Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in Georgia

We left chilly Iowa after Eric got off work on the 23rd. We drove overnight and arrived at my grandparents home in Perry, Georgia about 7:00 am the next morning. After a family nap and showers, we were ready to enjoy a couple days with my family.

We just hung around Grandma and Grandad's on Christmas Eve. After the long car-ride, we were glad to see the weather was nice enough for a walk around the pasture and through the planted pines.

My two married brothers were spending Christmas Eve with their in-laws, so my grandparents, parents, Nathan, and my little family of four went over to my Aunt Jody's for chili and appetizers that evening.

We enjoyed a couple photo ops in front of the tree with the girls. Gabriela, as usual, was excited to hold her baby sister for the occasion. Lilian, as usual, was less than thrilled about the sitution. Both girls were equally concerned though when we got the great idea to toss them both into a giant stocking for pictures.

Papai Noel managed to find the girls in Georgia on Christmas morning. So we opened Santa gifts before heading back over to Aunt Jody's for brunch. Gabriela really got into opening presents. Her favorite gift of the morning was a remote control of her very own - which often doubles as her make-belive telefone. The enthusiasm shifted though when Grandma brought out a gift for her to open early. My child loves shoes. So brown and pink cowgirl boots from Grandma and Grandad made her a very happy kid!

My immediate family all made it to Perry before dinner, so we had our gift exchange then. The entire family, all 22 of us, were at Grandma and Grandad's for Christmas Dinner. Much food was followed by many presents with lots of laughter mixed in with it all.

A little Christmas Day photo session before we open presents.

Gabriela and Lilian are the only great-grandkids (unless you count Travis and Brii's en utero), so they get spoiled in a major way anytime we're around my family. Lilian gets held and cuddled and cooed over constantly. And Gabriela has a very captivated audience to entertain all on her own.

It was, as it always is, a fantastic Georgia Christmas. We then celebrated my first-ever annual 29th birthday on December 26th before leaving that afternoon to drive down to South Florida.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lilian - 3 Months

Dear Lilian,

A quarter of a year old on Christmas Day! What good times! And how has 1/4 of a year already passed since your birth?

After driving down to Georgia for Grandpa's retirement party and Thanksgiving, we turned around and did it all over again on the 23rd for Christmas. Our plan is to drive down to South Florida now after Christmas before making the journey back to Iowa in January. Your Papai and I are so thankful that you are proving to be a good car rider!
Your little personality has been developing so much this last month. You flash great big grins anytime someone is talking to you and have started to giggle on occasion. Your laughs are really throaty and almost sound fake - it's really cute and hopefully you'll let me catch it on camera one of these days.

You remain on the top of Gabriela's "favorite things" list. You have mixed emotions regarding her though, I'm afraid. She tries to be very gentle but inadvertently ends up bonking heads with you, stepping on your hand, or shoving the pacifier in your mouth just a little too hard. And then you roll out that bottom lip of yours. And you scream. Loudly. You've become known as "the drama queen" around here for your over-the-top antics. Given your normally super laid-back and ultra-chill demeanor and how quickly you can turn it to drama, you might have a job in Hollywood one of these days. Which would be great - we're not against you making us rich. ;)

Despite lacking anything resembling a routine in the nap department yet, you are a great little night-time sleeper and generally sleep from about 8:00 pm until 10:00 am waking sometime between 6:00 and 8:00 am to nurse. You're quite the cuddler and on weekdays you often stay in bed with me after our morning milk session since Papai is already up and getting ready for work then. Given that the rest of my day is pretty well split between you and your sister (with her demanding more of my attention at the moment), it is awfully nice to get some one-on-one cuddle time (even if you are asleep during it!)

You are having trouble stretching out your feedings to four hours, but since you already sleep all night I'm not really stressing over it. You tend to nurse every 3 hours or so and end up with five feedings each day rather than my preferred four...but we're getting along just fine that way. You are growing well and really filling out in your face - you've got some serious jowls now!

