Saturday, January 31, 2009


Story time! Thought you may enjoy this story. It is one of my favorites :)

It was the summer of 2005. A hot summer with drought-like conditions. Jordan and our friends Brad, Jeremy, and Crystal, were at my brother's, Nick, and my house. Our parents were up north at their cottage. It was a Friday night. The guys were lighting off some bottle rockets outside maybe around 10 or 11 o'clock. They came in and we sat around for a while longer before they were all decided to get going home. Nick walked past the front door and yelled, "The tree's on fire!" Everyone thought he was joking but I recognized the look of genuine fear on his face.

It turns out, Jordan had put one of the bottle rockets in a small hole on the side of the tree thinking it would shoot off from there. But instead, it fell into the hole and made a small 'pop' in the inside of the tree. That's why the tree caught fire. So we all went out there and observed the smoke coming out. One of us had the idea to put a garden hose down the small hole to put the smoke out. We didn't think there was a big fire in there...maybe just a small flame. So after watering the tree for a while, we pulled out the hose and it had melted! At the time I remember thinking, "Dad is going to kill me, we melted the end of his garden hose!"

So there was still smoke coming out. We didn't really think it was means to call the fire dept at the time, but the smoke turned to flames and the flames got bigger! Someone called the fire dept; it may have been me but I don't remember because I was more worried about calling my dad. I let him know that there was a small fire in the tree but the fire dept was working on getting it put out. I think I had woke him up because he was like, "whatever". The fire dept guys were like, "Hey, we were just here last year to put out a fire in this tree after being struck by lightening. We told Wayne to cut it down then already - he's so stubborn!" So after about an hour or two and 2000 gallons of foam and water, the guys told us they couldn't save the tree and to call Wayne to get permission to cut it down. So I called dad, crying, and told him they had to cut them down. And he said, "NO WAY!" as if he had a choice!!

Our friend from a tree service came and cut down the 16 foot round tree in sections that fell onto the driveway's newly resurfaced blacktop. There were a couple of big cracks and dents in the blacktop. Talk about bad timing!! My brother and I were beside ourselves!

Early the next morning, many of our friends and Jordan's parents came out to help clean up the entire front yard which was full of leaves, sticks, limbs, branches, and tree trunk! Luckily, one of our friends had a skidsteer so he hauled a couple of the huge, unchoppable chunks of trunk away. At least we contributed a ton of firewood for dad's wood burner! Can't say he ever burned it though, with how attached he was to that tree! Jordan's still in the doghouse for that one!

Wish I could post pictures, but at the time I didn't think I'd want to remember this story so I never took any. We were very thankful for noticing the fire in time with how dead the grass was around the house. Looking back, my only regret is that it cost us $350 to have the tree cut down at 3 am! Other than that, it is a very memorable story and there's still an ugly stump of that tree standing by the mailbox. To dad, it's a reminder that we burned down his favorite tree. To everyone else, that stump was only ever JUST A TREE!!

In the tub!

So I was giving Natalie a bath this morning and I saw a little green blob floating. I wasn't sure but I thought, "yuck, it's mold from her squirty bath toys!" (which I am constantly cleaning and soaking in bleach because I'd hate for that to happen). I scooped it out and dumped it, washed my hands, turned around and there went my gag reflex.... It had been poop and there was more where that came from! Natalie took her first poopy in the bathtub. It was disgusting. And it wasn't just a floating terd, it resembled pea soup (which coincidentally is what we had for dinner the night before). Needless, to say, I cleaned it up and then cleaned Natalie up in the shower. She just kept saying "uh-oh" and "uck". Many times, Natalie will tell me that she is pooping but never lets me know beforehand. But this morning, I think she even surprised herself. We haven't gotten anywhere with the potty yet. She sits on it a couple times a day but hasn't done anything in it yet. And that's ok since she's not even 2 yet. But I am more anxious than ever to have her at least poop on the toilet. I never want to clean up a mess in the tub again!!

Sorry, no pictures :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Already 3 months

Ruby is 3 months old today and there's so many differences in who Ruby is versus who Natalie was. At this age, Natalie wasn't as smiley, didn't laugh as easily, pretty relaxed, and not quite as chunky. Ruby is fat and smiley, but slightly more fussy. Natalie and I were together for the first 3 months without one of us leaving the other one (pathetic, I know) whereas I got groceries 2 weeks after Ruby was born by myself...which I felt slightly guilty about. I babied Natalie more. When she would fall asleep while eating, I'd gently put her to bed without waking her up. Ruby eats and I make sure that she is awake when I lay her down. It was much easier to let Ruby cry it out for a while but it killed me to let Natalie cry for longer than a minute. And each of my girls have their quirks at this age...Natalie always played with her tongue, and Ruby always has her arms stretched out behind her with her palms facing back! It's the cutest thing!!

