Family P: Pittman Family Christmas Newsletter 2015

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Well, looks like I missed the deadline… Sorry if we had any disappointed readers who checked in to see…. last year’s Christmas Newsletter. This post is OVERDUE and I’m finally, day-after Christmas, sitting down to dot i’s and cross t’s and hit [PUBLISH].

In past years, I’ve documented our year by month, curated our memories by relying on my trusty google calendar and Instagram to jog my memory… but if I’m totally honest, this year has been even more of blur than the last. I’d be hard pressed to REALLY remember if it was June or July… October or November? Luckily, Portland seems to have made the seasons easy to distinguish – which is a pretty easy theme to run with… so here goes:

WINTER

Our year kicked off with a bang! Big changes for Family P… we packed-up 6 bags, 2 carseats, a couple of backpacks and a stroller and moved cross-country to Portland, Oregon. Thankfully, the rest was handled by a relocation company furnished by Intel. In the heart of winter, we experienced our first Pacific Northwest “rainy season.” Our Dallas home up for sale, we got cozy in our corporate apartment in Hillsboro (about 25 min west of downtown). Hindsight – the seemingly endless “waiting” period we felt was oh-so characteristic of Winter. Our house on the market longer than expected, house-hunting EVERY weekend, and getting VERY creative entertaining two toddlers with the handful of small toys we traveled with. I became an expert at cooking in a very minimally stocked kitchen and splurged on a new crockpot. As we started to accumulate adequate gear, we started exploring the city and nearby forests, our weekends split in half – one day solely dedicated to finding our forever home, one day to donuts, beer and hiking. We ate Salt & Straw [ice cream] once a week, sampled lots of Portland’s food trucks, and started to familiarize ourselves with the city. [See Note: 1] Since we really had NO idea where we were wanting to live, we explored a little bit of everything, ultimately trading in some hipster points to narrow the hunt to SW Portland. While Dan was at work, the kids and I did plenty of exploring in the rain (and fog!). We became proud, card-carrying members of the Oregon Zoo and Children’s Museum, learned valuable lessons about rain pants and playgrounds, took advantage of the library and quickly learned that one of Olivia’s new favorite foods is Pho. (Only second to donuts). Valentine’s day, we celebrated Olivia’s 3rd birthday (with G and Papa G in town!) as best we knew how, with Donuts and a hike to “The Witches Castle” – one of our favorite, kid-friendly hikes in Forest Park.

SPRING

We were lucky enough to see the cherry blossoms bloom at our apartment complex which signaled the coming of Spring. I’m not sure which we were more anxious for, longer and warmer days or getting out of the apartment. The mornings became less foggy, the days less dark and cold and things started to look promising as we closed in on our dream house. Newness all around us, we started seeing how much greener everything was (I didn’t even understand that was possible!)  We made 3 offers on 3 different house, over the course of 3 months… We looked at 50+ homes with the most patient of realtors (if you need a recommendation, we have a truly great one!).  We fell in love with a little community called Multnomah Village, nestled in the heart of SWPortland, fairly close-in, that features it’s own indie bookstore, fro-yo establishment, Toy Shoppe and 3 great food trucks. AND it kept Daniel’s commute to Hillsboro manageable. In April, we finally closed on our house, an almost 90-year old tin-roof cabin on the most spectacular .66 acre piece of Urban forest. We love the feel of the ‘hood, the perks of being able to walk to one of the best beer stores in Portland, great brunch spots and BONUS a park, right across the street. [Note: 2] We started to get settled and unpacked, with the help of lots of family visitors, although I will admit… there are still those boxes in the basement. Made a few minor improvements, painted a few rooms and started to feel settled. Almost a month late, we finally celebrated Townes 1st birthday in our front yard with several new friends. For Father’s Day, we made our first attempt at front-yard camping. Proud to say that Dan and Via made it all night; Townes and I — not so much. At the end of June, we traveled to Santa Cruz, CA for some dear friends’ wedding in the mountains and then the kids and I ventured South to the OC for some playtime with Family Gorham.

SUMMER

Summer days in the Pacific Northwest and notoriously long. We’re talking… sunset at 9:42PM and not really totally dark until 10:30. Talk about making it difficult to get toddlers to bed! Throw an old house with no AC along with uncharacteristically long HEAT WAVES and it definitely started feel like summer! Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for… the TIKI BASEMENT. The house we bought has LOTS of awesome features, cool sunroom breakfast nook, great cozy wood-paneled “ballroom”, HUGE windows…. none as awesome as the TIKI BASEMENT. I’ve realized now that I have not a single photo to share… so consider this a huge teaser. You’ll have to rely on my descriptive words and your imagination to take you to Margaritaville for the next 28 seconds. Our new house came with a fully equipped thatched-roof bar, beer fridge, tiki glassware and the BEST part? a hand-painted mural of 3 gratuitously proportioned, scantily-clad (nude, they’re nude -ed.) hula dancers. THIS is where we retreated most nights when the main level of our house was still 82 degrees and MUCH too warm for sleeping. Long summer days found us shifting our schedule, kids stayed up late and enjoyed every waking hour of sunlight – We dined on patios, and took full advantage of the Portland great-outdoors. During the week, the kids and I spent at least 1-2 days picking produce at one of several favorite U-pick farms, exploring various fountains to splash in downtown, and doing toddler-led hikes with friends. Most weekends, we explored a new state park or hike, our favorite – Wilson Falls in the Tillamook State Forest. We hiked in Tevas and Shorts, swam in waterholes, wore LOTS of sunscreen and pushed the ‘Pause’ button on any home improvement projects. August took us to Southern California for my youngest sister’s wedding to the most awesome dude (Welcome to the family, Holden!) and family vacation. Olivia even had an extended stay to spend some “special alone time” with G and Papa G… Undivided attention, swimming, desserts and DISNEYLAND guaranteed that she came back with a huge smile! Also aided by her chaperone – Uncle Chip! Who came for a summer visit – in addition to Auntie B to experience the glory of Portland summer! Indian Summer – in my book, should probably have it’s very own paragraph, but since we’re trying to keep this shortish… The end of summer had us collecting the last of the summer tomatoes at Smith Berry Barn, making big batches of Spaghetti Sauce and Jam to freeze. Hard to believe, but we made it through most of Summer before we made our first trek to the [Columbia River] GORGE. One trip and we were hooked, 4 straight weekends and we checked one waterfall hike off after the next… [Note: 3] taking us right into Fall.

