The County Fair

8.30.2012
 (I know these aren't the best pictures.  I just snapped and ran with it.  And sometimes, that's better.)

Nothing signals the end of summer quite like the county fair.  I look forward to it every year!  For us, the fair isn't about the crazy carnival rides.  Instead, we prefer to wander around, stuff our mouths with greasy food, meander through the various talent exhibits and commercial venues, and best of all, see all the 4-H animals.  The FFA is a  big deal here and 4-H is a huge part of the fair.  Jed was in HEAVEN!  He ran up and down the barns with a huge grin on his face.  He was wired and so excited!  He wanted to pet every animal he could reach.  It made Bron and me laugh.  It's fun to watch Jed get so excited and to let him run wild; the fair is the perfect place for that.

The evening was one of our first outings as a family of four.  I am more in love with my boys than ever.  They make me happy. 

P.S.  This was our second trip to this particular fair--which means we have lived in Idaho for a full year now!  (First trip HERE)  I realized I am very happy to call this community home.  We love where we've planted ourselves and I'm becoming very attached. 

Just Like Grandpa

8.27.2012
 Jed enjoys reading a book while eating at the breakfast table... just like his Grandpa Nelson.
I find Jed's new habit very mature... until I remember that he prefers to drink his milk from a sippy.

Snapshots of Life Lately

8.24.2012
I looove that wrinkly little forehead!

We've been busy, and yet, not.  There's just a little more to do to keep up with two little ones!  Sometimes getting ready for the day doesn't happen until 3PM.  It's been a week of many ups and downs.

On the downside:  Jed has found my buttons and likes to push them over and over again.  Raising a two year old can be rough.  I cried when I had to feed Levi a few ounces of formula in the evening (twice!) because I just wasn't producing enough milk.  It made me feel like I failed my baby; I couldn't feed him!  And I've already had those chaotic moments when both boys are crying and needing something.  (For example, Levi is starving and poopy while Jed wants his shoes on but he has a bloody nose!)  Oh yeah, and the dog ate my new tree in the backyard.

On the upside:  Jed's smile slays me every time.  I just melt when he flashes me a genuine smile.  My milk supply has since caught up with the tiny piggy.  And those chaotic moments when both boys are crying only last about ten minutes.  In ten minutes, everything is right again and everyone is happy.  We've also been going on walks, playing with the neighbor kids (which means a break for me to chat with other moms), visiting Grandma's house, catching a horse and buggy ride, reading lots of books, playing in the yard, watching movies, and cramming in a couple loads of laundry.  My favorite parts of the day, however, are still cuddling and staring at my newborn baby.  There is nothing sweeter than holding a newborn; he makes everything seem right with the world.

*****

Side Story: While on a walk, I pointed out the cattails growing alongside the ditch to Jed. The next day we went on a walk again. Jed saw the cat tails and starting meowing.  I busted up laughing!

Levi's Newborn Photos

8.19.2012
Levi is now two weeks old and growing right before my eyes!  He's already changed since when these pictures were taken at four and six days old and I think he is now even more handsome!  (Note: I may be a bit biased.)  Sometimes I try to imagine what he will look like in a few months or years and I can't.  I'm just glad I'm his momma and I get to cheer at his milestones--big and little--as he grows because this folks, is pure joy.  I am completely smitten.

Presenting our little bundle of joy!  (And a picture overload.  I just couldn't choose!)

 My absolute favorite.  Look at those chubby wrinkles! This will be framed.


 I'm partial to this one too.  Precious.

 Little hands.

 I have a thing for feet, especially tiny ones!

 I love it when he's awake.  There's just something about  those eyes.

 An uncontrollable gassy smile.

 A yawn.

 Zoolander!  This one made me laugh.

My sleeping handsome stud.

My friend, Cassie, also came over with her camera and lenses to play with Levi.  We had so much fun taking more photos!  These next pictures are what she did.





Tell me.  What's your favorite?

Adjusting to a Family of Four

8.17.2012

I wouldn't be honest if I said that adjusting to life with two little boys is a breeze.  Between outrageous hormones and a lack of sleep, I may have cried a few tears... more than once.  It's crazy how terrifying a tiny nine pound human being can be.  But even though welcoming a new baby into our home is an adjustment, life with two little boys is actually very good!  Or maybe I'm just still running on adrenaline?  I may hit my wall in a week or two, but so far, I think I can do this.  I must have had this nightmare of what my new reality would be and it's not like it at all.  I know I'll have some good days and bad days, but with the experience I've had so far as a mother to Jed, I know that the good outweighs the bad tenfold.  My plan is to keep my expectations low on what I can accomplish in one day.  And if my boys go to bed happy, then I think I can call it a successful day.

