The Law of Internet Inevitability

As soon as I wrote that Teddy was easy to get to nap, I knew I was in trouble. Maybe you’ve experienced this too but generally, if you write and publish a blog post about how something is certain to happen, the thing you wrote about will change completely. I like to call this the Law in Internet Inevitability. As soon as I published the post about how Teddy sleeps so well and I can read his sleep cues so well, he totally changed his sleep patterns and has me guessing again.

Good thing he’s so cute!

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2015 Goals

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For our family, 2015 will be defined by not only the things we want to accomplish but also by things we aren’t doing. This is the first year in many that we do not expect to add to our family. This is the first time in 4 years that we are not saving for another house. It’s likely we won’t accomplish all of these but having them written down will give me the satisfaction of checking them off one by one!

Financial

  • Save to pay cash for a minivan
  • Save $3000 specifically for emergencies and repairs at the rental
  • Start a payment plan to repay my parents for their loan from when we bought this house

House

  • Strip wallpaper in kitchen, dining room, and hall and prep for painting
  • Remove chair rail in kitchen and dining room
  • Have kitchen, dining room, and hall painted in late February
  • Paint kitchen cabinets
  • Replace kitchen counter, sink, faucet, hardware (possibly)
  • Replace kitchen, dining room, and hall light fixtures
  • Decide on exterior trim color
  • Replace windows (or at least start saving for that to happen in 2016)

Boys

  • Potty train Ben should he continue to be interested and willing (eek!)
  • Sleep train Teddy (he doesn’t get a choice on this one)
  • Work on number, letter, shape, and color recognition with Ben
  • Throw a simple yet fun first birthday party for Teddy

Travel

  • Disney in February
  • Fort Myers in March
  • San Diego in March
  • Camping sometime this summer
  • At least one Civil War reenactment

Self

  • Continue my commitment to healthier eating
  • Exercise and be active to (attempt to) shrink the mommy belly
  • Buy and manage my own domain for this blog (I said it! It’s going to happen)
  • Read through the Bible again this year with Brian using a daily reading plan
  • Continue my quest to cook with unfamiliar foods in ways that my family will eat them

So how about you? Do you find goal writing as exciting and full of promise as I do?

Three Months

Happy three months, baby Teddy! You are a joy and a much loved part of our family.

I feel like I could copy and paste my notes from Ben’s third month post for this one. The boys are so darn similar!

Three months is an off month for well-child checkups but when we weighed him last week before a bath, the scale reported 12 lbs 9.6 oz, very close to Ben’s 12 lbs 14 oz but I think we weighed Ben a week or so older than Teddy. Teddy loves to eat and usually is done in 10 minutes or less. His love for nursing shows in every single leg roll and hand dimple. He has been wearing 3 month clothes since just after he reached his two month milestone and is close to outgrowing the one piece outfits and pjs. I need to sift through the bin of 3/6 month clothes so Teddy isn’t left naked!

We’ve given Teddy a few bottles and while he protests every time, he still drinks it. I’d love to keep it an option for when we go to Disney in a few months but we’d have to up his intake quite a bit for him to last through an entire date night.

We have been putting Teddy down for bedtime right after Ben so we have evenings mostly child-free again. There are times that he is awake within an hour of being swaddled and laid in bed but at this age, it’s a start. I feed him when I go to bed and he sleeps for 8 more hours. Our kids are good sleepers so they take it out on us in other ways, like Ben’s tornado tendencies. We have yet to see what Teddy’s biggest challenge is.

Teddy is reaching for toys in the gym and holds his head up pretty steadily when we hold him upright. He smiles and talks and laughs at all 3 of us. He loves his big brother and Ben loves him right back. I can read his sleep cues better than I could ever read Ben so even though we don’t have a strict schedule at this point, I can tell when Teddy needs more sleep and put him down for naps before he gets overtired.

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Check out that cute baby
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Smiles
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Ben decided the 3 of us needed to play tools. Teddy was game
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He isn’t too sure of this whole tummy time thing
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Being admired by my parents on Christmas day
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Couch nap with Mommy!
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“Hold Teddy”
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Brother play time
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Funny boy

 

2014 In Review

January
We found out in mid January that I was pregnant with Teddy. After our experience with losing Baby Girl the previous fall, this was both exciting and terrifying. I was sick almost immediately after we found out and without the aid of meds, I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything for months. Thank God for modern medicine!

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How big is Benny? (So big!)

 

February
Brian and I went to the OB for the baby’s first ultrasound and saw the heartbeat!
We took off to Disney for Ben’s second trip, our 6th as a couple at the end of the month. It was a new experience for us to visit the parks with a toddler. One very notable event was Ben’s first haircut at the Main Street Barbershop in Magic Kingdom! They specialize in first haircuts and made it much less traumatizing for Ben (and for me) than I expected. It is definitely something we will plan on doing for all first haircuts to come!