AUTUMN

Autumn brought lots of change – Olivia started school at a wonderful Waldorf-inspired preschool where she goes 3 days a week 9-12PM. The school backs up to a private forest where, rain or shine, the most kind and gentle teachers lead the play-based class outside all day on Wednesday and half days on Monday/Friday. Via’s favorite parts of school are: “Forest Day, Baking Bread Day, and Playing with silks in the classroom.” Since it’s a co-op, Dan and I get to volunteer quite a bit both in the classroom and taking on other various tasks to help the school run. Townes is also throughly enjoying the alone time with mama at home! We made our first trip back to Dallas in October spanning our 5 year wedding anniversary and Dan’s birthday – spent lots of time with friends, cousins and family, filled our bellies with BBQ and Tex-Mex and revisited our old stomping grounds. When we returned to Portland, fall was in full swing… the leaves changing to the most glorious shades of gold and crimson. The kids and I spent lots of time enjoying the last rain-free days, visiting u-cut pumpkin patches and Fall festivals and perfecting our costumes: [Olivia: Puff the Magic Dragon, Townes: Knight, Or if you ask Olivia, “The Autumn Mist”]. As the rain returned, our weekends shifted back to productivity. Yard work and Thanksgiving prep filled our weekends… maybe a little bit of ping pong! We were subjects for a “documentary style” photo shoot with a good friend and amazing photographer Lauren Allen. She captured “a day in our life” in the most artistically shot portrayal of the mundanity of a typical Saturday in the Pittman family. If you have an extra 16 minutes and love art and… US – watch it! It brings tears to my eyes every.single.time. and is truly something I will treasure forever.  [Note:4] Find link to the video and images on her blog below! Gramma G made a Portland trip and got to see the “rainy season” in full swing. We hosted Thanksgiving Dinner for almost every single one of our Portland friends! 27 total : 13 kids, 14 adults and 1 dog! Truly a wonderful party; we felt super blessed to celebrate the holiday with SO many great people. Olivia and Townes are lucky to have lots of new friends who are all very close in age and I’m so lucky to call their mamas “my tribe.”

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As long as are the Summer days, are the Winter nights. Y’all, I am not kidding you when I say that some “days” it is quite literally DARK at 4:00PM. Although the rumors are true, there are very long stretches of time when we don’t see the Sun, we LOVE the expression of seasons and the rhythm they provide. We spend lots of our “home days” in front of the fire crafting, reading books, playing blocks, or trucks or trains. Both kids love to help me cook and we get adventurous with our lunches: Attempting things like coconut curry shrimp and “ZOODLES” with Spaghetti Sauce My lumberjack of a husband chopped down his first Christmas tree and lugged it through the forest. This sparked a wonderful family tradition and kicked off the Advent season. Only in Portland can you take your kids to visit Hipster Santa: man bun, thick rimmed glasses, and tattoos. Totally legit Santa. Olivia throughly enjoyed the experience, asking “Santa in regular clothes” for the following 3 things: 1) a dog 2) a clothesline and clothespins and 3) “silks”. Can you tell she’s at a Waldorf preschool? Proud parent moment when your kid asks Santa for a homesteading supplies… let me tell you. Other fun winter activities included a chilly walk and train ride through the Oregon Zoo’s “Zoo lights” display and watching the “Christmas Ships” on the Willamette (That’s will-LAM-ette -ed.). We have loved having Mamaw in town for Christmas as well as lots of Family Gorham for New Years Eve!

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Meg –  trying to keep a healthy, home-cooked, Pinterest-worthy meals on the table, the laundry put away before it’s time to do it again and the floors from getting too crusty. Enjoying exploring a new city, planning fun, family-friendly adventures and making home-improvement to-do lists. Washing my hair WAY less than ideal, practicing peaceful parenting, trying to live in the moment. Frequently finding myself getting dirty with the kids – hands in the mud, face in the rain and feet stomping the puddles. Favorite activities lately: crafting and “doing projects” with Olivia, DIY home improvements and hiking.

