Sophia is 3!!

Sophia is 3 yrs old now! It is a intense, fun, challenging, messy, beautiful season of life with our girl! She is growing in her independence and requests (sometimes in the form of a demand) to try things out on her own! "By myself!" is a big part of her daily vocab. She is a perfectionist, and after a few attempts, if not accomplished as she hoped, she will usually as for help. She is a leader, with plenty of creative ideas of what to do next. "I have a good plan!" "I have an idea!!!" or following her plan, "That's a good idea!" no question inflected... it IS a good idea, mom! :) her initiative and confidence are strengths of her character! She is absolutely decisive and rarely changes her mind (which I think is unusual for a toddler!) Sophia still goes by CiCi interchangeably, but has been calling herself "sophia" more these days. She is black and white in her thinking and "rules oriented-ness" BUT is so open-hearted and teachable. She loves when I show her a new way to do something and is so good at changing gears to try new. She is not stubborn, which is much more like her dad than her mom! She absolutely knows what she wants and yes, we have tantrums if things don't go her way sometimes, but she can change gears and be distracted relatively easily.
- Sophia moved into her big girl bed in November!! She has done GREAT and has not gotten out of it once in bed for nap or night-time ONCE. much much smoother than we thought it would be! She was the one who initiated a big bed after sleeping in a bunk bed in Adelboden. We kept the crib "up" in her room for at least a week or two... reminding her that if she did get out or disobeyed the rules (jumping off of it, etc), we'd move the mattress back in the crib and wait a while longer to move up.
- She has been STTN again for months now, its lovely. She goes to bed anywhere between 8:15 - 9:15 (on small group nights, it is 9:15 pm), and wakes up between 7:15-8 am most mornings.
- She still naps every day, but it is more flexible as to when she goes into nap. lunch is at 12:15, nap is at 1 pm... but she is to the point where she *can* be stretched and could even go down as late as 2-2:30 pm if she HAD to. It is so nice to have that flexibility! I usually have to wake her up at 3:30 pm (2-2.5 hrs in) or she will have trouble falling asleep for bedtime
- she is a good eater overall! Sure we have our days, but she eats veggies GREAT. everything from broccoli to peas to brussel sprouts! to salads! She also loves beans, rice, noodles (no sauce), tacos, soup, hot dogs (when she gets them, which isn't often), BANANAS, apples (swipes them when I'm not looking... not that they aren't allowed or anything!), grapes, blueberries, olives, PICKLES (all.day.long if I let her), jello, and of course cupcakes and anything chocolate! She still likes applesauce sometimes, but only through a straw. same with yogurt (which has to be soy anyway).
- she eats oatmeal, pancakes, cereal, or toast for breakfast. eggs is hit or miss these days. always loves fruit
- our rule is that she has to eat at LEAST one bite of everything on her plate (even her least favorite thing in the world... chicken) but doesn't have to finish it if she doesn't like it. however, until her plate is gone, there will be nothing else to eat, no snacks, no dessert. She definitely can choose not to eat lunch or eat supper, but then she will go into nap or bed without any other choices unless the plate is gone. I give her really reasonable portions too. *most* nights she eats what we are having without problem. Some things are just not her favorite, which I get! She does well though and it is so nice not to even think about whether something is "kid friendly" when I make it for dinner. The only consideration would be whether it has dairy or if it is crazy spicy (although she tolerates moderately spicy well!)

- Sophia loves puzzles and is very good working at them on her own! She will easily spend 45 min in one sitting putting 4-6 together. They are 20+ piece wooden or thick cardboard puzzles.
- She LOVES her animals and sleeps with a plethora every night. Eric and I try to weed them out because there is hardly any room for her in the bed! But she knows and accounts for them all so if one is missing, she is sure to find it. Favorites: titan the puppy, panda bear, pony, squirrel, dolly (made by Oma), bear (she has quite a few but they are all named varieties of bear... pink bear, white bear, little bear...), and of course, daisy. :)
- Jacob is welcomed into her play at her discretion. She loves to play chase and will even get down and crawl with him. He is allowed to play with the empty play dough containers while she is playing w the play dough and making shapes on the table. He also is who she unloads unwanted food on... maybe Jacob wants my chicken? maybe jacob can have one of my ___? he is a happy recipient :)
- She asks for movies at least 10x per day. we try to limit screen time but she definitely gets a show or two at least per day. options are usually princess sofia, monkey george, calliou, dora, veggie tales, and tinkerbell

