Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh teething....

Drool is everywhere. Soaking onesies, dripping on the floor, all over toys, splashing on my clothes. Everywhere! We have officially entered this next stage with Levi and he is most DEFINITELY teething. Any spare moment, he is shoving something in his mouth to gnaw and bite down on. Cold wash cloths, chilled teethers, toys of all shapes and sizes and even anyone who comes near to him, their fingers, instantly get grabbed a hold of and pulled towards his gummy, slobbery mess of a mouth.

Current favorites are his pal "Sophie" - a bendable, squeezable, bite-able giraffe that was created in France and has been around for 50 years (not mine... :) just the original toy concept). Also, he's loving chomping down on a wet wash cloth to ease those sore gums too. We're also currently trying out the "RaZbaby" teether too thanks to a thoughtful gift from a friend and new mommy too with her own little teething baby!

So now, we are just waiting to see those pearly whites pop up for the proof and explanation to why there's wet puddles of slobber everywhere! Here's just some shots of what Levi munching away!

Typically teether
Sophie
Toes!
And the side of his playmat?!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting caught up with the top 10 things that have happened since the last blog...

I have obviously been WAY behind on blogging....and those reasons are ones that don't make the top 10 (like Levi's first cold, acid reflux, and too many sleepless nights and undone dishes!) But to catch everyone up on what's happened in these last 26 days I made a "Top 10" list for the Month of October until present....

10. Levi started rolling from side to side...he lays there now playing with toys. He also found his toes around the same time and though they are not in his mouth yet, I'm sure like everything else they will be soon.

9. Graham came home from two weeks away in Asia!! Ahhh, it was SO great to have him home with us!
Dad's returned!
8. I celebrated a birthday and turned 26! (Which for the first time made me feel rather old....come on, 26 is closer to 30 than 20...) I had a great day celebrating with my boys and my sister. This included pool time, presents, frozen yogurt and the best - Levi drew a picture for me! Ha :) Graham had him pick out colors and then held the card still for him to "draw" on while his limbs were flailing away. This one is a keeper! 
Birthday Card with Levi's Picture
7. I started eating "dairy free" due to Levi's reflux. While this isn't exciting, the fact that it's completely gone and my little guy sleeps again is! Now I'm looking for new Vegan recipes and enjoying putting Pinterest to good use! 

6. Levi had his first giggle!! :) Now he can't stop when he thinks things are amusing - like us singing him silly songs or throwing him in the air, or playing with his feet!

5. We had our first skype calls where Levi actually engaged with his Grandparents on the screen. Too cute! I'm sure they love his talking, smiles and cooing too! The perfect thing for families that are apart. 

4. Graham and I reminisced when, one year ago on Oct. 29th we found out we were going to be parents while visiting our family in Florida. 

3. We applied Levi for his US passport. I also found out that he's already also considered a Canadian citizen since he is the first generation born outside of Canada....now we just have to get his proof of citizenship for him to be dual. 
I'm going to be a world traveler :)
2. Levi turned 4 months old - he had two vaccinations and had measurements of 12lbs 13oz and  is 24.25inches tall :) 
4 months old
1. We booked tickets home to Vancouver, BC for Christmas!! Levi will have his first plane ride, international trip and (hopefully!) a White Christmas!








Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Having parents from two different countries, Levi has the opportunity to celebrate multiple occasions and holidays. Thanksgiving is one of them! In Canada, we have Thanksgiving over a long weekend in October on a Sunday and Monday. Thankfully (no pun intended ;)...haha) my Mom has been here to help me while Graham has been away, and last night she cooked us an incredible Thanksgiving feast for us to share with other Canadian YWAM'ers here in Kona too. Levi, got all dressed up in his Turkey suit (thanks to you Cynde & Brooke!) to commemorate his first Thanksgiving! 

Levi's "Turkey Suit"
I am so thankful for so many people who are invested in my life, Levi's, our family and our ministry. It's so powerful to have days set aside to remember to walk in gratitude of what the Lord's poured out and how He's richly blessed us. Obviously, we shouldn't just be thankful on one day a year, but remember to express our love and appreciation everyday! It is so important to me that I teach Levi to have a heart of gratitude and thankfulness, and like most things, I'm learning that I will have to model this attitude in spirit and action so that I have a child who understands the goodness of the Lord and the graciousness of people and family. At least then, this little boy will grow up having that formal opportunity twice a year for sure! 

Levi, are you thankful for Mommy? :)
Thank you Mom for the delicious dinner!

The blessing of Family!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Determination

Finishing line in downtown Kona
Yesterday in Kona was the annual Ironman World Championships, which is quite the event in our small little town! I was amazed to watch athletes, both professional and those that race for fun (?!), push their bodies to extreems in incredibly hot weather in literally a FULL day of exercise. 


An Ironman race consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bike and a marathon (42.195 kilometers (26.219 mi)) run, raced in that order and without a break. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race, where the Ironman race starts at 7am, the mandatory swim cut off for is 2 hours 20 minutes, the bike cut off time is 5:30pm, and all finishers must complete their marathon by midnight. Wowzers! Talk about determination!


Determination is such an incredible thing. It can cause someone who is completely exhausted to continue to run for just one more mile, as I witnessed last night, or not give up and continue to press on. And who knew that at only 14 weeks old, a person can already have developed a sense of determination! 


Reaching-man....next Ironman? :)
In the last two days, Levi has been learning to reach for toys, or really anything that is overhead, in front of his face, to the side of him - it's amazing! But what has truly caught my attention is the level of concentration he's exhibiting to get this skill down! He gets the cutest, most determined expression, that I can only image that he's thinking something like...."if I just hold my arms still, open my fingers and reach a little, I KNOW I can pull that round circle!"...which in turn, when he does plays music, bringing a huge, beaming, proud, "I did that!" smile to my boy's face. 


This is where determination to complete a task or learn a skill can start; it's the same force that drives many of those Ironman tri-athletes. And then who knows....Levi, you could just be the next Ironman!







Sunday, October 2, 2011

Three months!

