Another Thanksgiving in Vienna

How did we celebrate Thanksgiving this year?  A dear Austrian family from our church, who recently moved outside of Vienna, visited us this year the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We took advantage of the opportunity and served a (mostly) traditional meal.  It was fun to introduce them to a few traditional dishes, and we especially enjoyed sitting around the table as adults, while the kids entertained themselves, and sharing with one another our thankfulness to God for how we have seen God working in the last year.  The time together was encouraging.  The friendships were refreshing.  And the kids were adorable.  They have a daughter a few months younger than Nathanael.  She is full of spunk and energy and sweetness, and the two hit it off every time we are together.  (They also have a daughter a few months older than Evangeline, but they haven't really discovered each other yet.  That will come.)
How we miss this family being in Vienna!
Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!


Dear Evangeline (5 months)

Dearest Evangeline,

As I write you this letter, you are on day ten of a strong viral infection.  Your poor little body has sustained a fever for so many days, and your immune system just can't seem to push this virus out.  As pitiful and sad it is to see you sick, you are just as adorable as ever.  You aren't able to sleep anywhere during the day except for wrapped tightly to Dad or Mom.  And although it is exhausting to have to hold you during naptimes, I know we will miss this special role of holding you near and comforting you during the day.  With this cold, you're a bit off in everything, so I'll write about your developments during the first three weeks of this month.  We're still amazed at how content you are during wakeful times, even sick!  You are one content little baby girl!

Your most notable development this past month was giving up your middle-of-the-night feeding.  You simply gave it up one night, unexpectedly, and only needed it once more before settling into over three weeks of sleeping through the night for 12-13 hours!  Unbelievable!  You seem quite content on a nursing schedule consisting of three meals and an afternoon and bedtime snack.  You continued the three-nap schedule you settled into last month, usually two 1-2 hour naps and a short nap just before dinner.  You became more and more content falling asleep on your own, so much so that it just took a few seconds of fussing for you to fall asleep after being placed in your crib.  You were waking up happy and talkative and content.  I am hopeful and hesitantly expectant that you will fall back into this pleasant routine a couple weeks after you regain your health.

You've been very proud of yourself for discovering how to blow raspberries (making bubbling sounds with your lips and tongue), and it's often the first thing you do when seeing our faces after waking up from a nap.  You have actually been talking less this month, I think because you gave up on trying to suck your fingers and have settled into sucking on your tongue instead.  It's quite funny to watch as you have a somewhat sour expression when doing so.  Sometimes when we our trying to make you smile, you keep sucking your tongue and only smile with your eyes.  It's a very unique and endearing Eva expression.  People that don't know you might think you often look sad, but we know you, dear, and we know it means you're content.

You and your brother have been interacting even more this month.  He likes to help take care of you and is actually quite remarkable at calming you, having watched and learned from us.  You respond to him immediately and love to watch him playing nearby.  We've introduced you to "Trot, trot to Boston," and it seems to be a favorite of yours.  Nathanael likes to join in and energetically act it out as well.

You are weighing in around 6.9 kg (a bit over 15 pounds, around the 60th percentile) and somewhere around 66.5 cm in length (about 26.25 inches, around the 90th percentile).  And praise God, we were able to get rid of your hip brace two days ago!  We had hoped to get rid of it four weeks ago, but an X-ray showed need for further improvement, so we continued on until receiving the wonderful news this week.  Although your physical development this past month was quite limited, you love to hold your legs up as high as you can reach them in the air and then often throw them back down with a big smile.  This is quite funny in the bathtub, as you still aren't sure what you think of the splashing sensation.  And you have become a little wiggler on the changing pad.  You have learned how to push with your feet to lift up your bottom and back, which makes you mobile!  You're our little crab!

You've definitely exhibited a bit of stranger anxiety in a few settings this month, but we are so excited to introduce you to your Opa and Oma in person over Christmas as well as see you continue bonding with Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Andrew, and Auntie Angie!  Exciting family visits ahead!

Dearest daughter, as we pray for you each day, we ask that God will redeem your heart in need of Him.  We pray that your sweet spirit as a baby would only mean that your heart would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading to convict you of your sin and lead you to Jesus.  We pray that you would know the peace of Christ which surpasses understanding, and as your name signifies, that the Gospel will be proclaimed through your life lived with Jesus.  We love you dearly, Evangeline Elif.  Happy five-month birthday!

your daddy and mommy

Evangeline Elif - 5 month old
And three more pictures with typical Eva expressions:


Look who's free!

Praise God!  Look at our Evangeline, finally FREE from the hip brace!
We are so thankful to have this journey through hip dysplasia treatment behind us.  The appointments almost every week, the explanations to strangers, the added consideration for almost all usually-normal baby care...  I praise God that He has brought this to an end.  She will have regular check-ups for a while, but nothing like before.  And now she can learn how to sit and use her legs to move!


Lantern Festival

Cultural experience for the month:  attending the Lantern Festival at Nathanael's Kindergarten on Saint Martin's Day (November 11).  All the children made lanterns in school, and then at the festival, they carried them around while singing songs, we all marched around the block singing a song with the lanterns, and then we returned for snacks and punch.  Nathanael was intrigued by the entire thing, mostly sitting and watching.  But he was really into one song about making and eating APPLE STRUDEL!
 Above, next to Marie; Below, next to Raphael (his current best friend)
 We love Nathanael's head teacher, Tamara!


School Pictures (for pre-school?!)

Nathanael's Kindergarten (reminder: that's equivalent to preschool in the US) pictures came this month, and I was a bit shocked by them.  They're so professional and costly!  I was entertained by the packet, thus took this picture.  Isn't he a cutie?  I didn't see the point in purchasing anything this year; maybe next year we'll get Evangeline in one and actually buy a few.  Maybe.