Our new park

On October 1st, our church will celebrate our last worship service in our current location.  On October 8th, we will gather at a new facility, our new location.  It is an exciting move for our community, a long-awaited one.  It is the type of thing that has God's great fingerprints all over it, and it has been such a huge boost of faith for our little community.  We are excited to see what opportunities this new location brings.

One of our favorite parks is right in front of the the church.  It has the coolest obstacle course / climbing / balancing area, and the kids can spend hours on it.  We discovered it at the end of last year, but the lack of shade meant that we stayed away all summer.  Finally with the cooler weather, we've been spending 2-3 afternoons a week here.  (It is fun for ALL ages!)

Eva time

Yea for returning to the school routine!  I am not one to prefer a routine, honestly, but with kids, it is totally essential for MY survival.  And it just so happens, both of my kids, at least at this age, thrive on a somewhat predictable daily routine.  This year, due mainly to two big developments -- Eva growing up and not needing a nap at noon and our underground line extending to be a quicker connection to Nathanael's school -- I am able to spend over an hour alone with Eva in the morning and over an hour alone with Nathanael in the afternoon.  It is a wonderful thing.  Both kids seem to really be thriving on the individualized attention, and it's really a lot of fun.

Eva and I have been working on emotion words, and making faces goes along well with that.  She often practices her expressions in the elevator.
On Saturday, she and I had a little time alone as well (Dad and Nathanael went to a kids' exhibit at the Papyrus museum!).  While swinging in the park, she sweetly exclaimed, "Schau, Mommy.  I flieg to the Himmel!"  I love her mixed world of German and English.  It brings me such joy.
Once in a while, Eva still falls asleep during her alone time in the afternoon.  This particular time, she had been upset about something (oh, the drama), and she fell asleep pouting in the corner of her bed, completely covered up by pillows!  I came in to check on her when it was so quiet, and I couldn't find her!
Another exciting development for Eva, now that she's in the "big kids" group at Kindergarten, is that she's really been taking a greater interest in learning her letters and numbers.  She concentrates hard and can actually write her name quite well:  E  A V  (we're working on the order)
What a delight it is to watch this little princess develop and learn!


U1 Verlängert!

We attended the opening day celebration at Oberlaa for the U1 extension.  Nathanael was one excited seven-year-old.  There were so many people.  Somehow, we still saw three different people we knew in the crowds!


When Dad is away

Dad was away in Ireland for a conference.  It happened to be the one week that our Kindergarten is closed during the summer, so we came up with lots to do to stay entertained (and sane).

First we had a play date with friends.  They really wanted to show Nathanael a video clip about the Titanic!
Proof that we had a blast:  Eva fell asleep just before dinner!
These friends live an hour away from us, so I rewarded the kids for the amazing behavior with a  2 Euro gift at Flying Tiger.  Eva was a bit excited about what she chose! ;)
The next day, we attended an exhibit at the Zoom Children's Museum in which they learned about how things float and built their own boats!  It was absolutely amazing, and I highly recommend it.  Eva needed a lot of help from me, but the idea and much of the implementation was her own.  Nathanael was in his element.
Our final day, we took advantage of an Open House for kids on the CAT (City Airport Train) and took the train to the airport.  The airport had their visitor's deck opened for registered kids, so we learned all about airport jobs and the work that happens there.
They were excited about the Eva Air plane.

We missed Dad, but as you can see, we had a blast as well!  Now bring on the school year!


Dear Evangeline (4 Years)

Dearest Eva,

Happy fourth birthday to our delightful little girl!  We could never have imagined what joy God would give our family through a little girl.  This year has been a wonderful and challenging adventure, walking with you through your fourth year of life.  We are so grateful for you, Eva-lein.

