Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Price Lake Trail Hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Ben has been traveling across the state to a little town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for work every week. I love coming with him. We used to live nearby and I enjoy visiting friends, I love getting a break from home and work, it's fun to stay in a hotel, and I like watching Ben interact with his colleagues during group lunches and dinners. But, honestly, the #1 reason Lenoir is fun to visit is it's proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway. A mere 20 minute drive along one road takes us from Lenoir to Blowing Rock- a quaint resort town with fantastic restaurants, great shopping, and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Driving into Blowing Rock and seeing the incredible views of hills and valleys covered in a lush, green blanket actually feels like home. I can release a deep breath I didn't even realize I'd been holding. It's wonderful.

I need to make one important clarification: I {practically} hate to hike, but I love to walk. So when Ben suggested we take a family hike on a trail in the Blue Ridge Parkway during one of his business trips I was thrilled to realize it was more of a stroll than strenuous. I guess I'm just more of a I'd-rather-not-feel-like-I'm-dying-when-I-decide-to-stop-and-smell-the-roses type of gal :) I always blame the fact that I have a breathing disorder which makes strenuous activity really difficult. And, hey, it's probably true!

This "hike" was amazing. It was a 2.7 mile loop around a beautiful lake right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Price Lake Trail in the Julian Price Memorial Park. The weather was great, the walk was fun, the scenery simply delicious, and practically deserted. Seriously, what more could you ask for? Seriously?

This little guy is such a cheeser! I wasn't feeding him Cherrios, making funny faces, or inducing his smiles in any of these pictures in any way. He just loves the camera and pulls out that grin at every opportunity! 

I especially love this photo because he is crinkling one eye just like I do when I smile. Crinkle eye + dimples means this boy gets at least one characteristic from his mommy: His smile! Woo hoo!

When we passed this tree Ben commented, "Well that guy just gave up." Ha! There is a dam at another edge of the lake, so maybe the beaver decided modern technology wins...? Take that, nature. 

Ben took this family photo with his new iPhone 5. He'd been whining (yes, whining is the right word.) about his BlackBerry for years, and it hit a high when his company announced they would allow employees to use the new iPhone. His BlackBerry suddenly stopped working soon afterward (sounds too convenient, but it's true!), and he was bestowed a precious new iPhone 5 on Monday. The resolution is great, and I am glad its easy to take pictures of the three of us now! (Notice my eye crinkle when I smile.) 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Whit at 9 months

Whit became almost unrecognizable this month!

I took him in for a sick visit at 8 months because of concern over his (lack of) weight gain, and the pediatrician encouraged us to increase his meals from 2 to 4 a day. That suggestion has made a huge difference for us! I don't get out of the house with Whit very much because he is only awake for 1-1.5 hours between naps and we need about 30 mins. to feed him a meal and around 20 mins for a full nursing session before he goes to sleep. That doesn't leave much time for playing, but Whit is much happier when he's awake and goes to sleep much faster! So far he has gained 11 ounces, which is a huge improvement from the measly 8 oz. he'd gained in the previous 4 months!

 In addition to a fuller face and slightly chunkier body he has also started to crawl, stand up, and climb, and use his fingers to feed himself all in about 2 weeks. It feels like he went from "Baby" to "Pre-Toddler" in a very short time!

Whit @ 9 months
15 lbs. 11 oz: 2%
28 in.: 35%

*Understands sign language, but not repeating any. He gets really excited when we sign "Pick Up" and usually stops fussing for food when we sign "More", "Milk", or "Finished." I wish he was ready to do sign language, but I'm glad he at least understands some!
*Is Crawling!
*Can Pull himself to a standing position! And balance with one hand away, twist around, and step his feet.
*Can climb up stairs!
*Has 6 teeth, and LOVES to use them. He puts everything into his mouth and tugs on it! This has become a slight problem when eating because he will bite off the end of hard breadsticks and accidentally start to gag on it :( But he is really good at gagging, at least! There are little bite marks all over his crib slats, too.
*Eats 3 meals and 1 snack a day and LOVES to eat. I make all of his food, but he also gets bits of anything we are eating. This means we can FINALLY eat dinner as a family in peace!
*Can use his fingers and thumb to pick up cheerios and other small foods and get them in his mouth every time! He has become a very quick eater :)
 *His hair is getting long and stringy. It sticks up in the back and parts to the side. He looks so grown up!
*Still loves his music table, but will go for an adult item over a toy any day. His favorites are my phone, camera, other electornics, cords, and basically anything else he shouldn't be playing with. We try to interest him in toys, especially toys that move, but he couldn't care less!
*Puts his head on my shoulder when he's sleepy and ends up giving me "love bites". I love it!

