Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

You were good to us!!

Click on the image to enlarge!

Can't wait to see what next year has in store for us!

Have a great New Years and God bless you in 2013!

Love, Maria

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!


It's going to be a bit quite around here the next few days.
We're going to celebrate the birth of our Saviour like there's no tomorrow! :)

I'll leave you with this:

Love, Maria

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ten before ten

A little while ago my friend Lydia and her youngest son Myles visited from Canada to meet Micha. We spent a whole week just hanging out, drinking coffee, shopping and basically enjoying each others company and babies.

We also talked about how life changes with a baby, how busy it can get etc. One piece of advice she shared with me, that a friend shared with her, has been so helpful lately. She called it 'ten before ten'.

It's actually pretty simple : Do ten things before 10 a.m. every morning.

That includes: taking a shower, making the bed, bathing the baby, throwing in a load of laundry, feeding the baby, cleaning out the dishwasher etc. But also cleaning the bathroom or washing the windows. You name it, whatever needs doing counts! 

After 10 a.m. no chores need to be done anymore. Except maybe grocery shopping or running some errands.

For me it really helps to be able to relax when Micha goes down for his second nap of the day. During his morning nap I get myself ready for the day and try to do as many chores as I can before he wakes up. Then when he's awake I fold laundry or vacuum while he's playing nearby.

That way when he's ready for his second nap I don't have to worry about doing things around the house and I can just relax. Sometimes I write a blog post or read a book or take a nap (that rarely happens, I'm not much of a napper).

Just me and my boy folding the laundry

Before I tried this method I would always feel a bit guilty whenever I wasn't doing something 'useful', now I do all the 'useful' things in the morning, and in the afternoon I allow myself to kick back and relax.

It sounds so simple but it has really helped me find some balance in being a mother, a wife, taking care of my household and taking care of myself. That last one is pretty important too you know!

I'm so thankful for great friends and good advice, thanks Lyd! 

Do you have any good advice for new moms or have you received helpful advice yourself lately? Please share!

Love, Maria

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

20 weeks

My head is full of the tragedy that happened in Connecticut. All of those little lives taken away to soon... Even though this horrible event happened an ocean away it's really hit home for me. I look at my precious baby boy and can't imagine the pain and the desperation the parents of the victims are feeling. My heart and my prayers go out to them. 

Dear Micha,

You are twenty weeks old today. I feel like I should stop counting your age in weeks and start counting it in months. You are growing up so fast, I can't believe it. 

The last few days I've been hugging you extra tightly, smothering you with so many kisses, sniffing up all your deliciousness and letting you snuggle up next to me at night without worrying if I'm spoiling you.
I want you to feel how immensely LOVED you are. I could not imagine life without you! 

Your papa loves you so much as well. He mentioned the other day how much he loves our morning snuggles, all three of us in our big bed. I love seeing you two interact with each other, you two have such a special bond! 

We hope you grow up to be a healthy, happy boy, but most of all we hope you will feel and know that you are loved. 
By our imperfect love and by the perfect, amazing love of your mighty God! 

we'll love you forever,
we'll like you for always,
as long as we're living,
our baby you'll be.

Love, Mama

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

19 weeks

Sweet, smiley Micha boy, you are 19 weeks old today!

We're in the advent weeks leading up to Christmas and it's so special to experience it with you!

Every previous year around Christmas time we would sit in church and listen to the pastor talk about Mary (Maria here in Holland) and Joseph and their baby, I couldn't help but think of my empty womb.

Last year was filled with excitement and expectation, but also with so much fear of losing you early in the pregnancy. We had a scare around this time last year. Luckily we saw your heartbeat flicker on the screen a day later!

And now, now you are here with us, in our arms. All 8.5 kilograms of you! You are our miracle baby!

We thank our Heavenly Father every day for you!

We love you to bits.

Love, Mama

Monday, December 10, 2012

Get your Christmas Crafting on!

Here's a little something from me to you on this Monday afternoon. Think of it as an early Christmas present! 

A 'tutorial' for tree words. Tree words? Why yes, words for in your Christmas tree, it's a miracle!

Image from my Instagram: marianapplug

I bet you'll find similar ideas on Pinterest, but I haven't looked it up so let's just pretend I'm totally original and it's all my idea, mkay? 

I made my words by using some kind of crafting twine with wire in it so you can make shapes with it. 

I have no idea what it's called, but I found mine at a local art supply store.

There you go. Now get your Christmas Crafting on!

You are so welcome!

Love, Maria

p.s. I'd love to hear about your Christmas crafts!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Winter walk - Embrace the Camera 12-6-12

I've never been much of a winter person, and I still love summer best, but there's something about walking around in a white, snowy world. 

