Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Rainy Day Moment


As I write, Evelyn is lying in her bed talking animatedly to herself. We just finished reading Les Contraires and Madeline, and then I rocked her peacefully as she snuggled up in her new GAP cardigan and Audrey Hepburn-esque outfit with her blankie and Puppy, fidgeting silently. But I was thinking of all the things I wanted to write, and was too impatient to sing her our usual french lullabies and wait for her to actually fall asleep. So she is currently trying to fall asleep on her own, which she is actually quite good at.

I've decided that, in addition to all the things I have on my plate right now, I'd like to add a painting project! Crazy, for sure, and maybe impossible. What can I say? Sometimes a girl just wants the impossible! ;)

I have been really inspired by Evie's Madeline book, with its classic French boarding school pictures, its charming simplicity and striking color schemes... and the opportunity it would afford for enhancing the girls' french education if I copied some of the illustrations! I'm planning on buying some small canvases to paint simple pictures and to write the image's french term/phrase underneath. My sweet friend Josee has really been encouraging about incorporating french into their education even though I know so very little.

I'd also like to learn more French songs for girls/babies. They are hard to come by, and then take time to translate, and then learn by heart. But they are my favorite songs to sing to her for naps, bed time, and middle of the night PLEASE-go-back-to-sleep rocking sessions.

Last night, we had our very first official meeting with our doula! That is, I had an interview meeting before signing on with her, but now it is official. We talked about all kinds of birth-related things, and it was so much fun. I feel encouraged and confident about my labor now- much more so than before! And so, my excitement for Victoria Rose is growing and growing! I can't WAIT for Evie to meet her, to have a little sissy that is SO close in age. When I think about it, I know so few people, especially of my or Evie's generation who have siblings so close together! Especially sisters! Just knowing how full my heart is and how much joy I get from being with Evelyn... my heart cannot even contain the concept of having TWO little girls. I am SO excited! And my joy, I know, greatly exceeds any trepidation about having a newborn again or having a newborn+toddler. 

As I'm sure you know, a LOT has been going on with my book lately. I appreciate any and all support coming in from family and friends. I assure you, none of it goes unnoticed. It is pretty challenging being back in the "social networking" scene, even if it is only for professional purposes. One does tend to feel vulnerable. This week, things have slowed down a little bit on the business front, as we wait on the cover to be designed and to hear back from people about other things, but today the Lord has really given me peace about having a bit of a break. It's nice to stop and think about Evie and Tori, painting again, and just trusting that this whole journey is in the Lord's hands. 

Today, Evie went with me for a cappuccino run in the rain, which totally made my day, and which had the blessing of my sweet Micah. We are currently on a tight budget, which really has no room for things like emergency coffee runs or makeup purchases or maternity clothes, but any time I let him know of something I feel like I NEED, he is so sweet to believe me and encourages me to buy it. He is so generous! :) He also called just to talk, even though he was driving through a flash flood warning and we had earthquakes going on left and right. I love him so much, and can NOT wait for our upcoming trip to Kansas City next month! At least 2 nights/ 3 days of nothing but dating each other... I can't imagine ANYTHING better right now. I have literally and figuratively dreamt of dating him since right after Evie was born! I'm pretty sure the number of dates we've been on in the last year would fit on one hand. I'm just absolutely starved for time alone with that man! I know the trip will be SO refreshing and will help us recharge before entering a new busy season of book-promoting/signing/selling and a new stage of parenting! 

Thank you so much for reading and for any comments you leave here as well as at www.steepandsavor.blogspot.com . Your support is immeasurably meaningful to me! Also, if you could please go over to the Steep and Savor blog and enter your email address for updates, that would be really encouraging for me. :) Thank you!!!!

Love,
Natasha

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Evelyn's First Birthday Party



 The last month has really flown by! Here are her ever-so-late 10 and 11 month pics:






And a snapshot of her sitting in church like a big girl!



We were sooooo excited to announce that we are having...



another...



baby GIRL!!!



And we had our friend Jordan Mobley take some family photos! 


