12.26.2010

We Miss You, King Family!

Here are a few pictures from this morning, King family. So sad to not be with you!
We love you! Merry Christmas!

12.24.2010

Merry Christmas

Nathanael shares his Christmas cheer with all of you!
Merry Christmas!

12.23.2010

Worn out

We sure saw lots of this in Boston:
And then he'd pop back up like this:
But he couldn't hide it long.
Even while eating

12.22.2010

Dear Nathanael (8 months)

My dearest Nathanael,

We absolutely love the special family of three we have become! Your daddy and I frequently look at each other and say, "I love our son." This month you returned to your New England roots! We have had quite a full month, traveling to and from Boston, missing your Daddy for ten long days, and a couple weeks of sickness thrown in there as well.

Amidst all of that, you continue to grow and change with fervor! We estimate your weight at a little over 20 pounds (60th percentile) and your length a little over 28 inches (70th percentile). When you've been healthy, you have been eating massive amounts of solid food, but with our travels and your illness, we've only expanded your repertoire into yogurt and a few bites of bread. You've started showing interest in feeding yourself this month. You try (without much success) to put Puffs and Cheerios in your mouth; you have learned how to drink from a sippy cup on your own (though your preference is for us to hold it for you), and you've even attempted to help feed yourself with the spoon a few times.

When it comes to physical development, we think your first word should be, "Walk!" It seems you could be happy all day if we simply walked you around the house non-stop. You are so close to crawling, but you haven't figured out how to move forward instead of backwards when you're up on your hands and knees. We are thankful that despite our travels and your illness, you continue to sleep well through the night and during your two naps, with only a few difficulties now and then. One night when you were sick, you even slept 13 and a half hours straight! You are learning to understand many words. You generously give your slobbery kisses when we say "kiss" -- even to Mr. Bear and the dog! You know who Mama, Dada, Grandpa, Grandma, dog, and cat are. We're working on sign language, but I'm not sure if you're into that yet. You are quite the chatter now, babbling multiple sounds all day long. It's adorable. You fill our home with much laughter and smiles.

Here are notable events from your past month that we want to remember: letting Abby (the dog) lick you; seeing (but not eating) your first Thanksgiving turkey; great flights to and from our beloved Boston; doing much better with "strangers"; play time in Boston with Felix, Eden, the Stump kids, Eli, Ameliah, and Angela's Asher; two weeks of fun staying with your Uncle Andrew & Auntie Angie; bubbles with Nick & Deb; admiring Boris the turtle; loving on Mama's former colleagues at Tufts; a couple Sundays back at Hope Fellowship; unwrapping your first Christmas gifts; helping to decorate the Christmas tree (rather watching Mama decorate); rocking in Grandpa's chair; and skyping with Dad.

Nathanael Alim, your life is a gift. We praise God for you. Happy eight months, son!

Lovingly,
your daddy and mommy

Nathanael Alim - 8 month old
And a few outtakes:

Highchairs can be sentimental

How many times did I see Miss Eden in this highchair? Too many to count... I found it quite sentimental to feed Nathanael in Miss Eden's highchair while in Boston. God truly answered years of prayers with these little ones! And in a few short months, Miss Leah will be taking the seat of honor! Thanks, Thomasons, for loaning Nathanael your girls' chair (and toys and crib) for a couple weeks!

12.21.2010

12.20.2010

Boston Moments

And in the moments where Nathanael and I were not busy meeting people, here's what we did.

Playing with Eden's toys
Drinking from a sippy cup
Silliness on the couch
Exploring more furniture
And we can't forget about eating our clothes

12.19.2010

Boston Friends

These pictures are really random. It turns out I was horrible about remembering to take pictures of Nathanael with all of our Boston friends. I'm glad I have a few, but I wish I was able to capture all of the special moments we had there!

Admiring Deborah
I love his expression of awe as he's looking at the older boy!
Playing with Eli
Jessie & me with our babes
The famous Auntie Angie

12.18.2010

Charming all passengers

Nathanael really was an amazing air traveler. On the way to Boston, he was a little noisy before he finally fell asleep for his afternoon nap, but one of the passengers around us (an elderly gentleman actually) stopped us after we landed and told us that Nathanael was a wonderful baby on the flight. Wow, that was a relief to hear!

Here is our little charmer waiting to board the plane in Kansas City.

Traveling back without Greg was a little more difficult. I had been praying three specific requests: (1) that Nathanael would not be difficult when trying to go through security alone, (2) that we would have an empty seat next to us on the flight, and (3) that Nathanael would sleep well for most of the flight. God graciously answered all three with a huge YES. What a blessing!

12.17.2010

Christmas with the Bryans

Uncle Andrew and Auntie Angie spread a little Christmas present cheer while we were in Boston. This boy is just old enough to enjoy unwrapping gifts! (Can you tell it was almost time for him to go to bed? ha ha)

(sorry this one is out of focus)

12.16.2010

12.14.2010

Babble, babble, babble

Here's what you'll enjoy about this 30 second video clip: Nathanael babbling (he just started this a few days ago), Nathanael smiling, Nathanael rocking back and forth on his hands and knees, and as an extra treat, mama babbling. Enjoy!