Sophia loves music and to dance. She frequently sings her own songs (made up) or a favorite like twinkle, twinkle while spinning around the room. She loves wearing princess dresses and having her hello kitty umbrella. She sleeps with a gazillion stuffed animals but knows exactly which one is missing if we try to clear the bed a bit. She sleeps with her water bottle and daisy for SURE and then usually another animal is her choice of the week. Her bedtime routine is still sound machine (esp now that we live on the main road in town), two books, two songs, pray, hug, a kiss then goodnight! She is starting to sleep deeper and really isn't stirred by anything going on in the house. Ex. She did not wake up on New Year's Eve with the fireworks in town. Anyone who has been in Kandern or Europe knows it is CRAZY loud and seems like it would be impossible to ever sleep thru! Even with her skylight open and lighting up w all the booms, she slept thru.

Sophia is sweet, cuddly, and affectionate. Gives us kisses, hugs, and loves to be held on our laps still. Now that Jacob is on the move 24/7, I don't take the cuddly stillness for granted with my girl. Sophia is my helper, loves to be in the kitchen cooking with me, handing Eric tools on a project, loading the washer with me, unloading the dishwasher. she really desires to help and is 100% task oriented. :) another difference from her mama. She knows what she wants and is totally confidant to take initiative. She is a natural born leader!

Can't believe 3 years have already passed since she was held in our arms for the first time! Time really does go too quickly. Looking forward to our year ahead with our sweet (and a bit dramatic) little darling!



Jacob - 4/5 months old


Jacob is already 5 months old. I can hardly believe it. Don't I still have a newborn?! Surely my baby is not one month away from being halfway through his first year of life!!! I am combining the past 2 months (what?!) since the move got crazy and I missed his 4th month.
*The same week he turned 5 months old, he cut his 3rd tooth. So he has the two bottom teeth and top-front right tooth as well. Crazy boy!
*He got his first tastes of solid foods... banana, watermelon, pear and gnawed on an apple slice. We are taking the same approach as we did with solid introduction with Sophia.... baby led weaning. I'm sure I'll do some purees and mash some things here and there, but a good bit of it is just experimentation with texture and "the real thing". I let him suck/scrape the banana off himself and the watermelon was a bit chunk that i held while he sucked the juice out. He obviously got more than just juice though because it showed itself later in his diaper! He loves, no seriously LOVES holding and attempting to eat any and everything I've offered. He has what we call "sticky fingers" and swipes anything in sight with his big boyish hands. :) He grabs hair, clothing, toys, anything! and usually brings them straight to his mouth
*His features are already so manly! His big baseball-glove hands, brick solid chubby feet, defined facial features... I love it! such a little boy. and sooo different from my delicate rose of a daughter. :) I love them both in such amazingly different ways already.
*the best thing about moving to Kandern - Jacob is never in the car anymore!!! We walk everywhere and that has been awesome. He has always done so well in the Ergo and continues to enjoy being worn. He really enjoys riding in the double stroller too now! He sits in the front or back (whichever CiCi decides) of our Phil & Teds and is happy as a clam to just watch the world go by. I am so happy not to be messing with car seat buckles or endure the screaming in the car anymore! :)
*Jacob is Mr. Social. He gets so bored with me alone at home... he does much better watching Sophia play but even then, he does best when we are out in public, in groups, being passed around, people watching, etc! He is NOT cool with me putting him down on a blanket on the floor, the bumbo, or bouncy seat and just walking away to let him hang out. I think we have an extrovert on our hands!
*nursing great. has become distracted easily. unlatches frequently to check out what is going on around him. Something has has always done while nursing... pushes his feet against anything with resistance...me, the couch, bed, etc. he does that while riding in the stroller too... always has his feet up pushing against Sophia sitting in front of him.
*rolling over both ways! He is definitely mobile! can make his way around the bed/crib/floor just by rolling around. We stopped swaddling him due to rolling... He also loves standing!!! He doesn't care much for sitting up (throws himself forward or backward). Also, while standing, he frequently stomps his feet! its so funny. 
*Still living up to his Mount Vesuvius nickname... when he has just eaten, he is always held outwards because it is not a matter of IF he will spit up. That is a given. There are dried spit up drops on our floor of when I've walked around and not noticed his dripping. Such is our life with our sweet Jacob.
*When he smiles, he lights up the room. He smiles with his WHOLE face, not just his mouth. He often puts such energy into his smile, he wiggles and moves his whole body in response to his glee. He puts his hands up next to his mouth as if he's being bashful or flirty. so adorable.
*living in cloth diapers and doing great. we have a lot less blow outs with cloth than disposables. The cost of water is ri-di-culous here in Kandern but analyzing the cost of disposables (and trash... yes we pay for each trash bag collected each week), it is still cheaper to use cloth. We'd have to pay over $7 per load of laundry to make cloth cost more and as much as water is expensive, its not THAT expensive. In general, I am still enjoying cloth and Eric is over it. Its a good thing I change the majority of diapers and do the laundry. :)
*Jacob enjoys being bounced, lots of loud energy right in his face, SO ticklish on his tummy, armpits & neck! his giggles escape. Sophia can still make him laugh more than anyone. Sometimes she isn't even trying but he is so smitten with anything she does or attention he gets from her.
*Sleep with a baby around is sleep with a baby around (aka unpredictable). He nurses so efficiently now and is quite easily put to sleep whether night or naps. He still wakes a few times at night, but with all the transition we've gone through, I'm at peace with it for now. I know the months are flying by and I'm not sleep deprived anymore than an average mom of two young kids. I take comfort in knowing when he is a teenager, I will be the one waking HIM up, dragging him out of bed.... :) 
*Along the sleep lines, he is just so cuddly. Sometimes when he is asleep and I am laying down with him (whether to rest during Sophia's nap or at night), he will stir, rest his hand on me, and sigh/relax just knowing he isn't alone but cuddled next to Mama, he sinks back into sleep. It is so sweet to have his little hand find me and cling to my shirt or finger. He is such a lovey boy.
*eye color is TBD. still blue (ISH) but some days I swear I see green and even brown. My vote is on hazel. time will tell
*loves grabbing his feet and chewing on them! 
*he is the most handsome little guy and though he can be SO FUSSY, he is our gem and joy. We love you, Jakey!!!


