Sunday, May 31, 2015

Go Team MIT!

+JMJ+

Believe it or not, my sister, Christina, has been eagerly counting down to this very week for many, many months...but not for the same reason we have been. It just so happens that our baby's due date is one day before the DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals. This is an international robotics competition that my brother-in-law has been involved with for literally years now as he has worked tirelessly towards earning his doctorate at MIT.

Curious to see what Team MIT's robot for this final challenge looks like? Check out this promotional video in which my brother-in-law can be seen no less than 10 times in about 3 minutes (can you tell that I'm more than just a little bit excited for and proud of him?):


The last qualifying round of the competition took place a year and a half ago in Florida (conveniently while we lived there), which means the finalists have been working nonstop ever since to enhance and ideally perfect their robots. If you're anywhere near LA, you should definitely check out the competition this June 5-6 which is FREE and open to the public (and you should make sure to cheer for Team MIT)!

Additionally, if you would be so kind to offer up prayers for my sister this week I would greatly appreciate it. My brother-in-law flew to California today and will be working with his lab-mates all week long on final preparations for the competition - which means my sister is home alone with their 3 children (ages 4 and under) for the next four days until she flies coast to coast with all 3 of them...BY HERSELF(!).

Unfortunately I won't be too much help to her because I'm kinda sorta waiting to have a baby any day now. However, if there's anything that weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks (years?) of her husband's time-consuming lab work has prepared her for, it's this. At the very least, I'm convinced she'll get some quality time off of purgatory. ;)

Thank you in advance for any and all prayers for Team MIT, for many graces for my sister, and for this little boy I'm eagerly waiting to meet face to face. It should be an exciting week for our family!

"The DRC is a competition of robot systems and software teams vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. It was designed to be extremely difficult. Participating teams, representing some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world, are collaborating and innovating on a very short timeline to develop the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that will enable their robots to complete a series of challenge tasks selected by DARPA for their relevance to disaster response."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nesting: Then & Now

+JMJ+

When I was pregnant with Gabriel "nesting" consisted mostly of acquiring two things: 1) knowledge and 2) baby-related items. Back then I spent countless hours learning what I could about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery. I also spent a ridiculous amount of time reading birth stories, "hospital bag" packing lists, and doing my best to figure out which things we should actually put on our baby registry versus what products I felt were superfluous for us. Michael and I took a breastfeeding class, a labor and delivery class, and in general I had lots of time to dream, think, read, and pray about all that lay ahead of us.

This time around my nesting instincts have been in full swing - but how these instincts have manifested themselves has altered tremendously.

For obvious reasons, I have largely been focused more on Gabriel and his needs throughout this time of preparation. After all, the baby already has a place to sleep, clothing, and plenty of other baby-related items we have acquired throughout the past couple of years. What we didn't have this time around were (yet again) items Gabriel would soon be needing as he continues to grow. Because of this, the majority of what we have recently acquired have been things like a toddler bed, toddler clothes to get Gabriel through summer and into fall, age-appropriate toys that will better captivate his attention when I'm busy nursing the baby, and a chair for the kids' room (because previously there wasn't one, but this far along in pregnancy I refuse to sit on the floor to read him stories any longer).

Additionally, we moved 1300 miles from Michigan to South Florida right before Gabriel was born (seriously - there was exactly one week between the day we got our apartment keys and when I went into labor). This meant I didn't need to do much cleaning because we hadn't even lived in our place long enough to make it dirty! Sure, we spent time making sure all our boxes were unpacked and we were settled in, but because we knew it would most likely only be a 6-month project we didn't bother hanging anything on the walls and displayed very few decorations elsewhere.

This time around, however, you'd better believe I have been a cleaning and decorating machine. This pregnancy has motivated me to finally take care of some things I've wanted to do for several months - things like:

  • making a crafty family album of birth announcements and our annual Christmas cards (so I no longer have to worry about losing our only remaining copies from some years!), 
  • ordering prints from our wedding and displaying some of them throughout our home (I mean, it only took me 2.5 years to get around to this...but to be fair we've had a lot going on in that amount of time), 
  • and ordering prints of Gabriel's 1st birthday photos and hanging some pictures on his bedroom wall. 
We even purchased a bookshelf to house our movies so they're no longer crammed on the bottom shelf of our entertainment stand (which made it impossible to find any of them without taking all of them off the shelf).

