Monday, December 29, 2008

Soooooo big!

Natalie had her 18 month checkup today and Ruby had her 2 month checkup. And, they both needed shots! That was quite the experience having 2 crying babies and Natalie poked me in the eye with a pen right before they got their shots so actually there were 3 crying babies :) I've got some big little girls, too! Natalie is in the 95th percentile for her height at 32.75 inches and in the 50th percentile for her head circumference and weight, which was 23.75 lbs. Ruby was almost off the chart for her weight (97th percentile) which was 13 lbs 8.5 oz and at the 50th for height, 21.75 inches, and head circumference, 38 inches. Ruby is our little "butterball" with the biggest little baby boobies you've ever seen!! We're so happy to have such healthy girls, and so happy to have this doctor's appointment over with!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Guitar or Guitar Hero?

I thought I'd better post that Jordan's learning to play the guitar so we can remember when he started. I think he may have been inspired by our buying Guitarhero. So now he's bought a guitar and getting lessons from his grandpa who's an old pro. I don't know anything about guitar but it seems like he's really catching on quick. Jordan's grandpa is the sweetest man you'll ever meet with a great sense of humor. He loves to play and sing with guitar and we love to hear him. We've been going to grandpa and grandma's house for the lesssons. I'm hoping to brush up on my knitting skills (or lack of) with grandma...either that or I'll learn to play the banjo. Grandpa gave me a lesson, also, and it was a lot of fun! Jordan and I just may have a bluegrass band one day!! Or if that doesn't quite take off, we'll just have a band on Guitar Hero. So far we're better at that, anyway!

Holiday Baking

Every year we get together with family and bake up a storm of Christmas cookies and other goodies. We always have a great time and we actually get a lot accomplished.

Naked Babies

Jordan and I were both changing diapers at the same time before bedtime the other night and these are some pictures we got. Natalie just loves Ruby and Ruby occasionally gives Natalie a smile of approval, too!

Ruby is 2 months old!

Ruby is 8 weeks old today. I think she weighs about 12 pounds....she is quite the chunker! I don't think I've ever seen a baby with so many rolls at this age! I love it!! She is also very strong. She loves to pull herself up to sitting and she's happy when you let her "stand". I've been trying to get some pictures of her cute smile but you know how that goes. For the last 2 or 3 weeks, she's been sleeping for about 6 hours in a row during the night which is wonderful!! We are so blessed to have her in our lives.

This time of the year always reminds me of how grateful I should be for all that Christ has blessed us with. To think that God sent his son to earth in the most lowly and humble form - a baby! - has taken on a new meaning since I've had kids. And then that God would sacrifice his son for us! Amazing. I just can't comprehend the love of Christ! This Christmas, as I look at my daughters, it reminds me of God's love and that everything belongs to Him. I seem to forget that sometimes and I take things for granted, especially family. Many times, I find myself caught up in all of the shopping, presents, food, parties that I forget the true reason for Christmas. It seems like every year, society gets a little more caught up in the busy-ness of the season. Whereas I'm sure the wise men and shepherds had only one thing on their mind the first Christmas, worshiping Jesus.

I wasn't expecting to write all of this under Ruby turning 2 months! I'm just so happy for my family and I owe it all to God. I'll never be able to "repay" God for all of the blessings he's poured out on me, but I'll strive to guide my children to know Christ one day and live my life for Him. Happy 2 Months, Ruby and Merry Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008



This was one of my many favorite dresses of Natalie's. It was a shower gift from Jordan's mom. It's kind of a spring/summer dress but I put Ruby in it for church today and threw a sweater over it because I just love it.
Ruby's on the left side, Natalie's on the right

Little Helper

Last night, I changed Natalie's diaper and put her pajamas on. I thought I'd let Natalie prove to her daddy how good of a helper she is during the day. So I gave her the dirty diaper and told her to throw it away. She started heading to the kitchen trash (which I knew was kind of full, and therefore more tempting to go through) so I say, "no, go dump it in the bathroom." So she turns, swinging those little arms like she's on this big mission, and goes into the bathroom. Jordan and I exchange proud looks that seem to say, "oh yeah, we have a pretty smart little girl!" But then, a "splash" is what we hear and this is what we see....

I quick grabbed the camera and we didn't even have to tell her to pose. I guess she is just as smart as we thought she was because we've been trying to teach her that this is where our pee goes!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Pics

Ruby seems to change a little everyday. She's awake a lot more now and she's been sleeping better at night. On Friday, she was 3 weeks and 2 days old and she rolled over from stomach to back! Natalie was 6 weeks when she did that so I was quite shocked! Ruby seems very strong already. She lifts her head good and pulls herself up to sitting position while holding onto my fingers. And twice now when I'm talking to her she has smiled at it can't mean gas! She'll be 4 weeks on Wednesday already. I can't believe that I thought being 4 days overdue was such a long time to wait for her! Where has the time gone now?!

