Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas has always been a favorite of mine.
It is a time for the 4 F's: Friends, Family, Fellowship, and Food! The weather turns from dreary and raining to crisp and snowy.  This year in particular has been a wintery paradise and we are still two days from the official start of Winter.  Houses are decorated; and although some go a little too 'Griswold' for me, overall I enjoy seeing the sparkling lights beaming from houses and trees.  There even seems to be a special feeling in the air.  If you can avoid the scrooges and the stressed out shoppers most everyone you meet has a smile and a 'Happy Holidays' to pass along.
This Christmas our celebration will be somewhat different. It is my first Christmas ever in a family of three, my first where all of my siblings are grown and (mostly) out of the house.  And it is my parents first as grandparents.  As we get older the holidays, as with everything else, change.  I first noticed this when I stopped waking up at 4 am wanting to open presents and I preferred instead long evenings in front of the fire conversing over cocoa.  In my youth and ignorance I believed that Christmas was losing some of its Joy.  What I did not understand at the time was that I was finally enjoying the parts of the holiday that are truly the most important – the people.  As a mother, I still plan to enjoy the company of family and friends but I will once again be waking up early to open gifts with what I'm hoping will be an eager six month old.  Already curious and a fan of toys and ripping things – tearing open Christmas gifts should be an exciting time.
'Tis the season!! Happy Holidays everyone!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Balance

Shhh… Don't distract me… I'm balancing.

I've always heard the stories of women struggling to juggle home, career and family.  And I always thought, I can do that!  I didn't realize how difficult it would be to hold down 3 full time jobs and still sleep at night.

Whit is rapidly approaching his half birthday, which is a difficult concept to come to terms with.  And just when I seem to get a handle on our life, it seems a new challenge is thrown my way.  Currently, I am enjoying a baby who can sit up and play by himself for short periods but is unable to crawl and thereby 'get into things.'  I should be taking advantage of this slight freedom and catching up on things around the house and paying attention to Whit's amazing but somewhat neglected father.  Unfortunately, this period in our lives has coincided exactly with the Holiday season and all of the travel, shopping, and decorating that comes along with it.  It is further marred by bouts of teething (when are those things going to show up?!) which throw off our carefully cultivated schedule.  It would be easier if I were the type of person who could easily ignore that stack of clean yet unfolded laundry and the dirty dishes in the sink.  But I am not.  

As a mother I've learned to cherish each single moment of 'free time' (even if it is spent folding laundry).  As a working mother I've learned to cherish every waking moment that I get with Whit (which are too few!).  As a working mother and wife I am learning to balance it all.  And I am thankful for a husband who understands me, carries his own weight and seems (from my view at least) to have mastered the balance of working Dad and husband.  As we continue to progress through this first year full of milestones and revelations I've adopted the following 'balance' mantra which conjures visions of a leotard clad tightrope walker in my head.

Deep breath… Step forward… Don't fall.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whirlwind

Some experts refer to the first three months after birth as the 4th trimester.  When you consider the leap in development a baby makes at 3 months, their reasoning is entirely plausible.

Whit turned 5 months old yesterday. He has changed and developed so much over the last two months that he no longer feels like the baby Kirk and I brought home from the hospital. Instead, I can see him quickly becoming the little boy who will continue to steal our hearts over the ensuing years.

Some of the new developments include:
An ever growing vocabulary (mostly vowel sounds) that are typically projected as loud as possible
The ability to roll over and sit up alone
The discovery of toes (the goal of getting the toes into his mouth is only now being fully realized)
Recognition of Mom, Dad, and Nanny Kate (I expect with frequent visits the grandmothers are not far behind)
An amazing capacity for being tickled (there is nothing sweeter than baby laughs)
A curiosity about other babies (actually make that an obsession which will be very interesting at Christmas!)
A newly developed appreciation for toys and playing
A range of emotions which he can express through sounds and expressions
And the most fun for Mommy - the desire and ability to give "kisses" even if they are the baby open-mouthed variety

Here are a few of the fun things we've done over the last few months if you've missed the facebook updates.