I honestly think the only new things Michael and I have spent any direct money on for this second little boy have been:

  • our new stroller (which he and Gabriel can enjoy together - thanks, Britax!), 
  • new bassinet sheets (because the old ones shrank), 
  • some newborn diapers, 
  • a baby K'tan
  • and one pack of newborn-sized onesies (because we made the mistake of only buying 0-3 month clothing for Gabriel and he was swimming in them in his earliest days). 

Anyway, I've spent a ridiculous amount of time this pregnancy cleaning, cleaning, cleaning some more, shifting furniture around as baby gear has begun to make its reappearance, and decorating and redecorating until everything feels just right and ready within our home. But enough talk. Want to see some pictures? Here's a small visual sample of a handful of the changes I've obsessively completed since moving and getting settled into this apartment 5 months ago:



Oh hi, baby swing! Nice to see you again. Also note the new shelf (which creates a visual of our old bookshelf having expanded because they match and fit so nicely together), new decorations atop the shelves, and how uncluttered our entertainment stand is now (one of my husband's favorite nesting results to be sure).



Here you can kind of see that we rotated our dining room table to create a new spot for Gabriel's play table, added a new chair to our dining set, and if you look really closely you just might see that I replaced one of the photographs on the wall with a wedding photo.



Can you spot the major change? It may have taken 2.5+ years to print and frame, but something about displaying that giant (16 x 20!) wedding photo makes our home feel about a million times more like our home...if that makes sense. It's worth noting that this decorative update was done at the suggestion/reminder of my husband - which only melted my heart into roughly a million pieces. <3



More wedding photos have finally made their rightful debut! And everything about this updated dresser display feels SO much cleaner and prettier to me. Please don't tell me if you disagree because I simply adore it.

And I've saved the best for last:





TA-DA! Or as Gabriel would say, "...DA!" I'm convinced that just about everything having to do with Gabriel's bedroom is 100% better than before. The 5 months we've lived here have really allowed me to envision a new layout that will work once both of the boys are sleeping in it. Plus, those baby pictures, beautiful frames, and super cute chair do wonders to enhance the aesthetic appeal, am I right? ;)

All in all it has been so nice to focus more time on just being with my growing family, making our home more cozy and reflective of our lives, simply being pregnant, and dreaming of meeting this boy face to face...rather than feeling like I need to research product after product after product and then acquire the ones we want(ed). The first pregnancy is special in countless ways - but so is this one and I'm thankful for the blessing of being able to be more laid-back because we've already been down this road before.

Little man number 2 (oh, how I cannot wait to begin calling you by name in public! But for now your name is a special surprise to everyone but your daddy and me), if you ever read this please know that buying fewer baby things for you than we did for your brother has no bearing on our immense love for you. Thank you for being who you are; we cannot wait to meet you...SOON!

"A baby is born with a need to be loved - and never outgrows it."
-Frank A. Clark

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mini Tour of Some Chicago Catholic Churches

Do y'all know Giedre? If you live anywhere near Chicago and have any sort of upcoming life event that needs documenting, you should. She takes stunning photographs (case in point seen below) and I'm so happy to have her as a guest here at Bluebird Songs today. When she agreed to share about a few of her favorite Catholic Churches in Chicago I could not have been more ecstatic - because I spent a lot of time during my volunteer year in Chicago attending Mass at and soaking in the beauty of these exact same churches. Without further ado, here is Giedre to take you all on a little tour!

_MG_5243 copy

I'm the kind of person who loves walking into churches - especially Catholic churches. I love the hushed sacredness of the space, the vibrant patterns of the stained glass windows, the lingering scent of incense, and how the flickering light of the candle next to the tabernacle acknowledge Christ's presence in the Eucharist. I grew up in a pretty small town with only a few Catholic parishes in the region, so now that I live in a city as big as Chicago, it still blows my mind how many churches, shrines, and cathedrals are scattered all over the place: sometimes within just a block of each other. Every single one is beautiful - many of them tremendously so - but a few in particular are my favorites.

St Mary of the Angels

This was one of the first churches I ever visited in Chicago, so it still gives me happy feelings of come-home-ness, despite it not being our parish.

