Dear Evangeline (2 months)

Dearest daughter, Evangeline Elif,

Today you are two months old!  How mightily we thank God for your life and your presence in our family.  You are such a pleasant little girl, and you bring great delight to all three of us.  We love to gather around you and make silly noises and faces to make you smile.  Nathanael adores you, gently giving you toys that he thinks you need.  He has even shared some of his beloved cars with you!  Dad and I treasure every moment we have with you.  You are growing so well and strong, weighing in around 13 pounds.  We thank God for you, dearest.  What joy God gives us through you!

We love watching you interact with the world.  You look at us with eyes full of wonder and admiration, and we've grown so accustomed to your sweet smiles and gentile coos.  You generally enjoy sitting or lying in a place which allows you to see us or Nathanael and watch the activity that is almost constant in our home.  Similarly, you usually don't mind to ride around in your stroller as long as we can leave the cover down so that you can look around.  You still love to be held above all else. Yet you are quite a content little girl, fascinated with observing the world around you.

You made your first trip by air this month, to Willingen, Germany, for our organization's annual conference.  You did remarkably well with all the travels, but by the end of both long travel days, you'd had enough and definitely let us know.  While at the conference, you were held almost nonstop during the days to allow Dad and Mom to attend as much as possible.  All three of us loved it, though Mom's back had had enough by the end of the week!  You had a difficult adjustment back to normal life at home, but now you are napping better and sleeping better at night than you had been before.  Speaking of nighttime sleep, we managed to help you switch your days and nights a few weeks ago, and life has thus become much more manageable for all of us.  You've made it 6-7 hours a few times at night, though you seem to be sticking around the 4-5 hour mark more consistently.  It is exciting to watch you grow and mature.

You continue to cry infrequently; you are such a content baby.  Interestingly though, you frequently need to cry a bit before you can fall asleep now.  You have grown to love your nightly baths, and you rarely object to diaper changes or outfit changes.  It just took a little time for you to get used to them both.  Your newest development this month is the addition of an "accessory" as one of our friends sweetly commented; you are now wearing a cute little contraption to help your hips grow properly.  You don't seem to mind it at all, though it does make cuddling a bit more difficult.

We took you with us to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary.  The waiters adored you.  You also wooed the hearts of many at our annual conference, finding yourself in the arms of many of our friends throughout the week.  You were welcomed into the GEM family, getting your first few moments on a stage and receiving a gift, a New Testament engraved with your name.  At the end of your time in the spotlight, you let out a loud adorable wail!  You've met a few more friends this month, most notably, six-month-old Emma, with whom you shared smiles.  We look forward to the two of you playing together frequently in the months and years to come.

As Nathanael has begun to memorize verses from the Bible, we pray often for you both, that you would grow up with a hunger for God's Word, that you would find it sweeter than honey from the comb and more precious than much pure gold.  That is, we pray that your longing would be for God's Word, far above all other things that our pleasant and beautiful and valuable.  Only He can satisfy you and fully delight your heart.  We look forward to watching him woo you, daughter.  We believe He has a beautiful story written for you, one in which He will make your life a testimony of His Good News, just as your name means.

We love you dearly, little one.  Happy two-month birthday!

your daddy and mommy

Evangeline Elif - 2 month old
 And here are her sweet smiles...


Annual Conference 2013

We attended our first Annual Conference with our organization, this time in Germany.  Nathanael especially liked attending "Kindergarten" in our "home language!" :)  Gregory and I enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with a few people we've gotten to know over the last few years and were encouraged to be reminded that we are part of something bigger than what is happening in Austria.  We are immensely thankful that both kids slept well in the hotel.  Travel was another story.  Evangeline wasn't too difficult, but Nathanael was a full-blown three-year-old.  I hope we're able to forget the trip home one day.

Eva conked out after a day of flying and busing.
 I think this may have been when we downloaded the Bible for Kids app.  We were desperate to find ways to entertain Nathanael at meals to allow us time to eat.
 Yes, that's correct.  Our daughter slept in a suitcase.  The crib was too deep, and this girl sleeps best at a bit of an angle (more easily created in a suitcase than a crib).  And yes, the swaddler is only half-way on her.  It was hot, but she needs her arms restricted. :)  I know how to improvise!
 The kids performed a few songs on the last night.  It was an hour past Nathanael's bedtime after a very long week of activities.  You can't tell from this picture, but he was really excited to get to stay up later and be with the kids.  I don't think he smiled at all during the songs though!
 And lastly, they welcomed the new babies into the GEM family, Evangeline being the youngest!


Eva photos, because I can't resist

Here are a few of my favorite Eva pictures from the last few weeks (in the 1-2 months old range).