Tuesday, December 29, 2009

...and a happy new year!

The three of us have had quite the spectacular Christmas, and based on the swirls I've been feeling in my tummy, I'd say Greer #4 has had a good time too. We kicked off our official holiday break Friday the 18th with a packing party with the Coxs. They sent us off in true Texas style with some Dublin DP and some Gorman Peanuts. A much appreciated snack for the upcoming family time. We left Waco around 10:00 on Saturday morning and made the trip to AR. Chaselyn is a good traveling baby, but she's not quite the baby she used to be and therefore no longer sleeps the entire way. She's a trooper though, and we ended up making it to Stanton's parents around 4:30. We played for a while and then it was time for dinner. My parents and aunt Rachel came up to join us and they all oooh-ed and aaaah-ed over the sweet baby until she was ready to go to bed. Oh yeah, they were happy to see us too.

Sunday we went to check out the mall while Stanton waited in line at the doctors office. He had another round of mouth sores and wanted to be sure he could have a healed mouth before the deliciousness of Christmas. We got a couple things, but mostly came up empty handed. That night, Leslie, Blake, and Taylor came down and had dinner. There was more oooh-ing and aaaah-ing and then some pool, ping-pong, and Mario Wii playing.

On Monday we left Chaselyn with Ducky and Crawdad and we went shopping all by ourselves. Which was entirely necessary seeing that we had about 85% of our Christmas shopping left to do. We had an easy time finding some prizes for Chaselyn, and had most of our list filled out by the time we made it back home.

Tuesday, we were all set up for some shopping in Fayetteville and then a basketball game. Right before we left, Stanton decided he would stay back and rest and catch up with us at the game. So, Debbie, Rachel, Chaselyn, and I piled into the car and went searching for some special hoggie prizes up in Fayetteville. We weren't too productive, but found some awesome gifts for the dirty Santa exchange at Grandma Schluterman's. Stanton ended up taking the toolbox with Home Depot gift card. I took a box with a bad breath detector and some mouth wash, gum, floss, and other breath freshening items. After the shopping we had a quick dinner at Foghorns with Leslie, Blake, and Taylor. It was super nice, and Blake even gave us tickets for the game. The game was not the best game ever played, but the hogs did end up winning in OT. And we got to meet up with Josh and Matthew. Chaselyn was again the little trooper staying out way past her bedtime.

Wednesday was Christmas prep day. We wrapped presents and made sure to check off the last couple of things from our list. We tried to get everything all straightened up so that we could just enjoy Christmas eve with no worries.

Christmas Eve was spent at the Greer's as usual. We had a lovely linner meal of boiled shrimp, corn, and new potatoes. Then we all got ready for the Christmas Eve service at First Baptist. Chaselyn was going crazy, and dancing and singing and jumping. Unfortunately some of that was done during solo performances. On the upside, she was fairly quiet, just wiggly. Overall she was very well behaved. When we got out of the service, it had started to sleet. We got home and Chaselyn started ripping into some presents. She got lots of fun toys, but I think her most favorite was her new brown-eyed baby doll.
Chaselyn quickly learned to pull the wrapping paper off and had a great time. After presents there was a tremendous surprise...SNOW! And lots of it. We quickly put on our coats and snapped a shot,

...but before too long it was time for Santa PJs and night night time.

After Chaselyn went to bed, the grown ups exchanged gifts. Stanton and I got some fantastic gifts. Stanton got some shelves for the garage, which he has been wanting so thatt we can organize, I got a Flip video camera, and we got a Blu-Ray player. And that's not all, but those are our favorites. We ended the night with some brownies made from the perfect brownie pan that we got Debbie for Christmas.

Christmas morning was just amazing. Chaselyn woke-up ready to go for round two. She looked out from upstairs at all the prizes that were there for her.

Mommy and Daddy got her a rocking chair, some sippy cups, some table top placemats, and a picture book to replace the one Santa brought her last year.

Santa brought her a wagon, with a shape sorter, some monkey PJs, a Razorback cheer shirt, a hippo bib, a snack cup, some socks, and her first Crayons. By the way, we found out our little girl is ALL girl based on her exuberant reactions to the 2 items of clothing she got, the immediate love of baby dolls, and her affinity for princess castles.

After present time and some breakfast, it was time to make a plan. There was lots of snow outside, and the roads seemed icy. Fortunately, the sun was shining, so the roads were getting better and better. We decided to have my dad come and pick us up just to be on the safe side. He's a more experienced ice driver, and he was already out in it anyway. (Not to mention in Stanton's effort to check the conditions he misplaced the keys to our truck somewhere outside.) So Dad and Heath came to the rescue. We loaded up most of our stuff and got the baby buckled in safely. (Bonus: Dad found our keys underneath another vehicle.)

