Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baby's First Christmas

What an exciting first Christmas for Baby Hank! A week filled with firsts-first road trip, first time visiting extended family, first Christmas, first trip to Waffle House, and first snowstorm!

We rented a van, packed it to the gills with presents and baby gear and ventured out into an impending ice/snow event to travel 700+ miles to Chicago to visit all of Kim's extended family. Hank marks the beginning of the 4th generation in the family and he was excitedly welcomed by his great grandma, great aunts and uncles, and second cousins. I was very nervous about the 12 hour car ride with a 7week old, but Hank was a trooper and impressed us all. Johnny and I are glad to see what a good traveler he is, since we love to hit the road!

We arrived in Chicago just as the snow was starting to fall and it continued on and off for the next 3 days. We had a true white Christmas, and Johnny was thrilled to take his son out for his first walk in the snow. Hank had a wonderful week being spoiled by his cousins and aunts/uncles. He loved being rocked by great grandma Reba, playing with all his new toys from Santa (I have no idea where everything is going to go at home), looking at all the lights on the Christmas trees, and being passed around from lap to lap (which I loved as it gave me and my back a break from carrying the little guy around). He loved the family get-togethers, and just sat back and took it all the action in as his cousins ran around and opened presents!

It was a wonderful first Christmas with Hank! It is hard to believe that next year he will be walking, talking, and opening his own presents!

Our first Christmas as a family of 3!
Getting ready to go for a walk in the snow with Dad!
One of my new favorite toys!
Opening presents
4 generations!
Waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Dad's finger is his favorite!
Hank's new activity gym! He goes crazy in it!
Rocking with great grandma
Hank loved meeting all his great aunts/uncles, and cousins!
Making faces at Dad in the backseat
Diaper changes in the car!

Sweet Smiles

There is nothing sweeter in the world than seeing your baby's face light up with a real smile at you for the first time. Hank had his first few true smiles at about 6 weeks. Over the past 2 weeks the smiles just get bigger and more frequent, and a few giggles are starting to come out! I'm having a hard time catching the smiles on camera, but here are a few pictures at 7 weeks...

5 Week Stats

Here's how Hank sized up at his 1month check up...

Weight: 12 lbs 90th percentile
Length: 23 inches 65th percentile
Head: 15.8 inches 82nd percentile

Here's where he was when he was born...

Weight: 8 lbs 14 oz
Length: 22 inches
Head: 13 1/2 inches

We've got a big boy on our hands! I get the feeling he'll be eating us out of house and home someday...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy 1 Month Birthday Baby Hank!

It is hard to believe that Hank is already 1 month old-people really aren't lying when they say "they grow up so fast!". We are slowly establishing a routine at home-I'm anxiously waiting for that first true smile at me! Hank is a very alert baby, and is awake a good part of the day which surprised me because everyone told me he would just sleep through the first few months-not my boy! If there are people around or something going on, he wants to be a part of it.

Of course the therapist in me is always on the look out for the next developmental milestone! He has just started really looking at me in the eyes and focusing on objects. He has started visually tracking objects. He is very strong and loves to "stand up" on our laps, and already has amazing head control. He will push up on his hands and can hold his head up turning it from side to side. He is also rolling from side to side. And best of all, he's just started making "oos" and "ahhs" making his speech therapist mama proud. It is amazing how much he has changed in just 4 short weeks.

So in honor of his first month of life, I'll give a run-down of his current likes/dislikes:

1. Eating!
2. Being carried in his sling on mommy while I do housework (or just being carried by mommy in general)
3. Looking out the window next to his changing table at the leaves and trees.
4. Listening to mom sing songs-our current favorites (or at least what will keep him from fussing) Wheels on the Bus, Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, Itsy Bitsy Spider
5. Looking in the mirror at himself
6. Walks in his stroller (they put him right to sleep)
7. After 2 weeks of screaming during bathtime, he now only cries when I take him out of the tub!!
8. The sound of the hair dryer-puts him to sleep in no time!
9. Practicing holding his head up-he's really strong already!
10. Stretching. He will stretch for a good 10 minutes everytime he wakes up.