So far, Levi has been an angel of a baby.  He only fusses when he's hungry or gassy (The boy can shoot poop three feet!  Not kidding.) and is content to sit and watch us for a few minutes before he needs to be scooped up and cuddled again.  Some nights are better than others, but Levi is already sleeping a peaceful 3-4 hour stretch, which leaves me feeling pretty good!  I love that baby boy more than he will ever know.

Now that I've left pregnancy two weeks behind, I feel like I can conquer the world!  Or at least run a marathon.  Not really, but I feel awesome--especially compared to how I felt after my first delivery.  I knew that pregnancy was tough on me this second time around, I just didn't realize how much.  I now have my body back!  I can bend over.  I have energy.  I can be on my feet for an hour without pain!  It's amazing.  I'm ready to be myself again.  Bron is especially happy to be getting his spontaneous and energetic wife back.  He fixed the tires on the double stroller for me and I've already taken the boys out on a few walks around the neighborhood.  In a few weeks I'll be running again!  However, my favorite part of each day is nap time.  Jed sleeps peacefully in his bed for a couple of hours while Levi and I curl up on the recliner together.  I love feeling the weight of Levi's little body on my chest and listening to him breathe.  I am relishing this newborn stage. 


Bron has also been affected greatly by our new addition.  He sometimes takes on the baby for a few hours in the evenings, which leaves him more tired than me!  But I'm grateful.  One night, I couldn't figure out what Levi wanted so Bron took him and told me to get some sleep.  I found them both passed out in the den at 3:30AM with the light on.  Apparently, Levi was just wide awake and wanted to see.  I have the greatest husband on the planet.

I think Jed is having the toughest time adjusting to a new baby brother though.  He has been much more whiny and needy and destructive.  He's been hearing "no" much more than usual, but I feel we have to discipline him because some actions just aren't acceptable.  He's a sweet boy though.  He's been very gentle with the baby and smothers his head in kisses.  He also likes to tickle Levi's tiny toes.  Jed is just starved for attention.  He's not used to sharing the limelight.  I moved a stack of books to the living room.  Jed chooses a few and sits close to me while I read to him and nurse the baby at the same time.  And though it's hard for me, I'm learning to put the baby down and rough house with Jed a bit in the backyard.  Jed needs me, and I need Jed.  That little boy makes me so happy.

I know the dust will settle in a few weeks.  Levi will grow bigger and sleep more regularly.  (And with his growth will come new challenges.)  Jed will adjust to sharing the attention with his baby brother and I will become more adept at taking care of two little ones.  Bron will get his wife back and perhaps we will be able to spend some more needed one on one time together.  I have hope for a great future ahead of us.  I feel as if I am living a dream come true: I have a loving husband and two little boys.  I feel content.  I feel like my life is supposed to be just this and it is very, very good.

Sleeping Like a Baby

8.13.2012
At least someone is getting some sleep around here.  At a whopping ten days old, I can't stop staring, cuddling, and kissing those soft fat cheeks!

Today is my first day alone with two little boys.  So far, so good.  And while I am 100% sure there will be many tears, screams, and meltdowns ahead (even from myself!), I feel like the luckiest woman in the world.  I love my boys--All 3 of them!

Newborn Levi: One Week Old

8.10.2012

I already feel an aching love for this newborn child of mine.  I am soaking this time in with all of my body and soul right now because this newborn stage is so fleeting.  Yes, even my sleep deprivation will end!

What I am loving most about Levi right now:

 His big wide cheeks and little chin
His short breathes and watching his tummy move
His silky dark hair
 His wide curious eyes
The way he purses his lips after nursing.  He's full and content!
Listening to his little grunts as he sleeps
His fuzzy little biceps and cheeks that feel like overly ripe peaches
The way he curls up on my chest and sleeps--for hours at night!
The wrinkles on his soft skin
How his crazy toes spread so wide
Holding him close and smelling that sweet natural baby smell
Gassy {cute} grins
How hiccups make his whole body shake
How Levi knows his mommy: my voice, my smell, and it's comforting to him.
His wrinkly forehead
How he likes to stretch out!  I can't believe he fit in my tummy.
His pure innocence

Welcome, Baby Boy!

8.04.2012
I know.  Yes, we grow 'em big and precious around here.

Levi and I are roommates in the hospital until tomorrow. We have nothing on the agenda other than to be healthy for the doctors and to snuggle and stare at each other. It’s unfortunate that pregnancy lasts a grueling nine plus months and my precious baby will only be a newborn for about one month because I could seriously become addicted to newborns. I want to put time on pause and soak in everything about this baby boy. I miss him when the nurses take him away to do routine tests. Levi is so precious! He is perfect in every way—from his wide fat cheeks down to his long crazy toes. I feel as if my heart has swelled to capacity. Heaven is having Levi lie on my chest while I kiss the top of his soft head and breathe in that sweet newborn smell. I am so blessed to be a mother.

