Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 2010...One Post is better than no Post :)

People enjoying the snow in Düsseldorf.

Snow in a pretty little neighborhood near us.
Fountain a block from where we live...on the main street in our neighborhood.

Our street with snow.

These are Christmas Eve and Day Pics....Emeline is surprised on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve 2009

Christmas Eve 2009--my babies.

Callum Christoph's very first Christmas Eve.

What a great smile...I couldn't pick just one.

Emeline helps me decorate the tree on Christmas Eve....very German of me!

I have decided to give a bunch of random update information in this blog post. These little bits o’ info are not in order of importance. I am just going to write what pops into my head at the moment. (Scary, I know!)

First subject: FACEBOOK. I do have tons of pics posted on Facebook that are not on the blog. I can control better who sees my pics, and I feel a bit safer posting more pictures on facebook, because I have all of my photo-albums set so only friends can view them. There are pics there, for instance, from our vacation last August in Italy. This blog has mostly pics of Emeline and Callum, because my mom cares more about seeing her grandbabies than some cool place in Italy. I also update my status pretty regularly, so you can get some details about daily life or just weird thoughts that I am having that day.

CHURCH PLANT—We had our second Bible study discussion group and had several visitors again. The entire core group was also there and did a great job. Chris did well with the introduction to the passage. We talked about Nicodemus in John 3. I personally thought it went really well and that others felt comfortable to talk. However, I was in and out with Emeline, so I really didn’t get to participate. I was amazed that many of the visitors brought goodies to share—we usually have cake/cookies and coffee for afterwards. One lady who was not in the core group baked an amazing cake. I say that not because of the cake, but because I think it is great she took so much time to make this beautiful cake for our Bible study discussion group. We still need to work on how to get people to talk/discuss more as we want all to discuss—especially those not in our core group. Some other totally useless information: Emeline threw up on me after the Bible study. She was trying to eat a sweet and choked a bit, which is not unusual for Emeline. I then proceeded to beat said object out of her and she puked all over herself and my sweater. So, for much of the after-discussion with cake and coffee I smelled like barf…so is the life of a mom of baby and almost 3 year old. We are still pretty bummed that we will have to leave for an entire year in June in regards to our work here. Please pray for all involved with the new church plant.

YOUTH—We helped with an area-wide youth event this month. The youth group that Chris helps with did a skit for the event. Chris and I were a bit stressed about it. It was about 8 minutes long and involved about 10 kids. We did not have much time to practice with the entire group, but in the end the kids worked hard when they had to and did a fabulous job. On a funny note…we were at the hotel where the event was to take place hours in advance so we could run through everything on stage. I was handling the technical side of things and working with the tech people about mics and lighting, etc. Chris was talking with the group about the game plan at the same time and took Callum with him to a small side room. Afterwards the rehearsal began. About 10 minutes into that I noticed Callum was nowhere to be seen. I asked Chris and he started running towards that side room, but I beat him to the door. When I opened the door Callum was just smiling at me and sucking on his shoe in his stroller. Thankfully, the room was not dark while he was left in there. We were also late picking Emeline up from Kindergarten that day. We had decided to leave her there to play later than usual so she would not have to be at this event so long and did not realize the closing time was different on Fridays. The teachers were still cleaning up and very nice about us being totally irresponsible. Yeah, good grief!

SNOW—We have had more snow the past couple of months than we have in our 4 years here in Germany. We just don’t get so much snow. I don’t know if it has to do with being on the Rhein, because Cologne doesn’t get much snow either. I have enjoyed the bright whiteness. The winters here are so dark, so I have enjoyed the snow brightening things up a bit. In my opinion snow is better than cold rain any day. I still get excited about the snow, because it only snowed once the whole time I was growing up in Louisiana. I am just like a little kid with the snow.

