Friday, February 29, 2008

Gabi's Third Birthday

Birthday Princess Gabi and Mommy

Gabi celebrated her third birthday at Lolo and Lola's house in Little Rock! We spent the weekend there looking at houses and preschools for Gabi girl... and of course spending time with Lolo and Lola, who took time off from work specifically to spend time with their two favorite little girls. Lolo had a birthday 3 days before Gabi's. We won't say how old he is now, except that he's much older than three. We had a lot of fun at our birthday party with all our Little Rock cousins.

Gabi with her cousins Julienne and Jaymie (and Cousin Tyler in the background).
Gabi loves being a pretty princess and got to wear this special birthday tiara.

Lolo and Gabi blow out the candles on their birthday cake.

Happy Birthday Gabi and Lolo!

Gabi gives Steven a hug to say thank you for her birthday present.

Cousin Julienne helps Gabi open one of her birthday presents.
Gabi requested Julienne's assistance opening all the presents.

Gabi poses underneath her new lady bug umbrella.

Cousin Tyler wraps himself up in leftover ribbons and bows.
Daddy asked whether Gabi was getting a Tyler for her birthday.

Gabi and Julienne play with some of Gabi's new stickers.

Ninang and Gabi have some yummy birthday cake.
Gabi is a much messier eater than Ninang.

Bella shows off her sweet baby smile for Ninong and Ninang.

Bella meets her cousin Jaymie.

Gabi and Julienne spend some quiet time reading books on the couch.
The boys were running around the house pretending to be Transformers.

Lolo got a new toy for his birthday.
Cousin Daniel says "Wii! This is fun!"

Gabi shows her new musical Dora the Explorer book to Julienne.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Uncle Scott visits

Uncle Scott and Gramma Jane came to visit us just before Valentine's Day. Gramma Jane flew in on Thursday, and Uncle Scott arrived about midnight on Friday. Both stayed until Monday evening, and we wore them out. Overall, we had a fun, although I think that spending a weekend with a two-year-old and an infant involved a bit more whining and drool than Uncle Scott anticipated.

Going on a walk in our wagon

Bella and Gramma Jane

At Zoo Atlanta

Whenever I took pictures of Bella, Gabi begged me to take a picture of her.
Whenever I wanted to take a picture of Gabi, she refused to look at the camera.

Caught you!

Uncle Scott wants a nap after his late arrival.
Gabi wants to color with her uncle.

Playing hide-and-seek outside with Eyeore

Gramma Jane and the girls

Uncle Scott with the girls

Daddy reading his textbook

Cutting biscuits

Rolling out the dough

Mixing chicken noodle sweet potato soup

Bella's first bowl of rice cereal!

It's not a self-refilling spoon, Bella.
You gotta let go if you want more.

Climbing through

Atop the rock wall at Scott Park

A bench! We must sit!

Wandering through the Scott Park garden

Daddy and Bella at a restaurant

Reading with Uncle Scott

Preparing a tea party

Drawing a walker
(Gabi drew a body, eyes, and plenty of legs for walking)

Exploring a drum
This is Bella's first semester of Kindermusik!

Uncle Scott slept in during Kindermusik,
but then he shared quality time with his little niece

Bella laughing at Uncle Scott

We also took Uncle Scott to the aquarium and gave him a brief tour of Atlanta/Emory before dropping our visitors off at the MARTA station. Pictures from the aquarium are all on his camera, and I don't have copies yet, so those memories must await the next post. This weekend we shared SLR cameras; Uncle Scott played with my Canon, and I took some pictures with his Nikon.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Quiet Time

All ready for bed, Gabi girl is reading a book to Bella baby

Gabi loves to read to her sister

Gabi hasn't napped regularly for over a year now, but we still have "quiet time" most afternoons. Gabi plays by herself in her room for an hour, often reading or singing -- so "quiet time" isn't actually all that quiet, but it's a bit of a rest. Even though she is shy around new people, she pretends to talk with all her friends during her quiet time, including the news kids in her class.

Gabi is very smart, and she always amazes us with what she says when she is chattering. She woke me up one morning and requested that I get up and put my contacts in. When I told her that I don't wear contacts, she said, "Oh. Well, Daddy wears contacts. And, um... Uncle Brian wears contacts!" Then she thought for a minute before adding, "Only boys wear contacts." Inaccurate, but good pattern recognition. Another day, Gabi gave me a long narrative about our cars that lasted the entire ride home from school. "This is Mommy's car. Where is Daddy's car? Daddy has a new car. We sold Daddy's old car, so we don't have it any more. Now we just have one car. Actually, we have two. Daddy's new car is one, and then this is my car!"

Where will I find Gabi at the end of quiet time today?

Gabi nestled in the laundry basket to read her books

Today during quiet time, Gabi says she built
a quick trick brick stack and a quick trick block stack

Bella is now very attuned to motion and loves watching everything and everyone. Her favorite thing to watch is Big Sister, who, in turn, loves to be watched. Bella is easily distractable these days, so nursing isn't just a smooth eat-and-be-done deal, since she wants to break away to look around multiple times. She entertains herself with her toys for awhile now, she loves to chew on our fingers to ease her sore teething gums, and she smiles and giggles when we look directly at her and talk to her. She is a very wiggly baby, and she always wants to twist around when we hold her.

Watching the beluga whales swim by

Petting the starfish and sea anemones

Merlin's carrot-top feast

Daddy's new car

Poor Bella has an awful rash on her upper body which she scratches. I prewashed all her clothes in Dreft (without using dryer sheets), regularly apply lotion, have a humidifier running constantly in our room (yes, she's still in our room... we need to move her), and next I'll try bathing her in a cleanser without fragrance instead of using baby wash. Fortunately, 0.5% hydrocortisone cream twice a day is finally helping.

Gabi's bath bubbles

Bella loves playing in her saucer

"I'm going to eat that butterfly!"

On Ash Wednesday, the priest gave a wonderful homily. Unfortunately, Michael wasn't able hear much, since Bella was being squirmy and fussy (and the visiting priest had an accent that demanded more attention). He had two main points: (1) Lent is a time to look inside yourself and be humbled. However, it's not a "sad" time, as it is often percieved. If you realize that you are nothing, and yet Jesus came to save your sins, then you will find great joy. (2) Lent is a time to "feel the feel of others" -- to put yourself in their shoes and understand their sufferings. It is especially important to be aware and recognize how your family members are feeling and see what they need from you. Focus on pampering your spouse, being patient with your kids, and giving your parents friendship and company. I definitely need to be more understanding of Gabi girl; she really is a sweet girl even if she does make trouble.

I also liked his analogy for our fasting rules. He said that he forgave anyone who ate meat that day because it doesn't make sense any more. Meat used to be significantly more expensive than fish. Now chicken is cheap, but eating a giant lobster on Friday is a treat. A better modern fast would be, if your dinner is usually two hamburgers, to eat just one and donate the cost of the other to charity. You still feel a little hungry, but it's good for you to feel how the poor feel when they are hungry, and you will be more willing to help them. And hence the Lenten sacrifices... but perhaps more important than giving up an arbitrary luxury for 40 days (no chocolate or ice cream!) is doing something extra for our loved ones.