Saturday, January 29, 2011


Our friend Jessica was married in December, and she just sent me this photo. Apparently, her wedding photographer caught a photo of my two loves at the wedding party, and she thought it was too good not to share. I agree.

I think her photographer even captured Marcos' goodness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pots and Pans

What does your baby do at midnight? What, your baby sleeps?! Well, we're such good parents that our baby stays up to rearrange the pots and pans. We should write a book.

Gigi was having a rough night last night and after a prolonged crying session and a midnight family run to the grocery store for orajel, we figured that if she was happy being awake, we were happy too. She must have decided that while she was up, she might as well give our cupboard a rearrange. She takes this baby job very seriously.

Here is a video of her doing her job, and exploring her voice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

If I wrote poetry

If I wrote Poetry

If I wrote poetry
I would capture, in one line
the milky sigh of my tiny child slumped slumbering against me in the night
and the way it catches, rips, tangles my breath
to feel

and the humility of knowing that, despite my
boister, my bigness, my clumse
I have made an angel

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nine, neun, kyu, nueve

Gigi is nine months old, which means that she has now lived outside of my body for as long as she lived on the inside. I'm sure that the adjustment was hard for her, but it sure is swell for us getting to know her and watching her grow and learn.

Things that are new this month:
  • Gigi now has two teeth. Her two bottom teeth are in, and they are pretty adorable as long as you don't get too close.
  • Gigi is pulling up on everything within reach, and she is just barely starting to cruise (walk along the side of something, while holding on). Her preferred method of transportation is still crawling, but she is remarkably fast, and we find that when we turn away briefly she is already in the next room.
  • Gigi eats food now, and once she got the hang of it she has eaten very happily.
  • Gigi's new solid foods diet has come hand in hand with her new style of poops. Those things are like owl pellets. I can tell exactly what she is eating.
  • Gigi has become a very satisfied independent player. She is fairly bored with our toys, but each day she can sustain a good amount of independent play, mixed up with time together with Marcos or me. Her favorite toys are her two puzzles: one is wooden and makes the noises of the farm animal pieces, and one is a foam alphabet, which serves as a great chew toy.
  • Gigi just learned how to sleep through the night. We have been sharing a room with her since she was born, and because I am a light sleeper I have always just retrieved her at the slightest stirring. At my friend Lindsay's advice we started sleeping this week in the living room on our air mattress, and although we had a sad night or two, Gigi now stirs and immediately puts herself back to sleep. In the mornings now I have to wake her to feed her before I go to work. And I didn't do this earlier because....?
  • Although her motor skills are still pretty crude, Gigi claps and waves and sometimes imitates our sign language, though usually not on command.
  • This month has been a miserable time for changing diapers. Gigi is too strong and too determined to stay put longer than .5 seconds, so if you don't have everything out and ready to attack, you're doomed.
In general, Giovanna is curious, content, happy to explore and socialize, and quite talkative.

Finally, during our 9-month check up today, Dr. Goldbach gave us her stats. At nine months Gigi is 19 lbs. 10 oz., 28 inches long, and is in the 65 percentile for height, weight and head size. Her percentiles started in the 90s when she was born, so she has been steadily averaging out. I was a little sad today that our baby is no longer a whopper, but with her soft chubby cheeks and thighs, who could be upset?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

4.5 Inches

Gigi and her friends had a bathing party over the weekend. Gigi decided to go undressed as a unicorn.

Out of curiosity I measured Gigi's hair the other day, and it is 4.5 inches on top. Can you imagine? That is just about half of what it takes to donate to Locks of Love.

Maybe someday.

The Dust Settles

Today I was in the kitchen cooking a tofu curry with bamboo shoots and listening to Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares to You" on repeat, and it occurred to me that the dust is finally settling. Our home is quiet and we are back to just our core three humans, thank you cards from Christmas are being written, and we are actually home now most nights out of the week.

The holidays were perfect - everything they should have been - with family, and good food, and memories and sugar overdoses. And now that the dust is settling, we want to reconnect with the friends we've been neglecting (and the blog I've been neglecting?), we want to clean out the junk we never use, and we want to kick off the new year with some improvements over 2010.

The day before my mom flew back to Hawaii was January 1st. We took a walk through the forest and talked through our goals for the year. It was really lovely to be out in nature and feel the energy of opening a new chapter.

