We have changed significantly since beginning this blog 5 years ago. Then we were a young couple, living in Europe exploring our world; now we are a family of 5, living in the South. Our adventures used to include exploring new cities, countries and sites, and now include living day by day with a desire to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly. This is a small window into our world, a journal of adventures that continue to shape our lives.
Some folks think Annelise looks just like Hadleigh Claire and some think they look complete opposite. Here is a recent pic of Annelise and a pic of HC when she was 8 weeks. One thing you may or may not be able to tell from the pictures is that HC has almost no hair, while Annelise still has wuite a bit of dark hair on her head. You decide...
I am just sitting here at the computer, paying bills, balancing our check book and organizing the massive amount of papers sitting on my desk. I came upon a letter from our new pastor, John Tinnin and as I read it I became overwhelmed with thanksgiving. My family is lucky to be involved with Intown, and I am so thankful that the Lord brought us back to Atlanta.
We have been able to hear wonderful Gospel centered sermons that have challenged us, and that we talk about during the week. I have actually been amazed at how often during the week I will hear someone mention the sermon. What a blessing to have a pastor who can preach the word, and to have the Holy Spirit continue to use those words throughout the week to prick hearts!
I was also thinking about the Lessons and Carols service this year. Lessons and Carols is an entire service where the Gospel is presented through nine passages of scripture (beginning in the Old Testament and continuing into the New Testament) and nine carols. Dave and I chuckled as we thought about the Lessons and Carols we had in Germany where one of the carols was Feliz Navidad.
We are so blessed through the folks at Intown, and I am so thankful to be back here again.
When Dave and I first were married we had many discussions about Christmas family traditions. One of the traditions that needed to be hammered out was which Christmas movie were we going to watch on a regular basis. Dave was voting for "A Christmas Story" which I hate (except for the part where the Dad gets the box and says "Fragile, it must be Italian"). My vote was for "Christmas in Connecticut" which is a wonderful classic. Our first married Christmas we saw the movie "Elf" in the theatre and decided it was a good compromise between the two movies and it has been our family Christmas movie ever since.
I have two fav parts, the first one being when Buddy freaks out "Santa! Santa! I know him!" and then when he realizes it isn't the real Santa he says "You sit on a throne of lies." And the second one is when Buddy comes dancing into his dad's office while they are hearing a story pitch from a little person. Buddy mistakes him for an elf and asks him if Santa knows he left the workshop, etc. In the end Buddy says "Oh, he's an angry elf."
We know have a second nickname for Annelise, besides the purple baby, we are also calling her the angry elf. Dave says he feels better about calling her the "angry elf" because it makes him laugh instead of getting angry when Annelise cries all the time.
Well...stop the presses...I just wrote that entire story to say this one thing...my angry elf is asleep in the swing. Shut it! After she sat screaming in her bouncy seat for an hour while I wrapped presents, I transferred her to the swing...and only after about 10 minutes she fell asleep. That means I am currently typing with both hands and no baby.
OK, I must run and get something else done before she becomes the angry elf again.
So, what did you do to celebrate your 21 month old birthday? Hadleigh Claire celebrated in style!
Our Baumholder buddies, Grant and Jess, were stationed at Fort Benning this summer and we have enjoyed seeing them from time to time. Yesterday they invited us to Columbus for the annual Tower Jump (I don't know if that is what it is called officially). Ft. Benning is where all infantry soldiers are trained, all enlisted soldiers have their basic training there, and all officers have their different schools and training there. It is also where any soldier who is "Airborne" or a "Ranger" is trained. Grant was telling us a little about each school while we hung out, but apparently there is a whole technique to jumping out of a plane (go figure) and becoming Airborne. If you do it wrong some bad things can happen, so there is a lot of training that goes into becoming Airborne (just in case you are wondering, Dave did not assume the correct position, but will be practiced up for next year). There are different towers through Ft. Benning where the soldier train and practice their jumping techniques before jumping out of a plane. They have two 34 foot towers that are used, and once a year they open up the towers and let friends and family jump out of the towers. According to research 34 feet is the scariest height. Any lower and you are lower to the ground and any higher and you can't really tell the difference of being higher.
Dave was excited when Grant mentioned the Tower Jump this summer and we planned to make the trip to Columbus for the occasion. You basically get hooked into a harness, are given a helmet, and then are hooked into two ropes (so it is similar to being hooked into a parachute). You jump out of the tower and fly down a zip line. As Dave's turn was coming up we saw all these little kiddos jumping out of the tower, so Dave asked if they would strap Hadleigh Claire to him for the jump. They agreed!
So, for Hadleigh Claire's 21st month birthday she jumped out of a tower with her Dada. It was apparently no big deal to her. She didn't freak out, and seemed to like the experience. I think she would walk through fire if Dave did it with her, so no big news there.
On other 21 month news, she is saying all sorts of words which is so fun. My favorite word currently is bus, which she pronounces "buts" It makes me giggle.
