Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Being by yourself can be fun.

But being with a friend can be so much better! Meet Gigi's little friend Olivia.

And if one friend was fun, three is better. Meet Eva and Emerson.

Thanks for playing tonight, friends!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup

At the Prouse's

This is the first time I've been married to a Brazilian during the World Cup, and it has added an entirely new element of fun to our summer. We have a few friends with big-screen TVs and DVR, so even when our schedules don't allow us to watch the games live, we can still enjoy them together later the same day. The rules of the World Cup viewings with our friends are 1) if you know the score, don't say it and 2) no answering your phone during the game.

Our friend Aline is from Rio.

I consider myself a fairly decent fan, but Marcos tops most people I've seen. During one game I made the mistake of asking him to change Giovanna's diaper, and after taking off the old one, he watched the game for a minute or two, yelled a bunch, and then looked down to see that she had peed all over herself. When Donovan scored the final goal in the last USA game, Marcos was so excited that he jumped up off of the couch and threw his hands up, right into the ceiling fan. He didn't even notice until later that he was bleeding.

When I forgot to pack a cover for feeding Gigi, the Brazilian flag made a brilliant substitute.

And if we think this has been fun, we will have to start saving now for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Anybody want to come with us? Anybody?

Preventive Care

This morning I woke up to Marcos coming home from an early morning run to Trader Joe's. He was carrying a bouquet of gorgeous summer flowers, and announced that he had brought home chocolate yogurt parfaits, a loaf of ciabatta bread and brie cheese for breakfast. Apparently, when he made it to the register at TJ's, the cashier asked him if he was in the dog house this week. Marcos replied, "Nope! This is preventive care!"

The cashier was still laughing as Marcos left the store.

Preventive care? I like that.

Eating right

Some time ago, I told Marcos that when we hit a certain household salary we would stop shopping at Walmart. Well, with a recent raise, Marcos' income just pushed us above that mark, and I'm starting to wonder what it's going to take to break me of my purchasing habits, especially in the area of food. I would love to shift our grocery shopping habits to include more produce, more organic foods, fewer processed foods and higher quality ingredients in general. I can't help but feel like we often eat with a very short-term perspective: because we are young and healthy, it is easy to choose foods based on taste and convenience rather than thinking about establishing eating habits that will support our goals as parents and support our health throughout our lives. I'm not talking about going crazy and cutting out anything that isn't from a health-food store, but I would love to be more mindful about what I put in my body.

But wow is it hard to change shopping and eating habits, even if your resources change.

Here are a few things I want to do:

Most immediately, I would like to shop for produce at the local Farmer's Market now that the summer season is rolling in and so many fruits and veggies are ripe.

I particularly want to learn which produce I should buy organic, and which ones don't matter so much. Step one is printing out this cute little cheat sheet to help me remember which are which as I'm shopping. Who could ignore weeping fruits and veggies?

Another thing I want to do this summer is watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on Hulu.com. Our friends got into Jamie Oliver and were inspired enough to make some real edits to their grocery shopping list. I would like to learn more about the foods I eat.

And next summer, if I get on the ball, I think I would like to sign up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box, which is a weekly delivery of in-season produce from local farmers. Our friends will be out of town the next little bit and have very generously invited us to pick up and use their CSA while they are gone, and I am really excited about this trial run. So stay tuned... I may have some new recipes coming up!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Letters to Binkie

Dear Binkie,

Thank you for your endless support.



Sweeping Book Clubs across the nation...

...is this book called "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. Have you read it? This book was sitting idly around my house on loan from a friend who had recommended it, and it wasn't until it was assigned at my own book club that I picked it up and started reading. Now, my rebellious streak usually dictates that if something is very popular I give myself some distance from the hype just to survey the hubbub, and so I had been successfully ignoring "The Help" on my shelf until I was cornered by my fear of the book club gals and gave in. And I loved it. It was a bit sobering, and scary, and heartening, and disappointing, and amazing all at once. When I told Marcos the plot to try and sell him into reading the book, I choked up while describing a particularly poignant part, and my sensitive husband took one good look at me and said, "I think there are too many emotions in that book for me". I am not the sensitive one of us two, and if it did that to me, I think he's afraid of what the story might do to him.

