It's hard to believe I'm officially 30 years old. For some reason, turning 30 seemed like such a bigger deal to me than many of my birthdays in the past. There's nothing really special about turning 30, other than I'm done with my 20's, but I suppose that's what made it a bigger deal. I remember the days when I used to continually look ahead towards those milestone birthdays- becoming an official teenager at 13, driving at 17 (yes, that's how old we had to be in NJ to drive... I wish MI were the same way!), being able to vote as an official adult at 18, being able to enjoy an adult beverage now and then at age 21, renting a car at 25. What other age milestones does one look forward to after this.... 65 when I can collect social security that probably won't be there for me when I get to be that age anyway?!?

Well, the big 3-0 was inevitable, I suppose. My day was pretty good- nothing extremely out of the ordinary, but also not filled with all of the ordinary events that seem to fill my days at home. My day started at 7:55am when my Grandma VDH called me to wish me a happy birthday. She's notorious for calling bright and early to wish me a bubbly, "Happy Birthday, Yen" in her thick Dutch accent on my special day, and while she may have woken up my child by calling so early, someday I'll miss those phone calls. Each of those phone calls involves her reminiscing about the day I was born and that I looked like an angel, followed by lots of encouragement that God is good. I love my grandma and don't want imagine my life without her. We've always had a special relationship since I'm her only granddaughter. After talking to Grandma, my hubby got me an egg and cheese bagel sandwich for breakfast, and then we went to another doctor's appointment together. I got to see my girls VERY briefly, long enough to make sure their heartbeats were strong (which they were), and that they had enough fluid (which they did). I went shopping at Marshalls kid-free (thanks, Grandma Rysdam!) and had lunch with an old friend who came in town to visit me! Naptime was spent wasting time online and talking to friends and family who called to wish me a happy birthday. Kaden and I met Andy downtown for dinner at One Trick Pony since their chips and cheese were calling my name! :) We ended the night by using my birthday coupon at Coldstone for a yummy treat, where Kaden of course threw a fit because I couldn't hold my ice cream and his at the same time, while also eating mine and feeding him his. Then of course he wanted to eat everyone else's ice cream but his own and then of course his own spoon wasn't good enough..... hmm... perhaps that was more of an ordinary event! :) After Kaden was in bed I spent some time sewing and working on some projects for the twinners, which is definitely something I enjoy doing. It would have been nice to celebrate a bit more or at least enjoy my favorite margarita at On the Border, but my present condition will put that on hold for a bit! :)

I tried to think about what I would do if I had a day all to myself on my birthday. Honestly, I couldn't really think of anything that different than what I did. I got to "see" all of my children, I spent time with my family and friends, did a little shopping, relaxed, ate well, and had a chance to spend time on one of my favorite hobbies. What else could someone ask for on their birthday? I didn't do laundry- that waited until today, I didn't cook, I didn't empty the dishwasher or clean, I just enjoyed the day. Not bad I guess.

When I think about all that lay ahead for me, I can't help but be thankful and feel incredibly blessed. I always used to joke that I was going to be done having all of my kids by the time I was 30. I didn't think that was going to happen once we actually started our family, but my goal isn't too far from being accomplished. I have 2 kids on the way and approximately 3 months into 30, I'll have 3 kids and our family will be complete. So, today, my first full day enjoying life as a 30 yr. old, I'll savor each moment, continue to thank God for the many blessings He has given me in the past, present and future, and live life to the fullest.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Capturing Conversations

K: Mom, we have a big problem.

Me: Oh yeah, what's that?

K: The batteries in this flashlight are dead.

Me: We'll have to get some more.

K: I think they died on the cross like Jesus did.

