Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So this is Christmas...

I’m still relishing in the post Christmas bliss we experienced the last two days. I do love Christmas, everything about it. The excitement, the hustle and bustle, the reminiscing, the spirit of it all.
Whitney is still entirely way to young to “get it”, but for me, just the extra day off with Andy and her and getting to spend time together is what I love best. Since we spend the holidays with our families in early January, that leaves Christmas Eve and day all to ourselves, making memories and traditions as a family. Here is a small recap of Christmas 2012:

I was thrilled to find out Andy was getting off work early on Christmas Eve, this allowed me to go to church at 6:00, rather than 10:00 pm. Andy opted to stay at home with Whitney while I went to St Andrews Catholic Church, the first time I was able to attend one of their Christmas masses. It was beautiful and packed, as I suspected it would be. Mass lasted only an hour and they sang beautiful traditional Christmas hymns. I surprised myself by not even needing a hymnal to sing along to all the songs, since I've been getting much practice listening to Christmas music the past 1.5 months. This was a great way for me to kick of Christmas Eve and the holiday in general.
By the time I got home we still had time to play with Whitney together and be silly. We took some photos and had time to relax.

Christmas day Whitney woke up around 8:15 and we immediately skyped with my parents, since they were going to go to church in the morning and would then be preparing for their 40+ guests that afternoon. They had shipped a few presents to us to open on Christmas day and we had such fun opening them. Whitney got a puzzle and a picnic basket and some clothes, she was a happy little girl. She loves skyping and I think she is starting to think Grandpa and Grandma live in the computer! She puts the computer right on her lap and usually puts on a show for them, always being silly while on camera. She then walked over to her highchair and signed to “eat”, so I guess that was our cue it was time to go and have breakfast. Getting to see them on Christmas morning is the next best thing to being there with them. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad.

We then ate breakfast and skyped with Andy’s Mom, who was at his sister’s house in Florida. They have three kids, ages 4 and under, so they were up to their elbows in Christmas cheer as well. She opened up a few more presents, a rocking chair from Grandma JuJu and a “worm” crawl through toy from her cousins – her favorite new toy. She opened a few more things, and the present we got her, a shopping cart. We will try to milk this period of her not “getting it” for a few more years when she doesn’t understand Santa and feel no need to spend too much on her, she gets spoiled enough as it is with family and grandparents.

All in all, a great day, a really special day to spend with our small, but growing family. I treasure the memories we have already made and look forward to so many more Christmases together. Next year will surely be different with two children in the house, a 2.5 year old and 6 month old. Being with Andy and Whitney make me so happy I could burst. I wish I could capture every smile, smirk and silly thing she does. Obviously I try to take many pictures but she’ll do something and I just say to myself, “man I wish I could remember this forever.” And days like Christmas are days I wan to remember forever.

(Whitney is 18 months old)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

17 months - December 2012

This morning I am posted up in a new spot in the house. Instead of sitting at my work desk, I'm relaxing by the soft glow of the Christmas tree and morning sun breaking on the horizon. Mornings like this, when I wake up early (it doenst happen often), and the house is quiet and waiting for the busyness of the day is when I feel most content. And hey, who doesn't love sitting by a Christmas tree?

Wow, OK, Whitney is already 17.5 months, it's so cliche, but so hard to believe. So what is new this past month. Whew.
These past few weeks I've seen a big change in her and her vocabulary. She is very consistently saying Mama, Dada, Tilly, ball, one, byebye, night night, hi and Grandma. Her vocabulary is something I have always kept in the back of my mind and have working and working on with her. I know some kids have upwards to 50-100 words at this point, so her measly 10 or so words is just killing me. However, she is making more and more sounds each day and is try to hard to say things so I am thrilled about that. Both Andy and I were late talkers, not until after 2 did we really start, and I know heredity plays a fairly big part in speech too, so I'm trying to not let this bother me too much.

She continues to love to climb and is comprehending things like crazy, another thing that makes me feel as if she is "learning". She may not be saying many words, but she understands throwing things in the garbage, retrieving certain items and what she should and should not be doing.

She's learning how to dress and undress herself and most recently getting pretty good at using a fork when eating. She enjoys taking our hand and leading us places. Whether it be someplace she knows she should go (like up the stairs) or to her room to play or to the kitchen, wherever.

The one thing about her getting is older, is my fear of her falling behind. Despite her slow start we have been blessed with her meeting or exceeding all her milestones during the right time frame. I have always felt that she was right on pace with where she should be. Now that she is getting older, there can  be more of a separation of how kids are developing. I understand kids develop at different times, but no parent wants their child to be behind. I know my personality and although I would never push her to do something she's not ready to do, I also like the fact of knowing she is doing what she is supposed to be doing or is where she should  be.

Take for instance, her head size. I feel silly just saying this. No one would ever think she has a small head by looking at her (maybe from her massive amounts of hair!) I do know though the doctor wants to see her head growing proportionately to the rest of her. I measure her head circumference 2 days ago and noticed it had not gotten bigger since her 15 month appointment. Boom. Instant worry. Her 18 month appt is the 28th, so I'm sure we'll be talking about it, but c'mon, am i going insane? Is her brain growing? Will she be OK...the never ending question.