Evie is sooo close to walking on her own, but does a great job holding on with one hand. She has even taken several steps on her own, so the real deal is going to happen any day now! 






We had a great birthday party for her last weekend! It was a "20's Tea Party" theme, but nothing too crazy. 
   






I think her favorite part was having Daddy around. She misses him so much during the week!






Above: Me, Evelyn Joy, and little sissy, Victoria "Tori" Rose Wittman. 



Well, I don't even know where to begin in trying to recap. Evelyn is just so much fun these days. She is sleeping 12 hours at night without getting up, and then takes a 2 hour nap during the day. Pretty awesome! She tries to say a new word every day, it seems. This week, her new words have been, "Tickle", which she also uses when talking about "Tigger". She says, "Pooh Bear" and copies me when I'm trying to "Sshh" her to go to sleep.

I can't believe I have a one year old! And I can't believe how long I labored to get her here. Ha! I glanced at the clock around 7pm last night, which is when my active labor began last year. And then woke up this morning after a full night's sleep, and then spent almost the entire day with Evie... and we still have 2 more hours to go! Labor is insane! Why would you do it? Oh, yeah. Because of the countless hours it affords with the cutest little lady in the whole world. :)

Meanwhile, Miss Tori is kicking and squirming and dancing a lot these days. And I started feeling MUCH better at exactly 20 weeks 4 days. It is SUCH a relief to feel human again! I'm anticipating a pretty easy time for the rest of this pregnancy. :)

I am SO excited that Micah and I have committed to using a doula for our future labor! It's easy to look back on our first one and realize how much more comfortable and reassuring it would have been to have her there supporting us. We already have a lot of plans up our sleeves for getting through labor more quickly, more comfortably, and with more energy left over when it's done. I'm actually EXCITED about labor already! Praise God! I'm already studying hypnobirthing and using prenatal yoga to prepare. Come on, November!

I'm hoping to post an update soon on the progress for my book. Hopefully I'll have that up in a few days. :)

Cheerio,

Natasha W.







Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Four Months Pregnant Update



Instead of trying to capture every (important) detail of the last several weeks, I'll try to keep it as brief as possible. But I must warn you: A lot has been happening!

Evie had her first sickness- a cold/virus a couple weeks ago. She and I actually got sick at the same time, and for her it came after a week of not sleeping well, a couple days of fever, teething pain, and a myriad of other disruptions in our routine. Because of the lack of sleep and other things, my health was taking a downward spiral during my pregnancy! I lost two pounds and had no appetite during the evenings. Evie reverted back to nursing 8 times a day for comfort, and I just wasn't retaining the nutrients I needed. So, with the advice of our pediatrician, Evie was weaned to cow's milk at 10 1/2 months old. I am sooo glad we were advised to do that!

Weaning has totally changed our lives! She now self-soothes during the night so we don't have to get up at all. She has an established bedtime routine of reading books, drinking milk from her sippy cup, and being rocked/sang to sleep at the same time each night. It is so sweet letting her fall asleep on us that way! She is particularly attached to her Bambi book, and insists on reading it before falling asleep for bedtime and nap time. It is so adorable! If she is too sleepy to read the whole thing, she just flips to the part about the skunk named Flower and gives him a kiss.

 Evie also just started doing well in her car seat right before being weaned. Praise the Lord!

I think starting this month, 11 months, we are entering into my new favorite baby/toddler stage.

In the last several weeks, she has also started trying to say new words- her first was "Bird" which sounds more like, "buh," or "bur". Since then she says (or attempts to say) "Juice", "bath", "bad", "bear", "Puppy", "Baby", "Papa", "Down", "There", "Thank you", and one attempt for "Lovie". ha ha. She also shakes her head no appropriately when you ask her a question and when we shake our heads at her to say, "No, no." She shakes her arm at dogs (and some times people) because Lovie taught her to tell the big bad wolf in her book, "YOU BE GOOD!" So when she sees or hears dogs, she usually does that, and sometimes makes her barking sound, which is "Ffffff!" I love it! She also tries to snap her fingers with both hands when music is playing. Ha!