After a not so bad trip to Charleston, we quickly played the unpack/repack game and headed out to Papa Wurst's house. We had some delicious steaks and Chaselyn got a great little ride on Princess car from Papa Wurst and Grandma Beth.

Next stop was Grandma Schluterman's. Unfortunately it seems we were having too much fun and pictures are not very abundant. But Chaselyn loved being the center of attention, and had a good time entertaining her second cousins. Chaselyn got several neat Little People toys, and Stanton and I cleaned up in the Dirty Santa exchange with some much needed new skillets and a hog serving dish.

Saturday we played with my family until the whole gang got there. Josh and family arrived in time for dinner and presents.
We got a good family photo while everyone was opening,

but otherwise, there seemed to be too much chaos for Chaselyn to really figure out what was going on (or maybe she was sick of ripping paper by this point). So she found a different way to enjoy her presents.

Chaselyn loved playing with cousin Madison in her pop up castle. It was so fun to see them all playing together.

Stanton and I were super excited about the Sears gift cards we got to buy a deep freezer. (I think that mkes us sound more grown up than I want to be.) We stayed up later than we should have, putting a puzzle together while Josh and Dad went fishing on the Wii.

Sunday morning brought more family time and play time for Chaselyn and Madison, while Matthew learned how to drive on the Wii Cars game. The rest of us took turns when we could and just had some quality time in between. My brothers and family left Sunday night.

Monday was spent resting and going to get our vehicle from the the Greers. Today, we rested some more and made a trip into town to do some exchanging and looking. We made no more purchases due to our inability to carry home the stuff we've already collected.

Tomorrow, I think we're going to make a trip up to see the niblings again and then Thursday we're going with Kimberly to look at some wedding dresses in Fayetteville. We still haven't made and exact plan on when we will be returning back to TX, but it will be sometime before the Razorback bowl game on the second.

I hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas! And in case you didn't get your card from us, go HERE to see the wonderful card designed by Leslie.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lucky 13

I don't know what's lucky about it, but Chaselyn is 13 months old now. And seeing as how I just wrote her one year update 2 weeks ago, I must say that not much has changed. In that time, she has fought off a bout of bronchitis, which meant extra Mommy time :) and extra time in the doctor's office. :(

Last night we discovered Chaselyn's affinity for a Capella singing. She was entranced by the singing and dancing on "Sing Off". We had never heard of it before, but it came on after "Wheel of Fortune", which Chaselyn likes due to the large amount of clapping throughout the show. She was just playing around and then she heard these people singing. She got up from her toys and walked right in front of the tv and stared, then danced a little. She then did something that I have never, ever seen her do unless she is feeling very shy or very sick, she came and sat with me...voluntarily. I loved every minute of it, and even got a pillow so she could rest her little head and still see the tv. You can see the toys strewn about in the background. That is the typical result of nighttime playtime with Chaselyn, but not last night.
We also discovered while trying to take pictures for our Christmas card that she will smile and be happy until she sees that flashing light for the timer, then she just stares blankly at it. And if you want her to stand near a tree, don't expect her to turn around, the pretties are on the tree, why should she look away? And then we found something even prettier for her to look at to look away from the tree...Chaselyn.
That's right, see that smile, that's because she is looking down at Daddy's camera which is currently displaying some beautiful pictures of her. After realizing the brilliance of her smile and increased patience with crazy picture taking parents, we snapped a few photos with my camera and used those as bait to get her to smile and look in the approximate correct direction so that Stanton could take a picture with his camera. So, the picture above is one of the bait pictures. And it worked quite nicely, but you'll have to wait until after we mail out Christmas cards to see the end result.

Other new tricks that are mostly amusing include a very apparent attempt to snap, but coming nowhere close to being successful, an improvement in dance skills, I think that she is now officially a better dancer than Stanton, and the ability to play peek-a-boo using her hands, a rag, or hiding behind a door or wall. Very fun.

Things Stanton and I still can't get enough of include her wide, open-mouth, drooly kisses, the way she looks for her Daddy all around the house in the morning, her cheesy smile for the camera, and her love of bathtime.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What blessings!

Today has turned out to be one of the most uplifting days I've had in a while. Though I haven't gotten much work accomplished, I have been built up through a collaborative effort of several friends.

I started out the day sending an email to a great friend, we'll call her Al. I desperately said "I'm super sleepy today, want to keep me awake? Or should I just crawl under my desk to go to sleep?" She asked about my birthday and throughout the day we covered topics from Christmas lights, to faulty ultrasounds, to getting "Knocked Up" (the movie), to students pleading for grade changes, to situations where all you can do is pray, to my apathy at work, to what I might want to do with my life. It was a full day for one conversation and one that I won't soon forget.

Somewhere in there, another friend Allison FB messaged me about when we'll know the gender of Baby Greer #2 (which won't be until after the new year). Our conversation then diverted into a series of seemingly random but somehow linked topics ranging from very personal topics to mostly inane and boring topics.