So anyway, here we are less than 2 weeks away from Christmas. We're in the wake of a horrific, tragic event and I'm rambling about head size. One thing I noticed are so many comments on Facebook about holding their babies tighter during this time of morning. Shouldn't we be holding our babies tight all the time? Sure it's easy to get caught in the daily routine, but these are precious beings, we need to handle with care, each and every day, despite what is happening in the world around us.

This is the time to be so extremely thankful for what we have, and having Whitney here and with us each day is on the top of my list. Forget all the milestones and charts and graphs, she has already done more than I could have imagined and certainly a miracle from above.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Why me?

After some more persistent prodding I'm back at the computer writing an update on Whitney, and I suppose a little about myself. I often think of topics I could write about as I'm driving, or running, or sitting lazily in front of the TV. Should I write about her new found "screaming" and how it's awfully cute and endearing and very very annoying at the same time? Or what about how she gives the best big hugs and kisses? Or how she prefers to give the dog the biggest hugs of all? Or what about how she still remains to be the best sleeper and eater we could have asked for? She's really a good girl. Or her clever ways to climb onto the couch, and knows enough already to not stand on the couch?

I keep coming back to the question I shamelessly asked myself a few times in those first few months, "why me?" In those tearful nights and long agonizing days, "why is this happening to me, how can this truly be happening to me?"

And now, almost 17 months later, I am asking myself the same question, but looking at her, and seeing her smile and babble and play and asking "why me?" but thinking, she's here and she's doing great and she's perfect and she's mine "why me, Lord, why me?" Why have you blessed me and my family, so? I look forward to each day I get so spend with her. Through every scream and every piece of food thrown on the ground and every time she pulls the dog's tail, I love it. I cant get enough of it. So yes, quite possibly everyday, I ask myself now "why me, how did I get so lucky?"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

We're still alive

I've had a few requests to update the blog and Sunday nights are usually the best, so here I am. Looking back it looks like I missed a month, I guess we have been busy. We DID go on an almost two week vacation to WI over Labor Day. It was such a great vacation. We got to spend time with family, friends and make it to the home opener Packer game. Whitney got to see many of her cousins and hang out with both sets of Grandparents and Grandma Great Jackie. It really was a very relaxing trip, I wish we could go that long more times throughout the year. What a great way to recharge!

Whitney had her 15 month checkup 2 weeks ago, she has now moved up to the 75% for height (31.5 in) and 60% for weight(23.5 lbs. For the longest time I thought she was so short but these past few weeks she seemed to have a growth spurt and sure enough, she shot up on the charts. She got three shots and for the first time had a small fever a few days afterward, which the doctor had said might happen. In the past she has shown no symptoms or problems, and this fever was minor, she still kept up her happy demeanor.

A few weeks back we took advantage of gift certificate I had won for a free photo shoot. I was going to use it for Whitney's first birthday but it didn't fit into the schedule and it certificate was expiring the end of September. Since we have a fairly decent digital camera we never thought it necessary to get professional photos taken, but since it was free I couldn't let it go to waste. We had a great time and Cassie was able to get some cute shots of Whitney.

I know it has been awhile since i wrote and now that I'm sitting here I'm trying to remember all the things we have been busy with but I cannot remember anything. We've just been busy playing and having fun. She is learning to shape sort right now and also enjoys putting things on pegs. She's learned to throw, luckily just balls right now and not throwing cups, food and anything else she's not supposed to, but I have a feeling that may be coming. She also loves to climb, but what 15 month doesn't? She is still  babbling up a storm, I sure wish I knew what she was saying. She still doesn't say too many words but if you use your imagination you can almost make out what she's trying to say. I'm not too worried yet that she isn't saying much, but Andy and I were late talkers and she sure is babbling lots, so that is easing my mind.

I'm leaving with a few photos. Happy Fall!.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Just a typical weekend

Weekends are obviously my favorites. Whitney's late mornings spent in pajamas, tickle time in our bed, and usually absolutely no plans. Since Andy works most weekends, I have really grown to love the time Whitney and I get to spend together. She loves being outside, and the weather at night is a bit cooler, so it's a great time for us to get some fresh air. It feels good to be back home, after spending a week in WI. I wouldn't trade that time in WI for anything though. My parents have been fortunate enough to spend so much time with her, and watch her grow up this past year. They've seen so many tears and smiles (on my part) but have stood strong and patient. I can only pray that Whitney will see the same in Andy and I some 30 years from now.
These weekends make so thankful for this little girl. Here she is, babbling, walking, playing all while her personality is budding. She brings me literally to tears sometimes when thinking about what a miracle she is.

