Thursday, April 2, 2015

This is the life!

As time goes on, I enjoy the previous posts I've made about our family more and more. I only wish I'd had more time to keep up since my last post in July! So much has changed since then. After all, we are now a family of FOUR! WOW! 

When did that happen? Well, it happened at 6:35am on October 31st, 2014 to be exact. After 2 1/2 hours of intense labor (water broke at 4:00), I stopped in the middle of the hallway of the labor and delivery floor of OU Children's Hospital, and knew that I was out of time. She was coming! And precisely 30 minutes after we pulled out of the driveway of our little house in Edmond, she arrived. This was much to the surprise of my doula, Cheri, my darling Micah, and the handful of nurses in the hallway who were ushered over when I refused to sit down in the wheel chair and instead laid down on the floor. 

Since then, it feels like we've scarcely had a break at all from the craziness of life with 2 under 2 years old. We moved three weeks later to Shawnee to be closer to my parents, Tori became very colicky and cried several hours a day, we had trouble finding a new doctor for the girls so they got behind on their checkups, we got multiple colds in our household, we were blessed with having several house guests staying with us during and around the holidays at different times, we made a very difficult trip to Texas and back during which we all got the stomach flu, Evie revealed that she has fairly severe car sickness, Evie had another cold, my milk supply tanked, Tori was diagnosed with acid reflux, Tori underwent a harrowing and failed attempt to draw her blood, and then we proceeded to get colds again. From all of this, we are finally recovered! 

In the meantime, I've done two book signings and Micah has undergone a lot of stressful changes in his job situation. You could say it's been an extremely challenging season! And during all the stress, we failed to get Tori any newborn pictures lined up! We're hoping to get her some special pictures taken soon, but there are just so many "fires to put out" around here on a daily basis, so things like making appointments just keep getting put off. Lord help us! 

Here are a few updates with Evie:

Evie LOVES to color. She has a few sets of colors and several coloring books pretty much used up already. She also loves to color in a small, old book copy of the Declaration of Independence; it was too far gone when we found her with it, so we just let her keep coloring in it. She often gets caught coloring on the walls, cabinets, and basically every surface imaginable. She greatly prefers to color WITH someone rather than alone. She still loves to look through her books on her book shelf, and I'll often find her just sitting in front of her shelf in her room alone, pulling book after book off the shelf and "reading" out loud to her self. She still sleeps a good 11-13 hours at night and naps a solid 2 hours a day, thank the Lord! I often hear her upon waking up, yipping and making excited noises, only to find when I walk in her room that she has thrown all her "babies" (stuffed animals) out of her bed. When we pray with her at nap time and bed time, she thanks Jesus for birds, family members, her bed, books, and all sorts of things. If I tell her Micah is working, she often asks, "shopping?" This might be because either Micah or myself go grocery shopping and leave her and Tori here with whoever gets to stay behind.  

Evie's vocabulary is RIDICULOUS. The pediatrician asked at her 20 month checkup if she could say at least 15-30 words and I laughed! She could say well over a hundred just before Tori was born, at 16 months old! Most recently she has picked up "basketball," "bonne nuit," "Papa Willie," "best friends," "honey yogurt," "cinnamon," and "may I please." It is just a daily round of new words and phrases for her! She also requests "Linnon and Maisy" music at breakfast time and can sing "poor mortal" and other phrases in one of our special songs we sing together, "You Are My Lucky Star." She still LOVES Bunny Foofoo, likes to dance to my drumming on the guitar (random, I know), and tells me there is a bug in my guitar. She recently had her "Giraffe's Can't Dance" book down and had flipped to a certain page, and recited by memory the words on it: "'I'm dancing,' Gerald cried." She repeated it over and over again! It took me a second to recognize what she was saying, but I was pretty impressed when I realized the complex phrase. 

Evie has a full mouth of teeth now, and does fairly well with getting her teeth brushed. We are about to start really working on potty training- which will be nice, since I probably do around 15 diaper changes a day. Sometimes it feels like all I do is change diapers, clean up spit up, and prepare meals for the girls. 

I'm so excited it's skirt season, because Evie is more adorable than ever in her skirts, and looks more beautiful than any disney princess! We love watching Cinderella together. I've even memorized her magic spell- Salagadooga, menchikaboula, bippity-boppity boo!Yes, I feel very accomplished. ;) I love Cinderella because she is so gracious, even to the evil, aptly named Lucifer cat. She is kind, gentle, graceful, pure, innocent, and just all around lovely. I rather think I've failed to appreciate her before watching it with Evie! 

She loves playing in the dirt, playing with our old "hoola hoop", playing "peek-a-boo" and putting Tori's pacifier in Tori's and Evie's mouth. She even puts in in my mouth! Ha! She loves her little sissy and knows that Tori is crazy about her as well. 

A Tori update: 

Nobody makes Tori laugh like Evie does. She just randomly cracks up wildly while watching Evie do whatever she happens to be doing. Tori has the most precious, slightly-goofy laugh! I LOVE listening to it. 