  Chicago Catholic Church

Located in Bucktown, this is one of the historic and monumental Polish parishes that can be seen from the Kennedy Expressway (I love to point it out to guests when driving by!). Opus Dei now runs this parish with smoooth efficiency and welcome. I love all the light colors of the walls in this church, the towering domes, and especially all the Marian imagery. There's at least half a dozen statues and pictures of Mary scattered throughout the church, not even counting the painting of Mary surrounded by angels within the main dome of the sanctuary.

  Chicago Catholic ChurchSt Mary of the Angels 2Chicago Catholic ChurchChicago Catholic Church

Holy Name Cathedral

This Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago and located in downtown, at State Street and Superior. My Sister-in-law and her husband live close to this church, so I always associate going to mass here with being in downtown for a fun event. My husband and I will pop over to the Cathedral for Mass if we're heading to the beach on a hot summer day, or having brunch with family on a holiday weekend.

  Catholic Church

Outside, the church is planted directly near a main road, making it a little difficult to appreciate the beautiful exterior architecture - especially on the rainy and gloomy day I came by to take photographs for this post. Inside, however, you're immediately swept away by all the details. The ceilings are incredibly intense, but I love the complexity of all the paneling and the huge organ dominating the back of the church.

Chicago Catholic ChurchesCatholic ChurchCatholic Church


Notre Dame de Chicago

And finally, no church tour is complete without mentioning our own little parish.

  Notre Dame de Chicago

Grand and awe-inspiring churches are wonderful, but I do love the intimacy of attending mass at a smaller parish, where everyone is standing close together and worshiping very near to the altar. Being able to walk to Mass on Sunday mornings while holding hands and seeing our Little Italy neighborhood come to life also makes my parish all the more special to me. Best of all, I find that the music ministry in small churches wins hands down: while I can certainly appreciate a stunning, solo rendition of Ave Maria, I'll always much rather hear an entire church full of parishioners enthusiastically singing their hearts out. The individual singers might sometimes be a bit off tune, but each participates with such spirited joy!

  Catholic ChurchCatholic Church

Giedre is a family portrait photographer & blogger based out of Chicago, Illinois. She carries a canon, shoots obsessively, and always writes about it afterwards. Visit her at www.walkingdotphotography.com

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Zoo, A State Park, & A Return to the Cutest Farm Market: Mother's Day Weekend 2015

+JMJ+

Considering I was 36+ weeks pregnant last weekend, Michael and I decided to fill our time with what could very well be some of our last "big" outings before our next little one makes his arrival. Gabriel was born at 39 weeks and 2 days, so I'm not exactly anticipating an "early" arrival...but I highly doubt I'll have much of the energy or desire to be out on my feet much in the coming weeks.

Friday night our plan was stay home and watch a movie or show, but Michael also wanted to make a quick trip to the local Asian market. Because we finished dinner early enough (aka it wasn't too close to Gabriel's bedtime), he actually offered to take Gabriel with him and let me stay home. The concept is so simple, yet that kind gesture was like a dream for my 36-weeks-pregnant self because moments of true quiet and rest are hard to come by when you're with a toddler 24/7. On top of that, he surprised me by bringing home some taro ice cream bars he discovered - which I'm convinced were a gift from heaven made just for me and my taro obsession.

The next morning we were excited to introduce Gabriel to his very first zoo! Our little boy loves animals, but his age and the seasons had never previously aligned to make it worth taking him. Unfortunately the lions (which are some of his favorite animals to impersonate) were being boring, but Gabriel still had fun pointing and telling us they were "a-seep!"

Gabriel probably would have been content to watch some of the monkeys all day long, but I think he was actually most fascinated by and excited to see the giraffes.


We were only at the zoo for a few hours, but the heat and the walking (I couldn't believe there were so many hills!) seemed to wipe both Gabriel and myself out for the rest of the day. He took a good, long nap and Michael and I relaxed by watching some shows together. I even caved and allowed us get carry-out for dinner so I could just "be pregnant" and tiredly sit on the couch a bit longer.

Then came Mother's Day! 

Considering "quality time" is one of my husband's top love languages (and receiving/giving gifts is decidedly not), we usually acknowledge smaller holidays throughout the year by opting to do something fun as a family instead of exchanging gifts. However, I did tell my husband last week that what I would really like is for my car to be thoroughly cleaned inside and out (can you tell that "acts of service" is one of my top love languages??)

