Catching up on June

Somehow we've made it through June.  I knew it would be a bit crazy with the three week gradual adjustment to Kindergarten for Eva.  Indeed, it was crazy.  Tomorrow, my parents arrive.  We've been counting down and marking off the days, and it's finally (almost) here.  We have a full agenda for their time here; it's amazing how many places the kids want to make sure they experience with family and friends when they visit.

Before we bombard this blog with pictures from their visit, I need to catch up on the photos from the last couple months.  So here goes.

Eva likes to read in Daddy's study.  She often has a hard time choosing just the right book though. ;)

Our district has an annual festival in the nearby square, and it's always full of tons of "clubs" for Turks.  Nathanael and I visited this year (he'd just eaten an ice cream cone).  Every year, we dream and hope that our church will be able to have a table there.  It'll happen one of these years.
Our new-to-us wheels.
The wheel on our old one literally popped off on a bus.  That was exciting.  I found this one on willhaben (think craigslist) about an hour later, and Nathanael and I picked it up that afternoon.  When you don't have a car, a stroller is a non-negotiable with a two-year-old!

My cool kid on our way to the waterpark
Eating ice at the waterpark
Exhausted on the way home from the waterpark
We love visiting the ENT doctor here.  She has great toys.
My big girl in our little elevator
First semi-successful ponytail
Don't they look alike in this photo?  Eva loves to lie on pillows, but when Nathanael joins her, she couldn't be happier (until he bothers her).


Dear Evangeline (2 Years)

My dearest Evangeline,

Happy second birthday, sweet Eva-lein!  Two years ago (June 20, 2013), God gifted our family with your precious presence.  We thank Him for you each and every day.  Your sweet spirit and emotional intensity speak of the depth of life God longs for each of us to know.  We celebrate you today and pray that God would cause your life to soon be rooted and established in faith in Jesus Christ.  Only in Him can you know abundant life.

This last year has been full of exciting developments for you!  Of course, of greatest importance, you began walking!  You were quite content scooting around on your bottom for months, but in December, you decided to attempt steps, and then you were off and running (mostly to chase after your brother everywhere he went)!  Along with walking and running came other exciting physical developments, such as twirling and dancing and tackling steps and climbing up on things.  What a new world has been opened to you this year!  You love to explore.

This year has also brought huge developments in your understanding and communication.  Favorite words and phrases of ours:  Help me.  Bitte.  P(l)ease.  I yuv ye.  Up.  Joy.  Holy.  Amen.  Das.  Fork.  Bus!  Woof.  Beep beep.  Bell.  Bath.  B(r)ush.  Ummm.  Oh yea.  Whoops.  Mein.  Nein.  "Baba" is your word for both your special blanket and your water bottle, which can be crazy confusing for us sometimes. :)  You have a cute way of nodding your head slowly and emphatically to say yes.  You have an uncanny ability to be LOUD.  (Our poor neighbors.)

You were dedicated at our church this year, and you even served with Dad and Mom in the music a few Sundays, strapped happily to my back while I played piano.  You loved it and even managed to hit a base note once, to your delight!  You enjoy playing with the other toddlers and parents in the children's room at church and at small group, especially having warmed up to a couple other parents.  We are grateful to have others in your life as we greatly miss our family who are so far away.  After months of resistance, you've adjusted well to our babysitters and seem to enjoy playing with them and charming them as well.

Highlights from the last year include our family beach vacation in Side, Turkey (hours of play in the pools and sand and sea!); visits from and Skypes with grandparents, uncles, and aunts (you absolutely love them all); your first visit to the children's museum and exploring all the activities there; flying to London and meeting your cousin (you still say "Des" with a smile when we ask you about your baby cousin Desmond); playing in snow for the first time; and last but not least, beginning Kindergarten!  We were surprised to find out a spot became available at the beginning of the month, and you have adjusted amazingly well.  You love getting to stay there with Nathanael instead of having to leave with Mom (though you sometimes try to make me think you don't want to be there).  Your eyes light up when you see the caregivers and children and toys.  We hear stories daily about your sweet yet vigorous spirit. :)

Favorite activities recently include anything Nathanael is doing, giggling, building with Duplos, playing in sand and water, playing the piano, dancing, listening to music, cuddling, pushing Nathanael in a cart, taking a bath, brushing your teeth, and driving around in your scooter/car.

Each of us have a special relationship with you.  Mom is your comfort.  Dad is the one for whom your eyes sparkle.  Nathanael is your hero.  And you are our sweet Evangeline Elif.  We love you dearly.  What a privilege it has been to watch you mature this second year.  Happy birthday!

your mommy and daddy

A few photos from the last week that capture your personality well.


My little one's big day

Today is day nine of Evangeline's gradual entrance into Kindergarten.

"First day" photo

(Kindergarten here is actually more like a pre-school plus a daycare facility in the U.S.  Our equivalent here in Austria to kindergarten in the U.S. is actually a year called "Vorschule" which translates literally "pre-school."  Confusing, yes?!)

The people and the place are not at all foreign to her as she has been going with me to drop off and pick up Nathanael since she was an infant.  She knows the teachers' faces and voices and is familiar with the process.  She knows the park where they play.  And most importantly, her big brother is there, though not in the same group as she is.

We're so proud of our little almost-two-year old (who thinks she's five, just like Nathanael).  Although she tries to fool me into thinking she doesn't want to be there, the moment she lets go of my hand and steps into her room, she can't hide her beaming smile as she looks around at the faces and toys in front of her.

I am a little sister too.  I remember that feeling so well.  "Finally, I get to do it too!"