The Vanderhorst Family

The Vanderhorst Family

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Life of a Baby

I've been pondering the past few days how frustrating life can sometimes be for a baby. I'm not saying this in a joking way either--I'm sure at times life can be pretty hard for them! You may be thinking "How on earth could a baby have a hard life? Someone feeds them, changes them, plays with them, etc. They have everything done for them! How could that be hard?"

I had this realization last week when Andrew was trying to learn how to roll from his back to his stomach. He would try for a couple of minutes on his own--arching his back, throwing his hips over, the only thing he was forgetting was lifting his head up. After a few minutes of trying it on his own he started to freak out and get frustrated. At first I didn't understand why he was freaking out. Then one day I helped him onto his stomach and he was so happy! He got this big smile on his face, and stayed on his stomach for about 20 minutes just playing happily (tummy time was something he only did for about 2-3 minutes happily before wanting to be on his back again). He was so excited that he was finally on his stomach after working so hard for it. This process went on for a couple days, and I knew that if he was crying he was either hungry, tired, needed a diaper change, or wanted to roll onto his stomach. Once he learned how to roll on his stomach, he couldn't stop! He was too excited that he learned how to do something with his body.

That has kept him happy for about a week, but the past couple days I've seen him get frustrated with his body again. Now that he rolls, he wants to know how to crawl. I've walked into his room as he's trying to go to sleep and he's pushing up on his feet and hands wanting so badly to move! So now the list is this: check if he's hungry, tired, needs a diaper change, or if he wants to crawl. So we've done some crawling lessons. I push his little knees up under him and he scoots forward with excitement, and we go through this process for about 20 minutes.

A couple days ago he was freaking out for a good 20 minutes and I had no idea what to do. He didn't want to be held, he wasn't in the mood for crawling lessons, wasn't tired, wasn't hungry, and had a dry diaper. I decided to let him cry in his crib for a little bit while I went into the other room and said a prayer. As I said "Heavenly Father, let me be patient with Andrew," I realized that Andrew was probably frustrated too! And for good reason!

Ever since he's been born I've had so many realizations of who this special boy is. He has a special, strong, kind spirit, and I realized he is frustrated having such a strong spirit in a tiny body. Even once he learns how to crawl, eventually walk, and start talking a bit, I know he'll sometimes get frustrated when he doesn't know how to express himself (much like toddlers do). It must be so hard having the spirit of a grown person stuffed into the body of a tiny human. Really, the body needs to catch up to the spirit, which I think is what infancy and the toddler-stage is all about. The spirit is willing but the flesh isn't ready.

I now have a different outlook when Andrew is crying and I don't know what to do. Instead of me praying "Heavenly Father, let me be patient with Andrew," I pray "Heavenly Father, let Andrew be patient with me as I try to figure out what he needs right now." Babies do require a lot of patience from their parents. They need to wait to be fed, have a diaper change, go to bed--they are solely dependent on us, just like we are solely dependent on Heavenly Father. Just like we need to be patient with Heavenly Father as he lets us learn, grow, and yes, sometimes struggle, babies need to be patient with us as we help them learn, nourish them to grow, and yes, sometimes let them struggle. Just like we can someday grow up to be like Heavenly Father, babies will someday grow up to be parents.

So yes, life as a baby is sometimes hard. Life as a parent is sometimes hard. Thank goodness babies have their parents, and parents have their Heavenly Father.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Recipe Post for the Week

More recipes for you to try! Easy, fast, delicious, and cheap :)

Korean Beef and Rice: 

You will need:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic; minced (or a couple tbsp of garlic powder)
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper (season to taste)
salt and pepper
sliced green onions
cooked rice

Brown hamburger over a medium-heat skillet with the garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers. Simmer for a few minutes and stir occasionally. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions.