And amongst all that, I was also able to FB message an old friend and asked her about being a stay at home mom. She gave me perfect insight that some days she does wonder what the working world would be like, but she can't imagine not getting the hugs and smiles from her little ones. I just needed the opinion of someone who I know is a smart, motivated, and proactive person being able to just enjoy life through the eyes of her little girls.

Then I heard from another friend of mine who is not having a good day. She is trying to work so hard, but has come down with a cough and headache. If she takes medicine, she falls asleep and if she doesn't take the meds, she can't focus on the work. I was able to send some prayers her direction and had the privelege of actually getting to help her out with some little stuff from here at school. I know it wasn't much, but I just get such a boost by being able to help someone I love when they really need it.

All and all today was an excellent day! I am so grateful for the four women I mentioned here in my blog today. Some of them are here to encourage me daily and others I only talk to on rare occassions, but they all served a great purpose in my life today. And I thank each and every one of you. And to all you other wonderful people in my life. Thank you! I just feel overwhelmingly blessed by knowing the people who I know and having the love and support of so many.

Also, in case you haven't heard, I'm a much better communicator via writing. I have some of the best conversations with people through emails. Is that weird. I think in conversations, I just get paranoid that I'm going to say the wrong thing, but by typing, I can edit myself. This increases my comfort level. Although, I must say that I rarely take advantage of the editing abilities in writing. I'm just comforted to know if I try to write something ridiculous, I can erase it.

P.S. This is the second post of the day, don't miss the wonderful book recommendation on the previous post. It was suggested to me by one of the fabulous ladies mentioned in this post.

Touching Wonder

Let me introduce you to a fantastic book that really got my brain back on track in thinking what Christmas is really all about.

This book gives insight to what the people (not characters) in the real Christmas story felt as they learned about their roles and lived through the birth of our Lord and Savior. Each chapter starts out with a few verses from the Bible and then it has each of the people in the story give their perspective. It starts out with Elizabeth being blessed in her previously barren womb with John. And how when Mary came her womb lept. And the joy the two of them shared looking forward to the birth of these amazing children. But it also speaks of the reality of the whole situation. When you get to the actual birth of Christ, Joseph clearly explains that this was not the way he had planned his life to turn out. He was engaged to Mary, he was planning on having a family and raising them with a love, respect and adoration of God. And now he was responsible for raising The Son of God! And he goes on to assure us that the animals were not swaying to the beat of a nice Christmas tune as Jesus was born. It was a dirty and tumultuous entry into the world for the God amongst men. I was most touched by Mary's perspective. Being a new mom myself, I can't imagine the over-whelming sense of fear and doubt in her ability to raise this child. I mean every mom doubts herself, but Mary had to raise Jesus. Can you imagine?! But every time she encountered a trial she said "Let it be to me."

Now, I must interject here and make it very clear that the author specifically states in his prologue that he in no way claims to be God. His words are not infallible. However, he does state that there was much prayer and he feels that he was inspired to write the things he wrote. And I too realize this is an interpretation of what things Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the shepherds, etc. may have been feeling. But it just makes you think about the reality of what the true nativity must have looked like. I'm sure it didn't look much at all like the nice little representation we have up on our mantle.

So, if you're looking for a good read to bring you back to the reality of Christmas, I strongly recommend this book. I borrowed it from MA, and now I'm hoping to get my own copy so I can read it every year.

Here's the product description off Amazon:

"An instant classic that breathes new life into the familiar Nativity story

This lovely little book invites readers to rediscover both the strangeness and the delight of the Nativity story through a bold retelling of Luke 1-2. To Eugene Peterson's The Message Bible translation, John Blase adds his own storytelling voice, exploring the familiar events from multiple first-person viewpoints. What emerges is the intimate story of unlikely people--a frightened teenage girl, a worried carpenter, a collection of senior citizens, a disillusioned young shepherd--meeting up with the divine as they move toward the realization that the little one just born is the One. It's truly strange and wonderful, this retold story of Word made flesh, and it invites readers to react appropriately--with eyes opened wide in wonder, jaws dropped in amazement, and hearts rejoicing. The beautiful design and Amanda Jolman's lively line drawings make this book a fitting gift as well as a potential heirloom."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Every good and perfect gift is from above...James 1:17

So, you may have noticed the change in header on my page. There are so many reasons I chose this new theme for my blog.

For one, it's the holiday season. And I am not a good gift giver. I try so hard, but I struggle to try to find the perfect gift. And then I usually end up just getting something off the shelf that may work. So, I needed a gentle reminder that no matter how awesome of a gift I think I may have found, the best gifts are the ones from above.