Natalie helps feed her a bottle every once in a while. I'm actually nursing but Ruby takes a bottle so well that I make one up every now and then for daddy or Naynay to feed her. Natalie's got her pinchers out and is going in to "honk" Ruby's nose!

Ruby's first pictures

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Girls....

Ruby is almost 3 weeks old now and Natalie is almost 17 months old!! Why does time have to go so fast?! We are adjusting to the new baby so great! Natalie adores Ruby and loves to help out. She brings me diapers when I ask her to, she tries to give Ruby a pacifier every now and then when she's not trying to sneak it into her own mouth, she tries to share her sippy cup drink with Ruby, and she's constantly coming up to me and saying "baby!" while holding out her arms to hold Ruby. Natalie's actually very gentle with Ruby and loves to give her hugs and kisses. It is the most precious thing to see.

Natalie is actually adjusting to Ruby slightly better than I am! I've been trying to live off of less sleep as Ruby has me up at all hours of the night. She's a tad on the fussy side...not terribly but we had it made with Natalie when she was a baby. When she was hungry, she ate; when she was gassy, she burped; when she was tired, she slept. Ruby gulps up her meals as fast as she can and, therefore, is gassy. We go through every motion of trying to relieve her of that gas which can sometimes take an hour...or two! And by the time we've gotten the gas out, she must feel traumatized and in need of some 'rocking to sleep' motion because whenever we stop rocking, she stops sleeping! It really goes good around here during the day. She gets fussy at times but Natalie's been such a 'big girl' that it really hasn't worn me out. And at night when Ruby is fussy, Jordan's around to help me out or give me a break. Ruby's such a sweetheart at the same time, though. She's very ticklish so it's pretty easy to get a slight smile out of her. And she's just got such chubby cheeks (chubby everything) that you can't help but kiss her a million times a day...or I can't help it anyway! When she's awake, she's usually alert and following your every move. It seems like she gets bigger, stronger, and more active everyday. We went to the doctor last week for her 2 week check-up and she was 20.5 inches and 9 lbs 5.5 oz which put her at the 50th percentile for height and the 95th for weight. I think Ruby looks more like Natalie everyday.

It amazes me so much at how 'mature' Natalie seems now that we have Ruby. She seems to get smarter by the day. She talks so much and a lot of the time, we can figure out what she means. The other night I put her down to bed and gave her some milk, and she said her version of "thank you" and "na-nigh" (night-night)!! She's also so playful and such a tease. Lately, she's been shrugging her little shoulders and it's just the cutest thing! It's amazing how much Natalie has learned in her almost year and a half. Children are truly a miracle and such a gift from God!!

I feel like I've just completely bragged about my girls, because I have...but isn't that what blogs are for?! It's what by blog is for anyway!! Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Welcome Ruby!!

Ruby Louise Barkel has finally arrived!! And she's already 6 days old :(. I've been meaning to write about her but I wanted to post pictures and I can't find my usb cord, so they'll come later. I was induced on Wednesday at 7:00 after a few hard contractions, I got the epidural an hour later, and at 11:24 she arrived! Talk about an easy labor, it was awesome!

So Ruby was eight pounds, nine ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. She has dark brown hair, darker complected skin, and blue eyes. She looks just like her daddy!! Hopefully it stays that way! Once again, we went to the hospital with a bunch of names but she looked the most like a Ruby. Louise is after Jordan's amazing grandma.

Natalie loves Ruby so much. No jealousy issues so far. When Natalie came to visit for the first time, she gave Ruby kisses and just kept saying "baby!" Both girls have been keeping me busy. Ruby eats about every 2 hours and I've been trying to give Natalie attention yet, too. I can't believe how old Natalie seems to me all of a sudden. Not only is she huge (compared to Ruby), but just so smart. She's such a little mother to her. Natalie is strong-willed and I find myself arguing with her already. I'm not always able to just snatch her up and away anymore when she's doing something naughty so I'll say, "come here" or "stop" and she'll shake her head and tell me "no". It's kind of cute because she understands and she's going to have it her way but it might be a challenge! So far, things have been going well with having 2 kids. Although, for now, Ruby sleeps a lot. Also, I haven't even had to make dinner yet! We are so blessed with great family and friends and the meals just keep coming in!! Thanks everyone!

I'm so happy that Ruby is finally here, that the labor went good, and that she is a healthy baby. It's overwhelming to have 2 kids in so many ways but I think mostly in the way that I love them both so much! There is no other feeling like it! We are so blessed!!

