Monday, August 31, 2009

Trip to Iowa July 2009

We planned this year's home-trip to coincide with Ryan and Tammy's wedding (Eric's sister). Since Gabriela was just turning 3 months old, we figured it would be an ideal time to go back for the wedding and to introduce the little munchkin to all the family.

We flew out of Belo Horizonte on July 17, landed in Miami, flew to Chicago, and then ended the first part of our journey in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Gabs did awesome for the traveling - she just slept on all the flights. In between flights, we laid a blanket on the floor and let her stretch and play before loading her back into the car seat for the next leg of the journey.

Reading with Daddy in the Miami airport at roughly 6:00 am

The first order of business in Iowa was to head up to Urbana to see Eric's folks.

Gabriela, Eric and me with his sister, Tanya, and her three girls

Nena and Papa (Eric's parents)

Not too long after arriving in Urbana, we got cleaned up and headed out for Ryan and Tammy's bachelor and bachelorette parties. Gabriela got to attend her first Bachelorette Party! (But she only stuck around for the supper-portion of the evening. Tanya offered to keep her the rest of the night so I could go out with all the girls and Eric could stay out late with the fellas. And that made Aunt Tanya Gabriela's first babysitter!)

Tammy's Bachelorette Party

One of the most fun parts of introducing Gabriela to the family was watching our nieces interact with her. She doesn't spend much time with other kids here in Brasil, so it was cute to see her with other people a little closer to her own size! Her cousin closest in age is Hannah who was 9 1/2 months old at the time - they will be in the same grade once they start school.

Madison just turned five. She is such a big girl and so helpful. Right away when we got there she wanted to hold Gabriela. It wasn't for too long though - she's a busy girl and had lots of other things to go do. :)

Kaylee just turned three in April, and I think she would have sat there holding Gabs all day if we'd let her. I'm not sure what Gabriela would have to say about that though . . . my kid wasn't really in the mood to be held the first time meeting Kaylee, but we let her hold the baby anyway. After getting Kaylee situated on the couch with a couple pillows around her, we put Gabriela in her arms. She gave the baby a great big hug (which sort of resembled a headlock) and rocked back and forth. As Gabriela started yelling in protest, Kaylee got a huge smile on her face and exclaimed in the most dramatic tone, "She LOVES it!!!" I didn't have the heart to tell her that wasn't exactly her cousin's happy noise, but I did suggest that maybe the baby wanted her Mommy right now.

A picture taken later on, when Gabriela was a little happier about being held.

Bath time with Nena

It wasn't all fun and games though (for Eric). Our first week back in the US, Eric worked at his old office in Burlington. So after spending the weekend in Urbana, we headed 2 hours south to the town where we were living prior to Brasil. While Eric worked during the day, Gabriela and I took care of a little shopping and other errands.

Visiting Daddy at the office

We did have a good time in Burlington though. Our friends Jeni and Adam offered to let us stay with them, which was much more comfortable than a hotel room with a baby. Each night we had plans with friends, including a cookout and a pool party, and had so much fun.

We even met up with some Brasilians in little ol' Burlington, Iowa! Andre (the normal-sized guy) works for the same company as Eric and is in Burlington now. The two enormously tall guys play basketball for the community college in town. (One of them actually played for Minas Tênis Clube and lived in BH for a while - just 1 block from us! Such a small world!)

My Mom and Dad flew out to Iowa for the wedding and, since Eric and I were both in the wedding, to babysit Gabriela for us. They got in Friday before the wedding and met Gabs and me for lunch (chicken lips - YUM!) in Burlington.

The first meeting

And then, on July 25, we got to celebrate the marriage of Ryan and Tammy! It was a great time and Eric and I were so honored to be a part of the wedding party.

The beautiful bride with her 4 nieces

Our little family - all dressed up

Posing with Gramps, aka Grumps ;)
(Doesn't he clean up nice!)

In the limo after the ceremony
(Wow, could we be showing any more teeth in this picture?!?)

And what's a wedding without a wardrobe malfunction?
I'm concentrating hard on fixing her dress (and apparently causing her pain? hehe)
Meanwhile, Ryan, her new hubby (with the white flower), is looking quite concerned.