Moving...one snippet

So much is going on with our move to Germany that it is hard to even sum up in a post or two. Overall we are very excited about where God is taking us for the next 2 years!!! but there have been tears shed during moments of feeling overwhelmed, sad about goodbyes and the loss of our community & good friends. The biggest and certainly most difficult aspect of being gone for 2 years is missing the three kids who live in Jamestown along with their mom & dad. Molly, Annie, and Owen are such a big part of our world and Sophia would follow any of them to the moon and beyond. Aunt Meg & Uncle Josh are so loved by our kids as well. Jacob has spent a lot of time in both of their arms... when we are with them, apart from him needing to nurse, we get such a break because they "fight" over who gets to hold him! It is awesome and we love to see both of them loving on SG & Jakey. My eyes blur with tears even thinking about that goodbye, so for now I will continue to push it out of my mind until necessity requires it. SO thankful for FaceTime, but I know it just can't be quite the same. ANYway, these types of feelings are all conjured up as I reflect and process our move...

But what I want to document is some of the changes this month has brought as we have fixed up the house, packed up some boxes, and gone through old stuff. Moving is hard work! We are so thankful that that Eric's Dad came to help us around the house (and meet Jacob!) There is still a lot to do, but the house is starting to feel pretty empty. Such sweet friends have come alongside of us and let us borrow what we need for Sophia (a crib, a mattress, some toys, etc) and the good ole library has been our friend to check out books.
 Sophia helping Pops fix up the door jams the cats destroyed over the years. Thanks Felix & Marzell!
 Tasting coffee together before church

 Whew. more in the next days/weeks I'm sure. Prayers appreciated!

Afternoon of Summer Fun!

Uncle Josh, Owen, and Titan came over for some fun in our little pool one afternoon last week. Nana & Popeye were with us then too so it was fun to hang out together!
 These cousins are two peas in a pod. They stayed busy and had fun!

 Popeye knows how to make anything fun! Soph and O-wie taking turns filling up and dumping buckets of water into the pool

Jacob - 3 months old!

Our sweetie is 3 months old already... officially no longer a newborn!! I don't know why losing that term always makes them seem so "old" to me somehow. Jacob continues to be our smiley, sweet-as-ever little boy and we love him so. He is growing and changing every day, still feeling so soft, snuggly, and small in our arms though. :) 

The biggest milestone this month is that one day shy of turning 3 months, Jacob rolled over!! He rolled from back to tummy and when we put him back, he rolled over, and over, and over again! It was so fun and we were able to catch it on video. It is so amazing to me how much progress, growth and skills come during this first year! We are so incredibly thankful for his healthy development.