It might sound like a silly gift request, but nothing would make this "nesting" mother happier than to have something big I've been meaning to do before the baby arrives completely crossed off my list without me lifting a finger. I don't mind household cleaning much and often find it to be therapeutic, but thinking of hunching over to put air in my tires, clean a very dusty dash, or vacuum out the remains of car-seat toddler snacks sounds like a miserable way to send myself into early labor. No thanks. 

Michael plans to take care of my car this weekend, but he also let me pick our fun family activity for Sunday - so after Mass I chose to enjoy a walk at a nearby state park and eat lunch at the quaint farm market we fell in love with the weekend before.

With my two little boys this Mother's Day (36.5 weeks)!
The perfect backdrop for a family photo
I just love them so
So grateful for this little boy who first made me a mother

I'd be lying if I said our entire weekend was all smiles all the time because we had a rather ridiculous encounter with the type of rude, aggressive driver this state has been known to produce and my pregnancy hormones led to more than one bout of frustration and/or tears...but when I look back on everything none of that really matters. What I remember most about this past weekend is feeling overwhelmingly blessed.

As if I weren't feeling appreciative enough of my loved ones already, I happened to check the mailbox Sunday evening and I'm so thankful I did - because waiting for me was the sweetest Mother's Day card from one of my friends! Any card with a quote from Pope St. John Paul II is pretty much guaranteed to speak to my heart, but I was even more touched by my friend's genuine thoughtfulness.

The front of my friend's hand-made card sitting in front of the carnations
my husband picked out for me when our church sold them after Mass

This weekend our current plans involve a whole lot of me staying home and relaxing...though when my husband suggested repeating our Mother's Day schedule this Sunday (Mass, a walk at the same state park, and lunch at the same farm market) I couldn't resist saying yes.

Our weekend has all the makings of what I hope will be a healthy balance between taking it easy/resting and doing what I can to get out of the house and make some fun memories with my husband and son before this baby arrives and we start making memories as a family of four(!). May your weekends also be filled with a healthy dose of leisure and fun with your loved ones. :)

"Ah, Mrs. Your husband has a very important job. Like the pope. But don't believe it. Your job is more important. The future of the world is with the mothers. It is the mothers who will give us peace and make us free. Just like Mary, the mother of Jesus, we need you the most."
-Pope St. John Paul II (to the wife of the Mayor of Boston)

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Happy Day

+JMJ+

Do you ever have one of those days that is just really really good?

Last Friday my husband and I were blessed to have my sister babysit Gabriel so we could go on a nice dinner date; unfortunately, Michael was battling a cold and felt miserable most of the evening which means we didn't exactly have the most pleasant date night experience. I felt pretty bummed that what seemed like one of our final opportunities to go on a date before our second baby is born wasn't the fruitful evening I had envisioned it to be - but you would think by now I would know better that we are not in control of such things. Thankfully, God's plans are usually better.

Date night was a bit of a bust, but never in a million years could I have imagined how beautiful the very next day would be.

Last Saturday morning we had plans to check out an event that claimed to be one of the biggest and best consignment sales in the region for new and gently-used baby and children's items. We didn't have anywhere else to be all day, so we figured it couldn't hurt to scope it out. In the end, we didn't find anything we needed for the baby, but we scored some great toys for Gabriel - a couple of which we've hidden away to give to him when his baby brother arrives.

Waiting in line to purchase G some toys!

It was a laid-back morning with gorgeous weather, so upon leaving the consignment sale we decided to explore a little bit. We're still new to the Boston area and the sale had taken us on a journey to a new place so we were curious to see what else was nearby.

Any words I might string together to describe the glorious day that followed will certainly fail to paint the full picture - which is why all I can really say is that it was just a beautiful, blessed, happy day for us.

We didn't do anything monumental; we went for a drive that took us to a small town, enjoyed a delicious lunch at a local market, and generally had fun as we took self-guided driving tours of some neighborhoods and state parks of interest on our route home. We took our time, didn't worry about getting home for Gabriel's nap, and just let him fall asleep in the car as I soaked in the sunshine and sights with my husband.

Breathtaking Catholic Church we found on our drive

My favorite part of the day took place at the mom and pop's market we visited for lunch. As soon as we walked inside I just knew we were in for a treat because we found ourselves in what was a farm, market, cafe, and ice cream shop all in one - wrapped up in the quaintest package of a renovated and adorably decorated barn. This Indiana girl was in heaven! Everything about that place just made my Midwestern husband and myself feel so very happy and at home.

