Thursday, June 26, 2014


"Joining Jodi's 52 Project with "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Sebastian | I feel like there should be some huge announcement, but I can't hold it in any longer. Germany has changed our family in a lot of ways, but the most recent is kind of the fullfillment of a dream of mine. My boys AND HUSBAND are Fußball fans. I've always thought the sport was really interesting and way underrated in the U.S. (what's the deal, anyways?). Thank you Weltmeisterschaft 2014. I am forever indebted to you. We may have to get cable so we can watch Fußball all the time. One thing I love about the sport is how accessible it is to even the smallest of children. You don't need anything but a ball. It's really a hugely challenging sport, and yet there is something about it that is so simple and almost... casual. It's like the ultimate endorphin pumping, let's-hang-out kind of game. And let's not forget the cardio! (Of course on the competitive level it's more than that). Seb has been coming up with different ways to kick the ball and it very well might be his most prized possession in Germany. He is so proud of how he can play Fußball like the profis, and loves watching the world cup games. Tonight we're having a party with our neighbors for the Germany vs. USA game, and the boys are both wearing their jerseys today. Go teams!

Bruno | His first portrait as a 2 year old. This little shed was at the garden we visited with our friends last Thursday, and Bruno immediately claimed it as his Haus. Yannik's papa laid out a cushion so he could have his own little bed, and he spent loads of time just sitting there and doing random 2 yo stuff. The life.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bruno ist zwei geworden

Coffee and Brezel date with this handsome 2 yr. old. He's proudly wearing his new Fußball Trikot.

The cake. Bruno is obsessed with snails and turtles.

Buddies. Seb + Bruno + Yannik. Laughing at all the silly things Yannik's papa is saying to get them to smile, like Aprikose in die Hose (apricots in your pants) and Pavian Popo (baboon bottom). 
Potty humor at it's finest.

Beautiful boy that has been stopping the hearts of women with that smile for 2 years and counting.

The 2014 Strecker Birthday Games closing ceremony. It's like our own little version of the World Cup. May 18th to June 18th. We made it!

Yannik and Seb spent at least 30 minutes letting their soccer balls roll down the hill and then would carry them to the top to do it all over again. 

Bruno turned two last Wednesday. Cody had to be gone all day for class, so I tried to make the day as celebratory as possible on my own (which proved... challenging), but we officially celebrated all together on Thursday. I called it my do-over day, because Wednesday... woah. Seb's friend Yannik's grandparents tend a large garden in Eningen, which is a small city that neighbors Reutlingen. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we soaked up every minute in this beautiful garden. There are over a hundred apple and pear trees, a few cherry trees, and currant, gooseberry, and raspberry bushes. They had a swing, a small sandbox, a slide, a small trampoline, and a fire pit. It was such a lovely evening and such a neat experience for all of us. Gardens are a big deal in Germany. This is probably primarily because of a combination of two factors: there isn't much space, meaning many families and individuals live in small apartments their whole lives, and also because Germans tend to be outdoorsy people at their core. We've noticed that the younger generations don't have that quality as much as the older generations, but it's there all the same. We are so thankful to the Wagner family for hosting us and creating such wonderful memories with us, and for making Bruno's birthday celebration a whole lot of fun.

Happy birthday to my beautiful Brunsy.

Friday, June 20, 2014


"Joining Jodi's 52 Project with "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Sebastian | Learned his right from his left this week. 

Bruno | Last portrait as a 1 yr. old. Sniff. 

Note: Both portraits taken while hiking Schönberg.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Schönberg Turm

happy father's day, my love!

davy crocket? daniel boone? no no. sebastian strecker. look out, folks!

watermelon lover

the little red circle shows you where we live!

hot coffee. sleeping baby on my back. watching my older two men cook some wurst [shown below].

schönberg turm from the meadow below. our hike was 3.6 miles. cody kept close track with his spiffy new GPS watch.

so thankful for this adventurous man who says, "hey. let's go see _____ today!"

Cody and I talk frequently about what this year has meant for us, but whenever I sit down to write even just a bit of what I'm feeling or thinking, I find it hard to do anything other than gush with love. I ache to spontaneously invite friends over for a cup of coffee, and have a deep conversation in English. I long to be nearer to our families. And life sure would be grand if I had all my baking pans and mixer. But I tell you what, our way of life in Germany doesn't want for much. The relationship between land and city... public transportation that can get you just about anywhere... parks within one arm's reach, while there are castles and trails and wide open fields and farmland within reach of the other arm... it's just grand. This place has been good to us and good for us, and I am so abundantly grateful to God for placing us here. I have so much to learn and so much need for growth, but I have seen God's faithfulness here. I am so thankful for my Germany.

