Monday, January 21, 2008

Look at the Frosty Snow!

Last Wednesday (Jan. 16th) afternoon and early evening, it snowed here in Atlanta! It did start to stick, although it was mixed with freezing rain and in the end the rain melted the snow. Gabi went outside to investigate the snow, but when the neighbor kids came over to play with her, she retreated to the kitchen and just watched through the window. After the snow started to disappear, we invited Melia (5), Nicholas (7), Joshua (9), and their mom inside for some hot chocolate, and Gabi warmed up to them.

Gabi dancing in the snow

Gabi and Bella riding in their wagon in the snow

Gabi with hot chocolate on her face

Silly Gabi

On Saturday it snowed again! Since Thursday, Gabi has been complaining that her ear hurts, so I took her to the doctor on Saturday morning. When we left out house, the snow was just beginning to fall, and by the time we arrived at the doctor's office, the world was turning white.

Laughing in the snow after Gabi's doctor appointment

This time it snowed a lot (for the South -- one to two inches) and is still melting outside today (Monday). Daddy played in the snow with Gabi girl and helped her build a mini-snowman while Mommy stayed inside with Annabelle. The snow continued until dinnertime and then hung around because temperatures dipped into the teens overnight.

All bundled up

Catching snowflakes on her tongue

Gabi girl enjoying the snow

Gabi and the little snowman with a snow-hat

Cutest snowman ever (Gabi replaced the snow-hat with carrot-top hair)

And, see our fridge door with all the pictures from our Christmas cards:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Happy Baby

Gabi girl got rave reviews in response to our last set of videos (which you should go see now if you haven't yet). We also had one very smitten comment from Grampa about Bella laughing. So for Grampa and the rest of you who loved all that Gabi, but want just a little more happy Bella:

Bella Baby laughs and talks to Mommy.

Goodness! Was Gabi girl that cute when she was this age? Yes, actually:

5-month-old Gabi laughing with Daddy and Gramma Jane, August 2005

Not much commentary on this post. Just gratuitous videos of cute happy babies!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gabi in Concert

Ladies and Gentlemen--

We welcome you to tonight's performance. With such a positive response to Gabi's music video, we are proud to present Gabi's first rock opera:

Act I: Oktoberfest
In which Gabi, with almost two months of big sister experience, entertains Baby Bella.

Scene 1: The ABC Two-Step -- Gabi solo
This is Gabi girl's favorite song to sing to her little sister. I am not sure where she got the idea to have a hoe-down in the kitchen while singing this song, but you cannot deny how cute this little dance is. And she loves to sing that last part fast... and then tell us that she sang that last part fast!

Scene 2: Class of 2027 -- Mommy intro, Gabi solo
Before the season started, we were having dinner with a Notre Dame mom and her son, and we were showing off Gabi's "Go Irish" cheer. ND mom challenged us to teach her the fight song (the Victory March) by season's end. Well, it was a tough season, but after using this as a lullaby at least 64% of the bedtimes (a reasonable completion percentage), we have reached our goal.

Scene 3: Baby... ABC?... Beluga -- Gabi and Asha duet
Gabi loves her Baby Beluga board book and can sing the entire song almost by herself. Distracted by her baby doll Asha's "singing," she momentarily defaults back to singing the Alphabet Song before realizing that wasn't what she was singing a few seconds ago. Thank goodness for mommies.

Act II: Christmas, Part VI
In which titular Roman numerals abound and Gabi really gets into the holiday mood.

Scene 1: Baby, close your eyes -- Gabi solo
Daddy sang Joseph's Lullaby, by Mercy Me at mass for the feast of the Holy Family (one week after Christmas). Prior to that, he was often heard singing the song around the house. It even found a seasonal spot on Gabi's lullaby rotation. Gabi and Mommy were busy trying to get out the door, and in the hour that took, were unable to make it to the mass where Daddy performed this, but Gabi surprised Mommy (without prompting) by spontaneously singing the song all by herself.