Welcome to our family, Ruby Louise! We love you!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Remembering Natalie's Birth

No baby signs that this baby is ever going to come out!! It seems like it was only yesterday that I was going into labor with Natalie but it was 16 months ago already. It was a Friday and one of the best days of my life. I need to remind myself of that because I've been getting nervous. I'm actually more nervous now than I was when Natalie was about to arrive...I didn't know that pain like that existed!! But it was still one of the best days of my life.

I started having contractions at 11:00 on a Friday, the day after my due date. My mom came over and was more excited than I was...I don't think I really believed that it was the real thing. So she started to time them. They got closer and more painful. I went to the doctor's office at 3 for my scheduled appointment and the doctor sent me to the hospital.

Once there, I changed into the hospital gown and was trying to tie it up securely (so I didn't reveal too much!) and arrange the size XXXL maternity gown to look nice (which was totally pointless considering that everyone looks like crap after having a baby!!). The doctor came in and broke my water at 5. What an experience!! No one ever tells you how disgusting everything is when you're in labor. I was given some 'pads' to wear after my water was broke (which were actually XXXL diapers). What did I need all of those for? never stops producing!

Jordan arrived shortly after they broke my water. He cancelled our plans that we had made with friends for the night. By this time, everyone knew that I was in labor. So much for trying to be secretive!! My cousin, Sara, was interning at the hospital at that time, so she stopped by and we walked the hospital halls, to help with the intensifying contractions. Later, Katie and Matt (my sis and bro-in-law) stopped by while on a 'date night' to keep us company. Jordan was happy to let my visitors take over walking the halls with me. They tell me I quite the speed-walker. I also happened to run into my friend, Michelle, who works for AMR and was transferring a patient. It was actually a lot of fun at this point!

My goal had been to have a natural birth without drugs. But the pain was exhausting. Around 1 a.m, I was 7 cm and the nurse had been asking me all along if I wanted to change my mind about the epidural. She said it was my last chance, so through my tears of pain, I agreed. I was very tense when the anestesiologist put that needle in my back. He was really nice and tried to keep my mind off of it. If I get an epidural with this baby, I hope he's the one to give it to me. I never saw the size of the needle and I don't ever want to know exactly how big it is until I'm done having kids. Enough of that though, because I am getting nauseated.

From that point on, everything went so good. I could still feel pressure but no pain. I got to rest and Jordan got to sleep. The nurse told me to buzz her when I felt like I was at a 10. About an hour later, I felt like I had to push, so I woke Jordan to get the remote with the buzzer on it. So he starts pulling at this cord, thinking it's the remote but it was the tube for my cathider!! Lucky for him I couldn't feel anything! I ended up pushing for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I think Jordan was just as exhausted as I was!! He was an awesome coach!

Finally, after about 18 hours of being in labor, our baby girl was finally here and all the pain was so worth it. She was what made it the happiest moment of my life! After adoring her and feeding her, we all just fell asleep. Four hours later, when we woke up, we decided on her name and started calling all the anxiously awaiting family and friends. We had many visitors that weekend and it was so special to share with them our new little miracle. I'm so excited to relive the feeling that my heart is going to burst with love for this child that we've created.

Hopefully soon....

Our first family photo...

...and me bawling my head off!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Almost time....

In a few days, our family of 3 will become 4. I am so excited!! I just want her to be here! But at the same time, I'm going to miss her being inside me. I feel like I have taken this pregnancy so for granted.... I was sick now and then but I have been so blessed with how smoothly everything has gone. I have just been wanting it to be over so I can meet her, but she's so safe and healthy inside of me. And what does the future hold for her?

One of my favorite passages of the Bible is Psalm 139:13-16: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Lately I am feeling a little overwhelmed at what it means to be a mommy. Maybe it's just taking a slightly different toll on me now that I'm nearing the transition from one child to two. It's the most important job I will ever have to do and I want to do the best I can. It's been so exciting to see Natalie grow and learn. And to think that God knows exactly who our children are even before they're conceived.... He has had all of their days numbered (and ours, too!) since the beginning of creation. We are so in love with Natalie. I never knew that I could love her so much; it's incredible to think that we'll love the next baby just as much. I am so thankful that He has chosen us to be parents to Natalie and our little unborn child. I want to do everything I can to honor Him for the gifts He's given us. Hopefully, my next post will include pictures of the newest addition to our family!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Does anyone know.....

...what kind of SPIDER this is?? It's by our shed and it's at least the size of a pepperoni....yuck! It's a pretty good picture though! Too bad I'm gonna kill it.

Daddy and Nay-Nay

I found Jordan clunked out on the couch after work one day with one of Natalie's "babies". I had to take a picture!!

Movie Night....Even though Natalie had her own little bowl of popcorn, she kept stealing some from daddy's big bowl!

15 months old!