EMELINE—Emeline continues to learn more and more German. It makes me a bit sad to think she will forget much when we are home for a year starting in June. I am planning to do what I can to keep her language up, but one can only do so much. She is already registered for pre-school in Louisiana. At least she will get a good foundation in her English while we are in the US. We had our first parent/teacher conference at her Kindergarten, and it went really well. Emeline continues to come out of her shell more while there as she learns more German. She is very helpful with the other children, especially those a bit younger than her. She is quick to comfort those who are sad or get hurt. Oh, and the teachers agree that she is just not quite ready for potty training. Is death by potty training possible???? I am about to go crazy potty training this girl. She CAN go. We bought her a potty that sings when you go :-). She will be three in a couple of weeks. She has been watching the Elmo potty video since before she was two. She knows all about going potty. She can go on demand—when she chooses to do so. However, a few weeks ago she got REALLY upset about going potty, so I pulled the plug on trying for a while. I personally think she wants diapers because Callum has diapers. She even has Hello Kitty suckers and numerous rewards waiting for her if only she would, well, you know…. On another note, Emeline is now quite the artist. She has been painting with a passion. I keep her watercolors out almost all the time. The other night she woke up and would not go back to sleep until I confirmed that when she woke up the next morning she could paint. She was saying, “When I wake up, I paint, Mamma!”

CALLUM CHRISTOPH—He is now turning 10 months old--today! Can we slow down just a little please??? In the past month or so he has started crawling. It actually looks more like swimming on the floor. His style works well for him on our wood floors. Chris says he looks like a little inchworm. He is babbling more and more. He continues to say Mamma!!! He has recently started saying Dada as well. He continues to adore his Sissy. I have a deal worked out with her that she can take something of hers that he has if she gives him another toy in exchange. This usually works just fine and everyone it happy afterwards. He is eating more substantial baby food now and baby cookies. He will also try to eat any food on the floor. The other day Emeline had dropped a piece of chicken on the floor and Callum ate some of that. So, he is progressing nicely in his eating. I can’t wait to show him off when we get to the US. Get ready to be charmed by my little man!

CHRIS—Chris’ foot continues to get better after surgery in December. His foot is still swollen, and he continues to go to physical therapy. We are hoping and praying he will be able to run again in the next month or so. He really misses running, and it would mean a great deal to him to be able to run again. He does not like not being able to exercise. He continues to be busy and is currently writing up an action plan/vision plan for the church plant.

SHANNON—I am trying to lose the rest of this baby weight before Callum turns a year old. I have known I was going to have to exercise to get the final pounds off, but just was not motivated to get going. I have been exercising 4-5 times a week on the elliptical for 45 minutes each the past couple of weeks. It is already paying off. I want to be in great shape when I come to the US, so I can eat lots of Mexican food and at Chili’s and On the Border. I am not sure “so I can eat more food in the US” is the best motivation to lose weight, but whatever works, right? My sister is also getting married in August, and I want to look nice at the wedding.

I finally got to start teaching English at Em’s Kindergarten, and I am having so much fun. The leader of school wanted me to use a puppet she had. At first I wasn’t sure if it would go over well, but the kids love the puppet that I named Jacob. So, I am teaching English on Wednesdays from 10am-11am. I do one session with each class. The kids really enjoy it and are learning. So far we have done such things as asking about names and colors. When I pick Emeline up, the kids will ask me in German about when Jacob is coming again! It has been a great opportunity for me to get to know the children and all the teachers. I am hoping I can set up an exchange between Emeline’s pre-school in Louisiana and her pre-school here in Germany.

Well, I didn’t post weekly, but this has to go down as one of the longest posts ever! Please keep us in your prayers as both kids have pink eye, and Emeline has had fever the past couple of days. Hopefully, we will not all be sick soon.

*** Also, if anyone can instruct me on how to better sort my pics after downloading to the Blog, I would be grateful. I can never move them around after downloading. I try dragging them, but it doesn't work most of the time and takes forever--very frustrating. Share your wisdom if you have any!***

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Musselmans

Christmas 2009- Emeline and Callum on PhotoPeach

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brother and Sissy

Sissy with her little brother

Lady GaGa has nothing on Emeline's fashion creations!

Two Peas in a Pod....Emeline NEVER took a pacifier until NOW!
Emeline loves to build her nest around Callum.
Emeline put her Daddy's bike helmet to good use.

These two are too fast....this is an action shot.
What is a baby brother good dress in your princess clothes and to prop your feet on.

He watches her every move.

Mom, look what Emeline did to me!