Sale of the century

It is no secret that I have A LOT of stuff for Kaden. I'm always looking for a good deal, and I'd rather have a few more things for Kaden that I got a good deal on, rather than pay full price for only a couple of items. I also always had the impression that another child would get good use out of the hand-me-downs, but with the coming of our twin girls, that wasn't going to happen. So...we decided to have a major garage sale. I went through my ENTIRE house and gathered items for this sale over the past couple of months. We knew if we were putting the work into having a sale that we wanted to make sure we were clearing out everything in preparation for these girls! You name it, we probably had it at the garage sale. It felt SO good purging and cleaning things out- cupboards, toys, clothes, and the biggest project- our basement storage area. We got rid of bins and bins of my old teaching supplies, books, and things that have remained untouched in our 7 years of marriage. I also had 16 bins of boy clothes, shoes, etc. that I sorted and priced for the sale. I had lots of friends come over and "pre-shop" for good selections, and the public enjoyed the sale as well. We got rid of almost everything in the sale over the course of 2 days, and made an incredible amount. We're thankful that we were able to do this and save up for some of the items we have to buy in preparation for 2 kids at one time. It also feels good to temporarily have lots of room in storage and know that we'll never be storing so many kids clothes again. Here's a preview of the calm before the storm:

Yes, those are all of Kaden's clothes.... 0-4T. Phew.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Kaden went to his "first" Whitecaps game a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to make sure I documented the occasion. He went once when he was much younger, but has no recollection of the game, so we're calling this his first game. He got to go with Daddy and Grandma Rysdam while I set up for the garage sale of the century (more on this later). He was VERY excited that he got a ball and got to watch a "real" baseball game. Not sure if he's quite ready for his first Cubs game- I think we'll wait until next year for that one when he can sit a bit longer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3 years old

How a 3-yr. old spends his birthday:

-3 days before his birthday, wakes up excited to pick up Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Brian from the airport, claiming it's his birthday "all weekend long."
-Has a party the night before his birthday with family and friends where he gets lots of fun new toys to play with!
-Wakes up on his birthday morning at 8:15am and claims today is his "extra birthday"
-Eats pancakes with syrup and a baseball cupcake for breakfast
-watches a thunderstorm from the basement window
-goes to Dick's Sporting Goods where Papa buys him a Spiderman fishing pole, and Uncle Brian buys him a soccer ball.
-Gets lunch at the mall, a carousel ride with Uncle Brian, and a ride on the toys by the carousel.
-Takes a nap
-Plays with all of his new presents
-Brings his Grandma & Grandpa VDH and Uncle Brian back to the airport
-Goes to Red Robin for dinner
-Goes mini golfing with his mommy and daddy
-Goes out for ice cream with his Grandma Rysdam
-Goes to bed late

Phew. Quite a birthday celebration for a 3-year old. I wonder if my 30th birthday next week will be half as exciting?!?!? :)

Kaden's birthday weekend in review:

The party on Sunday-
Family shot

Hangin' out on a warm, sunny, summer night

The infamous baseball cupcakes that Kaden has been requesting for literally MONTHS now

Opening presents

And more presents

"Look, Mom... a Cubs wallet!!"

Blowing out his candle... such a big boy!

Playing baseball with his new bat


And his actual birthday...

Only on your birthday can you eat a baseball cupcake for breakfast!

Cutie pie 3 yr. old

Riding on the carousel with Uncle Brian

Showing off his new fishing pole and trying out the boats at Dick's Sporting Goods

He was SO excited to go mini-golfing for his birthday!

Daddy can't resist giving him tips, of course.

The birthday boy

Golf buddies

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4th of July 2011

I figured it was about time that I posted about our 4th of July this year... only a week late, not too bad! :)

We endured the heat of the Grandville parade this year, and even this preggo mama put up with it! I, of course, took advantage of my situation and managed to get a few extra freeze pops thrown my way! :)

Kaden loved every minute of the parade. He stood at the edge of the road with the rest of the kids, genuinely curious about everything that came by, and of course loved collecting all of that candy!

After the parade we spent time with friends at Sandy Pines enjoying the water and just hanging out. We decided not to do fireworks this year because Kaden was a bit apprehensive about the "tester" ones done in the neighborhood. We got our own usual firework show from our deck- since it's high up we can see several towns in the distance, and our neighbors in the cul-de-sac behind our house also did a complete firework show. I can't believe that people actually waste so much of their money on fireworks!! The fireworks were great for awhile, but got annoying when they lasted until midnight and kept waking up my child. Hopefully we don't have to deal with them for another year!