 

Technical Difficulties

First, let me apologize for the long absence.  I could make excuses such as... my company made a switch to google accounts and due to some sort of weird overlap, I had to change my log in information.... which I immediately forgot.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Video Update



Saturday, September 25, 2010

On The Road Again

It's  been a while since I've been able to post and I would say it is likely that the posts from now until Christmas will be short and somewhat sporadic. The biggest reason? We are entering what I like to call 'travel time.' 

Last weekend was spent back in Virginia with our families - giving them some much needed W time.  This upcoming weekend, the first in October, we are headed to Charleston, SC for my parent's vow-renewal in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary.  A definite plus to this visit is that Chucktown is my baby brother's new stomping grounds so we will get a weekend with Uncle J as well. We are also expecting W to meet his great-grandma and great-grandpa O!

November will bring several trips - the first weekend home to VA for the celebration of the impending arrival of my n-o-n, W's new baby cousin! Following that is the wedding of a close friend and before we know it - it will be Thanksgiving. 

As my n-o-n is expected sometime between Thanksgiving and the 2nd week in December, I expect that no sooner than we get back to Knoxville we will be back on the road to see the new addition. And then, suddenly, it will be Christmas and W will be 6 going on 7 months old!! 

It's good to get time with family and friends in these early days. Baseball season will soon be upon us again and travel with a 7-10 month old will, I'm sure, prove difficult for me without Kirk. And much as I lament the quick passage of days in W's life so far, I know that his baby-hood will continue to go by quickly and he will be toddling around and involved in a plethora of activities very soon.

Until then, we will soak in every second of family time we get and store up the memories of peaceful sleep and simple days.

Friday, September 10, 2010

What a difference year makes

When we are young we think we are grownup at ten, adults at eighteen and old at thirty. I believe this is a result of our limited experience with time. When you've lived eighty years one year is less than two percent of your life. When you are twelve it's just shy of ten percent. That's a big difference!
As you mature you realize that you never really feel like a grownup. I've lived about four years of what I consider my adult life. (No, I'm not considering myself an adult at eighteen, far from it actually). None have brought more changes than this most recent one.
For those of you who know the story you know that this time has been one of the most trying of my life. Kirk and I thought we were strong when we made it through six years of a long distance relationship. Little did we know that we would soon be faced with surgery, an interstate move, job layoffs, and personal loss in just 15 short months.
Both of us believe things happen for a reason yet we struggled to come to terms with why we were having so many trials in the first two years of our marriage. I often said 'I love being married, but man does this suck!' Let's just say that in three years of marriage Kirk and I have yet to celebrate our anniversary.
In August of 2009, after a very difficult July, we joined a 'life group' and the next month we helped to seed a new campus of Cokesbury church. Little did we know something else had also taken seed. As we helped to grow a church congregation and ourselves in the process, I was growing a tiny baby Whit.
Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a time if joy was, for me at least, filled with uncertainty. It took several months after I discovered I was expecting for me to feel at ease that everything was going to be ok with the baby. Even eight months later as I could feel his strong movements within me I worried for his safety. After his birth I was finally able to breath a little. Still, as our mothers will jokingly tell you, Kirk and I both spent a good portion of Whit's first few weeks checking to make sure he was breathing.
One full year later we have become a family of three. We are getting the hang of things, settling into a routine and loving every minute of being parents.
It's been a long and bumpy road but as we look back on the path that we have traveled we can see that we were right all along. Things do happen for a reason and, as I type this, that reason is sleeping peacefully in my arms. Our journey brought us to Whit and the years, the tears, and the sacrifices have been more than worth it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I've Got a Feeling...

More than just a part of a Black Eyed Peas song - this has become one of the most frequently used phrases in our household.  It began with the week we were waiting impatiently for Whit's birth. Kirk would say "I've got a feeling....." followed by "It's happening tonight" or "It's never going to happen" depending on his mood.

Fast forward to 3 weeks later (I can barely recall anything that was said or done in the first two weeks) and we began to use it this way: "I've got a feeling...." followed by "Whit's almost asleep" or "He's about to wake up" or "someone is hungry."

Now that we are moving in on the end of Month 3 (wow!) it's a phrase used in almost daily conversation, at least for me.  I say it quite frequently to Whit and sometimes sing it as the song - it never fails to get a smile.

