{Left to right- Louie, Christian & Justin with Gisele in the burrito in the middle}
Our baby girl arrived last week on Tuesday, May 5th and we’re so crazy in love with her…  The boys- who had taken to chanting, “boy! boy! boy!” at my belly prior to her birth- are smitten to say the least.  They’re so gentle and careful with her so far and it’s pretty amazing.  They come into my room and give us both kisses and Louie is constantly delivering toys and flowers to her.  When my mom visited last week, I heard Justin excitedly say in the other room, “Wanna see our girl?!!”  
The labor and delivery were amazing.  (It’s weird, but I absolutely love labor & delivery and this one was my easiest. )  When the baby came out & I heard the little cry, I looked to Dave – who was going to announce if it was a boy or a girl- and he had the funniest expression on his face.  It was like he was trying to speak and couldn’t and it was this strange “I can’t compute” type of  face and he was just staring at me oddly with big eyes.  I kind of figured then that it was a girl but still he didn’t say anything.   It was hysterical.  Finally- I guess it was really only moments but it seemed like forever- the nurse said. “It’s a girl!” and handed her over for skin to skin, which was pure bliss.  We were definitely teary and just couldn’t believe it.  Holding her on my chest and touching her tiny head full of dark hair felt surreal.  That feeling of instant love is crazy.        
The night she was born and she & Dave had gone to sleep, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that our baby was a GIRL.  My mind was just blown.  Honestly, having a baby – whether a boy or a girl- is exactly the same, and it’s the same feelings of love & excitement that I’ve had with every one of our little ones, but it’s my imagination running wild that’s a little different.  With boys, I always felt like I didn’t know what to expect so I didn’t know what to imagine, but with Gisele, I feel like I have this frame of reference- that was my childhood- that’s there, taking my mind places and thinking of all the things I did and loved that I want her to try…  Things my boys don’t care very much about to be honest, which resulted in this sort of wonderful, open-minded, pressure-free parenting style I’ve sort of adapted…  and that I’m determined not to lose.
When I was little, my mom used to take me to ballets whenever she could.  I’m not sure of how into ballets she was, but I was pretty much obsessed.  When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer, without hesitation, was “A ballerina princess.”  (What a modern woman I was!! 😉 😉  Looking back, I see that as a single mom, she definitely sacrificed a lot to make things special for me, but I had no idea at the time.  As I got older, my goals of being a “ballerina princess” drifted away but my love for the ballet stayed.  When I was thirteen, she took me to see “Giselle” at the Paris Opera House and it was insanely good.  Throughout the years, Dave has surprised me with ballet tickets and I literally can’t not cry during the opening scene of a good ballet.  (I’m weird like that.) When we started thinking of girl names, “Gisele” came up, and it reminds me not only of the ballets, but of a whole host of special memories between me and my mom.
{Already loving her daddy}
 
So I know that Gisele will have her very own little obsessions and dreams- which may not include the ballet though I’m definitely going to give it a shot!- but as parents, I want us to be like my mom in that we nurture and bond over whatever those passions might be.  
 
 
In case you’re wondering why we chose the single “L” spelling of “Gisele,” it’s the German spelling and our last name is German so we liked them better together…  The double “L” is the French spelling.   Gisele’s middle name is Ivory, named after her great-great grandfather.  (My grandmother’s dad)
 
     
{Hanging on the sofa yesterday in her burrito…  she’s a tiny peanut}
We’ve been loving this family time.  I’m attempting to take a nice long maternity leave and to focus on the kids as much as possible over the summer.  We have a crazy Fall and Summer coming up- including multiple trips to China for an exciting new project!!- but I’m really trying to live in the moment and savor each little bit of everything.  For right now, my days include snuggling up with my baby and the boys whenever they stop moving long enough for me to catch them. (Morning and night generally.)
  
When people asked us why we were having another baby after we’d already had three, all I could say was that our family just didn’t feel complete… like there was someone missing.
And now that she’s here, it feels so right.
 ***Photographer Clifton Man and his baby-whisperer/ stylist wife, Michaela, came over on Tuesday to take newborn pics of Gisele…  We got a couple of sneak peeks last night that I had to share with you.  (The watermarked images above.)  If you or anyone you know needs newborn photos in the DC area, I cannot recommend Cliff & Micky highly enough.  They were INCREDIBLE- so gentle and patient and sweet.  I’ll be sure to post more in a couple of weeks when I get the photos back.  Check out their website here.)
I’ll be back soon with updates on all that’s been going on around here design-wise- the family room/ nursery, upcoming showhouses, client projects, the book, China and more…  For now, I’m out snuggling & cuddling.