Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rain or Shine

Gabriella loves to be outside, even just to run back and forth in our yard.

... even when it's raining!
Gabi says she's taking a shower outside.

Gabi laughing and running in the rain
Of course, we're in a severe drought, so there hasn't been much rain.

Look! Annabelle has a dress to match her sister's.

Daddy and Gabi walk to Columbia Presbyterian Church for Kindermusik class every week.

Gabi and friends during storytime at Kindermusik

Bella visited Gabi's Kindermusik class and took a nap

Gabi likes to be near her baby sister.

A couple of times, Gabi has requested that Annabelle lie down next to her in her bed while I sing bedtime songs or read a book. Having Bella near seems to cheer Gabi up, and seeing such sisterly love cheers me up.

Annabelle has been very uncomfortable lately, between the pain of reflux and the distress of breathing difficulties (her laryngomalacia being compounded by congestion from a cold). Either of those problems can cause her some trouble eating, so she'll often take a break mid-meal and fuss, either arching her back or coughing, and then she'll cry because she's still hungry. Poor baby! It's hard to be the baby, especially for this little one. I hope she grows out of these newborn discomforts soon! Eating and breathing shouldn't be so hard.

When she's very uncomfortable, even once her tummy is full, the only way to calm Annabelle down is to hold her upright and pat her back somewhat forcefully (perhaps along with other tactics, such as standing, walking, and singing) The upright position slightly ameliorates the reflux, and the back-pats either loosen her congestion or just distract her. Gabi has figured out that Bella likes to be patted on the back, so when Bella cries, Gabi tries to calm her down by patting her back. She's a good big sister!

As long as she isn't refluxing, Annabelle will usually stay asleep in her swing.

When she's completely exhausted (and not refluxing), she'll stay asleep in a bouncer, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Autumn Art

Gabi helped me carve the pumpkin. She liked the seeds and the pumpkin chunks that I cut out for the face, but she wanted to wash her hands immediately after touching the slimy insides (with just one finger!) that I scooped out. After I carved the eyes and nose, Gabi requested lips. I suggested a mouth, but she sais, "No, lips!" Hence, the lips...
Gabi and Bella with our pumpkin
Our girls posing with the jack-o-lantern

Gabi and Bella with our pumpkin

Gabi likes the pumpkin's "hat," which fits on top like a puzzle piece.

Gabi looking inside the hollow pumpkin

Gabi put the sticker-faces on the pumpkin.
Gabi put the stickers on all by herself.

Gabi put the sticker-faces on the pumpkin.

Gabi put the sticker-faces on the pumpkin.

We also made some art indoors. Gabi loves painting and stamps. She can use the sponges by herself, and I helped her use some real daisies to make their imprint as well.

Gabi painting with sponge stamps

Gabi also found some stamps meant for ink instead of paint, which she was most excited about despite our lack of an inkpad. She pretended to stamp all over her arms and hands. In fact, Gabi is so enamored of stamps that she will use whatever object she finds, be it a rubber duck or a scrap of paper, to pretend to put stamps on my arms and legs, especially while I am feeing Annabelle.

Gabi found stamps for her hands.

And where is little Bella during all this? Well, she likes to be held, so I tend to carry her around in the baby sling. That frees my hands to help our toddler with her artwork.

Bella in the baby sling
(picture taken with my new gorillapod)

This week, playgroup was at Scott Park. Gabi loves to explore the community garden adjacent to the playground. Here, she is holding a giant squash. (I called it a zucchini, although it is labled "winter squash.")

Gabi with a giant squash at Scott Park

One of Gabi's teachers at school just had twins, so the kids' moms all pitched in for a gift. I bought these baskets and took them up to school to put each child's handprint on them. The kids loved taking turns selecting a color and making a handprint!

Gabi's class with baskets for her teacher

Recently, we pulled out all Gabi's old baby toys for little Annabelle. She was thrilled the first time she saw the mobile on her crib. She still doesn't usually sleep well alone on her back, so for me, the most exciting discovery is that Bella will actually sleep in the baby swing (if I can get Gabi to leave her alone), so I don't always have to carry her around everywhere!

