Thursday, May 30, 2013

Steve and Sheila's Wedding

My little brother got married last weekend.  It's so hard to believe he's a married man!  He's had quite the year since he completed his doctorate at University of Michigan last May, started his first job out of school as a Philosophy professor at Coe College in Iowa, and got married! He met Sheila in Ann Arbor, Michigan while he was in school and they've been together for a couple of years now.  She's a really awesome girl - so sweet and fun to be around, and their personalities balance each other well.  As soon as you meet them, you can tell they're best friends who love to laugh together.  It's the best kind of marriage as far as we're concerned. 

We've loved getting to know Sheila, and it was wonderful to meet her lovely and gracious family. They did a lot of work preparing for the wedding and other events, and many of Sheila's relatives flew in from India, which meant so much to them.  It was my family's first time to attend a Hindu wedding and we learned much about their traditions and culture over the weekend.  I think both families were nervous about everything going well, but we all had a great time and Sheila and Steve were glowing on their wedding day.  We're looking forward to spending more time with them as a couple in the years to come!

A major milestone for us - Emma's first flight!

After she blew out her diaper (and outfit and blanket) during the first hour of the flight, she felt fantastic and slept the rest of the way to Michigan. :)  Changing all her clothes in the tiny airplane bathroom was an adventure and no one fell in the toilet, which I consider a monumental success. 

Dan has embraced the "sleep when the baby sleeps" rule.

When we arrived in Michigan, our first wedding-related event was Sheila's Mehndi, where her hands, arms, and legs were decorated with beautiful henna tattoos for the wedding ceremony.  It took over three hours for her henna to be finished, but it was well worth the time investment.  She said the tradition is that the new bride is excused from all housework until the tattoos wear off. :)
Sheila's parents hosted the Mehndi in their back yard

Getting my henna

Steve got Sheila's name on his hand. Cute. :)

That night, there was a dinner for family and friends on the University of Michigan campus. We took some family photos before the dinner, including this one of both our families.

Steve, Sheila, and my parents

Our little family

Emma getting love from her Aunt and Uncle

And from Nana and Papa

She looked adorable, but in hindsight, the sparkles on her dress were a bad idea.  We're still picking glitter off her scalp, out of her ears, etc.

Monday was the wedding day! The ladies joined Sheila in the dressing room as she was draped with her wedding sari.

Putting the final touches on the gorgeous bride

At the beginning of the ceremony, Sheila's family walked down the aisle way to Steve with traditional Hindu gifts, then walked him back to the front of the temple to join their family.

The ceremonial meeting of the bride and groom - the priest said this was traditionally the very first time the bride and groom would have ever held hands. Which explains the sheepish look on Steve's face. Ha!

This was my favorite part of the ceremony, when they sat on a swing together and swung back and forth. It represents marriage and how it swings from good times to bad times, but you stay on it.

During the ceremony, my Mom, Dad, and I (as well as Sheila's family) sat on stage in front of everyone alongside Steve and Sheila. It was not intimidating at all. :) 

My mom and dad looking elegant.  Sheila visited India last year and bought the gorgeous saris for my mom and I to wear during the wedding.

Me and my girl all dressed up for the wedding!

A picture with the happy bride and groom

Emma slept through the ceremony, but she's happy to now have another doting aunt in the family!

By Monday evening, we were back at the airport heading home. It was a whirlwind trip, but we're so thankful we were able to be there to celebrate with Steve and Sheila!

Monday, May 13, 2013

One Month!

It's hard to believe that Emma is one month old!  So much has happened since she was born, and I'm still getting the hang of taking care of her and getting anything else accomplished.  It's taken me an entire week to download these pictures a little at a time.  I figure I'd better make the most of it while I'm at it, so be prepared for an Emma photo extravaganza! 

Dan and I have been doing well with the changes that parenting has brought to our lives. We're exhausted, of course, but trying our best to appreciate every day and moment of this newborn stage in Emma's life. Everyone tells us that it passes all too quickly, and we'll wish for it back! 

Some facts about Emma at one month old:
  • She sleeps great during the days and will take 2-3 hour naps several times.  At night, she sleeps a maximum of one hour at a time in her bassinet in our room before waking up and wanting to eat. She and I have a one hour asleep/one hour awake rhythm going that allows me to get 4-5 hours of interrupted sleep at night, and then I try to nap at least once during the day when she does. I'm not so sure I'm going to miss this part of her newborn stage. :)
  • She isn't a picky eater, and so far I've been able to nurse her anytime, anywhere, in any position, and in any mood she's in. She'll be in a full-blown rage, but offer her the chance to eat, and it's over immediately.  We didn't know this was unique until we met a friend's infant daughter who refuses to nurse unless she's perfectly calm first.
  • She has been easy to soothe for the most part, and has sucked on her fingers and fists to soothe herself since day one. 
  • In the classes we took through our hospital, they recommended not giving her a pacifier or bottle for the first four weeks to avoid "nipple confusion," which might make nursing more difficult.  So when she got fussy and I couldn't nurse her, we'd give her one of our fingers to suck on.  As a result, she loves Dan's pinkie finger and knuckle with a passion!
  • We've learned to take serious precautions when we change her diaper, since the open air and wet wipes stimulate her to empty her bladder and bowels completely. On Mother's Day, she waited until we had let our guard down and then projectile pooped all the way across the room.  I think it was a special gift for me.
  • She has smiled every single day of her life, and although we know it's caused by gas, it's the sweetest part of our day.  We *think* she is just beginning to smile voluntarily, and can't wait to see it happen for sure.
  • She's really started to focus in on faces and especially eyes. She'll give a short amount of attention to toys, but she's mainly interested in people right now. 
  • She has loved music since she was in the womb, and Dan and I do a lot of singing and humming to soothe her.  She mainly gets hymns from me and Broadway tunes from Dan.
  • She wears footie pajamas every single day because it's so easy and we don't get out much at this point. I wear my pajamas all day long, too, so we're two peas in a pod. :)
Here are some pictures from Emma's first month!

 Homecoming from the hospital
 Spending the first two weeks with Nana from Fort Worth, TX
 And with Grandma and Grandpa from Williamsburg, VA
 First sponge bath at home. She hated it, which of course made us hate it.
We were both a little worse for wear after the bath. heh.

Taking medicine by syringe while sucking on Dan's magical pinkie finger

We went to cheer Dan on during his roller hockey game

First stroller outing - we're so glad we splurged on the Bob jogging stroller! 
First trip to the airport, unfortunately to drop Nana off so she could go home to TX

 We celebrated Grandpa's 75th birthday at the Fish House 

Dan had to go back to work, so he and Emma spend quality time together every evening when he gets home

We were visited by Jerrica and Trevor from church

And Stacy and Ellie from Dan's school.  Ellie is 5 weeks older than Emma, and we think they'll be big buddies.

 Emma's first bottle feeding from Dad.  She looks a little apprehensive, but she loved it.

 Celebrating our very first Mother's Day!

 This little one-month-old girl just gets prettier and sweeter every day!