1. Being left in his bouncy seat too long! He will let you know when he's had enough
2. The hiccups (unfortunately he has them all the time)
3. When he is not the center of attention
4. Waking up-he has a hard time waking up and is grouchiest after a long nap!
5. His pacifier-sometimes he's a fan, but not typically. Although, I've caught him with his thumb in his mouth a few times this week

We go to the doctor next week for his 1 month check-up! I can't wait to see how much he's grown, I know my arms and back are killing me from carrying this pudgy boy around all day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A chip off the old block?

So we get lots of "who do you think Hank looks like?"....at this point I think it is too soon to tell, I think he has features from both of us, but I don't see the spitting image of either of us yet. But here's some pictures of us at the same age, so you can judge for yourself!

Baby Hank at 3 weeks....

Kim as a baby....

Johnny as a baby....

Happy 3 week birthday!

It is hard to believe that Hank is already 3 weeks old! He has changed so much already. I look back at pictures of him in the hospital and can't believe how big he is already. At his 2 week appointment he was up to 9 lbs 4 oz which is up a whole pound from where he was when we left the hospital, and in just 10 days! My boy loves to eat! He's in the 65th percentile for both height and weight, and healthy as can be. He is such a strong boy already. He is dying to hold his head up on his own, and works at it all the time.

We are slowly adjusting to our "new normal" now that we are a family of 3. I still have many moments when I just can't believe that Hank is here and is here to stay! Everyone keeps asking about how the cats are adjusting to the newest member of the family. We were pretty nervous about their reaction, and fully expected to have jealousy issues (aka peeing all over the house) ; however, they have been great! Their behavior has actually improved since Hank's arrival, no more fighting, peeing, staying out after dark etc. Hopefully, this behavior continues!

Hank and I are slowly trying to establish some kind of routine during our days (and nights). He eats about every 3 hours, so I'm up typically twice at night. I think I'm adjusting to the new sleep schedule, as I am not as tired during the day as I was just a week ago. While Hank has his fussy moments, overall he is a mellow, happy baby. When he's not eating, sleeping, pooping (which is 97% of the time) we play on the floor, have tummy time, sing songs, read books, go for walks in the park, and have even gone on a few errands together. The first time we left the house seemed daunting and overwhelming, but each trip out gets a little easier. I'm not going to lie-being a mother is hands-down the most challenging thing I've ever done, but with hard work comes great rewards. When I look at Hank's sweet face, it makes everything worthwhile.

Here are some pictures of the past few weeks.....

Out in the park watching Dad play disc golf

Playtime on the floor when Daddy gets home from work
We are learning to love bathtime!
He's such a long boy! He loves to roll from one side to the other...
Naptime with mommy is our favorite time!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Welcome Baby Hank!

I've been meaning to update about Hank's arrival for a few days now, but as many of you know being a new mommy is a very time consuming job!Hank arrived right on time with 30 minutes to spare on November 2nd via c-section after a long 24 hours in labor. The birth plan was out the window in the first 10 minutes! My water broke the night before which meant thatI had to be admitted to the hospital even though labor had not started yet. The whole next day was long as I had frequent, regular contractions but was progressing very, very slowly. The nurses had me up walking the halls all afternoon trying to move the baby down, and get things going. As the day went on the pain was getting more and more intense-I had a plan not to get the epidural
until 5 cm dialated; however after 24 hours in labor I never made it there. About 5:00 I got the epidural, and it was amazing!I highly recommend it! By 10:00 that night, I was still not progressing very quickly and the baby was starting to show signs of distress. The call was made by my midwife to do the c-section.