She is a super big girl and such a big helper. She is definitely not a prissy girl and is unafraid of getting dirty and playing in the dirt. However she does appreciate cleanliness, and LOVES to wipe off her face often while she eats and enjoys picking up random crumbs off the floor and throwing them away. She loves Annelise and always wants to help rock her, or give her the pacifier if has fallen out. She is a huge help. The other day I was changing Annelise and the phone started ringing. Hadleigh was with me, but left the room, went to find the phone and brought it back to me. Wow! I was impressed! And I didn't even ask her to do that!
She still loves planes, trains, cars, trucks, buses, etc. She loves her stuffed animals, Elmo, Bear and Giraffe.
Since we haven't had a TV in months, Dave found a Sesame Street website that has little games and stories with Elmo. Now, whenever we are on the computer she comes up and says "Melmo, Melmo, Melmo". Another of my fav is that when we give her something to eat she will say "Mmmm, mummy". She continues to eat anything and everything we give her. She still has her super porridge for breakfast and LOVES it.
One of the best things about having family here after Annelise was born was that Hadleigh had suh a fun time with everyone. Now, she really seems to know them and asks for Papa, Nana and Grandma (Mahmaw).
I have no idea how much she weighs, but Dave calls her the 50 pound giant. After coming home from the hospital with Annelise, she just seems huge. I don't think she weighs 50, but she is probably pushing 30.
Annelise is now one month old! We have all survived!
She is now weighing in at 9lbs. 12 oz. and is 22 inches long. She still has her dark brown hair and blond eyebrows, so we will see what becomes of that.
She has her days and nights in the right order, so we have been getting sleep the last week or so. Her longest stretch of sleep is 4 hours, which I gladly accept.
Dave and I tend to refer to little Annelise as the "purple child". Since her arrival, we have noticed that Miss Annelise has a bit of a temper. She often gets really upset (like when she is not being held) and will become purple from head to toe and scream until the situation is remedied. So, that leads me into her obsession with being held. Nothing will be sustituted for being held. The swing has been rejected...the bouncy seat will be tolerated only if you are there making it bounce, and only then it only lasts for about 15 minutes. Forget all slings, baby bjorns or infantinos. I can get her into a deep sleep (as in head back, floppy arms) and I will put her into her Moses basket and she will wake up within 10 minutes. I am trying to enjoy this time and her desire to be held, but some times it is hard. As you can imagine with Annelise's desire to be held, she is sleeping in our bed. I LONG to get her into her own bed, but at this point sleep for all of us is winning. Baby Wise shmaby wise.
Annelise loves her sister Hadleigh Claire. She will often stop crying when HC rocks her violently in her car seat or in the bouncy seat. Ah sisters.
My favorite thing about Annelise is when she sleeps in my arms. It is so hard to be still, especially with HC running around, but it is a precious time. When I hold her in my arms she generally rests her little hand on my chest and holds onto my shirt. It is super sweet, and I know will only last for a short time.
OK, this is short because it is hard to type with a sleeping baby in your arms. Enjoy.
This weekend we began preparing for Christmas. Friday we drove north to a tree farm and cut down our tree. This is the fourth Christmas that we have cut down our own tree (of course now that we are back in America we paid a little more than 5 euro for it). Two years ago we had quite an adventure which involved a recent ice storm, a mile hike in the snow at 8 months prego, and a tree that Dave had seen the Christmas before...you can read all about it in the archives of our blog.
This year was fun for Hadleigh. Annelise rode in the infantino, and slept through the whole thing. Hadleigh was able to ride in a wagon down to the lot and then feed the goats after we had picked out our tree. As we were picking out the tree, she kept exclaiming "twee" and then when she saw the goats yelled "puppy". It was really cute.
Hadleigh helped us decorate the tree and has been great about the ornaments (not that we have put anything breakable within reaching distance).
Today Hadleigh and I made cookies. We had a great time, and she liked saying each object as she cut the cookies out...twee...tar (star)...etc. As a side note, we finally taught her the word bus. She had been calling buses "guck" (truck), but today on the way home from church she said "buts" for bus. Dave and I giggled as she continued to laugh and "buts", she was close.
We have been super fortunate these past weeks to have had lots of help from our families. My mom was here for two weeks and then Dave's mom has been down twice to help. We have had so much help that I actually didn't have to be on my own with the girls until this past Wednesday. Now some of our friends are making meals for us, so all of this has helped make the transition a bit easier.
As I mentioned, Dave's mom was here for three days before Thanksgiving and then again for two days last week. She cooked her amazing lasagne (the best in the world), played with Hadleigh, met Annelise, did massive amounts of laundry and overall was a fun companion to have around.
She also purchased Hadleigh's Christmas present early. Dave put it together on Wednesday evening so it was all ready for her when she woke up on Thursday. When I got her up in the morning I told her that she had a special present waiting in the living room. She went running in there and immediately squealed "Whoa!" and then ran over and got in the swing.