Friday, April 23, 2010

She obviously takes after her father

We had Gabriela's 12-month check up today. Got the usual good report from her doctor. She is up to 18.5 pounds (10th percentile) and 28.25 inches (15th percentile). So she is growing . . . slowly.

We also got a couple vaccines (prevenar and varicella). And the doctor looked at me weird when I requested that we wait until 15 months for her MMR. I told him we would be more comfortable spacing out her vaccines a little instead of loading up her system with so much at once. He was okay with that, but he obviously thought we were strange. Oh well, probably won't be the last time someone thinks that!

We did have one concern we wanted to discuss with her pediatrician and had been waiting anxiously for her 12-month appointment to bring it up. Every couple of weeks, Gabriela will vomit in a very major way. And usually what she is spewing across the room, into her carseat, or down her father's shirt includes something she ate 8 or 12 hours earlier. There is no common food or activity that triggers it. And it isn't frequent. But it is regular, occurring a couple times per month ever since we started her on solids. All other systems work just fine. She eats very well, she goes poo three times per day every day, she's basically a healthy, happy kid. Whose stomach seems to stop emptying a couple times per month causing her to throw up.

The doctor had a couple theories on what could be happening. He hated to do anything too invasive (upper GI) or start throwing meds out there to try, since it is just an occasional occurrence and since it obviously isn't affecting her overall health. But, he thought it would be good to do an x-ray of her belly just to see if there was some oddity/malformation/something obviously wrong.

We walked down the hall to radiology (our pediatrician's office is in the hospital - super convenient!!) and then back to the doctor.

Turns out little missy has no major problems. But, her gut is packed full of bowels. Yep, she's full of crap. Proving that she might look like her mama, but she's definitely got her dad's genes too! (Just kidding, Dear!)

She already gets a lot of fiber in her daily diet, so the doctor wants us to try giving her a little bulk fiber mixed with her water. (I might try cutting her back to half a banana per day instead of her whole one at breakfast each morning. And maybe add a little more wheat germ too.) Hopefully that will help keep her cleared out and will prove to be the root cause of her stomach back-up and subsequent vomiting.

Her little pot-belly isn't so cute now that we've seen what's in there though!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

1 Year Old

My Dear Gabriela,

When you woke up this morning, I brought you into bed with me for a few minutes like we sometimes do. As you cuddled up with your head on my chest and your big blues eyes facing me, I starred at you for a while. I tried to memorize everything about you right now: your gummy, toothless smile, your wild curls, your round cheeks, your soft skin, your cute babbly chatter. And the longer I looked at you, the less I saw a baby and the more I saw a little girl.

It seems like just yesterday I was holding a freshly delivered, cone-headed, slippery, mush-nosed, pouty-lipped beautiful newborn in my arms and feeling a brand new part of my heart open up with a type of love I'd never felt before. I remember our first hours together as your Papai and I studied every inch of your tiny body in amazement that we could have created something so perfect. Now I watch as you totter around the living room looking so much like a real little person, and I try to wrap my mind around how fast it all goes.

Your Papai and I often sit and talk while we watch you play and wonder what the future holds for you. One year has gone by in what seems like the blink of an eye, and we know it won't be long before you're starting your first day of school, going on your first date, and packing up to move off to college. As much as we hate to see our baby girl growing up sometimes, I pray that we are always able to embrace each new phase of your life, to encourage you to pursue your passions, and that you'll always know how proud we are to be your parents.

But enough of all that. Your mama's crazy pregnancy hormones can't take too much more of that right now! Let's talk instead about what you've been up to the last month, shall we?

You are ready to walk! You're up to 6-8 steps now and will actually let go of furniture and walk off on your own. Your balance is improving daily, and I imagine it will only be a matter of days before I have a constant upright shadow (as opposed to one that crawls behind me all day).

You have a huge desire to help around the house. Whether we are folding clothes or tiling the bathroom floor, you want to be right in the middle of it all providing assistance. We are trying to find a good balance between letting you "help" and keeping you from getting stepped on or eating drywall screws. I try to involve you in as many chores as possible, with your very favorite being handing me clothes from the laundry basket as I fold them. While it definitely makes things take longer, it's totally worth it to see your face light up over and over again each time I say, "Obrigada" as you hand me another shirt or sock.

This has been your most cuddly and affectionate month to date. You frequently crawl up into my or your Papai's lap, wrap your arms around our neck, and lay your head on our shoulder or chest. You never stay there real long, but it is awfully nice of you to take a break from your very busy schedule to give us some love each day!

I didn't think it was possible, but you've become even more of a ham around strangers. You wave, smile, stick your tongue out, and giggle (and squeal if they've smiled at you but then look away to do something else) at everyone while we're out and about. There are checkout clerks at several different big stores now who remember you well! (And it's not like we're out shopping that often!) At Jared and Steph's wedding the end of March, your father and I didn't see you for most of the night. You were passed from person to person - and loving every minute of it! The only time you ever really prefer me over a complete stranger is when you're sleepy.

Despite my fears last month that you might be ready to drop your morning nap, they are back on stronger than ever now. You are napping 1 1/2-2 hours pretty consistently in the morning and another hour or so in the afternoon! Your bed time has remained 8:00 pm, you wake up at 7:00 to have your milk, and go right back to sleep until 8:30 or 9:00 when we start our day. And now you're napping great! You certainly continue to spoil us in the sleep department!!! (Let's just hope your sibling can live up to the standard!)