The day after the wedding a bunch of us got together in Urbana for one last day of Iowa fun before we headed south to Georgia (aka God's country).

Our good friend, Jimmy, came by and we finally got to spend some time with his awesome wife-to-be, Jenna. (Aren't they the cutest couple? We are so excited about their wedding in March!)

While we were all goofing off, agricultural duties still called. So my father-in-law spent his Sunday afternoon in the combine. Everybody needs a supervisor though, so Eric suggested that some of us head over and watch his Dad work for a while. :)

The supervising staff

We had a great, albeit quick, trip to Iowa this year. I decided summer is a much more reasonable time of year to be there than winter. And I don't think re-acclimatizing to the weather will be difficult at all when we move back . . . so long as we are only there during the months of May - September. If it weren't that we'd miss the number-one-man in our life so badly, the Brasilian and I would make our home in Brasil for the "frozen Iowa tundra" part of the year! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2 Incredible Years

Before I get started on all the catching up posts from our vacation, I would be remiss if I didn't give a little shout out to my one and only, the apple of my eye, my big hunka hunka burnin' love . . . um, okay, I'll stop there. I might have mentioned it before, but I am married to the most awesome guy around (and I know all wives say that, but seriously, my fella is the bestest!!!)

So in honor of our second anniversary, I present a little pictorial walk down memory lane: The Story of Us.

Friday, August 21, 2009

4 Months

My Dear Little Gaberdoodle,

Another month down. I know I've said it before, but really, where does the time go? And why do you have to look like such a big girl in your 4-month picture? Time waits for no one, I suppose (even those of us who have spent the whole month in vacation mode)!

Every month brings new stages and with each new development I constantly find myself telling people how much fun "this age" is. Your Papai and I have had so much fun with you this month!

You're currently in the grab-it-and-stick-it-in-my-mouth phase. You have been very busy exploring the world by means of taste. And lucky for you, your eye-hand coordination has gotten good enough to facilitate this new-found fascination. Everything from my hair, to your toys, to Daddy's shirt, and even sand from the beach has entered your mouth in the last few weeks and you have very little use for anything that won't readily fit into your little pie-hole. You tend to quickly toss aside toys that you can't easily chew on.

You have mastered rolling over in all directions now, and you really enjoy the mobility. I have had to expand your floor play area from just your play gym to accommodate your need to be on the move. I put down a 5'x5' foam play mat for you and quickly learned that's not even going to be big enough. The very first day, I left you playing alone on the floor just long enough to start a load of laundry. I came back into the room just as you made your final roll off the mat and got to witness you bump your head on the stone floor. Then you looked up at me all mad like it was my fault and proceeded to yell at your ol' Mommy. (Have I mentioned that you're starting to get quite the little temper when things don't go your way?)

And while I have your attention, we need to talk about the "Back to Sleep" campaign. Babies are supposed to sleep on their back to lower the risk of SIDS. Now, I guess you didn't get that memo, as you absolutely refuse to stay on your back when we put you in your crib. But really kid, you sleep awesome at night - still sleeping from 8:00 pm to 7-8:00 am to eat and then going back to bed until 10:00 am. And your parents would be sleeping well too if only you didn't insist on rolling over and sleeping on your face (often times even burying your face in your bumper pad!)

Not a waking hour goes by that you don't make your Papai and me crack up laughing at you. Whether it's you playing alone and breaking out into uncontrollable laughter, the funny faces you make at us, your big splashes in the bathtub, that pouty bottom lip you roll out when you're mad, or some of your crazy antics, you ensure there is plenty of laughter around the house! Just this week, I left you on your play gym as I walked into the other room to greet your Daddy when he got home from work. We walked directly into your play room to the sound of you slurping. At first we thought you where just sucking on your hand, but as we sat down to play with you, we realized you had spit-up big time and were nose-down happily sucking it back up. Your Uncle Nathan would say that you're disgusting - it's moments like these that I have to agree (through the tears from laughing so hard).

Notice the puddle near your right hand and the spit-up on your forehead, nose, and mouth!

