Sweet smiles from higher up

Look who is excited to sit in the booster seat?!
 Yes, she is quite silly.  A sweet, melt-your-heart, you're-such-a-gem silliness.


Dear Evangeline (6 months)

Dearest Evangeline,

What a big month you have had!  You have grown and changed so much this past month.  You are weighing in around 7.4 kg (16.3 pounds, around the 60th percentile) and somewhere around 67.5 cm in length (about 26.5 inches, around the 80th percentile).  You managed to get over a long cold and amazingly went right back to your regular routine of three 1-1.5 hour naps, falling asleep contentedly on your own.  But that only lasted about a week before you had a growth spurt both physically and cognitively!  All of a sudden, you gained a new level of alertness, and it has been so much fun to watch you take in and interact more with your surroundings.  It has meant that you're much less predictable now in your willingness to go to sleep without fussing.  Sometimes you simply turn your head to the side and fall asleep in seconds after we lay you in bed, and other times you look at us with a sad pout and cry for a few minutes before giving up and falling asleep.  Oftentimes, you let out cute little moans and grunts before falling asleep, the beginnings of "singing yourself to sleep," just like your brother used to do!  We are constantly surprised by the differences and similarities between you and your brother at this age.

Speaking of Nathanael, you two are both quite amazing at sleeping through each other's antics.  I wonder at your abilities to simply fall back asleep when either of you cough or sneeze or talk or cry.  You both really seem to enjoy sharing a room.  And you continue to love watching Nathanael play.  Though you still have not yet rolled over, you have come quite close to doing so when trying to see what Nathanael's up to.

This month has included the introduction of solid foods!  You were quite funny to watch at the beginning, doing the typical, "spit more out then swallow" thing.  But you got the hang of it after a couple weeks, and now you're beginning to communicate which foods you prefer.  Surprisingly, your current favorite purees are peas, green beans, avocado, and sweet potato.  Pears were atrocious to you at first, but I think you're slowly warming up to them.  You love to blow raspberries when you're eating, which is quite a funny and messy site!  You drank a bit from a sippy cup this month, but that is definitely a skill we'll work on over the next couple months.  You end up soaking your shirt with all that you don't swallow!  You continue to nurse well four times a day and eat three tiny meals of solid foods.

Grandpa and Grandma visited us for nine days this month!  You were in the middle of your growth spurt when they arrived, and the combination of not knowing them well and being exhausted from lack of sleep meant that you took a few hours to warm up to them.  But then you showered them with smiles and grins and coos and raspberries, to their delight!  They spent an evening alone with you and Nathanael to allow Dad and Mom a date night, and you simply refused to drink from the bottle at bedtime.  (Can we blame you?!  It'd been over five months since you last did that!)  Apparently, after a bit of frustration as you played with the bottle with your tongue, you then found it quite pleasant to watch Grandpa and Grandma try to get some nourishment in you.  It sounds like you were all entertained by the challenge!

You still love to suck your tongue, but sometimes you do so with your tongue sticking out halfway.  It is hilarious to watch!  You love to smile and exchange smiles generously with people you know.  You continue to be an amazingly content and flexible and patient baby.  If you're tired, you often need to be held, but then you're able to quietly and contentedly endure quite a bit of disruption and waiting.  What a blessing to us as we continue to struggle to adjust to this different culture and language while also caring for an energetic three-year-old boy.  We see your gentle personality as a gift from God to us.

Dearest daughter, our lives are overflowing with joy and blessing through the gift of you!  God is so loving and generous, and we thank Him for each day we have with you.  We pray daily that you will know Him as your heavenly Father, your Love, your Life.  We love you dearly, Evangeline Elif. Happy half birthday!

your daddy and mommy

Evangeline Elif - 6 month old
 And a few more photos that amazingly capture the complexities of Eva's 6-month-old personality:

Grandpa and Grandma's Visit cont.

Grandpa and Grandma's December visit, cont...
Lots of book-reading before bed
My big helper
We had Vera over for an early Christmas Raclette!  What fun!
(The only bad thing is the grill smell that remains in the living room for days!)
Nathanael especially liked the melted chocolate on the grilled fruit.
Yes, he is my son.
While Nathanael was at Kindergarten one day, my parents treated us to an amazing dinner at Cafe Central.  The atmosphere was traditional Viennese, the food was delicious, and the company was as special as ever!
I couldn't resist this smile.


An early Christmas Celebration with Grandpa and Grandma!

It's always so difficult to say goodbye to Grandpa and Grandma after their visits.  But we are so very thankful that they are able to come a couple times a year!  Here is the first installment of pictures to tell the story of memories made this time.
A truck from Uncle Drew and Auntie Carrie, of course!
 Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma, for this cool track!
 Grandpa and Grandma gifted us with the movie, Planes!
(By the end of the movie, Eva was sleeping and Nathanael was laying in Grandma's lap!)
 Wurst at a Christmas Market
(Eva is snuggled against me underneath my coat!)
 I think they were competing to see who could make their sweet tart candy last the longest!
She has no desire what-so-ever to stand.  We have lots of work to do to make up for the lost months with the hip brace.
 Being silly with Grandpa
 Visiting the ZOOM Children's Ocean Museum (for the fourth time)
 Eva: What are you doing to me?!
 This is as close to a family picture as we came during their visit.



Since we moved here, I've been privileged to be a part of a small group of moms and babies/toddlers who gather together once a month to play and chat and share life.  Originally begun with moms at our local church, we have attempted to study the Bible a bit in the past, but nothing has really worked well since the kids are with us.  Nevertheless, we greatly enjoy the time together, and I've had fun helping organize it and make sure it keeps going during the last few months.  Here are a few photos I have from the last few months.
One of our first gatherings in late summer
 One of our last for this year (at our home)
What a sweet group of mom friends!


In love with him

He's such a great dad.  I love him more and more every day I'm with him.


Ginger cookies for Christmas

Mom:  Nathanael, smile for me.  I want to take a picture to remember our cookie-eating and tree-decorating.
 Mom: Um, okay, maybe try holding up the cookie?
 Mom:  Let's try that again.  Smile!
 Mom:  Maybe not so big this time?
I give up.  How did they get him to smile so well for the school pictures?!  I imagine cookies were not in their hands...