Scene 2: Annabelle's Approval -- Bella and Daddy duet
Annabelle has been more forthcoming with her smiles as of late (more on this later -- foreshadowing). A few weeks ago, Gabi and Daddy discovered that our baby likes to clap and cheer. Bella also loves to watch her big sister do everything. She thinks big sister is funny.

Scene 3: The Frosty Snow -- Gabi solo
This was Gabi's favorite part of singing Frosty the Snowman. She would "jumpity-jump-jump" all day long if we let her. (And yes, we know she ought to be "thumpity-thump"ing, but she doesn't know that. She doesn't even know what thumping is. But jumping is something with which she is well acquainted.)

Act III: Bailamos!
In which Gabi busts several moves and shakes her groove thing, yeah-yeah.

Scene 1: You make me happy -- Gabi solo, Mommy and Bella backup dancers
Happy, by Ayiesha Woods is Gabi's absolute favorite song. Fortunately, Daddy has it on his iPod, which is currently proudly displayed in the kitchen atop his new iPod speakers. Again, I have no idea where Gabi learned those dance moves, but, personally, I can't stop laughing.*

Scene 2: Pokey of the Hokey variety -- Gabi's Doll Dance Ensemble
Gabi and Lolo show baby dolls Asha and Ella "what it's all about." Gabi continually forgets to take out whatever she put in, though those elbows are taken out quite regularly. However, shaking it all about and (with some grandfatherly prompting), turning oneself around, are always in order.

Scene 3: Rosie Encircled -- Gabi's Doll Dance Ensemble
In our finale, Gabi, Lolo, Asha, and Ella perform Gabi's favorite dance. Initially, our cautious little lady had some difficulty committing to the "all fall down" bit, but with time, it's become her favorite part of the song. I lost count of the number of times that Lolo had to dance this with Gabi girl, but any family member who has come to visit us at our house in the past few months should have had their turn. If not, you're missing out.

*Costume note for this scene: Mommy and Gabi woke Daddy up that morning to ask whether he liked Gabi's outfit (pink sweater with tight brown pants). Half-asleep, Daddy said, "It's... hideous." Mommy then informed Daddy that Gabi had picked this outfit out herself, and insisted on these particular clothes. Well, if anyone can pull this look off, our pretty little girl can.

Good night everybody, and thanks for coming to our show!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lola and Lolo visit

Our family at church on Epiphany

Gabi kissing Annabelle in front of the manger with Lola and Lolo

We met some of Gabi's friends at Glenlake Park when the weather warmed up for a day.

Gabi and Sam on the slide together

Gabi peeking out the bus window

Gabi at the Glenlake playground

Bella enjoyed being outside at Glenlake Park

Grampa always tells me to "leave the baby alone" when I wipe her nose. I usually ignore that instruction, but here is proof that (at least sometimes) I can let it go.

Poor Bella is congested with another cold

Bella sure does like her thumb!

I love baby tongues.

Me and my baby

Before she was born, I thought I wanted Annabelle to look (and be) exactly like Gabi girl, since Gabi seems so perfect. However, Bella looks quite different than her big sister, and she is still beautiful. I am so glad that she is her own person so that I can see how she grows individually. I already have a Gabriella; now I have an Annabelle, too. What fun!

Bella baby

Bella's eyes have turned brown, and her black hair has brown highlights. Her frame remains long and thin (but strong); at four-and-a-half months she is just switching from 0-3mo clothes to 3-6mo size. She has two cowlicks (hair swirls) at the back of her head, one on either side, so I figure that when her hair is longer, she'll be able to easily part it on either side. It is certainly growing quickly (her bangs hang in her eyes already!) and we keep expecting the length to help it lie flat, but it still sticks up like a little ducktail in the back and converges forward towards the middle such that I repeatedly have to brush it out of her face.