But let's talk about how it's not used.  I think everyone in our family 'has a feeling' evidenced by the way each and every one of them react to Whit's presence.  I know that "I have a feeling..." one that has surprised me.  As a pregnant woman you already love your child, even before birth and you expect to continue to love them once they are born.  What you don't expect is for that feeling of love to grow and change every single day.  To increase in strength and intensity, to develop subtlety and become layered and deep. And this love extends to other people - I have a new love for my parents because I understand finally how they feel about me.  I have a new love for my sister as she goes through this experience herself.  I have a new love for my husband because he gave me Whit, and a new love for my in-laws because they gave me Kirk.

A few photos of us sharing and showing "the feeling."

Friday, August 27, 2010

A First Time for Everything

As we drove Whit to the doctor for his first shots a week ago I began to think about all of the firsts in his life.

In the last 10 1/2 weeks Whit has had his first day with a sitter away from Mom and Dad, his first smile, his first bath, and his first road trip.  There are so many more that have happened that I can't possibly list them all.  It is difficult not to become nostalgic and emotional when I think of all the firsts that have come and gone.  Moments that we will never experience again.  We will never again feel the joy that came with that first smile, that first laugh, the first time he slept through the night!

Our baby is growing up so fast.  However, he still has many more firsts to come and I pray that we are able to enjoy each moment of every one of them. 

On that note, Whit is putting forth all of his effort right now to roll over for the first time.  The only downside? Rolling from back to belly means 'tummy time' which is easily Whit's least favorite activity.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Videos

I'm forcing myself to get out both the camera and video camera more often.

Here's our latest take - Whit's First Concert - complete with vocals and percussion.




Saturday, August 14, 2010

A few of our favorite things...

As the song goes: "When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad....I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad."

Dad
One of Dad's favorite times is the first 10 minutes after Whit wakes up from a deep sleep.  Similar to both his parents, Whit is a very heavy sleeper at night and not a great napper during the day (sorry Mrs. Smoak - he gets it honestly!) While this can lead to frustration during the day when you lay him down and he is awake 10 minutes later, it also results in a rather adorable 'waking up' time.  While I would like to think that he could always change, I do believe that we will one day have a teenager that it is nearly impossible to wake up.

Mom
Mommy loves it when Whit gets that drowsy look on his face and can barely keep his eyes open but makes one last attempt just so that he can make sure that we aren't having too much fun without him.  I love taking a moment to breath deeply that smell that is simply Whit - especially first thing in the morning and after bath time. I love that Whit recognizes my smell and my voice and is beginning to recognize my face.  There's nothing like a mother's ability to calm her child simply by being near him.

Whit 
From what we can tell, Whit loves to get clean.  You'll see the most smiles during bath time and diaper/clothing changing times.  Who can blame him, I like to be fresh as well! He also loves to cuddle and tends to sleep better and more soundly while being held (Again, sorry Mrs. Smoak - I swear he was like that when he was born!) I have a suspicion that this comes from several months at the end of my pregnancy when he was, to put it plainly, squished.  The best way to re-create that cramped space is held tightly in your arms.  Another favorite - eating. Weighing in at more than 15 lbs at 2 months old, it is an undeniable fact that this kid enjoys eating.  And he usually approaches it with gusto - no calm nurser, Whit makes it known when he wants to eat and he typically gets down to business.

Favorite Faces

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Super Mom

I have always been in awe of my mother - it seems that she can 'do it all.'  She is one of those amazing women that keeps a spotless house (unless her kids mess it up), cooks, bakes, works full time, and still manages to make it to her kid's important events.  In a word - SuperMom.

As Whit approaches his 2 month birthday, I find myself showing some of those same talents or 'super-powers' that I admired for so many years.  I've listed a few of them below.

Mind Reading
Mostly this comes in the form of knowing when Whit is actually hungry and when he is just faking so that he can get some cuddle time with Mom before he quickly nods off for a nap.  Some other thoughts I can now so easily pick from his mind are 'I'm hot', 'I'm bored', and my personal favorite, 'I'm happy' which is easy as it is typically accompanied by a smile. Child development and parenting experts would lead you to believe that I am simply learning my baby's unspoken requests, but I prefer to think of it as mind reading.