I think the most beautiful sound I have ever heard is that of my children laughing and playing together. Emeline is now 2 years 9 months old, and Callum is just over 8 months old. I can’t believe that they already play so much together. It is so fun to see them interact and to see their little personalities developing. Emeline has a very strong personality, and I thought she might be running Callum’s show for his entire life, but our little man is giving her a run for her money. It looks like we have not one, but two little extraverts on our hands. Emeline had pretty much been taking Callum’s toys at will….until a couple of weeks ago when Callum starting loudly screaming and protesting when she took his toys. Once not too long ago, Emeline grabbed his hand because he made her mad, then Callum screamed at her and gave her such a look that she came crying to me. He also likes to knock over her little play chair from his walker when he can and enjoys touching her things before she comes a gets them saying “NOOOOOOOOOO, Caaaaaaalluuuuuum, NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” So, Chris said the classic brother /sister fighting has also begun. Emeline will cry if she does not get her Callum kiss before bed. Callum loves to chase her in his walker, and she loves to be chased. Emeline is also protective of Callum around other kids, and it’s so sweet to watch her with him. She has gotten in trouble for trying to gag—I mean feed—Callum. It is so sweet to watch Em sing or read to Callum. I believe Callum has started clapping because of her trying to get him to clap his hands to “If your happy and you know it clap your hands…” It is such a joy to watch them together and their love for each other grow. My prayer is that they will be very close when they grow up.

Oh, and Chris and I had our 10th anniversary on November 27th. I said to him that we managed to double ourselves in these 10 years! He gave me some beautiful white and light green roses with some other flowers in the mix as well. Emeline managed to pick most of the lavender flowers out and re-gift them to me. We also managed to go out to eat the next week. I can’t believe it has been ten years. We spent our actual anniversary afternoon loving on our kiddos…we are so thankful to God to have our arms and our hands full with these two blessings.

Callum celebrated his very first Thanksgiving. We celebrated with friends in Bonn on the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year. We even had an American lady play the harp and sing for us. Have no fear, we did not suffer for good food and dear friends. However, it will be nice to celebrate Thanksgiving in the US next year with family. I am looking forward to some Cajun injected fried turkey next Thanksgiving.

Emeline went to her very first movie this week—The Princess and the Frog. She loved it. I will try to do a short post with some pics soon. She dressed up in her princess dress for the movie, and people were stopping us to get a look at her cuteness.

Hey, a new post and it hasn’t been months since the last one. Like I said, I am going to do my very best to post once a week or at least every other week.

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mi-Mi. My mom celebrated her birthday on Dec. 9th. Next year, Mi-Mi, you can get your birthday hug in person!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back to Blogging...I mean it this time!

Em and I along the Rhein near our home.

Emeline in front of the Reichstag (German capital building in Berlin)

Callum and his baby blues.

Well, yes, it is ridiculous that I have not posted in so long. Things have been busy around here, and I would like to put much of the blame on Facebook. I have been posting pics to Facebook, because it is easy, and I don’t have to reduce the size. Some exciting things have been happening ministry wise as well, which has kept me running around much of the time. Enough excuses….

The kids are growing faster than I would like. I wish I could stop time sometimes. This is such a special time for me as a mother. Chris and I were just in bed the other morning discussing how we are so thankful to have 2 babies for this Thanksgiving when just 2 Thanksgivings ago we had no children at home. Emeline was in bed with us (as she normally is after about 6am), and Callum was sleeping in his crib in our room, which is where he always sleeps—I don’t need a monitor, ‘cause he’s always right there next to me! I know I sound mushy, but we still can’t believe it! I think I might be saying this the rest of my life.

I don’t even know where to begin. Emeline has started German Kindergarten, which is like pre-school in the US. She has been blooming from so much contact with the other children and learnin’ some German! It is so fun to hear her saying things Callum in German. She will now eat at a kids’ table by herself and can pretty much dress herself. She is also very much into drawing and cutting up paper into a thousand pieces which I have later to vacuum up. She is obsessed with the Octopus. She has seen almost all of the You-tube videos pertaining to octopi. Octopi chase us in our home, in our car, and pretty much everywhere. Did you know an octopus is as smart as a cat?? I know way too much about the octopus. If you have any kind of cut, she will say the octopus got you. She also loves to sing. Lately her favorite songs are “If Your Happy and You Know it..” and “Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man.”

She is very much a strong willed child, and at times I want to literally pull my hair out, because I just want her to listen to me the first time for once. I get tired of putting her in time out all the time. Ugh. However, I love her passion and her “fire.” She makes me laugh…this kid is truly funny. She is an adrenaline junky like her mom for sure. She is as the little old lady in Guatemala called her a “Chili.” She is also gives lots of hugs and kisses to those she loves. She is an amazing big sister, though Callum is not allowed to play with certain toys of hers, and she will take his toys and pacifiers at times. She loves him, and when he cries she is quick to come to his rescue and try to comfort him. She often pulls out one of the pacifiers she has stashed away and puts it in her mouth until I grab it to clean it. She is also quite protective of him around others. Callum so LOVES her. He smiles at her and follows her in his walker. He squeals with delight when he sees her if she has been gone for a while or has come home from Kindergarten. She can get him to stop crying when no one else can.