It just feels so peaceful and pure and I love it, especially when the sun is shining! 
It makes me feel like breaking out in Christmas Carols! (I won't though, I'll spare you that awfulness ;) )

 And seeing the snow for the first time this winter is even more special when I'm with my little man. It's so fun to see him experiencing things for the first time, it's like I get to see everything with new eyes too! It's actually quite humbling and refreshing!

I can't wait to introduce him to all the fun things winter has to offer!

Love, Maria

Linking up with Emily today!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

18 weeks

Oops, it's been a week since I last posted something. 't Was a busy week, this one!

18 weeks old, little man! It's been so much fun to see your personality come out more and more, you LOVE to make people laugh, you are definitely a social little guy!

Last weekend we spent a few days at your Opa and Oma's (grandparents on B.'s side of the fam) place to celebrate Sinterklaas with the whole gang. You loved getting all the attention and only had one (slightly major) breakdown! I was so proud of you for handling the busyness so well! 

Soaking in the love 

Playing with your very first Sinterklaas gift, a Sophie the Giraffe teether, on your Aunt Hanneke's lap

You're going to be so spoiled by your 5! aunties... (And that's not even counting the 6 on my side)

We love you, Micha boy!

Love, Mama

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

17 weeks

Micha, my boy. You are 17 weeks old. Can we stop time?  

The other day I was looking at some photos from when you were a teeny, tiny little thing. 
You were so skinny and fragile and look at you now, the chubbiest baby on the block! 
It's like someone secretly switched babies while I wasn't looking!

For comparison, this was you at 1 week old, so tiny!

Some fun facts about you at 17 weeks:

- You have been a bit 'difficult' this week, especially in the sleep department. We were just getting used to having baby free evenings, but now you like to wake up once or twice each evening. And as for the night, meh, not as good as they were either! Can't wait until you start sleeping through the night, that seems like heaven to me! But, I still love my midnight baby snuggles with you!

- You have healed nicely from your hernia surgery, and had a bath for the first time since the operation. Don't worry you had showers in between!

- You're starting to roll, right now you can roll from your back to your side. I bet it's any day now that you'll start to roll over on your tummy!

- You're able to play by yourself for a longer period of time. 

- You love making out with your Sophie the Giraffe toy and are still fascinated by your books.

- You are such a happy baby most of the time. I  just love hanging out with you every day!

We love you so much little man!

Love, Mama

Monday, November 26, 2012


Exactly a year ago today B. and I received the best news we could possibly wish for.

I was pregnant!

We had waited for this moment for so long, and now it was reality:

We were so excited for the journey that was awaiting us, that took me from here:

to here:

and ended with us holding this precious little bundle:

Wow, what a year!

So many changes. Good, good changes.

God has blessed us more than we could have ever dreamed of!

Love, Maria

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

16 weeks + a day

16 weeks old, Micha! You are growing up way to fast!

Yesterday we spent all day at the hospital because you needed a hernia operation.

I wasn't able to make your normal weekly photo, but I managed to make this one at the hospital.

Papa and I were pretty nervous about the procedure, but you were so brave! You smiled at all the doctors and nurses all the way up to the operation room. I was allowed to hold your hand while they put you to sleep. It was such a strange feeling to leave you behind!

When they were done operating on you I was there to hold you while you woke up. I've never been so happy to see you wake up! At first you were a little bit sad, but after an hour or so you started to perk up and smile at us again. You quickly were your old self again and started flirting with all the nurses!

You had to spend the night in the hospital, luckily I was able to stay with you! This morning we were allowed to take you home. 

We are so thankful that you're our happy, healthy boy again.

You looked so delicious in your mini gown

We love you!

Love, mama

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend & Ten Things

It's Friday! B. is an elementary school teacher and has the weekends off, yay!
Usually when he comes home from school during the week Micha is pretty exhausted and not always the happiest little camper. So on the weekends they really get some fun quality time together. I love it!

Speaking of Fridays, I saw this e card on Facebook the other day and it made me giggle!

So true hey? :)

So, I thought it would be nice to further introduce myself to readers who don't know me yet. I think most people reading along know me (Hi!), but I feel like doing it anyways!

I saw a 'Ten Things' post on Leighs blog, and thought I'd give it a try too!

1. I was born in Australia, moved to Canada when I was six and when I was ten we moved to Holland. What does that make me? Australian, Canadian, Dutch? I have no clue! I feel most connected to Canada and Holland!

2. I met B. when I was fourteen, we started dating when I was sixteen, and we got married when I was twenty-one. Our love story deserves a whole other post!

3. We struggled with infertility for four years before I got pregnant with Micha. He is a miracle baby!

4. I have a BIG sweet tooth, and miss American/Canadian junk food like crazy here in Holland!
Where are ma donuts??

5. I studied Journalism in University but didn't get my degree because of all the infertility yuckiness, too much on my mind!