Pineapple Pork-Chops:

You will need:
1 20 oz can of pineapple rings, juice reserved
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
4-6 pork chops

Put pineapple juice from can into a zip-lock bag along with the brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder all mixed together. Add the pork chops and let marinate in the fridge for 8-12 hours (the longer the better). Put grill on medium to high heat and put chops on (continue to marinade the pork chops while they are cooking). Cook until pork chops are browned and no longer pink inside (about 7 minutes each side). Place pineapple rings on the grill and cook until they are warmed through. Serve pork chops with grilled pineapple on top.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Meal Planning and Recipes

I've had a couple people ask about meal-planning and some recipes that I make, so here ya go! **HUGE DISCLAIMER** I realize that I am no expert at cooking, and I do not claim to be a super-domestic lady who makes everything from scratch, and I'm not an expert at meal-planning when it comes to freezer meals, canning, etc. These are seriously the basics and it has worked for me. I also realize that I am a stay-at-home mom full time which means that I have more time to go grocery shopping and cook on my hands than others (trust me, I was not this good about cooking when I had a job or was going to school), and I realize that I only have one child who isn't mobile yet, thus making life a lot easier than most other moms out there. These are just some tips that have worked for me. Enjoy :)

First is meal planning: Now, lest you think I'm totally organized and on top of it--think again! Seriously, the only reason why I meal plan for the week is because I only want to have to go grocery shopping once during the week. In our apartment complex we live in a building that isn't close to any of the parking lots, which means it's a pretty long walk from the car to the apartment, which means that I only want to make one trip a week of carrying groceries and my rapidly growing baby boy at the same time.

When you think of meal planning for the week it can sometimes get over-whelming, but here are a few tips.
1) I stole this from my sister-in-law, Emily, who does the same thing. She writes out the menu for the week and keeps it visible in the kitchen. This has really helped me because it is a quick reference of what I will be making that night instead of figuring out what I'm making for dinner last minute. It also makes it easy if I want to switch things around last minute I have options readily available and I know that I already have the ingredients to make those other meals. Here's an example of what it looks like.

 Also, since it's just Grant and I eating, we have lots of leftovers not only for Grant's lunches, but also for dinner. It's good for your mental health to have one or two nights a week where you say you're just going to do leftovers for dinner. If you have a larger family, you can make more of each dinner if need-be (usually recipes feed 6-8 people).
2) I pull out the recipes for that week and make a list of everything that I need, and then also add to the list anything I might need for Andrew (more formula/diapers), or anything for breakfast (cereal/milk/fruit), and then any basics that are needed (usually for us it's bread, milk, fruits, vegetables, lettuce, and toppings for salad). I know it sounds like a lot and that it will be really expensive, but we've been able to stay well within our budget for a couple reasons. First, I try to make it so our recipes for the week use similar ingredients, and I can buy things in bulk. It is a lot easier to stick to a grocery list that has been well thought out than it is to try and mentally go through your kitchen at the grocery store.

Now for some recipes: These are staple recipes that have been tried and true in our house. I try to cook at least one new thing a week, but these recipes are delish!

Saucy Meatballs: This is a Vanderhorst tradition and has been my father-in-law's favorite dish for decades, and probably Grant's favorite dish.

You need:
1 lb hamburger
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (I just put in Italian seasoning with crushed up crackers)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 soup can full of milk
1 pt. sour cream

Mix hamburger, egg, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Form into 1-inch balls and fry in pan or on a flat grill until cooked through. For the sauce, mix cream of chicken soup and milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. Continue stirring until smooth. Be sure that the soup and milk mixture isn't boiling when you put in the sour cream or else it will curd up if it is too hot. Mix in sour cream, and once the sauce is smooth, add the meatballs and simmer for a few minutes. Serve over cooked white rice.

Sweet Pork: This is the easiest and quickest recipe you will find for sweet pork ever, and it is delicious.

You need:
6 lbs of pork roast
16 oz of salsa (I usually blend the salsa in the blender to make it smooth)
1 can of cola or Dr. Pepper
2 cups of brown sugar

Cook meat in a crockpot that is 1/2 full of water overnight on low. Drain off the water, de-bone the meat and cut into thirds. Mix together the sauce ingredients and put back in crockpot with meat another 5-6 hours on low. Shread meat with forks and leave on low until ready to serve. Serve on rolls or salad.

