Happy First Birthday, Connor!

It’s official – our little man is ONE! I just can’t believe it! The past 12 months have been the most amazing (and quickest!) of my entire life. I am so grateful that I am able to stay home with Connor and enjoy every moment. Some moments are certainly more difficult than others, but, I like to remind myself how lucky I am that God trusted ME to be Connor’s mama.

If you are interested in reading Connor’s birth story, click here.

Connor now walks more than he crawls. He falls a lot, but picks himself right back up and keeps going! He can clap if you ask him to, copies you if you blow raspberries at him, and can click his tongue.

Connor loves to put things inside other things…a spoon in a tupperware container, a tv remote in the toybox, the baby monitor inside a dresser drawer, rubber duckie inside a lunchbox, etc. He recently started grabbing my hand to put something in it, like a toy or small book. I say, “Thank you!” and he sheepishly grins, as if he knows he did something nice. So cute! Sometimes he’ll take it back so that he can give it to me again. The last week or so, he has been fascinated with pulling bags out of boxes, like cereal. He was pretty proud of himself the other day when he finally got the clip off the shredded wheat bag and helped himself to a few pieces!

Another favorite activity is mixing up his toys, and I think he does it just to drive me crazy. He has a certain toy that plays music and spins around a plastic ball, elephant, and a tree. As soon as he pushes the button to start it, he takes off the ball, elephant, and tree and tosses them aside. Then he’ll throw in a puzzle piece, finger puppet, wooden hammer, or plastic shape instead. Once he leaves that toy, I’ll put everything back, and the cycle begins again! But that’s half the fun, right?

Connor is definitely a chatterbox! Along with his wookie sounds, he also babbles “da da,” “ma ma,” “na na,” and “yah” all the time. We haven’t figured out if any of them have intentional meaning yet, but he certainly says them with conviction!

Mealtimes have been pretty successful. Connor has eaten anything and everything that we have offered. Sure, sometimes we get some yucky faces, but he has never spit anything out or refused a first try. He eats all kinds of vegetables, fruits, and beans, but he especially loves the things I cook! He went nuts over sweet potato-pea curry, black bean burgers, homemade tomato sauce with quinoa pasta, buckwheat pancakes with blueberry sauce…the list goes on!

To our little man…
We love you to the moon and back!

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Connor’s New Tricks & A Visit from My Dad and Stepmom

Connor is 11 months old!
I feel like I haven’t posted recently because nothing “big” has happened, but now that I look back at the time since the last post, it seems like so much has changed! Connor is 11 months old now. I just can’t believe how quickly time passes! He has been taking steps since February 27, and ever since then he has been gradually walking farther and farther. He is still a little unsteady and falls often, but he is on his way! He walked about 12 feet while my dad was watching. Connor has also started using the sign for “more.” I have been using signs for months and have been eager for him to sign back. His other new trick is clapping, and he will clap if you say, “Can you clap?” or, “Yay!” My dad built a huge tower with blocks and when Connor knocked it over, he clapped for himself without any prompting :). So cute! He is also a little chatterbox lately. His favorite “word” is “nnn-nah!” We have no idea if it means something, but he says it alllll the time. Maybe it’s his version of “mama??”

Here’s our little Easter ham
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My Dad and Marilyn’s Visit
My dad and stepmom visited us from March 17-26. It was their first time in Germany! We had such a great time, although the visit went by too quickly. While they were here we made a few outings, but they were mostly interested in spending time with Connor (and us…?). Except for pictures and skype, they hadn’t seen him since he was 3 months old. We went to Speyer (less than an hour away) to see the cathedral and had a nice lunch. Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with the cathedral (I suppose I’m spoiled after seeing Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s), and it was too cold INside to get Connor out of the front carrier, so he was getting a little restless. But, we had our most successful restaurant meal with him after seeing the cathedral! He happily sat in his seat and ate while constantly turning around to grin at the waiter or the little girl behind us.

We took two days to go to Hirrlingen so that my dad could meet all of our German relatives. (In case you missed it, you can check out my previous post about our first trip to Hirrlingen). Luckily, Charlie was able to take two days off from work and come with us! We drove there on Wednesday morning and arrived at Elisabeth and Matthias’ for lunch. (Elisabeth is a first cousin of my grandma.) Elisabeth’s son Alex met us there, showed us their church where “everyone” gets baptized and married, then his son Sven arrived home from school and we went to Hohenzollern Castle. We went there on our last trip, but the tour was in German and it was so foggy with snow that we could hardly see anything outside. This time we had an English tour and had much better views. After the tour, we met Alex’s wife Annette and daughter Nina at a local brewery to relax and enjoy a beer. We headed back to Elisabeth’s for a delicious dinner, then drove to Andrea’s house and spent the night there. (Andrea is a daughter of one of my grandma’s first cousins.)

Lunch with Alex, Matthias, Elisabeth, my dad, Marilyn, me, and Connor
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Hohenzollern Castle…a view as we drove up to it
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Alex and Sven outside the castle
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Connor must have been anxious for the next day’s activities because he was up at 5:15am. Annette came over that morning, as well as Andrea’s mom, and we had a nice breakfast once Charlie, Marilyn, and my dad came upstairs. After Andrea’s mom showed us lots of family pictures, Annette took us to the old mill so that my dad could see where his grandmother grew up. We had another tour of the water works, which my dad thoroughly enjoyed. Picture the German engineer and the American engineer communicating without understanding each other’s spoken language :). We enjoyed coffee and other treats at Anna’s house (the wife of another of my grandma’s late cousins), then took a short drive to Tübingen.

Annette took us on a walking tour of Tübingen, which is a really neat city. We stopped in a few shops, as well as a big church. Before too long, it was time to head back to her house for a quick rest. While we were at Annette’s house, her dad Bernhard showed us his house, which is right behind hers. It’s the house where Annette and her brothers grew up. So much family history!

The church in Tübingen
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Around 3:00 we drove to a restaurant in Hirrlingen. Annette had arranged for all the relatives to meet so that we could spend time together. We saw many relatives that we had met that day or the day before, but we also met many more! My grandma has so many first cousins in Germany, and they have families of their own…lots of relatives!

We enjoyed our time with everyone, then left to drive home. Thankfully there was no traffic, and Connor slept most of the way, and we made it home to Hochspeyer around 9:30 that night.

The rest of my parents’ visit was mostly spent playing with Connor and enjoying good German food at local restaurants. We also took them to Ramstein to show them the huge mall there, and had some walking adventures around Hochspeyer. Their time here flew by too quickly! We look forward to seeing them again during our family beach vacation in July. That will be our first trip back to the states!