Yay!! Levi is three months today!! Highlights of things he's learning are....rolling over, babbling (a ton!), that if he kicks his play mat all his toys move and jingle, major leg kicks and stretching :) Oh I love this little boy! 

Hi! I'm three months old!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just the two of us

This morning Levi and I sent Graham off on a two week adventure into Asia! Part of our job here entails that we travel to the locations where we send our teams to meet contacts, set up ministries, and learn how to better plan, prepare and equip the young missionaries we are sending out. We love this part of our job! But this is the first time I'm not going, and the longest Graham and I have been apart in our 5 years of marriage. So, before the sun was even up this morning, we said our goodbyes, anticipating 15 days of our family being on two different continents. When I tell people my husband will be away for 2 weeks and I have a 13 week old, people sort of look at me like I'm nuts. Who does that? But I can confidently say, that I know without any doubt this is the right time and season for Graham to be traveling. That's what obedience to the Lord looks like. It doesn't always make sense to everyone, or is even easy, but there's a grace, favor and peace in your spirit that is like none other.

Levi @ 13 weeks, dressed like Dad :)
So here we are, Levi and I - just the two of us.....we have a few days for me to really experience what single parenthood entails (I'm only 16hrs into it, and I already know you guys are champs!), and then I'm super blessed to have my Mom fly over for a visit and to lend her time, wisdom, energy, love and care to the both of us. See what I mean by favor!

But to Graham - Levi and I are praying for you every night, trust the Lord for safe travels, incredible wisdom, fruitful and effective ministry and divine encounters with both the locals and in your own heart with the Lord. We are so excited for the adventure you are embarking on, and know that you are bringing the kingdom to some remarkable places! The picture is just to show how much your little boy looks like you!

Here's to joyful obedience and the fruit that remains when we trust in Him!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fall is here....

Today I realized that regardless of the hot days here in Kona, fall is here! It's almost October for goodness sake! I love what I do with ministry here with YWAM and these next few days are some of my favorite. As we start our last quarter of the year here at the University of the Nations we welcome hundreds of new faces and students to our YWAM family. I love how the campus is buzzing with so many passionate young people, who are ready and excited to encounter the living God is a fresh way! So many come in for a Discipleship Training School, which is the ministry of discipleship and training (hence the name, obviously), that Graham and are specifically plugged into and love working with. Students come from all over to be trained as missionaries to go out literally "into all the world" to fulfill the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19&20). And that is truly why I live here in Kona - not because it's Hawaii, for the beaches, warm weather, lack of seasons....but because I am called to raise up a generation and release them to bring the gospel and with that, revival, to the nations!! The base here in Kona is the LARGEST young adult, evangelical, mission sending, facility in the world - so if that's my calling, it only makes sense to be here, right?!

This quarter is incredibly special to me to because my sister is coming (in fact she arrives is just a few hours!) to do the Community Transformations DTS!! Though she is my younger sister, she is actually my best friend, and I am beyond thrilled to have her here for the next three months to run together again. It is such a treasure even for Levi to spend time with her too and for him to get to know his Auntie even better. The Lord is so good and he sure surprises us sometimes!

To learn more about what we do here, check out our website! www.grahamandalissa.com 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rolling and running

This past week, both Levi and I have started new things and you can probably figure them out from the title :)

12 weeks!
Yesterday Levi turned 12 weeks old! He celebrated by sleeping two, six hours stretches at night and then by conquering the roll over this morning. I could not be more happier (and rested!) about that first accomplishment and Levi is pretty impressed with his new trick of rolling too. It means he no longer needs to spend anytime on his tummy - he just flips!


I've taken on a return to running. Now, even before I was pregnant I wasn't really a super runner or anything, but I decided just shortly after giving birth that I would set a goal to run a 5K before the end of the year. Ok, I know 5K (or 3 miles) really isn't that far, but come on people, I just had a baby! :) I found this fun training program online called "Couch to 5K" that literally sets out a plan for even a lazy couch potato to learn to run 3 miles (without stopping) in just two months. So I'm on week #2, with a goal to do my first run on November 24th (American Thanksgiving) in a free Peaman Event called the "Wobble & Gobble Run" here in Kona. Who knows, maybe I'll catch the runner's bug and my next goal will be a half marathon :) Either way I figured blogging about this upcoming 5K would at least help hold me accountable!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today I feel like a mom

I know this might sound funny, but today I truly feel like a mom :) I know that I've "officially" been a mommy for almost 12 weeks now (wow! how time files!!), but something about today made it feel official as a part of who I am and was made to be.

Maybe it's because I'm practiced at diaper changes at Target, or feeding wherever I have to (the car or beach being my specialties), or not panicking when the little guy has a meltdown. Or maybe it's because I love my "after 8pm" rituals of getting stuff done like doing dishes, folding laundry, going for a run, or catching up on blogging. Or it could simply be because, at almost three months into this I'm getting into my daily rhythm, have deeper understanding of how to read Levi, and have a sense of confidence as a mom that has been growing and developing these past months. All that to say, that it's amazing to see that even when you're been created to do something, there's still the process of learning and settling into it - even when it is your destiny. Now, I have not been one to want to do or continue with anything that I'm not good (or should I say, perfect) at instantly. But motherhood has definitely been a different story! There's no quitting this one when things are not at my perfect standard - there's just learning from mistakes, perseverance and growth! But oh, the joys of learning!!

I never knew I would love giving away all of my time, energy, and life to someone who can only give me sweet gummy smiles back in return - but isn't that the joy of being a mom? Giving and expecting nothing in return? Isn't that the example that Jesus demonstrated with his life? Clearly the Lord is teaching me a ton about His ways and His heart!

So here's so feeling like a mommy in every sense I know in this stage of life - looking forward to learning more and loving having this be part of who I am!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Crazy for Cloth

When I was pregnant I started a mental list of things and ways I wanted to raise my children....promote development by playing games, make my own baby food, have a "get & give away" mentality with new toys, and use cloth diapers, were some of my top decisions.

