Thursday, May 30, 2013

Reflections: Seasons Change

It's amazing what can happen when you start to unload before the Lord. You might start to hesitantly reveal one thing- one heavy thing, and then you realize that it feels so very good. You begin to wonder what took you so long. The next thing you know, you've laid out more wounds, more fears, more anxieties than you had any idea were even there. The phrase "soul detox" comes to mind.

One of the many things that the Holy Spirit seemed to be drawing out of me this morning was a memory. It seems so bizarre to reflect on where I was (in so many senses) a year ago. Doctor visits, ridiculously long to-do lists, violin sessions, and first drafts of chapters that I've long-since rewritten and edited four or five times over... Afternoons by the pool, mornings swept up in worship, and great outpourings of grief and sorrow and confusion. Meanwhile, Micah was working 10-12 hour days in the heat, getting up at 2:30 in the morning to eat the fried eggs and toast and coffee I was able to prepare for him before work. But I think we were both just...grappling with our sorrow.

Strangely, the last eight months have been the longest for me- and yet so full of blessing. My role has changed; my duties have changed. I sincerely pat myself on the back every time I prepare a three dish dinner. Every accomplishment is now magnified because of how little I've been able to do, for various reasons. My housewife duties have been replaced by studying, planning, decorating, reading, making decisions, and lots of resting. It's been awfully hard to feel productive, to be honest. And Micah has traded in the manual labor for office work- only to take on an incredible amount of new responsibilities at home. Every single day, I am utterly amazed at how much grace he has for me, and how much he can accomplish without blinking an eye or grumbling.

The thing is, I want to draw the connection between that grieving housewife of a year ago and whoever I am today. It seems that a season of our life is ending. Yet another season. Soon, I will no longer be a pregnant momma. Evelyn and Micah and I will all graduate into something else, something we have never experienced, taking some shape and form of a family that I can only vaguely imagine like a silhouette- like an ultrasound photo. And all my imaginings are based on the experiences of others- but it won't be like that, I know. It will be uniquely ours, full of our own strengths and weaknesses, our very own failures and joyful blessings.

Looking back, I realize that there is one thing that connects us both to the past and the future: We are absolutely desperate for the presence, healing, and strength of the Lord. He is still all we have and all we need, and He always will be.

Natasha W.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weeks 33 and 34 and Another Baby Shower

I'm trying to get an update in while watching the tornado watches and storm warnings around here. The weather is really putting a kink in my baby prep work! I've been glued to the tv all day long, while also packing my "bug out" bag and filling out hospital paperwork, just to be extra prepared in the event that I went into pre-term labor during the storms. C'est la vie! At least, in Oklahoma during tornado season, it is.

Micah sent me the link below, which I thought was a really good read. It's mostly a warning to parents to be careful what you post about your little ones, since it can follow them for the rest of their lives. Save the potentially embarrassing stuff for in-person private conversations, and keep in mind that you're little cutie will be an adult in the workforce some day. I thought it was a good thing to keep in mind for myself before I start actually posting photos and updates of Evie this summer. :)

Below is a very unflattering picture of myself. I think that shirt just makes me look bigger for some reason. I'm still trying to figure out how to get a decent snapshot with the camera through my vanity mirror.

The 34 weeks photo turned out a little better! :)

My lovely sis-in-law, Candice, took it upon herself to throw an amazing baby shower for me at my parents' house! Everyone was blown away by her amazing coordinating and decorating skills. I felt so blessed to have her throw my shower! My mom's talented cake decorating friend, Lori, custom made the cake for the party. I picked navy blue with white polka dots, sort of a running theme that has developed in Evie's room and wardrobe. Lisa added a pink ribbon and adorable fondant blue birds that remind me of Cinderella. She did an amazing job! Also in the photo is one of my baby dresses. I don't remember being so wide... but I think the dress is adorable, and Mom let me take it for Evie!

 Candice let me take home whatever decorations I wanted- so I took home those framed letters, of course! I'm thinking of painting the frames, just because the walls in her room are white. However, Micah has recently begun talking about painting her room after all (technically not allowed, but if our landlord approves of a neutral color, then it just might happen). So maybe I'll wait on that project.

Candice framed and decorated all these signs for the food, drinks, and crafts at the party. Below are a couple of photos of the party favors at the glamorous Iced Tea Bar: Wine glasses personalized with each guests name and a fancy damask design. These were decorated with a special pen so that it doesn't wear off with washing. Everyone was mad about them, of course. :) Also, amazingly enough, it took me a while to realize that my glass was the one labeled "Mommy". Go figure!

For all the little ones that were expected to arrive, Candice personalized sippy cups and plastic cups for them, as well. So brilliant!

At the Iced Tea Bar: Frozen strawberries, raspberries, blue berries, fresh mint, lemons, and a sugar syrup.

Lemonade, water, tea, and a bottle of something sparkly hiding behind the tea. :)

Everyone at the shower was asked to sign a square for a special baby quilt that Candice is sewing together herself. She had me hand-pick the patterns and colors, so I know I'll love the finished product. I hope to post pictures of it when I get it. There was one special square on which Papa drew an artistic picture of a banjo and wrote something funny. He came in after the shower was over, so he's the only guy who gets a square. But then he's Papa so he can do what he wants!

Micah came in after the shower as well, and attacked one of the beautiful blue fondant birds. I knew you wouldn't believe me if I told you, so I'm glad I had my camera handy to prove it!

 The headless bird. Tragic.