Annabelle visually tracking the animals in their circular travels

Bella entertained by her play gym
Bella entertained by her play gym

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sweet Baby Bella

Right on track at six weeks, Annabelle began to recognize her parents and sister and smile at us! At one month (five weeks), Annabelle weighed 9 lbs 5 ozs, a gain of 2 lbs 14 oz from birth (and a gain of a little over 3 lbs from her hospital discharge weight). She is now 21 and 3/4 inches long, having grown more than two inches already. At the same appointment, Gabriella (at 2.5 years) weighed 30.5 pounds.

Tito and Tita lounging with Annabelle

Tito rescues Annabelle from the awful torture of being put down

Tito Jordan calming Annabelle with some pats on the back

Little Squeaker resting peacefully in Daddy's arms

Good morning, Bella!
Lolo sharing his favorite time of day with his granddaughter

Annabelle asleep, still grasping Goofy

Me cuddling beautiful baby Bella

Annabelle certainly sleeps a lot,
but she tends to wake up when we put her down.

Bella fell asleep on our bed while nursing.

Baby feet!

Annabelle can hold her head up high, but not for long.

Gabriella showing Annabelle a picture tile from her matching game.

While Lolo and Lola were here for a week, Gabi really learned how to say the L phoneme well, although she's not completely consistent just yet. For instance, she says "Woh-lo" -- halfway between "Woh-woh" and "Lolo," and while she correctly places the L in some words, others still get the baby-approximation. Now that we have re-established a regular routine post-houseguests, Gabi seems perfectly adjusted to having a little sister. When Annabelle cries, Gabi tries to calm her. One time she was saying, "Annabelllllle. Annabelllllle! Don't cry, Annabelle," really emphasizing the L at the end. Then she looked at me and explained, "Annabehw is easier than Annabelle."

Bella quiet and awake without being held -- a rare moment

Perhaps Annabelle sleeps so much because she has such trouble breathing. Daddy noticed that she retracts (pulls in her chest rather than just using her diaphragm, creating a depression around the ribs when she inhales). Poor little baby!

"Pick me up!"
Baby Bella demands to be held often. Good thing I enjoy it!

Beautiful Bella happy in her bouncer
Cool Autumn weather arrived, so we pulled out warmer clothing.

Friends and Outings

Zoo Atlanta
We took Tita, Tito, Lolo, and Lola to playgroup at the zoo. The toddler friends love holding hands and walking wherever they happen to be headed (and, when directed by the adults, looking at the animals). The zoo is a great place to give the kids somewhat-free rein to roam.

Ellie, Ben, Gabi, and Kira holding hands at the zoo

The girls take off on their own

Tita and Tito with Annabelle and Gabi in front of the otters

Avondale Estates Park
Gabi loves picnics, so we took Lolo and Lola to Avondale Estates Playground for lunch one day after school.

Gabi walking on the balance beam

Lolo admires Annabelle

Lolo (and Annabelle) and Lola laugh at silly Gabi girl

Gabi ready to slide

Gabriella is a good Mommy to her dolls. She especially likes to have a doll to care for when I am holding or feeding Annabelle. Gabi even has a nightgown that matches one of Asha's outfits!

Gabi taking her dolls for a walk
(Asha in the baby backpack and Ella in the stroller)

Gabi and Asha wearing matching pajamas

Gabi with Ella and Asha

Gabi often wears her Alaskan moccasins while taking her dolls on indoor walks

Gabi reads a bedtime book to Daddy and Asha

Friends for Mommy, too
We went to Ted's Montana Grill for my birthday dinner. Earlier in the day, when Gabi heard us mention the place, Gabi said, "The bison restaurant is very good!"

Gabi wearing Daddy's sunglasses

John and Lisa, with their son Wesley, met us for dinner at Ted's

We met Susan for lunch while she was in town for work with an off-Broadway tour from New York!