Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas IV: Cookies / Presents

On Christmas Eve, Gabi made some sugar cookies for Santa and then decorated them with Mommy. While we were waiting for them to bake, Gabi sang some Christmas carols. Here she sings "Santa (Claus) Is Coming to Town."

Gabi makes cookies and sings for Santa.

After we went to vigil mass (where Daddy cantored), we came home and opened one present each. (In Mommy's family tradition, they open all their presents on Christmas Eve, but in Daddy's family, we open them on Christmas morning. This is our family compromise.) Gabi was kind of tired and ornery, but she loves opening presents. The next video shows some present opening from both Chrismas Eve and Christmas Day.

Opening Christmas presents.

Presents in this video, in order of appearance:
American Girl outfit (for baby doll)
Annabelle's jingly bear
Cooking utensils and play food
Daddy's heart (model)
Doctor kit (with stethoscope)
**At the end, Gabi says, "Thank you!"**

We spent all day opening presents because Gabi wanted to open each one (even the ones that were for Mommy, Daddy, or Bella) and then play with her new toys right after she'd opened the package. If your present isn't mentioned or featured here, it's not because we didn't appreciate it. It's just that we didn't think we'd really want to watch a replay of Gabi slowly opening each present, so we didn't tape all of it on video. Thank you so much to all our friends and family for thinking of us and for all the wonderful presents!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas III: Uncle Brian's visit

Uncle Brian came to visit us the week before Christmas. We had a great time with him!

Uncle Brian and Bella baby

Gabi wins the matching game!

Gabi's class had a Christmas party at school on Wednesday. The teachers gave the kids a ton of presents, and the parents brought food.

Bella and Uncle Brian watch the classroom festivities

Ms. Tomeka handing out the yummy turkey rolls

Gabi hugging her new doll, which she later named Christine

Yum! Gingerbread cookies!

Gabi wearing all her new princess jewelry,
including rings and earrings

Gabi's playgroup had a Christmas gift exchange party, and she got a beautiful and challenging Noah's Ark puzzle. She loves it, and it's just the perfect level for her -- all her old puzzles are too easy now.

Uncle Brian helps Gabi put together her new puzzle

We took Uncle Brian to play at "Michael's Playstation" because Mommy likes bouncy inflatables. (Gabi calls it "Daddy's Playstation.") Brave is not one of the adjectives I would use to describe our Gabi girl. She takes awhile to gain confidence. -- At first, Daddy and Uncle Brian were wondering why I even suggested we take her to this place she was terrified of. I insisted that they just had to wait...

Gabi is scared of the slide, even with both parents holding her hands

Daddy and Brian sit while Gabi freaks out and runs away

Daddy takes Bella on the slide since Gabi refuses to go

Eventually (after about an hour, just when everyone else is almost ready to go home) Gabi's attitude does turn around and she loves it. So, we stay for another couple hours. This is fairly typical of our weekly experiences at playgroup, too. She is very shy when we arrive, but she enjoys herself by the end.

Gabi jumping and (purposefully) falling

Boom! That was fun!

Mom holding Bella

Gabi bouncing

Jumping is fun!

Whee! Uncle Brian helps Gabi slide

Of course we had to take Uncle Brian to the Georgia Aquarium, too!

Daddy and Bella watching the tropical fish

Bella likes to watch the colorful fish swim

Gabi watching the tropical fish

Gabi and Uncle Brian at the Ocean Voyager

Gabi identifies the giant grouper on her "diver card"

Bella is interested in her reflection

Gabi conversing with a penguin

Gabi surprised us and sat perfectly still for face painting!

Daddy and Bella get a close-up view of the hammerhead shark

Bella and Daddy see a whale shark and a zebra shark from the Oceans Ballroom

Gabi peeking through a tree in the river exhibit

Uncle Brian pets a shark before we go home

Gabi called up Santa to ask him to stop by early and fill our stockings while Uncle Brian was still here, so we had presents in our stocking on Saturday morning. Then Mommy had to take little Bella to the doctor because she wasn't feeling well.

Gabi finding candy and toys (and fruit) in her stocking

Mommy found chocolate and Harry Potter in her stocking!
Gabi told Mommy, "I got more [candy] than you did," but Mommy still thinks she got the better deal.

We took a tour of CNN, which we had never done before. It was interesting, but we weren't allowed to take pictures on the actual tour. They told us all about how the weathermen can stand in front of a green screen to film their section of the news, and after the demonstration, they told us that they don't actually do it that way any more. We got to see the newsroom with people gathering stories on wolf attacks and 40+ car accidents in the snow.