12.13.2010

Back in Kansas

A few days ago Nathanael and I returned from a couple weeks in Boston. (Greg remains for another week!) I took some great photos, but I forgot my camera cord to share them with you while we were there! Ugh! So I will simply have to share some pictures over the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, Nathanael came back with a cold that has really wiped him out (and his mama!) for the last few days. He still manages to be as adorable as ever though. Here are two of my favorite photos from our first day back in Kansas. He was rocking back and forth so much that I cut off his head in the first photo!

11.22.2010

Dear Nathanael (7 months)

My dearest Nathanael,

If only you understood how significant the last month or your life has been! One day you will ask why we live in Austria and not in the United States with the rest of our family. And we will tell you our family story, especially how God led us to solidify the decision this past month. It is amazing to think that you will be fluent in two languages - German and English - and that you will likely be correcting Daddy and Mommy's German pronunciation for years. We trust that this decision is God's good for you, and we are excited to see how He matures you in Christ as you grow up in Austria.

Many parents told us that this age was one of their favorites. We whole-heartedly agree so far. You are an absolute delight! Every day brings something new - a new physical development or vocalization or food. You are enthralled with life, and your joy is completely contagious!

You are a healthy, growing boy, weighing around 19 pounds (58th percentile) and 27.75 inches in length (73rd percentile), according to our measurements. Every time we pick you up, we exclaim about how big you are! No one prepared us for how big you would be in seven short months; what a transformation! You love your solid foods and have become an incredible eater; it seems your new favorites are mango, squash, and banana. It is so much fun to feed you little bites when we're eating the soft fruits!

The last few weeks have brought about great change in your ability to entertain yourself. I think your physically developments have helped to keep you distracted. You roll all over, scoot backwards a little, push up on your hands and knees, are trying to sit on your own, and stand holding on to objects. And you simply cannot get enough standing and walking (you prefer to walk backwards) holding our hands. You are learning to wave (with your entire arm), and you seem to discover a new sound or facial contortion every day! You continue to sleep well at night (11-13 hours!) and even did quite well sleeping in the car one night and in many new places when we traveled to western Kansas and Colorado for ten days. You sleep in the oddest positions sometimes, but you seem to be fine with whatever happens - back, stomach, side, squished in a corner, etc. Oh, and the smiles and giggles -- you pour them out generously to our delight! I still love your big, tight hugs and slobbery kisses. You seem to be offering them to others a little more now too, which warms many hearts.

This was a big month for you as far as new experiences -- your first snowfall, a new state - Colorado - and seeing the Rockies, interacting more with other babies and kids, actually allowing a few people other than family to hold you, traveling through the night, a hike in the foothills, a few days playing with your Granny Nanny, meeting some of Daddy and Mommy's dear friends in Colorado, seeing fish in a fishtank, riding in an umbrella stroller, seeing the international space station cross the sky, and the loss of your first pet - our cat Ayse (well, I don't think you comprehend the last two, but we want you to know you experienced them).

Nathanael Alim, you are a gift from God. We are excited to see you understand and believe this over the years! Happy seven months, son!

Lovingly,
your daddy and mommy

Nathanael Alim - 7 month old
And a few outtakes:

11.17.2010

Something new every day

Today's new adventures:
sucking in his lips (for minutes at a time)
and holding himself up to stand
Oh, and we can't forget giving kisses to Mr. Bear

Watch out, world!

We have a scooter! It looks like crawling is close behind.

11.08.2010

Autumn Photos

We finally got around to taking a few autumn photos of Nathanael today. He was too fascinated with the leaves to really look up and smile, but these were my favorites.

Nathanael Alim, 6 & 1/2 months old

11.07.2010

Long-awaited Direction


God has turned a new page in the story of our life, and we are excited about what He has shown us! A little over four months ago, we moved from Boston to Emporia. We had no idea what God was doing, but we knew He was asking us to take a step of faith in searching for a new direction for our family. And now He has enabled us to catch a glimpse of that new direction.

On Thursday, Gregory, Nathanael, and I were commissioned to serve with Greater Europe Mission (G.E.M.) in Vienna, Austria. Gregory will be serving the Austrian church through theological education, and we will together seek ways to share the love of Christ with the Viennese immigrant community. What an incredible answer to prayer this new direction is for us!

We spent the past week at an interview/orientation week in Colorado.

Prior to our time with G.E.M., we were able to reconnect with some dear friends in Denver. (I can't believe we didn't get pictures with everyone, but here are some of Gregory's MSU friends.)
Nathanael wore his Halloween sleeper on the 31st. :)
We experienced our first snow of the season, Nathanael's first ever!
The newly appointed group, going to the UK, Germany, and Austria, with G.E.M.
Nathanael had an amazing time with Grandma (the granny nanny); she even let him drive!
You may be wondering when we'll be moving to Vienna. Before we go, we will be developing a network of prayer and financial ministry partners. So we're not sure what God's timing is for our move, but we'll definitely be working diligently to develop our partnership network over the next few months. We are thrilled to enter into this task and are excited to see who God leads to join us in strengthening the Austrian church and sharing His love among the Viennese immigrants.