Monday, December 30, 2013

She is one!!!

Holy Cow! How is today Zara's first birthday?!?! Somehow it has been a year since that amazing night of Zara's feet first miracle birth. What a year it has been. Our first year as parents has been, well, I am not sure I can even describe it. It is like this thing that you can't fully understand until you are a parent and you have your newborn in your arms and she looks deep into your soul - or the first time she smiles at you - or the first time you hear her giggle - or the way she kicks her feet with excitement and smiles at you when she knows you are coming to get her in the morning or after a nap. Being able to experience all of those things for the first time this year has been so special for me and Julie. It has been a huge adjustment, and a crazy change in our lives, but oh so worth it in every way. Then you add in seeing Julie as a mom every day, and it just make me that much more happy.

We've had a fun few days around here in DC. Zara loved her first Christmas, well - she had no idea what was going on for the most part, but she really liked the wrapping paper. I know I am probably just saying this because I am her dad, but look how cute this little girl is!

She got this awesome little walker from her Grammie and Grandfather and she squeals every time she sees it. She is going to be walking really soon I think.

Today for her birthday we played at our house, took a few photos, ran some errands, and capped off the day with a little birthday party that some of our friends joined us for.

^^^We've been taking monthly photos of Zara on the couch here throughout the year. She used to just sit there or lay there and look. Not any more. She is a serious mover! The only way we could get her to stay in one place long enough to take a photo was to trap her behind all the pillows. Luckily, she thought it was kind of funny too (for a few seconds at least).

For dinner, we had Zara's favorite: Chipotle. I don't know what it is, but she will wolf down rice and beans and guac like there is no tomorrow. That face she is doing is her "I know what that is, and I want it!" face.

She loved the sandwich kiss.

She loved the candle. I wish I had a photo of her eyes squinting at it trying to figure out what it was.

Mama helped her blow out the candle, then it was off to the exploration. I was hoping for a messy cupcake, but Julie, being the good mom that she is, baked some awesome banana muffins.

She couldn't figure out what it was for a bit. She turned it upside down, starting tearing it up, then I gave her a taste and she went to town. Basically downed the whole thing. 

Happy Birthday Zara! Pretty crazy to think that one year ago, you looked like this:

...and a year from now, you'll be walking, talking, and doing all kinds of awesome stuff. Can't wait to see what year two beholds!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

We pick the apple

We went apple picking a few weeks ago with friends. It was awesome. It was a little bit dreary, but that didn't stop us. Zara was excited about it for two reasons: she got to suck on apples, and she got to hang out with some of her best buddies. Oh, and she got to try a little taste of an apple fritter.

We really have some awesome friends. They just love Zara. It makes me so happy to see their excitement each time they see her. She adores them all and loves a little break from the old ball and chain (me and Julie). ^^Julie seems a little annoyed by how much Zara likes them (not really, just a great facial expression on her part for some reason).

Zara loved sucking on the apples.

The lighting was as bad as it gets, but I love this photo ^^. You can see what a joy Zara is in the lives of everyone who gets to see her.

^^ I love the expressions that always result from jumping photos. Check out Zara's face. Hunter looks pretty cool a jumping bunny rabbit.

And last but not least, our best family photo to date. Julie was on my shoulders trying to grab some apples when it hit me that Zara could complete the tower. She wasn't much help grabbing apples, but it made for an awesome photo.

We went home and made all things apples. Nothing like a nice crisp apple on a fall day. It's always sad to see summer go, but the fall in DC is about as good as it gets. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eli's Newest Work Recruit

If Zara could, she would work with Eli all day.  Electronics and driving the car are all up her alley. Typing on his computer is definitely on her top 5 favorite things to do.  Also included on that list would be trying to climb on the toilet (I know- yuck), chewing on any cord in sight, making copies on the copy machine, and of course playing on/in/around the dishwasher.

After discovering this passion of her's, we brought out our old dead computer. We are sure glad we kept this thing around because now Eli and Zara can do their work together.

Although sometimes, she still deems it necessary to help a friend out.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Sky

So far this fall, we have been provided with some amazing sunsets in DC. This one was so awesome I had to run up to the roof to take some photos. The sky was on fire 360 degrees. I love the the fact that there were others up there on the roof taking a break from life and just enjoying the sunset and looking in awe at God's beauty.

The Washington Monument is under repairs (it cracked and had some issues resulting from the earth quake a couple of years ago), but I think it actually looks pretty cool with all the scaffolding.

^^^This is looking down toward Alexandria with the Masonic Temple on the left. Every color of red, pink, and orange was in the sky that night.

^^^Looking across at Arlington.

I hope the people in that airplane taking off from Reagan were looking out the windows. Pretty amazing stuff right? It's nice to be able to take a break from the hustle of life and feel God giving you a big hug when you look at something like this. 

We went apple picking yesterday and enjoyed the crisp fall air. Zara liked trying to climb the trees, but most of all she just liked sucking on apples and being with our friends who make her feel very well loved. Photos coming soon. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A rainy morning inside

In a effort to stay better in touch with family and friends, Eli has suggested that I take on some of the blogging in our lives.  And although writing has not been my strong points in the past, here it goes.  