*Jacob still loves staring at fans, lights, and shiny objects. He has a kitty that hooks onto his car seat that Aunt Meg and Molly let him use that helps him in the car a bit.

*Still not a fan of the car (understatement!) Pretty much cries himself into a sweat wherever we go. Praying time will help this and we are thankful that after we move next month (needs a whole post on its own!), we really won't spend much time in the car since Kandern is such a small town.

*He continues to love the Ergo!! He naps in it and goes for walks in it while I push Sophia in the Phil & Teds stroller. He is big enough to ride in the stroller now, and has enjoyed it a few times, but still prefers being worn. :)

*Reflux hasn't decreased yet unfortunately. Popeye nicknamed him Mt. Vesuvio (volcano in Italy)... he spits up a lot and very frequently during the day (and sometimes night). Two nights ago, he had a very memorable spit up moment that resulted in me needing a new pj shirt and something to wipe off my entire face. Thanks buddy. It is hard to see him be in pain after feedings, but we are once again thankful he is growing, getting good Mama milk (that is still dairy free), and otherwise a happy little guy

*He is still nursing like a champ, taking bottles happily, very laid back in the eating dept! 

*His typical routine is to get up for the day around 6-6:30 am, nurse and follow a eat, wake, sleep routine. His waketime is currently around 1 hr, then he naps in his bassinet if we are home, otherwise in the Ergo. His naps are all about 45 min-1 hr, but if he's held sometimes they are longer. His best nap is the first afternoon nap which is even up to around 2 1/2 hrs on a really good day! He eats every 2.5-3 hrs and goes down for the night around 7:30-8 ish pm. On an awesome night (this has happened a handful of times total), he gives me a 5-6 hr stretch so he wakes up around 12:30-1:30 am then every 2-3 hrs after that. Normally though, he just follows an every 3 hr eating pattern, and SOMEtimes even wakes more than that. It is quite different than his big sis' newborn sleep, let me tell you! But of course they will be different and wonderful in their own ways. He is my cuddle bug and likes to be very close to Mama through the night. I love his velvet skin, fuzzy head, and how he is completely-at-rest in my arms. 

*He has discovered his hands!! So cute. He will stare at them, chew and suck on them, and practice grabbing anything within reach. He doesn't really hold onto rattles or toys yet, more of a grab and release. He DOES love to hold his elephant/hippo lovey!! He somehow found the same little corners that Sophia likes on her Daisy lovey. This has helped him in the car a bit too. 

*He is wearing 6-9 month clothing and weighing around 15 lbs. He is almost completely bald! Peach fuzz on the top of his head and a monk look ring of hair around the back :) 

*On the cusp of laughing! Today, Molly asked if he can laugh yet and when I said not quite, but will probably figure it out soon, she said, "Well I think he is laughing in his head!" :) I loved that! It certainly does look like he is laughing on the inside even though the sound isn't coming out yet. such a big, bright smile

We all love you so much Jacob! 


Sophia's beauty

Sophia's beauty grows each day, both inside and out. Her personality is very sweet, with a little sass. :) Her smile is full of joy; it is contagious!

PS  Look at these CURLS! love it

Sophia, you are breathtaking!


Jacob - Two Months Old!

How has a whole month passed since my last post?! Jacob is already two months old (as of yesterday!)
He continues to delight us and fit perfectly into our family. In fact, I think how it was before he came along is becoming hazy already. :) Sophia has been such a great big sister...really embracing her role. Two favorite moments that really showed me how much she loves him! 1) We were at a friend's house and when it was time to go, I had my friend hold Jacob while I got Sophia situated in the car. She got very concerned that we were going to leave him at her house and said, "no!! Baby Jakey come WITH!" 2) Yesterday they were playing together (she was putting stickers all over his shirt while he sat in the swing.) He LOVES her attention and was smiling a storm up for her. after a while, he started fussing because he was tired and needed a nap. I picked him up to put him in the Ergo and Sophia protested, "no, Mama! Jacob back down in the swing!" She wasn't ready to stop their play time! I love it. It is fun to see them interacting more now that he is following eye contact so well and smiling.
 Adorned with his sister's flower stickers :)

Dr. check up this month:
Weight - 14 lbs 4 oz - He is a sturdy little guy! love love his "rubber band" wrists and chunky thighs. He is wearing 3-6 and 6 month clothing. Even a few 6-9 mo sleepers (gerber brand though so it hardly counts! those run so small!) would be in size 2 diapers, but we have him in our one size cloth diapers and it's going great!
Height - 25 inches

*Jacob is smiling a TON. He is so handsome and his whole face lights up. We love seeing his personality coming out!!

