The Story of Us: Finally… All 4 of Us at The Brand Fam

Family Picture of all 4 of Us

What a ride this year has been! We are so lucky to have two very healthy, crazy and wonderful little Brand babies. Welcoming Zai to the family has been one of the most spectacular experiences of our lifetime knowing that we are two and done, and he will be our last. Having a baby in the house is so special; sleep deprivation aside, the smell of a baby and the tenderness that we all feel towards each other comes through in Zai. His adorable squeals of frustration and his animal noises to bring in my milk are by far the single best experiences with him and so very different from Iza’s babyhood.

We asked Luis Pedro Gramajo to come back one morning while my mom was still here so we could capture this very raw moment in our home. Just 10 days in this kid really kept up with the program, while his sister flipped her wig at every corner in one colossal meltdown after another. How Luis was able to capture the total opposite of what was actually going on was pretty amazing!

In someways this is a very narcissistic display… showcasing ourselves and our offspring online and in social media. There is something strange about this moment; for the first time in our lives we really want to celebrate the experience of building our own family and somehow showing it to the world makes it real. What’s that all about?! Either way, it has been fun to see, document and express this moment. I am glad that we have been able to share it with our readers and our close friends and family.

RaCo Life Gray Line

What does it mean to be a nuclear family?

As soon as I had Zai my dad said, “Well kiddo, now you have the perfect nuclear family.” And so we do. By my definition of living the Ra’Co Life, in someways we all balance each other out – Iza and I crazy gals, and Kurt and Zai mellow dudes.

“Nuclear Family” by historical definition is meant to be a married man and woman and their children living under a common dwelling. Overtime this has shifted and in  the last 30 or so years it has been used to describe a family with 2 parents and a boy and a girl. Sometimes people make reference to a “house, parents, 2 kids and dog” as the American dream family… which can feed into the same context as the nuclear family.

RaCo Life The Perfect Nuclear Family

RaCo Life Gray Line

Gallery of photos

Many more pictures where these came from, but the ones below are a few of our favorites. For the complete download, click here. If you are interested in seeing the book we made for our Abuela and Bubby at Walgreens, look here.

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The Perfect Moment While Getting the Kid to Sleep

Getting our kid to sleep is one of the most ridiculous rituals.

Now that Kurt has gone back to the Lake to finish packing I am on nighttime duty with Iza, which is normally Kurt’s gig and I am finding that he has created a pattern of insanity.

She requires the normal stuff – bath, brushing teeth, pj’s, 2 books and then her sleep sack just to get ready which is a chore in itself. Then due to her father’s coddling ways, you must lay with her until she is completely sound asleep. When I say sound asleep we are talking about:

  1. 10 minutes of babbling in the dark
  2. Another 10 minutes of flopping around to get out unused energy
  3. 30-45 minutes of spooning in the nook of my arm. (If you move her too early she will wake up after a ‘cat nap’ of sorts and likely not go back to sleep for a little bit, or we have to leave her to cry it out for another 15 minutes which is torturous for everyone.)

All in it is typically about an hour and 15 minutes every night to get this kid to bed.

But in the last few days I have mastered the process by finding this perfect moment: Just when the breathing starts to slow and I can feel her body go limp in my arms, her death grip loosening on my hands, I can transport her to her crib and she will only cry/whimper for a few minutes. It is right around the 10-minute mark (into the 30-45 minute spoon stage), so that buys me at least another extra 20 minutes a night.

A few things have come up in my discovery of this:

  • I am super in tune with my daughter and her breathing now, more so than I wish to be
  • She is the most stubborn, willful child and there is an element of manipulation that I, as a mother have to give into in order to just survive the experience
  • Sleep appears to not be high on her priority list, but somehow it is high on mine
  • My husband is an enabler

🙂 I suppose we all have our own ways.