These photos haven't been edited. His eyes are such a solid blue that they are almost lavender! 

Things are really changing around here now that Whit is mobile. Luckily we don't have much to babyproof around the house, but he does seem to find the one cord corner pretty frequently, or get stuck under the dining room table! He still has clingy moments and will follow us as we move around the house, but he is also much happier to play by himself because he can scatter to new areas when he gets bored. We have so much fun together! He loves going for walks and playing at the playground, but we are starting to realize how much trouble this in-between stage can be, too. We can't just set him down if we need to run and grab something- he doesn't sit still anymore! This makes it a little harder to take him on adventures, but luckily as he gets older he becomes more and more interested in the world around him.

Standing up and stepping his feet:

Climbing stairs at our playground:

Ben was home for lunch during a portion of our photo shoot so he got some cute pictures of us when Whit was getting sleepy. I'm so glad! Such a rare moment caught on camera!

I was pretty outspoken about wanting my baby to remain a baby for as long as possible, but it's true that each new phase is better than the last. We have so much fun with him now! I am actually looking forward to all the things we will be able to do together when is a true-blue walker!

But I hope he always lays his head on my shoulder when he's sleepy :) 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Greensboro Collegiate Biscuitville Run!

Two weeks ago Ben casually mentioned an unusual invitation he'd received. It was to join a team of colleagues to compete in a 4-member relay sponsored by a favorite local chain restaurant, Biscuitville. Each member was to race through one biscuit-related relay, run .7 miles around a few city blocks, finish with a pass through a flour shower, then pass a mini rolling pin to the next team member.

My immediate reaction was YOU. MUST. DO THAT!

Because I love the opportunity to photograph him looking so hilarious.

And this didn't disappoint!

The Avery Dennison team 

All 4 members of each competing team stayed at the race beginning until their team name was called to begin and a member passed the rolling pin. 

Avery Dennison was called second so Ben (relay #1) set off to be #1! He not only immediately boxed out the competitor called with him but also overtook one of the original 2 called minutes before him! 

Relay #1: Sweet Tea Tumble

I love this picture of Ben (notice the shadow) running through the flour shower: 

That other guy didn't have a chance when Ben saw they'd have to run up to and climb over a wall to slide into the sweet tea while holding a lemon in their mouths. Ben + climbing = FAST! No matter how many lemon slices he's chewing. 

Passing the rolling pin to the next team member while they all waited at the starting line: 
(Side note: I was waiting at the next relay with a friend and our babies, but Ben ran through his .7 mile loop so quickly that I had to sprint to run ahead of him to get pictures of him flying through the flour shower and to keep up as he passed the rolling pin.... 
I was exhausted. No marathons, races, or relays for me!)

Relay #2: Run through pancake batter tires while carrying a piggy. 

Since Tiesha was one of the first racers at this relay the volunteers still weren't really sure how to advise her. This moment was pretty funny, she finished the tires and was ready to run her loop and said to the nearest volunteer, "Uh, can I give this to you...?" 

Relay #3: Buttermilk Slip 'n Slide

The buttermilk slip 'n slide was my favorite! Volunteers had huge batches of buttermilk in buckets they would throw on the racers as they jumped on the balloon thingy. The racers were so enthusiastic and so grossed out at the same time, and the volunteers loved dousing them! It was AWESOME. 

Relay #4: Jam crawl! 

I actually missed seeing Beth do the jam crawl (total bummer, it seemed awesome), but Ben was standing ready and got some good pictures with my phone! Yay for modern technology! Annnnnnnd there were a ton of racers crowding her when I tried to catch her getting through the flour shower so I had her re-play the moment for better pictures afterward. Soooooooo I didn't take the first pictures and the second are fake. Judge me. 

And the Avery Dennison team after the relay!

 Aren't they a glorious mess?

A good friend of ours from church, Seth, was racing with a team from his office so his wife, Alta, and I hung out (with our matching Canon 60D cameras!) to take pictures from different angles of our husbands. It was great to have a friend there to keep an eye on Whit while I ran after the A/D team, and fun to commentate with someone about all the sillyness we were witnessing! She took the awesome pictures of Ben going through the sweet tea tumble, and I got these of Seth at the buttermilk slip 'n slide: 

Our friends!

Even Whit got in on the Biscuitville fun with one of the free breakfast biscuits they were distributing!

It was SO. MUCH. FUN.