To summarize, this book is about the incredibly complex relationships between white women and their black maids in 1960s Mississippi, and I don't know if it's because I live in the South now, but this story really meant something to me. When I see how things were just a generation or two ago in this corner of the country, it helps to explain what I see today.

And warning: you may end up thinking in Ebonics by the end of the book.

And then there is "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. Both Marcos and I just finished the second book in the series and are eagerly awaiting the release of book three in August. Suzanne Collins is a fabulous writer, and weaves a very smart storyline into a highly fictionalized, technologically advanced and twisted future of America. Another great read for summer months!

And then, there's the "Twilight" series... When my best friend Lindsay was here to help us after Giovanna's birth, we spent over an hour one afternoon listening to her tell us the entire storyline of the Twilight series, and frankly, after years of zero interest, I was sold. So when Rebecca loaned me her copies of all four books last week, I was anxious to delve into them and catch the Twilight fever. And then a huge problem emerged: I started reading. I won't say that I wasn't warned that the writing was terrible, because everybody warned me that it was terrible, but I didn't expect such an un-clever writing voice in such a popular series. I got to page 9 before I had to close the book out of utter disinterest. However, after taking a few deep breaths, I think that I will pick up the book again next week and force myself to read until I can get far enough into the book to ride the riveting storyline and not just trip on the disappointing verbage that is taking me there. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

What have you read lately that you would recommend?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First beach getaway of the summer

This past Saturday we took a day trip out to Carolina Beach with our friends the Hills. My friend Kim Hill just blogged about our excursion, and it made me laugh because it seems like we're both trying to find a way to describe the experience without saying, "Wow, Carolina Beach really sucks". Because in the bigger scheme of things, we were together + we were at the beach + we brought a great picnic and that meant happiness, but when you zoom in closer to investigate the details, it was kind of a mess. So I think I'll just spare you the details and show you a few photos.

Well, okay, there is one detail that I won't spare you: the weather was less than beach-friendly. The entire sky behind us was a gray mass of cloud, and sure enough, a thunder storm hit soon after we arrived. Luckily, the main accomplishment of ten minutes of light rain was to rid the beach of the wusses (about 50% of the people), and when the rain passed we were left with a little stretch of surf all to ourselves.

For Father's Day I gave Marcos a set of camping chairs to initiate our entrance into a summer of comfortable lounging on the beach, fun movies at the theater on the lawn, and outdoor bar-b-ques. One of our best investments of late...

The Hills in the glassy ocean. We have been friends for two years, and we are still going strong. Below, little Kaitlyn checks out Giovanna.

My friend Kim is extraordinary. And did I mention that I love little Gigi? I can't stop taking pictures of her...

To wrap up our Carolina Beach experience we headed over to the boardwalk and took a ride on the Ferris Wheel. The glaring commercial aspect of the beach was actually our least favorite part: we have been to two other beaches together in the past two years, and we all preferred the beaches that are an extension of a residential neighborhood (like the Outer Banks) over Carolina Beach.

Thanks summer, and thanks Hill family. Let's do this again! Same time, different place...

Happy Father's Day!

"Happy Father's Day
to my

Thank you, Gibson Greeting Cards, for the perfect fit. Who knew that I'd actually find a Father's Day card this year that was written with Marcos in mind? He is all of the above, and then a whole lot more. Gigi is one lucky girl to have a Daddy like him.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Snapshot: 2 Months

Two months is one sixth of a year, and time is flying by way too fast! Although Gigi's birth seems ages ago, it is nevertheless astonishing to us that she could be so big now.

Here is what being two months old looks like in the life of Gigi (I think she wears it rather well):
  • Gigi likes to smile and interact with people. Although she doesn't belly laugh yet, she makes gurgley giggling noises and little happy squeaks.