The last couple weeks you have turned into a complete slobber monster. I am pretty sure every bit of saliva you produce ends up on your chin and running onto your shirt. You have really got to work on the whole swallowing your spit thing...otherwise I'm afraid you might drown yourself one of these days!

Your last appointment was at 2 1/2 months. You weighed 10 pounds 12 ounces (25th percentile) and were 23.25 inches long (40th percentile).

You are our little cutie and we all enjoy you so much everyday. You are my daily reminder of how richly blessed I am!
Eu te amo,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An Early Iowa Christmas

(I have a bunch of posts in the works...I only just now getting around to finishing/editing and posting them!)

Being that I'm from Georgia and Eric is from Iowa has it challenges some days. Besides the occasional language barrier, my rather persistent groaning about the never-ending winter, and a constant battle as to whether tea is meant to be brewed and sweetened or instant and disgusting (sorry but I do the writing here, I'm entitled to my opinion), there is the issue of the holidays. It's a little hard to do Christmas Eve with one side and Christmas Day with the other like my brothers and sisters-in-law do (although we did manage that in 2006!) So you can imagine our delight when Eric's sister in Florida, Tanya, announced that she and her four kids were coming up to Iowa for two weeks in early December. Eric's family decided to celebrate Christmas early while everyone was here! (Thereby freeing us up to journey down to Georgia for the 25th.)

Madison, the oldest grandchild and very much the "mother" of all the youngins', liked holding Lilian, the youngest.

We went up to Eric's parents' house both weekends that Tanya and the kids were in town. (Brian wasn't able to come since he was finishing up the school semester.) It was crazytown with all the kids: Madison (6), Kaylee (4), Hannah (2), Gabriela (20 months), Carson (3.5 months), AJ (3 months), Lilian (2.5 months). Yes that would make seven grandkids total under the age of 6, with two toddlers and three itty-bitty babies.

I should also mention that we had the great idea to take all the kiddos up to Sears Portrait Studio for a group picture. With no adults in it. Bless their hearts, the girls at the studio spent tons of time with us and did their very best. But here's the thing: it is impossible to get two toddlers to cooperate and three babies awake and not crying all at the same time. IMPOSSIBLE. We quickly realized that we were certifiably insane for even thinking that was a good idea. We agreed to try again later...once they're teenagers.

Lilian and Carson (5 weeks apart) spent lots of time smiling, laughing, and "talking" to each other.

The second weekend they were in town, we had a busy schedule: get together with some of the aunts and uncles at Tammy's house on Friday night, deer hunting on Saturday morning, Christmas on Saturday night. I ended up leaving before the festivities even began though.

Some of the family that got together Friday night at Tammy's

My very first doula client went into labor that day, so I high-tailed it back to Burlington Friday evening, supported her all night and day through a very long labor, came home Saturday at 6:00 pm after the baby was born, and (after eating my weight in pasta) slept for 14 hours straight. (For those who are wondering: it was a fantastic experience, left me in complete awe at the amazing miracle that is birth, and left no doubt that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now. A 30-hour labor (I was there for the last 20 hours) is exhausting and tough on everyone involved, but even that didn't deter my enthusiasm for this new venture!)

The baby line-up: Carson, AJ, Lilian, and Mary Jo (their second cousin)

Even though I wasn't there and I'm certain that the absence of their favorite daughter-in-law (I maintain that it's irrelevant that I'm the only one) was greatly felt, it sounds like everyone had a great time celebrating Christmas. Good food, good company, lots of toys was basically the report I got.

Nena and Papa with their grandkids on Friday night (late enough for half of them to be in pjs already)

I hated to miss out on the weekend, but was somewhat consoled by the fact that we were planning to be in Florida with Brian, Tanya, and the kids for several days after Christmas!

Gabriela tearing into her presents on Saturday night
(How impressive is it that Eric even got the girls into Christmas dresses all by himself?!?)

