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.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

2 Years Old!!!!

Emeline turned 2 years old on Feb. 12th. We had a great Hello Kitty themed party on Saturday, Feb. 7th attended by friends and neighbors. We had--including us and the kiddos-- about 20 people in our little apartment. I had such a wonderful time planning the party. I might have gone a bit overboard, but we did not get to have a big party here last year for her first birthday, because we were picking her up in Guatemala. I just love her so much…I wanted her to have a great party. We actually took her foster family out to eat at a nice steak restaurant last year on her first birthday. This year, I really wanted to have a traditional birthday party. Emeline had a blast and some of my family watched us sing to her and open her presents via Skype…yay for technology. Her big present from us was a little white table and 2 little chairs (IKEA, of course). She loves her table and chairs and moves her chairs all over the living room to sit in them.

Also, I know the above pictures are really of the party stuff and not Emeline. One of our German friends has an amazing camera—much better than ours—so she took the pictures, which I have yet to get from her. I have tons of video on our camera. So, I will have post more pics of Emeline in her birthday dress later. Take my word for it—she was adorable. She even wore her little princess crown part of the time.

A couple of days after Emeline’s party I was pretty much put on house arrest by my doctor for the remaining time of my pregnancy. So, I have been on the couch now for the past month or so. I am thankful to have just crossed the 32 week mark this week, so I am out of the most dangerous time. If Baby boy comes now he has very good chances of doing well, but would likely be in the hospital until around his due date or at least several weeks. Please pray that he can stay on the inside until 37 weeks, when he would be considered full-term. I have an appointment on next Friday that should give us a pretty good idea of where we stand with my cervix. Baby boy is doing just great…he is growing just as he should. We even saw on the last sonogram that he has a little bit of hair!

I am very much looking forward to my mom coming. She is planning to come some time at the end of March or the first half of April depending on how things are going. She will be staying about 5-6 weeks. My dad will come at the end of April. Then after my parents leave, my sister and my brother-in-law will be coming. WOW! We are looking forward to having so much family around to love on Emeline and the baby.

Please also keep Chris in your prayers as he is trying to do his job here and take care of the majority of everything around the house. Thankfully, I am able to keep an eye on Emeline from the couch, but not much else. Chris is really looking forward to my mom getting here :).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


With Emeline's wonderful Foster Family--Feb. 11, 2008

Emeline is thinking who is this lady who acts like she knows me....maybe if I don't look at her she will go away.

Forever a Family!!! Oh, what a day!

The calm before the storm....She had yet to wake up and realize she is alone with us.

The calm after the storm :). She finally falls asleep in her daddy's arms.

One year ago today….Emeline was placed in our arms, and we never had to give her back!!!! She was ours. She had already been ours in our hearts, but we were finally together. We met with her precious foster family who loved her dearly in the Marriot hotel in Guatemala City on February 11, 2008. We had just arrived in Guatemala a few hours before. We were finally going to get our girl.

When we saw Emeline’s foster family, we all exchanged gifts. The most important gift they gave sweet Emeline stays with her still. It was so apparent that she was loved by her entire foster family. She will probably have no memories of her first year in Guatemala apart from pictures and the stories we tell her. However, she remembers still in her heart. She is a secure and incredibly loving child. She has no problem trusting others love for her…she expects that others will be there for her. We have helped develop this in her, but we cannot take all or most the credit. She came to us that way, loved and treasured. For that we are forever grateful.

On a funny note…there is one thing deep in her soul she has never forgotten from Guatemala. Somebody or somebodies must have ridden sweet girl on their leg (giving a horse ride) ALL the time in Guatemala. She still to this day wants us to give her a horse rides. Unfortunately, our legs are not so strong!!

When her foster family left after many tears, Emeline was sleeping in my arms. When she woke up she was not a happy camper. It was sad to see her so very upset, but even in those moments I was just so happy to have her in my arms. It did not take long for her to begin to accept us. Again, I believe this is because she was so loved by her foster family. I also think she really enjoyed the undivided attention we were so very happy to give her.

We have come so far as a family in one year. I cannot imagine my life without my daughter. What did we do anyway before Emeline was here with us ??? I am so very grateful to God for every day we have together. I still appreciate the little things like her yelling “Maaaaaaaaaa-maaaaaaaaaaaah” so many times a day—music to my ears. I love watching her dance and take care of her babies. She is such a good little mommy. I love seeing the pure excitement and joy she has when she hears her daddy come in the door.

I have recently been sentenced to the couch again, so that Emeline’s brother stays put for several more weeks, which is not exactly what I had in mind to celebrate this day. However, daddy is up to any challenge and is out playing with his beautiful daughter on this very special day. We could not be more blessed as we celebrate our one year Forever Family Day.