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Meeting Mickey. He was hesitant but didn’t flip out

 

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Riding Dumbo

 

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He transformed into a little boy in front of my eyes

 

March
We started the month by continuing our Florida trip by meeting up with His House in Fort Myers for spring break. Ben and I stayed with my Great Aunt and Uncle in nearby Cape Coral while Brian slept at the church as one of the adult leaders. I was still pretty sick every day so it was good to have a place to go home to instead of an air mattress on the floor.

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Playing in my aunt and uncle’s pool

 

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Ben loved to drag the kitchen broom around the church when we were cooking during the day

 

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Snack time! I spent many hours in the large kitchen behind Ben

 

April
Brian traveled for a work retreat to the Poconos with WebDev Studios while Ben and I held down the fort at home.
My grandma (Dad’s mom) decided to move into a retirement community and we decided to buy Grandma’s house for a rental. We had been talking for several years about buying investment property since we don’t have a traditional retirement plan. It was earlier than we had planned but, after a considerable amount of prayer and discussion, we started the purchasing process.
After several very busy work weeks, we hired Meg, a recently graduated His House student, to nanny for us once or twice a week. Ben fell in love with her and looked forward to her car pulling into the driveway every week.

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We took a trip to the tractor supply store to see the ducks and chicks

 

May
We went to the big 20 week anatomy ultrasound and found out we were expecting a second boy!
Brian spent a long weekend in Miami for WordCamp Miami and we celebrated Brian’s 28th birthday and our 6th anniversary within a week. We were busy!
Over Memorial weekend we camped in Greenfield Village for their annual Civil War Remembrance Days reenactment. It was great to see our friends but definitely a challenge to camp with Ben! It was very cold at night and on the first night, he wouldn’t sleep unless he was in bed with us. After a few exhausting days, we decided that we wouldn’t be camping again for a while.
Instead of making the new house an investment property, we decided we would move our family into Grandma’s house and rent our Higgins house. I started praying we would close soon so I wouldn’t too huge to be helpful!

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The new Baby!

 

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I loved his little stub nose

 

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We biked to the big playground and Ben loved it

 

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Ben wanted to ride the “neigh neigh” constantly all weekend long

 

June
After several months of increased illness, we took our Oliver kitty to the vet only to find out that he had cancer and needed to be put down. He was my baby that I had gotten in 9th grade, Brian’s snuggle buddy, and Ben’s bestie. It was a hard transition for all of us.
That same week, we celebrated my 28th birthday.
We finally closed on the new house at the end of the month. Brian and I kicked off several weeks of painting and cleaning by spending the first night at the house and decided to paint the bedrooms, full bathroom, and family room prior to move in. It would be tight but we hired a woman from church to help.
Another HUGE transition was that Brian decided to leave his job at WebDev Studios that he had held for two years to spend more time on WPSessions and working for a friend. It was a scary choice to make but (looking back), it was definitely the right one.

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Funny faces

 

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Ben grew to love Home Depot over the summer, partially because of the car carts but also because we went almost every day!

 

July
Our family hosted the annual Vos family 4th of July brunch at our new yet empty house. The event was a little more relaxed than in previous years but everyone was fed and had a good time at the parade.
We spent two weeks painting (with Becky’s assistance) and cleaning the new house and accomplished most of our goals prior to our move in date on the 11th. It went as smoothly as moving could but I never want to move while pregnant again!
We spent another week cleaning the old house and our first round of renters moved in the 15th.
After such a busy and exhausting summer, we finally made our first trip to the beach on the 18th. Ben loved it!

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The house was a disaster but we still had fun

 

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Mowgli helps Brian level the dishwasher

 

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The beach!

 

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Lake Michigan was still pretty cold!

 

August
Brian coordinated and planned WordCamp Grand Rapids for the 3rd year. It was a smaller event than years past but the speakers were great and everyone learned lots of new stuff. I’d call that a success!
Brian and I took one last trip to the Detroit area to visit friends and go to Ikea before Baby was to arrive. Our friends just had their first child the week before and I was eager to get my hands on a newborn! It seemed like so long until my due date!

