Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Matching Jams

I bought these matching jammies almost a year ago when we were in the states.  Obviously N wasn't born yet, but I was more than excited to see the two of them in them and to get a pic to document it.

A few nights ago this little dream photo op of mine came to fruition.

And I couldn't be happier with how cute they look in their matchin' duds.

It makes me giggle every time…E's hamming it up for the camera while N just doesn't quite get it yet.  Hilarity.

I always thought we'd have boys, but I'm sure glad God saw fit to give us these two baby girls.  They rock, especially in their birdie jams :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Crawling + Teething

Baby, baby, baby, ooohhh… (now you're singing it ;)

The baby in this house is full out crawling as of the last week and a half.  And then today we found a tooth coming in!!  (I have to admit the whole teething earlier thing has me nervous a bit in regards to nursing…particularly since E was a late teether and was weaning around the time her first tooth came in! yikes!)

So needless to say this little lady's world is changing.  However, teething + mobility = crankiness and frustration.

But that's ok, she's a doll baby and we'll take her crankiness (mainly because along with those cranky moments come plenty of smiling moments…which are just the best!).

So how about some action shots followed by a little video?! :)
As promised below is the video of her crawling.  We were being quiet because Elise was in desperate need of a nap this day and was still asleep.  Also, if you decide to watch all three minutes, towards the end N gives a quite cute smile for Daddy.

So here we give you Nora the Crawler (kinda has a Dora the Explorer ring to it, huh? ;)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Because We Needed Green...

...and by green, I mean nature.  We needed an afternoon in nature.

So that's just what we did on Saturday.  We headed to a local park and ventured off a well-worn path.  There we found a perfect spot and nestled in for some much needed fresh air and GREEN!
Elise and Daddy did a little exploring and then Mommy and E messed around with dirt, bark, leaves, etc.  E was so cute and kept pointing up at the trees saying, "Ah, so pretty."  Life in a big city will do that to ya, I guess.  So glad we got this girl out in the woods.
 But I think of all of us, our Daddy Boy enjoyed it the most.  He just soaked up every moment out there in those woods...and he may or may not have pretended to be hunting a time or two.
 These girlies are the coolest ones I know.  Glad they're mine ;)
 Lil Nor spent most of her time on the blanket being snuggled.  It won't be long before she'll be climbing trees too, though...she's crawling already and as active as ever!
It was refreshing spending some time away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city.  We love the green plot of land in front of our apartments, and it's actually a luxury to have what we do have, but nothing can beat the freshness of truly being outdoors.

Now if only the leaves would change all shades of lovely fall colors for my visual enjoyment, I'd be heaven!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sister Friends

This sister thing is too fun to watch.  Watching their relationship blossom, even if they are still so little, is already a gift.  I love seeing them interact.

Today's big feat happened when Elise voluntarily tried to teach Nora to drink water from a sippy cup.  It was humorous.  And so sweet.  For the record, it's tricky drinking from a sippy cup when you're not used to it and thus N never got any water out.

But Elise sure did try to make it happen for her ;)
 I loved how E thought to grab N's hand so that she could help keep her up (N is still a bit rocky when sitting by herself).  Sweet big sis.

And let's just ignore the perpetual mess you can see in the background...not to mention somehow Daddy's stinky socks ended up in this photo below (what!?!?)
 And then, a hug.  No selfishness involved this time (E is trying to learn to share and doing so with her sis can be challenging)...just a sweet moment.
Poor lil Nora girl has been through a lot this week.  High fever two days in a row, sleepless nights, and now followed by a legit cough.  We're pretty sure she has croup.  Thankfully she is now on the up and up (or so we're hoping and praying!).

Love me these girls.  Even when I don't get enough sleep, or even when they're selfish, or even when I feel like it's just tough.  They are just as sweet as whipped cream on punkin' pie (yeah, I went's fall, ya'll! ;)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

E Turns Two: {Better Late Than Never}

Elise had a birthday (and all the sudden she went from being one to DOES that happen!?)....and somehow I'm just now getting around to posting some pics from her party and actual birthday.

We went with an owl theme, but honestly I just kind of threw everything together last minute.  Here's our spread...
That one above is the best we got...I look a little funny, but E and Daddy look cute, so we'll go with it!

Blowing out the candles.  E was a bit uncertain what all the attention was about (at one point she even reached for me to get out of her chair), so Mama helped her blow 'em out ;)
I know you want to see a better pic of that amazing cake that our friend Zuzana here ya go.  Didn't she do an awesome job!?!
Since Jas LOVES grilling, he was happy to crank out some hot dogs and stuffed peppers (thanks for the recipe, McClures). 
And E loves eating, so she was down with the hot dogs and food table.  
Little funny face girl.  While she might have been a bit intimidated with all the candle-blowing attention, she didn't bat much of an eye when it came to opening her presents.  Girl knows what's up ;)

And then on her actual birthday, a few days later, our big two year old got sprinkle pancakes and gobbled them down.  What can we say?  The girl is a good eater.  Unfortunately I was quite under the weather on her actual birthday, so she and Daddy took a trip to see the trains which she loved.  I think she had a very good her.
Oh Eebs, you're growing so fast.  Two fits you well so far, baby girl.