It's funny because the one thing I wanted to avoid was the c-section, but when the time came to make the decision it was the easiest decision of my life. I was worried about the baby, and I was exhausted-it was time. The whole surgery was a blur, and the full body epidural was the most bizarre experience of my life, but the one thing that kept me going through it all was that I only had moments until I knew if the baby I was carrying for 10 months was a boy or a girl! The suspense was incredible, and they let Johnny make the call as soon as the baby was pulled out of my belly! That moment when he yelled "it's a boy!!!" is one I will never forget.

Henry James Ritger aka Hank arrived at 11:22 pm on November 2nd, 2009-his due date. He weighed 8 lbs 14 oz and was 22 inches long. He had dirty blond hair that sometimes looks a little red depending on the light and dark dark blue/grey eyes. He is perfect! We spent the next 3 days in the hospital, Northside was wonderful, they call it a baby factory for a reason-they really know their stuff! I have had a very speedy recovery from the c-section. I was up and out of bed the next day, and off pain medication in 2 days. By the time I got home I was feeling good with hardly any pain. I still have to follow doctor's orders for the first 2 weeks with no driving, lots of resting and time off my feet which has been challenging for me.

So, Hank has been home about a week now and we are working on getting into a routine with each other. Daddy is back at work this week, so we're on our own. He is a very mellow baby, hardly ever cries, and with a little work has taken to breast feeding like a champ. He sleeps in about 3-4 hour stretches right now, and I have to get up about once a night to feed him. I am pretty exhausted, but we take a nap together in the afternoons and that seems to help. We aren't really sure who he looks like yet, some people say he looks like mom and others say dad. I think it will be a while before we can really tell. We are so lucky to have such a happy and healthy baby!

Welcome to the family Baby Hank! Here's a few pictures of his first week!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Patience is a Virtue

I figured I'd post an update since we get about 10-15 inquiries a day as to whether or not Baby Ritger has joined us in the world! Tomorrow, November 2nd, is my official due date so either this baby is going to arrive promptly on time or will unfortunately be "tardy for the party" as we say in Atlanta.

At my last doctor's appointment last week there was no change from the previous 5 weeks. They have predicted I will be birthing a small toddler-estimates at this point are 8 1/2 to 9 lbs. Given the large nature of the baby, my small frame, and my desire to avoid and c-section if at all possible they are planning to set an induction for this week once the baby is officially "overdue" (isn't that a library term?). I go back Tuesday morning, assuming the baby hasn't decided to join us by then, and will have a stress test done and possibly an ultrasound to determine the exact size of the baby, and if there is any fetal distress given the cramped nature of his or her living environment. Based on all that, an induction will be put on the calendar-it could be that they will admit me Tuesday and get things going, or will let me wait until the end of the week to see if anything happens on its own. They assured me they will not let me go beyond 41 weeks.

So, here we are...I ate the eggplant parmigiana that was "guaranteed" to put me into labor within 48 hours-check it out here http://www.scalinis.com/Bambino.htm. No such luck. I've tried to be on my feet as much as possible. We had a beautiful fall day here finally, and we went for a long walk in Piedmont Park-forgetting it was Pride weekend, but that always makes for fantastic people watching. Tomorrow is the full moon, so maybe thats the ticket!

I'm officially on maternity leave now, and not really sure what to do with myself. Luckily, I am a very patient person and while I am more than ready to meet Baby Ritger, I also believe that all great things in life are worth waiting for...right?

A few pictures from our walk in the park today...I like to call them "Kim at max capacity".
40 weeks pregnant

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finally a nursery!

I thought I'd post a few pictures of the nursery now that it is ready for baby. We still have details left in the room-the trim and chair rail need to be put up, the closet door, and door frames need to be finished. I plan to hang some more art on the walls (including the customary baby's name over the crib once it has been determined!), and I'm still hunting for that perfect rug for the floor. However, it is now a room that we can bring baby home to and with a week to spare! Johnny has moved on to the bathroom and is getting ready to tile the floor. I've spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on everything, and I think we can officially say that we're ready!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yes, I am still pregnant

Everyday I walk into work and I am greeted with a chorus of "you're still here!". There isn't anywhere I can go at this point where I can get away from talking about how enormous my belly has become. One of my favorite little ones at work said to me today, "WOW Miss Kim your belly is huge, it looks like you've been eating too many hamburgers!" My enormity doesn't even get past the 3 year olds anymore.

