Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mini Newborn Photo Shoot

My sister Bradi loves photography, and she's pretty good at it too. While she was here this weekend I asked her to take a few pictures of Asher to capture those newborn details. I am biased, but I think she did a great job.

I want blow one of them up to a large canvas size to put in his nursery, but I can't decide which one. What do you think? Which would you choose?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Our Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and we are so lucky to have an amazing village of our own.

I can't even describe how helpful my in-laws were. They completely put their lives on hold to drive up to DC for an indefinite period of time. Not knowing when Asher would make his appearance was stressing me out, especially as I thought about what to do with Zahara while I was in labor. Rose and Yakov solved that problem by coming up a few days before my due date and staying through the birth, and then eight days after for the bris. Since I went a full week past my due date, they were here for a total of 19 days, and didn't complain once!

They cooked me fantastic meals and took great care of Zahara. I know they must have been completely wrecked by the time they left. Caring for a 3-year-old is not an easy task.

Special thanks to my sister-in-law Amy who flew in just for the day to be at Asher's bris! That's commitment.

My Parents
My parents arrived the day before the bris and stayed for those first critical newborn days. It was so nice to have them here while I was recovering from my c-section. My dad worked his magic in the kitchen and made a phenomenal prime rib that I still dream about. Mom even got working in the kitchen! If you know her, you know that's a huge deal.

They took Z for her first movie, Finding Dory, and did a great job providing lots of snuggles for our little guy. Mom and I even pampered ourselves with some shopping and mani/pedis.

My Sister
Bradi came after the initial craziness of the birth and bris died down. She's actually here now and is already proving to be a super star. She stayed up with Ash until 1:30 am the first night and was up with Z at 5:00 am the next day. She has held Asher all day and is constantly asking how she can help. She even made me breakfast. I'm really glad she's here.

Our Friends
We've been so lucky to have friends visit and bring us food. It has been really nice not to have to worry about going grocery shopping, cooking, and making sure Z has a good dinner. So appreciated!

Zahara and Dan
Of course I couldn't do any of this without Z and Dan. My heart has grown immeasurably. Watching Zahara give her brother hugs and kisses, hearing her ask about him first thing in the morning and last thing before bed has been a real highlight of my life. Catching Dan give Asher "man-to-man" advice is hilarious and adorable. I am thankful every day for these two.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Welcome to the World Asher David!

He's finally here! Dan, Zahara, and I are excited to welcome Asher David Levin as the fourth, and final member of our little family. Asher arrived at 3:15 pm on July 27th, weighing 9 pounds 8 ounces. We are absolutely in love--especially big sister Zahara!

Just like his big sister, Asher was hesitant to come out and join us, waiting a full week after his due date. After nearly two days of labor, we finally got to meet our (not-so-little) guy. A c-section was never our ideal plan, but we are so lucky to have a healthy and happy baby and mum.We'll take that any day.

Asher is a biblical name meaning happy or blessed. His middle name, David, is in honor of Dan's late grandfather whom we both adored. So far, Asher is living up to his name. He is a calm, happy baby who brings joy to those around him.


We have an amazing support system of friends and family who have made our transition to a family of four much easier. I have lots more to add, including how incredible and heartwarming Zahara's reaction to her brother has been, our parents' visits, Asher's bris (ritual circumcision), and more. For now though, we're basking in the newborn glow, catching as many snuggles as we possibly can.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Birthday

As you can imagine, this year's birthday celebration was a bit more low key than previous years. Since baby Levin was four days overdue at this point, he really could have come at any time. Spoiler alert: he didn't. He hung in there, waiting for a birthday of his own.

My morning started off great with phone calls and flowers (thanks Bradi!), and a family trip to the diner for delicious pancakes. Then it was off to the farmer's market for fresh watermelon, corn, heirloom tomatoes, and yummy chocolate milk. It was a really nice market, but unfortunately it was one of the hottest days of the year. I was dying!

We cooled off at the Silver Spring library. My in-laws took Zahara to read and play while I got some down time. Dan found me a comfy chair where I could put my feet up and read for a while. Lovely.