Callum Christoph is a little extravert. He is wooer. He makes eye contact with folks and then when they look at him he hits them with a huge smile. The other day after having lunch in the mall, a couple followed us out and bought Callum a chocolate Santa, because he totally charmed them during lunch. He continues to sleep 9-10 hours a night. He wakes up during the night maybe once every month if that. He is a dream baby. It is a privilege to be his mommy. I feel overwhelmed that he loves me and that we have such a strong connection. With Emeline, I had to work so hard at first for what is just there with Callum. I never cease to be blown away at that. He is also a doll baby with huge blue eyes. How did Chris and I make such a beautiful baby? I am just in awe of the fact that I am his mamma. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Callum has just started waving and clapping his hands. He is also starting to babble more and more. He also eats like a champ. He is a chunky monkey!

Well, I have much more to say, but this post is already too long. I will do better. I will be posting more and not every post will have a pic, but I want to keep our family better updated….and I have some stuff to say!

Blessings to all my friends and family who are far away. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back to Blogging...Life with 2 kiddos

Well, having two kids is a lot of work, isn’t it? I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it sure makes it tough to find time to blog. To quote my friend Ashley, “I think I am coming out of the new baby fog.” Well, I am getting a bit more sleep these days, so I am able to do more than just put one foot in front of the other.


Emeline continues to talk more and more.  She is super busy. Sometimes I wish she were not quite so busy, but that is part of her personality. I wouldn’t change her for the world. I just need to harness that energy, and steer her in the right direction. She is currently (much to the dismay of Chris, who doesn’t want us to have a TV) obsessed with The Little Mermaid. We were looking in a beautiful old church with my sister and Emeline looked at some o f the artwork and declared, “Look!! A mermaid.” I have since figured out that she thinks all princesses are mermaids, so we are working on getting that clarified. She also escaped the other day and took the elevator to the second floor. I was feeding Callum, and noticed it was a bit too quiet. A nice neighbor man returned her. She probably knocked on his door! So, I’ll be making sure to lock the door from now on. So, please keep me in your prayers—that I don’t lose my child or my mind!



Callum Christoph, or as Emeline says “Callum Baby” continues to grow and grow. He is now over 12 pounds. He has more than doubled his birth weight of 5. ½ lbs.  Chris says he’s not so “floppy” now. I guess he is right. He rolled over by himself last week. He is smiling and cooing. He is really starting to interact with us, and I am cherishing every moment.  He loves his big sister. He knows her voice, and just smiles and smiles at her. That is, except when she takes his pacifier and runs off with it.  He still enjoys his baths, which he has to have regularly because he spits up all the time! If you hold Callum you must do so at your own risk and never without a burp cloth.  His hair is still light brown, but the new hair growing in on top looks light blonde. I personally think he looks just like his daddy, but time will tell. He has Chris’ hands and feet. For now, his eyes are blue like mine. Well, I think whomever he looks like, he is beautiful like his sister—only he doesn’t have the great tan that she has.


Callum is now the same size Emeline was when we visited her for the first time in Guatemala. I am so very thankful that I do not have to give sweet Callum back . I get to keep him with me. I am at times exhausted, but I am always thankful to have my son. I never thought I would have a newborn to take care of. I know there are so many people who would give anything to have a baby to keep them up in the night. I stare at Callum like I stare at his sister…just in awe of how blessed I am. One of our co-workers calls Callum “the miracle man.” Emeline was our first miracle. I am amazed at how God brought her to us and made us a family. As for Callum…I still find myself thinking, “I can’t believe I was pregnant and had this precious baby!” You would think after after months of bed rest and 3 days of labor ( or lack thereof)  I would remember. My brain may be foggy these days, but my heart is full!


Thanks to our friend Rebecca for taking these pictures!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The First Month

A tiny hand.

Father and son.

Family photo after Callum's dedication at church.

Me and my boy.

Pappy (Shannon's dad) holds Callum for the first time.

Pappy is proud to have another grandson.

First many people does it take to bathe such a tiny baby?