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Dan – [Written by Dan] Computers: I spent most of the year exposing Intel’s  CPU features in higher-level languages in the context of my expertise: The data center.  What does this mean?  Computing is an endless pile of abstractions, and my job is to bump some of the stuff up a few levels. Home: Lots of yard work and home improvement odds-and-ends.  I bought my first lawnmower, a reel mower, and spent many weekends trying to maintain the natural beauty of the little piece of PNW forest we’ve taken responsibility for.  Family: It’s been a year.  We moved, changed jobs, experienced summer with no A/C, and hiked a cumulative of probably 100 miles of Oregon forest.  The highlights would have to be: The inspiring 5 miles we did on the PCT, an afternoon spent in a hammock with Olivia on a cool summer day, and late summer nights in the back yard with new friends.

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Olivia – “Via” to her friends, has become the expert puddle hunter. You can find her on the forest floor making fairy houses, baking a birthday cake in her play kitchen, “making a party” or putting on a ballet. Loves her new Portland besties and playdates at the Berry Picking Farm, splashing in the creek during the Summer months, and exploring downtown Portland via the streetcar. Looks forwards to “Dayda dates,” and adventures to “THE GORGE!” Blossoming at school, she has mastered the “balancing log,” writing her name, and baking bread. Will talk to anyone who will listen and tells the best stories! Has an opinion about what she wants to wear and as long as it’s “soft pants” and the tags aren’t too scratchy, she’s pretty happy. Favorite Color: Red. Favorite Food: “Hot Cheese” and “Noodle Soup” (AKA Pho from Tutu’s Food Truck AKA Noy Viet Lao)

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Townes – Snuggle master, milk-man of few words, loves his mama and Dayda. Copies everything his big sister does, climbing, jumping and running with no fear! Loves chicken tacos, yogurt and popcorn. Favorite daytime activities include: taking his vitamins, chasing his sister, dancing to music (basically turning in a circle like a ballerinO, head turn and everything) . At 19 months, still not a huge fan of the car seat, sleeping in his bed or dropping big sis off at school. Loves to be worn in the carrier, snuggled close to mama, observing the world as it goes by. Still REALLY working on growing some hair but we secretly love that he still looks so much like our baby boy. Makes the sweetest little scrunch face when he smiles and knows exactly what to do when mom wants to snap a picture

That pretty much wraps it up, and since I’m being pressured to just finish the darn thing… We wish you all a very [belated] Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Much Love and Peace,

Megan (And Dan, ed., Olivia and Townes)

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More Pictures Here:  @danielscottt_ and Here:  @MMOGUU

Catch up with us Here: megan.gorham@gmail.com and Here: danielscottt@gmail.com

 

[Note: 1] The city of Portland is divided into 4 quadrants (an additional 5th if you count NoPo)… NorthWest, NorthEast, SouthEast, SouthWest.

[Note: 2] The “future park site” across the street from our new house is what the City of Portland is referring to as a “natural playground” – a combination of logs, trees, sand pit (with “the Diggers” as our kids have dubbed it) and will-be traditional play equipment.

[Note: 3] Bridal Veil Falls, Wachlella Falls, Eagle Creek to Punch Bowl falls, Dry Creek Falls via the PCT

[Note: 4] Video , Lauren Allen Photography Blog Post PART 1, PART 2, PART 3

 

{2015 Resolutions}

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January 17, 2015

Happy New Year.

I’ll count today as my new year. Resolutions just didn’t happen this year before New Year’s Day… And ya know what? That’s OK. A lot didn’t happen this year… {I was going to post a link here to our 2014 resolutions… turns out, they never even made it to the blog} Blogging most certainly fell by the wayside. Weight loss post baby? Ha! Potty training? Forget it! But so much did {Annual Recap HERE}

This year I thought I’d try to just choose a word.  A word to live by, that encompassed most of my resolutions. In my brainstorming, I kept coming back to this verse: {John 14:27} “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  I recognized an emotion/state that I so deeply desire and settled on the word PEACE. I’m resolving to choose the calm, avoid the chaos. Slow down, appreciate, enjoy, live in the moment. I’m going to be at peace with myself – mind, body and spirit. I’m going to practice acceptance with less judgement. I’m going to try to see only the positive and complain less.  In the past I’ve made resolutions of weight loss, healthier eating habits… Not texting while driving. Not to say these aren’t still things I’d love to focus on… But not setting myself up to fail or forget such specific goals.

With Dan – prioritize each other above kids. Make more time for one another – date each other. Take a sincere interest in each other’s daily lives. Make time for intimacy. Speak each other’s love languages fluently. Support each other in goals and passions. Be intentional in how we are shaping our family – spend quality time together bonding, with fewer distractions – hiking, adventure, vacation. Pay more attention to each other than we do our smart phones.

With kids – parent with LOVE and patience. Remember to always lead by example. Set a vibe in our family we want emulated. Make daily life less of a race. Slow down and appreciate experiencing the world through younger eyes. Be less rigid with a routine and schedule – “feed them, love them, spoil them”. Let them be little. Make sure that they know undoubtedly how much we love them. Cook more together. Grow a garden – develop a healthy relationship with food. Be more intentional with kid entertainment – less screen time, more brain building/ learning activities for Olivia, sensory fun for Townes. Eliminate toys that don’t foster learning and creative play.

With myself – respect and love myself. Make time for myself – exercise, healthy eating, reflection and prayer, hobbies and interests. Love the person I see in the mirror. Make changes to BE that person. Be myself with new friends – only spend time on relationships worth fostering. Speak only words that build others up instead of tearing them down. Show acts of kindness. Be genuine. Keep in touch with Dallas friends – make concrete plans to visit and schedule (at least!) monthly phone dates. Give myself grace with weight loss and body image – remember that I’m nourishing another and set a positive example for Olivia. Drink less alcohol, consume less sugar and processed foods. Repair, Sustain, Rekindle, and Grow various relationships with friends and family.