Bella smiling

It's fun to watch Bella grow and develop her own interests. She doesn't care for car rides, but she does enjoy bathtime. She always smiles during diaper changes, and she laughs whenever we look at her and talk to her. She definitely loves attention and particularly enjoys baby games like "baby exercises" (where we move her legs or clap her hands). She will wiggle and talk when we lay her on her back, as long as we are watching her. (Of course, I can't leave her unattended, anyway, or big sister will try to pick her up whenever she starts to fuss. Gabi means well, and she doesn't understand that it isn't safe.) Bella enjoys the toy bar on her bouncer and swing, and she likes to lie on Gabi's bed and look at all the colors in her room. Annabelle doesn't complain much when hunger first sets in, but when she suddenly realizes she is starving, she gets mad. She's doing great with her bottle when we give her one, and Lola babysat for us twice while they were here!

"What can a little baby do?
Clap her hands and coo and coo!"

Happy Bella

Gabi is a good little mommy to all her baby dolls. She loves to dress them up and feed them and take them to parties and put them down for naps. I'll have to post some videos so you can see Gabi playing.

Gabi dressing baby Asha like herself

Gabi and Lolo play with her babies

Gabi taking her babies to a party in the stroller

Bella and her Daddy

These days, Bella is working hard at her hand-eye coordination. She started swinging her arms out and swishing them back and forth (in rather jerky motions), but now she can reach for objects with much greater accuracy. Her aim isn't always quite good enough to be able to grab something, though. Once she gets ahold of something, she'll pull it to her mouth, which is great since she is seriously teething and needs something to soothe her gums -- however, she needs help keeping anything (besides her thumb) in her mouth for very long. Her favorite things to suck on include fingers and ice.

Bella playing with Lolo

The girls say goodbye to Lola and Lolo

The grandparents were surprised to note that holding a baby all day is hard on your back and to find that a two-year-old can really test your patience. Lola doesn't remember dealing with that with her own kids. My dad says he doesn't recall me specifically being trouble, either, but he's sure I was just because all kids are. I guess as a parent you have a selective memory. All these smiling pictures help you remember the good times, and the sleep deprivation helps you forget the rest.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year!

Bella wasn't feeling well at all over Christmas, so we didn't get many good pictures of her. Fortunately, she has recovered from her RSV and is smiling and laughing again.

Bella smiling and grabbing at her new white tiger, which I named "Annabelle" in honor of our baby

As you can see, Bella is now reaching and grabbing for interesting objects in front of her. She especially likes to reach for the orange when I am holding her while I try to peel that fruit. At her four-month check-up, we found out that she has ear infections (which would explain why she's been scratching her ears, although she has no fever and is generally happy just to be over the bronchiolitis). Bella now weighs 12 pounds 9 ounces and is 24.75 inches long/tall with a head circumference of 42.5 cm. Over the past two months, she only gained 1 pound 5 ounces, so she isn't growing quite enough. It's probably just because two weeks of heavy congestion made it difficult for her to eat, and we expect her to grow for us now that she can breathe better.

Our "pretty princess" wearing her new bathrobe

Zoo Atlanta
We took the girls' new wagon for a spin at the zoo. I had to carry Bella to make room for Gabi and her dolls (and the diaper bag) in the wagon. The wagon isn't quite big enough to accomodate Gabi and an infant car seat, so Bella will have to wait until she can sit up well before she rides in it.

Oooh! The lions paced right in front of us

Daddy, Gabi, and Asha at the zoo

Gabi and Asha check their height compared to some animals

Daddy and Gabi (and Asha) climb like monkeys and peek through a hole in the burrow

This Mommy has a baby in her pouch, too!

What is more interesting: fingers or animals?

Lolo and Lola
Lolo and Lola came to eat dinner with us last weekend during a five-hour layover in Atlanta on their way to Seattle. Gabi was so excited to see her grandparents unexpectedly, but when they suddenly had to leave and she had to stay at home to go to bed, she was most upset. Fortunately, they are coming back tomorrow to stay for a few days.

Bella tells Lola that she is hungry

Gabi shows Lola and Lolo all her doll clothes and then teaches them how to play dominoes

Bella is interested in Lolo and Lola now that her tummy is full

Happy Bella with her grandparents

The girls with Lola and Lolo before they leave