In addition to my inability to wow people with gifts, I also wanted to put out the reminder of the real reason for the season. We celebrate the birth of our Savior. A small baby that would grow up to take away our sins by an ultimate sacrifice. We celebrate the beginning of the most perfect gift God has ever bestowed on us.

I chose this verse very purposefully. I used it in my vows to Stanton on our wedding day. I found a vinyl lettering kit that had this verse and it decorated the wall over Chaselyn's cradle. It is an important verse to me and our little family. And it sums up so much of our lives. We are where we are because of the gifts from above. (I mean really, left to my own devices do you think I would be a homeowner in TX?) And when I'm missing home back in AR, I go to this verse to remind me that I have been so blessed with so many gifts. Which includes the ability to go back home roughly every 1-2 months. And I don't have to look very far to see the wonderful blessings that he has bestowed on us since making the move to Waco. We have a home, good educations, good jobs, a precious baby girl, a wonderful church family, not to mention all the basics like food and clothes. And there is so much more.

And finally, the reason that pushed me over the edge to make the new banner was the need to update the title of my blog. You see, Chasing Chaselyn is so limited. It's exclusive to one precious baby. And our family is growing...soon...as in somewhere near May 16, 2010! That's right people,

We're pregnant!

We're super excited! And I've been waiting to write this blog for about 3 months now. But due to some good reasons compounded with some internal craziness, I'm just now getting the word out on the internets. You may remember a post I did a few months ago on my continuing milk saga. And how I was in tears about having to put Chaselyn on formula. But I knew that there was a silver lining. And it turns out that the silver lining is yet another one of the good and perfect gifts from above... another precious child to love!

We do not know the gender of Baby 2, and won't know until after Christmas sometime. (My doctor is moving the office and they aren't real sure how long that's going to take, so I couldn't even schedule the appointment.) But everything is going great. Baby and I are doing fine.

So there you have it. The official proclamation of yet another tremendous blessing for our family. Now that it's all out, I'll be keeping you updated on the situation there too. And here's the first bump picture. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chaselyn's talents and stats

Because I'm way behind, the last post, which I posted approximately 52.3 seconds ago, was super long and full of a lot of pics. But it doesn't at all grasp Chaselyn's first birthday. We are so grateful to have friends and family who support us and watch in awe along with us as our little girl grows.

She just went for her 1 year check up on Monday, so I'm not too far behind in that regard. She weighs a whopping 24.7 pounds and is 29.75 inches long! She is in the 90% for weight and 70% for height, which puts her in the 80% for weight to height ratio. Her head size is still off the charts, but her head growth seems to be leveling off. Seriously, she can already wear an adult size baseball cap on the smallest setting. I bought her a cute little beanie and the sales lady saw me looking in the kids sizes and said "we have infant sizes over here" but there was no chance Chaselyn's melon was going to fit into it.

I love her big head though. People jokingly say it's to hold all her brains, but I think they might be more right than they'll ever know. She is so smart! She can figure things out, a problem solver. And for a kid who has never seen anyone use a rotary telephone, she sure knew exactly what to do with her "Chatter Phone". She also likes to talk to people using misplaced cell phones, fan remotes, and sometimes a Wii-mote. But she knows that the TV, DVR, and stereo remotes are supposed to be pointed at the TV to work, they are not for chatting. And as part of her check-up, she got more shots. And apparently sometime between 9 months and 12 months she figured out that when she gets laid down on the edge of the bed in the doctor's office it means pain. She was crying before we even got her down there.

She is still an excellent eater. She'll eat pretty much anything you put in front of her, but to get her to eat the vegetables, they have to be put in front of her first before any meat, noodles, or fruit. She still loves meat stuffed ravioli and hot dogs. Her favorite veggie is now sweet potatoes and I've never seen her be picky with fruit of any kind.

Chaselyn is trying her hardest to become a talker. She'll mimic as best she can. She was even able to get out a couple "Thank you"s at her birthday party. She can definitely say Da-da and knows exactly what it means. She asks for him and she'll walk around the house trying to find him. It is one of the most heart warming sights to see. She can say Momma, but usually only cares to do so when I'm not around. But she makes the connection. She also says a form of ball and fish. She was trying to say box last night and it went something like "ba...........................................................sh". Like she was trying to make her mouth make the last consonant sound. She can "moo" and "woo". She still mostly points and makes sounds like she's asking a question, to which we respond "Yes, that is a _____."

We are just now starting her on cow's milk and weaning off the formula. It seems to be going well. The doctor said that the more we read to her and point to things and say the words she would be able to copy and within a few months she'll be able to point to things when we ask her. She can already find her nose and anyone's nose. She can also point to eyes, ears, hair and mouth, but doesn't quite match them up with the right words yet.