With finances – Sell our house. Buy a house. Exercise patience with making home improvements and furnishings.  Pay off credit card debt – don’t add to credit card debt. Create savings for Olivia and Townes.

 

 

 

 

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Family P: Pittman Family Christmas Newsletter 2014

Here we go again! Time to reflect on the last year… a year that flew by in the blink of an eye.  Admittedly crazier than the last, we have lots to update y’all on this year.  Before I launch in to the annual Family P recap, I’d like to thank YOU.  Simply, for loving us.  We are so very thankful for all of our friends and family who have supported us, celebrated with us, cared for us and been part of our journey through life.  Although this “newsletter” is mostly for us – for our records and memories – We’d like to invite you to share in our reflection, celebration and thanks for the last year!

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[JANUARY] Another new year rang in sunny Southern California. Where, somewhere along the way, we got the crazy idea to list our house for sale (thanks “Zestimate”!) So, upon arriving home, we met with a realtor, made some minor repairs and fixes, patched and painted, and put our “little yellow house” on the market. Not entirely sure what we were thinking (I was 6 months pregnant at the time!)  but had complete confidence that everything would work out. Within 48 hours, we had 6 offers… in less than two weeks we were under contract and in need of a plan! Luckily, we negotiated a 30 day rental agreement with the buyer, allowing us a few weeks to house hunt… and hunt we did. Packing and house hunting.  Two things that are NOT particularly fun for a toddler… or a pregnant gal, for that matter. [FEBRUARY] What is fun for a toddler?  Scribbles and Dribbles!  A Christmas gift from Papa G – Olivia and I joined a  weekly toddler art class  at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  With a move on the horizon, we decided to host a very low-key 2nd birthday party for Olivia at The Palaestra (toddler open gym). We also made the trek to Salt Lake City, UT to celebrate one of my childhood best friend’s marriage.  Luckily Baby Pittman traveled safely tucked in mama’s belly and Olivia got to enjoy some snow play. {MARCH} Our rental term ended, we collected keys to our new home, and in the same weekend we packed up and moved across town. We traded our urban, somewhat hip, somewhat ‘hood, for an excellent elementary school, great neighbors, and more square footage. Uncle Chip came for a long visit and to help a very pregnant mama unpack and entertain our terrific toddler. [APRIL] Surprisingly still pregnant, Gramma G’s “baby P #2 arrival trip” came and went… at 40 weeks we were all anxious for the little guy to make his big arrival. Townes Randall Pittman was born, just one week late, April 17th 10:29AM, 7 pounds 4 ounces 19 3/4 inches.  More  about his big arrival earth side Here  [MAY]  Settling in as a family of four, we spent most weekends close to home. working on the house and adventuring in our new neighborhood. I gained confidence in my new role as “mom of two” and braved the park, zoo, and museum. (Thanks to many baby wearing devices, Daniel Tiger on the iPad, and lots of coffee.) Memaw and Pa made the trip out to Dallas to meet their newest great grand baby.  [JUNE] The beginning of summer brought lots of time spent outdoors. Weekend adventures in Moss Park, patio-dining at our fav local spots, and neighborhood walks. Olivia continued at Emler Swim School – graduating to Advanced Water Babies, swimming 7 feet and holding her breath for 10 seconds! [JULY] One of the highlights of Olivia’s summer – seeing “the Booms” on Fourth of July! Close seconds, weekly swim dates at Gramma B’s with cousins and story-time at Church of the Incarnation. Lots of time spent staying cool – splash pads, sprinklers, and play dates. [AUGUST] The warmest month of the year took us on vacation with Family Gorham. Hipster San Antonio hot spots, river-walkin’ wearing babies, floating the river, IPAs in hand, we had a blast! Uncle Chip moved in for the month and quickly became Olivia’s BFF.  [SEPTEMBER] Emerging from the 6-month fog, Townes graduated  from newborn “blob” to “bouncing” baby – sitting up, smiling, and giggling. Olivia started at Ascension Day School, two days a week, giving Townes and I some one-on-one time. Gramma G made her annual “Fall” trip, complete with trek to Canton, the state fair and visit to the pumpkin village at the Dallas Arboretum. [OCTOBER] Welcomed Fall with a family weekend spent hiking in Beaver’s Creek, Oklahoma with Mawaw, The Rakowska & Kudrna Families. Papa G made a weekend “triangle trip” to Dallas to visit and indulged us in lots of kid-friendly dining and adventure. Adamant about her costume this year, Olivia trick or treated as a doctor, complete with little brother in tow – “Mr. Bones” AKA The X-Ray.  [NOVEMBER] Spent a few weeks in CA for the Thanksgiving holiday, Enjoyed the wonderful So Cal weather, slack-lining at the beach,  cruising the harbor, and of course a few days at Disneyland! We said adios to Townes precious gummy smile when he cut his first tooth. With lots of coaching, Townes officially mastered the art of crawling! [DECEMBER]  Daniel left his job at VMware to pursue a new opportunity in the Pacific Northwest. MEANING…In the first few weeks of the new year, Family P will be relocating to Portland, Oregon!  We couldn’t be more excited for new adventures in Stumptown… in fact, we heard Santa’s elves mention that some new camping gear might be making it’s way down our chimney.  We’re incredibly thankful for the friends we’ve done life with here in Dallas, and will be sad to move away from our support system but excited to start the next chapter.

