Monday, October 26, 2009

My baby has real mama instincts

A month or so ago, I thought maybe Eva was getting a little bored with some of her toys. We don't have tons, but I still "saved" some from her birthday and have a box downstairs for ones that get "rotated". I remembered she had 2 baby dolls, and had an inkling that she might be really into them by now. One is just a little baby with an outfit and a bottle; the other is a baby that does it all (takes a bottle, sleeps, cries, coos, laughs, burps, etc.). I got them both out and put batteries in the one to see what she thought.
Well, folks, it's been a baby-fest at our house ever since! Although, when the "does-everything baby" began to cry real tears, Evangeline's tears started flowing, too. We've since put that baby away and we'll give it another try in a couple months. I don't need Eva getting unnecessarily upset over her fake crying baby :)
Her baby doll doesn't have a name yet, but she takes her everywhere! Eva knows how to burp baby, and gives baby her own silky blanket and pacifier to put "baby night-night".  When "baby's crying" she hugs and loves on baby the way I do with her. Baby goes shopping with her (she has a little grocery cart I found at a consignment sale for $2- I couldn't pass it up) and baby sits in the front seat basket. Baby gets hungry and Eva gives her a bottle. Evangeline does such a good job with her little baby. I am such a proud mama!
I know that when Evangeline's baby brother comes, she'll have her terrorizing moments of jealousy and anger, but I truly believe that she will be kind and sweet and nurturing, too. There is something very sensitive and tender inside my angel girl. I'm very aware of it and working hard to nurture it instead of trying to stifle, manage, or contain it. I was told a lot that I was overly sensitive as a kid and it was hurtful to me. I don't want Eva to hate being this way like I did as a kid. I hated my tendency to feel all emotions very deeply. I'm not that way as much as I was as a kid and teen, mostly because I never liked it about myself. God has been challenging me with this and I hope that I can do right by my daughter who is clearly so very much like me- both in the good and bad (she can be very strong-willed and over-zealous, too).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Young family adoption raffles: Introduction to the Cause

Dear Friends and Family,
We write to you today on behalf of our sister and brother, Neil and Jill Young. Some of you might know, and others may not, that Neil and Jill have recently begun the journey of adopting a child. They have chosen an agency based in Oklahoma City called Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services. Neil and Jill's hearts desire to be parents again.
After years of struggling with infertility, God has led them to adoption. They both believe that this is the means by which God will expand their family. However, the financial cost of adoption is great ($20,000.00+) and all the money is simply not there at this time. They believe that God's desire for them is to pursue adoption, but they need the help of friends and family in order for this to come to fruition. They have decided to act in obedience to God and trust Him to provide for every need.
Here is one way that you can help! Please consider donating any amount to help offset some of the cost of their adoption.
We want to thank each of you for your willingness to participate! Whether you know and love Neil and Jill, have a heart for adoption, know the pain of infertility, WE ARE SO GRATEFUL.
Thank you so much,
Bryan & Sara Wise, and Addison Grace (Jill's sister and Neil's sister and brother-in-law, and their niece)
Michael & Lauren Wells (Jill's sister and Neil's sister and brother-in-law)
Ran & Heather Whitnah (Jill's brother and Neil's brother and sister-in-law)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Update on the "Big Girl Bed" Transition

Well, it's officially been one week since Eva started sleeping in her new bed. There is much to say, much to tell, but most importantly, I think, is this: I'M CALLING IT A SUCCESS! The second most important thing that needs to be said is this: I'M EXHAUSTED! Completely and utterly depleted.
At the start of this whole ordeal last Sunday, I convinced myself that this would be an "every day gets a little bit better" scenario. It has not. Not even close. Days 1-5 were completely erratic and sporadic. Pure craziness, magnified by the fact that I was so sleep deprived. The main reason for my lack of sleep was not necessarily Eva's escapes from bed at night, although they were plentiful. It was more that I was anticipating her waking up and escaping and it kept me up. I'm an insomniac- all my college roommates can attest to that- but this week it has escalated to an entirely new level of insanity. By day 4 I was going on 1 days worth of sleep. This is not the way to tackle such a monstrous event in the life of a toddler!!
My strategy was pretty simple. Every day at both naptime and bedtime, I did our normal routine (stories, songs, prayers, kisses, say "night night time now, Eva". At bedtime we add bath and teeth brushing, and extend the other stuff a little bit. Then, I'd lay her in her bed. First 2 days I sat on the floor next to her bed and waited. If she stood up to her feet, I laid her down, but said nothing, and gave no eye contact. I stayed next to the bed until she fell asleep. Days 3-5, I did the same thing, except moved farther from the bed to sit down and wait. Day 6, I moved even farther. Day 7, I stayed for a few minutes until she seemed settled, but left before she fell asleep. I'll keep doing this for the next week and see how it goes. Days 6 and 7, I saw a lot of improvement, but up until that point, I was ready to give up! Some days I was spending 45-60 minutes in the room with her and it was getting OLD!! Occasionally, she'd go right down and fall asleep within 5 minutes, and then the next day she'd be a crazy girl in the bed and I'd have to lay her down 9 million times! This inconsistency was the hardest. There was no telling what the event would hold from day to day.
However, like I said, yesterday and today were much better. I stayed in the room for less than 10 minutes at each of the 4 naps/bedtimes. And, she hardly tried to escape! She's woken up some nights several times and come into our room (and some nights not at all). We've simply taken her right back to her room and laid her down, waiting with her until she's settled, but not waiting until she falls asleep. Of course, I can't fall asleep until I know she is, so I just lie in bed and wait- boo!!
To complicate it all, Mike had to leave for days 5, 6, and 7 to go to a college friend's wedding in Illinois. This amplified the exhaustion, too, because I was on my own. My advice to anyone who might attempt the crib to bed transition is to make sure it's at a time when both mom and dad are there to tag team, and try to avoid illness, too! Eva was sick this week (worst on Wed and Thurs) and it made things much more difficult.
So, that's the story.  There's no going back now :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Eva makes the big move!!!