(And for the record, Nora was asleep for much of the party and thus is not in many of the pictures.  And also, somehow I forgot to get a pic of everyone that was there...bummed about that!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nora Rose: Six Months!

It feels like these days the only posts I can crank out are ones about our sweet babies, which is totally fine and are my favorite kind.  However, I do have some crafty, recipe, miscellaneous posts floating around in my head that I just can't seem to find time to write up.

Oh well, so it goes.  And so does the time.  I think at this stage in my life if I'm not trying to get babies to sleep, then I'm trying to get myself to sleep ;)

Which brings me to sweet N.  She is six months old today!!!

And she couldn't be sweeter.
 (she still hasn't quite gotten the hang of the whole "smile for mama" thing :)
Here's how our girl is shaping up...

~ She's right around 14 and a half pounds (of pure baby love).

~ She still eats around every 2.5 to 3 hours.
~ She has now tried carrots, sweet potatoes, and bananas.  Bananas have not been a hit so far, but she can down some sweet 'taters!

~ She's more or less on a good sleeping schedule with a nap around 9 am, another nap around 1 pm, and one last (small) nap around 4 or 5 pm.  She's still waking up a time or two at night (on good nights), but things have been a bit more complicated this time around since she's sharing a room with her sis and we haven't let her cry it out as much as we did with Elise.  But it's ok, we'll get there.  Sleep is overrated anyway ;)
~ She really likes smiling at her big sissy and follows almost everything she does.  

~ She's ALMOST crawling.  She does the army crawl and can get from one place to the other, but isn't "real" crawling yet.  She's also sitting up, but can't stay there on her own for more than 30 seconds or so without falling over.
(Had to throw that one in there...makes me giggle :)

~ This girl has such a sweet spirit and we're SO thankful she's a part of our the mess outta her!
Happy half year, Norny boo!

Friday, October 4, 2013

On Cultural Differences...

If you've traveled anywhere at all, or stayed in another country for an extended period of time, you've probably picked up on some cultural differences.  You know what I'm talking about, those idiosyncrasies that make a place, well, a place.  Distinct sets of beliefs or practices that stand out from one culture to another.

I find these cultural differences both intriguing and at times frustrating.

Let me preface this by saying, I do not think Americans have it all right and I do not think Slovaks have it all right.  Of course each culture has their pro's and con's.  Each culture has also been influenced differently from others, thus creating these beliefs and practices.  These are simply some observations of a mama living outside of her home culture in another culture :)

I'm thinking more along the lines of raising babies cross-culturally because that's mostly what I've been doing since living overseas.  That's just to say that we've faced some various cultural differences regarding child-raising that we have found in contrast to how we ourselves were raised.

Let's list a few, shall we?

1.  Drinking cold water.  This is a no-go here.  Cold water can lead to a sore throat or head cold.  From what we've experienced this is a belief even in the summer months.  We've been corrected on many an occasion for giving E cold water to drink for fear of her getting sick.

2.  Wearing a hat outside no matter what.  Hot, cold, warm, or cool, kids here always have on hats.  There have been quite a few times, particularly when it's been warm, that I've taken our babies out without hats on and have gotten many a look.  It's just not a thing you do around these parts.  The head always needs to be covered.

3.  Sitting on the (cool) ground.  It's a belief here that sitting (or lying) on a cold floor or ground will not fare well for a girl's nether regions.  I think this has long been practiced and warned against, thus the caution.  From what I've gleaned, the cold from the floor/ground could also lead to sickness.  This one was new and interesting for us to encounter when we came here two and a half years ago.

4.  Wearing shoes inside.  It's not generally welcomed to go barefoot or to wear just socks around inside.  A lot of people provide slippers at the door for you to slip on when you come in.  The idea behind this is also fear of getting sick, I believe.

5.  Putting babies in front of a fan.  I've been asked on many an occasion why I allow my babies to sit in front of the fan (mostly just during the summer months).  It's not a welcomed idea, but let me just say, when it's roasting hot outside, I'll stick a baby by a fan ;)

(photos taken at a market in Eastern Slovakia and Bratislava)

I have to say, we chose to live in another culture where things were done differently than we were used to.  We know the heart behind most of the scolding, correcting, or encouraging that we've gotten has been for wanting to protect our sweet babies...and we appreciate that.  It would be the same as if a Slovak were to live for an extended period of time in America.  They would find our customs and thought processes interesting (perhaps burdensome?) at times.  It's just par for the course.

We've learned a lot about being culturally sensitive, yet firm, in our beliefs on bringing up the children God's given us to raise.  It's challenging!  And humbling.  Glad we've experienced it firsthand and hopefully we can glean from it for years to come :)

Now, I want to know, have YOU experienced any cultural differences that have surprised you or caught you off guard?  How did you handle them?  Do share, I'm curious ;)
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