I get it now, this is it - this whole parenting thing that gets you choked up. This child, who just a year ago came into our lives and we knew nothing of each other, here she is. She loves me and I love her.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

To let go and breathe

Whitney is now 13 months old and truly a toddler. This past month, since she has gotten mobile on her own two feet, has really grown into her personality. She is walking all the time now, and hardly ever resorts to crawling, clearly crawling is for babies. She loves playing with Tilly and teasing him with his toys. She rolls around the ground or on a blanket with her play cell phone or looks at her flash cards. She has books all over the house and can be seen sitting down and looking at the pictures. Skype has been so great, my parents get to see her at least once or twice a week, just playing and interacting with them or the dog. It's pretty nice for them to see each other, and for them to see her "in action" even if just for a few minutes.

Another huge milestone was reached, she is now completely of bottles. Her pediatrician highly suggested we try to get her off the bottle and 1, and at 13 months she finally took to it. Her babysitter was really on board and helped out a lot, I packed all the bottle supplies up last night and purchased more sippy cups. It feels so good to not have to deal with bottles anymore!

We've been staying busy on the weekends while Andy is working. Either going to the pool, playing or shopping, she is such so much fun to be around. I can see at this age is where it is hard to go to work, you just want to play with your child and enjoy their time. It just means that the weekends mean so  much more now and to truly enjoy the time you do get with them.

Every now and then I'll google "cooling blanket" or "HIE" and the worries and fears coming flooding back to me. I see Whitney doing so well and am just so thankful and feel so blessed and remind myself to look at her, not those webpages. In the beginning I felt like i was always holding my breath, not knowing how she would react or what the next big challenge was going to be. And here she is, walking all over the house, babbling, and being a toddler, just as we had hoped and prayed and dreamed. I can exhale now, and that's what feels so good.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

....and she's off!

I think a light switch got turned on today in Whitney, for the first time, I think she walked around the house more than she crawled. She has been walking from one end of the house to the other, turning corners, stepping over toys, and coming to find me when I'm in another room. It is still so different to see her upright, rather than crawling, and getting so proficient at it too. Today she was even standing so much more on her own, rather than pulling herself to a climb. It's so mind boggling to see her go from a sit, to a stand and then take off walking. She was even carrying books and toys in her hands, getting more steady on her feet. She has learned all of this in such a short period of time, last month at this time she was just taking her first steps.

I couldnt help but get teary eyed tonight as she was toddering toward me. I can so distinctly remember a nurse at the hospital telling me "oh I cant wait to see Whitney running down these halls some day" and me wondering if she truly ever would. I had so many worries and wonders and prayers on if she would ever learn to walk, and here she is. ....and there she goes!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What a year this has been - Whitney turns "1"

So that is that, one year in the books. Whitney celebrated her first birthday on June 23rd, while we were spending the weekend in Savannah, GA.
These past few weeks have really lent themselves to some major reflection on the past year for me.
When I think back to June 23rd of last year, I remember the anticipation and excitement, right up to Whitney's birth. We even have a photo somewhere of Andy and I smiling so excitedly, such goofy grins, as I'm about to be wheeled into the operating room. I want to say that it was the happiest day of my life, even better than our wedding day. Instead I'm forced to relive the most horrifying, difficult and emotional experience of my life. Not exactly a day I'll be able to shake from my memory anytime soon.

I cant help but think and replay the phone calls and questions and sleepless, teary nights that followed that day, June 23rd, 2011. Not sleepless because we had a newborn baby keeping us up at night, but rather a baby who was whisked off in some sort of contraption, that I only got to meet for a mere few minutes and was left wondering if she would even make it to the next hospital, which was an hour away. Teary becuase as i walked the halls of the nursery floor and noticed how all the rooms had pink or blue on the door, mine had nothing. I was the room who's "baby wasn't there..." or the room that people left with tears in their eyes. Even just tying this, it all sounds like such a cruel joke.

I'm still left with the small pang of jealousy when I think of others who have been blessed with a storybook birth, one that would be suitable for "The Baby Story" on TLC or written eloquently in a baby book to be shared and remembered for years to come. I still havent written Whitney's story of her birth in that baby book. Suppose this blog would suffice? Writing it down in such a cute colorful book just doesnt seem fair to both Whitney and me.

Instead, that book and the memories to follow are filled with better times. Times of jubilation and excitment over the smallest milestones. The first roll-over, the first sit-up, stand-up, the list goes on. Whitney has continued to amaze all who know her from the first day she spent at home (almost a month after she was born mind you). The support, prayers and encouragement this past year has been overwhelmingly wonderful.

Whitney, is a perfect, beautiful little girl in every shape and form. She has proven strength and perserverance. She bagan taking steps on my birthday, June 14th, a milestone we didn't know if she would ever meet. She continues to toddle and walk and can go farther distances each day. Anyone who has met her will agree she is so good natured, eats like a champ, and is literally a WALKING miracle. I still can't help but look at her and think "how did we get so lucky?" Each day, as she is gaining her independence and creating her own personality I really do think she is right where she is supposed to be.

I'm ending this post from an email my Mom wrote to me on Whitney's birthday. I couldnt have said it better myself...
What an incredible year!  The worrying, wondering and waiting  have all proved to let God take care of all our prayer intercessions.   We still pray every day for that miracle to keep on happening in Whitney  - God has blessed her and our families!!!