I can't believe you are one year old. On one hand it seems like I was just in the hospital a couple of weeks ago. On the other hand, it seems like there wasn't a time when you weren't here. You fill my heart with joy everyday, and I look forward to your hugs and kisses every morning and every night.
You are turning in to such and individual. You are a little person who has likes and dislikes. I am thankful that you have a laid back personality that generally goes along with whatever crazy schemes I cook up. You are a precious little girl and I can't wait to see you grow even more over the upcoming year.
I love you so much and I thank God every day, because God gave us you.

Our 1 year old baby girl!

Chaselyn turned 1 on November 16th! And what a marvelous series of celebrations we had!

We kicked things off with a gathering of all the important Wacoans on Sunday the 15th. We wanted to gather up all of those amazing people who waited along with us for her arrival a year earlier and expand to all those people who have shown Stanton and I love and support over the past year as we learn how to be a family. It was a fantastic gathering full of super-great people, tasty food, adorable children, and good times catching up with everyone.

And of course, the main event was Chaselyn's first cake experience. She did awesome! She seemed a little confused as to why everyone was singing and looking right at her. But she propped up her little plate to show off the goods like a good little model.

After the official hoopla was over, it was time to get down to business.

After some inspection (i.e. turning it upside down to make sure the bottom wasn't burned.), she got her first taste.

And from there, the delicious insanity ensued.

Mom, I dropped some on my bib.

Do I have anything on my face?

After the cupcake, she got some wonderful prizes including a coconut tree toy to share with Daddy.

And after all the wonderful people left it was just the family.

And then just a little stinker.

On her real birthday she got her big farm from Mommy and Daddy.

But never fear, the celebration wasn't finished. We celebrated with the whole family on Thanksgiving in AR. Her official party was slated for lunch on Thanksgiving day. All of the immediate family was there, and some of the extended family, including the great-grandparents. We did a farm theme, just like before, which mainly consisted of there being horses and other animals outside, farm toys strewn about, and animal cupcakes. We had the usual Thanksgiving meal complete with turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes.

Chaselyn topped off her meal with a turkey of the cupcake variety. She wasn't very fond of the candle or all the people staring at her.

But it didn't take her long to dig in. Licking the chocolate icing off a nutter butter is good for any one.

It didn't take her too long to finish off the icing and start in on the cake.

We love her so much.

After cake came the presents.

She specifically loved this picture frame.

And she got very good at pulling out the paper from the sacks.

Later in the evening, the whole Schluterman crew showed up. And I mean the whole Schluterman crew. It was the first time all the family had been together for a holiday in quite some time.
And if that's not enough, just click away to see the FB photo albums Party 1 and Party2.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A baby story

After months and months of anticipation, Stanton had one last hurdle to jump. He notoriously had stated that she could come any time after he got his thesis and another proposal submitted on November 15th. So the week prior he was working long nights, I found myself alone quite a bit. Which gave me time to focus on the upcoming adventures and to support him when I knew that in a few days I would need the favor returned. On Saturday, November 15th, he took a break from his busy schedule and we went to the Baylor football game. If I remember correctly, the Bears put a beat down on the Aggies on the last home game of the season. It was very nice. And as we sat at the top of the bleachers all I could think was that this would be our last football game with just us two (well, that and how absurd it was for me to be wearing shorts during a football game in November). After the game, Stantonio went back to work like a good little worker bee. I finished the day watching some tv and just doing what large pregnant women do. Everything seemed fine that evening until I did something I never thought I would do. During my nice hot shower that evening. I had this overwhelming thirst. And thats when I did it. I drank water from the showerhead. And mind you this is no ordinary water. This was Waco water. I typically don't even drink that icy cold unless there is some drastic situation. When Stanton came home late, at about 11 I told him the weirdness and finished quenching my thirst with a suitable glass of filtered water. My poor hubby was so tired, he went right to bed. And I followed, because I've always been a good sleeper and late in my pregnancy I was even beginning to accept reasonable bed times.

Then it happened at about 2 am. I woke up to a wet spot in my bed (by the way best tip ever - make sure there is a water proof mattress cover on your bed if you are pregnant). I went to the bathroom and I knew what was going on. My water had broke. But it wasn't like when people on tv have their waterbreak with a big gush and done. Mine was more of a water leak. I woke Stanton up (marginally) and said "My water broke." His response "What do we do?" I told him to go back to sleep and see if anything else happened. This may seem crazy, but our child birth instructor told us that once you check in to the hospital and your water is broken, they put you on a 24 hour clock. And they get that baby out in 24 hours. The instructor said that if your water breaks and you aren't feeling any contractions or anything, you can wait and try to rest up before the event. Stanton also said we had to call the parents. I thought that they could use the rest too, and really felt like my body had a ways to go before any of the exciting stuff. So with my very groggy husband back asleep, I did what seemed right. I watched some lifetime movies and infomercials as I drifted in between consciousness. To this day I still don't know how I was able to get any more rest. A true blessing from God. At about 7:30, Stanton came out and seemed really confused. I really think he might have thought that he had dreamed the whole thing. We talked a bit and called the parents. I knew my parents and the rest of my family were well on their way to church to surprise my Grandma Schluterman for her 80th birthday followed by a party. I really wanted them to go to that and then come as quickly as possible. Stanton's parents would be quick movers and pack up to make their way down ASAP. So we called and shared the news and then we took the morning slow. Stanton ate his breakfast, we made a couple calls to local friends and made sure someone could cover our Sunday school class.

We were eventually ready to make our way to the hospital. I had my comfy clothes on and entertainment out the wazoo. As soon as you check in, they strip you down and put all kinds of wires on you, to keep up with the baby and the mommy. Pretty quickly, they had me set up on with an IV just in case I needed or wanted drugs later. I was proud of myself for not passing out and have a photo to commemorate my accomplishment. However, the photo is suitable for my eyes only. The monitor kept showing that I was having these massive contractions, but I could barely feel a thing. I was thanking God for being so loving and helping me through this time in my life that had been so hard for so many other women. Then, the nurse figured out that the monitor wasn't really monitoring me too well. And then came the most uncomfortable part of the whole thing...and internal monitor. Yes, some of the stuff later was painful, but this was an all day long issue and just a bother. After they realized my contractions were not as strong as the external monitor had displayed, they decided to put me on some pitocin. This is a drug that tries to get things going more quickly. At this point I knew I had made the right decision in waiting to come to the hospital as soon as I knew what was going on. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Since it was Sunday, my doctor was not going to be able to deliver my baby. It was another doctor, thankfully another female doctor named Dr. Sawyer. I didn't really see her too much, but she seemed nice.

Stanton and I sat in the hospital delivery room talking about not much of anything. We had already talked about how exciting this day was going to be and all the changes that were about to happen for so long, we were just ready and hanging out. After a while, MA showed up. She was such a delight. She has a daughter who was 5 at the time. She is a fantastic mom, and it was nice to be able to talk about some serious things and some not so serious things on this very important day in our lives. I can't remember a specific time table, but at some point MA and Stanton went for some food down in the cafeteria. From what I hear, they had some good conversation and really came back ready to take care of business.

As the day progressed, so did my contractions. I am happy to report that I really didn't start feeling the contractions too much until early afternoon. That is, after the pitocin really started to kick in. I went through several rounds of contractions and I was doing ok. But as the contractions got harder, I couldn't deal with it. I so badly wanted to have an all natural child birth. I had prayed that I would have the strength to make it. But as things intensified, I started crying, not so much because of the pain, but because I knew I wasn't going to make it. Stanton reassured me that what was best was for me to do what seemed right, not go by some idea I had. And that was what we had said before. Hopefully I can make it all by myself, but I was willing to try some IV drugs (not an epidural) to take the edge off. As our child birth instructor put it, the IV drugs are like a good margarita, you still feel the pain, you just don't care so much. And that is pretty much how it went. Only just like a margarita, the other side effect was extreme drowsiness. In between contractions, I slept. At one point our LG friend Allison came in to show some support. After a contraction, I strained to roll over to say hello and thank her for coming, but I just couldn't make it. It was the weirdest thing. I could not force myself to stay awake. But as another contraction rolled around, I would roll onto my right side, where Stanton would be waiting. I would squeeze his hand through the pain, he would give me some encouraging words and then I would drift right back off to sleepy land.

I think things went about the same from about 3:30-6:30, with the exception of Stanton's exit to give some directions to his parents. I rolled over for one contraction and there was Allison, stepping up to the plate, there to hold my hand and encouraging me. Apparently, she was quite freaked out by the whole thing, but I will never forget it. Also, I apparently said a couple of random things thanks to my loopiness. I remember seeing a picture of a donkey over my bed. And I told whoever was in there that I was seeing a donkey, and I knew it didn't belong in there, but that is what I saw. Unbeknown to me I also told my audience that my dad needed to get some new lead ropes for the horses. To Allison's relief, my dad does actually have horses. I proceeded to say that I had never done this before, and apologized for not being kosher. Those drugs do some weird things.

Outside the room, the waiting room was full of friends and eventually family waiting for the arrival of the little one. All our LG friends were hanging out just chatting and staying for the long haul. The arrival of Stanton's parents to the waiting room added an additional level of nervousness and excitement. They were all just waiting patiently and passing the time with some good ol' Dr. Pepper and good friends.

Not too much longer, little Chaselyn was ready to make her appearance. With just a few pushes, and lots of emotion, our baby entered the world. The doctor quickly put her up on my belly. Tears streamed for the both of us. Stanton and I had our baby girl. The proud dad cut the umbilical cord and they gave our sweet angel the once over and a wipe down. She was just as healthy as she could be. Born at 6:59 pm on November 16th, 2008 weighing 8 lbs. 3 oz. and measuring 19.5 inches long. What an amazing feeling. Finally getting to see her wonderful face, and holding her in my arms.