The highlight of this month was all the time you got to spend with the extended family! Everybody thought you were really something special and did their best to spoil you. Between your grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, they all kept you right where you like to be: at the center of everyone's attention! You quickly made it known that it had to be on your terms though; you preferred to be on the floor (not held, which is apparently entirely too confining for your taste) but with everyone gathered around to talk and play with you. From your little throne in the middle of the floor, you kept all the family entertained with your giggles and no one could resist playing with your hair. (Your mane, by the way, is getting quite curly and long. When wet, your hair completely covers your eyes now.)

Five Generations! You met your Great-Great Grandma who was 96 years old. She passed away a week and a half later. You are descendant number 102 or something like that (counting only direct blood-line relatives, not all the spouses, etc!) She was an awesome lady and leaves behind quite a legacy!

Your Papa and Nena thought you were so special they followed you back to Brasil! ;) You got to spend two weeks showing them (along with Aunt Kelly) around your home country this month.

You are the first grandchild for Grandpa and Grandmo. They're pretty darn smitten with you! They even came out to your Aunt Tammy's wedding in Iowa so they could get an extra 3 days with you while we were in the US.

You are the first great-grandkid for Grandma and Grandad. Their oldest grandchild turns 30 next year and the youngest is in high school - they thought it was about time to have a little baby in the family! (Grandma was the only person you never minded holding you - and almost every time you fell right asleep in her arms!)

Grandpa Bob (aka "Gramps" to your Daddy and affectionately called "Grumps" by your Mommy) has a whole bunch of grandkids and great-grandkids. It's a direct result of having a right large gaggle of kids (8 to be exact) himself! He loves to see the family grow and scooped you right up the second he met you!

Other note-worthy items from this month include:

- You're riding in your BabyBjörn forward facing now. You have perfect control of your head these days, so we made the switch for anytime you're awake and not sleepy. You love being able to look out at everything now!

- At your 4-month check-up you weighed in at 12.9 pounds (40th percentile) and 24 inches long (50th percentile).

- You have started noticing your feet. But since you have a hard time getting them into your mouth unassisted, you have very little interest in them.

- You are trying your darndest to crawl. You don't have the strength to do it yet, but you've got the motion down perfect and you know if you can ever make it work you will be able to get to where you want to be. You totally wear yourself out moving your arms and legs trying to crawl towards a toy - but you don't even move an inch!

-Naked time is your favorite time of the day. The second we start to undress you for your bath at night you get all excited and talk/squeal like crazy. You especially love it when Mommy gives you an oil massage. (Pampered Princess, you think?!?) We try to let you have a good 30 minutes of "naked time" prior to making you scream by putting clothes on you. You're quite the budding little nudist. Your father is really hoping you outgrow that.

- You can blow raspberries like a pro now. Anytime you notice no one is paying attention to you, you really blow a good one to get everyone's attention. We're working on getting you to give beijinhos (little kisses) now - hard as you try, you can't quite make a smacking sound quite yet though.

- You have completed 13 flights, 2 boat rides, been on 2 trains, in several taxis, on more than a dozen buses, on 2 Swiss cable cars, and logged countless hours in the car. You've been on 6 beach trips, hiked Stone Mountain, been on an island, visited 4 states in the US and 6 states in Brasil. At 4 months of age, you have seen more/done more than most of the world's population does in a lifetime.

You continue to be such an easy-going baby most of the time. Being your parents brings so much joy to your Daddy and me! We expect an awful lot out of someone so little and you've risen to the challenge time and time again.

I love you bunches, minha princesinha,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The whirlwind tour is over.

After more than 2 months of guests and/or traveling, we are back home, all alone, and working on recovering. (Though I still haven't attempted unpacking yet . . . maybe tomorrow.)

We had an incredibly fabulous (though very busy) trip to the US and thoroughly enjoyed bringing Eric's parents and youngest sister back with us to Brasil for a couple weeks. But I must admit, walking back into our apartment at midnight Sunday was a good feeling - having no pending plans for a while is rather appealing right now.

Although poor Hubby is back to the grind at work, Gabriela and I are taking the opportunity to rest and recover from all the running. And apparently the little chickadee needed the rest - it's after 11:00 and except for getting up for 20 minutes to eat at 8:00, Gabs is still sound asleep!

I'll attempt to recap our weeks away real soon, but for now I might go curl up on the couch with a book and take advantage of the quiet!