She went swimming for the first time. Finding clothes for her just got really interesting. She had climbed up to 2T sizes at 9 months old, but now we are finding that she fits into some 12 month clothes again, and some 2T sizes just swallow her! She has slimmed down so much, probably due to walking (assisted) and crawling everywhere. She has been quite high energy, which is beyond wearing this pregnant momma out.

Speaking of being pregnant... I thought I'd post an update on the pregnancy and Evie's little Brother/Sister, as well.

We find out the gender in the middle of June, which is driving me nuts, because I want to know SO BAD. I started feeling the little one move at about 14 1/2 weeks, and now at almost 18 weeks, I feel him/her every single day. It is so wonderful to feel him/her make their presence known in the middle of the chaos that is parenting an 11 month old.

 My symptoms have been pretty straight forward lately: Extreme fatigue! Aversions to food and warm liquids, especially around dinner time. Frequent headaches (up until a week ago), and some (of what I think is) round ligament pain in the last few weeks.

Cravings: (Virgin) Margaritas! Tomato Basil soup and caesar salads. Fruit/ citrus. Cold coffee drinks.

This pregnancy season has been so challenging, that we have been tempted to name our little one (jokingly), Em Tasol. In melanesian pigeon (the language we partially learned in Papua New Guinea a few years ago), this phrase means, "That's all." So the question is, will this be Em Tasol Wittman??? I've wrestled with this question a lot, and I think I'm finally at a place where I can just let it rest until this little one is at least a couple years old. Then we may revisit and decide, 1) if we can handle another pregnancy while taking care of two kids, and 2) if we can handle THREE kids. I guess one reason I've been wrestling with it so much instead of just saying, "Of course this is it," is because part of me really wants a boy AND another girl. However, part of me wants to be done with pregnancy and nursing forever!

In other news, my hands are full this month with several things on my to-do list:

1. Plan Evie's first birthday party! We are thinking of keeping it low-key with just family this year. Next year we might do a separate friends party, and then combine Evie's family party with her cousins on the Fourth of July.

2. I need to acquire a doula! I'm really excited about the prospect of getting that extra support during my next labor/delivery. I think it will really help to get an even better experience than last time. :) I'm also considering looking into hypnobirthing and using a TENs machine for pain management. I'm already so excited about my next labor experience and can't stop researching and planning to prepare.

3. Getting my book published. I still have several tasks ahead to try to get that book out this summer. If I achieve that, then I will be able to start work on promoting and selling it before the baby is due in November. That's my goal!

I will try to update again soon, mostly just for pictures. :)

Cheerio!

Natasha W.

Friday, April 18, 2014

We Are Expanding Our Home By Two Feet

It's true! We are blessed with another pregnancy and excitedly awaiting the arrival of Evie's little sibling, due around November 6th! On that note, I wish I could say we were expanding our living quarters, but I have no idea whether we will be moving into a bigger home before baby #2 arrives. If not, then it will be a very cozy winter!




We tried to recapture Micah's feelings of shock and disbelief while we were at our first midwife appointment. Evie sweetly complied with a look of total glee! I hope that continues! 


Lovie introduced a baby (which is about Evie's size) for her to play with. It was going really well, until I picked up the fake baby and cooed at it, gave it kisses and hugs, and rocked it in my arms. She immediately started crying for me to pick her up! We will have to practice loving on other babies and sharing Mommy. :) 

We are 11 weeks along, and things are going very smoothly. The only thing I can really complain about (not that I would do that) is the EXTREME fatigue I'm having almost everyday. I just discovered this week, though, that if I force myself to stay active and busy all day, then I will actually feel better than if I let myself rest (which is impossible, anyway). So the new motto around here is, "Just Keep Moving!" 

Also, as some of you may know, I finally finished all of the writing work on my novel. I'm so blessed that it has now been professionally edited and really seems to be in great shape for publishing! Hopefully I'll have more of an idea as to when it will be published and more details in the next few/several weeks. 