Tori is doing great on acid reflux medicine and supplementing with formula. I think she looks a bit chubbier than she did at her checkup, a month ago. She is already trying to crawl at five months old, and loves to stand up in the exersaucer or in my arms. She has such a gentle and loving personality! She loves to smile all the time and has recently started really playing with toys in her hands. I think I've seen a speck of a tooth once or twice, but it's hard to tell. 

I'm currently reading Marriage Matters, something that's very challenging and healthy for me as a woman and wife. I'm realizing so much that I need to improve on, and new ways to be a blessing to my husband. It is so challenging to read anything in this season of life, and often when I have time at the end of the day, my brain cells seem to be all used up, because none of the sentences make sense even if I make the effort to read. Evie has recently started letting me read in her room with her- that is, we each sit down with our own books, and me with my coffee. Of course, if she can, she'll give my coffee a good dunking with her whole hand. Today my coffee tasted like soap and cheese crackers. Last week when it happened, it tasted like dirt (we were outside at the time) so I consider myself lucky. 

Writing is on the back burner as I focus on my family and home life, but I often find myself jotting down ideas and solving plot issues throughout the day, or being inspired about a potential scene as a song plays in the kitchen. I can't wait to have time again to dedicate myself to writing, but for now the Lord is helping me to be content with this quickly-passing season of focusing on the family. One of my favorite things about this season, beside the spontaneous hugs, pats, and kisses I get from Evie, hearing her sing, and the smiles I get from Tori, would have to be the times we spend as a family eating al fresco on the back patio. I am so incredibly blessed to be a part of this family and home. I can't thank the Lord or my mom enough for helping us to move here to this gorgeous house. I seriously think to myself on a regular basis, "I can NOT believe this is our house!" It feels so much like home, and is such a beautiful step up from anywhere else we've ever lived. I love investing in our home by decorating, buying new things for it, painting walls, and making repairs. 

This season is largely about investing in our home, marriage, and family. I love giving Micah spontaneous surprises throughout the week, such as cooking a new Ina Garten meal or buying something new we can share together. We do a lot of wine tastings together, and were even doing "Winesday" on Wednesdays for a while. Once we get through the evening rigamarole (if that's the word I'm wanting) of dinner and bed times, we try to curl up on the couch and watch our favorite show together, Homeland. It's nothing fancy. Oftentimes when we do get out and go places together as a family, we end up wondering why we ever left the comforts of home to begin with. So, we're learning to cherish the little quiet moments, or more chaotic family rituals. Either way, we're surviving, and maybe even thriving. ;) 

Some recent photos: 

My home office assistant. She is the coolest!

My girl, Tori Rose, and her gorgeous locks.

We are so blessed to live so close to my amazing parents who help us constantly! This is a photo taken during a trip to Lovie's house, where she and Evie are playing dress-up with a box of "pretties," as Evie calls all jewelry.

Helping Daddy build a key-hole garden in early March (?). He constantly amazes me with his work in the garden, and she is such a willing helper!!! She also loves to help sweep.

Another crazy Monday with my lovely, darling girls. Yes, there are often tears, but I've learned to laugh even during the moments of chaos and bad timing.

A Rose among the quince blossoms.

Family Christmas photo?

Too stinking cute.

Yes, you.

Doctor visits are made better with Evie-Mommy selfie sessions.

"Now do your angry face!"

Lovie and Evie playing with bubbles in the backyard, food channel on, Tori playing on the floor. It's my kind of day.

I love hanging out in the girls' room! Micah and his dad did a great job painting when we moved in. The wall color is "peach beige." I love it because it's almost a neutral, but certainly feminine without being over-the-top. J'adore ca!

My Victoria Rose is growing up so fast!

A quick sushi-lunch date at Nhinja before my Hastings-Yukon book signing with the McLoud Writer's Group. I love being this dapper guy's home girl! 

My ray of sunshine is such a Joy! She calls her new Minnie Mouse baby, "Micky!"

My Tori is my "Chaton," or "kitten" in french. She reminds me of a kitten in so many ways, from the cute sounds she makes, to the way she feels perched on my shoulder. 

Evie rarely let's me give her pigtails or pony tails, but her curls are now making full circles! As if she could get any cuter. 

Tori's first haircut! Before photo. Obviously, it was time.

After photo. Daddy did an amazing job! 

Chardonnay and grilled egglplant, garlic chicken, portabella mushrooms, and red bell peppers. We are enjoying dinner on the back patio deck soooo much. It's been a lovely Spring so far! With things being so busy and crazy around here, I love how Micah helps me find romance in the brief moments we have to sit down together, with or without the kiddies. 

I can't help but feel uber blessed as I look over all these pictures and think about the last several months. The Lord has been so good to us! There have been many days that I've wondered if we would survive. But already I can feel things slowing down more to a lifestyle that's both manageable and so enjoyable. Even the hard times are jam-packed with amazing memories I know I'll be looking back on and wishing I could be transported back in time to relive. I honestly feel bad for my friends who haven't taken the plunge to have kids yet. It might be intimidating, but it's also incalculably worth it. The blessings from our two lovelies just keep coming and coming! 

Natasha W.