After everything was cleaned up the waiting room piled in to the delivery room. Ducky and Crawdad came in first and were followed by the multitude of friends. Everyone was so kind. It was so incredible to know that all these people would help us look out for our child and care for her and love her. After a short visit, they took her away to do a more thorough inspection.

Before too long my parents and sister showed up, ready to see the baby. Papa quickly suited up and went to film Stanton giving Chaselyn her first bath. Through video and pictures, you can see how delicate he was being and how much he didn't want to hurt her. After all the inspections and a bath, she got to come to the room with me and everyone took a turn holding her. Before too long, visiting hours were over. So the grandparents left to go sort out some kind of sleeping arrangement in our apartment. Stanton and I spent the night in the room with our baby. Happy to get up at every little whimper.


Chaselyn's official party invitations

I know I have a lot of posting to do, but this one I can do quick and easy. Here's a link to the blog for our cousin Leslie who made Chaselyn's invitations for her birthday party in Arkansas.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prequel to - A baby story

Let's start at the beginning. As most of you know, Stanton and I started dating at the ripe old age of 15. We stuck together through different high schools, 10 o' clock curfews, college decisions, college dilemmas, and everything else that two people go through during that stage in life. I was focused on my education and so I set the rule that we would not be getting married until after we graduated. This rule was set up long before we really wanted to talk about marriage, because we both knew we were too young. So, as we went through our Freshman and Sophomore years, we were a happy dating couple. And that was enough for us. And even though we weren't even 20 yet, we had been together for quite a long time and some inquiring minds had the nerve to ask us when we were going to get married. Our response - were not ready for that, we'll see where our paths our leading later. Though we fully intended to get married, it's easiest just to shut the questions down. Why? Because its a slippery slope.

And that my friends is the punch line and reason for this back story. For Stanton and I, big decisions have been on a slippery slope basis. We put things out of mind, out of question, until one day one of us has the nerve to say something like "You know, I was thinking that I would really like to start talking about ______(fill in really important life decision here) and if we are sure that is where we are headed." The other one of us grins and we know we are in for it. It has always been a slippery slope from giving in to bring up a discussion of a big jump in our lives to finding ourselves in the middle of the planning stages and eventually making the leap.

For our marriage, it went something like this-Are we going to get married? Yes, but we were going to finish school, so the summer after we graduated would work. OK then, how long do we want to be engaged? Well, it seems logical that if we've decided that 'we're going to be married, then it makes sense to make a public announcement and if that means a long engagement, then so be it. OK, sounds good. Well get engaged and be married the summer after we graduate. Fast forward a little, so why are we waiting to get married, if we know we are supposed to be together? Principles. Whose principles? That would be my principles. Why is this one of my principles? Because I said so. Why? I dont know, why. Maybe we could get married before we graduate. Mom, Dad we want to get married this summer, between our Junior and Senior years. Done! And that was not a single conversation, but it progressed fairly quickly.

Other decisions made along similar lines - the decision to get a masters degree, the decision to pack up everything and move to Waco to pursue a Ph.D. and a Masters for Stanton, and the point of this blog post, to have a baby.

Now, for the real story. When you get married, you become THE target for the baby question about 2.6 days after you return from your honeymoon. (This previous statement is being generous to some Nosey Nellys who ask the question before you even attempt to walk down the aisle or even worse, assume that since you decided not to have a long engagement it must mean that the baby thing is already underway. But I digress) And as with any inappropriate pry into your personal life, the most effective tactic is aversion. "Were not sure we want kids at all.""Babies? Seriously, you think we want to become responsible adults?" "We really want to establish our careers before we even think of having a baby." (There might be some truth in that last one.) When you get married at the age of 21 to the guy you've been with since you were 15, I think the fans are flamed that much more. At least I hope for the sake of all happily married couples without children it was worse for me. Maybe it is that bad for everyone. My favorite comment regarding the baby topic was my dad's sentiments on my 25th birthday - "You know, when mom was your age she had 2 kids and another on the way." I love it, because my dad was never one to mention the baby thing ever before or ever again. It caught me totally off guard. Later when I told Stanton, he came back with the perfect response "You know I have 2 degrees and another on the way." (Jerk store!) I could have never actually said it, even if I would have thought of it, but it makes me smile to think about my dad saying that every time.

