It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love Christmas! And what I am most excited about this year is being in KANDERN (Germany) for Christmas! Couldn't think of a more special way to celebrate Sophia's 1st Christmas with us. Here are some Christmas pajamas getting us in the holiday spirit! Thanks Tiff!

*also notice who's standing on her own??*

I love the shot above, even though it is a phone pic

Getting her jammies all ready for Christmas morning!


Latest snapshots of our life the past week....

HE'S HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sophia's cheeks must have hurt her the day he came home....her smile was ear to ear for hours!

It is good to have Eric home. After being back a week, he is finally starting to feel better. We are both relieved to have him feel like himself again.

Here are some pics of the latest in our world....

Look at that fun personality coming out! love it!

Meal time is messy and fun! finger painting or eating? sometimes its hard to tell. :) Here Sophia is having avocado and oranges for dinner while I cook. I love having her company in the kitchen!

Our little Miss up-and-ready-to-face-the-world. She usually wakes up happy from naps and nighttime...bright eyed and bushy tailed - all smiles that someone came to get her up ;)

One of the evenings I was still waiting for Eric to come home, I got to witness an absolutely beautiful sunset. Sophia and I just sat outside the bench enjoying God's gorgeous artwork. It was amazing how the colors progressed/changed by the minute...a wonderful reminder that God's mercies are new every morning.

Next up....we have two new skills....CLAPPING and STANDING! trying to get the clapping on video - she is so proud of herself (so are we!). We have so much to be thankful for!


Being "Mr. Shilling"...what a rigamarole

So usually Eric and I remember to notify our bank when we are leaving the country so that when we go to use our debit card that the location is already in their system and doesn't automatically shut down our card account of fraudulent activity. Well, we forgot to do that this time so Eric called me today and asked that I would take care of it (since he has very limited international $ to call the US). That way, when/if he needs to use his debit card, he can do so without problem. This evening, I called the bank and the first representative asked me for my name, acct#, pin, etc. I gave it all to her and then explained the situation, that my husband was in India and would need access to our debit account. She told me that she couldn't discuss his card access because of confidentiality so he would need to call himself. EXCUSE ME?! did you just understand what I said? I am calling about MY HUSBAND for a JOINT ACCOUNT that we BOTH have equal access to. You basically just told my right ear that I need to hang up and dial back because you can only talk to my left ear. So Ridiculous. So I told her (I was in no mood to be messed with. Mama Bear is feisty tonight!) that I would be hanging up, calling back, and since I have all my husband's info, there was no way she could prove I wasn't him. Haha. SO THERE. I felt childish hearing myself tell her my plan but her response was even one step further. She actually had the gall to tell me that now she would recognize my voice and that I had already told her that I was "elizabeth" and not "eric" so my plan wouldn't work. As IF I would be directed to the same representative twice! (*sidenote: I've never had such a weird convo with a rep before) I responded sarcastically. "What, you are going to put a note on our account not to let someone calling in with a female voice have access despite having all the appropriate privacy info?" Why was I fighting with a customer service bank rep again? So I hung up and since my husband needed me to take care of it, dang it, I was going to do what I had to do! I called a second time and got a male rep - PERFECT. definitely not the same lady I had just talked to. I answered all the questions correctly; he was very friendly and polite, never questioning why my voice was an octave above the average male's. He filled out the appropriate travel form, so Eric has access to whatever funds he needs from our bank during the remainder of his trip.
At the end, the rep said, "Thank you for your business. Have a wonderful day Mrs. Shilling.....errr, Mr. Shilling"
HAHA now that made me smile. :) Will the real Mr. Eric Shilling please hurry home to me?


Missing Eric

Eric is in India on a unique opportunity with Greensboro Day School. He has been gone one week and has one more week before he's home so we are officially halfway thru the two weeks.
We sure miss him in a big way!!!

