Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Great Leaps

Every now and then a child's development goes from a casual stroll to a leap. Currently, Whit is leaping.... small leaps, maybe more like hops but still developing at a faster pace than he has recently.

Tonight, when I said it was time for 'Night Night' he leaned over from where he was sitting to give Daddy a kiss (as he does every night but usually with my encouragment), he gently went upstairs without a fight and curled up with Mommy for a book, some rocking and off to bed nursing. Within about 10 minutes of heading upstairs he was asleep. Yesterday, when I said it was time for 'Night Night' he went upstairs and laid down in his bed without prompting. It's clear that he's beginning to understand more every day.

The same thing with his sign language and other daily tasks. Whit has (in my opinion) a fairly large vocabulary for a 14 1/2 month old who is far more concerned with physical develpment than language. He says consistently: Mommy, Daddy, tickle, cat, woof-woof, ball, ba-ball (baseball), hat and out (outside). There are several other words that he will repeat when prompted. What is somewhat more impressive to me is his ever growing sign language vocabulary. This is probably more impressive to me because it is not a typical development that is observed in children. We've been working on signs for nearly a year and he's picked up one every month or so until the last month. As with spoken words he's beginning to pick up signs much faster. In sign language Whit can say: All-done, more, nurse, please, bath and no. He also has several other signs that he makes that I haven't figured out yet.

Whit's also developing in other amazing ways. He loves to help unload the dishwasher, vacumn, sweep and take the wet clothes out of the dryer (yes, the dryer). He will climb (or attempt to climb) anything and thinks driving a car is all the rage. His current obsessions are putting hats on his own and other peoples heads and putting shoes on his feet. We took him out on Sunday to purchase new shoes for his ever growing (and very wide) feet. You would have thought he was at the playground. He loved picking out shoes and has asked to put his shoes on each evening since Sunday.

I'm so enjoying watching each new development happen that I've forgotten to pine for the days when I could rock Whit and not have to worry about him not fitting in the rocking chair. It's precious to see his growing relationship with Daddy and his ability to more easiliy recognize friends and family.

New photos to come soon!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Popular Demand

After much lamentation from my brother (as well as others) I must set down my other tasks and make blogging a priorty once again.

For those who don't know, in an attempt to spend more time with my family and the ever precocious W, I have switched careers (for the second time in my life).  I'm now employed at Hardin Valley Academy alongside my darling husband. To be honest, I am not seeing the immediate fruits of my labor as the first year teaching (or in my case first year back) can be rather all-encompassing.  Tonight I have completed planning for yet another day and am staying up beyond my bedtime to post this. 

W continues to grow as fast as he can.  After a trip home last weekend for one of my best friends' wedding Kirk and I both made the comment that we thought Whit had grown during the 4 hour car drive.  Well, he looked taller.  He has also continued to develop in other aspects.  He is more dextrous, much faster on his feet and his sense of humor has outmatched my own. Recently Whit has been keeping the staff of HVA entertained and getting to know his new sitter, Nanny C.  Although it has been difficult for him to get back into the swing of things after a long summer home with Momma and Daddy, he is doing remarkably well.

And now for the goods!  Our Zoo trip with Uncle E, Nana E and Papa as well as what ever other tidbits I have on my computer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Melt my Heart

There are times, as a parent, that life seems impossible.  The house won't stay clean, the baby is crying, you haven't slept in days.  Recently, I've been reading some literature on infant/child sleep patterns.  Whit still struggles to self-sooth unless he is in the car and finds it difficult to sleep without a warm body close by.  He demands attention and interaction and has a need to be stimulated during most of his waking hours.  I should have seen this coming (and I may have contributed to the issue) as when I was carrying him we played 'footsie' nearly all day long. Anyone who saw me pregnant can attest to the fact that I was nearly always 'playing' with Whit unless he was sleeping.  And then I was usually rubbing his back while he slept.  This seemed to keep him calm and kept him from bruising my kidneys.

Ironically, I often receive comments on what a happy baby he is.  Perhaps this is because I give into most of his demands - I 'wear' him so that he is close to my body and can easily interact with me. Now that he is getting larger I find it easier to let him ride in the cart but I still make conversation while we are shopping.  Still, Whit has days when he is very sensitive, days when he needs to cuddle all day long. We have been blessed to have Nanny Kate who will also indulge Whit's needs as much as possible.

During my research I found a description that seemed to fit Whit perfectly.  'The high-needs baby'.  Now, a high-needs baby is not an un-happy baby. And they do not lack the ability to self-sooth or to play alone.  They just prefer not to. Especially when Mom is around.  And have someone else put them to sleep at night? Don't even think about it!

Although this knowledge would have been re-assuring when Whit was much younger I'm glad that I'm just now finding it out. I was under the impression that his needs were 'normal' needs and so I did not get frustrated or treat him differently as I might have otherwise.