Friday, December 10, 2010

So Pitiful (but hilarious)

Gabriela is reaching that stage where she sometimes gets a little whiny. Sometimes she just sits and cries for no apparent reason. Sometimes that moment occurs while she's sitting on the toilet. Whenever and wherever it happens, she rolls that bottom lip out a mile and usually off to the side a little. It's equal parts pitiful and hilarious. To me anyway. :)

(And to those who know the difference, please excuse the grammar slip-up.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving in Georgia

I picked Eric up at the Atlanta airport on the Saturday night before Thanksgiving. We spent a few days with my folks in Colbert before heading down to my grandparents' home in Perry for Thanksgiving. We left Perry on Saturday evening and made an overnight drive (much easier for the girls if they can just sleep the whole 14 hour journey) back home.

The weather was fantastic our whole visit. We spent tons of time outside going on walks and sitting on the porch visiting. It was 79 degrees and sunny on Thanksgiving Day. Shortly after arriving back home to Iowa, winter set-in and most days it hasn't made it above freezing. I would like to officially make it known that I still do not like cold weather.

Anyhow, we had lots of fun hanging out with my brothers and sisters-in-law, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We ate our fill of turkey, ham, noodles, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle, green beans, cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. I decided that as much as I loved preparing a Thanksgiving feast for friends the last two years in Brasil, you just can't beat going to Grandma's house and eating all her cooking! We watched lots of college football. We did some Christmas shopping. But the most fun of the week was finding out that my brother, Travis, and his wife, Brii, are expecting a baby in May! And we are super excited about that!!! Although I'm not sure if Gabriela and Lilian are prepared to share the attention. Since they are the only kids on my side of the family, they totally love the audience they have when we're in Georgia. I suspect they'll enjoy a cousin too though. :)

The girls hanging out with Momo and Grandpa

Gabriela accompanying Tio Justin on the piano.

And then helping out Uncle Travis (If she gets any musical talent at all, we can attribute it to Justin and Travis . . . Eric and I possess NONE!)

Gabs taking a break after helping Grandad pick up pecans. (She loved that job! She had so much fun out in the yard with Grandad and actually did a really good job finding and picking up the pecans.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dad's Retirement Celebration

Dad getting up to defend himself a bit after everyone's remarks. :)

The girls and I drove down to Georgia on Wednesday, November 17 so that we could surprise my dad and attend his retirement reception the following day. (Eric stayed back home to work, but flew down Saturday to spend Thanksgiving with my fam.) My brothers were the only people who knew we were coming, so it was fun to see the reaction from all the rest of the family too!

A group shot of all the family in attendance

After 31 years with the University of Georgia Extension Service, Dad decided to officially retire and then hire back on part time for a while. Despite only being 53 years old, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a couple years ago. Mom still knows everybody and if you were to casually meet her you wouldn't necessarily know anything was wrong. (You'd probably just think she was a bit eccentric.) But she is getting to the point where she depends on Dad to do pretty much everything for her, and she can't be left home alone too much anymore. So after lots of contemplation and prayer, Dad decided he needed to retire so that he could devote more time to Mom's care.

Grandpa looking awfully proud to have his granddaughter there! (Gabs was getting a little tired though.)

There was a committee of Dad's colleagues that put together an awesome retirement celebration, and I was so glad I was there for it! Along with comments from a couple coworkers, they asked my Grandad, Aunt Jody, and my little brother, Justin, to make some remarks on behalf of the family. Everyone had lots of stories to tell and gave Dad a pretty hard time! Justin did a great job representing my other two brothers and me and cracked everyone up with his speech, so I will share it for anyone who would like to watch.

My brothers have been picking on Dad a bunch about being retired. His facebook page has included questions as to whether or not he is now sporting black socks with mandals (men's sandals) while driving the speed limit in the left lane with his right blinker on en route to his favorite fishing hole. I enjoy the opportunity to tease him about being an old grandpa these days, and an old retired grandpa at that! (Although if we were to be real honest, we are all hoping to be able to retire at 53...admittedly we'd prefer if it wasn't because our spouse has Alzheimer's though.)

