Charlotte Pear: Nine Months

Charlotte at nine months has five teeth. She's gone through some sleep deprived nights, where we've reverted back to her newborn sleep habits of needing food every couple of hours. She loves her Johnny jump up, and though she can't go from sitting to standing, she loves to stand against the couch when we help her get that way. She eats more food these days, good at picking up her own bits and getting them (mostly) to her mouth. She can clap and high five, and sometimes she waves. She doesn't talk yet, but she babbles often.

The house we were praying would be our forever home sold, but God has given me heaps of contentment in our current home. After looking at other homes, I've grown to reappreciate our home. I love all the windows, letting light into every room. I love the hardwood floors and the beautifully updated kitchen. I love the nooks and spots that old houses have, with strange shaped doorways and a built in desk. Mostly, though, of course, I love the hard working man who I share my bed every night with, and the sweet baby who sleeps across the hall. No matter if we live in our current home for the next fifty years or find someplace with a fireplace and some extra land for gardening and nature journals, I'm thankful to have a husband who loves me and trusts our God. We have another showing tomorrow, so our house could still sell, even with no home in mind to move toward living in next. God knows.

Matt and I have looked into starting our own Window Cleaning business (Matt's trade). We've run all the numbers and had some financial and business meetings, and Matt has talked to his boss. He's under obligation to not wash windows for an entire year after leaving his current job, and his boss offered him a raise and more (and better pay) paid vacation days if he'll stay. It's a crossroads for our family. Either we're starting a new job (doing something else for a year) while working towards beginning our own business a year from now, or we're staying the course, continuing with the job that we know came from God's hands five years ago. Matt is a steady, honest, reliable person and worker, and the fact that he had in his mind to begin something new is the kind of process that he doesn't enter into lightly. Pray with us, that we'll seek God in this as we make a decision that will affect us now, as well as long term.


Chincoteague Island

On Labor Day, our little family took a road trip up the Eastern Shore to Chincoteaugue Island, home of the wild ponies. We walked around the quiet town, buying handmade soap and hardback children's books (from this booklist) before heading to the Assateague lighthouse. It was Matt and Charlotte's first lighthouse climb, and the elderly lighthouse keeper gave Charlotte a Junior Lighthouse Keeper badge that feels like the start of a good tradition.

It's peaceful to set aside time to spend, just the three of us. Charlotte tasted ice cream for the first time at the best ice cream shop in Virginia, which she loved (I expect nothing less from a daughter of mine). Matt and I each had a scoop of ice cream, but it's not as fun to eat sugar after you've gone months without it. It made my teeth feel gross (while tasting delicious). I'm down to 139 pounds, so I've lost over sixty pounds this year! Both Matt and I only have a few more pounds to lose! I still (and forever) recommend Trim, Healthy Mamas way of eating. And, since I'm making recommendations (and talking about lighthouses), I saw "The Light Between Oceans" over the weekend, and it's the best movie I've ever seen. Sad, absolutely, but incredibly beautiful.

I'm thankful for a whole day carved out for family time with breezy, overcast, perfect weather and a Christ-honoring sermon about humility to teach our hearts as we made the trip.



Recently, my sister-in-law began a bookclub. It was well timed, since I'd been listening to podcasts/reading articles from Wild + Free and At Home about starting homeschool bookclubs, and planning my future bookclub. Sometimes I spend too much time focused on the future, and what I'm GOING TO DO, and not enough time doing actual stuff in the present. So, this post isn't about my future homeschool bookclub, or even the bookclub for adults that I am currently attending. This post is about the booklist that I've added to the tabs on this blog. It'll be a running list of books I recommend and also what I'm currently reading.

My favorite books, as you'll notice, seem to be non-fiction marriage/parenting/homeschool/lifestyle books where someone who has walked ahead of me gives me advice on what worked for/helped them. I do not enjoy or glean from every such book I read, but this does seem to be where I lean most heavily.

Charlotte Pear: Eight Months

Over a year ago, with empty arms, I wrote a post about wishing I had a baby to push in the swing in the backyard. I had expectation deferred when Christian died, and it hurt-hurt-hurt. Now, I often just whisper prayers of thanksgiving into my baby girl's wispy, light hair, knowing full well that not everyone has a baby to love and hold.