The Ability to See the Future
I impressed myself last week when I managed to catch spit-up with a burp cloth mid air just before it hit my leg.  Granted, I've failed many times in the past to catch it, but our laundry situation has vastly improved as I hone this recently discovered talent. I am also able to predict, usually within a 10 minute range when Whit will start to show signs of hunger or sleepiness.

Invisibility
Perhaps my least favorite new ability - this first manifested the day Whit was born when people began to acknowledge Whit first, Kirk second and me third (sometimes if at all!).  Useful at times, annoying mostly, I generally have to speak up for anyone to notice that I'm there. 

One super-power I wish I had, but sadly do not, is the ability to create time.  I am closing in on 24 hours until I go back to work full time and I would love to be able to create more hours in the day to spend with Whit.  I would also like to take a snapshot in time and be able to go back and visit all of the highs and lows we have had so far.  Whit already seems so grown up, so far from the tiny (or not so tiny!) baby we brought home from the hospital. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What it's all about

It has been a busy few weeks in the Renegar household, and unfortunately I have to keep this short and sweet.

I came to a conclusion a few days ago and had it confirmed this weekend while back home visiting family and friends. 

This is what life is all about.  When I say 'this' I mean family.  Being a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend......a mother.  Life is about the relationships you have, and those that you create.  It is impossible for me to look into my son's eyes and deny that he is a miracle. Some say it is biology, some say grand design, but everyone agrees that we were made to love.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Whit's first photo shoot

A select few pictures from our attempted 'sleeping baby' photo shoot.

I was willing to accept the fact that most of the babies in the professional 'sleeping baby' photographs are much tinier than my linebacker, but I knew it was time to call in the professionals when my sleeping baby woke up after the first shot!





Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lost &Found

I cannot believe Baby Whit is more than a month old.  Where does the time go?

Instead of the boring week by week developmental milestones, I've decided to put a little flair into the blog.  This update: Lost & Found.

Lost:  Hair! Baby Whit is starting to lose his hair - between the thinning on top, receding hairline, and the newly *found* chubby belly, he's starting to resemble some of his male family members rather closely (I'm not mentioning any names!)

Also lost by Mom - some of the baby weight! Although I'm far from ready for my post-pregnancy OK! Magazine photo shoot, I'm officially back in pants that button.  It's a wonderful feeling.

Found: So many things have been found over the last 2 weeks. Whit found his thumb (I definitely have a thumb-sucker on my hands) along with his hands and arms which he now bats at our faces or any other object placed directly in front of him.  He's also found his voice this week although he has not gained full control over it.  He knows that he can make sounds and tries very hard to make them on demand. We are starting to find a bit of a schedule- life is still somewhat unpredictable, but I can count on Whit to sleep 2 long blocks of 4-5 hours at night and to have a long morning and long afternoon nap everyday.  Physically, Whit has found another pound or so and at least 1/2 - 1 inch of length. Sadly, we can no longer fit into many of the adorable 0-3 month baby clothes but that does mean that we get an entirely new wardrobe to try out in 3-6 month sizes! (Should I be concerned that my 1 month old baby can fit solidly into 3 month clothing?)  And perhaps the most fun thing that we've found just recently is the ability to smile.  If you can catch him during his most alert 'fun' time in the mid-morning, you may be lucky enough to get a wry half-smile or a full on grin with dimples.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Weeks 2 and 3

Wow! Whit is nearly 3 weeks old! Again, my apologies for not getting this posted sooner - I missed the 2nd week 'birthday' so I thought I would just roll everything into week 3.

I think we are starting to get on a bit of a schedule now that we have passed the 2 week mark.  We did experience a bit of a growth spurt around day 11 - in breastfeeding terms this is labeled a 'frequency day' because the baby basically wants to eat every 1 1/2 hours for 1-3 days straight.  And since feedings are timed from the start of one to the start of the next and generally take about 30-40 minutes - once the baby had been fed, burped and changed (this takes about one hour) he would sleep for about 30 minutes (Mom and Dad would sleep about 15 minutes) and he would be ready to eat again! It was exhausting, but a part of the commitment to nature's most perfect baby food.

