October 31, 2011

Big Changes at the Fowler House

Someone got his very own big boy bed (hint: it was Levi), which serves as an excellent place for parking tractors with Dad...

 ...and getting raspberries from Baby...

...and snuggling with Nash, against his will. 

Also, someone took these photos on a new-to-her iPhone. You know, those handy gadgets that were first introduced four years ago but seemed utterly unnecessary until a month ago when I woke up from a nap and decided my freelance career would stall if I did not possess one. 

Yep, I am neurotic. But now I am neurotic and can check the weather from anywhere and take adorable photos of my son. 

October 24, 2011

Me and my First World Problems

This weekend I have felt like Mrs. Horatio Spafford.

While the men of the house have been battling gastrointestinal viruses of varying severity, I have been "saved alone."

Poor Levi has it the worst, and since Saturday we have spent nearly all our waking hours (and some hours when we would have liked to be sleeping) trying to keep him comfortable and hydrated. And doing a bazillion loads of laundry.

Since I was the healthiest person in the house, laundry and grocery store runs became my responsibility. Though the weather outside was lovely, I spent most of the weekend indoors playing nurse. And the onset of illness forced us to cancel a trip to visit the Nashville Fowlers, which was a huge disappointment.

So, in all, my weekend was not the weekend I wanted to have. But that's ok. The fact that I haven't gotten sick is a real blessing. It's not just that the stomach virus is miserable, but because, 34 weeks into this pregnancy, I don't need that stress on my body.

And at 4:45 am Sunday when I returned to my room from consoling and cleaning up after Levi, it occurred to me that 110 years ago, Levi's life could be forfeit. The combination of his symptoms easily could have led to dehydration and death in an earlier era. And if that wasn't depressing enough, my mind moved on to think about women all over the world today who do not have access to clean drinking water or sufficient food for their children and how horrible it would be to watch helplessly as your child starved.

Yes, these morbid thoughts likely have much to do with the hormones that have permeated every aspect of my being. But I will gladly be puked on a hundred times and do a thousand loads of laundry to know that my child will live to see another day, pitiful though his condition might be.

I don't enjoy this precarious state of wondering if Levi is going to keep down his liquids, but I am so thankful for modern medicine, the knowledgeable nurses who have advised me over the past two days, Pedialyte, a loving, helpful husband (who got puked on way more than me and still kept his cool with a fussy child), and Netflix.  

It wasn't the weekend I wanted it to be, but it also wasn't as bad as it could have been. And for that, I am grateful.

October 22, 2011

Since We Don't Have Pictures...

Because we flew back to PA rather than driving, we couldn't take with us some small luxuries, like our camera. So there are few pictures of our time with family, and Levi seemed to feel the lack of photo documentation rather keenly. So much so, in fact, that he has decided the next best thing is 1,000 words for each photo he wishes he had. He keeps repeating the highlights from the trip over and over and over. Here are some of the moments that made the biggest impression on Levi*:

"Ride airplane.""More airplane, please.""Sky!""All done airplane."

Our little jet setter has taken four trips via airplane this year, but this was the first one where he seemed to understand the concept of the airplane and could actually be excited about it. And excited he was! He could hardly wait to get on the plane, and once on the plane, he loved to see all the other airplanes around the airport. Unfortunately, about halfway through the flight, the cramped quarters of the airplane had taken their toll on Levi, and he was ready to be done. But he soon forgot his airplane fatigue when presented with the opportunity to ride again.

"Ride Mule; steering wheel."

Perhaps the best thing for Levi about visiting his grandparents in East Brady is the chance to ride the Kawasaki Mule. And perhaps the best thing about the Mule is that it does indeed have a steering wheel, which brought Levi unlimited joy.

"Paw Paw, Grammie."

Maybe the next best thing to riding on the Mule while up at the river was seeing his grandparents.

"Miiiiiko. Aaaaaannie."

And when you see Grammie and Paw Paw, you get to see their dogs, currently Annie and Smokey (Though since I began this post, Annie has left this world. It was a long time coming, but still very sad). Smokey, in his 10-week-old youthfulness, left an impression on Levi (who pronounced his name "Miko) by repeatedly attempting to gnaw on him at their first meeting. Levi quickly picked up, "No bite" and tried to use that command with Smokey often.

"Uncle Dale, lawn mower, steering wheel, big step."

What's better than having an Uncle Dale? Having an Uncle Dale who lets you sit on his riding lawn mower and play with the steering wheel! And if you have to climb a big step to get into the lawn mower, even better.

"Happy birthday."

Levi had his second birthday celebrated twice with family. These were the times when I really wished I had my camera. Unlike his first birthday, this time Levi understood what was going on. He loved the singing, blowing on the candles, and opening presents.

"See Audrey; see Carter; see Courtney."

Cousin time is always fun time. It means someone(s) else is begging to watch after Levi's every step and make sure he doesn't get in to trouble. Levi loves it, too.

"Play park."

Pretty self explanatory.

"Grandma; Grandpa work."

One of the hard realities about living with someone under 2 is that people are easily pigeon-holed. All it takes is one questioned answered with, "Grandpa's at work," and now in Levi's mind, Grandpa only does one thing. Work. If Grandpa were to spend the next 12 months doing nothing but spending time with Levi, the child would probably still say, "Grandpa work." Lindon gets it, too.


It's amazing how one experience on one day can leave such a profound mark on Levi. When Levi was visiting my parents back in June, he had the chance to blow a few bubbles. Guess the first word out of Levi's mouth now whenever we enter my parents' house?

"Ride car; steering wheel."

Not a real car. Those are lame. This was a Fisher-Price car, just Levi's size. He could not get enough of it, and if the weather did not cooperate for riding in the driveway, he just drove around the house. This is one instance (of many) where I was so thankful for grandparents. Levi did need a bit of supervision when riding the car, mostly to make sure he didn't run over himself, and if I had had to spend all the time watching him that others spent watching him, I would have gone mad. Instead, I got to sit back, read, and enjoy the look of pride on my son's face because he was in a car all by himself!

"Uncle Nathan"

It always takes Levi a little while to overcome his uneasiness with my brother's giant mane of blond hair and unruly beard. But after the shock wears off, Levi just loves his Uncle Nathan.

"See KK, see Avery, see Craig."

Ok, there is documentation of this one in the form of a video. But Levi's cute little voice is just the background. The REAL action of the video is when my sister's boyfriend, Craig (with little Avery in his arms), in front of friends and family, asks my sister to marry him. She said yes, and we were so thrilled to be able to be there for the big surprise. We are looking forward to the wedding, too!

Well, there you have it. That was our trip back. After one week of being home in St. Louis Levi will still pull out these phrases. The trip certainly made an impression on him, and we are so thankful for loving, generous families who provide so much fun for our kid.

*Note: These are grownup interpretations of what Levi is saying. The words that come out of his mouth often bear little resemblance to my transcriptions, but I know what he means.

October 15, 2011

Home...and Tired

This afternoon we touched down in St. Louis after a 10-day trip to see family. The time with loved ones was fabulous, and of course I am now completely exhausted. But if I have time in the next few days, I hope to record some of the trip highlights. It was a great time away, but I look forward to getting back to my routine and my writing.

Also, apparently I am supposed to have a baby in early December. I need to keep reminding myself of this, lest I leave it out of my schedule of upcoming events.