And as Whit grows older I know that I will continue to find reasons why I am glad that he is exactly the way he is.  Whit craves physical contact. So I get hugs and kisses frequently - sometimes every 5 minutes.  He's always been a champion nurser, even as he has gotten too busy to have a diaper change or sleep he still finds time to cuddle up for a meal or a snack. He prefers to sleep in our arms so Mommy, Daddy, Grams, Nana...etc. have the opportunity to hold and rock him while he sleeps.  Someday Whit will be grown and I will look back at those long days and nights of snuggling with fondness. And maybe I'll have a cuddly teenager and adult son who will not hesitate to come up and give his mom a hug and kiss no matter how grown up he is.

 Dr. Sears: High Needs Baby

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Large Leap

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Play Ball!

It may be strange for a 'play ball' post to be coming up at what is considered the end of the baseball season by many.  But, for the first time in school history (all three years), the Hawks baseball team is still rolling out this coming week.  A big congrats to Kirk for his patience and dedication and to all the boys for their hard work this season.  HVA won the District Championship on Wednesday night and will be playing 3 time defending State Champions (Farragut) on Monday at home.  Whit and I, of course, will be in attendance.

Whit has amazed me over the last week with his behavior and attitude at the ball park.  Always a curious and social yet content child he held up well through late nights, travel, and weather hot and stormy.  He seems to enjoy baseball thoroughly. He is the only 11 month old baby I have ever seen who actually sits and watches the game.  Sure, one reason may be that he can hear Daddy yelling from the dugout and he is trying with every ounce of energy he has to find him.  When we approach the ball yard and Whit sees the players in uniforms he yells out what were undoubtedly his first 2 words "Da Da!" and "Ba-baa!"

Also, I had to share this wonderful photo of Whit and I together at the ballpark.  In this shot I'm carrying Whit on my hip in a sling, one of many baby wearing techniques available.  I like to think that this global practice of keeping baby "close enough to kiss" contributes greatly to Whit's overall happy demeanor.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In Full Swing

This time of year I am amazed that I found a moment to sit and type.  Of course, as I type I can see clearly a mound of breakfast dishes in the kitchen and the edge of the laundry pile peeking out at me from the slightly ajar door to the washing machine. 

Spring is in full swing and with it baseball season (although that is actually beginning to wind down).  This means evenings at the ball park, Saturday practice and late nights attempting to keep the house in some semblance of order. Thank goodness for a generous mother-in-law who gave me a slight reprieve this weekend and at the same time managed to keep the ironing basket from overtaking the house.

I'm loving the longer days and the activities that are now possible.  Whit has developed his very first freckles on his nose and despite copious sunscreen use, he is working on his farmer's tan, which in this family we call the baseball tan.

I can hardly believe that in a few short weeks it will be time to address and mail invitations for his first birthday party - there are so many things left to accomplish between now and then.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Fever

One of the joys of having a small child is the ability to blame your lack of organization, cleanliness and motivation on them. Seriously.  I have been very lax around the house recently and have not put in as many hours at work as I typically do because I have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather and attending baseball games and playdates at the park.  And I've rarely (if ever) even turned on my computer once I've finished work for the day.  (Hence the lack of blogging!) And I've loved every minute. Last week it seemed that spring was in full swing. Sunny baseball weather, mild nights (great for before dinner walks) and ever greening grass and budding trees.

Now, I sit in a small room in the basement of Wallace Hall on the campus of Virginia Tech. Thank goodness I have a window to look out of as I sit for the next 6 hours and write for my final Master's Degree Exam. And although it is officially spring and the first day of April, clearly God is playing a bit of a practical joke.  My favorite cherry tree is blossoming beautifully against a backdrop of blue sky and small flakes of snow!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Video Update

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Balance... Part 2

It seems hard to believe that just over 10 weeks ago I was struggling to find the balance in my life.  And I don't just mean finding time to do things I mean re-capturing a feeling from my youth when life was something to be lived and time something to be made the most of.  Kirk and I have often wished for that feeling.  For me, the memories are of long summer evenings at the park: Dad playing softball, Mom chatting in the stands, Kristin and I running back and forth between the field and playground and always spending a few minutes in the line at the ice cream truck. 

Looking back I realize that my parents were doing just what I am doing - working 40 hour weeks, raising kids, and maintaining a marriage.  This is not the first time (nor is it like to be the last) that I will mention that my mother seemed to have an innate ability to get it all done and still have free time left over to make dinner, read books and sew Halloween costumes.  Not to mention dresses for all of us for Easter and Christmas. To this day I do not know how she managed it and to be honest I don't want to know.  I prefer that she not shatter the idyllic image of her I have from my youth.

I can't exactly pinpoint what has changed, but I am getting closer to finding that balance, that center.  Working mother, homemaker, wife, sister, friend.  Part of it may have to do with relaxing my standards. I've always been a list maker (even if I don't follow that list) and I've always needed a strong sense of control.  If having Whit has taught me anything it is that I no longer make the master schedule of my life, I simply follow his.  I don't go to bed when I want, I don't wake up when I want, I don't eat when I want.  And I'm learning that it is ok to leave a sink full of half-washed dishes and it is ok to let the dirty (or clean) clothing pile up a little.  One of my favorite new quotes from one of my favorite new people is 'Keep your house clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy."