My Grandad was happy to have his first granddaughter there too, I think. :)

Besides my mom, brothers and sisters-in-law, grandparents, aunts, and some cousins, there was a huge turn out of extension service colleagues for the party. Dad has had a great career with the UGA Extension Service and is greatly respected by those he worked with. He makes me awfully proud to be his daughter!

Lilian kept a close eye on Mr. Marable, the photographer of the evening. (And thanks to Blane Marable for letting me share these pictures!)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2 Months - Lilian

My Sweet Lilian,

Last week as Papai was admiring you in his lap, he turned to me and said, "She just gets more beautiful everyday, don't you think?" You are filling out and getting chubby baby cheeks and the tiniest little fat rolls on your thighs. You rock a fauxhawk like no one else can. And that smile. Oh my gosh, how your grin lights up a room! You are still a little stingy with the smiles, but you love to stare at faces and will usually smile back when someone smiles and talks to you.

The first of this second month, we dressed you up as a ballerina and took you trick-or-treating at the mall on Halloween. You slept through the whole thing. Then you stayed home to pass out candy with me while Gabs and Papai hit up the neighbors for candy. You slept through all that as well.

We put you through the child-of-E&E test this month and you passed with flying colors. (Which is good because I'm afraid we'd have to send back any kid who wasn't a good traveller!!!) The three of us girls decided to drive down to Georgia on November 17 and surprise your Grandpa for his retirement reception the following day. A 14-hour car ride with two babies would probably intimidate most people, but I had full confidence in you and Gabriela. And you both did awesome! We left at 8:00 am and arrived 15 hours later with only two stops (and very minimal crying/whining) the whole trip! Thank goodness for hands-free pumping, having long arms that can hold a bottle in the backseat, and absorbent diapers. Oh, and two very-content-in-their-car seat girls!

Papai flew down on Saturday and we have spent the week, including Thanksgiving (also your 2-month birthday) in Georgia with family. Everyone was super excited to meet you and enjoyed lots of "pass the baby around."

You have spent much of our time in Georgia with a sour tummy and have started spitting up a lot. Up until now I could literally count on my hands the number of times you've spit up. You have been busy throwing up on lots of the family this week though! Your uncles are especially appreciative.

As of the last two weeks, you are sleeping completely through the night every day now. We put you to bed drowsy, but awake, around 8:30 most nights and you sleep until ~8:00 the next morning. You'll usually wake up, nurse, and then go back to sleep until after 10:00. You haven't been napping much during the day, except when you're in your car seat (you always fall asleep there) but I'll take it for a full night's rest! The last week in Georgia you have been a bit more of a night owl staying wide awake until after 10:00 most nights (probably partly due to the hour time difference), but you make up for it by sleeping later the next morning. You aren't on much of a "schedule" yet, but you are predictable at least!

Gabriela remains completely obsessed with you and spends much of her day smothering you with hugs and kisses. She has also started trying to pick you up off the floor (which we're trying hard to break her of.) She regularly asks to hold the baby and will rock you and sing to you. You're a good sport and tolerate her well. I keep hoping that will last.

You have outgrown all of your newborn clothes now and are wearing 0-3 month. Your size 0 shoes finally fit your little narrow feet now too. You are up to 10.1 pounds (20th percentile) on our scale at home and, though I haven't measured you, seem to have gotten a lot longer.

It's funny how quickly I've become used to being the mother of two. I hardly remember what it was like to leave the house with only one little munchkin now. You are such a happy, content baby, and we all love you so much. Having you here has brought even more love and happiness into our home.