Posing with a hummer in the CNN Center

On the last day of Uncle Brian's visit, he and Gabi played with the stuff she got in her stocking before he had to leave.

Gabi putting chap stick on Uncle Brian

Gabi wearing her new stickers

Thanks for coming, Uncle Brian! And thanks for our date night -- he babysat for us so Michael and I could get out. What a brave uncle! He also babysat Gabi while I took Bella to the doctor and Michael had Christmas choir rehearsal. Not only did he play wonderfully with the girls, but he was generally very helpful, even doing dishes after meals, so we appreciated that.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas II: Stockings

I got some neat video editing software for Christmas, so we proudly present my first video-editing products here. Consider these a test-run, and we'll see how easy they are to view over the Internet. For future videos, I can lower the frame rate or change other parameters as needed -- just let me know.

Gabi called up Santa at the North Pole to ask if he could stop by early to fill our stockings while Uncle Brian was visiting, since Brian had to leave before Christmas. Santa obliged, and here are some clips of Gabi investigating her stocking and Bella's as well.

Gabi opens her stocking.

Gabi helps Bella to open her stocking.
Bella is miserable with RSV bronchiolitis.

Santa did bring Mommy, Daddy, and Uncle Brian some stocking-stuffers, too, but we don't have video to share from those.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas 2007, Part I

Merry Christmas everyone! It's Annabelle's First Christmas (and Gabi's third), and we're way behind on posting. So as a Christmas treat, we bring you the following stuffed-stocking of pictures:

Christmas Party

Daddy was invited to a Christmas party with all of his friends from work. We brought our two little princesses along in their new matching Christmas dresses to show them off...

Merry Christmas!

Gabi demonstrates how her "princess dress" is swishy.

Gabi loves her baby sister Bella!

You might remember Madeline from the lake party or the pool party.
Gabi and Madeline always play with each other at Daddy's work parties.

Baby Kyle and her mommy Jen pose with Bella and her mommy.
Kyle was born about a month before little Annabelle.

Poor Bella

Our little one has not been feeling well. We've all been passing around a cold for the past few weeks, but Bella baby got hit pretty hard with it. After she developed a pretty persistent cough last week, Daddy said she had bronchiolitis. He was a little worried about her cough and was wondering if she might need some breathing treatments. So Mommy took her to see Dr. Tim last Saturday, and we found out she has RSV, which is a nasty little virus that causes bronchiolitis in little babies, but just a bad cold in older sisters and parents. Really, Bella is just fine between her coughing fits, but they can last for upwards of five minutes, which is distressing for both her and her parents. She's 4 or 5 days into this illness and is starting to get better without needing any breathing treatments.

A content Bella between coughing fits, sticking her tongue out at Mommy.

Daddy and Bella snuggle in the rocking chair at home. (Go Zags!)

Like her big sister, Bella always seems to be deep in thought.
We're starting to get a few more smiles, but we usually get this look.

One of the aforementioned cute baby smiles.

Bella blows kisses for Daddy while Mommy hugs her.

Bella discovered her thumb a few weeks back.

It's her best friend now, and she misses it when it's not in her mouth.

Christmas Preparations

Annabelle thinks its funny to wear Daddy's hat.

Big sister Gabi helped put ornaments on the tree this year.
She started out decorating the lower branches with this angel...

...and this jingly snowman!

Uh oh! It's not nice to snatch ornaments out of Daddy's hand.
Sometimes our two-year-old doesn't listen and needs a time out.
Surprisingly, she will actually stand in the corner on her own.
Afterwards she says "I'm sorry" and then gives us a hug.
She makes it so difficult to be mad at her for very long.

Mommy helps Gabi hang ornaments higher up than 2 1/2 feet off the ground.

Daddy helps out too. Gabi loves to ride on Daddy's shoulders.

Daddy and his two girls, taking a break from decorating.

Fun at the Park

It was unseasonably warm last week, so we all went to the park.
Gabi wanted to make sure her baby doll Ella got to come along.

People often walk up to Mommy and tell her that Bella looks like a baby doll.

The slide is Gabi's favorite part of the playground... long as she doesn't have to go down too fast.

Daddy pushes his girls on the swings.
Gabi doesn't really like the swings...

...but Bella really enjoyed her first swing-ride,...

...though some would argue she was just smiling because Mommy was talking to her.

Gabi thought it was more fun to share Bella's swing. Bella disagreed.

Silly Daddy acts like a monkey.

Lunch with John

Remember Daddy's friend John from high school, and his baby Wesley?
They came over for lunch (sans mommy Lisa, who wasn't feeling well).
After lunch, Daddy and John did their "cool guy pose" with their cool babies.

One more big hug with Daddy and his two little princesses.