We enjoyed getting to spoil our nieces a little bit (including turning the oldest into a Brasil soccer fan).
Everyone was super generous to us and Z Baby too! And Eric learned what people mean when they say your life changes after a baby . . .
While the farmers in the family got new Carhartts and power tools, the new Daddy-to-be got a man-friendly diaper bag and microwave steam sterilizer. (Admittedly, we had asked for baby stuff for Christmas, but he thought it was pretty funny given some of what his Dad and brother-in-law-to-be received!)
The next day we were joined by extended family and friends to celebrate New Year's Eve.
After we were complete bums and watching lots of college football for the next couple days, Eric's three sisters graciously threw a baby shower in our honor on Saturday, January 3.
Despite some yucky weather (an ice storm moving in!) there was a great turnout of family and friends; Z Baby and her parents were royally spoiled!
After it was over and we were surveying all the goods from Christmas, my birthday, and the shower, Eric and I agreed that it was going to take some fancy (or um, miraculous) packing to get our child's things back to Brasil!
The next week Eric's mom and youngest sister had to go back to school, so Eric and I took the opportunity to spend some extra time with the nieces and catch up with some more family and friends around Iowa.
Monday night we met up with the Ditchs and Cress' for supper in Cedar Rapids. Tuesday we drove up to Waterloo to spend the day with Eric's sister's family and play with our nieces some more. Wednesday afternoon we drove over to Des Moines and had supper with his cousin, Stephanie, and a college friend. After spending the night with Stephanie, we drove over to Dubuque to meet with a midwife certified as a hypnobirthing instructor. (One of only two in Iowa, and since none exist in Brasil (as far as we can tell) we wanted to get in for an appointment to receive some reassurance that we were doing what we need to do in preparation for Z Baby's arrival - the 2+ hour session went great and we feel better than ever about using the Mongan Method of hypnobirthing to bring our little one into the world!) We returned to Eric's parents' on Thursday night and Friday night we had a get together there to see a few more people and hang out with everyone before leaving on Saturday.
Uncle Eric trying to get his fill of baby time in with the newest niece while we were at her house.
After spending part of Friday and Saturday morning packing, we managed to get most everything into 6 checked bags (only 2 over the international limit and all 6 within the 70 pounds per bag allowed to Brasil!) and a carry-on each. And that included a car seat, jogging stroller, car seat carrier/stroller, pack-n-play, a Bumbo seat, Bobby, one entire suitecase of nothing but baby clothes, a maternity summer wardrobe for myself, and a whole lot more!!! Granted, we had to be taken to the airport in the F-250 and it required 2 taxis (one for us, one full of our stuff) to get from the airport to our apartment, but given the amount of stuff we brought back and the fact that everything made it safely is truly a testament to our ever-more-amazing packing skills! :) Living abroad seems to improve more than just your foreign language abilities!