Charlotte at eight months has three teeth, two on bottom and one on top. She sits up and army crawls all over whatever room we put her down in. She says "mamma" and "ad-da", though only says my name when I've put her down, or someone else is holding her and she wants me. Last night, I was nursing her in our bed, and she was reaching for her daddy, who lay asleep beside us. She couldn't quite reach him, so she pulled herself away from me and shrieked, "DA!" Oh, how impressed she was with herself when he woke up and smiled at her.

She'll eat anything that we feed to her, and has even successfully picked up a couple of pieces of food and gotten them into her mouth. The pieces that miss her mouth, fall to her lap, and eventually the floor, where Max is willing help with clean up. She doesn't limit herself, eating grass and other things that aren't technically food.

She's brave: loving to be pushed (much too high) in the backyard swing and thrown up to the ceiling by her dada. Most of the day she's content and sweet. Happy, so long as her diaper is changed and her tummy is full, but she has bursts of discontentment. Upset when I tell her she can't touch cords that run to the walls or chew on plastic bags. A baby, with all of the normal, willful tendencies that all humans have.

I like to watch the world freshly through her eyes; Watching seagulls while lying on the grass in our backyard, or watching Tater climb into our basket of blankets in the living room. Everything is new and unsystematic. I'm seeking God's Word for wisdom as we choose the things that will be normal and habitual for us, the Norfolk Nowaks.



Eating veggies picked from the earth in our backyard gives me the feeling that we're using our home to its full advantage, not just as walls and a roof to shelter us from the rain and wind, but as a home.

Our spot of land.

Our home hasn't sold yet. Not for lack of positive reviews after showings; we just haven't found the perfect family for our little home. They'll come, and even if they don't, worst case scenario, we'll stay in the adorable home we've had the privilege of loving for three years already. But I do feel that God has placed the dream of moving and growing, closer to the church on more land, in our hearts and daydreams, and we're trusting in His timing for our family.

Every year we let the garden take up a tiny bit more of the backyard, until we're growing pumpkins and spaghetti squash along side the tomatoes and green beans, and turning cucumbers into pickle snacks to last us till next garden.


Trim Healthy Mama Meal Idea: Shrimp Ceviche with Chili Cumin Chips

Fuel Pull: Low enough in carbs and fat to be neither and S nor an E

Ingredients for Ceviche:

12 oz. Shrimp
1 Cucumber, quartered and diced
1/4 of a Medium Red Onion, thinly sliced and diced
1/4 Cup of Fresh, Chopped Cilantro
1/2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 Cup of Lime Juice
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil a medium pot of water. Cook the shrimp for three minutes. Drain the shrimp and rinse in cold water.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with the shrimp and toss together. Cover and refrigerate for two hours to let the flavors meld.

Ingredients for Chili Cumin Chips:

2 Mission Tortillas: Carb Balance (you should only have one tortilla per person, and this chip recipe will make two tortillas, but can easily be adjusted to make more if you're serving more people)
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
Sea Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400.

Brush one side of each tortilla with lemon juice. Cut tortillas into eight. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Stir Chili powder, Cumin, and Salt together and sprinkle onto tortillas. Bake 10 minutes until crispy.

My husband and I paired this with home-grown roma tomatoes and cherries (making it an E) for dinner on the beach last weekend. This refreshing and energizing meal let me rest, having dinner made hours before we left. I would suggest cutting the cucumbers even smaller than I did, so that you can more easily scoop them out with your on-plan, homemade, delicious chips. I'm fifty-four pounds down this year thanks to Trim, Healthy Mama!

Enjoy your new fuel pull, and happy trimming!


Charlotte Pear: Seven Months

Charlotte at seven months is sweet. She smiles at friends and strangers. She has her two bottom, front teeth and enjoys eating any food we're willing to give her. She sleeps through the night from 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. and takes short naps at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and again before bed.

She scoots backwards, rolls everywhere, high fives, and says, "Mama" and "Dada". When you ask her to say please (while showing her the sign language for "please") she replies with a huge smile (because she knows food is coming). She likes to turn off and on light switches and suck her thumb.

She's easy to love and quick to return snuggles and smiles. I know parenting her will get harder soon, but right now, she's honestly just a joy.