You have grown up so much this year, seemingly moving into a new phase of being a little girl.  You decided one day that you were done wearing diapers (after Mom unsuccessfully tried to help you a few weeks earlier) and simply told us and did it.  Of course, you had some accidents, but once you set your mind to it, it was pretty much a done deal.  You don't like being rushed into anything, and one of your favorite phrases is:  Let ME do it! (emphasis on me)  Quite often you do end up sweetly asking for help, but you enjoy the feeling of independence and still wish you were seven like your brother. ;)

You have had a lot of difficult transitions this year, the most difficult being moving back to Austria and then adjusting to Nathanael going to school and you remaining in Kindergarten without him.  "Hanael" is your all-time best friend, and you missed him terribly in the mornings.  Lots of tears and pleading, every day.  You also began napping at Kindergarten when Nathanael began school, and your ability to speak German improved exponentially!  You love singing your Kindergarten songs and playing in German in your "quiet time."  You switch effortlessly between the languages now and don't seem at all affected by it.  This year, you joined Nathanael in the kids' program at church, an easy transition since your big brother was already there to look out for you!  You recently outgrew your nap, and you were so excited to finally be a "big kid."

You love babies.  You enjoy being "Mama" and taking care of littler kids.  You still love to cuddle, and you ask us multiple times a day to cuddle you and tickle your back.  You received a baby doll for your birthday and are completely attached to her (though your Winnie the Pooh remains your necessary sleep item and even vies for the position of your pretend baby at times).  You also love to play dress-up with dresses and costumes, to play doctor or nurse, or other role-play situations like grocery shopping or working at a restaurant.  You and your brother like to put on pretend plays, in which your role is usually to sit there and smile sweetly or do whatever brother says!  You received a tea set for Christmas, and it's one of your favorite toys.

You love the outdoors, playing in parks -- swinging, sliding, sand and water play, climbing, jumping, whatever challenges you can find.  You received a bike as an early birthday present last month, and you took to it immediately, riding all around the park within a few minutes and singing with delight at the top of your lungs!  (The breaks took a few days to learn!)  You ask almost daily to go out and ride bikes.

Although you enjoy being with other people, you are definitely most comfortable when you're with us -- Dad, Mom, Nathanael, and Eva.  You love your family and your place in it.  We recently spoke with you about what you are thinking about choosing to be with Jesus forever, and you honestly told us that right now, you want to just stay with Dad and Mom.  We are so grateful that you are confident in our love and pray that one day you will see how much bigger and greater and perfect the love of God in Jesus is -- for YOU!

We sometimes don't know what to do with your depth of feeling, but we love you deeply and delight in walking this journey of life with you.  We love seeing your high highs and the sheer delight that explodes from your entire being, sometimes even in just one simple word like "yes" or "thanks".  You are able to bring such joy to others.  On the other side, you are not afraid to share your lows, and we feel honored to walk through the valleys with you, even if we don't yet know how to do it well.  We love you dearly, sweet one.  We thank God for you.  We celebrate you, Evangeline Elif.  Happy Birthday!

your mommy and daddy

a week ago, being Mom's big helper while babysitting for a friend
a month ago, the day your received your baby doll and learned to ride a bike
getting to "hold" a real baby!


Eva's Early Birthday Celebration

Our dear sweet Eva will turn four this month.  With Nathanael's exciting 7th birthday party last month, we decided to take advantage of the Grandparents' visit, and have an early birthday celebration for Eva.  So one month early, we went all out for our little almost four-year-old.

Eva helped bake her cake.  (Just like brother)
The men worked on her gift the night before.
Eva was full of pure delight and excitement for the majority of the day.
We began with a pancake, eggs, and sausage breakfast.
We opened gifts throughout the day.
Singing Happy Birthday and enjoying cake were extra special with this little gem.
And our almost four-year-old learned to ride a bike!
(Baby needed a break mid-lesson.)
What a fun day!

Time for the Grandparents to Visit

May 20th brought Grandpa and Grandma to Vienna!
Waiting and waiting and waiting for them to arrive...
Greeting Grandma! (Grandpa was filling out the lost luggage paperwork.)
Enjoying the first few hours together
And a piano concert from Nathanael!