Now, I am not known as a very "homey" or naturalistic person, but I sure am a researcher and learner! Being the diligent gal that I am, I started off to conquer my goal to cloth diapering since that was an obvious first thing needed for a baby! So with commitment to this decision I decided to start implementing it while still pregnant by spending hours souring the internet and chatting with friends who were like minded and doing the same. I'm pretty sure Graham got quickly tired of, "hey, guess what I learned about cloth diapers today?" followed by many tidbits and trivia of my recent findings, including how cost effective, good for the environment, best for baby cloth diapering is! (To humor you with one piece of trivia...Did you know that a disposable diaper takes 500 years to completely decompose in our landfills?! Yuk!)

Anyway, I was sold, and committed to the cause!! Then week 39 of pregnancy rolled around :) I was tired, very hot, done being pregnant, tired, and as I was pulling out my cloth diapers to set up Levi's things, the thought of having to do laundry as quick as my little guy would go through them in those first weeks, stuff those pocket diapers, and start over again ever 2 days sounded even more exhausting.....so, I sort of let go of my cloth diapering aspirations and figured I would try when Levi was older. So out went my convictions and hours of research at the last minute.

Levi in his cloth diaper :)
So Levi was born and safely home already when friends and supporters of ours from Florida sent us a very special gift - a diaper service!! I was completely overjoyed and blessed beyond belief! I could start my cloth diapering when Levi was 4 weeks old and not even have to worry about the laundry!  So I became a client with The Now Family and their diaper service, as a generous (and very practically and needed!) gift from our friends. Here's how it works: every week I have 70, clean, pre-fold cloth diapers delivered. As Levi uses them, I dump them into a pail (garbage bin with a liner) where then I switch them out again the following week for the clean ones. It's brilliant! Plus, I LOVE the company who does this service - they'll even wash your own stash of cloth diapers for you if you want, or arrange for special adds on to the basic pre-fold package!

So now I am officially crazy for cloth! Since I've started I've had lots of friends both here in Kona and other places ask me for suggestions on how to start, what to use, etc. So below I've created a list of my recommendations so far. But at the end of the day it's always fun to see hard work, desire, research and diligence pay off to benefit both my family and maybe yours too!


Alissa's Cloth Diapering "Must Haves"...

For research: Check out this blog All About Cloth Diapers 
For an affordable diaper service and store to up your stash and accessories: Check out The Now Family  (located in Kona)...anything I mention below and recommend you can get directly from these guys! Plus, let's support our local businesses right?!
For Newborns: Do pre-folds!! I was shocked how easy they are! Since your little one basically poops around the clock, this is by far the BEST way to start cloth early I think. You'll need about 70 total for a week (or less and wash more often), then you just add a couple of diaper covers to your stash (I love the ones by Thirsties so far the best) and some snappis (no more pins!) and you're set!
For on-the-go: An all-in-one diaper is key! It's just like a disposable, but cloth! I love the ones from Bum Genius because they fit from 8lbs until out of diapers. And of course you'll need a wet bag for your diaper bag too so you can put the dirties in until you get home. Planet Wise has cute ones with patterns.
Getting older: I have yet to try these, but from my understanding and what I have seen, I am going to go with a Hybrid diaper when Levi is older - either the Flip or Best Bottom system. I do not want to stuff pocket diapers or pull out the insert when it's messy...but I'll review them for you once I've given it a try!
Other suggestions: Friend, you HAVE to get a cloth swim diaper! Especially those of you in Kona where basically going to the beach is one of the only fun, free options. I got a cute one from my friends at The Now Family who carry the Turtle Soup brand. Lastly, I have been sold on cloth wipes! Who knew I would be so green huh? But seriously, if you're going to do laundry, why not use the wipes too! Have loved using Thirsties Wipes as they're cute colors :)

Friends who are cloth diapering too - I would love to hear what you use and love too!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Malinowskis in Kona

We are just coming off of two incredible weeks with Graham's parents visiting us and meeting Levi here in Kona and wow, what a blessing and privilege it was to have them out here! Not only were they meeting their newest grand-baby, but also seeing the island for the first time and also the YWAM base where we work! They spent time cuddling Levi, watching him play on his mat, helping him learn to love him "tummy time", treating us out for dinner and going on adventures to (their all time favorite!) Kukio beach. Below are some pictures showcasing our time with them!
Meeting Levi for the first time at the airport
Cuddles with Nana
Snoozing at the beach
With Mom & Papa at Kukio Beach
Levi also went for his first ocean swim! :)
Three Generations of Malinowski Men


Thank you David & Cynde for making the long trip from Florida out here! I know that we (including Levi) will truly treasure this trip and your time spent out here investing in us and our family!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Celebrating

Today we are celebrating a couple of things! Five years ago today, Graham and I were married in Abbotsford, BC, Canada in a beautiful outdoor garden ceremony and then had our reception under white tents with glittering lights and bright colored gerber daises. It was such a remarkable and beautiful day of many people's contribution and blessings!
September 2nd, 2006

As I reflect on these past five years I have no doubt of how blessed I am to have a man who is godly, encouraging, really humorous, a great friend AND now also an amazing, compassionate and devoted Father! Graham, you have pushed me to be all that I can be as a passionate follower of Jesus, wife and now Mom too - for that I am truly thankful that you have promoted me above all to walk in the fullness of who I am! In 5 years we have lived in 3 different states (which includes 2 major cross country moves in rubbermaid bins!), traveled to 8 different countries together, been invested in all different types of ministries, all the while being best buddies! I cannot even begin to image what new adventures we'll take on in the next five years - now with our little Levi in tow!

2 Months Old!
Secondly, we are celebrating Levi (yes, again!!) as it's his two month birthday!! At 2 months old, he is now 11lbs, 2oz and 22inches long. We have a healthy and happy little guy (who did great with his vaccinations too!) And this little, wriggling, beaming, finger sucking, sweet boy has in such a short amount of time brought even more joy to Graham and I proving the fruit of these past five years of marriage! Here's now to two months as a family of THREE!! Thank you Lord that there's so much to celebrate!