Natalie is 15 months already! I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. She is the best thing that ever happened to us. She's finally cut her molars so she has been sleeping much better. She's always on the go, she loves to eat (like her mama!), and she loves to play with other kids and with Gary. She is usually a pretty happy girl but, like everyone I guess, she has her moments. She's got a vocabulary of 15-20 words but she understands so much of what we say. Natalie is getting to be a little helper, too which I hope will continue when the baby comes in 4 weeks. She brings me a diaper when she wants to be changed and she's starting to pick up her toys. She tries to help me vacuum, which she loves and it's a nice gesture but it ends up taking me a lot longer! We just love her to pieces!! As much as I wish she would just slow down and cuddle with me, like when she was a baby, every stage is even more fun than the last!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh My Achin' Back!

I’m offering affordable massage for women. I completed an 8-week basic massage training program but unfortunately haven’t gotten licensed. However, my rates are about half of salons‘ prices, many of whom received the same training as myself. While in my care, you will find yourself in a relaxing atmosphere. I am equipped with a massage table and other necessities to make the most of your massage experience.

Many people think of massage as an unnecessary luxury and therefore, the needs of their body go unmet. How often is your body without any aches and pains? Massage is more medical than most people realize. These aches and pains aren’t necessary. As you know, many times we can prevent illness by taking precautions. Massage is one way to stay healthy. With each massage, toxins are broken up and released from the body that may have been causing discomfort, keeping our bodies from being their healthiest. Massage serves the purpose of improving circulation and getting rid of toxins naturally, as well as providing some much needed relaxation!

*Gals: Take a night off from the kids, the husband, the endless “to-do” list, or the TV. Make an appointment with me and give your body what it needs to be at its best!! You’re gonna love it!!!

*Guys: This is a great gift idea for a lady! (Sorry…I have a “girls only” policy!)

Half Hour: $15 One Hour: $25

I am located in Zeeland. Phone: (616) 875-2889

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or to make an appointment. I don’t massage men or pregnant women….sorry. I can also arrange to make house calls! Hope to meet with you soon!!

Little Dutch Girl

I just finally got pictures of Natalie in her Dutch Costume. Our camera was broken around Tulip Time and I've been procrastinating ever since... she wasn't too happy to wear the hat. We went to the children's parade with Natalie's cousins Briella, Hailee, and Taylor and (2nd-cousin-once-removed) Sara :). I got the costume for $10 at an auction. At that time, I was about 3 months pregnant with Natalie and didn't know if she was a boy or girl but I knew I had to have that costume! It fit her perfectly!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Coupe

Natalie's "great-aunt" Donna gave Natalie a Little Tykes Coupe and she loves it. She doesn't go very far on her own but it keeps her busy for a while and for that, I am very grateful. Thanks Donna!

Our friend, Jeremy Bakker, also enjoyed a ride in the coupe...don't ask!!

Natalie's Summer

Natalie has changed so much in the 2 months since I last blogged. She has 6 teeth on top now (including 2 molars) and 4 on the bottom. It's a good thing she's got all those teeth because her new favorite food is corn on the cob. She's also gotten very good on her feet. Her pace seems to quicken everyday! She walks around the house pointing to things she can't play with and says "no, no". She can say so many things now, too. Her new vocabulary includes bama (grandma), papa (grandpa), birdie, something that sounds like thank-you and she says it at the appropriate times, air (hair), dawie (doggie), done, bubba (baby), bath, and bah (bye)! Who knows what else she can say that we just haven't figured out yet. She also knows signs for more, please, eat, drink, and milk. It's so exciting to be able to communicate better. Everything she says is in the form of a whine followed by a question mark! Natalie loves to brush her teeth. One day I thought, "It's too quiet! What's she getting into?!" But she was just sitting on the couch watching Seseme Street brushing her teeth! We are just so in love with her. She has gotten such a little personality all of a sudden. She loves to make people laugh. One way she does that is by walking while bent at the waist with her eyes half-shut. It's crazy but it gets people everytime! She has been such a blessing to the family.

Sir Gary Barkel

I just can't resist putting up these pictures of Gary. Natalie loves him. She's always trying to cuddle with him and he is awesome with her. He even lets her sit on his head and pull his hair. He really is a good dog even though it seems like he's another kid I have to take care of.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Natalie's Birthday Party

Saturday night, we had a birthday party for Natalie. She had fun playing with her cousins, opening her presents, and eating her cupcake. She got so many new toys and the cutest little outfits and dresses. Also, grandma and grandpa Barkel gave her a good start with her bank account. We had so much fun with all of the family. Thanks everyone for coming. We love you all!!

Monday, June 30, 2008


Jordan had fun with Taylor and Hailee and Natalie with the pool and slip-n-slide. He came home early from work on a hot day and joined in the fun. Oh, and Gary too!