I can't get enough of the details that make Natalie and Ruby so unique. There are so many everyday things that go unnoticed that amaze me when I finally take time to notice them. I was inspired to write this post just for the fact that it's these minor details that I never want to forget. I wish that I had started to blog sooner than when I had. Natalie was 4 months old and there's so much that I didn't write down about her. Blogging is my online journaling and I feel like if I don't add the details, I'm going to forget them. I cannot believe that I have a toddler and a baby! And even though I can't believe I co-created :) two little people, I still take the minor details for granted. I was starring at Ruby before I got online to write this and I just fell in love with her all over again. I was noticing her fingernails, no different than mine really - just tiny. And her little dimpled hands. And when she's cuddled up in my arms, she has chest cleavege and back cleavege (sp?)!! As I studied her, it was almost like I was seeing her for the first time. I know that sounds so cliche but I don't take as much time to just quietly be with Ruby. Life's a lot busier with the second child.

But anywho, Happy 3 Month Birthday, Ruby! Your little smiles and laughter have brought more joy in these 3 months than you will ever know ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

12 weeks

When I was pregnant with each of my girls, I gained just about 35 pounds. After Natalie was born, I worked really hard to take the weight off again. I did high intensity aerobics 4 to 5 mornings each week. I lost the weight and got back in shape about 2 months later (which may be a long time for some but I was happy with my diligence and the results). So when I had Ruby, I thought I'd do the same - no problem. However, it's been harder than ever to make time for that, not to mention I have a love affair with food. Currently, I weigh about what I did before I had Ruby but since muscle weighs more than fat, I am less than pleased. I have no excuse, I've been slacking on getting into shape...until NOW.

I've got 5 weddings this year and I'm in one of them with my good friend. We've got 12 WEEKS to get into shape. I don't really care about losing weight, I just want to get in shape and lose inches on my stomach... actually, I have to lose some belly fat because I ordered a dress size smaller than what I fit in :) My friend and I both have treadmills and have decided to work our way up to running 3 miles by the week of the wedding. I thought this would be relatively easy since I've always loved to run, but it's definately going to be a challenge. I debated over even blogging about this but 12 weeks from now, I hope to proudly share how many miles I can run and how many inches I've lost. So if you want to hold me accountable (along with Jordan and my treadmill) feel free to ask how I'm doing from time to time :) Wish me luck!!!

Prayers for Morgan...

Morgan is my cousin's daughter and one of Natalie's best friends! We babysit Morgan 3 days a week and just love her to death. She is honestly the sweetest little girl you'll ever meet. Of course, I think most all kids are sweet but she is the nicest. Natalie has her melt-downs at times and can lose her temper like most all kids her age...but not Morgan. She is super laid-back. So anyway, we just love her!!

Over the past few months, she has been losing a little weight and her parents feel that something just isn't right because she doesn't like to eat. You can check out her blog here. So...... Morgan's been going through some testing and no one is sure what is wrong, but the doctor threw out the possibility of cystic fibrosis. So, if you're reading this, you can say a quick prayer for Morgan that everything is all right and also for peace of mind for her parents, Neal and Rachel. It's just so scarry not knowing what is going on. Hopefully, there will be some sort of answer as to what this problem could be by next week. Until then, keep the VanderZwaag family in your prayers.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Parties and Pottys

This holiday season, we had so many parties to attend. From December 24th to the 28th, we had a party every night. Natalie loved it but we're trying to get her back on her old routine which isn't easy. She was awesome and kept a pretty good attitude. She got so many new toys and really enjoyed herself this year. I think she got 4 new 'babies' alone! Her grandmas sure know how to spoil her! Ruby was just as lucky...or should I say her parents were lucky to have gotten a new wardrobe for her!

Jordan and I got Natalie a potty seat and are hopeful that she'll want to use such luck yet. She just likes to sit on it. Today, I heard her screaming in the bathroom and she had one leg in the toilet!! Sitting next to the toilet was her potty seat that she had gotten out. I'm just glad her head wasn't in the toilet. I should have gotten a picture but she was pretty upset. She can open the lid on the toilet and she can open the bathroom door so I'm really going to have to keep an eye on her. Maybe the potty seat wasn't such a good idea :)

So here are some pictures of the parties and the potty!!

Natalie and Briella doing the splits, and Ruby...sleeping, of course!

The Barkel Grandkids

Our New Year's Eve Party

...and the potty seat. Has anyone ever looked so cute while on the toilet?!