Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My little Dutch baby

Annabelle has an abundance of clothes, more than she could ever wear (hope she has a little sister someday to wear some of these cute things too!). But there was one outfit in particular I knew I just had to get on her before she outgrew. In one of the boxes my mom sent me there was a little blue and white delft print outfit. I knew it would simultaneously made my family members laugh and Rob's family roll their eyes.

Robbie and I met at Central College. Central has deep Dutch roots and, in fact, doesn't even have a real mascot. They are simply known as the Central Dutch. Seriously. After we began dating, Robbie took me back to Chicago to meet his family and friends. I will never forget going to church on Sunday and meeting Mrs. Meekma. She came up to me, gave me a big hug, and said, "I knew it! I told Robbie he would come back from college with a little blonde-haired Dutch girl!!" She was so excited! Later that night Robbie explained to me, two of their family's best friends are the Smit and Meekma families. Both are, you guessed it, Dutch. So there is a bit of playful animosity towards Dutch people in the Tanzer family and during many of our early years dating I heard Dutch jokes and was kidded about potentially "diluting" their gene pool. Yet, I always tease Robbie back that at least I know what I (mostly) am - I'm not as much of a mutt as he is. Three out of my four grandparents were 100% Dutch.

I remember as a little girl sitting at the table in my grandparents' dining room on Sundays looking at the blue and white delft plates in my grandma's china cabinet. They were always there, proudly displayed. Years later Robbie and I went with some friends to Europe and got to see delft painted dishes and wooden shoes in my homeland. On the train to Amsterdam the man checking our passports took one look at my last name (Rozendaal) and said "Welcome home!". There is actually a small town in the Netherlands called Rozendaal which means "Valley of the Roses" and Annabelle's middle name was picked in honor of my former last name.
So now, when I see anything in blue and white delft, I think about my grandparents. Grandma's long letters and phone conversations in Dutch to far-away relatives, Grandpa singing us Dutch songs and trying to teach us Dutch tongues twisters (there was one about eight stoves?), their wooden shoe they used as a door stopper, and times they would speak in Dutch so we wouldn't be able to listen in on their conversation. All my history, who I am is tied to me being Dutch. So I am proud of my Dutch roots, not because of that whole "If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much" saying, I've never really gotten into that, but because I think there's something to be said about having a history. It's something that ties one generation to the next. For me it's as though my grandparents are gone but not forgotten and I think that's really special.

When Robbie and I were planning our wedding ceremony we asked our grandfathers to pick out a few verses to be read at our wedding. Just two days before my grandfather had a heart attack and stroke, he picked out two verses to be read at our wedding. He told my aunt Joy the ones he wanted read and I will forever be glad he did. The first one was the "wives submit to your husbands" verse (which Robbie loved), and the second was this:
"Son's are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with enemies at the gate." - Psalm 127:3-5

After we found out we were unexpectedly pregnant, Robbie and I laughed and said it was due to my grandfather's dying wish (that and my dad's ridiculous plea for grandchildren disguised as a wedding speech for those who remember). So, the first time Annabelle was put in my arms after she was born, I looked at her face and for some reason something in those little eyes and eyebrows looked like my Grandpa John. What a sweet reminder. As I said, gone but not forgotten. There's a little bit of all our grandparents, parents, and us in this little girl. So, whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, Robbie and I will always have little Dutch (and German, Polish, and Irish) babies.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Changes, changes, changes

Yesterday I looked back through some of the photos on my phone and realized exactly how much Annabelle has changed in just 7 short weeks. She looked so tiny in her swing the first week we brought her home and all her onesies look big on her! This week I had to pack away most of her newborn clothes which made me incredibly sad. She outgrew newborn and step one diapers within the first few weeks and isn't slowing down. From day one I have promised myself I would try my hardest to enjoy each moment - good or bad - because this crazy adventure is going to go by way too fast. I remember pacing around in the basement at 3 am. the 2nd night we had her home wanting to freeze that moment in my mind because I know all too soon it will just be a distant memory and a war story I tell my kids when I want them to be more grateful...haha!

On December 2nd we went in for Bella's one month appointment (at 5 weeks). We both thought she would be around 11 1/2 pounds and were pretty close. She weighed 11 lbs. 13 oz. and is still in the 97th percentile for growth. Her length was 22 1/2" which is the 75th percentile and her head circumference is 39cm which puts her in the 80th percentile. She is a big girl! Almost every time I take her out someone will ask me how old she is and the typical response is they would have guessed she was older.