Eu te amo, minha querida!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Restroom Adventures

The end of October, when the girls and I accompanied Eric on a business trip to Burr Ridge, I decided to take the kiddos to the Chicago Children’s Museum one day while Eric was working. Eric questioned my judgment on driving into downtown Chicago and hauling a 1 month old and 18 month old around Navy Pier alone. I had taken them both out for an uneventful girls lunch at Olive Garden and stroll around the mall the previous day though, so I assured him I was up to the challenge and we’d do just fine.

After we parked at Navy Pier and made our way to the museum (with Lilian in the Baby K'Tan sling and carrying Gabriela on my hip), we had to stand in a short line to buy our entry tickets. It was time for Lilian to eat, but I had pumped a bottle to give her once we got inside and found somewhere to keep Gabriela busy for a few minutes.

No sooner than we get in line, Lilian fills her diaper. In a major way. Which is always a little extra discerning when you are "wearing" your baby. Having an accessory leak poop all over is never good, but it's a risk you get to take regularly when you're a mother. (You young girls have no idea how easy you have it . . . when was the last time a cute scarf or fabulous necklace ruined your outfit?) And while she never is very tolerant of a poopy butt, Lilian is even less forgiving of a dirty diaper when she's hungry. So my 1-month old child began to scream at the top of her lungs and refused to be comforted.

Meanwhile I need to get my wallet out of the diaper bag so I can pay. I tried putting Gabriela down, but she was lured by the fun things inside and kept trying to run away. So I am wrestling a toddler who wants down to go play, attempting to shush a hungry, poopy newborn, and dig out my credit card. I got more than one "what the heck does she think she's doing here by herself?" looks from onlookers, including the woman behind the counter. I debated turning around and returning to the hotel. But I had already paid $20 to park. We were going to the museum, dadgumit. Once inside, we immediately found the family restroom so I could get Lilian changed.

Of course, someone was occupying the family restroom and I didn’t dare try to contain Gabs inside the large normal restroom with the propped open door. So we sat down on a bench and I pulled out Lilian’s bottle hoping to distract Gabriela by letting her help me give the baby a bottle and get Lilian to quit crying by getting some milk in her belly and hoping she would forget about the mess in her pants.

Eventually, the family restroom door opened and a lady exited. A very able-bodied lady. Alone. Let’s take a moment to discuss one of my biggest pet peeves since becoming a mother: family restrooms are generally intended for those of us with, oh I don’t know, a “family” en tow (or those who need assistance in the restroom). It’s not just some giant luxury stall for those whom deem a regular restroom insufficient for their pottying needs.

Anyhoo, I take the two kiddos into the now vacant family restroom and start changing Lilian. I was pleased to discover that the diaper had contained the entire poop and, despite the grandeur of the bowel movement she had just experienced, none of it leaked out onto her clothes nor mine. And that’s how I knew the rest of the day was going to be just fine.

After getting the baby cleaned up and put back into the sling and telling Gabriela 142 times to please stop touching the toilet and not play in the trash and to stop licking the wall, Gabriela and I each used the potty (since we were already there and all). I washed Gabs hands very well and then applied some hand sanitizer, since she found the toilet and the trash way too enticing to leave alone. I opened the door to exit the facility and was half way out the door when Gabriela turned back around and darted to the toilet. Before I could stop her, she plunged both hands into the water, turned around, held both toilet-water-covered hands up in the air, and, with a disgusted look on her face, said “ssshhhhh, ssshhhhh” (which would be sujo: dirty in Portuguese.)

The rest of the visit to the Chicago Children’s Museum was great. Lilian spent most of the visit asleep against my chest. Gabs had a blast and didn’t want to leave even after three hours! And, so far, it seems she didn’t contract any fatal diseases from her bathroom antics.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boat Lessons Learned

I mentioned Eric's little boat purchase last month. He has high hopes for the 13-passenger deck boat and big dreams about the hours of family fun on the water. It needs a little engine work though. After putting it on the muffs in the driveway and it running just fine, he decided we needed to take it to the lake and give it a run to try to recreate the issue the previous owner told him about. Some valuable lessons were learned that lovely Sunday afternoon.