In preparation for Evangeline's brother, due to arrive in January, Mike and I had been discussing what to do about the crib/bed situation. I felt, and still do to some degree, that my little angel-baby was not ready to face this transition. She's a crazy girl in bed, moving and turning and practically doing somersaults every couple of minutes. How in the world were we going to handle this situation??
I personally was all for getting another crib- ya know, "just bite the bullet because she's not even close to ready". Mike was feeling much more confident and felt we could start the process in a few months since baby boy will be in a bassinet in our room for a couple months. Well, my darling little princess made the decision for us this past week. I may not have ever told you that she is quite the climber; I am truly amazed at what this 19 month old can scale. I tell you, she will probably be scaling walls with just her bare fingers and toes in no time at all.
I went in to get her after a nap the other day only to find her straddling the side railing (which was up all the way) and holding on to the front of the crib. She was riding a horsey! How fun!!! I couldn't quite believe that this had happened so fast. I grabbed her down from the side before she fell (I feel like quite the hero since we avoided any injury), and knew we had to come up with a plan.
So, after discussing the plan for approximately 10 seconds, it was decided that it was indeed time to move to the big girl bed- Mike was steadfast that this was the best plan. I am still questioning the wisdom of this decision since clearly my little angel baby is NOT a big-girl. Why in the world would we move her from her cozy and secure crib into the world of infinite freedom known as "big girl bed land"?
TODAY was the day. Crib and changing table out- check. Bed in- check. Mattress shopping (chose a Serta)- check. Sheet, mattress pad, quilt shopping- check. Wash new stuff- check. Make new bed- check.  Nap time- DEAR GOD!!! Why we went into naptime without a plan is beyond me. I put her down to start and did the normal routine- story, rock, sing, kisses, lay her down. Funny how the "lay her down" part didn't go quite like it did in the crib. I decided after about 5-10 minutes of her running from side to side on the bed, jumping, and getting in and out, that I needed a definite strategy. I recalled the infinite wisdom of the Baby Whisperer, which I read about a dozen times when I first had Eva. It just came to me like a little gem from God himself :)
I stopped chasing her down and telling her "lay down" and giving her the blankey, yada yada yada. I just laid her down without giving eye contact or any verbal response whatsoever. When she stood up, I laid her down again. It went on for about 35 minutes- I probably laid her down about 100 times- and then Mike came up because he heard her yelling for "dadda". "No luck with mom", she thought??" I'll get him for sure". And, she would have, except that savvy mama relayed the instructions upon leaving the room. Mike knew by my look that I meant business. Ten minutes later, we had a sleeping baby. A baby sleeping in her brand new big girl bed :) Granted, the nap was only an hour, but I'm still calling it a success for day one.
There were a few moments where it was impossibly hard not to respond- like when she touched my face gently and said, "so soft", or grabbed my nose while giggling and squealing and said "honk honk".  I had to turn my head because I couldn't hold back the smile on that one- she caught me and giggled even more.
This evening she was asleep after only 10 minutes- she was exhausted from her too-short nap. We'll see what the night time holds. I'm prepared for disaster, but praying desperately for success. Time will tell...
see the video here

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We're having a...