Everyone keeps asking when I am going to stop working, and honestly I plan to work as long as I can. Right now I'm scheduled to go out next Thursday, and I think all of my co-workers will breathe a sigh of relief that they will not be responsible for getting me to the hospital. I still feel surprisingly good, very tired, but that's about it. I'm more excited than anything-like a kid on Christmas Eve. I cannot wait to meet the baby and find out boy or girl! Talk about the best surprise ever! Johnny informed me tonight that my official due date, November 2nd, happens to be the full moon. Maybe just like his or her mama, baby will be right on time! I go tomorrow for my weekly check-up at the doctor-hopefully I'll get some news that things are moving along!

The nursery has finally become a nursery. The hardwoods went in this weekend, the curtains up, and the furniture is in the process of being moved in. All that is left in the nursery is the trim work that Johnny is sanding and painting right now! It has all come together perfectly, and I couldn't be any happier with the room!

38 weeks pregnant, just when you think you can't get any bigger...

The floors in progress....
Ta-da! We have walls, floors, and curtains (Thank you Grandma Kathy for the handmade valances!)

Johnny is in charge of communications once this show gets on the road...so hopefully you'll be hearing from him sooner rather than later!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Marriage and Mud

Sorry for the delay in posts! September flew by, and here we are less than a month from Baby Ritger's arrival! Our big event recently was Susie (Johnny's sister) and Kevin's wedding up at Unicoi Lodge in Helen, Ga. It was a fantastic event that went off without a snag-minus the pouring rain on the day of the wedding, but that didn't seem to bother anyone. It was a great family reunion for the Ritger family and we had a great time seeing everyone and catching up on all the exciting events in everyone's lives! Here are a few pictures of the day....

The bride and groom looking fabulous

The bridesmaids-yes we wore white and the bride wore green-and yes I am now officially "sister-in-law of the century" for wearing a short white dress when I was 9 months pregnant. Can you say marshmallow?

The family portrait
Other than Susie's wedding, the nursery project has been full steam ahead! Johnny has worked every free second he has-minus the time out to get a tetanus shot after stepping on a nail :) We now have 4 walls in the nursery and spent the weekend mudding the drywall! Even I got involved in this one since it requires no heavy lifting, power tools, or inhaling toxic chemicals. We should be priming and painting by the end of the week, and putting down the hardwoods this weekend. Then we move in the furniture, and we'll have our baby a nursery!! We're almost there!

So here I am at 36 weeks, and no I am not having twins despite the number of comments I get suggesting that maybe there are two babies in there. It is also interesting to note that up until the past few weeks 99% of people looked at me and were convinced I was carrying a boy, now everyone looks at me and is convinced it is a girl, hmmmm. I now go to the doctor every week, and at my 36 week appointment I got the news that "the baby could come any time now". The baby is fully dropped and engaged in my pelvis and is ready to go! They guessed the baby was between 6 and 7 pounds already, and told me to expect an October baby! I've already got baby's first halloween costume picked out, so hopefully they are right! The last thing my midwife said to me was "I'll see you next week, if I don't see you in the hospital sooner! I immediately went home to pack my hospital bag and get the car seat installed in the car. We're almost there, and I get more excited everyday to meet Baby Ritger. I'm pretty much over being pregnant at this point, and would like my body and mobility back. It's funny how nature just gets you to a point where you'll do anything to not be pregnant anymore, and it kind of takes away all my fears about labor and delivery.

We're just hanging close to home, finishing up the nursery and anxiously waiting for those first labor pains to strike! We'll keep you posted!