Here is a quick sense of what is going in my life right now.  I work one 7p-7a or 3-11pm shift a week. It is perfect for two reasons.  I totally miss Zara while I am gone and I appreciate my more full time job as a mom so much more.  And secondly, it has been so great for Zara and Eli's relationship (since he is the one to watch her).  I think they really enjoy that alone time.  Our summer has included lots of swimming (on the pool on our roof), park, splash park and other adventures in the DC area.

This week have been a little slow.  Because of the federal government shutdown, most of the museums near us are closed.  And I am pretty sure Zara is teething again. (I call her teething-whine-zilla.  Just kidding.  But really she just isn't quite herself with these first two teeth).  And in the last two days, there has been nonstop rain.  I used to like the occasional rainy day to curl up with a robe and a good book.  However, that gets old pretty fast when you have a Zara who is 10x happier when outside.  However, we are making the best of it and forging out of the house no matter what.  Especially since it looks like constant rain for the next two days.  And who am I kidding, might as well get used to it since winter is coming on.  Since summer was fairly nice this year, I am hoping the trend continues and fall lasts until December... :)

Here are a few things I am loving about being this girl's mom right now. 

I love waking up to this tiny bit of bed head each morning.  

She is constantly on her knees and I can't get enough of this view.
Baby feet can make one so happy.

Even if she is in the other room, I can open the dishwasher and Zara is there in a second.

The reflection of light in those blue eyes.

She is pulling herself up and walking along, but sometimes she gets stuck
and can't figure out how to get down.  She will put her hand out and make
noise until someone comes to help her. 

And this is just one of the many faces I think is to die for.

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Well. Four months later, I am finishing this last post on our trip to Brazil. Pretty quick turnaround...

On our last day in Rio, which also happened to be a perfect day weather-wise, we headed up to Corcovado. This is one of those spots I have always wanted to see in person. We had seen the Christ the Redeemer statue from below over the past few days, but suddenly we were right there underneath it on top of the mountain. 

The vans drive you up a crazy steep hill and drop you off in a parking lot...then you traverse up a few stairs and suddenly you see the back of the statue. 

At this point, you are literally on top of Rio. There isn't much higher than this. You can see for miles and miles. That's Copacabana behind Julie and her parents. 

Can you find Julie? That is Ipanema beach there on the left 

It was one of those days where they sky is so blue that it almost hurts your eyes. I love the way that Christ is portrayed. There were those who wanted Him to be on a cross, but I am so glad they decided to portray Him in His resurrected glory.

There were a few other people up there with us enjoying the view. Ok, there were a TON of people. I don't blame them though, amazing spot. 

These photos give you an idea of the amazing topography and the expanse of Rio. Wow, just wow. I can't believe we were up there. 

Lil travel trooper Zara. Again, she was just awesome. Love that girl. 

Experiencing all of these places with Julie's parents just made it that much for amazing. When you experience a place like this, it is so much fun to be there with people you love to enjoy it together. 

Zara was pretty amazed. this is one of my favorite photos to date of her and her mama. 

After enjoying the mountain top for an hour or so, we made the trek down the mountain. On the way down we were really glad we went up early as there were crazy amounts of people heading up. 

Took one last look at Copacabana and the cool sand structures.

There are a lot of confident people on these beaches. I will leave it at that. 

I should say that on one of the days Julie's parents stayed at the apartment with Zara while Julie and I headed to Ipanema beach to enjoy the ocean. It's no wonder that this is such a popular beach. The sand is like powdered sugar soft, and the water is quite the perfect temperature. There were some fun waves to be body surfed as well. 

How amazing is this little girl? If you are wondering if you can travel internationally with a 6 month old, the answer is yes you can. Just do it! It will be tough at times, but oh so worth it. Imagine how much fun it will be for Zara to look at these photos one day. 
So...from there we went back and packed up and headed to the airport. I think our driver that our awesome tour guide Rafa set up for us was trying to set a world record for the fastest drive to the Rio airport. We all just kind of sat there white knuckled, grabbing whatever we could in the car as we swerved through traffic. Luckily we made it one piece. We flew back to Sao Paulo and said our goodbyes to Julie's parents at the airport as they headed back to Registro and we headed into the city to our hotel as we weren't flying back to DC until the next day

Just a few quick photos of Sao Paulo. We stayed at a really cool hotel thanks to some credit card points. This was the view out of our room. Sao Paulo is HUGE. Buildings for as far as the eye can see. The only place I can compare it to is Tokyo. 

It was pretty rainy so we enjoyed the hotel and a bit of relaxing after non stop action over the previous 9 days or so. 

We ventured into the center of the city. It was eerily like a ghost town. Combo of the fact that it was Sunday, and the world's largest gay pride parade was going on in another part of the city. 

We went to Little Japan and had some Japanese Curry (Sao Paulo has a huge Japanese population). Then we tried to follow the map the concierge at the hotel gave us...bad idea. We got totally lost and well, ended up in not the greatest part of town and suddenly there were no taxis. Luckily, a really nice concierge at a hotel used google translate on his computer to communicate with us and helped us find a taxi to get back to our hotel. It was a pretty weird experience. Not sure we will be going back there any time soon. 

And thus, the four month blogocation comes to an end. Brazil was awesome. We are so glad that we went. It is a memory that we will forever cherish with Julie's parents. How cool are they? They were great travel companions. Julie is a pretty amazing traveler a new mom she totally just dominated and we had so much fun together. The crazy thing is that we covered about .5% of Brazil in the course of the trip. It is a huge country. We'll have to go back again some day.