(You have to compare this two month picture with his one month one in a post below! Oh, how they grow and change in just 30 days!!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bouncing back on the activity mat

Ah, thank goodness it's Friday :) Though I have to admit that this week got a whole lot better after Monday's madness. There's been a heightening of spit up (yuck! I hate smelling like baby spit up, come on now!), but also an increase of activity and fun!

This week it has been incredible watching Levi grow, develop and thrive on his play mat - I know he's my son, but I think it's the cutest thing ever! I found a Baby Einstein ocean themed activity center on Craigslist, and just this week Levi has taken to the under the sea adventure. He lays on this back, wriggling away, producing a good half hour of entertainment for me as his movements and chattering sounds change depending on the cheesy melody plunking out of the play mat. It's incredible to see him grow like this, I love being a mom. Ah, now this is love for the one who spits up on you continually :)

I'm so thankful that every day is new, and bad days come and go, but play mat times, smiles, wriggles and coos always win me over again, soften my heart and make me appreciate my life and little one. So thank you Levi for being so cute and developing all your senses in such an entertaining way - it sure helps your mom bounce back!

Pure joy :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Soul Searching through Cat Naps

Went to bed swaddled, but found like this :)
At seven weeks old my son is a pro at "the cat nap." It doesn't matter what time of day it is when he goes down to sleep....BAM, exactly 45 mins later, Mr. Bright-Eyes is awake and ready to play once again! Not exactly conducive to being fully rested, me getting much done (or my own nap for that matter) or fitting into any sort of daily schedule.

Now I know the science of it all - babies sleep cycles last exactly that 45 min mark where they move quickly between deep and active sleep - so I know that part of the problem is Levi not moving back into sleep again, but what I'm journeying through here is a battle between schedules, research, books, other's ideas, my own promptings and what I know to be the nudges of the Holy Spirit. See, while it might be a problem that my son is sleeping only in 45 min chunks, the issues that I've had to work out in my heart are presently more at the forefront of my mind. I've been frustrated that my newborn will not fit into my schedule, or one that I would deem appropriate! "Why won't he do what I want him to do, when I want him to do it?!"....I hear myself say throughout the day. Is that foolish to expect already? Granted, a lot of this is learning how to parent and train him I understand, but even that is a decision of how to parent. Do I let him cry it out? Do I cater to every cry so he's secure? Every book, friend, and unsolicited passer-byer has their own idea to contribute or what worked for them.
Why do I have to sleep again?

And see, that's the thing - everyone shares on their own experience of what worked for them. So I am on a journey of learning confidence in what works for me and for our family! And truthfully, I'm still not sure what that is. But I am so thankful for the following as I learn and try new things.....that I currently have the privilege of being a full time mom, that I have a husband who cares about how we raise our children and that we can move forward in parenting together in agreement (that's key!), that I'm efficient and can get a lot done in just 45 mins :) and that I have the best teacher in the Holy Spirit who can speak and guide me as to not only what's right for my family, but for Levi specifically! How incredible is that! What a gift :)


(Two hours later: In the spirit of keeping this blog real, I have to share the last few hours....I'm literally finishing this blog, feeling upbeat, really good that I'm moving in confidence and being a good mom and Levi wakes up (from yes, a 45min nap). I go and get him to feed him since I can tell from his cry that he's already waking up hungry....in which he refuses to eat and then screams for the next 30min! Wow. Finally he gives in and does eat but at this point then I start crying feeling totally defeated about what I had just written, with all my confidence and joy feeling sucked out the window. Errrr. He get's a diaper change, little mat play time, starts fussing and goes back to bed....I call Graham to complain about how frustrated I am and how I clearly don't know what's best. "Why can't I hear from the Holy Spirit? What am I doing wrong??" I'm pleading. I guess I have to still remember that this is my first baby and I am only still weeks in. Oh well, I can alway pound some Dove dark chocolate to ease the edge of the past few hours. When I open that sweet nugget of goodness I read the little message inside: Take a deep breath & exhale. Ha :) Maybe that's all I needed to hear from the Lord anyway! So we keep on truckin' and keep on learning...)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beach Day

This past weekend we celebrated that Levi was 6 weeks old my taking him for his first beach day! We loaded him up and took him out to our favorite weekend hangout spot up the Kohala Coast to the Four Seasons Resort at Hualalai (Check it out! www.fourseasons.com/hualalai). Graham and I spent many, many hours out at this beach, sun tanning, swimming and relaxing and enjoying warm breeze on this gorgeous and incredibly peaceful piece of property. Levi loved laying on the lawn chair stretched out in the shade, listening to the waves crash along the shore as his little body wriggled, giving us big grins to communicate his complete pleasure. We even took him for a quick toe dip in the Pacific for him make his first beach day truly complete!

It's amazing the new found joy you can have in the simplest of things when you get to do them with your child for the first time - even though we only made it about 45min along the shore, it could have been my most special beach time yet! Levi, I'm so glad you love the water, outside and now the beach because you do live in Hawaii and there will be many more of these days to come :)
Dad & Levi at Four Seasons

Smiling cause I love the beach :)

Toes in the water...it was too cold for Levi!

Me and my boy

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Blessing of Family

We have just successfully completed the first two weeks of being our own family of three since Levi was born! For the first month of his life, we were so blessed by having my family here with us as we transitioned into our new life. In fact, my Mom was here in Kona for almost the entire month of July, serving us with anything (and really I mean anything!) that we could possibly need, from cleaning our condo, doing my laundry, cooking meals, holding Levi and just listening and talking to the wonderings of a new mom. MOM - truly, this post is to honor YOU! Just entering into mommy-hood, my eyes have been open to the wonderful sacrifice that moms (and parents) really make for their children, and that my own mom continues to make for me and did while she was here serving us. Thank you Mom so much for being here!!

It was so special to see my entire family fall in love with this new member of our clan - from Mom having "play time" with him while he was awake, to my Dad rocking him to sleep as he was engulfed, safely in his arm, to my brother and sister holding and "ooooing" and "awweing" over him. Not to mention the wonderful help (and relief) both of my parents provided in both a physical sense but also with words of life and encouragement that we were going to make it and were doing incredible. I have been so blessed by my family!

