The biggest piece of news lately is that Ava James somehow transformed from this -
into this -
Josh and I are so thankful for our sweet girl. From the moment they handed the pink sweet bundle to us in the hospital she has been the perfect fit into our little family. She started out as this magical little thing that could hold our attention for hours just by scrunching her face, breathing, and sleeping. We were smitten. Watching her develop into a little person has been the most rewarding experience. Looking back at her baby pictures has made it even more real that we'll have another little Lockett baby in our arms soon.
After a month of trying to decide on a birthday venue where all of Ava's kindergarten class plus church and other friends could come, we landed on an outdoor play-at-the-park party. I was so nervous as we waited for her party date to get closer and the weather reports started rolling in. The party day ended up being one of the prettiest Saturdays we've had in months. We had the most chill party. Josh and I made cake pops, and we had juice and water. The kids played at the park until they started getting thirsty and ready for snacks. We served the cake pops and drinks. When they showed interest in Ava opening her presents they brought them to her and she opened them. That's it. As favors we handed out the balloons we'd used to decorate and sparklers left over from Aunt Jaryn's wedding. The party was cheap, low-stress, and I think all the kids had fun - I know the birthday girl did.
One strange thing about Ava's birthday this year was that no family from Texas came in for it. With our big move next weekend, we decided to delay Ava's family party for everyone's convenience. She is excited to have another party to look forward to, and I know the grandparents are excited about Hideaway Pizza. Thank you so much to everyone who sent cards and gifts to Ava in the mail. Thank you for the phone calls and text messages. She felt loved on from every angle.
A special thank you to MLML and PLPL for the sweet treasures in the mail. Ava is loving the American Girl books and she was able to use her B&N gift card to buy a book light and some other books she's had her eye on. Instead of us reading to her at bedtime, she uses her new book light to read herself to sleep. Josh and I both fall asleep reading, so it's fun to watch her patterning her nighttime routine after ours. As much as I'd like to take full credit for this trait, I can remember laying in bed next to MLML waiting for her to get to a stopping point in her mystery book before she'd turn out the light. I guess those years Ava and MLML spent together will continue to shine through as she grows up. So special.
By the way, cake pop making is a laborious process. Thankful for my foodie hubby who took over when I couldn't go on...even if his cake pops did end up looking better than mine. Grr.
Birthday party decorations, we let God handle the rest of them.
Sweet friends with the birthday girl
We did buy one cupcake to stick her 6 candle into during the birthday song.
The next day at church Ava asked to have a friend sit with her during the service. They were so well-behaved, coloring and quietly working without noise. She's such a big girl.
After church we went to lunch with my pick for our new nanny. Josh and Ava wanted to meet her before we made things official. Inspired by Jane and Michael from Mary Poppins, Ava made a list of questions for her.
She passed the questions with flying colors, and Josh and Ava were just as charmed as Levin and I were. Donna will start working with our family during my maternity leave (3 months off, by the way, Toto I don't think we're in public school teaching anymore!) part time. Once I go back to work I plan to work from home one day a week, so Donna will care for Levin four days a week. She'll also pick up Ava from school, handle housework, and mostly just love on our two little ones until one of us gets home. I've always told Josh I didn't want to have another baby until I could stay home. Technically, we could make it without my income, but I love my job. It's the most fun I've ever had, and it brings me so much happiness. The flexibility allows me to feel like I can still be the mom I want to be to Ava and Levin, the wife I want to be to Josh, and work at a job that meets my needs. With Donna on our team I feel even more confident that we can make this work. I know it'll be a big transition, but we're excited about the changes coming our way.
Speaking of changes, all Ava really wanted for her birthday was to get her ears pierced. She's talked about it for six months. We've always said that when she asked we would let her pierce them. We all had a holiday for MLK day on the day before Ava turned six, so we headed to the mall. She was all smiles until the first ear was pierced. It took some comforting and encouraging from us to calm her enough to pierce the second ear. I wish I'd thought to ask them to pierce them at the same time. Within a couple of minutes after the second ear she was all smiles and so proud. I cleaned her ears the first night, but then Ava informed me that she could handle it. I do watch and make sure she's doing it correctly, but so far she's been very responsible. Five weeks left until she can change them out.
Later in the week I took Ava to her pediatrician for a checkup. At the appointment they informed me that children at this age usually don't come in for yearly checkups. Seriously? It's like she's an adult overnight. Anyway, she is in perfect health. She's a big girl, 85th percentile for height and 70th percentile for weight. Very thankful for our healthy girl.
Trying to remember to soak up every small moment with Ava in our last few weeks as a family of three. I've heard other mommy friends talk about this time before the second baby. Most of them have much younger kiddos, but I think it's just as important with our big girl. She understands that Levin is coming, heck he was mostly her idea. Josh and I were okay with just our one, but for the past three years Ava has talked about wanting a sibling. Still, I know she can't understand how much things will change in late March. I'm not even sure Josh and I get it. All we can do is embrace this change while treasuring every minute.
One thing I don't treasure, moving boxes. I'm so ready to be in our new house, but packing and moving is exhausting. Josh is doing most of the work, just like he did during our last move. There are many bright spots in this move though: 1) it's not happening in the middle of a 115 degree summer, 2) I'm not in my first trimester and sick, 3) we anticipate this to be the last move for the foreseeable future, 4) our sweet parents, both sets, are coming up on Friday to help us move. We can finally see the light at the end of this nomadic tunnel.
Levin (and Mommy) Update
No bump picture this post, sorry. Levin is 8 1/2 weeks from his due date. However, if he follows big sister's schedule it's more like 7 1/2. He will technically be "full term" on March 7th, and is due March 28th. My best guess is that he'll arrive on March 21st. My mom plans to come spend at least part of her spring break with us (March 11th-15th). Josh's mom will come after that and, hopefully, stay until Levin makes his appearance. With Ava's spring break, an unpredictable brother on the way, and a really busy season of work for me, I'll just feel better having a grandma in place and on guard. That's our plan for now anyway.
Physically, I'm still feeling great. I definitely notice my energy level starting to drop off, and there are a lot more aches than I remember with Ava.
Mentally, this past week was a bit of a roller coaster. The weight of the house closing, moving, about seven huge projects going on at work, and everyday life in general paired with our growing boy started to overwhelm me a bit. My dreamy doula, Sarah, was able to speak peace and comforting words that soaked away some of the AHHH. Also, Josh and Ava have held me up and allowed me to take the breaks I needed. I was so nervous to be pregnant again after Ava. My pregnancy with her was 100% healthy, but so full of emotional stressors and rocky times. This pregnancy has brought about healing of hurts that I didn't even know existed. I'm thankful for the hidden blessing that this pregnancy weakness and dependence has brought me and for the absolute rock that Josh has been to me through it. I'm also thankful for my tender-hearted daughter who always cries along with me. She softly rubs my back and wipes away both our tears while encouraging me in her own special way. Levin is a lucky little one to have Josh and Ava, that's for sure.
Over and out from The Hundred Acre Woods (our rent house), next post coming to you from Upton Abbey (our new house). I hope your 2013 is off to a fabulous start!