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 TĂȘnis 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! :)

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