Annabelle is changing so quickly I feel like each day we have a new, unpredictable baby. We feel really fortunate because overall she is a good baby. Of course she cries and has a fussy few hours each night but we are starting to figure her out and can soothe her most of the time. One of the strange things we have discovered is that no matter how unhappy Bella is, she LOVES having her diaper changed! She can be screaming her head off and as soon as we put her on the changing table she starts to giggle and smile. Rob and I both draw out diaper changes at night when she is fussy just to have a little break from walking, bouncing, and patting her!
Smiling baby!
Most of the time she is really happy and expressive, we just love it! She giggles in her sleep, makes all kinds of happy noises, and smiles and coos at me and Robbie when we interact with her. Mornings are much better for her than evenings (which I would imagine is true with the majority of babies) and I get to spend a lot of the morning listening to her kick around and make happy noises while I run around the house. Bella is getting into a good sleeping and napping routine and started sleeping in her crib a few weeks ago. She takes most of her naps there and sleeps all night in her crib now. Most nights she will sleep 4-5 hours to start off with, waking up around 2 or 3 a.m. to eat and then finishes off the night with another 3-5 hour stretch, getting up around 7:30 or 8 a.m. Two nights in a row this week she slept 6.5 and then 7.5 hours straight. We woke up in the morning confused but feeling amazing!! 
Bella sleeping in her crib (in the wedge)
She wakes herself up if she's not swaddled but always fights to get her hands out of the swaddle.For some reason she is obsessed with having her hands in her face. The other day I found her like this:
So strong - no swaddle can contain her!!
Bella's hair has started falling out - I noticed a bald spot about 10 days ago. Now I find her hairs all over her blankets and sad :( She will definitely have a baby mullet since the back of her hair isn't falling out like the front! Soon though, I'm sure she will be a little blondie just like her mommy and daddy were when we were little. At home during the day we work on tummy time (which she hates) and grasping things. She likes having books read to her (most of the time) and kicking around on the floor. 
Love these links!

Tummy time!

Lately she is really into sitting up, so much that at times she will cry until Rob or I hold her in our lap sitting up.
Robbie trying to multitask while holding Bella
Our little girl is growing up (way too fast in my opinion) and I'm excited for her next appointment on December 22 when we get to see how much more she has grown!

A few pictures from the last few weeks: 
Smiling at Daddy

One of my favorite outfits - Who me?

Little baby tongue
This is how I like to be carried around at night
Hey there!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm Stuffed!

November 24th marked Annabelle's one month birthday and was also her first Thanksgiving. Robbie had to work Thanksgiving day so Bella and I spent the day by ourselves. Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous so we went on a 3 mile walk and soaked up the sunshine! That evening after Rob finished up work our friends Chris and Jenay stopped over for appetizers and dessert. We got Annabelle all dressed up in her Thanksgiving outfit for the occasion:

Week 4: Getting out of the house and baby's first road trip

Week four Bella logged quite a bit of carseat time and we began to venture out of the house. Our friend, Winston, from medical school was in the Cleveland area interviewing for an Emergency Medicine position at Southpointe hospital on Thursday. Robbie happened to be there in the morning for a lecture so they were able to meet up. Winston's interview ended at 1:30 so Rob came back home to pick me and Annabelle up to have a late lunch with Winston before he hit the road. We went to an old fashioned submarine restaurant fittingly called (for Bella's first dining out experience) Di'Bella's. We, of course, photo documented the moment!
Robbie and Winston with Bella
Bella at Di'Bella's

Bella checking out Winston
Me, Winston, and Annabelle
Bella's first outing went really well. She slept or sat contentedly almost the whole time and only really got fussy on the drive home. Not too bad for a 3 week old!

Robbie had a few days off at the end of the week and looking out towards the next month we knew this wouldn't happen again for awhile. After talking to our pediatrician and debating whether or not we should be traveling with a not quite 4 week old baby we decided somewhat last minute to head to back to Chicago for a very quick road trip. We knew if we didn't go back when we had the chance it could be 6 months or more before Robbie's grandparents could to meet baby Annabelle since they are heading back to Missouri for the winter. We loaded up everything we needed for a one day trip in the car and headed out of town only 45 minutes behind schedule...not bad all things considered!! The trip in was long, much longer than with just the two of us. We had to stop several times to feed and deal with a blowout diaper but all in all Bella was so good during the car ride only crying when we would slow down or make a stop. As long as the car was in motion she was a very content baby (even though she can't stand getting into her carseat)! We made it to Chicago Saturday afternoon and got to see Shelly, Moose, Max, Ross, Rob's parents, Grandma and Grandpa Tanzer, and Jeff, Little and Hunter. 

Moose, Shelly, and Max with Bella
Max wasn't sure what to think of his new cousin. He gave her lots of kisses and also practiced his sharing by sticking a barbeque potato chip in her mouth (Bella wasn't really into that). But he also poked her in the eye, threw a car at her head, and grabbed onto grandpa's legs and whimpered when he was holding her. I guess time will tell...
Grandma and Grandpa Tanzer
Ross, Bella's godfather and uncle

Jeff, Little, and Hunter

Two pretty girls :)
Saturday morning we were able to take Annabelle to meet Grandpa Sullivan. Shelly, Moose, and Max stopped by and both Uncle Bernie and Dennis happened to be there as well. Bella cuddled up with her great-grandpa and napped almost the entire visit. Grandpa Sullivan loved it!

Before we left town the Smit family invited us over for a quick lunch. We were able to see Robbie's parents and Ross again along with most of the Smit family. Annabelle got passed around for photos with the family. 
Nicky, Mr. & Mrs. Smit, and Gram

Ross got to say goodbye before heading back for his last few days on campus...ever!
Kara and Gil with Bella
We hit the road shortly after and made it back to Cleveland safe and sound. The trip back went a little smoother with no diaper blowouts and Robbie and I having the rest stop routine down pat. We can't wait to get back to Chicago when we have more time to see all of our friends and family!

Here are a few other photos taken during the week: 

Bella smiles at her daddy

Robbie playing with Bella
 Bella smiled very early (day 2) in her sleep or at random. This week she began smiling socially when Robbie or I talk to her, give kisses or smile at her. She also coos and giggles when she is happy now. It is pretty much the cutest thing ever.
Here is one of Bella's sleep smiles
Mommy and Bella
Robbie cuddling with Bella
(while she will still let him - she is getting more and more independent already!)