Monday, February 28, 2011

Valentines Day with my Sweeties

So in keeping with my tradition of doing posts about two weeks late, and long after the point where you cease to care, I'm just now getting around to Valentine's Day.

I like to think that we're really getting the hang of this holiday thing, because this was our best Valentine's Day yet! Marcos surprised me at work with a visit from him and Gigi, with a basket full of Orangina and all sorts of trail mixes and non-sweet snacks to help me make it through my work days, as well as a single rose (the rest of the flowers were waiting for me at home). It was so sweet I was a little embarrassed.

But the nicest gift was his card. Even despite the long year prior to our wedding, when we lugged through a long-distance relationship of 8 time zones and a swapped hemispherical difference, this Valentines card is only the second (count them: one, two) hand-written note I have ever received from Marcos. He is always nervous about writing in a medium where he can't "control z" or "cut and paste" his words together, so it was a stretch for him to compose something on paper. It still makes me feel special to read it, so he must have succeeded, big-time.

It was the perfect surprise gift at work, and a great kick-off to our Valentine's date that night at Squids Restaurant in Chapel Hill. We have been on a fish kick lately, and Squids did not disappoint. We had a fantastic dinner that satisfied our hankerings: Broiled salmon with the best mashed potatoes ever, horseradish encrusted tilapia with roasted potatoes, cream sauce and life-altering green beans, and hush puppies! We highly recommend Squids to anyone living in the Chapel Hill area. A big thanks to my Aunty Katy, who sent us the gift card that made it all possible!

We considered taking Gigi along to dinner because she comes to everything with us, and she's our little love magnet, but we decided that we deserved a night at a nice restaurant just to ourselves. I can't even remember the last time we ate together, just us, but I'm sure it was before Gigi was born. Many, many thanks to our sweet friend Becca for being with Gigi while we enjoyed our date! We were a little worried because we rarely leave her with anyone, and she has recently grown into a phase where she clings to us much more than before, but thankfully the evening was uneventful and Gigi enjoyed her time playing with new friends and new toys under Becca's loving care. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing us a perfect dinner date to celebrate Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pirulito que Bate Bate

I love children's songs, and rhymes and poems and verses and stories. They just seem like such a great alternative to TV. Gigi's favorite song is one she learned from Marcos' sister Elizabeth when she lived with us briefly at the end of last year. It's called Pirulito que bate bate, and Gigi knows what to do with her hands!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daddy called the Doctor and the Doctor said...

...get tubes put in this girl's ears.

This has been the worst week of our parenting life. Gigi has only had two ear infections in her 10 months of active life, but this second one will not go away. We are on our third round of antibiotics in a row (I know that some of you are cringing as you read that - believe me, we are too), and according to Dr. Goldbach, at this point the antibiotics are keeping her pain from escalating too much, but they are not knocking out the infection. We have an appointment to get tubes put in her ears, but the first available opening is on March 10th. We have the number for the hospital, and every day we call to beg for an opportunity to get in so that our girl's mini ear canals can have a little help keeping things flowing.

So, our usually happy, content, sweet little Gigi is really having a challenge. As parents, we are having a challenge too. Half of the time I want to cry, and the other half I am saying the most desperate prayers. Marcos sometimes wants to punch a wall out of total frustration. I think that we are going mad, because listening to your baby wail in pain and not being able to do anything about it is really maddening. We just want our happy, bright-eyed baby back.

But we are trying to keep perspective. In all of this there are blessings as well: we are a half-time stay at home mom and dad team, so whoever is with Gigi on a day when she needs to go in to the doctor can take her in, we live close to an excellent hospital where we will take Gigi for the tubes procedure, and a few months ago we were able to put Gigi on Health Choice (North Carolina's medicaid) which has been really important for us. Having to never think twice about whether to take your child in to see a doctor when something is clearly wrong is an enormous blessing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

{Spring} is when babies are born

If you take anything home with you from this post, it should be this: don't drink the water at my work unless you want to get pregnant. I'm not sure how this applies to men because we don't have any men in our office suite, but at this point, nothing would surprise me.

Sharon and I both have babies under one year old, Sarah is expecting her first in March, Lisa has two very young ones, and Rachel just had her third two weeks ago. That leaves two coworkers who are not currently birthing or raising very young children. Can I just say hooray for working at the most family-friendly place ever? I am trying to remember to be grateful every single day to be able to work in an environment where we work hard together to see the success of the UNC School of Social Work, but realize ultimately that our families come first. Always.

So, what I've been doing in some of my spare time (ha!) is making diaper cakes and a baby blanket. The diaper cake was for Rachel, who already has two young children and all of the necessary baby accoutrement. So I kept it simple and recycled some crumpled tissue paper to give it a festive feel. The blanket was for Sarah, who has been waiting for her upcoming little boy for many, many years. Sarah has a collection of hedge hogs (don't announce that you like a certain animal unless you are prepared for an overload), so of course when my friend Delia was letting me look through her fabrics and I saw this soft flannel with hedge hogs walking across it, I had to run with the theme.