*Unfortunately, he has reflux. it is sad to see him in pain and struggling for relief as well as a bit annoying to have everything covered in spit up (making laundry hard to keep up with). He nurses well which is great, but spends most of his awake time being burped and spitting up. He soaks at least one burp rag each feeding and often he (and Mom) need a shirt change after. I am already dairy and gluten free because of thrush issues, so I don't think its my diet. Gripe water has helped a bit. the biggest thing is just keeping him upright after feedings and burping. LOTS of burping.

*He nurses every 2-3 hrs during the day and 2-3 times at night. Probably 8-9 ish times a day. He gets a diaper change each feeding and like his sister, doesn't poop but maybe once or twice a day. sometimes not even that. HE TAKES BOTTLES! PTL! After Sophia always refusing them, I think we are amazed still at how nice it is to have that option. Plus it is neat having Eric get to bond with him in a new way too.

*We are thrush free!! yaaaaaayyyyy

*He has started to coo and babble!!! It is adorable. He was chatting with Eric tonight - such a sweet little voice! I asked him tonight if he was ready for bed, and Eric and I both started laughing when it sounded like he said "noooooo"

*He loves to stare at ceiling fans, the mobile on the swing (although he really doesn't like the swing, he does like the mobile), lights, anything hanging above him. He also likes our colorful "Italian landscape" painting in the living room. I remember Sophia liking the vibrant colors too

Mr. Blue Eyes! There is just no way these are turning brown! I think I have finally accepted this surprise! They sure are a beautiful blue!

*Jacob likes his bath...doesn't get one every night mostly due to me being tired and it not being necessary. He likes the water pretty hot/warm and does NOT like being cold afterwards. I try to have some fleece pjs and a blanket to wrap up as soon as I take him out. The nights he does get one, it is after Sophia goes to bed and just before I put him down.

*He HATES the car. Almost always cries himself into a sweat wherever we go. It is sad to see him so sad! Sophia is pretty tolerant (fell asleep one day in the middle of his screaming! I was amazed), sometimes she acknowledges it by singing him "Jesus loves me" to make him feel better, saying "almost there, baby. two more minutes", or my least favorite, yelling "STOP!!!" She usually does her own thing though, reading books, looking out the window, singing songs, eating snack, etc. We look forward to the day Jacob is a little happier to ride. The WORST time for him to be put in the car is right after he nurses. I think the milk is still so heavy on his tummy and it is painful for him. The BEST time is either right before he eats (? he usually stays asleep? so strange, you'd think him being hungry would bother him) or right after he falls asleep for a nap (the only time I can transfer him and have him stay asleep).

*Very happy to be held by anyone and everyone during his awake time! He will charm anyone with a smile and be very content (although, better have a burp rag handy! He spits up multiple times while awake. always). When sleepy, he does best in mama's arms. :) Mama does not mind this one bit!!

*He is starting to find his hands! So fun to watch the discovery process unfold.

*He has recently started getting put down for the night around 8-8:30 pm and will sleep a 4-6 hr stretch, eat around 1:30 am, go back to sleep until 4-4:30 am then have a hard time going back to sleep after this feeding. He is usually back asleep by 5-5:30 and sleeps until 6:15 am. I have the hardest time during this 5 am waking knowing he isn't really fully up for the day, but the big chunks of sleep are done for the night. I never understand why he is so fussy or awake during that second am feeding. At 6:15 ish he is up for the day and has awake periods of about 45-55 min before he goes back to sleep. He is still taking most (if not all) naps in the Ergo during the day, but I am starting to try to put him down for at least one nap a day to start the transition to being on his own. He still co-sleeps with me most of the night, but has started taking that first and longest stretch in his bassinet (which is in our bathroom master closet.)

 happy Mama!
 Love my kids!! Look at how beautiful they both are!

 Going for a ride in our new double stroller! Eric and I both love it already! And the kids enjoyed it too! Our princess up front and little prince smiling away at his first stroller ride.

Sophia giving an affectionate hug! They are buds already and I am beyond THRILLED!!!!

Jacob, we love you! Sophia's prayer this week has been "Thank you God, for baby Jakey and Mama and Cici and Daddy. AAA-men." so sweet. We do thank God for our little family!