Big advancements this week - Whit is now holding his head up some of the time.  We do tummy time every day and he will pick up his head to look over at us.  Also, we are officially cordless! He looks so grown up with his belly button finally exposed.  And this development allowed us to take our first 'real' bath today. (Yes, I covered up his 'equipment' for modesty's sake.  We do have a good nude shot for his future girlfriends!) And we are now able to wear our adorable gDiapers.  For those of you who are curious, gDiapers are like recycling: A little extra work up front, but worth it in the end for the environmental impact and health for baby.  And not for everyone!

I'm posting a few pictures taken by Grandpa Hylton during week 1-2 and some taken by Mom and Dad during weeks 2-3.

Friday, July 2, 2010

"Oh! He looks just like...."

"Oh! He looks just like...."  Go ahead, fill in the blank.  I do it with other people's babies.  Isn't it funny though, how excited we get when we see physical similarities between ourselves and our children?  Aren't they made from us? It's a given that they should look like us!  But, that takes some of the fun out of the game. I've posted some photos below - the first two are Mommy, the last two are Daddy - and you can make up your own mind. 
My personal opinion?  The eyes, nose, and head shape are Dad - all the rest is Mom - and the full package is Whit himself.  As a wise woman once told me: "Babies don't look like anyone, they look like themselves!"


Friday, June 25, 2010

Week 1

As I write this, Baby Whit is officially 11 days old.  Closer to 2 weeks than one.  But for those of you that have had an infant, I think I'm doing alright to get this out so soon!

Some of the events of week one have already been shared.  Most notably, Whit's birth on the evening of  Monday June 14th.  We were discharged from the hospital the following Wednesday afternoon.  While at the hospital, Whit managed to gain a dominant place in the hearts of both his parents and grandparents.  With such a cute little face, could you see it happening any other way?


Our first few days at home are now a bit of a blur to me.  After giving birth vaginally to a 9 1/2 lb baby, I was on some pretty strong pain killers heading home. I do know that Whit quite enjoyed his first car ride even if it took his parents a good 15 minutes to figure out how to adjust the straps on his car seat.  Thank goodness we did this in the hospital and not in the car in the heat!

Grams Hylton and Nana Renegar were on hand for the first few days home and I cannot imagine making it without them.  There aren't enough thank yous for them.  As first time parents, Kirk and I spent much of the first 48 hours at home just making sure the baby was breathing! But for some reason, we were able to relax and sleep if he was in the care of our mothers.

Friday was Whit's first Doctor's appointment which started out with high expectations.  As it was his first official outing, we had him dressed to the nines and ready to party.  After having some trouble locating the office, we walked into the office just 2 minutes before appointment time.  Luckily, we know the doctor well and he was not phased by the following events.  For Whit's first weigh-in, they stripped him down naked.  Of course, he had a wet diaper and the office didn't have newborn sizes so he ended up in a diaper that was too big.  Once back in the exam room, he promptly filled up his diaper!  Concerned that it would 'come out the sides' Daddy wanted to change him.  For those of you who have met Whit, you know that he despises having his clothing taken on or off unless he's been well-fed first. The same goes for diaper changes, especially in strange environments.  Re-diapered and screaming, the nurse comes in for the heel stick to test his bilirubin levels. The doctor suggests that I nurse him to calm him down during the procedure which can take 10 minutes of squeezing blood out of the heel.  However, my milk had just come in and without getting into too much detail, that task was easier said than done. So onward we battled!  Just as the nurse finished with the heel stick, Whit filled his diaper again - this time the biggest blow-out we've seen yet.  And the poop had finally changed from dark meconium to nice juicy breast milk poop.  He had it everywhere! Mom and Dad struggled to get a second diaper change taken care of with a screaming baby without getting covered in the mess from the diaper. But we got the job done and decided to drive home to feed Whit instead of waiting for the bilirubin test results.  No sooner had we gotten home, fed the baby, and grabbed some lunch ourselves than we got the call to head to Children's hospital to be evaluated for high bilirubin levels and to sign up for home photo-therapy (see 'Under the Lights').  All in all, a very tiring day for baby and parents, especially the parents that have now slept about 6 hours in the last 6 days.

Whit wrapped up week one with a nice, calm Sunday visiting with the Grandparents Renegar and then Aunt Kristin and Uncle Josh who I think were also blown away by his cuteness.  And if you managed to get through all of this, your reward is below - pictures!