And now for a few fun updates about Whit:

 Enjoying spinach (above) and peas (below).  The fists are part of his 'excited' face.

Standing by the recliner.  Whit chose to crawl last Wednesday and proceeded to pulling up the next day.  Here he is trying to take a step just a week later. Yes, he does know that I am taking his picture and he is posing for the camera.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Making the most of it

Not long ago I was complaining that I simply have not felt 'settled'.  How quickly things change.  Perhaps it is all in my attitude but perhaps it has something to do with the string of beautiful weather we have had recently.  Although I do not consider 58 degrees with a brisk wind 'spring' the increased sunshine has served to take my mood to an entirely different level.

Now is the time to make the most of my newly discovered energy.  In the past 2 weeks I have re-organized my closets, pantry and garage.  I've begun meal planning and 'couponing'; I saved more than $30.00 just this week. Whit and I have taken several walks in the neighborhood and we've signed him up for swimming lessons beginning in March. Whit and I have begun attending La Leche League meetings and, although we've been foiled so far by nap time, I also plan to take him to the library so that we can get library cards. We visited Daddy at the baseball field last Saturday and we are looking forward to taking in some of practice this week as well.

I firmly believe that two things are influencing this change for the better (outside of the nice weather and Whit getting a little older).  First, Kirk and I have begun a personal bible study.  It's not much, no where near what we would like to do.  But 5 minutes after a family dinner (at the table) several times a week has given us the opportunity to re-connect in a way that I've been missing since Whit made himself the center of our world.  The second is that I've put a limit on my own TV watching.  No, Mom, I'm not doing TV tags... Just thinking before I hit that power button.  "Is there something on TV that I really want/need to be watching?"  "Is there something better I could be doing with my time?"  Usually the answer is "No, I'm just bored" and "If I'm bored why don't I do something productive or do something with Whit?"

I know deep in my heart that this weather cannot possibly last. I'm sure we are in for another spell of nasty winter.  But with baseball season just around the corner it is time to make the most of what we have.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Coach's Work is Never Done

 One of the things that drew me to Kirk when we were first dating was his sense of humor.  I appreciated it more because it was not, and likely is still not, a well known personality trait outside of his family.  My brother, who has known Kirk for more than 10 years, commented at Christmas on his sense of humor and how he 'didn't realize' what a big part of his personality it actually is. 

Another trait I cherish about Kirk is his hard work and dedication.  This trait is clearly demonstrated every day of his life as I'm sure the HVA baseball families can attest to.  And he does not just apply this to his professional life, it is a mainstay of our personal life as well.

As parents we want our children to inherit our best traits and dodge those that we dislike about ourselves or our partners. I am happy to say that a sense of humor is one trait that Whit has in spades - and all from his father. You can still make the argument that behavior is learned and reinforced, but it is difficult to deny an innate behavior when it is clearly demonstrated in one so young. And if behavior is learned, then Whit has no better example of patience than his mother and of work ethic than his father.

When pondering the title of this particular blog post I wavered between many titles and I think this video demonstrates my choice nicely.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Whole New Year

I've been trying to write this post for several days but I shouldn't be surprised that we are more than a week into the new year before I'm able to write a new post.

The 2010 Holiday Season was just as busy and wonderful as I had expected. My nephew made his debut on December 28th, 2010 and we were all over-joyed to meet this beautiful little soul. As many can attest, I was nearly breaking down the door to see my sister and her new baby. I understand what a challenge it must have been for her to be more than 250 miles from me when Whit was born.

Life continues to progress although faster than I would like.  The fact that Whit will be 7 months old in just 5 short days took me by complete surprise when I looked at the calender the other day.  I have enjoyed watching him grow into a little person and begin to reveal his unique personality. 

Traditionally, people start a new year with a list, be it short or long, of things they want to change about themselves or their lives.  Being more than content in my current situation, and understanding that more than 70% of 'resolutions' are not actually undertaken, I have decided to start a new tradition for myself.  This year, instead of dwelling on those things that have been unhappy or that I may want to change my goal is to focus instead on all of the wonderful things I have been blessed with. It seems logical to me that this is the way to cultivate happiness in your life.

As I look back on 2010 I am thankful for a loving husband and a caring family. I am thankful for a tremendous church family and a fabulous life group. I am thankful for good friends who always seem to be there. I am thankful for a terrific employer who has been more understanding and flexible that I probably deserve.  I am thankful for my overall good health and that of my family.  I am thankful for the miracle that is the little boy sleeping peacefully on the couch right now.  And most of all I am thankful for another year in which to enjoy all of the blessings in my life. 

Wishing everyone a happy and blessed 2011!