Here are some photos I snapped on a walk with my Mom of the town where they live. Sitzenkirch is a sleepy farm town that is cozy and nestled in the valley of beautiful hills. It is where BFA used to have their elementary school (now it's their middle school) so I have many fond memories of being there every day as a child. Down the street from my parents, a German neighbor has a little farm stand with a coin box. Every Friday she bakes fresh bread and other pastries (like Linzertorte - it was delicious) and has various other farm produce....feldsalat (type of lettuce), apples, potatoes, walnuts, etc. Across the street from her is a barn that has about 10 cows and a 2 week old calf. Each morning at 8 am and evening at 6 pm, you can find the farmer in there milking the cows for about an hr. For 50 Euro cents (about 65 cents US), he will dip into the fresh, warm milk and fill up your own glass liter bottle. My Dad and I would go a few times a week (often with Luca & Sophia) and get 3 liters of fresh, raw milk (3/4 of a gallon). I was in awe that it is just down the street from them and thankful to enjoy that milk all month! Seeing the baby calf was fun too - so cute. :) As maybe a TMI side-note of my own personal reflection: having breastfed Sophia for 11 months now, I do not take any milk production for granted - those sweet cows worked hard for us to be able to have it!


Sophia went sledding for the first time!! She did great! I'm not sure who had more fun, Sophia or Eric/me, but it was a very fun memory to make this Christmas!

If we had made a Christmas card this year....it would have looked something like this! Maybe we'll get one out next year. Thank you everyone who sent me one - I enjoyed opening them all when we got home. Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Snow, snow, snow, snow, SNOW!

Once Eric arrived, we spent a few days/nights up the hill at Sonne dorm with his parents & Donnie. It was fun to have all the Shillings together and an early Christmas present was a bunch of SNOW!!! The German hills became transformed into a beautiful Narnia... simply gorgeous. Debbie, Eric, Sophia, and I all took a walk through the magical breath-taking forest & town of Marzell - what a treat!!!

Katie & Luca

It was such a joy to overlap my time with Katie's while at my parents. Granted, two kiddos on jet lag made my parents' apartment a tad snug (snug is an understatement), but it was fun to be in such close quarters and to be all together.

Some of my favorite memories of Luca while we were together:
- he loved Basel and would have gone there every night if we could have! When he saw the trams/trollies, he would say, 'ding, ding, ding! hello everybody!' it was so cute and never got old
- he did NOT like the taste of mineral water...too bubbly I guess. Sophia on the other hand DID like it, well she would make a funny face from the bubbles but then go back for more! Luca being the big-boy cousin looking out for her would say, 'don't drink that, Sophia! It's too sour for you!' in a sweet, warning voice.
-Katie was singing "wheels on the bus" with Luca one morning and together they were improvising new verses, like what does Mommy say on the bus? what does Aunt Betsy say on the bus? what does the rooster outside say on the bus? well she also asked him what does Sophia say on the bus? and his response so astutely captured her on jet-lag...he said she says 'waa, waa, waa' unfortunately she did a lot of that the first 10 days. I'm happy to say that once she started sleeping again, Luca made her laugh a LOT and he would ask her, 'are you happy now, Sophia?' it was really cute to see them together
-Luca & my Dad would sing a song together every morning that goes, "It's a Happy Day! and we thank God for the weather....it's a Happy Day! and we're living each day for the Lord! it's a Happy Day! and things are gonna get better....'cause we're living each day by the promises of God's Word' and I loved hearing it! His sweet, singing voice cannot be measured. I'll have to ask Katie to get it on video. I'm glad Popeye taught us all a new song
-walking around Sitzenkirch and talking to all the animals...there were goats, horses, chickens, cows, dogs, birds, cats, roosters....all within a 5 min walk! kind-of fun to be in a farm town! :)

out to eat at a beloved German restaurant in Kandern....the Ochsen...yum

Luca giving Sophia a Christmas present! He is helping her open it since she was too little to know what to do with it....a book in German! I love it! thanks Luca & Katie!!

We look forward to seeing what Luca's little sister will look like! Thanks Katie for coming and making that long trip by yourself while 33 weeks pregnant! You are amazing and I'm so glad we could share our time there. Highlights were lunch out just us (while Nana & Popeye babysat), walk up to Sausenberg (pics on K's blog), and our 2 am "party" in the living room! I wish I had snapped a photo of EVERYone in the house up at 2 am because of jet-lagged kids! at least we all got a laugh (it was either that or cry!) :) Love you!


Katie's blog

Katie did a much better job updating....see her blog for what we've been up to. :)

more posts coming here too though :)

10 months post....a month late!

jet lag and international travel set us back a bit....For some reason, my parents' computer wouldn't let me hit the "publish post" button so I have MUCH to catch up on! First things first, here is our 10 month update!
- napping twice a day, one in the morning & one in the afternoon
She is usually up between 6-7:15 am then 1st nap around 8:30-9a and 2nd nap at 12:30-1p. she goes down for the night around 6:30-7p (this is all in GSO before we left, not our schedule in Germany!)
-she started waving bye-bye! sooo cute! she usually doesn't start waving though until we are out of sight so people usually miss it since they are already gone! :) hah mid-December I was driving and said to her, wave bye-bye to Basel Sophia! and I saw her waving in the backseat! so she obviously knows/comprehends what I'm saying too! so fun!
-She has starting making diaper changes a challenge - flips to her stomach so fast it is amazing! changing clothes has become semi-dramatic. really dislikes the whole process...
-kind-of back to not liking the car. if she has cheerios or mum-mums (crackers) to keep her entertained, she is fine unless she's tired. music also helps
-She loves to clap!! and is so proud of herself! its adorable and brings a smile to our faces!
-b/c of Eric being in India for 2 weeks and then us coming to Germany 10 days before him, she has REALLY become a mama's girl! doesn't like me to be far (out of eyesight). I do enjoy being 'wanted' and there is nothing in the world I'd rather do than be close to my girl
-still enjoys baths - loves splashing and kicking. latest thing is to flip to her tummy, then go face down into the water (not sure what she thinks will happen but she comes up blinking the water out of her eyes and sputtering) doesn't cry though....usually just tries it again! silly nut
-has started liking funny noise....like when you slurp or gulp a drink, blow your nose, zerbert (blow raspberries) on her neck or tummy, click your tongue, lick your fingers, wash your hands and squeeze the water so it squeaks (she has greatest belly laugh w this activity)
-hangs on when I am holding her on my hip. sometimes she squeezes her legs around me, but mostly grips on with her sweet hands. when she is sleepy, she will lay her head on my chest and hold on so tight. melts my heart.
-for naps and bed, she cuddles and chews on her lovey, daisy. daisy is starting to look very "well-loved" at this point!
-has started sleeping on her tummy. I still lay her down on her back, but most of the time when I come to check on her or when she wakes up, she is either on her tummy or sometimes on her side. A few times, she is laying in a strange position that looks like she was sitting up and leaned forward to fall asleep so she is kind-of jack-knifed.
-still sucks her bottom lip when tired or uncertain of her surroundings (lots of new people or new place). she holds tight to mama in those situations too
-experienced jet-lag for the first time.....a whole post could be written about it! oy. it was TOUGH and considering 12 days later she is still going to bed at 10 pm, I'd say we are off our normal schedule, but sooooo much better than that first week! much harder than I imagined. I am glad we made our trip to Europe for such a long time so that the period after adjustment made it worth going!
this month has included: waving, sitting up from laying down position, pulling up, standing with minimal support, "leaning" out....our girl is getting so big! love when she crinkles her nose to smile! :)