  • During the day, Gigi is very alert and present right after a feeding. After about half an hour of play she begins to get fussy and tired. After swaddling her tightly and giving her a binkie and a little snuggle, she generally sleeps well until she wakes up wanting to eat. Although technically I feed her on demand instead of a rigid schedule, her own system is almost like clockwork: she starts to wake up to eat every three hours, right on the dot.
  • At night, Gigi is sleeping about 7 or 8 hours straight. Right now she is 10 weeks old, and it was at about 8 weeks that she started doing marathons through the night. Since we're night owls, I try to feed her around midnight so that she lets us sleep until it is time to wake up. Sometimes external influences throw off her routine, but we consider each day after a restful night as a gift to be enjoyed!
  • Gigi is, and has been thus far, a text-book baby. Having a newborn is not easy for anyone, but having her be somewhat predictable has helped us tremendously with the adjustment.
  • Gigi has a set of lungs: boy, can that girl holler! Luckily, she generally reserves her yelling for legitimate reasons, such as being hungry, or being in discomfort because of a lodged air bubble. Two things she seems not to be bothered by are full diapers and being too cold. I am surprised by how un-phased she is by physical discomfort.
  • Physically, Gigi is a big deal. At our check-up last week she weighed 12 lbs. 11 oz. (about 85th percentile) and she is just over 23 inches long (90th percentile). Her eyelashes are long and curly (yay, Daddy's genes!) and her chins give us a lot to nibble on.
She's a perfect addition to our family!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


"Dr. Goldbach, is she exceptional in any way?" I ask at Gigi's two month appointment. He pauses with his stethoscope in mid-air and laughs. This is what Doctors have to put up with from me, and I'm relentless. "Because I just find that when I come in for appointments I want you to tell me that she is exceptional in some way".

"Well", he starts after a minutes pause, "She's cute...".

But he's catching on! Five minutes later as he's looking over Gigi's weight and length stats that the nurse jotted down, he says, "Wow! She's at the 85th percentile for weight, and 90th for length. Now that's exceptional!".

The Order is in...

Staying at home makes time stretch and wrinkle in funny ways. I freaked and scrambled to get my Father's Day things together last Thursday, only to realize two days later that I was a week early. Whew! I didn't miss The Day.

Which is fabulous, because Marcos just put in his order for a First Father's Day gift: a chocolate covered iPad, inspired by this blog post.

Unfortunately for him, my gift will be more along the lines of iDon'tThinkSo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Catch

Gigi is two months old! Last Friday we attempted to feed her with a bottle for the first time, and it was a complete disaster... I was worried that we had waited too long, and that she wasn't going to adjust well to a bottle after being breastfed for two months (hmmm... that's 60 days times more than 6 times a day = plenty of time to become set in her ways). But for me, being able to pump and have her take breastmilk through a bottle could be essential: I might be working part-time at UNC starting in the fall. Besides, being able to go on a date night every once in a while and leave her with a friend would give us a nice break.

So imagine our surprise when we tried again tonight to have Marcos feed her with a bottle, and she took it! At first I was elated, but then I felt the catch: suddenly, in one successful bottle-feeding maneuver, I had been robbed of my exclusive rights to look down at this little face during our regular feeding exchanges. And frankly, it made me sad.

I didn't realize until tonight how protective I am of the feeding time I have with my daughter: being able to provide her with everything she needs is extremely rewarding for me as a mom. If we bottle feed her even on a daily basis it would not be more than once a day, so I know this isn't something that will overhaul my world, but I'm still having a bit of a rough adjustment.

But one good date night later I'm sure I'll be over it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

By Loving Hands

Giovanna is one lucky girl. She has received beautiful quilts from special women who love her. I was taking photographs of them the other day to record what they look like before years of snuggle-loving catch up with them, and it occurred to me that these are too pretty not to share.

The first was made by my mom with the help of her friend Emilei. My mom does not have extensive experience with sewing, so I was impressed with her determination to make something special for her granddaughter. We love the pattern, and especially the Japanesey flair of the butterfly and flowers material!

This next quilt was made by our friend Susan who now lives in North Carolina with her sweet family, after transplanting from Hawaii just a year or so before we moved here. They have since become part of our extended family, and we LOVE having them so close. Susan made this quilt with beautiful Hawaiian prints, and it reminds me to make sure Gigi grows up knowing her Hawaiian heritage even though we may not be able to afford to live there for a very long time.

And last but not least, my Auntie Katy just sent this gorgeous quilt from Portland, OR. She has impeccable taste for things with a bit of funk, and her collection of vintage fabrics make my heart sing: circus prints, chickens and roosters, and little dutch boys with sailboats? So, so cool. The quilting is also very unique: she found a computerized machine that makes a variety of designs, and she chose these big flowers and swirls to finish off the effect.

Giovanna will spend the next few years of her life wrapped in warm, love-filled quilts as she sleeps, and I hope that her dreams will be as sweet.