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Benny got a big bed with lots of room to stretch out

 

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Ben loved the new table we brought home for him from Ikea

 

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Benny’s car wash. Dish soap bubbles in a bucket was Ben’s favorite outside activity this summer

 

September
We celebrated Ben’s 2nd birthday with a super low-key, Toy Story themed party with just the grandparents (and his aunts who live with my parents). Ben got the custom-built toy kitchen that he has played with daily since.
We waited and waited for Baby to arrive and hit the due date with still no sign of baby’s arrival. Every day was a struggle at that point!
Our tenants at Higgins informed us they bought a new house earlier than expected, which was good for them but too bad for us. We knew we could support the expenses of not having renters for a few months and made plans to hire a management company to find new tenants for us.
I, along with another WordPress developers wife, started an online chat group for developers’ wives so we can support each other through the specific kind of crazy that is living in a dev household. The support (and sometimes prayers) of these ladies has been highlight of the last few months.

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We took maternity photos at 37 weeks. Hard to believe I was much bigger than this by the time I was in labor

 

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Benny’s kitchen. Such a hit!

 

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Big boy Ben on his second birthday, snacking on grapes he was given by our old neighbor

 

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Two!

 

October
My OB took pity on me and induced labor on the 2nd. Theodore John made his grand entrance into the world shortly after 1 AM on the 3rd.
Ben met Teddy and it was a wonderful thing to experience as a parent. Teddy was and has been very laid back since birth, which is such a blessing for a second baby.
Brian had two trips to San Francisco this fall, the first when Teddy was only 3 weeks old. I hadn’t taken the boys out on my own yet and was a little hesitant to try but we were just fine without Brian’s help. Brian had a blast volunteering at WordCamp San Francisco.
Brian was home just in time for Halloween. This was the first year Ben understood what was going on and after a few stops, figured out how truck or treating worked. He dressed up like Woody and Teddy, of course, had to be Buzz Lightyear.

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Meeting Teddy for the first time

 

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Theodore John Richards

 

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Ben read Jungle Book to Brian and Teddy

 

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“Hold hands Mommy!”

 

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Our first outing without Brian

 

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So precious! Teddy still loves that lion

 

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Woody and Buzz

 

November
November started with another trip to San Francisco for Brian for the inaugural Woo Commerce WooConf. Brian spoke on the last day of the conference and notes that it was incredibly well run for a first year event. Outside of conference hours, Brian was thrilled to stumble across the Musée Mecanique, a museum of mechanical wonders.
I scored a discount for Great Wolf Lodge and we took the family in mid-November for a two day trip. Ben was a little hesitant to swim on his own but loved to play in the toddler pool and float in a tube with Brian in the lazy river. Teddy was too little to swim at 6 weeks so we cuddled while I read a book. Ben figured out how to climb out of the pack n play the first night, signaling the end of an era of travel for us.
Brian was offered a part-time job by our friend Chris at Crowd Favorite doing what he loves (building cool websites and helping create new processes and workflows). It was a great opportunity for our family and Brian continues to enjoy the job after 6 weeks.

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Me and Teddy, hanging out at Great Wolf Lodge

 

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Ben likes to mimic what he sees us doing, including wearing a baby

 

December
December has flown by and I’m not sure where it went!
Our beloved Meg and her Air Force husband moved to Hawaii at the beginning of the month so we’re back on our own again. We’ve settled into a good routine at home with the boys though. All four of us have fought colds this month but were healthy enough to enjoy Christmas together and with extended family. Teddy wasn’t too phased by presents but Ben has figured out ripping the paper and loves surprises. We heard “Oh man!” and “Wow!” many times on Christmas Day. Beyond the presents, we bought a children’s advent activity for Ben to teach him about baby Jesus’s birthday. He had a hard time following the rhymes in the book this year but understands who the major players in the nativity are. We are impressed with language and comprehension growth over the last few months and look forward to teaching him more new things (like shapes, colors, numbers, and letters) this coming year.

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Riding the pony at the grocery store

 

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Our little ham with tons of cheese!

 

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Classy

 

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Playing tools with his brother

 

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Cutting the fruit he got for Christmas

 

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Teddy didn’t care about presents but he loved to be talked to

 

I hope to work on a post for our goals for the next year so expect that soon (but not very soon because I accidentally bathed my computer the week before Christmas and it’s now dead. RIP lappy.)

Two Months

My head tells me that Teddy was just born yesterday but my eyes are telling me something completely different. It’s so hard to believe how fast he is growing!

Teddy is two months old today but doesn’t go to the pediatrician until next week so I don’t have any fun growth stats for you yet (I’ll update when I do). I haven’t even gone for my postpartum follow-up appointment yet. The doctor who delivered Teddy is probably the busiest OB at the practice so it was hard to reschedule my appointment and I will, no doubt, have to wait quite a while to be seen. I’m feeling pretty good except for the complete lack of weight loss but that’s another post entirely.