And what you’ve really been waiting for…. photo recap.

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Jan 2014 Disneyland

Disneyland Jan 2014

Jan 2014 Disneyland

Olivia's Second Birthday Party Feb 2014

Feb 2014 Olivia’s 2nd  Birthday Party

Packing Up the Sycamore House March 2014

March 2014 Packing Up the Sycamore House

March 2014 Moss Haven House

March 2014 Moss Haven House

April 2014 Welcome Baby Townes!

April 2014 Welcome Baby Townes!

April 2014 - Dallas Arboretum

April 2014 – Dallas Arboretum

May 2014 Brunch with Gramma G

May 2014 Brunch with Gramma G

May 2014 Olivia & Townes

May 2014 Olivia & Townes

May 2014 Olivia & Townes

May 2014 Olivia & Townes

June 2014 Father's Day

June 2014 Father’s Day

June 2014 - Olivia & Townes

June 2014 – Olivia & Townes

July 2014 Lake Highlands Fourth of July Parade

July 2014 Lake Highlands Fourth of July Parade

July 2014 Olivia & Dan

July 2014 Olivia & Dan

July 2014 - Post Dallas Zoo Naps

July 2014 Blueberry Picking

July 2014 Blueberry Picking

August 2014 San Antonio

August 2014 San Antonio

August 2014

August 2014

September 2014 Townes

September 2014 Townes

Sept 2014 Olivia's First Day of School

Sept 2014 Olivia’s First Day of School

Oct 2014 Hiking in Beaver's Creek Nat'l Park

Oct 2014 Hiking in Beaver’s Creek Nat’l Park

Oct 2014

Oct 2014

Oct 2014 Townes

Oct 2014 Townes

Oct 2014 Dr. Olivia

Oct 2014 Dr. Olivia

November Thanksgiving in CA

November Thanksgiving in CA

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

Dec 2014 Polar Express Grapevine

Dec 2014 Polar Express Grapevine

Townes – Sweetest little fella. Snuggle-master. Loves being worn. Squawks like a parrot. Has the most precious “slow-build” cry face you’ve ever seen, although it’s rare we get to see it. Nothing makes him giggle like his big sister can. Captivated by his “dayda’s” piano and guitar playing skills. Definitely learning to hold his own with his big sister who he is incredibly patient with.  Not a fan of riding in his carseat and in the early stages of “I just want to get down!” Favorite things to play with include: keys, faces, leaves and sticks (definitely not toys.) The bathtub can turn any amount of crankiness around so sometimes we spend the bulk of “the witching hour” there.

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Olivia – Terrific Two. Olivia is our little string bean skinny mini with a bigger personality than any toddler I know. She’s as sassy as she is smart making some days quite challenging. She’s incredibly perceptive and understands so much more than we give her credit for.  Imaginary play frequently finds us coaching swimming lessons in the bathtub, feeding pretend babies or baking a “birthday (cake)”. Loves to get messy, wether it’s dirt, sand, or “hot cheese” (AKA Mac n Cheese).  Favorite activities include: riding her trike to the “chickens” at the elementary school, going to the “jump jump” open gym and Dayda dates to Taco Joint and “the music store” (AKA Guitar Center). Contact: OKPittman@gmail.com

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Dan –  Tacos, Beer and computer-ing. Pretty much still accurately describes this guy. One of our favorite pasttimes is enjoying dining out at one of the few kid-friendly spots in Dallas, The Lot or Chicken Scratch.  Nothing better than enjoying local craft beer and watching kiddos play in a giant sandbox! Bought his first pair of Chacos – specifically for spring adventures in the nature preserve across the street from our house.  Adopted “Brother Gorham’s” team (Chelsea), and took up an interest in British Premiere League soccer. Spends the little free time that he has digging deeper into computer science and perfecting his slow brewed cup of coffee. Contact: danielscottt@gmail.com // Twitter @danielscottt

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Meg – Chasing toddler, wearing baby. Most mornings are spent out of the house – even if it takes 3+ hours to get everyone out of PJs and in to the car. Surviving on  “good” coffee (thanks to Dan who ensures that I’m caffeinated) and dry shampoo. Managing the family calendar, weekly meal planing and never ending piles of laundry. Escaping once in a blue moon for yoga,  pinterest and blogging. Planning playdates and kid crafts and practicing the art of the “bento box”.  Co sleeping, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, natural remedies… Gone back to my CA roots and become just a little bit of a hippie. Trying to live in the moment and enjoy staying home with my kiddos while they’re small. Contact: megan.gorham@gmail.com // Instagram @mmoguu

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Family P: First Edition – Pittman Family Christmas Newsletter

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The reality is… we’ve had a relatively (and wonderfully) quiet year. But here goes… The Pittman Family Christmas Newsletter: First Edition