We capped off our day with real sushi! I figure, at this point, can a little bit of raw fish really hurt this kid? Hopefully not. We went to Red Maple in Four Corners and it was absolutely delicious. Very fresh. Dan picked up a cake for me at Whole Foods earlier in the day and the restaurant let us eat it there. If you haven't had Whole Foods' strawberry and cream cake, you are missing out. The strawberries are so fresh and the cream is so tasty. Even without chocolate, it's one of my favorite desserts.

The best part of the day was that I still get to keep it as my own forever! (There was real concern I'd have to share it with a tiny human.) Thanks to everyone who helped make this day special! Now on to the next family birthday...hint, hint, baby. Any time now.

Read about our past birthday celebrations:
Zahara's 3rd
Dan's birthday
Zahara's 2nd
Calli's birthday
Zahara's birthday
Dan's birthday
Dan's birthday
Calli's birthday
Dan's birthday
Calli's birthday

Monday, August 1, 2016

This Month's Thoughts by Z

Here is the latest installment from my hilarious little three-year-old.

Thought 1:
When staying at our friend Dani's' house for the night:
Bernadette: babbling
Z: What's she saying?
Dani: Sometimes Bernadette is talking and I don't know what's she's saying.
Z: Sometimes my mum is talking and I don't know what she's saying.

Thought 2: 
Me: One day, you can be an astronaut and visit space.
Z: No, I want to be an astronomy teacher and teach about space.

Thought 3: 
Z (after attending our friends' daughter's baptism): When I'm bigger, can I go to church and get a lollipop?

Thought 4: 
Z to mummy: Your hair is so pretty. You look like a princess.

See previous Thoughts by Z:
July 2016
May 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

40 Weeks!

Dates: July 20- July 27

Baby is the Size of a: mini-watermelon (approximate length and weight: 20 inches, 7+ pounds)

How I'm Feeling: I'm good, but a little achy. That's not surprising since I'm now a week past my due date. I'm feeling lots of cramps, dull aches, and contractions, but nothing productive yet. I got kind of excited the other night because I had a few contractions in a row, but sadly, it didn't lead anywhere. Baby will come when he's ready.

Other than physical symptoms though, I'm feeling awesome! My in-laws have been SO helpful! They've completely taken charge and have been great with Zahara. It's such a relief to be able to relax and just try and enjoy these last days.

How I'm Changing: Just when I thought I couldn't get any bigger, I am still growing! I'm up around 35 pounds now, which is 7 more pounds than with Zahara. But, thankfully, it's still pretty much all belly (and a little swelling in my feet). My rings still fit though and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm just making a nice little home for baby.

What I'm Eating: As I hoped, I've been eating tons of delicious Russian food that my mother-in-law has been making. Vinegret, lula kabob, syrniki, all sorts of delicious salads she just throws together with whatever's in the fridge. It's been awesome.

What the Baby is Doing: Whoever said that babies slow down toward the end and don't move as much clearly has never met my kids. This baby is just as active as he's been since I could first feel him at 13 weeks. Maybe he's just getting all his energy out now so he can sleep perfectly once he's out. Ha!

Read about my first pregnancy:
My Pregnancy
Week 40

Monday, July 25, 2016

Playing Hooky Pre-Baby

While baby is still nice and cozy in there, Dan and I decided to take the day off work last Friday to play hooky. It was a fun day filled with a movie, ice cream, and swimming with the family. I can't think of a better way to spend the day.  

Dan and I saw Star Trek Beyond on it's opening day in the morning. It wasn't too crowded, which was nice. I enjoyed the movie, but Dan wasn't crazy about it. I'm loving all of the new strong women portrayed in the movies. I never really considered myself a feminist, but raising a daughter has made me really aware of gender disparity and stereotypes. I want Z to grow up seeing heroines and superheroes in movies, and smart, successful women in real life. Whew! Off my soap box now.

After the movie we hung out in downtown Silver Spring and grabbed a veggie burger at BurgerFi and a Cold Stone ice cream. We split a small German chocolate ice cream and it was amazing! 

After lunch we headed back home to pick up Z and my in-laws. Since it was so hot outside, it was the perfect day for some time by the pool. Our county has great public facilities. I love the lazy river! It felt fantastic walking around the loop while Z sat in the inner tube having a great time. We went around for nearly an hour. 

Z, Rose, Yakov, and Dan also spent a lot of time in the toddler area where there is a shallow pool and a mushroom fountain. We were there so long we clearly exhausted her.

Such a fun day! I love these final days with our little family.