On Monday morning after several hours of contractions, Anna sent a text to her dad and me saying, "This is definitely it." So, we found a remarkably low same-day fare, thanked the Lord, and booked flights for Zhenya and me to travel to Ohio to help following their baby's birth.
As it turned out, before the first flight took off (after a four hour delay), Anna's contractions had stopped. The tickets were nonrefundable so we continued the journey thinking that surely the baby had to come soon since Anna was already past her due date. This post is a photo log of our week of waiting.
On my first morning there, I heard 3-year-old Brielle and 21-month-old Evelyn making plenty of noise in the kitchen.
The rest of the house still seemed to be asleep so I wandered into the kitchen, and Brielle proudly proclaimed, "I did it!", motioning to them eating their dry Cheerios in bowls with spoons. She had also peeled a very ripe banana and given each of them a big chunk of it. Amazing what a motivated 3-year-old can accomplish!
I sat down at the table to join the girls in eating some Cheerios. When they saw me pour milk on my cereal, they asked for some, too. Little did I know that this was the first time for them to have milk on their cereal. I learned that later after Anna woke.
Evelyn has just started using a spoon and fork on her own and hasn't yet mastered holding the dish steady with the other hand. Thus it wasn't long before, Evelyn's bowl took a tumble onto her chair.
Their dog, Mocha, came to my rescue immediately and cleaned up most of the mess.
By the time the girls had meandered their way through the meal (as only toddlers can), Anna and Zhenya had both gotten up and made themselves ready for the day. I urged the two of them to go our for breakfast while I babysat the little girls. When I had wiped up the girls, I took them to the master bedroom. Aaron and Anna have a white duvet cover. In addition, wonderful light pours into their room in the morning.
I was eager to get some pictures of Brielle and Evelyn in this situation that was a photographer's dream. Brielle was wonderfully cooperative. I was able to snap all these shots in just a few minutes.
Meanwhile, Evelyn was sitting at the head of the bed doing this....
Finally, Brielle could stand it no longer, and she joined her sister near the pillows.
Immediately, silliness ensued. The following photos don't need any commentary.
Once the wrestling match was over, we went back out to the kitchen.
There, the girls helped me empty the dishwasher.
After lunch and a nap, it was time for a swim in the kiddie pool on the deck in the back yard.
Well, actually the girls had more fun transferring water back and forth between the pool and their water table.
We were all enjoying the shade on a very warm afternoon when Aaron arrived home from work. It just so happened to be his 25th birthday. Again, I offered babysitting services so that Aaron and Anna could go our together to celebrate.
I caught this picture just before they left on their date. I have always loved the way Aaron's dry sense of humor keeps Anna laughing!
By the next evening, Anna still hadn't had any more serious contractions. After dinner, we loaded everyone in their min van hoping that a trip our for ice cream might encourage Baby "J" (their third girl) to make her entrance into the world.
As Evelyn was waiting for her ice cream, she did some serious people watching at this popular hangout that is only open during the summer.
Brielle was also fascinated by the crowd.
Before long, Anna had a tall, cool cone of peanut butter ice cream.
When we returned home, the girls played in the family's long driveway for a bit before their bedtime. Evelyn has an especially expressive face, and I've enjoyed trying to capture some of those special looks this week.
Both girls were racing up and down the driveway pushing grocery carts filled with boxes of pretend food.
Zhenya was watching the bustle, resting on the front steps. All week Zhenya has been a tremendous help; she is such a natural with children!
This morning, the two girls took turns being fussy. I can't say that I was surprised. Although Anna has maintained their routine this week, the girls have to sense that their lives as they now know them are about to be turned inside out by the newcomer to the family!
Thankfully after rest time this afternoon, both girls were in much better spirits. While Brielle was watching her momma make a wonderful dinner of salmon, rice and fresh fruit, Evelyn was sitting on the sofa "reading" the picture Bible.
She's had the this Children's Bible read to her enough times that she is keenly aware of the details in the pictures and was pointing them out. Although she's less that two years old, she has quite a vocabulary.
Dinner was scrumptious! As we finished eating, Brielle asked her daddy if he would read the Bible. She even ran and got his copy of the Bible from his nightstand. Aaron then read Genesis 5 to all of us.
When he was finished with that, Brielle asked him if he would read to us from the children's Bible. Again, she eagerly ran and retrieved the book.
Aaron then read the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den to us as Brielle studied the pictures from just behind him.
Anna had steady contractions from a good part of the night last night, but they tapered off as the Lord ushered in the morning. All day she kept hoping the contractions would return, and this time last long enough for the birth of their baby. However, although she continued to have intermittent contractions throughout the day, they never increased in strength or became regular again. Capping off the evening with time spent in God's word was just what we needed. The Bible gave us the reminder we needed that God is in control of when this baby comes. He is faithful. He is good. He is worthy of our trust. Thus, we finished the day resting in His grace, thankful for a beautiful week together waiting on Him as we wait for Baby J.