Lesson #1: If you are taking your boat out on the water to try and diagnose why the engine stops running after a few minutes, make sure there is someone else on the lake. If the place is deserted, you have no one to help give you a tow in when your boat, predictably, dies and refuses to restart.

Lesson #2: After buying a used boat, confirm that the anchor rope is actually long enough to reach the bottom of the lake.

Lesson #3: It's hard work to paddle a deck boat to shore by yourself on a very windy day.

Lesson #4: Your wife will refuse to take your two babies out on a deserted lake in a boat the you expect to die. Also, your wife will laugh at you once you're stranded in the middle of the lake with a dead engine, an anchor rope that is too short, and nothing but an oar to get yourself back to the boat ramp.

Lesson #5: No matter how many times you try in vain to crank the engine between paddling back, it will crank right up once it is back on the trailer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

When things slow down a little . . .

I need to stop ever using that phrase and just accept the fact that life moves at a ridiculously quick pace and things won't be slowing down any time soon. And while the girls are good sleepers and on paper it seems like I should have plenty of "free" time during naps and such, there still just aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do.

Blogging is one of those things.

I'm not a scrapbooker, and I don't have baby books for the girls. I don't keep a journal, and I'm horrible about keeping up with friends. The blog has been my substitute for all that. I want to have a written record of things that happen around here and remember milestones that the girls reach. I want to give friends and family a way to find out what's been happening with us and show off pictures of my growing little family. And sometimes I just want to share a funny story or vent a little bit. But here lately I just can't hardly manage to carve out enough time to sit down at the computer and write. And I don't like that. I want to work on making more time to blog. No promises, but I really do want to do better!

A few things that have happened around here lately:

Eric needed to be in Burr Ridge, a suburb of Chicago, October 25-28 for a training. Since it was only about a 3 1/2 hour drive, the girls and I decided to load up and go with him for a little change of scenery. We enjoyed playing in the hotel room, lunches out, shopping, and a day at the Chicago Children's Museum. For my first major solo outing with the girls, I thought the Children's Museum went well...after the initial 10 minutes anyway. (More on that later.) In the evenings, we went out to supper with Eric and three colleagues. Everyone teased Eric about turning his business trips into family vacations, but they enjoyed the evening entertainment provided by Gabriela!

We hired a babysitter for the first time so that we could go to a Halloween Party. A friend's 13-year old step daughter came over to watch Lilian (we put Gabs to bed before we left) so that Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy from Dancing with the Stars could attend the Relay for Life Costume Party Fundraiser.

Can you tell which is us and which is the real Erin and Maks? ;)

We had a UGA cheerleader and ballerina to take Trick-or-Treating on Halloween. Since Gabriela doesn't really get to eat candy yet, we figured that we'd confiscate her loot for ourselves. She opened up a sucker while we weren't looking though and, since it was Halloween and all, we let her lick on it a while. She seemed to enjoy her first taste of sugar fine enough, but mostly kept trying to offer it to Eric and I.

The next week, Eric spent Tuesday-Friday in Austin, TX with work. The girls and I survived, but were awfully excited when he got home Friday afternoon. It made me super thankful to not be a single mom, and made me realize how much Eric helps out around here!

Last week we worked on a few little projects around the house before spending the weekend in Urbana with Eric's folks.

Since Lilian is sleeping through the night and life is as "settled" as it gets, I am back to pursuing my certification as a birth doula. The only component left to complete is to actually support clients at three births and have them, their doctors, and their nurses evaluate me. I have two births already lined up for the first of the year and another five people who are interested in using my services. And I haven't started advertising nor am I listed anywhere as a doula - this has just been from people hearing that there is someone in Burlington working to become a doula! I should be certified by spring. I am really, really excited!