6. I work a few hours a week as a Barista, it's turned me into such a coffee snob! Nothing's good enough for me anymore unless I make it myself! :)

7. My dream is to one day open my own little bakery/ breakfast shop! I love baking, I'll be sharing my favorite recipes soon!

8. I've wanted to start a blog for a few years now, but always thought that my life wasn't interesting enough. But now that my parents live so far away it's a good way to keep them updated on Micha and our lives. And it's become such a fun way to connect with so many people all over the world! I'm happy I finally took the step!

9. I love being a mom, even if it's hard sometimes. I'm so in love with my boy!

10. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, but I should make more time for him in my daily life! Taking time to pray and read the bible is definitely something I need to work on!

So, that's a little about me, why don't you share a little about yourself?
 Have a great weekend!

Love, Maria

Linking up with Casey today

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Books - Embrace the Camera

Here are Micha and I doing his most favorite thing in the world! He absolutely loves it when we read him a book and is really able to concentrate on the pages. 

I'm so happy he loves books just like his mama! My favorite childhood memories are of the evenings when my sister and I would climb into bed and listen to our dad reading a story before we went to sleep.

I hope that one day when Micha looks back on his childhood he'll remember these moments too!

Love, Maria

-Embracing the Camera with Emily today-

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

'I am almighty. I am enough for you. 
Maybe you're doubting this at the moment, 
but just trust me' - God * 

Bam! There it is, exactly what I needed to hear today. Maybe you do too?

Love, Maria

* from 'Too Busy Not To Pray' - Bill Hybels

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

15 weeks

Wow, Micha, you're 15 weeks old already! We love every little thing about you!

- You have actually been in our lives for a year now, yesterday it was exactly a year ago that you were placed into my womb as a tiny little embryo. I remember laying there and thinking 'Is this little one going to stay?' And you did! God is so great! I feel so blessed to live in a time with modern medicine and smart doctors!

- This week has been kind of a rough one for you. You had your immunization shots on Thursday and the aftermath wasn't so nice for you. I hated to see you in pain and I cried with you.
I think the shots affected your stomach too, you've been pooping green all week... hmm.. TMI?

- At the your check up on Thursday you weighed almost 8 kilograms (17.5 pounds) and you measured 65 cm (25.5 inches) long. That's a kilogram heavier and 5 cm taller than four weeks ago. My milk is good for you boy!

- We got you your library membership this week. You love it when we read you books, and I can't wait until you're old enough to pick out your own books at the library!

- We started using the cloth diapers this week because  your bum is finally big enough I'm finally not chickening out anymore, and it's going great! It's definitely not as hard as I thought it would be, and your bum looks so cute and fluffy with them on. We're currently using Bumgenius all-in-one and Flip diapers, I'm still on the fence as to which ones I like better.

Can't wait to see what this week has in store for us sweet boy!

Love, Mama

Friday, November 9, 2012

Doing the hard things

When I was pregnant, and even before, there was one thing I was so sure of, that I would breastfeed my baby and that we'd live happy and healthy ever after...

I thought breastfeeding would be so relaxing for me and Micha, that when he would be upset I could lovingly hold him to my chest and feed him. That he would look up at me with such satisfaction and love in his eyes. 

I thought that I could catch up on reading and praying and maybe even blogging while I was feeding my baby.

I thought it would make me feel like such a super mom.

I thought it would be easy...

I was wrong. Sometimes it's downright hard and frustrating and not the relaxing and calming moment I was hoping for and counting on.

So many times breastfeeding Micha is a battle, sometimes it makes me feel like I'm not a super mom at all, but a failure. 


Like yesterday, I had taken Micha to get his second rounds of shots and later that day it really started to bother him. 
His legs were hurting him (where the doctor had given him the shots) and he just felt so miserable. He was crying inconsolably and I couldn't get him to calm done. 
I tried to nurse him, but he just wouldn't latch on and when he did he would let go after a few minutes and start screaming at my breasts. 
I knew he was hungry so I pumped some milk with my Medela, within a few minutes he had practically inhaled the content of the bottle. 
While I was happy that I had fed him, it made me feel so worthless that I couldn't breastfeed him when he needed it most.

I hated seeing my baby in pain, but I hated even more that I, his mama, couldn't calm him down by nursing him. 

I broke down and cried.

But then it dawned on me, I was being selfish.

I was so focused on nursing being such a great experience for me that I forgot what it's all about; loving and feeding my baby so that he can grow and be happy and feel loved.

If pumping milk to keep him fed is what he wants at the moment, that's what he should be getting. Even if it makes me feel unnecessary or failing(which I don't need to be feeling in the first place), that's my problem and I have to deal with it.