Callum likes his baths...notice Emeline's ever-present helping hand.

My wonderful German doctor meets Callum.

It is hard to believe that Callum is already a month old. He is growing so very fast. He has gone from 5 ½ pounds to over 7 ½ pounds. You can really see that he is getting some cheeks now—above and on his bottom :). In some ways it seems this month has flown by…like one very long day of Callum eating every 3 to 4 hours and me not sleeping very much. However, it has been a HUGE help having my mom here since Callum was a few days old. My dad has also been here now for over a week. We are getting pretty spoiled around here.

Callum is normally a very content baby, and he usually only cries when he has stomach aches or he is being changed. He does not like to be cold. He even likes his baths so long as he has a warm towel over him keeping him warm. I think he looks like Chris. He definitely has Chris’ feet and legs. It is so amazing to see Chris’ feet in miniature form. He definitely does not get his calmness as a baby from me or Chris!

I am very sad that I have to bottle feed Callum. After over 4 weeks of pumping every 4 hours or so, even the German midwife said it was time to give up. He did get all the breast milk I made from the first few weeks. Although it was not very much, I am happy that he did get all of it. I am disappointed, but I am keeping it all in perspective. I have a very healthy baby who is eating formula and growing like a champ. If not being able to breastfeed it the worst thing that comes with a baby born 6 weeks early, then I am still so very, very thankful. Our neighbor had a baby girl born 6 weeks early, and she had to be in intensive care for over 2 weeks. Like I said before, he is our miracle boy!

Now for an Emeline update….her vocabulary is exploding and that is no exaggeration. She has understood just about everything for a very long time, but was not saying too many words until the last month or so. Now, she is using 2 and 3 word phrases all the time. The other day I made a comment and she said to me “I know.” And, believe me, she does know! She has been quite jealous of Callum, but is doing better and better. She loves her brother and wants to hold him and tries to help me with everything, but has the occasional moment when she does things like throw sand at his stroller (no harm done). She has also been drinking lots of milk after being inspired by her baby brother’s love of milk. Oh, and Emeline has inherited my old breast pump attachments. She was absolutely thrilled to get them and still pretends to pump occasionally, though interestingly she usually pumps through her belly. She then proceeds to bottle feed her baby. There is never a dull moment with Emeline.

Lastly, I have had some questions about Callum’s name and how to pronounce it. The name Callum is pronounced similar to Calvin (not Caleb or Kayla). In fact, we sometimes call him “Cal” for short, though I like to call him Callum. It is a Scottish name that means "dove." Like the name Malcolm it refers back to St. Columba (521-597) who helped bring Christianity to the Scotland. It is one of the current top 5 names for baby boys in Scotland and one of the top 20 names for baby boys in Great Britain. However, the name is not very well known in the US. Chris and I both studied as exchange students in Scotland when in college and both heard and liked the name. Christoph is the German form of Christopher and is pronounced like "Christ-off." So, Callum is also named for his dad (even though my Chris’ name is just plain Chris not Christopher).

Sunday, April 12, 2009




MARCH 30, 2009 at 5:31pm

5 lbs. 8 oz.

19 inches

Callum after arriving home.

Emeline watching over her baby brother.

Tiny, tiny feet.

Emeline's first look at Callum after he came home.

Callum in the car on the way home from the hospital.

Emeline's first kiss as she holds Callum for the very first time...this is my favorite picture in the world at the moment.

Pure delight as Emeline holds Callum for the first time.

On Saturday, March 28th, we drove to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning after I started leaking amniotic fluid. Three days and many drugs later, Callum was born 6 weeks early and perfectly healthy. The doctors said that because I was leaking amniotic fluid, they would do nothing to keep him from coming. We were told the risk of infection for me and the baby was very high, and it was safer to let him come than to keep me from delivering him.

We continue to praise God for our miracle!!! I did not have a cesarean, and he came out crying loudly. He was born at 34 weeks and 3 days, and never taken even once to intensive care unit for babies. He stayed in the hospital and stayed with me in the room most of the time for 7 days. We would have been released from the hospital sooner, but he needed to stay under the light for a few days for mild jaundice towards the end of our stay.

Emeline is a little jealous, but loves her baby brother. The first thing she does in the morning is look in his bassinet to see if he is still there. She loves holding him, and is very gentle for a 2 year old. She loves to give him kisses. What a joy it is to see them together.

More details and pictures coming soon.