But now, here we are, on this island learning what it looks like to be our own family. I am so thankful for the example that I have to draw on from my own though! From my parents who just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last weekend, to my friendship I have with both my siblings, to many memories of times together often traveling and laughing I am so thankful!! I am working to trust the Lord as both sides of our family are so far from us. I'm not going to lie to you....it's reached a new level of difficulty, having a baby, to be apart from family members and those that care for us to such a deep level and have such a large investment in our life. I am daily learning to trust the Lord to a new degree that every moment Levi gets to spend with his grandparents and relatives will connect him in his heart to them, regardless of distance! I love what the Lord has called us to in ministry, and am so blessed to be in an amazing community here with Ywam Kona; however, now we're seeing with fresh eyes the degree to which our families and relationships mean to us. It sure does make our times with them that much sweeter!!

The Lord is so good as he can often give us something else to look forward to, proving that we really can trust him with our whole hearts to work things together! Right now we're extremely looking forward to Graham's parents coming out to Kona (for the first time!) at the end of the month - we cannot wait for them to meet Levi as well as see what our life is like here with Ywam and ministry!

Petersen Side of the Family :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Smiles! :)

Smiling on Day 37
Levi has been flashing us his little grin for about two days now....so right around 5 weeks old. This morning he was on his changing table - which we call his "happy place" because no matter his temperament is of the moment, if he's on his table all crying and fussing stop - and he gave me the some of the sweetest smiles...which I even managed to catch! We might not be sleeping at night, but a smile like this one melts your heart and you don't even care! So smile away Levi, you've won your mom over :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy 'One Month' Birthday Levi!

Today Levi is one month old! Yay! 
Little man, you have brought so much joy to our lives and our family! 

Hi! It's my one month birthday :)
Tomorrow he has his one month check up and I cannot wait to find out how much he's grown in the past month both in weight and height (he's gotten so long!) By the way, if you want to see more pictures of little Levi? Check out our mobile me site as we update it: http://gallery.me.com/grahamandalissa#100066

One month and napping peacefully

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"You're sure your mother's son".....

Today Levi is 4 weeks old! Wow!! I cannot believe how fast the time has already gone, although most days it feels as if this is how it's always been, or that our little guy has been with us for a lifetime already. Levi continues to be such a joy and challenge as I learn what life with an infant truly looks like!

What's incredible is that already we can start to see parts of Levi's personality emerging, and at 4 weeks old I can see some similarities between the two of us :) Here are some fun ones that I've noticed already that point out that he really is my boy!
Two peas in a pod - 4 weeks old


The top 5 ways Levi is (already) just like me :)


1. He's a messy eater - anyone who knows me that typically I can't go through a day (or meal for that matter!) without dropping some sort of food on my clothes or the floor. Somehow every feed, Levi manages to have milk on his nose, cheek, down his neck and not to mention all over our boppy too; therefore I've lovingly nicknamed him "Milk Face."
2. He loves the water - I was a born swimmer! I have pictures of me face in the water, "swimming" at 14 months, and I still love the water now. About a week ago, we experimented and had Graham take Levi in the shower with him.....he LOVES it! He loves his face getting wet, the water running over him and being with Dad. He also loves his bath times too and will actually cry getting out and put in the towel!
3. He doesn't like to nap :) - I'm not very good at resting myself.....I have to be exhausted to take a nap during the day, though most days now I am embracing the nap as long as I can convince Levi to nap too! I think it's all out of fear of "missing out"....he's so alert and social!! He's constantly looking all around, looking you in the eye, captivated by all that's going on around him. In fact, I can't make eye contact with him when I'm rocking him to sleep so that he knows I mean business - it's nap time! (Praise the Lord though that he sleeps pretty good at night though!!)
4. He "talks" with his hands - yes, obviously I know that he's not talking yet, but the little guy loves to use his hands to be expressive.....a trait that he obviously picked up from me where about 50% of my communication (especially when I'm excited) can be found in hand gestures! Levi loves his hands up by his face, hates to be swaddled because his hands are not free, loves to grab and hold onto his burp cloth or WubbaNub (Wondering what the heck that is? You have to check these out - this was a gift courtesy of Auntie Car, and Levi loves it! He has two, the giraffe and horse http://www.wubbanub.com/prod_giraffe.html), which was all to similar to me as a little one with my Teddy and blankie too!
5. He looks like me - enough said right :) Maybe this is not a personality trait, but I think it's pretty cool and should definitely make the top 5!
We cannot wait to see how Levi continues to fascinate us and grow into the little man he's been created to be - full of personality and joy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

3 weeks into Motherhood

Saturday morning, 7:30am - my little guy just had a "perfect" night of sleep with three, 3.5 hours blocks, a good eat and is now dosing in my arms.....ahh, motherhood bliss :) haha, at this moment that is! It's hard to believe that I'm already 3 weeks into being a mom and raising a child! And while there have been many moments like this one that I just described, there have also been many sleep deprived, teary moments of "what in the world did we get ourselves into?!" in these past 21 days too. But I'm starting to understand and learn that this thing called parenting is about just that - being challenged and learning A LOT, while falling more and more in love with this child and treasure.
Proud Mama and her boy

It's crazy that my life has changed so dramatically from last month to this one; from what I'm researching online (I have never read so many breastfeeding articles!), how I'm sleeping (or not sleeping), my daily activities and going out, what I talk about (or maybe now, who I talk about :) Levi obviously). I've been learning that I can have joy at 3am as I try to keep my weary eyes open while feeding or soothing my little one, and that it's ok if I don't have all the answers or know how to fix every problem or cry right away....I am learning. And currently I'm learning daily to operate in more and more grace; grace for Levi when he cries and I'm still trying to decipher what each cry means, grace for Graham (who is an INCREDIBLE Dad, kissing, holding, playing and doting on our little guy and who willingly takes any middle of the night shift to relieve me) as he's learning too and transitioning into a new life too, and lastly, grace for me. At the center of my learning grace is learning how to issue it for myself - that I don't have to have everything together, know all the answers, fit into my old clothes, shower before noon and that none of that makes me a poor mom or bad example of character to anyone. Ah, Jesus, thank you that you love to issue grace and you love to journey with us as we learn, thank you that I get to do it with your Holy Spirit!! 



So at three weeks in I can truly say, even with all the adjustments that have come with life and the things I've already had to lay down, I am LOVING being a mom - especially to Levi! He is a remarkable joy!! 
Currently, two scriptures that I'm living by are these:


Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast my weakness, so that the power of Christ can work through me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning- Lamentations 3:22-23
Levi with his buddy @ 17 days old

Monday, July 11, 2011

Levi's Birth Announcement

Here's the birth announcement that Graham wrote and that we sent out via email. A HUGE thank you to our friend Calvin who created this for us!!


We are excited to announce that Levi David Malinowski was born Saturday, July 2nd!!

He surprised most of us by coming almost a week early from his official due date, which we were thrilled about! The labor and delivery went amazingly smooth and quick. Alissa began feeling contractions around 2am (after going to the movies that evening with friends) and by 9am they were getting pretty close together. When we showed up at the hospital at 11am we were brought to the delivery room and by that time she was almost ready to start pushing! Just a few hours later Levi David took his first breath of air to the sound of Alissa laughing with joy! There were many words in the past nine months of Levi bringing a new joy into our family and it was amazing to see it happen in the very first moment of his arrival. The nurse and midwife staff were shocked and brought to tears by Alissa's focus, strength and laughter throughout the entire process. It was an incredible and positive experience for both of us and we are completely falling in love with this little man more every day! He arrived more beautiful than we ever imagined and is totally healthy. We could not be more blessed and thankful for this gift of life!

His name, Levi, means "Joined", in reference to people being joined in relationship with the Lord - like the tribe of Levites, their inheritance was God himself (Deut. 18:2b). His middle name, David (named after both our fathers) means "Beloved". They are both of Hebrew origin.  

Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and prayer through this last season, it was very apparent and we felt such a strong covering by the Lord! 

We're also posting more pictures to our "mobile me" site - you can view them at: http://gallery.me.com/grahamandalissa#100066    

Blessings & Love,
Graham, Alissa and Levi

Sunday, July 10, 2011

He's here!!

I'm so thrilled to share that our little man, Levi David Malinowski is here!! Oh, how my heart is absolutely in love with this incredible gift and treasure already! He sure surprised us though, arriving almost a week before his official due date (which was July 7th) and was born this past Saturday, July 2nd at 2:30pm in Waimea, Hawaii. 
Kisses from Mommy

I truly had no idea that he would come so soon! Friday, the night before he was born, we went to the movies with a bunch of friends, and talked about our plans for the 4th of July and the rest of the weekend, including packing our hospital bag, figuring out the car seat and getting the house ready for whenever we would be bringing our baby home. Truthfully, I really thought that I would be at least a week late and had already decided that I would ask to be induced once I was overdue. So, I was incredibly skeptical when I woke up Saturday morning at 2am with what I assumed were contractions that only increased as I soon couldn't sleep. I really wasn't sure if I was in labor or not though so around 8am we finally called the Birthing Center where I was going to deliver, that is attached to North Hawaii Community Hospital and hour away in Waimea. At this point contractions were 6 min apart and we were to time them for the next hour to see if they continued. It was then that I told Graham that I thought we should pack our hospital bag :)
About 45 min into timing, looking for contractions that were 5 min apart, they dropped off and I thought it was just a false alarm. I was thankful that I didn't have to drive to the hospital to be turned around and sent home. However, 30 min later, everything picked up dramatically and I was timing contractions around 3.5 min, so we got in the car at 10am, and started to make the drive up to the hospital.
When we arrived in Waimea at 11am, I got checked into a room to see how far along I was. "You're not going to believe this," the nurse said to me (all the while I'm thinking, that knowing my luck, I'm probably not even in labor yet), but she says, "you're already 8 cms, we need to get a room ready for you now!" We were shocked!! So they rushed off to get a delivery room ready for us as I asked if it was too late to get an epidural :) They told me that it most definitely was, so I prepared myself to finish all natural!! I wasn't opposed to this idea to begin with, I had just wanted to keep my options open. About an hour later I got into a room, used the shower to ease some of the more difficult contractions, and then around 1:00pm we had the midwife break my water. Then everything sped up even more. So with incredible coaching and encouragement from Graham, and also my nurse and midwife, some concentrated breathing, determination and comments like "I don't really like how this feels" and "wow, this hurts" (haha, in retrospect, I cannot believe I was clearly stating the obvious!), I pushed for one hour to have Levi come into the world right at 2:30pm!!
I honestly had such an incredible experience and such a supernatural covering from the Lord and other's prayers. One of the most amazing things happened too, was that when he was born and they placed him on my tummy for us to meet I started giggling and laughing with sheer joy! This was so special because before Levi was born we had so many words of the Lord that he would be incredibly joyful and would unlock wells of laughter and life in our family - not even one minute old and he was already doing this! 
Later we started calling our family and friends with the news and so many were just a surprised as we were that he was already here, and so quickly at that too! I was in labor for just over 12 hours and only at the hospital for 3. 
My mom had a flight out for Monday the 4th, but as soon as they found out Levi had already arrived, she bumped her flight up so she could get to us the next day. It was incredibly special that my Mom was able to see us in the hospital and hold him for the first time when he was still under 24hrs old. What a gift, especially when we already live so far away from family to have her here now to share this with us :) We are looking forward to the rest of my family coming out at the ned of this week and Graham's parents next month! We also had good friends visit us in the hospital and take some beautiful pictures to capture that first day - thank you so much Johnny & Jenni!!
Monday we were ready and excited to come home from the hospital. My mom had decorated, picked flowers, had muffins baked and the house spotless (which was left in sort of a disarray when we took off so quickly!) Even though Levi slept through his housewarming tour it was so peaceful and natural to have him finally home with us!
We have now officially been parents for one week, celebrating Levi's first sponge bath, first Dr's appointment, first outing (to Target of course), and new visitors and friends. 
Levi David Malinowski :)

Proud Dad!

Levi - 1 day old

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catching up

It's amazing how when you get out of routine you drop the ball on some things - haha, kind of like this blog :) Last I posted was almost TWO months ago, opps! Well, either way I figured it was time to catch up and start back up again as I near the finish line of this pregnancy.
Since writing last, we spent two and a half weeks on the west coast, enjoying a brief visit in Tacoma and the remainder of our time with my family in Vancouver. It was so wonderful to see family and friends, and show off my growing baby bump. I was also blessed beyond measure by being the guest of honor at multiple baby showers!
In Tacoma, friends and women from the community there that we had been a part of for three years surrounded me with words of life, encouragement and advice to remember as I'd enter "mommyhood" - many laced with a newfound understanding of learning to listen to the Lord in the everyday and giving myself a lot of grace! It was such a treasure to be reunited with many faces I hadn't seen in a while.
In Vancouver, people from all different spheres of life made it to celebrate Baby Mal - Elementary and High School, church, relatives, ministry supporters, and women I had worked with. As always it's so fun to have so many different people in one room! Here we had incredible food, fun painting onesies, and our baby boy was gifted enough clothes to last him until he's two!
Also on this trip home I got to say goodbye to the house I grew up in as my parents were moving to a new place just across town. It was fun getting to see the new house and picturing what it would be like when we're bring Baby Mal for a visit next time.
Since May 1st we have been back in Kona, plugging away on campus preparing our outreach teams and catch up on work from our time away. It was strange to come back here not have another travel date planned or scheduled! Now we're just waiting for our baby!!
I'm now 36 weeks along (almost there!!). We've been taking birthing classes, have his room set up, car seat ready and are just waiting for when our little guy with decide to join us. It's wild to think that very soon we will be parents - so right now Graham and I are enjoying date nights, swims in the pool, movies, etc and treasuring our last month as just the two of us before we are an official family :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One last travel

Today we are headed on our last trip "pre-baby" - which is a fun one to the mainland! We'll be spending 4 days in Tacoma with our friends and then 2 weeks in Vancouver with my family. I'm really excited to go home and show off the baby bump and catch up on life with so many who are so close and dear to us back in both of these homes.
As I was packing last night I started realizing that this will be our last trip where I'm just packing for one, am not traveling with a stroller, or sharing my seat on the plane :) So we are savoring the freedom of one last trip just the two of us - though don't get me wrong, can't wait to travel with the little guy! He's got the nations as his inheritance, so we're gonna train him young!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A New Home

Life has been CRAZY since we've returned from Asia! All very exciting things, but busy none the less! In less than two weeks after getting back Graham and I MOVED! This truly was such an answer to prayer!
For the past year and and half here in Kona, we have been living in a lovely basement Ohana - it has been great, but one of the downsides was that it was about a 15min drive away from the campus. This really isn't a problem on the mainland, but in small town like Kona, it has proved to be difficult. (And not helpful either when gas prices are rising daily...) So, since the end of last year we have been looking and praying, asking the Lord to open up a perfect place for us.
First, I had been praying that it would be super close to the campus where the baby and I could easily go back and forth but still continue our involvement in community life. Second, I has asked the Lord that it would be a place where we could have people over, and truly be a greater part of the community here at the base in Kona; even somewhere where I could continue to disciple gals from the campus and it would be accessible for them to come to me. And lastly, we have been praying we could afford it! To move into town often meant a huge increase of cost.
This is such a fun testimony to write about because every prayer we had in regards to a new place, really a new home to welcome our baby soon, was answered! And truthfully, we have been truly blessed beyond what we could have imaged or asked for - ah, God is so good! We are a 1/2 mile from the campus in a beautiful condo. That's me below, standing outside our front door - here I'm 27 weeks pregnant.
This entry is just a testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord! He knows what we need when we need it. We have been blessed beyond our expectations and are enjoying the extravagant blessing of a new home for us and our baby boy! I cannot wait to welcome him home here! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Registered!

This past week Graham and I went ahead and registered for Baby Boy Mal! Oh, it was so fun picking out clothes and items for the little guy :) Who would have thought a baby would need so much though! I asked friends for suggestion on the "must haves" so hoping that we'll be set with their helpful suggestions. In case you want to take a peek - we're registered at Target (which is about all we have here on the Big Island - though I'm not complaining, because I so appreciate it!)

Simply go to: http://www.target.com/ and search under my first and last name!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Love for the Nations

After an incredible, whirlwind trip into Asia, we are safely home! It truly was amazing to step foot back into Thailand - a country that feels like home, and also venture into Cambodia and the Philippines for the first time. We loved the people, and ministries that we are committed to sending our outreach teams into now. It was a trip that was incredibly strategic for the DTS' in Kona, but also solidified in our hearts once again our love for the nations and specifically our role in coordinating things from this side. Ah, my heart yearns to see young people released into these nations that I love!

I never could had expected how much travel we were going to do though! Out of the 14 days away, 6 of them were easily spent with some portion of significant travel, but by completely supernatural grace from God, I actually felt the BEST those two weeks out of the entire pregnancy. See! I was created to be in the nations :) What a fun story that we'll be able to tell our little guy too - a world traveler, even before he was born. It's definitely part of his inheritance. 

Here's pregnant me, at 24 weeks in Thailand.....

If you want to read more about our trip check out: www.grahamandalissa.com :) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And we're off!

So here I am, up late, procrastinating on my last little bit of packing before jetting off tomorrow. Wow! We head to Asia in the morning. First we'll be making a brief stop in Bangkok, Thailand, before continuing by bus to Battambang, Cambodia. We'll be there for 4 amazing days and then back to Bangkok for 2 days. Lots of meetings and ministry sightings! Then flying to the Manilla in the Philippines, before heading a bit further south to Batangas for 4 days. All adding up to two full weeks!

If you think of us, pray for us and protection over us and our baby Mal. We are so expectant as to what's going to unfold not only for us, but many other teams that will follow at these locations.

And the Lord has been so faithful to provide! Yesterday morning, still needing almost $1000, I was throwing (in my heart) a pity party, wondering..."are we crazy,"...."how in the world are we going to do this?"....but as usual, my God showed up, stirred the hearts of people around us who believe in what we're doing, so that we can leave tomorrow with a trip paid! I was totally embarrassed by my lack of faith and wondering. He truly is our provider!

5 1/2 months pregnant and off to travel the world yet again - so excited to do this with my husband (just the two of us!), and can't wait to do this with a little one in tow next :) Oh, and I posted a new belly photo on the side bar - it's comin' in!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Going to Asia....

Friends - wanted to share the recent newsletter that Graham and I put together sharing about our upcoming trip to Asia (next week!) We are currently in the process of raising the remaining funds to go, traveling to Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines for 2 weeks.

Originally we had planned on taking this strategic trip earlier this year in January, but after I was so sick we felt like it was wise to wait. And that's when all the other excused started to come up....."well, do we really want to support raise for a trip when we're having a baby?" or "shouldn't we just start focusing on family"....all of this was just unbelief that the Lord could provide for both a ministry trip that He told us to go on, as well as our child to come. We were so challenged! This trip has truly pushed us to trust him for both the ministry He's given and called us to continue in and trust Him for our growing family. Our tent pegs are growing! Both in the nations and with the Malinowski name :) Do we really believe that He's a God of provision for all things He's put before us? YES!

So here we are: last week, we put an end to our excuses (and rebellion!), booked our tickets in faith, fully believing we heard from the Lord to go, trusting that He'll provide as he lays it on other's hearts as well as providing a fullness of heath for me traveling. This is all part of the journey of becoming a mom in missions and ministry.

You can read more about the trip at by reading our e-newsletter. Please pray for us! And if you feel called to partner we'd be so blessed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

First, firsts!

Oh wow - I have been a horrible "blogger" and have definitely gotten behind on my posts, but for good reason. Last week I had an incredible week away in Oahu! We headed over for ministry, but were super blessed to have my parents come over to visit with us too!! Oh, it was so good to be with them and fun to show them my ever growing baby bump.

In the midst of the last two weeks on my non-blogging I've had all these fun baby firsts that I figure I must just share. I'm now 21 weeks but here are some fun things that have happened in the past few days:
1. Baby Boy Mal got his first bit of clothes (not only a bit, but enough stuff...including a 10 pack of cloth diapers....that we had to get another carry on suitcase to bring it home to Kona!) Thanks Mom!
2. I felt the baby move for the first time! Totally a crazy, wonderful experience.
3. I had to unbutton my jeans and pull out a nifty "bella-band" (essentially a large piece of spandex material so you can simply unbutton your pants, but still wear them with your expanding belly)
4. Graham felt the baby move!! Ah, so cool to have him a part of it!
5. We booked Baby Mal's first international travel experience....mind you, he'll obviously be in the womb, but still with us! (PS - we are headed to Asia in one week! Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines for 2 weeks on behalf of the DTS department here with YWAM Kona. I love my life!)

It's been so wonderful to be released into so my joy and anticipation over being pregnant and expecting our first child. Thankfully, I have also not been as sick which as been great, but something with that ultrasound sure made this whole thing real for me, and for us.

Lastly, many have been wondering and asking "do you have a name?" We have decided to keep this part a secret :) And truthfully, we currently don't have one picked out! Which is good because if we did I would really have a hard time keeping that secret! But you will all have to wait until this summer to know what we're going to call our little guy. A good reason to continue to read my blogs..... :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

First photo of Baby Mal

I can not express how filled with JOY we are today after our ultrasound! It was incredible. And here now to announce that Baby Mal is a BOY!! A healthy 9 oz at 18 weeks and 6 days, and super cute already :) We were in awe watching him stretch, kick and squirm on the screen - it was absolutely amazing! Here's one of the ultrasound pictures we got to take home....our first photo of the little guy.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Girl or Boy?

Tomorrow we are so excited to be finding out if Baby Mal is a girl or a boy - I can't wait to know and start all the fun planning, registering, shopping and name finding! Of course along the way we've been trying to guess what we're having based on dreams, "that feeling," taking a poll, and asking the Lord :)
A week or so ago a friend of mine emailed be a list of old wives tales that help you determine baby's gender, and some of them are pretty interesting!

If you're having a girl:
- have extreme morning sickness
- carry high with weight all around
- crave more sweet food, fruit and juice
- looking "worse for wear"
- have softer skin and hands
- have duller, thinner hair
- baby's heartbeat is over 140 bpm

If you're having a boy:
- feel great!
- carry low with weight just out front
- crave salty and sour foods
- looking incredible; everyone says you're blooming
- have drier skin
- have shinny, fuller hair
- baby's heart beat is below 140 bpm

.....so....based on the clear evidence stated above, we are having both! Haha. That's ok, tomorrow we'll know. Praying simply for a heathy, happy baby!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

All I want is fruit!

In the past few days I think I've finally come into my first real pregnancy craving. And it's good, heathy one too - all I've been able to think about is eating fruit! Apples, bananas, grapefruit, bananas, avocados, peaches, strawberries, orange juice.....fresh, frozen or all blended together I have not been able to get enough!
Well today I was introduced and tried for the first time acai (say it like: ah-sigh-EE)....which is not only a little remarkable, Brazilian berry, but super good for you too! Acai is a small, dark purple, grape-like shaped berry that's 90% seed and 10% mighty goodness. It's a berry that sweet and ends with a dark chocolaty flavor. For an afternoon treat, my friend treated me a delicious Acai Bowl at a fun local Kona spot. The bowl is a blended version of acai (sort of like a smoothie) then toped with natural granola, coconut, honey and (by my pick today) sliced strawberries, bananas and blueberries. I think it was one of the yummiest things I've had.
Check these guys out (and the pictures) at: www.basikacai.com

18 weeks pregnant and loving fruit, LOVING acai. Big news is that we have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday! As long as Baby Mal cooperates, we'll even be able to find out the gender - we cannot wait!!