Levi Wade Nelson was born on Friday August 3, 2012 at 1:58PM in Twin Falls, Idaho. He weighed in at 9lbs. 9oz. and was 22 inches long.

Levi’s birth story began on Thursday when I went to visit the doctor for my 39 week appointment. The office did an ultrasound to estimate the baby’s size. It looked as if my second baby boy would be around 9lbs 1oz, give or take a full pound. So when the doctor announced that my cervix was at a three, he asked if I’d like to have my baby tomorrow. With those blessed words, Doctor Astin immediately became my new favorite person. Yes sir, I would love to have my baby tomorrow! Please put me out of this misery called late pregnancy with all of its aches and pains. The best part was that Bron couldn’t wipe the smile off his face either.

It was so nice to have the entire afternoon to prepare. Momma Nelson was even able to drive out that evening to take care of Jed for us. Bron and I felt so many emotions, ranging from nervousness to pure excitement.

Friday morning, Bron and I arrived at the hospital with bags in hand around 7:45AM. The nurses checked me in and hooked me up to the monitors. I tested positive for Strep B this pregnancy, so I would need two doses of antibiotics before I delivered. The worst part of the morning was having the IV placed in my hand with an 18 gauge needle. It took the nurse a while to find the right spot, (I couldn’t watch) but soon the water and antibiotics were dripping freely.

At around 9:30AM, the doctor came in and broke my bag of water. A half hour later, Bron and I were commanded to walk the halls in hopes of getting contractions started and labor moving along. It was so nice to have Bron at my side. I looked ridiculous in the hospital nightgown and white granny panties, but Bron held my hand and we talked as we slowly made our rounds. Soon the contractions started coming. Bron kept the time with his phone and let me lean into him as the contractions became stronger and more frequent.

By the time I crawled back into the delivery bed at 11:30AM and got hooked up again, the contractions were coming on long and strong about a minute or so apart. Labor was getting intense! I closed my eyes and tried to breathe through the waves of pain. Bron massaged my back; that’s where it hurt the most. Needless to say, I was ready for an epidural. Luckily, the anesthesiologist waltz into the room not a moment too soon and fifteen minutes after that I had a perfect epidural: I was pain free from the waist down but could still feel pressure.

At about 1:20PM, the nurse began to prep the room for delivery. When she pulled out the infant bed, I nearly cried. It suddenly became so real: a new person was about to arrive! Bron felt the same way. In just minutes, we were going to be parents to another little boy. It felt exciting and surreal! The nurse checked my cervix just before 1:50PM and declared that I was ready to push. The doctor and resident were called into the room. Everyone and everything was ready and in place. I don’t remember how many times I pushed. All I remember is the intense pressure and briefly wondering if I could do this again. I could feel the baby’s head. A few pushes later, I could feel that with just one more push I would feel relief. Bron cheered me on and I squeezed his hand.

Then suddenly Levi was here! He was light purple and wasn’t breathing. I immediately knew something wasn’t right when the doctor didn’t place him on my chest. Instead, Levi was whisked straight to the infant bed where the nurse began to work him over, trying to get him to cry. Oddly, I didn’t feel an ounce of panic. I knew Levi was going to be okay. Apparently, Levi had the cord wrapped loosely around his neck. The doctor was able to unwrap it during delivery, but Levi had also swallowed some fluid. Just a minute later, Levi let out a whimper and he began to turn a healthy shade of red. The nurse was trying to make him angry, but Levi simply didn’t care. By the time the doctor put three measly stitches into me, Levi was ready to snuggle and nurse.

Bron and I enjoyed a peaceful sublime hour, just the three of us in the room. We soaked in Levi’s newness and reveled in the thought that we had just created another life, another family member.  In those moments, we felt a little closer to heaven.  There is nothing on earth quite like a brand new life.

I’m surprised by how good I feel this second time around. Labor and delivery was so much shorter and smoother; I hardly tore. My body knew what it was doing. This time, I also know what to expect: what goes on in the hospital, what my body is doing to recover, what it means to be a new mom. I’ve done a version of all of this before and it’s much less stressful the second time around. I’m on cloud nine. I’ve never been happier.

The part I am nervous about? Adjusting to caring for two little boys at home. But I believe that in time, that too will become second nature.

I love you, Levi. Somehow, you make me feel more complete and you’ve only been here a day.