Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unexpected Photo Shoot

We stumbled upon a gorgeous, secluded path in the midst of changing leaves and trees in Fayette, WV, while visiting for Bridge Day two weekends ago. What a beautiful area-- it was the perfect background! We couldn't have planned it any better!

Whit loves faces Ben makes to get him to smile, so it was easy to get him to smile in pictures with me :) I'm so glad! Usually I'm behind the camera and have great pictures of Ben and Whit, so I really appreciate these in such a beautiful location! 

My good friend Hayley says Whit has my smile, but my Mom and sister (not you, Brett.) 
think he is a clone of Ben. Well, what do you think now, Mom? 

We saw another couple walking and asked them to take a photo for us:

We stopped at Pilot Mountain on our way into WV for another beautiful view: 

We feel so lucky to live in such a gorgeous area! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hickory's Zahra Baker Playground

In 2010 the disappearance of Zahra Baker, from our recent home of Hickory, NC, made national news. She was a 10-yr-old cancer survivor, which left her with a prosthetic leg and significant hearing loss. Her dismembered body was later found in multiple locations and her stepmother, Elisa, finally pleaded guilty to her murder.

This gruesome story was unimaginable to so many in our community and around the world- Zahra was reported to be a fun, sweet girl loved by all. How could such a senseless thing happen to a sweet, sick child by someone appointed to care for her? I don't understand it at all.

Billboards, tv ads, and news stories immediately circulated around Hickory and a fund was soon started to raise money for a playground in Zahra's honor. The goal of the playground was to use equipment specially designed for handicapped children. The initial goal of $75,000 was soon surpassed, and $200,000 was eventually raised for the project. The playground was dedicated in May of 2012, and I went for the first time during a business trip back to Lenoir/ Hickory last week.

It is a remarkable place, and so worth talking about!

A video about the playground:

Some of the equipment. In the middle of the picture are roller-coaster style swings that are very wide and have a protective bar for children with limited balance,/ mobility, etc. On the right of that structure is a wheelchair-capable swing. I didn't see anyone use it, but it seems cool. In the background is a 50-ft. slide! That looked seriously cool. 

This is my favorite piece of equipment I saw: a wheelchair teeter-totter! There is a wide plank to enter it and a wide base for this rocking thingy. There is a divot on each side so adults can stand on it and rock it back and forth. Pretty cool! 

Karrie is one of my very good friends from Hickory. She and her triplets met me and another friend at the playground. Aren't they so cute?!?! I hate missing them grow up! 

A monument to Zahra at the entrance to the park. 

The playground is located at the Kiwanis Park, 805 6th St. 

It was so, so wonderful to visit a place that I truly love, see friends who mean a lot to me, and spend time in this area that was built out of compassion. I love seeing a community come together for a good cause!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bridge Day 2012!

Last weekend Ben and I packed up the baby and headed 3 hours north to Fayetteville, WV, for the annual Bridge Day event on the New River Gorge. Fayetteville has been dubbed "The coolest small town in America", partly because it sits on this gorgeous river and mountain landscape that is popular for hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting and kayaking, etc. The New River is actually one of the top 7 rivers to raft and we have both rafted there! At different times, of course.

Once a year the river activities subside and the bridge hosts base jumpers and repellers! It is the largest man-made structure that allows base jumping, so they have to have at least 100 jumps experience and sign up in advance. People flew and drove in from around the US and the world to participate, and the city really came alive! It felt like a mini fair :)

It was so crowded!

The location: 

The repellers waiting to walk to the ropes under the bridge:

Ben looking out before it was REALLYcrowded

We kept Whit well bundled in his stroller and he slept the entire time!
Do you like the mardi gras beads he got? :)

Jumpers could go as much as they wanted, so there was always a line of them waiting on the platform for their turn. Ben pointed out that they all had Go Pro helmet cameras


The descent:

They are meant to maneuver their landing onto the white circle to the right of the river, but 
speedboats are anxiously circling to pick up any jumper who accidentally lands in the frigid water. 

Their view:

Packing up their parachutes: 

The point at which Ben decided to take up base jumping: 

We stayed for about 3 hours then drove around the little town. We found a secluded dead end street that led to a roped-off walking path that we just had to check out. It turned out to be a fall-lover's paradise! Beautiful trees, colorful leaves on the ground, no other people, and a perfect view of the bridge. 

You can see the repelling lines to the left of the bridge: 

Yay for Bridge Day 2012! Two thumbs up!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our baby is 3 months old!

Whit @ 3 months:
12 lbs. 13 oz
23 in. long

-Is now is size 2 diapers
-Has discovered his hands. He loves to play with them, touch his face, and suck his fist! All. The. Time
-Has become pretty slobbery... He goes through at least 2 outfits a day!
-Really likes his pacifier. He has it in almost all day!
-Takes a 1.5-2 hour nap exactly 1 hour after waking up in the morning like clockwork
-Cries to eat again every 3 hours to the minute. 
-Loves to lay belly down on someone's chest
-Is captivated by TV and images on the projector screen when we turn the lights off 
and watch a show at night
-Doesn't cry all the time anymore! He either stares thoughtfully or smiles about half the time he's awake. 
-Will now mimic our smiles or smile on his own when he sees us
-Immediately calms down from crying when he is held and bounced on an exercise ball, but won't calm down in his bouncy seat. What's the diff, Whit?  
-Has random bald spots over his head, one patch of his dark newborn hair, and sort of 
blonde everywhere else. 
-Gives big stretches when he wakes up and his swaddle is undone. IT IS SO SO SO CUTE! 
-Earned the nickname "Whitsy Bitsy" from his 8-yr-old cousin, Colin. I can't stop calling him that!

He has two times of the day that he reliably happy- an hour after he wakes up, and around 5 pm when Ben is home from work. I was sure to take these pictures during his morning happy time to get some good smiles, but don't be fooled-- he's known as Mr. Fussbucket the rest of the day! :) 

We think he looks a lot like his cousin, Elly. What do you think, Sarah? 

We dress him in a onesie to go underneath his swaddle blanket at night so he doesn't get overheated, and put him in footy pajamas during the day to stay warm in our cool house. Backwards? Maybe. He has outgrown all of his 0-3 month size pj's, so this is a new one I bought a couple weeks ago for him. I love him in this outfit! Ben calls him "The Onceler" because we think he looks like a
 Dr. Seuss character with all the colorful stripes! 

 Playing with his hands- his 3-month-old trick!

Smiling for Mommy:

Singing with Daddy: