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, 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:    

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