Teddy started out an inch longer than Ben so it shouldn’t surprise me that he is wearing 3 month clothes earlier but I’m still sad about it. My tiny baby is a beast! He’s wearing all 3 month clothes except for pants. He’s pretty slim still, even though he has very kissable rolls and dimples, so pants slide right off. We’re using size one disposable diapers at night and have already packed away all the small prefold diapers in favor of the 5 fitted diapers + covers and 7 BumGenius all-in-one diapers in the stash. I’m still wrapping my head around how I want to split the stash of BumGenius pocket diapers between the two boys but that will happen soon since Teddy is well within the size range.

Teddy consistently wakes up to eat only once during the night, usually between 5 and 7, depending on when we go to bed. He eats, burps, and goes back to sleep with little fuss or effort on my part. We haven’t used a shield for a few weeks (YAY!) so those are packed away now. We’re starting to loosely implement a 7:30 bedtime to get him used to having set sleep hours but success is hit and miss at this point. I feed him and Brian changes his diaper, puts on PJs, and swaddles him and we put him down in his Rock n Play (highly recommended, especially for a second kid) until we go to bed.

Teddy is a smiler. He loves to smile; smiling is his favorite. He has a hard time not smiling so he can eat or keep his pacifier in his mouth. He smiles at all three of us but it’s especially heart-melting to see him smile at Ben. Ben loves to help Teddy play in the gym (Teddy is not as big of a fan, however), throw clothes down the clothes shoot, bring Teddy pacifiers, toys, books, or other things Teddy doesn’t play with yet. I’m looking forward to how things change as Teddy grows up and becomes more of a playmate than a novelty. Ben is really a fantastic big brother and a great helper most days. His molars are taking their sweet time coming in so some days are horrible (looking at you, yesterday, with your 20 minute nap) but the times that Ben throws his arms around my neck and asks for kisses and hugs that make up for the rough stuff.

That’s all I can think of for now. Any questions?

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Ben is sharing! Not visible is the Mr. Potato Head under the hat
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Teddy makes an excellent TV buddy and lap warmer
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Lion child
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Ben is testing out Teddy’s new quilt from Great Aunt Mary Ann
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Games with Daddy
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A toddler’s version of hide and seek is hilarious
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Tummy time and so unsure of everything
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These sweet toys were made for babies!?
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Teddy is the 7th child on my side of the family (me and 4 of 5 siblings plus Ben) to wear this sweat suit
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*heart melts*

Kitchen Plans

One of the things that has always bothered me most about our current house is the tiny galley kitchen. It is close to impossible for two people to comfortably work in there and as Ben has grown and wants to play wherever I am, it has become even more difficult to make dinner with a stethescope, two or three blocks, a ball, Mr. Potato Head’s hat, and a sippy cup underfoot. The kitchen at our new house is much bigger! There are at least twice as many cabinets and I am very excited to fill them. Here are a couple of panoramic photos to get you oriented.

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Looking into the kitchen from the back breezeway door
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The dark kitchen view from the dining room

Grandpa built all of the cabinets in the kitchen when they remodeled in the ’90s so compared to some areas of the house, this is quite modern! Everything is solid wood and in great shape so there are very few changes we have to make for the space to be safe and usable. Aesthetically though, the space is far from what my dream kitchen would be. I want to write up a list of the changes to each room as I post about them to help us keep our DIY aspirations in check with reality and for us to be able to look back upon some day and realize how far we’ve come. We’re considering two phases of renovation for the kitchen, one to update it to something closer to our ideal and then the dream kitchen several years down the road. We completely gutted the kitchen at our current house two and a half years ago and have been enjoying the upgrades we made ever since (built-in, double-layer silverware tray for the win!). My guess is that most of the phase 1 goals will be taken care of within the next 12 months and phase 2 won’t start for another 5-6 years. Over the next many years, we would like to:

  • Swap the stove and dishwasher for those at our current house
  • Install a garbage disposal (phase 1)
  • Paint the cabinets using Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformation kit (phase 1)
  • Replace cabinet pulls
  • Find a good, toddler-safe trash can solution
  • Replace the window (phase 1)
  • Remove wallpaper and boarder (phase 1)
  • Paint the walls (phase 1)
  • Replace the circular-bulbed fluorescent light fixture
  • Replace the countertops with butcher block (phase 1)
  • Add a large rug (I’m jonesing for stripes) (phase 1)
  • Replace vinyl toe kick with wood (phase 1)
  • Replace the microwave (phase 1 or 2)
  • Replace the cabinets (phase 2)
  • Built out the bulkhead over the fridge (phase 2)
  • Replace the fridge with a wider model (have to figure out how to feed 2 boys somehow!) (phase 2)
  • Install new countertops  (phase 2)
  • Install new sink with new faucet (phase 2)
  • Paint walls (phase 2)
  • Replace vinyl flooring with wood/manufactured wood/laminate wood (phase 2)

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to add? Things you would have done differently when you remodeled your kitchen?