Meanwhile, Evie has already changed so much since the last blog post. She is crawling on hands and knees ALL the time now, and pulling up on EVERYTHING. She is getting so good at it and loves to stand up all the time. It's really exciting around here! We are excited for Easter this weekend, so check back in for pictures of that in the next couple of weeks. :)

Cheerio,

Natasha W.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Tornado Season Update

Hello, tornado season! How did you come back so quickly??? 

Well, I don't know how, except that Evie Joy makes time fly by SO quickly. :) We are praying for a peaceful season with beautiful weather. This has been the longest winter of my life! I have been just dying to get Evie out more and to spend more time out doors. 

Yesterday, Evie turned 9 months old! We had her 9 month doc appointment today, and it went really well. She weighs 20lbs 12oz, and is over 28 inches long. 

A LOT has happened in the last couple months, as well...

-Evie quickly sprouted a total of 4 teeth about a month ago. I love her gorgeous smile!

-She also started saying Ba-ba instead of Mama, and still says Da-da pretty well. She also went through a two-day phase of saying Uh-oh over and over again. It was so cute! But now she hardly ever says it. Instead, she says random word combinations (babbling, of course), like... "Oy leg." and "Hi, bub" and once when I asked her to say Da-da, she thought really hard about it and then said, "Bad." She also said, "Type" today. It cracks me up! She is experimenting so much with her voice and I love it!

-The last few weeks have been extremely difficult as her fussiness reached an all-time high. After talking to the pediatrician, we think she has had some stomach issues, which may be tied to teething. We are hoping to switch her to a bigger car seat soon (rear-facing/forward-facing) since she HATES being in her car seat most of the time. 

-She did great on our trip to the lake with family, and started nursing only 5 times a day! She did the same thing when we visited family in Texas, but as soon as we got back home, she switched back to nursing 8 times a day. :( Frustrated mommy here! Our plan is to amp up the amounts of solids we feed her, and to serve those 4 times a day! Hopefully she will just be too full for very much milk. If we can keep her down to 4-5 feedings a day, Mommy and Daddy might actually be able to go on a long date or something! 

-She got her very first sunburn (oops!) in Texas. But she wore it like a champ. We will be keeping hats and sunscreen more handy from now on. 

-She has been really weird about food lately, but again that may be tied to her stomach issues and/or teething. Hopefully that passes soon! The doc gave us some different probiotics to try for a while, so hopefully that helps. Our goal is to have her eating from the table with us for each meal by the time she is 12 months old, in just 3 more months!

-I've learned that Evie LOVES to be around lots of activity, people, and noise. If only I could make that happen at home. Unfortunately, I think she gets bored in our tiny house with just me around. I'm hoping future trips out to the library and mom's groups will help with that.

-She is standing holding onto things really well, but still needs a spotter. She army-crawls/creeps like nobody's business, but still hasn't figured out the whole hands-and-knees thing. She is soooo close, it drives me crazy! Actually, just since I started writing this post, she took several steps on her hands and knees! Praise God! 

-She has been our little vacuum cleaner and wants to eat every tiny speck off the carpet. It is exhausting staying on top of that, and having to fish stuff out of her mouth when I am too late. Yuck!

I have to say that the 6-9 month period has been extremely difficult for me most of the time. I think a lot of it is tied to the frustration of not being able to crawl and walk on her own yet. She has shown some defiance, but I think even that has been linked to her added frustration and stress. 


Okay, some pictures below: 


Playing piano with Lovie and Nana.


Our 7 month old Valentine!


Ready for summer weather! T-shirts and no pants.


Collecting pecans out of the backyard.


New pajamas from Lovie.


Army-crawling like crazy! 


Such a big girl. 


Enjoying a visit from Aunt La-La.


A random sunny day in March.


Sneaking in some sunshine in the backyard.


She is becoming such a big girl!


Family vacation at the lake! She loved hanging out with everyone.


A random family who stole my baby. Just kidding! The lovely Clagg clan, posing with Evie.


Learning to pull up on her crib. Time to lower the crib!!


Posing with cousins in the blue bonnets in Texas. She LOVES her cousins!


First sunburn! Whoops!