Not that there was anything wrong with 2010; besides a few financial set-backs, the year was great for our family. Gigi was born in April, Barack was President all year, I started working at a job that I love which allows me half of my life to be a stay-at-home mom, Marcos found a new job that works perfectly with his stay-at-home dad routine, and the end of the year brought family close to us as we celebrated the holidays. We didn't step on an airplane all year, which we missed, but with a camping trip to the mountains, a summer trip to the beach, and Thanksgiving on the Jersey Shore it was exactly the refreshment we needed.

For 2011 we have some really ambitious plans, and I'm not talking about my goal to get back into knitting. We are thinking very seriously about putting Marcos' work on pause so that he can go back to school full-time. The clarity of "Yes, of course an education is the most important investment you will ever make" becomes very cloudy very quickly when we consider the debt we will likely have to incur, and the fact that Marcos is a really good computer programmer and he earns a decent wage right now without a degree. To keep up our motivation I might have to tape slips of paper to our mirrors with printed-out mantras such as "'Decent' pay is not a sustainable way" and "Education THIS year: You think it's hard now? Try five years down the line". Based on our preliminary planning, we are hoping that Marcos will finish up his Associates degree by December and jump into full time school at UNC next January, a year from now. I know that we can rock this, but it will take some serious concentration.

But enough about us: what about you? Have you made plans for the new and improved you for 2011? I know my readers, and I can't imagine that any of you have much improving to do, but forces be with you to accomplish with power and pizazz the things you are working on this year!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Food Frenzy

As I have mentioned, we have had a few bumps in the road to "solid" foods. I think most of the problem was me: I love breastfeeding, breastfeeding is quick and easy, I was afraid that she would choke on foods, and letting a baby learn how to eat food is one of the messiest processes ever.

But the good news is, I think that we are rolling! We now have a real food eater.

Foods Gigi likes to eat: squash (butternut and acorn), steamed carrots and zucchini, grated apple, chopped banana and pear, cheerios, plain yogurt, sipping water from a cup, and she will tolerate rice cereal and oat cereal mixed with applesauce. Gigi is a very independent eater, and even now, she does best when we put food on her tray and give her space to eat at her own pace. Sometimes she will let us put things in her mouth with a baby spoon, but most often her reaction is to furrow her brows, and just when the spoon gets to her mouth she blows a raspberry,"ppppppttt!".

Gigi doesn't just like to eat food, it is a totally involved experience. I love Gigi's hair, but I do not love it at eating time. She gets so much food in that mop of hers that I'm half tempted to find a baby sized shower cap for her to wear when she eats! We try to pull it back, but it's a losing battle.

And so just like that, we have entered another phase of Gigi's life. Soon I'll be posting about her walking, and then going to school, driving cars, and then boys.

Let's just say I can wait a few decades to think about that last one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Aloha 'Oe

Well, the holiday season has come and gone, and my mom has returned back home to Hawaii. We hope that the white winterland and the snow scraping here in North Carolina didn't deter her from moving out here indefinitely next summer. Gigi already misses her Tutu. And yes, I think we're sticking with "Tutu"!

The most incredible help my mom provided was helping us ease Gigi into eating solid foods. For some reason, we just had the darndest time making that transition! Gigi completely jumped over "baby" food, and was just waiting for us to catch her drift. We watched in awe as my mom prepared foods, put them in front of Gigi and then let Gigi eat at her pace with her own fingers. Why didn't we think of that?

One of the things I admire most about my mom is that she is not a gossip. She is helpful, healthy, generous, and she speaks generously about other people and gives them the benefit of the doubt. That is pretty awesome. That's my mom!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And just like that! From 2010 to 2011...

This year... *ahem*... last year we spent New Year's Eve Brazilian style with our friends in Greenville. Like the Prieto family, our friends the Days keep one foot in America and one in Brazil, so we celebrated with churrasco (Brazilian bar-b-que) and all of the best of homestyle Brazilian cuisine.

New Year's Eve is the perfect time to play games under the Christmas tree. And eat cheerios, if you are 9 months old.

Our standard contribution to the meal is the feijoada (Brazilian black beans) and vinaigrette (lightly marinated vegetable salad), but this time we decided to go wild. We rounded up the forces and turned out plates of brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate fudgy balls - recipe coming soon), which didn't even survive the evening. They are the perfect size for nibbling on while waiting for midnight.

Gigi is also perfect to nibble on. Who has softer cheeks, or cuter ears? I'm so grateful for a flexible baby who loves crowds but will also sleep at our friend's homes so that we can have a social life. As she slept we counted down while watching the ball drop in NYC, then hugged and kissed each other at the turn of the year.

It was a really simple New Year's Eve, but when all of the right people come together, simple is perfect.