In the past month I have also co-hosted a third baby shower with my friend Becca, but of course we forgot to take photos! Our friend Kristine is expecting her first boy, and we wanted to get her outfitted with a bit of blue.

Spring really is a beautiful season of birth and an awakening earth. Coming up soon we will be celebrating the first year of our own little spring baby! Yay!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Superfriends at the not-so-super bowl

Back in October, Marcos promised our friends Dwight and Aline that if the Steelers made it to the Superbowl, we would drive down to Charlotte and watch it with them. So, we made good on our promise and took a little road trip down to Charlotte for the weekend.

Honestly, the game wasn't the highlight of my visit, even though it was a fun treat to eat lots of junk food and admire our friends' ability to create a really welcoming gathering space. I loved spending time with our sweet friends. I think it was the first time we had seen Gigi really blossom socially, as she quickly made friends with Dwight and Aline's kiddos. It was quite the love affair.

Princess Gigi and her noble friends Bella (above) and Dwight. Gigi usually requires a bit of warm up with new guys, but Dwight received royal treatment with all of the snuggles she gave him. Aline and Dwight are expecting their third baby in July, and they are so amazing with little ones.

In the morning, Bella came to play with Gigi in bed. There were capes made out of blankets and plenty of giggles.

This photo is unremarkable in every way, but Gigi looked so big sitting at the little red table eating Aline's homemade chicken noodle soup that I had to include a picture. She really is changing and growing mighty fast these days.

So, to wrap it up, it was a sad moment for our household when the Steelers lost the Superbowl, but a weekend spent away from our day to day life (and with really good friends) completely overshadowed the game day disappointment! Thank you Dwight and Aline for the great food, great talks into the night, and all of your generosity! XOXO

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jyuu, dez, ten, zehn

Gigi is ten months old!

Although Gigi doesn't have many noticeable physiological changes from last month, her social skills are really becoming fine-tuned. She bebops when she hears music with a good beat, she requires some warm up now before she lets new people hold her, and she has started to flirt with strangers in public by catching their attention and then burying her face into my chest, only to peek out again with a huge grin on her face, and then bury her face again. It's adorable.

Just for the record, Gigi still has just two little teeth on the bottom, she still pulls up on everything but doesn't show much interest in taking independent steps, and she is doing well with eating. Her favorites this month are broccoli and Greek yogurt.

She adds so much sweetness to our family life.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weepy Materialism

I have this sickness coming on. I call it "weepy materialism" and it hits every so often when my soul resonates with a particularly beautiful space. Maybe it's because I'm nearly thirty, or maybe it's because we now have a child, but something inside me is changing.

During Barack's first year of office, the federal government was offering $8,000 as an incentive for first-time homebuyers. Marcos' running joke all year was, "I wonder if they will allow us to use that $8,000 towards a goodyear blimp, because that's the most rooted Metta will ever be". That used to be true, but seriously folks, that was over a year ago, and I think that weepy materialism might be settling into my bones. I have had my eyes FILL WITH TEARS in the recent past when I have looked at a home and envisioned myself having, for example, a large kitchen with lots of sunlight, or a mudroom where I could put a wooden bench and some of my thrift store treasures. And honestly, there is nothing inside of me that requires actually owning the space, but being able to use it on a daily basis would just tickle me. Just tickle.

Of course, as life has it, my new sickness has to hit right as we're contemplating some major changes within the year, in preparation for Marcos going back to school. As we have been going back and forth on the idea of him going to school to finish up a Bachelor's degree, I continue to pledge my support and promise that I will make sacrifices if he will go to school full time, and now I have a chance to put my money where my mouth is.

A kitchen with windows? Maybe someday.

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Years Resolutions - February chapter

I'm still making New Years Resolutions, even now in February. I think that they are just things I want to change about my life, but I am a firm believer that anything with a catchy title is much more bound to happen, so I file away my goals under "New Years Resolutions" instead of "ways to improve my life".

My most recent resolution is to make every second post about something besides Giovanna and how much I love her, how cute she is, etc. But then after taking these shots yesterday at the park, I thought to myself, "I'll start that next time".

You can see how good I am with goals.

Yesterday Chapel Hill really was the Southern Part of Heaven (our nickname... cute, right?), because while the rest of the country was having ice storms, we had a perfect 70 degrees and a gorgeous, breezy, sunny day. Not to gloat or anything. I ditched my coat in the car and spent a few hours at the park with Gigi and some of our friends.

It was Gigi's second time in a swing and she was sold. The slide was brilliant too, until a boy shoved her so that he could slide down. Don't worry, we'll teach her how to hold her own on the playground.

There is just something about the photo below that just makes me think, "Oh! That's my girl! she's learning how to be social on the playground!"

Then again, Gigi was quick to remind me why I don't bring her to the playground yet. Kiddos that don't walk prefer to sit and eat wood chips, which gets old for the adult in charge of intercepting them half way to the mouth. So, she will be a lap sitter at the park until she is walking, which should be pretty soon!