Being a mom has been such a learning experience for me in being selfless, and putting someone else's needs before mine. It has taught me that it's not about me any more. It has taught me that LOVE means: doing the hard things and not giving up. 

With Gods help, I can do the hard things.

Love, Maria

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Embrace the Camera - Papa's turn

Today I'm linking up with Emily again. (I know I'm supposed to be in the pic, but I guess I am, in the reflection in their eyes ;) )

These are my two favorite guys in the world embracing the camera together.

I just love this photo of them together.  

Everyday when B. comes home from work he picks Micha up out of his playpen or takes him out of my (tired) arms and cuddles with him or reads him a book. Micha LOVES this time of day and lights up as soon as B. enters the room.

B. has always been the best husband I could ever wish for, but seeing him with Micha has made him even better in my eyes! 

There's something so attractive about seeing your husband with your baby!

So thankful for my two amazing guys!

Love, Maria

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

14 weeks

Today Micha is 14 weeks. It amazes me how much he changes every week. 

A few Micha facts:

- This week he's been sleeping so much better than the weeks before. We borrowed a baby sleeping bag, the Puckababy, from friends and it's been amazing. No more flailing arms and legs in bed, yay!

- Yesterday I took Micha to the swimming pool for the first time. We went with my friend Marloes and her baby Ben. Micha loved it, he just relaxed in my arms and floated in the water. And of course he looked adorable in his little swimming trunks! Too bad I didn't make a photo.

- This week he gets his second round of shots, not looking forward to that. I hate seeing him in pain.

- Every morning Micha wakes up so happy and ready to play, it's the best way to start the day.

- We have a new evening ritual as a family, after supper and nursing, we curl up on the couch and read a book together and sing some songs. So nice.

- Micha is really starting to show more and more of his personality and B. and I couldn't enjoy it more!

We love our boy!

Love, Maria

Friday, November 2, 2012

The boy is popular

It seems like yesterday that we welcomed Micha into this world, and at the same time it's like he's always been here.
He's only 13 weeks old and he's already stolen our hearts for good!  And not only ours, from the moment he was born he's attracted so much attention and love, people even flew across oceans and continents to meet him!

First came Alice, my sister who lives in Canada. She and her oldest daughter Jacoba arrived when Micha was only a week old. Jacoba went and visited her cousins here in Holland but Alice stayed in our home for ten days. It was so  nice to have her here, and Micha loved her!
As a mother of four, she was the perfect person to help us (new and overwhelmed parents) by giving us advice, rocking Micha to sleep and just being there for us! I loved sharing my first moments as a mom with my oldest sister! She sure was missed when she left!

Then came my mom and my dad. Last year they moved to Benin, Africa, to help out the local churches there with advice, training etc. They left around the time I found out I was pregnant, and while I totally support what they're doing in Benin, I missed them so much during my pregnancy. Luckily they visited Holland for two weeks in April when I was about 26 weeks pregnant.
And then, about two weeks after Micha was born they visited again. I thought it would be so hard not seeing my parents and showing them their newest grandson right after he was born. But because everything was so new and overwhelming I didn't have much time to think about it.
But the moment they arrived at out house I realized how much I had missed them, finally they would see our son and see their daughter as a mom. It was such a special moment! 

The last international visitors were my oldest and closest friend Lydia from Canada and her youngest boy Myles. Lydia and I have been best friends since we were six years old and our friendship has continued even though we are now an ocean apart. Every time we meet up, even if there have been years in between, it's like we've never missed each other. We have such a unique bond and I'm so blessed to have a friend like Lydia in my life! The last time we saw each other was in 2008 when we were both newly weds and thinking about starting families, and now we're both momma's. We spent eight days together just hanging out at home and walking into town with our boys. Nothing crazy, but it was perfect!

So yeah, the boy has been quite popular! I love that he's so loved!

Love, Maria

Thursday, November 1, 2012

13 weeks

This week Micha is 13 weeks old. 

Look at him in all of his chubster glory!

Some Micha facts:

- He's really starting to interact more with us, so much fun! 

- He usually greets me with a great big smile whenever I get him after a nap. 

- He loves to smile at us, but when he's mad, he'll let us know!

- He loves it when we read books to him, especially books with colorful pages.

- He pulls himself up when we hold his hands.

- He loves to grab for his toys, but doesn't always succeed at it! 

- He's starting to nap a bit better during the day, which is nice for me(and this blog!).

Each week I make a photo of him sitting in a chair with his Sophie giraffe and his beautiful crocheted blanket. 

Here are the photos of week 1-12

I wonder how long I'll keep up making  these weekly photo's,  but for now I really enjoy seeing how much he changes week by week!

Love, Maria