 [JANUARY] Kicked off the new year in Orange County with Family Gorham with a fun new tradition… BINGO + BEER – Not the most glamorous of celebrations but certainly the most fun you can have while your almost 1-year old is snoozing in the next room. Celebrated Daniel’s Great Grandpa’s life in DeLeon, Texas with family at the end of the month. [FEBRUARY] Olivia turned 1! We celebrated our little Valentine’s first birthday at our home, complete with family and friends, a plethora of pretty pink hearts and a “smash” cake. [MARCH] Spring brought the beginning of toddler-hood as Olivia started walking at around 13 months old. We found a new appreciation for the beginning of park season and lots of time spent at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. [APRIL] Showers and storms had us spending lots of indoor time at the Dallas World Aquarium. Officially kicked Dan out of his home office, freeing up some space for Olivia’s new playroom. Freshly painted and spruced-up, this multi-functional room also serves as our music room and landing spot for junk mail, catalogs and coupons.  [MAY] Olivia’s Baby Dedication at our Church (Fellowship White Rock) fell on Mother’s Day weekend allowing us to spend the special day with our parents. Good friends, Justin and Cassie came to visit, indulging us in showing off Big D. [JUNE] Enjoyed all kinds of wonderful nature-centric activities during an early summer vacation with Family Gorham in Sedona, AZ. Our littlest fish started her first session of swim lessons at Emler Swim School. [JULY] Kicked-off summer with a 4th of July Bash at home welcoming the Texas heat. Rising temps found us frequenting the splash pad at Klyde Warren Park, enjoying popsicles in the backyard and dining al fresco at Chicken Scratch. [AUGUST] was HOT. HOT. HOT. We became the proud owners of a brand new A/C unit. Also, charter members of the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science, officially the best place to entertain a toddler indoors in Dallas. Ended the summer with an escape from the heat to beautiful sunny southern California to visit Gramma G and Papa. Olivia enjoyed her first trip to Disneyland and we shared some BIG news with the family. [SEPTEMBER] Announced to family and friends that we’re expecting Baby P #2 in April. First look sonograms and doctors appointments reveal a healthy and wiggly little nugget. Welcomed the opening of the Rory Meyer’s Children’s garden with frequent visits.[OCTOBER] Celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary and Daniel turned the big 3-0. Dressed as Ladybug girl, Olivia enjoyed trick-or-treating on Swiss Ave for the first time. [NOVEMBER] Enjoyed the cooling temps and change of seasons with frequent trips to the Pumpkin Village at the Dallas Arboretum. Revealed the gender of our newest little Pittman with friends and family – It’s a BOY! Then finally reclaiming energy lost during my first trimester, we hosted Thanksgiving for 9. [DECEMBER] Preparing our hearts and home for Christmas. Thanking God for a wonderful, mostly-calm year. Feeling blessed with a happy healthy and growing family.

Stone Brewery, Escondido, CA - January 2013

Stone Brewery, Escondido, CA – January 2013

Olivia's First Birthday Party - February 2013

Olivia’s First Birthday Party – February 2013

Walking - March 2013

Walking – March 2013

New Playroom - April 2013

New Playroom – April 2013

Klyde Warren Park - May 2013

Klyde Warren Park – May 2013

Sedona, AZ - June 2013

Sedona, AZ – June 2013

4th of July - July 2013

4th of July – July 2013

Dana Point, CA - August 2013

Dana Point, CA – August 2013

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Rory Meyer’s Children’s Garden – September 2013

Halloween - October 2013

Halloween – October 2013

Dallas Arboretum - November 2013

Dallas Arboretum – November 2013

White Rock Lake - December 2013

White Rock Lake – December 2013

Dan – Computerist computering computer code at a computer company. Loves being ‘dayda’, collecting (but never actually reading) reading material, and consuming a healthy amount of beer and coffee.  Also tacos. Contact: danielscottt@gmail.com // dpitt.me

Meg – Toddler chaser. Bun in the oven. Serial Membership Addict: Dallas Zoo, Arboretum, Perot Museum, State Parks, etc. Mastered the art of salsa and taco preparation. Relies heavily on Dry Shampoo, yoga pants and nap time. Contact: megan.gorham@gmail.com // megsmileu.com

Via – Goof ball. Chatter-Box. Mac & Cheese connoisseur. Car-napper. Calliou lover. Enjoys playing dress-up, being outside and trolling “the durch” (our 12-year old black lab – not pictured,) Pending Big Sister!

Olivia: First Birthday Party

When you’re born on Valentine’s Day – it’s only natural to have your first birthday party themed to match. I’ll admit – between my mom and mother-in-law we went a little overboard with the decorations (Especially the balloons – or “BAHHHs” as Olivia likes to call them).

Here are a few of my favorite shots (captured by the very talented Zach Freeman, a friend of Auntie B’s from TCU. Link to his website below)

Olivia and a “BAHHHH”

Great Grandparents and Great Great Granny

Enjoying Some Blueberries

BAAAHHHloons

Opening Presents

Grandparents

“All Done”

Friends and Family

Zach Freeman Photography 

We feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to celebrate with such amazing Friends and Family! So thankful that Olivia will be able to look back as see that all of her Grandparents, Great-Grandparents AND Great-Great Granny were able to come and celebrate with her. Thank you all so much for helping us celebrate her first year (and our first as parents!)

Much Love,

Momma Meg

Family P: Give Thanks

A few more Thanksgivings from the Jar:

Today I am Thankful for… Being able to stay-at-home with Olivia

Today I am Thankful for…Being able to breastfeed with no complications

Today I am Thankful for… Clean Sheets and our BIG comfortable bed.

Today I am Thankful for… Hot Coffee.

Today I (Daniel) am thankful for… My Tiny Pliny

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Family P: Give Thanks

A few Thanksgivings from the Jar:

Today I am thankful forA supportive husband who will wake up with the baby when I have a migraine. Feed her Bananas. Change her poopy diaper and keep her happy until I roll out of bed.