Crockpot Orange Chicken: Again, easy recipe that is delicious!

You need:
1 cup of BBQ sauce
1 cup of orange marmalade
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
4-6 chicken breasts

Put it all together in a crockpot and cook for 5 hours on high. Serve over rice. (Yep, it's that easy!)

French-Dip Sandwiches: Kind of an easy spin-off of actual french dip sandwiches. What can I say, I'm not gourmet by any means. I'm all about quick and easy that also happens to be delicious.

You need:
1 lb of thinly sliced deli roast
Provolone or Swiss cheese
2 packages of Pillsbury refrigerated rolls
1 package of Au Jus mix

Take the rolls out of the packages and flatten out the rolls into triangles. Put a slice of deli-roast and cheese on each roll, and then roll it back up. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Serve with the Au Jus and enjoy!

These are just a few to get you started, but I'll post more recipes as I find them. If you go to this blog, you can also find a ton of easy, cheap, delicious recipes!

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Andrew will be 5 months on Saturday and I haven't done a single blog post about him yet! So, I have some catching up to do.

Here are Andrew's 5-month stats:

Height: 25 inches (actual age: 25th percentile. gestational age: 75th percentile)
Weight: 15.2 lbs (actual age: 15th percentile. gestational age: 50th percentile)

I do both the actual age and gestational age since he was born 6 weeks early. It takes about 2 years for kids to grow out of the premature label, so as long as he is on track gestationally that is all I care about. I'm really happy with his actual age percentiles! Up until last month he was in the 1%-5%, so I'm glad he's starting to catch up :)

Andrew's favorite things: This kid is so much fun! I love being his mom! He loves...
~smiling and is generally a very happy baby
~looking at himself in the mirror
~watching me do my hair and makeup (he is very fascinated. He will carefully watch me pull a piece of hair and then watch the straightener or curling iron go through my hair, and then keep eyes on them as I put them back on the counter. He also loves the blow dryer)
~he has a little play-mat-jungle thing where different toys can hang down and he loves grabbing the toys and trying to shove them in his mouth
~tummy time
~bath-time! This kid loves loves loves his bath
~getting a baby massage. I've just started doing it this past week after his bath and he loves it
~going on adventures. This kid is so easy to run errands with. He is really chill while we are out and about and loves looking around. He especially loves going on walks or runs with me.
~the TV. The first time he saw the TV he was totally captivated. We don't have it on a whole lot at our house, but when it is on he enjoys seeing all the moving colors.
~sitting up. He loves sitting in his bumbo and whenever he is laying down, if I grab his hands he will automatically clench up and try to sit up. He's getting some washboard abs!
~being sung to. We sing lots of songs during the day and I have music playing quite a bit.
~reading books. He loves looking at really colorful pictures.
~talking. He has been blabbing a lot lately and we love it! Lots of ooos, ahhhs, and "guh" sounds.
~playing with mom and dad. He loves being tickled and he loves this little trick that Grant does with him. It's gotten to the point where he will lean back on his own whenever Grant holds him like this. In the video he isn't smiling as much because he is pretty fascinated with my phone haha, but you catch a little smile at the beginning. He usually flails his arms straight out as well--pretty cute :)
We sure love our little boy! :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Our Apartment in DC

I've had a few request for pictures of our apartment in DC. Now that we finally have everything put away and pictures up I felt ready to post pictures. Enjoy the tour!

Here is the entry way. 
Once you walk in there is the living room and then on the left you can see into our kitchen.
Here's another shot of the front room.
Dining Area
Desk and Piano right behind the family room


We had to get a couple storage racks because there isn't a lot of cabinet space

Down the hall and to the left is the bathroom

Across the bathroom is Andrew's room. Crib courtesy of Mom and Dad Vanderhorst--thank you both so much!
At the end of the hall is our master bedroom.
A huge thanks goes to those who helped us move in (lookin at you Rick and Marnae, as well as Steve and Janae), and a HUGE thank you to my wonderful mom who helped us get settled the first couple of days. It would have taken forever to get unpacked with you!

More posts of our adventures in DC will come soon :)