My strawberry-raspberry-mint lemonade in my Mommy glass! What a treasure it is! It makes me so happy to see that glass with my "new name" on it. :)

Like a silly woman, it never occurred to me to take pictures of the beautiful people who came to the shower! It was so wonderful to have family there- my mom's side is always so reliable and supportive and fun. But I also got to have my Dad's mom, "Mamaw" there, who I don't get to see as often. And of course my lovely friend Rachel! They all made it so very special and memorable, and showered Evie with some amazing gifts! We are so blessed. :)

Below is a picture just above the co-sleeper bed that's attached to our bed in front of our new curtains. Micah was so sweet to buy us two sets of curtains the other day and put them up after he got off work yesterday. These will be so helpful to block out sunlight during the day and mornings when Evie and I are trying to get in some much needed shut-eye this summer. I was struck this morning by how beautiful and serene they looked. Evelyn is going to have such a pleasant little set up! Her daddy is doing an amazing job getting things ready for her, and has been working non-stop whenever we are home. I hope to post pictures of some of the other things he's done to prepare for his daughter's arrival.

Natasha W.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weeks 31 and 32, a Baby Shower and Mothers Day

It seems that the closer we get to July 2nd, the more things are speeding up around the Wittman homestead. Perhaps it is because there is so much to do to get ready, and so more things are happening in a short amount of time. 

We just got a camera, as we realized we would be wanting one to take good pictures of our little girl when she arrives. However, I haven't figured out much more than how to point and shoot with it, and I certainly am not editing pictures right now. So...apologies! The first picture is obviously on my iphone, and I just didn't take the time to edit it when I was trying to upload pictures. 

In this picture: 31 weeks and ready to go for a much needed walk in the sunshine.


We were very blessed by a baby shower thrown by my house church friends. And I must say that I was very impressed and LOVED the whole party! :) It was so fun to be in a room full of friends and just share in our excitement for Evie's arrival. Of course, there was a lot of generosity, too, and Evie is much better prepared for now than she was before!

Below: Christa's cake. This might actually be the most amazing cake I or anyone else has ever tasted! It was a custom-made oreo/cheesecake/chocolate cake, with gigantic, tantalizing layers of tasty goodness. 

A beautiful display of the many delicious treats we were fortunate to snack on! My sweet D Group ladies contributed...much to the delight of my palate. :)

A brilliant craft idea: Letter/number blocks to decorate Evie's room. There were just enough to spell out her entire name, and I LOVE looking at the finished product on her bookshelf. Everyone was invited to contribute decorating a block and write their name on it, as well. Such a great idea!

Friends! Cindy, Rachel, and Josee working their crafting magic on those blocks. I loved having them there!

The cake I mentioned, with a cup of black coffee. Um, yes. Just yes.

My sweet and talented shower-thrower, friend, and house church leader: Andrea! Her precious son, Deacon, just being good. :) She was not posing. She just looks that elegant most of the time.

FRIENDS again! (L to R) Tevin and her daughter Abby, Christa and her infant boy Sawyer Storm, Kristen mysteriously trying to eat Cindy's hair, myself, lovely sis-in-law Candice, Misty, and Andrea with Deacon. Behind the camera? The lovely Rachel. :)

We were trying to look crazy. Some of us obviously succeeded. Others failed due to their immaculate normalcy and composure. This is what you're supposed to do at parties, right? 

Mellow us. This time Rachel took Tevin's place. Now we know what everyone looks like. :)

Beautiful flowers I got to take home from the shower! 

In other news... Micah is now an inspirational athlete. Not only has he talked about running, but he has actually started running! He isn't pictured below, but this was my view at the park (definitely not running), where we try to go during the evenings. Micah runs, I read. These are the dog days, I tell you. I am genuinely inspired by his sudden zeal for health, however. I look forward to joining him by starting jogging in the fall. In the meantime, I try to cheer him on and to not mention my frozen yogurt/ice cream cravings too often. 

Those blocks read "32" and "EVIE", just so you know. We wanted to do a creative picture with them, but this was the best we could come up with. Also, this was right around the time that my childbirth class instructor announced that I look big. Note: This was after she asked when everyone's due date was, and heard that I am due LAST. Yes, I look big. Apparently compared to all those moms who are due before I am. Was I startled by this? Yes. Am I over it now? Maybe. Micah insists it was a compliment. He is an optimist, that one. But I like his attitude!

The honey-do list is keeping Micah busy these days. He actually offered to repaint this changing table (a generous gift from Aunt Mel). Since we haven't been able to paint Evie's room, we are trying to bring in as much color as possible. So after two laborious evenings of sanding and painting...

Ta-da! I am so happy with the way it turned out! We were both a little nervous about the color when we bought the paint, unsure of how it would actually look when the project was done. But the color surprised us by matching the canvas painting which will be over the crib. A nice surprise!

 This is a random picture taken on our Mothers Day date at Othello's. Whimsical italian cream sodas for us both. :) We had a lovely dinner, enhanced not only by the live italian operatic singing upstairs, but also by our incredibly competent waiter, whose name happened to be Boris. This Natasha has never met a Boris, so it was pretty exhilarating! I'm not sure why Micah's hand looks like a claw. He wasn't posing. His hands are fine.

So, a word on Mother's Day. It was wonderful and bizarre and such a fun time of celebration. A year ago was precisely the opposite, so the contrast is probably what made it feel bizarre. People actually kept telling me Happy Mother's Day. A stranger gave me a carnation. Micah bought me a bracelet and a much anticipated book (Kingdom Come by Sam Storms- a MUST READ). I felt incredibly special and honored. Plus, Micah won't stop celebrating me. I told him Othello's was our celebration, but he insisted on satisfying my chips-and-salsa craving Sunday at On the Border. He keeps finding little ways to celebrate this special time, and I'm so thankful for that. :)

Natasha W.