Today I am thankful forthe happiest, most easy-going baby in the world. Who is easily entertained and independent but still loves to snuggle.

Today I am thankful formy sisters – who are truly my best friends – who accept and love me for who I am and will always be there when I need them.

Today I (Daniel) am Thankful for… Family Lunches at Home

Today We are thankful for… Baby Liv Kisses, sloppy and wet, Love Bites included. Because they are the best.

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Family P: Give Thanks

I saw an idea a while back of a pretty neat way to celebrate the season of Thanksgiving. Create a “Give Thanks” Jar to collect daily thanksgivings. Keep notecards or festive scraps of paper and pens handy to jot down things that you are thankful for – then during Thanksgiving dinner, take turns reading from the jar.

It was already very late in the day that I realized that today was Nov. 1st. I guess somehow I forgot that Nov. 1st is also the day after Halloween… So my scraps of festive paper… are almost cut. My pens… collected. My jar… not yet selected. But my thanksgivings… already overflowing.

Hopefully Day 2 will bring something as cute as this:

Via Young House Love Here

Today I am thankful for: 

My wonderful husband.

Who loves me, understands me, and laughs at my jokes. Who works SO hard to provide for our family.

Who is the man of our house, my rock and my friend.

I‘m so thankful that God gave me such an amazing man to share my life with.

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Mom Life: Ain’t Nobody Happy (Sleep Diaries)

5:10AM Olivia is finally asleep in her crib… I think.

Am I asleep? No. I’m wide awake. Coffee Brewed. Googling… “Alternative to Cry it Out Method.” Several message board posts later – I feel horrible about ignoring my gut instinct to ALWAYS comfort my baby when she cries. I talked to our pediatrician, and consulted many friends about their experiences with sleep training and developing healthy sleep habits for/with their babies this past week. Everyone has an opinion about what works – but it all boils down to the baby. (I don’t think I like using the word BOIL and BABY in the same sentence).  I never really fully backed the Ferber-type method for sleep training; never judged those who did, just didn’t think it could work for me (and Olivia). Most of my friends made suggestions like, “quit nursing her at night,” and “let her sleep with you until she decides she’s ready to sleep in her own bed – cribs are prisons” and of course, the flip side, “you just need to let her cry it out!” We were at the pediatrician on Tuesday for an ear re-check when Dr. Diaz encouraged me to try the CIO method. She made arguments like, “It’s your responsibility to help your baby develop healthy sleep habits in the same way that it’s your responsibility to help them develop healthy eating habits” and “Babies cry, that’s just what they do.” I really couldn’t disagree with these statements more – It’s not like I’m encouraging POOR sleeping habits! and I certainly don’t think that letting your baby cry just because “it’s what they’re supposed to do” is acceptable. Babies cry because they NEED something – food, diaper, cuddling… etc. (We’re switching Doctors, by the way – more on that later).

OK – So I’ll set the stage. To help paint a picture of what the past few months have been like… and show you just how sleep deprived I am.

At around 6 months – Olivia’s sleep habits changed… and I have a feeling it’s mostly my fault. (This is where I do agree with owning the responsibility of developing healthy sleep habits.) Pre-6 month old Olivia would nurse to sleep in the evening, go down in her crib… wake up to nurse once, maybe twice, but generally sleep for 10-12 hours in two 5-6 hour stretches. During her nighttime feedings, she frequently fell asleep within a few minutes of nursing – a big sign that she probably wasn’t REALLY hungry, just needed a snuggle. Here’s what I should have done at this point – Slowly eliminate nursing at night, instead just rock, cuddle, sing her back to sleep. Instead, at 6 months, when I was so totally sick of the zombie feed, I started bringing her to bed with us, (BIG MISTAKE family cuddling is kind of the best) where I could roll over, nurse, then fall back asleep. Just as I was convinced that I needed to be the one to break this habit and let Olivia start sleeping in her own bed again… we had 4 straight weeks of cough cold/ ear infection/ cutting teeth… and my plan was shot. So here we are (Oct. 31)- a typical night (for the last 2 months) for us looks like this:

8:00PM I nurse Olivia then usually rock her for 15-20 minutes, sing, say prayers, etc. until she’s pretty much konk’d out

10:30PM We usually get to sleep – It’s really nice to have that extra couple of hours alone!

1:30AM (or so…) Olivia wakes up, I nurse her in the rocking chair in her room, then rock her for 15-20 (sometimes 30 minutes) then put her down in her crib… and her little eyes POP open… like, “BUT MOM! I want to sleep with you!”

2:00AM So I usually make a second attempt to get her to go back to sleep… Another 30 minutes of rocking… and I put her down… and her eyes POP open.

2:30AM Occasionally I make a third attempt – but usually I’m frustrated and tire by this point so I usually just let her come to bed with us – where I give her a pacifier and she crashes pretty quick.

3:30AM Somebody squirms, coughs or rolls over and Olivia wakes up – so I nurse her back to sleep.

5:00AM Daniel gets up for work, Olivia starts to squirm so I give her a pacifier and pray that she’ll go back to sleep.

5:30AM Still squirming, I make another attempt to feed Olivia thinking that it might help her sleep a little longer.

5:30 – 6:30AM I endure an hour or so of kicking and squirming… which gradually escalates to hair-pulling and poking (She really likes to poke my nose and eyes and stick her pointer finger in my mouth)…

so by 6:30… I get up.. make the coffee… turn on the news, pump, etc.