About to order the most delicious lunches for ourselves

The food was fresh and delicious and even Gabriel, who still usually won't eat the majority of what we try to give him, eagerly devoured most of his PB & J and drank chocolate milk while chair-dancing his entire way throughout the meal (he does the cutest side-to-side happy dance when he's particularly pleased with a food).

At one point my husband looked at me during lunch and said, "I don't know what it is, but I just feel really happy right now."  I quickly nodded in agreement while I sat there somewhat stunned at what I had just heard - because the sentiment he shared was typically one that I would be more willing to speak out loud. If my husband was talking that way then I knew that it wasn't just me; he really felt everything I was feeling and somehow our entire little family just seemed to be basking in the goodness of God's simple blessings and was gifted an awareness of those blessings all at the same time.

We followed up our lunches with some ice cream enjoyed outside in the sunshine and the rest is history. The day just continued to be so good - even when Gabriel poured chocolate milk all down his front (on the one day I didn't bring a bib) or I struggled to change the nastiest diaper in the backseat of our car. None of the little things that easily could have ruined our day ever managed to bring us down, which I attribute entirely to graces the Lord must have given us. To top it off, that evening we ate one of Michael's favorite Korean meals at home thanks to the ingredients we had snagged at the closest H-Mart when we were on our date the night before.
I don't always feel the Lord's presence so strongly in our daily lives, but every once in awhile He allows Michael and me (and even little Gabriel!) to feel it and bask in it together all day long - and those are just the happiest days of all.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...."
Galatians 5:22

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Toddler Bed Transition...Or Not

+JMJ+

I knew several months ago that I wanted to transition Gabriel from the crib to a bed sometime in late spring as we prepare for his baby brother's arrival. Age-wise it seemed entirely doable because he'll be about 22 months when his brother arrives, which meant we wanted to transition him at about 20 months. Bringing a new baby home is a big enough transition in and of itself, so I wanted to get him stabilized and feeling comfortable well before we threw the big brother curve-ball at him.

Plus, I was envisioning having to teach him to stay in the bed and not run around playing at night in addition to waking up multiple times to nurse a newborn...and that just seemed miserable to me. Had I not brought this topic up, I don't think it would have been on my husband's radar at all...so it took awhile (a few months at least) to discuss it, get him on board with the timing, find a bed, and get the transition process started.

How and when to transition a toddler from a crib to a bed is a BIG deal in the parenting world - because it has the potential to be a very big deal to our little ones and undoubtedly impacts the entire family in some way. I'm not here to tell anybody how or when I think they should make this leap; instead, I would simply like to jot down what has worked (and not worked) for us thus far.

Transition Attempt #1
Let me go ahead and spare you lots of details and say that our very first attempt was unsuccessful. Why? Well, let's just say that trying to make the switch on the very same day you've gone insane with nesting and completely rearranged your child's bedroom is most likely not the best day to begin. Oops.

Additionally, we thought we would ease into it by simply laying the mattress on the floor (no bed frame) first because we've known others that have been successful with this approach and it would ensure that if he rolled around and slid off he wouldn't fall and hurt himself. However, in hindsight I think the mattress alone was simply too "wide open" and uncomfortable for Gabriel after many, many months of being surrounded by bars.

Transition Attempt #2
Two weeks after our failed first attempt we had Gabriel's bed-frame built and felt that it was a good weekend to try again. I wasn't sure if we should begin with bedtime or a nap, but I happened to wash Gabriel's favorite blanket and pull it out of the dryer right before his nap, so he eagerly helped me carry it back to his room and happily plopped it on his bed instead of in his crib. I decided it was a sign to start then and there.

Day 1:
This time I had the wisdom to realize (especially since it was day time) that I would have to stay by Gabriel's side if I wanted him to calm down and sleep. I explained everything to him, laid him down on the bed, then went to sit down in the chair across the room and wait. And wait.

Of course he wanted to run around, but I made it clear to him that he needed to stay on the bed. I allowed him to retrieve books or toys as long as he immediately brought them into his bed to look at. He tried to make a break for it and run out of the room once, but I startled him with a firm "no" and he plopped down mid-run right where my command had caught him and I laid him back down again with instructions not to leave the bed.