And along the lines of excitement: Eric has a new toy/project. He bought a 13-passenger deck boat that is in pretty good shape, but needs a little engine work. He's already learned a couple important lessons, but I'll have to dedicate a different post to that. Admittedly, I did want a boat for our family, but wasn't exactly looking for a "project". So while Eric is pretty stoked about the great deal he got on it and is excited about re-working the engine, my enthusiasm will be postponed until the thing is running and I feel confident enough to take the girls out in it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lilian's 1-Month Letter

You could have been a little more "cheery" for your 1-month photo, kid!

My Little Lilian,

My oh my, how time does fly! It seems like I just found out I was pregnant with you, and now here you are a month old already! And maybe more amazing is how much joy you've brought to our family in such a short length of time.

You've been such a perfect little baby. Do you know we haven't had a bad night of sleep around here at all? Not only did you let me sleep the whole night prior to your noon arrival on your birthday, but you have slept well every night since then too! Right now at a month old, you are going to bed about 10:00 and sleeping until 10:00 the next morning, waking briefly only once between 4 and 6:00 am to nurse. Once or twice a week, you still wake twice in the night (around 2:00 am) for a feeding as well. You've never been up more than twice in the night your entire little life though. And now you are stretching your daytime feedings 2-3 hours apart! After about the first week, we introduced you to the bottle and you'll take a bottle of breastmilk without any hesitation at all! (Which is great so that Papai can give you your bedtime feeding and free me up to do something else in the evening!)

You are quite the little cuddler and love to be held. Luckily, you're also laid back enough that you're usually okay with chilling in your swing or on the floor when your sister needs attention and no one is available to hold you. Bath time is your favorite and you've never ever cried while in the tub! (You are so relaxed in water - give you a glass of wine and you'd greatly resemble your mother! hehe)

You are gaining a lot more control over your head, and you can actually keep your head level with your body if we pull you up by your arms. You love to nap while being held belly-down, but you only tolerate tummy time for a few minutes before fussing to be rolled over onto your back.

After being home for a week, you had a little hangnail on your right ring finger that started to look infected. Over the next few days your fingertip turned bright red and swelled up twice the size it should be. We soaked it in epsom salt and put a topical antibiotic on it. It was a little better by your 2-week check-up, but the doctor felt it was a staph infection and really wanted to clear it up before it spread. So, you beat your sister to one milestone: you were the first one to take antibiotics! (Gabriela's made it 18 months so far without any meds!) For 10 days you got a 3-times a day dose of the pink stuff, and then I also gave you some L. acidophilus once a day to prevent thrush.

Gabriela is absolutely in love with you and spends much of her day covering you in hugs and kisses. You've started to grimace a little when you see her coming, but hopefully you'll learn to love all her affection. She acquired a cold and, of course, you were quick to catch it. So at 3 weeks old you had your first cold complete with a very snotty, congested nose.

While you were stuffy with a cold, sleeping flat was pretty much out of the question as you were unable to breath that way. You slept best in your swing, so I was swaddling you up and putting you down to sleep in your swing at night. It was going well for the first few nights, but one morning your Papai peeked in your room to find you fast asleep face down on the carpet...underneath your swing. (One more thing that makes you an awful lot like your older sister!) I'm still not sure how a 3-week old, swaddled tight (although you did free one arm at some point), managed to wiggle herself out of her swing and onto the floor. Or why you didn't cry when you got there. But I am thankful that we bought the small travel swing that only sits a few inches off the ground!!! (And no more sitting in your swing unbuckled anymore!)

The last week you've really been working on that smile of yours. I can almost always get a big open mouthed grin out of you now when I ask, "Onde está seu sorriso?" (Where is your smile?) And apparently tongue-protrusion is a genetic trait around here (from your father, no doubt). Just like Gabriela, you seem to spent a lot of time with your tongue poked out!

You were born 7 pounds 3 ounces, weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces when we left the hospital, gained back to your birth weight after the first week home, and you weigh 8.8 pounds now according to our home scale.

We are so very thankful to have you as part of our family. You bring out a very sweet and affectionate side of your sister and bring so much joy to your Papai and me. We love you so very much!

All my love,