~ Prologue ~
I'm a planner. I'm flexible, but I like to have an idea of what's going to happen. At the end of my last blog post I wrote about how I thought these last couple of months carrying Levin would go. It was a stupid move on my part. My pregnancy with Ava was so easy. I was hardly nauseous, totally healthy, and worked until she was born with just a little ankle swelling. This pregnancy has been difficult and stressful from about three weeks in. I spent the first trimester with signs of miscarriage at every turn, sick, stressed, and exhausted. The second trimester was more smooth, and I was starting to think I'd have an easy go of things until the end.
Two Sundays ago, on February 17, I could not sit still during church. It was no fault of the service, I just kept squirming and trying to find a position that didn't make the shooting pains in my middle worse. Nothing helped. All through lunch I went back and forth on whether we should go to labor and delivery or not. By the end of the meal, during which I could barely force a bite down, I decided we should go. At the time I was barely 34 weeks pregnant, and knew it was too early for Mr. Levin to come. I'll spare you the details and drama, but from a million tests and several drug attempts to stop the abdominal pains (which turned out to be contractions), it was determined that he was making an effort to begin his entrance. Nothing helped to stop the contractions, but super hydration and rest have helped things not progress too quickly. Last Sunday I was back in the hospital with more intense pains and pressures. I'm dilating more and Levin is "low enough to high five" according to my doctor.
Thankfully Josh's mom has moved in to help take care of us, and most of my work can be done from Couch Island - where I've been marooned for the past two weeks. This Thursday, March 7, Levin will be 37 weeks and I'll be 100% okay with him coming. I've doubted my due date from the beginning of this pregnancy, thinking I'm about a week or two ahead of schedule. We covet your prayers and thoughts through this next transition into a family of four.
So you'd think since I've been camped out on the couch for the past two weeks I'd have plenty of time to blog, but most of my time has been spent in a drugged/sleepy stupor. I'm tapering off meds as we move toward a healthy birthdate. This blog will be lengthy, but I'm trying to fit everything in before Levin arrives and starts hogging the blog scene.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of helping with a Movie Party at Ava's school.
It was precious. All of the kids had pretend money in paper wallets they'd made, and special tickets to enter the movie.
This Movie Party is the one time each year when Gingerbread kiddos watch TV at school.
Parent volunteers set up a concession stand for hungry movie patrons.
The students had to count and budget their money to purchase snacks and drinks.
Hot dogs and popcorn?
Ava was in heaven.
Ava didn't watch Downton Abbey with us, but one morning she requested breakfast in bed just like one of the ladies in the Grantham house.
Loving this precious big sister shirt from Mimi
As we finalized things to purchase our new home in Norman, something sad happened to our first home in Norman. They're tearing it down. I'm not saying it shouldn't be demolished, but this shabby on-campus apartment was our cozy home for Josh's first year of law school. AND I can't believe they gave us such a hard time for painting the walls cute colors if they were going to demolish it three years later!
You know what that fat stack of papers means?
We're officially homeowners!
Both sets of our parents and my brother came to Norman to help us make the move.
Of course one of my top priorities was to get Levin's little nest started.
The moving weekend did contain some fun times. Ava celebrated her 6th birthday with family. She went fishing with Pops and Nathan.
And caught this whale of a fish
Lots of playing with Coach between box duty
Once boxes had been mostly unpacked the family all headed back to Texas and Stacy came to see us for a quick night.
From the moment I saw the kitchen in our house, I could see this long counter filled with fresh pasta. Stacy, Josh, and I had to test it out. It worked perfect.
Grocery shopping at 8 1/2 months pregnant is always a tricky balance between healthy and necessity.
For the third year in a row Josh and Ava attended the City of Norman's Daddy Daughter Dance. It is always the highlight of Ava's year. Every time we pass the Embassy Suites, where the dance is held, she asks how many days until the next Daddy Daughter Dance. Does it get any sweeter than this?
I have a feeling we'll be taking lots of pictures in front of these doors on the porch.
A look back at previous Daddy Daughter Dances
And they're off
Had to share this outtake, just to keep things real.
On Valentine's Day Ava wanted to dress very fancy for her school party.
Sadly, I couldn't attend her party because I was recruiting in Stillwater for the day. Confession: I'm pretty sure all of this early labor junk started on this 4 hour roundtrip + 4 hour fair. On our way home from the fair I was feeling really carsick, and I've never been carsick in my life. Looking back, I think my contractions actually started that day.
Since our first year of marriage, Josh and I have always spent Valentine's Day at home. He cooks something delicious, we indulge in lots of fancy chocolate, and watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Ava is a big fan of our tradition.
(I took this picture as I groaned on the couch, totally oblivious to my body's warning signs.)
Still in denial of what was going on with Levin, we picked out paint to fix the accent walls in the kids' rooms. Ava's accent wall was bright orange, and Levin's was mossy green.
A 34 week bump shot in Levin's freshly-painted room.
No, I wasn't painting. Josh and a friend did it all.
Organizing bathrooms, closets, and starting baby laundry
and then BAM.
Not carsick, contractions.
The bump and I are now grounded
Bounce-working from home and couching it when contractions get too intense
Luckily I have amazing company on the couch.
Ava has been so kind and loving, often petitioning brother, "Please be nice to Mommy."
On baby sock duty
Sprinklings of snow remind us that it's not spring yet.
Hear that Levin? You're supposed to be my spring baby.
Sometimes the cute is just too much to handle.
Think she's ready for baby snuggles?
I found this sweet picture from Ava's baby shower at my church back home. Ack! Squishy babies!
Now she's 6 and toothless.
These pictures are out of order, but I had to include them. Sweet friends at work threw a shower for Levin and his girl womb buddy at the law school. The shower was an adorable balance of pink and blue.
Other amazing friends at church threw a shower for us too. So humbled by their generosity and thoughtfulness.
Ava really enjoyed playing with her girlies at the church shower.
Turns out showers are too much excitement for Levin.
Back to being marooned on the couch.
The food on Couch Island is delectable.
With Levin's birth looming in the near future, Josh set up Ava's old co-sleeper in our room. Yes, we're those parents who have our kiddo sleeping in our room. If you're not familiar with my parenting mantra let me give it to you straight, "It works for us." I realize things with Levin will be different. For now my only choice is to try what worked with Ava and adjust to make it work for him.
I found some old photos of Ava in the co-sleeper:
She's definitely ready to pass it down to brother now. Look at those legs.
She's decorated his door with this sweet sign.
My friend, Courtney, informed me that I was way overdue in posting pictures of our new house. She's worried that if I wait much longer the blog will slip completely into babyland and no one will ever see the house. Things are slowly moving into a normal state, but my current state is hogging a lot of resources and time. Not only can I not help us settle in, but people are having to take care of me and my normal house jobs. Josh and Judy have done amazing work, but I only have pictures of one room completed so far. I'm sure you're shocked that the room is the kitchen. I promise I'll get more house pictures posted soon, Levin willing.
I have control over one thing right now, my spice cabinet.
Yesterday, March 3, Judy took a quick round of family pictures for us. We were not the easiest subjects, see the outtakes at the bottom. I really wanted to have some photos of our family of three before Levin arrived. I'm so pleased with these pictures and hope you enjoy them.
And now for the ones we couldn't stand to delete because they made us laugh so hard:
Will my next post include a new baby? Only time will tell; check back soon.