What followed was basically an hour of him rolling around, looking at books, standing up then sitting down, and all sorts of crazy toddler gymnastics before he tired out, laid down, and fell asleep. At that point I snuck out and he slept a good 2 hours and then some.

First nap in his toddler bed!

Night 1:
I took the same approach at bedtime by telling Gabriel I would stay near him as he fell asleep; I sat down in the chair in the dark and simply waited. Much to my surprise, he did not attempt to stand up or leave the bed a single time. It took nearly an hour for him to fall asleep, but he laid there quietly the entire time. Success!

Thankfully my husband and I made the smart decision to install our baby gate in the hallway right outside his room, so when he woke up at 6:30am and immediately ran and shook the gate I knew he was safe until I could reach him.

Day 2:
This was the day we saw the circus, so Gabriel's nap was pushed back later than normal and he fell asleep in the car on our way home. He was so tired we had no problems bringing him inside, laying him down, and letting him finish his nap in the bed.

Night 2:
The exact same thing happened as the first night, which means it took an hour but Gabriel remained calm and fell asleep without issues. More success!

However, Gabriel awoke at 4:30am and would not go back to sleep, even with me staying by his side for an hour. At the point I gave up and we got up for the day.

Day 3:
Because he woke up at 4:30am he was exhausted by the time we went to church. During the less-than-5-minute drive he fell asleep. He woke up and was so cranky we thought we were in for the worst mass ever...but by the grace of God he was amazingly well-behaved the entire hour. He then fell asleep on the drive home again...at which point he was so tired he stayed asleep and proceeded to take an early nap in his bed after we brought him inside.

Night 3:
This time we tried to lay him down and let him fall asleep without me staying by his side...which didn't work. After at least 4 or 5 times of him running and opening his bedroom door I gave in and stayed with him. He then fell asleep after almost an hour.

It was on this night that, despite all our previous successes, we did the one thing I said we wouldn't do - which was "backtrack" and allow him to sleep in his crib. That night fed me a nice slice of humble pie as I defeatedly accepted the fact that Gabriel simply isn't comfortable enough yet to make the permanent transition to the toddler bed.

What made us throw in the towel? Well, he woke up at about 11:45pm...and would not go back to sleep in the bed. He was so worked up that he was bawling his eyes out and clinging to me as I tried to lay him down a few times. I sat by his side, sang to him, and did my best to comfort him so that after a few minutes he stopped crying. I tried to tell him I would stay in his room, but when I said anything about sitting in the chair (just a few feet away) he would lunge for a hug and begin bawling again.

This happened a couple times, at which point he began crying for Michael. I thought perhaps if Michael laid him down he would be okay, but even that didn't calm him down. He was upset with the thought of me sitting in the chair merely a few feet away from him, he barely managed to calm down with me literally right by his side, and he continued crying even after Michael joined me in staying by his side...which was when I knew: he was not going back to sleep in that bed that night without a major struggle that would leave everyone exhausted and him entirely miserable. Considering I was 34 weeks pregnant, my husband had work the next day, and Gabriel was clearly very upset, we decided it was not at all worth the struggle.

Gabriel calmed down immediately at the mere mention of his crib, so when we remade it and put him down he went right to sleep with no more tears. The following day we were amazed to see our normally happy boy in one of the most cooperative, cheerful moods ever...which solidified our belief that we did the right thing by not pushing him the night before.

---

So here we are. My due date is one month (!) from today, which means the toddler bed transition has been put on hold indefinitely. Michael and I have agreed that there simply isn't enough time at this point to try again and get him adjusted before our second baby is born, so we're not going to bother trying.

Realistically, the baby will sleep in the bassinet for a few months which buys us some more time...but I honestly don't know if Gabriel will even be ready to try the bed again by the time his brother needs a crib.

I have no idea what will happen, but we've already discussed the possibility that we may just need to invest in a second mini crib. It's not the solution I ever imagined us coming to, but depending on how things go with Gabriel's interest in the bed (or lack thereof) it may be the route we choose to follow.

Like many aspects of parenting, this is just one more example of how unique every single child is. It's impossible to say with confidence that "we WILL do x, y, or z" at any given point in time, because you never know what will work best for your child or your family until you get the chance to see for yourself how they react to things. Color me humbled once again.

"At its best, life is completely unpredictable."
-Christopher Walken