Although we did it a little sooner than I was planning, you are completely weaned now. I was planning to start gradually weaning you to whole milk once you turned a year old. But after a couple weeks of you never really latching on (and instead just sort of chewing on me), Mamae had had enough. On April 11, I was tired of you hurting me, you started crying as I pulled you away and tried to make you latch on properly, and I sent your father out to buy whole milk. By the third sippy cup feeding you loved it; we weaned completely in less than 24 hours! You weren't phased by it in the least (even though your mother had to use cabbage leaves for a couple days to help with the engorgement). You absolutely LOVE your 3 sippy cups per day of milk! You like it fine cold, but if it's warm you will actually turn it up and chug the entire 8 ounces without ever stopping to take a breath (an ability we hope you'll lose before you go off to college.)

We celebrated your birthday in fine fashion on Sunday afternoon. We hosted a spring-themed Brasilian churrasco served with a big pot of feijoada, a caterpillar cake, and homemade ice cream. There were 24 of us total to spoil you on your special day, including both sets of your grandparents and two other Brasilians. You completely ate up all the attention, devoured your "special" cake I made for you (yes, I know, we didn't even let you have sugary cake and ice cream on your birthday, but this way you have a sob story to tell your kids or something to discuss in therapy later on), and wore yourself out playing with the big kids.

It has been an awesome year kiddo! Despite that you're at the very bottom of the chart in size, you have been on track or ahead in all of your developmental milestones. You're a smart little squirt who is much stronger and more coordinated than you look like you're old enough to be! I can't wait to see what the next year brings!

I love you so much, my Gabers!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I have a whole lot of reasons why I haven't been keeping up around here lately. But let my assure you that our house is seeing a lot of benefit from it! Since Good Friday (10 days ago) Eric and I have:

Primed and painted both bathrooms, including ceilings (which makes every room re-painted now!)

Ripped out vinyl flooring from 1 bathroom

Installed ceramic tile in that bathroom

Replaced the ugly vinyl floor in our kitchen with hardwood (looks AWESOME btw)

Hung new hardware in both bathrooms

Mowed the grass for the first time this year

Replaced light fixtures in both bathrooms plus the kitchen

Started re-staining the deck (to be finished tomorrow)

Oh, and we also made a trip to Eric's Mom and Dad's for Easter Weekend, I attended a two day doula training up in Waterloo last Friday and Saturday, and we've tried to not ignore our kid in the process. It's amazing how much can be accomplished after her 8:00 bedtime!

I know it's hard to imagine why we'd do our work after bedtime. I mean, look at what an awesome helper she is!

All the while, I am fighting a serious urge to drop everything inside and go work in the yard. We have some major yard projects coming up, and we have been seeing 80-degree days. Spring is FINALLY here!!! But I'm not sure how much longer I can live with my fridge in the foyer and stove and table sitting in the middle of my living room . . . so we continue on inside for now.

We are looking forward to having both sets of parents here this weekend and hosting a churrasco (Brasilian-Style Cookout) for Gabriela's first birthday. Lots of pictures are sure to make their way here real soon (including of all the house updates), so stay tuned. But probably not until next week!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bebe Dois

We don't like for things to get too settled or routine. We prefer to ensure that every day is an adventure. Right after getting married, we moved to Brasil. Right after we got comfortable with the language and culture, we got pregnant. Right after we got used to being a family of three, we decided it was time to add number four.

Bebe Dois is expected to make his or her grand entrance into the world sometime around September 22! (Big sister Gabriela will be 17 months old then.)

Ultrasound picture at 8 weeks

At 16 weeks into the pregnancy, things have been pretty uneventful - which, despite my sense of adventure, is a good thing! No morning sickness or random nausea. Well, except for once a few weeks ago, but that was my own fault. Crazy pregnant + nursing = constantly starving woman decided she had to have KFC, immediately. Eric was out of town, so I loaded up Gabriela and made a run through the drive-thru. I scarfed down a box of popcorn chicken and half of the potato wedges before we even turned into our driveway . . . it's approximately a 3-minute drive from KFC to home. It was yummy in a way that only a ravenous pregnant person can appreciate. But I very rarely eat fried food. Especially super greasy fried food from KFC. Within an hour, I wasn't feeling so well. Within two hours I was puking. Sadly enough, three hours later, I recounted to story to Eric over the phone - adding that it was totally worth it. (Again, something only a crazy ravenous pregnant woman can understand.)

I've generally avoided greasiness ever since and try to stick to healthier fare. But in rather gigantic proportions. There are a few important points to be made here.

#1: I tend to be super hungry while pregnant.
#2: I tend to get pretty tired while pregnant.
#3: I tend to be super extra hungry while breastfeeding.
#4: I tend to get tired more easily while breastfeeding.

Now, let's combine the two situations. For maybe the first time ever, I have regularly out-eaten Eric. (And even more surprisingly, I ate more than my bottomless pit of a brother (the only person to out-eat Eric at a churrascaria), Nathan, while he was here!) And on a normal day, my bedtime nearly coincides with Gabriela's. Almost 12 hours of sleep each night isn't an unreasonable expectation, is it?

Eric isn't worried about the extra costs involved with having another kid. He's not so sure he can afford to continue feeding his wife though. ;)