BOY!!! Another momentous day! I know there is much disagreement about whether or not one should find out the sex of the baby they are carrying. Recently a friend asked me, "Don't you like to be surprised?" She cracked up when I responded, "Of course! I'm in for a big one on Tuesday!" I can't understand the "surprise" mentality- was I not surprised when the ultrasound technician looked over at Mike and I and said, "You're having a BOY!"?? In that moment, pregnancy changed for me. It changed with Evangeline, and it changed with this still-nameless angel baby boy. For me, I feel much more connected when I find out what I'm having. The excitement begins to build, whereas in the beginning, I'm just kinda of.... well, waiting. I can't help but dream very specifically for my little one once I know the sex.
So, yes, it's a boy! God has blessed us richly- far beyond what we ever could have asked or imagined and far beyond what we deserve. I can hardly contain myself knowing that in 4.5 short months I get to meet my little boy face-to-face. We are over-joyed at the news. Of course, I would have been equally as over-joyed with the news of a little girl, too. It seemed that every other day I had ideas of "this or that if it's a girl" or "this or that if it's a boy". I honestly wanted both a boy and girl! It's hard to express in words, but as soon as I knew this baby was a boy, I could sense that this exactly what our family needs. The peace that comes from knowing God is sovereign overwhelmed me. All happens in His time, for His purpose. Praise the Lord!
We had the whole family (siblings and parents) over to reveal the sex tonight. It's a Whitnah "tradition" of sorts and we call them "sex parties". (I know, how risque!) It was such fun to celebrate the soon-to-be addition to the family. Now they've all left and Mike and I are here alone just reveling in the idea of our SON. We have a SON!!!??? What an amazing feeling.
Now, I can stay focused and put my energy where it's needed. First on the list, my angel boy needs a name! I'll keep you posted...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Productivity is glorious!

Labor day weekend was, in a word, productive! There are few feelings that satisify me quite as much! On Saturday Mike installed a picture-perfect egress window in our soon-to-be-finished basement. We had equipment laying in every nook and cranny of our yard and very large machinery sitting in the parking spaces. My husband GOT IT DONE! In ONE day!! Evangeline was mesmerized by the whole process (see photos). We stuck around for the first couple hours, and then we went to my mom's (Grammie Whitnah) for nap time.


At Grammie's house, while Evangeline was napping, my sister (Jill) and I re-decorated my mom's family room. We don't exactly agree whole hearterdly on every nuance of the process, and if you know my sister, you know there is no point in arguing. You just say, "Yes captain Jill" and MOVE ON! I must say that it looks great and feels so cozy and warm. My mom and dad are very pleased!
When Mike arrived at Grammie's later in the day, he and Eva enjoyed the pool and hot-tub. Eva somehow ended up naked and I figured I wouldn't fight it (see photos). Afterall, I had lost many battles with Jill throughout the day, why fight another losing battle? So my naked, and especially adorable, pumpkin skinny-dipped with daddy (he wore his suit- no worries). S'mores followed. Perfection!

On Sunday, we landscaped the small beds around the house that had to be dug up for the window project. Clarification: Mike dug and spread mulch and moved plants and even a tree (more photos). I sat on the bed of his truck and told him where to put things. Ah, the joys of pregnancy. It truly does have it's perks! Then, it was back to Grammie Whitnah's house to finish the odds and ends of the re-decorating of the family room and to celebrate my mom's 56th birthday. More swimming, birthday cake, and more love than one can take in.

Finally when today (Labor Day) actually arrived, we decided not to labor at all. Spent an easy-breezy morning at home and then picked up a Craigslist find RIGHT DOWN THE STREET (awesome!)- a new glider for the next baby's room. The day was overcast, which for me means that I don't have to worry too much about sunscreen, a rarity in this fair-skinned family! We loved the jeans and long sleeves weather and took advantage with a long afternoon in the park. I didn't even sweat! A wonderful day with my favorite people- over way too fast!
The next several months will be stuffed full of basement finishing and fixing up the new baby's room. That's the goal at least. Eyes on the prize! Time's a wasting...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Feelings of Fall mix with Poor Parenting

What an absolutely picture perfect week. We've woken to crisp and refreshing mornings and then we warmed throughout the day just to the point of pure comfort. This is the weather I wait for all summer and all winter; I was born for the spring and the fall. On Tuesday, we forgot to close our windows. Fine for Mike and I- we were cozy under the sheets and comforter. Evangeline, however, is a crazy-girl sleeper and can't keep the blanket I put over her at night on for more than 2 minutes, which is exactly how long she stays in one place once asleep. She woke extra early on Tuesday, probably because her mama and daddy froze her to the point of blue lips, fingers, and toes. When I went in to get her, she was happy and smiling to see me, but clearly C-O-L-D! So, this is how she was dressed for the first several hours that morning...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is blogging in my blood??

The answer to this question remains to be seen. I do like to write, but do so mostly in my journals for Evangeline and Baby-to-come. So, I am embarking on this journey, but I will not put too much pressure on myself to be successful because, to be honest, I am just not at all convinced that blogging is for me.
We shall see.


We're the Wells family. We currently consist of Michael (husband and daddy), Lauren (wife and mama), Evangeline (daughter and princess), and Samuel (son and prince). We live a pretty simple life loving the many blessings that God grants us each and every day.
Mike is a genius carpenter/contractor and works throughout neighboring counties. Lauren stays at home with Eva and Sam most of the time, but works a few days a week as a therapist.
More than anything else, we love being together as a family- trips to the gardens, swimming at Grammie and Papa's house, and bike rides & walks are probably our most frequent activities. We're surrounded by our family (siblings and parents); they all live within 30 minutes of us!
That's us in a nut shell.
We're thankful you dropped by our site!