Pre-Halloween Shrieking

Just getting you in the mood for Halloween!  Shriek!

Autumn Days in our Park

I never could have imagined how a huge pile of leaves in the park in front of our building (We call it "home park."  Yes, we are creative.) would pull together kids and families as it did this Autumn.  The combination of milder weather with the city taking longer than expected to clean up the leaves has been a blessing.  Evangeline was not so thrilled to lie in the leaves at first, but I couldn't resist and the photo opp!

Nathanael, Raphael, and Marco "transferred" leaves from the pile to the sandbox until it was dark outside!

Dear Evangeline (4 months)

Dear, sweet Eva-doll,

A four month old! How can it be?!  We are so thankful for you, darling, and we love watching how God grows you each month!  The last week, especially, has seemed to bring something new each day.  What a delight you are to our family!  It is becoming a daily occurrence that the three of us gather around you to admire you and enjoy your smiles and vibrant vocalizations.  You are our pleasant, little, cuddly princess!

The past month was quite a roller-coaster for you in terms of experiences and developments.  You have transitioned into longer periods of wakefulness during the day, and it seems your sleep has matured quite a bit as well.  The latter took a couple weeks of chaos for you to adjust, but now, thankfully, you seem to be settling into a routine of three naps and a long, 12-13 hour night.  You have been experimenting a lot this past week with your voice, and it's hilarious to listen to you "talk" to anyone who will listen.  You are definitely more talkative than your brother was at this age!  You're mixing many vowels and consonants, rolling your r's from the back of your throat, and seeing how loud you can be at points.

You are weighing in at 6.8 kg (almost 15 pounds, around the 80th percentile) and somewhere over 63 cm in length (about 25 inches, around the 75th percentile).  You nurse on average five times during the day and once at night, though you are not terribly consistent with all of that yet.  You are still wearing your brace, but we're hopeful that you'll be finished with it next week!  Though you don't seem to mind it too much, you are definitely quite the wiggleworm when you have a few minutes of "freedom" to stretch and move your legs uninhibited.  You have tried to pull your body up to sit a few times, obviously nowhere close to doing so, but it's fun to watch you try.

You are thrilled about your new abilities to hold and grip items and manipulate things with your hands.  You absolutely love to hold cloth material, and you have a few favorite toys -- a couple rattles and some sphere-shaped malleable contraptions of wood and plastic.  You also have begun reaching out for items and people and holding onto our arms and shoulders when we hold you!  Of course, everything must be explored with your mouth!  You haven't successfully sucked on your fingers yet, but your fist is a favorite.  And it appears that you prefer to suck on your own tongue when you are tired and about to fall asleep!  It's quite cute to watch.

With your sleep maturing this past week, you've actually woken up happy a couple times!  Whether happy or not, the moment you see our faces, yours lights up with pleasure.  You seem to have become accustomed to falling asleep on your own now, whether at naptimes or after waking in the middle of the night to talk for a few minutes or eat.  In fact, it is getting a little more difficult to take you out in the pram between naps as you are quite quick to fall asleep in it!  You've come a long way from refusing to sleep in a stroller!  You love to be outside, to lie under a tree and observe the leaves and the sky, and we even captured a few pictures of you lying in a pile of leaves this month!

Most notable experience this past month was a family vacation to the beach resort town of Side, Turkey.  You traveled quite well (you love being carried around all day when we travel), and you had no issues adjusting to sleeping at the hotel and sharing a room there with your brother.  You even took a brief nap on the beach each afternoon!  You stuck your feet in the Mediterranean, which you did not like, and you spent most of the vacation charming the hotel staff and us with your sweet smiles.  The Turkish staff especially loved to greet our little "Elif" (and big brother "Alim") at every meal. 

Your brother loves sharing a room with you, and you have impressed us with your ability to sleep through his loud whispers, calling out to us, sneezes, coughs, and even singing and clapping! You absolutely love to watch him play and talk, and he loves to bring you toys, hold you in his lap, feel how heavy your dirty diapers are (haha!), and "read" books to you.  We have often wished family were closer so that they could observe and delight in your daily developments, but we have been so thankful for Skype and the opportunity to stay connected so easily.

You are a treasure, dearest.  We are thankful for who you are, the sweet little girl whom God has made you to be thus far.  Happy four-month birthday!

your daddy and mommy

Evangeline Elif - 4 month old
 Sheer delight! (presumably because she's able to stretch her legs?!)
Talking, talking, talking
And one last one for a good size comparison


Entertainment from the Big brother

I love watching these two together!  He's a decent babysitter, at times.


Making memories together

One of my favorite moments of each day is when I go to the kids in the morning.  I pick up Evangeline from her crib and place her in the bed with Nathanael, and the three of us have "cuddle time" until I insist that we must get them dressed and all have breakfast.
 A bagel date with my Nathanael!  (Yes, that's a tractor magazine!)  We were so excited to see bagels in the store as a specialty item for a few weeks.  We bought as many as our freezer could handle!
 Nathanael and I created a "sand city," complete with homes for all of our family members  plus the essentials, such as Hofer (Aldi in Austria), church, and Kindergarten. :)  (Evangeline was sleeping in the stroller.)
And finally, today, we explored the Belvedere Botanical Gardens as a family.  Gorgeous!  It was a perfect Autumn day to have the family outside and enjoying nature.



We took a week to escape and enjoy the beach together in Side, Turkey, a resort town near Antalya.  It was especially important to me as the hotel took care of absolutely everything.  I didn't have to think about a single meal (other than nursing the babe, of course), and we spent the entire time playing and attempting to relax (other than the day when Nathanael threw up every 20-30 minutes for about eight hours straight).  Don't worry, we tipped the maid well!  It was surreal to be back in Turkey; the last time we visited was March 2009.  We love the people just as much, and we were able to smile at most of the cultural oddities, understanding a lot of what was going on below the surface.  It was fun to speak some Turkish as well, though we haven't begun to review the language yet.  German needs another year to solidify in our minds!

They had ice cream hour twice a day!  Nathanael sure kept everyone laughing at our hotel!
 As we expected, he loved playing in the sand and water all day every day.
 The hotel had a great pool for kids as well.
 Eva spent the majority of the days sleeping in the hotel room or right here in the stroller, even taking one nap every day on the beach, lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves.  (Not really; she pretty much cried herself to sleep, and the loud waves made it not sound so bad.  It's a phase.)