Sophia and I have both had a cold this week, I think we are starting to come out on the other side. Last night was the worst night sleep-wise so far....felt like I had a newborn in the house again. She, pardon me, WE were up at least 5x. and at one point it was in half hr increments. sigh. nothing a good cup of coffee and prayer time couldn't fix this morning though. :)

The cats have been extra crazy with Eric gone too. Its like they know something is off and potentially are getting less attention than usual as I focus on little sweetie-pie 100%. Here is a picture of where Marzell started napping this week. Both cats slept in the crib before Sophia was born, but once she moved in, they were outta there! Now Marz is back...I think it's a jealousy sign. Of course Sophia thinks it's the BEST THING EVER to find a cat in her bed! haha she loves it and squeals/laughs, which is very effective at getting the cat OUT! :)

Here is some fun with Daddy just before he left. Makes me sooo thankful he doesn't travel often for work. I knew I would miss his help with Sophia since he is such a hands-on Dad, but what I am craving more than ever is his company during the evening after sweetie-pie goes to bed and it's time just the two of us have together. Looking forward to next Wed!

"Oh the fun things I do with Dad!"


9 Months!

3/4 of the way to Sophia's 1st birthday?? WHAT?! I've been too busy to notice because she is at such a FUN age! Her personality emerges a little more every week and we love every bit of it! Even the whiny, whimpering for the object she wants but can't have (usually mouse, remote, keyboard, etc) because it means her brain is making connections and her communication center is up and running! Hopefully we'll be able to turn those whines into "please" and "thank you"s.... :)

*as previous post states, Sophia has 6 teeth in now...4 top, 2 bottom. she definitely knows how to use them! Has been "experimenting" a little with biting recently....I think to see what Mama & Daddy's reaction is going to be when she sinks her teeth into one of us. We are practicing our stern faces with a clear "no" - she gives us the biggest smile like 'wasn't that fun?' little stinker

*nurses 4 times during the day, about every 4 hrs. She is still getting up usually twice a night (only since the last month or two). I am not sure why all of a sudden she started doing that but I think partly she is distracted while she nurses during the day with everything going on around her so she makes up for it at night. She only gets up for 10-15 min and is still sleeping 12 hrs (6:30-6:30pm usually) so the mid-night cuddles are a short season that I will just enjoy while they last.

*Weighing 21 lbs and wearing 12 month, 12-18 month, and 18 month clothing. It is interesting because her weight doesn't "match" the clothing size. For instance, 18 month clothing is supposed to be 24.5-28 lbs but some things fit her perfectly. I have always said that her volume is greater than her mass. She definitely is starting to "thin out" because of the mobility increasing (don't worry, still plenty of rolls to go around) :)

*babbles alot....mamamama, BA! BA!, lalalala, sticks her tongue out, moves it side to side and makes noise...hilarious. Also something that resembles a combination of "tsk, tsk" and a chicken clucking....love when you imitate what she's doing, then she does it, then you do it, etc

*really high pitched squeaks and shrills, loves going back and forth with this too

*Still loving bath time. Has started something new that I am NOT thrilled about, but just part of the territory...Sophia gets really relaxed in there, lets it all out, so I get to handle a squirmy, slippery, wet baby while I scoop, then clean the tub of brown residue, and re-draw the water. not the best but Sophia isn't phased a bit....she is always confused why I interrupt bath time to drain and re-draw the water. loves to splash and is super laid back about water in her face...

*Has amazing belly laughs. She doesn't give them out "easily" so when she's really laughing hard it is the greatest gift to receive!

*Still loves music...random, but she breaks a huge smile out for "The hills are alive with the sound of music...."

*Down to two naps a day! (most days, every once in a while its still three naps) It has been GREAT for being more flexible to do things in terms of bigger blocks of awake time

*loving food still. recent favorites: cheese, sweet potato, cheerios, peaches, banana, avocado, zucchini/squash, and peas. She loves to feed herself peas one at a time! so cute. Pincher grasp is really good at this point! so thankful for this skill - don't take it for granted!
doesn't seem to like apricots. so far it's the only thing she has really refused every time I try it. guess we'll shelf it for down the road.

*even though she is on the move and is our little wiggle-worm who doesn't sit in one place for long, she still enjoys sitting in our laps to read books!

*separation anxiety starting....

*loves the great outdoors! favorites include walks and sitting in the grass, especially while Daddy plays her guitar music in the backyard

We love you so much, sweet pea!


Toothy Grin!

Sophia has 5 1/2 teeth (6th one is technically in, just hasn't come down far yet)....she loves to show them off! These little choppers sure have come in handy food-wise!

*breastfeeding has taken an interesting turn with those top teeth in, but with only a few painful biting experiences (yowza!), we are so thankful to continue going strong with mama milk!