So basically, I get a 3 hour (or so) stretch of sleep, then am up for an hour and a half, then get another 2 hour stretch, then an hour and a half of “half-sleep.” NOT ENOUGH SLEEP. I do feel guilty that I don’t want to share our bed anymore with our squirmy baby. HOWEVER, “Ain’t Nobody Happy if Momma Ain’t Happy Rested.”

So last night. Actually… this morning. or today. We let Olivia calm herself back to sleep – I won’t really say we let her cry it out – because I definitely didn’t follow all the rules to Ferber’s method. We had a bit of an off night,  (Olivia boycotted her afternoon nap yesterday then fell asleep at 6:30 while we were out trick-or-treating) so we extended her bedtime a bit. When she woke up at 3:30AM (actually much later than usual!) – I went in and fed her, we cuddled for 30 min or so then I put her down with a pacifier (eyes popped open), tuned her mobile on (I don’t usually do this – but figured maybe it would help her drift off to sleep) and walked out of her room. She fussed a bit (not even real crying) for about 10 minutes then I let her cry or 5 minutes before I went in to find her standing in the crib. I gently kissed her head and helped her lay back down, gave her a pacifier, rubbed her tummy a bit, turned her mobile on and again walked out. Tears definitely welled up in her eyes (mine too) as I was going through the process… and she started to cry as I walked about again. I waited 15 before going back in and repeated the processes. When I walked out this time, I set my stop watch for 30 minutes… thinking, “there’s no way I’m going to be able to endure this!” –  but she cried for less than 5 minutes.. and that was an hour and ago.

So I’ve been awake since 3:30AM. Not the desired result but I do see more sleep in my future. And a more rested Momma (and Olivia) will make for a happier family. Stay Tuned for night #2 of “Healthy Sleep Habit Building”… that’s what I’m going to call it.

UPDATE: Night 2 was much easier… Olivia, again, woke up around 3:00AM – I fed her, rocked + snuggled her for a few minutes then put her down in her crib with a pacifier + mobile on. She cried for about 20 minutes (which was much less heartbreaking on the second night since it was more of a whine than a cry). I checked on her, rubbed her back for a minute or two then left her room. She cried for 12 minutes (I’d set my stopwatch for 45 minutes this time) before falling asleep. Again – she slept much later than she would have if she was in bed with us… until around 7:15AM. Go Liv!

 

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Family P: Halloween Happenings

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I guess, I get that from my Dad. He always made sure that Halloween was extra special for us growing up. We ALWAYS carved pumpkins together as a family in the garage, usually with Jimmy Buffet or George Straight tunes playing in the background. When our carved masterpieces were complete, we’d line up our pumpkins, have a grand lighting ceremony then admire our work from the street. Even through college, my siblings and I all continued to participate in this tradition – sometimes with friends or love interests in tow. When we were little(er), on Halloween night, my Dad would set up “Jack,” the giant (actually larger than life) stuffed gorilla, in the study window and playa creepy tunes through the intercom system to spook the trick-or-treaters. My family has definitely always been big on traditions so Dan and I are having a blast creating some new ones with Olivia’s firsts.

Needless to say… October is definitely my favorite month of the year. Maybe it’s the predictably beautiful weather (both here in Dallas and in SoCal)… or Pumpkin Spice Lattes, boots + sweaters… carving pumpkins, the texas state fair… Dan’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, halloween… it’s always a pretty eventful month in our house.

This year we celebrated our 2nd Anniversary (10/10/10) with a celebratory dinner at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen – followed by a night at the Texas State Fair. Even got to see Big Tex before tragedy struck. We’ve made several trips to the arboretum, a trip to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch, and enjoyed the gorgeous October weather – granted it’s been ALL over the place this year… 80s one day, 50s the next.

This past weekend, we had a bunch of friends over (for a VERY last-minute-non-party) to carve a few pumpkins, enjoy some festive food and watch a scary movie. I don’t know how it happens, but it seems that WAY too much time goes between getting our big(ger) group of friends together. (Thank You Brian Kress for pointing that out!) It got me thinking, I always blame our anti-social tendencies on the baby &/or tight budget – but in reality it’s just plain difficult to get everyone’s schedules and availability aligned. Dan and I debated for weeks on wether or not to throw a Halloween “party.” Then, just a few days prior – feeling slightly bummed that I STILL hadn’t organized anything… We decided, What the Heck! – NOBODY CARES if our yard is a mess, or our house isn’t totally spotless clean… What really matters is just getting together with good people… catching up, sharing a meal… and having a little fun!

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Unfortunately, Daniel had to travel for work again this week and he won’t be home in time for trick-or-treating. Liv and I may make a spin around the block (Swiss Ave. is a pretty happenin’ place on Halloween) or we may call it an early night… just thankful that Halloween becomes a 2 week ordeal when you have kiddos… and we’ve already celebrated in lots of festive ways!

Ten MORE Things I love about October (And Fall in general)

1. Finally feeling legitimate about wearing sweaters + boots

2. Pumpkin Spiced Lattes + Pumpkin Bread

3. Wearing Daniel’s Flannels

4. Carving Pumpkins

5. Using the seat warmer in my car

6. Slippers, Sweatpants + Hoodies

7. Soup + Cornbread

8. Enjoying the crisp cool air outside.

9. Reminiscing while looking through our wedding “album”

10. Darker, earlier evenings… makes me feel like I’m staying up REALLY late.

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