A trip to Denny's for a "family vacation" with Mom and Dad. (All we did was go eat and shop, but it was fun and felt like vacation! Ha!)


Enjoying her sweet new ride in the back yard. A surprise from Lovie! 





Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Evie's First New Year


It is so amazing to remember that a year ago, we were standing in front of our house in the snow, proudly holding our first sonogram- our first picture of Evie.


My, how she has grown!



Above: Christmas at my Mamaw's house. 

Below: Micah's outfit for his job's tacky Christmas sweater party. 
They called him Bruce Spruce. 








Below: Christmas with Lovie and PawPaw Dutch, Uncle Bear and Aunt Honey. Evie really loved the tissue paper. :)



Below: How I found her one morning! Some days she wakes up so content and just plays in her bed. Of course, a sock was missing as usual. 










She is currently having a special visit from her Mamaw this month! We were able to go for a long walk one Sunday when the weather was nice. But since then, there have been several snowy days!


Sun bonnet: check! 

Stroller seatbelt: check!

Shades: check!

Sophie (teething giraffe): check! Ready to roll, people.



I might try to get some more 7 month pictures this month, because the lighting in our living room is just notoriously no bueno.

Our precious Evelyn Joy is 7 MONTHS OLD! AAHHHHH! Time is flying by with this super fun, super energetic little one. Some developments in the last couple of months:

-She is really slimming down! She is so active, always kicking her legs and wanting to move, it is no wonder that her weight gain has slowed down from more than 2 pounds per month to half a pound per month. 

-I have been giving her a lot more floor time this week, since she isn't really making much progress with crawling. I admit that I haven't given her much of a chance, because it is hard to do housework in one room rather than moving from room to room. She LOVES to roll, hang out under the coffee table, and pretty much explore everything she's not supposed to. Some days I think I know what it is like to have a toddler!

-She is now eating 3 meals of solids per day! Her favorite foods so far are: bananas, apples, and those purple organic stars. Her least favorites are: potatoes, carrots, and rice cereal (Can you blame her?). It seems like the more we introduce, the pickier she becomes, and things she used to think were okay, are no longer good enough. Hm. 

-She is waking up 1-2 times per night, but usually only once. She usually wakes up in time to see Da-da head off to work, and varies on bed time between 8-10pm. Why? Because once we finally get her going to bed around 8:00, we end up taking her out with us during the evening, and that throws everything off for many nights to come. :( 

-She is getting better at "reading" time, meaning that she is less focused on eating the books.

-Her favorite toys are...all of them, but especially anything that feels good to her tooth.

-She has a tooth! Yay! 

-She loves Peek-a-boo, trying to get our attention if we are trying to take her picture with a phone or if we are watching tv, and hearing me sing La Mer (of course!)

-She is quite the Mommy's girl at the moment, and I can't say that bothers me one bit! I can't get enough of this little girl. She is going to be such a great helper and (still) so much fun as she gets older. It is going to be a wonderful new year with many new experiences for all of us!

Sometimes I am shocked by the reality that she isn't plateauing where she is right now. Every new stage is so transient, so temporary. We are now out of the "contentment" stage (for her, 3-5 months) and in the very exciting and exhausting and frightening "exploration" stage. I can't even imagine what this year holds for us. I wouldn't mind her staying right where she is, but I know that I need to rejoice with her in every new stage and celebrate every new development, until she is off on her own conquering the world. I'm just so honored and excited to be apart of her childhood. The Lord continues to bring us so much joy through our beautiful Evelyn Joy. Praise be to God! She is having her dedication this Sunday, for which I am both excited and frightened. So far, church experiences have been challenging. Something about our pastor's voice seems to make her want to talk back to him very loudly! So, standing at the front of the room in front of hundreds of people while the pastor talks and prays over us... yeah, I need some prayer for this Sunday! If you think of us, please pray that this ceremony goes smoothly and that Evie doesn't get frightened or have a melt down or anything. Thank you! 

Well, that's it for now. I expect crawling to happen soon, and can't wait to post some video of that!

Cheerio,
Natasha W.