Waiting for the parade to start

Posing for a picture with his buddy Carley

Watching the parade with Daddy

Going down the slide with Daddy at Sandy Pines- this was right before both of them went completely underwater!

Waiting in line for his turn to go down the slide. He could have done this all afternoon if we let him!

Kaden has become quite the water rat. He's really started to enjoy swimming, and the puddle jumper is seriously a lifesaver. The best invention EVER!! Swimming lessons over the past couple of weeks has also helped make him more independent in the water, which is great!

Oh yeah. That's me at 24 weeks pregnant. Wonderful, huh?

By far the cutest kid at the splash pad that day.

Andy and the kiddos- love them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Movin' out

I moved out of my office at Calvin this weekend.  It was a sad thing to do, but I know that me leaving Calvin temporarily means that I have new, exciting adventures to come!  I'm looking forward to a new journey next year, but also look forward to teaching at Calvin again in the future.  Hopefully it won't be too long before I'm back at it again! :)

Couldn't leave without getting a picture of my office
Kaden was such a good helper!  I think he mostly just liked riding on the cart back and forth to the car!
He also liked sitting around eating snacks :)
Andy was less than excited about this.  I think at this moment we were disagreeing about how to load the cart, and I took a picture to make him laugh- haha! :)

7 years

On June 26, Andy and I celebrated 7 happy years of marriage! Unfortunately, I was sick that weekend, which put a damper on all of our fun plans. However, we postponed all of our plans to this past weekend and had a wonderful day of fun together! Andy has always joked around that one day he was just going to drive to his old hometown in IL, or downtown Chicago, for some decent pizza. I suggested that we drive there together to celebrate our anniversary. We have a little "custom" that we started when we got married, which involves going to a different place for each anniversary. We write down where we go every year, because somehow, a year later, we always seem to forget! :) We can go to places we've been before in our lives, but just not on another anniversary- make sense? :) So... this one was definitely not on the list yet and we decided to go ahead with it! We also try to buy something for our home on our anniversary since we never really need anything for ourselves. They're not usually that exciting to most people (last year was new knobs for our kitchen cabinets and we re-did our bathroom and bedroom decor... woo whoo!!), but we enjoy the challenge of finding something around the house to "give" to each other. This year...... new bag chairs!! We found some great new bag chairs that we love at Dick's Sporting Goods this past weekend, and we'll think of our anniversary each time we use them... right.

We left around 2pm on Saturday for our drive to IL, and managed to stop at the outlets in Michigan City for some shopping along the way too (inevitable of course). It was a nice break in the trip and helped this preggo mama endure the drive a bit more! :) As we got closer to Sanfratello's in Glenwood, IL, our mouths were watering. The pizza was SO. GOOD. I'm telling you, people- you cannot find pizza like this ANYWHERE else. It's not deep dish, it's the most thin, crispy crust you've ever experienced, with no grease and a touch of sauce. Delightful. We managed to eat almost an entire pizza while we were there and took another whole large pizza home with us to eat the next day. We also had to bring back a pizza for Grandma who babysat all day for us! :) After dinner we drove through Andy's old neighborhood and visited with his old neighbors for a bit, then headed back home where we pulled in the driveway at 12:30am. It was so nice to have lots of time to ourselves (we love road trips together), and enjoy each other's company.

Each year on our anniversary during dinner, I always ask Andy what the best part of his year was. He always laughs at me for the cheesy-ness, but it's another fun thing to think about. As we reminisced about our past year of marriage, we thought of something we experienced each month of the past year- either something fun we did together as a couple or family, something we were thankful for, struggles, and joys. We are thankful that God continues to bless us as we go through the ups and downs of life together. Can't wait to see where we'll go next year or what we'll reminisce about a year from now. I'm sure the twins will be a topic of conversation for sure!

Andy enjoying his pizza

Me enjoying my pizza

Happy 7th Anniversary, Andy! I love you!