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's always a good Friday the 13th when it happens in June

I am so proud of this man. He is the most faithful and forgiving husband, and a remarkable father—somehow perfectly balancing discipline and wisdom with wild fun. Today carried with it sounds of Pettersson und Findus songs sung during the otherwise silent moments. It carried with it the unmistakable rhythm of a usual Friday, but was punctuated with moments of celebration, birthday kisses, and special foods. The boys presented Cody with homemade cards (a monkey in a tree holding a lollypop from Seb, and a snail from Bruno), and we had the most perfect picnic at the park. Seb usually picks the picnic spot, but Cody got to choose today since he was the birthday boy. I made Flammkuchen and the chocolate cake cody requested, and we mostly spent the whole time trying to convince Sebastian that we weren't going to eat the Geburtstagstorte until he ate a little lunch. I think he had one bite of Flammkuchen and then hungrily scarfed down that long-awaited slice of cake. Of course he was famished by that point! Never have I seen stubbornness like that of a child that doesn't want to eat something. How appropriate though, because he gets it straight from his daddy. Happy birthday, Cody Strecker! We love you to the moon and back. Every day is a picnic with you (sometimes literally).

P.S. The family photo above was the 3rd take, and Seb was bored silly waiting for the Geburtstagstorte of course.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


"Joining Jodi's 52 Project with "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Sebastian | Has a mind of his own and quite a streak of stubborness, and it's usually bent on throwing rocks in the river, climbing everything in or around his path, riding his bike, eating candy, wearing a particular item of clothing (currently one of his two sleeveless shirts), and saying things in German incorrectly even after Cody tries to correct him. He says something like, "I say it how I say it!" When he's not busy being stubborn about something, he is incredibly sweet and will tell you he loves you approximately 1,000 x each day for no apparent reason whatsoever. Sometimes I wonder if he's so stubborn because I say no a lot and he feels like he has to be super persuasive or insistant to do something he wants to do. A goal I've recently set for myself is to say yes more often. Sometimes I feel so bombarded with requests that my gut reaction is to simply say no no no. I'm trying to pause more before I answer and assess weather it's a big deal or not for him to do something. Baby steps for me in this area...

Bruno | He is officially on two wheels! He's been out here and there on the balance bike with Cody over the last month, but I consider Sunday his inaugural ride. At the start he was struggling and more walking with the bike between his legs, but by the time we returned home, he was balancing and picking up speed. He took it to the park today and really did an excellent job. If he falls, he picks himself back up and keeps going. If he hits a rough patch, he slows down and steadies himself again. We're kind of amazed at how quickly he's progressed and just have to keep reminding ourselves that we have to stick close to him because he doesn't know how to use the hand break yet. This was definitely a big "baby to boy" transition for him, and it's so fun watching him cruising with his brother—a therapeutic leap of independence for him, I think.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Eis is the Brezel of Summer

We were the happy recipients of a heatwave yesterday, so the boys celebrated by filling up the kiddie pool outside. I brought them icecream after I did a few things inside and then Cody and I chatted about the tension between being a mom and being other things. After I verbally sorted out my thoughts, Cody very wisely said that if women focus first on being godly women, how to be the best kind of mother, friend, wife, sister, daughter, and individual will be easier to grasp and maintain, regardless of how that looks. I love that, and I am so thankful for the moms I know that are living this out and providing a real-life example of what that can look like.

I am eagerly looking forward to more days like this. It has been glorious soaking up the sun and letting the boys play with water and sand at the park. I have been loving my new shorts and sandals, and am thankful for a fun city to walk to, in, and around. And despite the fact that our daily lives will look very different in Texas, I am thrilled that we are moving to a warm climate! Warm weather + young kids is the best combo ever. In equally thrilling news (to me), we got a new budget app for my phone to compliment our budget system, which has taken a huge weight off my shoulders and made keeping track of our money that much easier and streamlined. I mean like, I buy something, enter the purchase into my phone, and bam—donezo. Oh and if I want to buy something, say a pair of shoes or something, but don't know if I have enough money in my clothing budget, I just open the app on my phone and can see exactly how much I have! Dear YNAB app, I love you. This, plus the fact that Bruno is back to his bed after bunking with us for quite a while is making life grand. Our brains have been buzzing with plans, ideas, and upcoming changes. I'm so glad the sunshine is now along for the ride.

In other news, this post on highly sensitive parents that I linked to last week turned out to be quite popular. Go here if you fall under this category and have tips to share or questions you'd like answered. I am thrilled to see that Megan is planning to share more tips and resources for highly sensitive parents in the future. Kind of unrelated... I really like this archived post from Megan's husband about being faithful in the little things of caring for our home and our belongings.

Is it summer where you live yet? I am enjoying the change in season more than ever before. I think it might have something to do with Seb and Bruno being a bit older. Carrying babies around is wonderful, but admittedly more difficult in the heat!