So anyway, Stanton and I were pretty good at the aversion tactics. And after a couple years people got the point that we weren't ready and they started to leave us alone. And we were doing fine and dandy, until I went to Stanton with my sheepish little voice and said I think its time to start thinking about a family. And his goofy little grin came right back and said me too. This happened around Christmas time of 2006. I had just finished my first real semester at Baylor, and had another year and a half of classes to go (i.e. through May of 2008) and then a dissertation to write. And he was in a similar situation in his program. So we thought about it and prayed about it even more and came to the conclusion that we should at least be finished with classes when the baby comes. That meant we shouldn't make any efforts until the end August of 2007.

We were excited about our decision, and it was something that only we knew. We didn't want to open the lid on the baby question. We had set a statute of plausible deniability. We also didn't want people (mainly our parents) to worry if we had problems conceiving or anything like that. If it became an issue, we would of course tell them, but telling people that something may happen in several months just leaves too much time to fret over everything. So, we waited patiently and enjoyed our time together more knowing that it could be our last summer as just a couple.

Then my family started planning a big trip to Disney World for the summer of 2008. The prime baby time. I have wanted to go to Disney a lot. And to get to go with my whole family now that were old enough to actually get along and enjoy spending time together seemed like a dream come true. So, we started rethinking. Maybe I should stay on the pills until late October, that way, I would possibly be very plump walking around Disney, but I would get to go and have a great family vacation. So we decided to switch up our plans to make room for Disney. Yes, I am that crazy. So August 2007 came and I asked one last time, if we were sure this is what we wanted to do. And it was, so I popped the pills like I had so many times before. That month was wretched. Notice how I said "we decided" to push back the plans. I became fully certain that God was really trying to teach me a lesson about following His will, not my plans. I felt horrible that whole month. I had cramps like I had never had. I had this persistent feeling of ickiness like I had done something horribly wrong. But I finished the month on the pills. As it came time to start my September pills, we had a re-evaluation of the situation. We prayed again. And decided that we needed to leave it all in Gods hands. He would provide. And if it was His will, we would lose the nearly $1000 we had spent on reserved plane tickets. And if it was His will, we would miss the Disney trip. And if it was His will, we would have a baby by mid-July. And so, that's when the decision was made, to get off the bc.

We went a couple of months with no results, and then I started filling my brain with ways to put the odds in our favor. And for about 2 months, I drove myself crazy trying to subscribe to all these tips. And then once again, I reminded myself that its all in His timing. Not mine. I deleted all those webpages I had marked. And I just prayed and prayed for a baby, whenever God decided it was time. The next month, things were a little different. I wont go into it all again, but you can read the amazing story of how we found out that we were pregnant here. Truly one of the most touching times in my life. After not being able to get away to go back to AR for Easter, we were making the trip 2 weeks later to let everyone know our exciting news.

Stanton's parents were the first to know. We got them a couple of books of prayers for grandparents. It took a little time to process, but then hugs all around. We told my parents and Rachel using some photos. I found a frame that held 5 wallet size pictures, 3 in the back, with two more sliding ones in front. I put pictures of the other two grandkids, a picture with me and my mom when I was a baby, and put a note in one saying that the space was reserved for Baby Greer coming in November 2008. Again lots of hugs and some tears. I also got my dad a picture of him and me on Mount Magazine taken over spring break, which we didn't know at the time had a hidden person in it. There was the tiniest little baby in my belly. We shared the news with my brothers and good friends at baseball the following day. Matthew's response was "What's his name?" He couldn't understand why HE didn't have a name.

The following months brought lots of excitement, lots of questions, lots of growing pains, and lots of joy. We planned out how to tell everyone in Waco. We told our Life Group just weeks after one of the other couples announced their pregnancy. I was getting ready to tell the department, but they had already gotten word from Stanton's advisor. But it was all great fun. We spent time talking about what we wanted the nursery to look like and finding just the right combination of items. We went to childbirth classes and learned about what we wanted our birth plan to be. We talked about how we would combine our efforts to be the best parental duo. We felt the kicks and rolls of the little one in my belly. We finally broke down and bought an actual couch (with reclining action) after I stopped being able to be comfortable in any way on the futon. We had showers full of wonderful people and gifts. And we prayed incessantly that the child would get the best features from each of us (most importantly, not my cankles, not Stanton's hairline, not Stanton's light sensitivity, not my weird elbows, and for my sake I hoped not Stanton's big head).

I'll have to cover the actual baby part later. I really want to get to the main event. But as I started writing, there was so much I wanted to be included. And this is such a good way for me to record things.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chaselyn's First Halloween

Chaselyn and I got in some good shopping time this morning/afternoon while Stanton went to the Baylor vs. Nebraska game. We ended up spending 4 hours in town and only bought lunch...so much for getting a jump start on the Christmas shopping. By the time Stanton got home, Chaselyn was well in to her afternoon nap. So we waited and then took a trip to a little pumpkin patch at a local church. And we caught all this cuteness...

Then we upgraded the costume in preparation for the Razorback game.

The first Trick or Treat-er was an experience. I got up and went for the candy, and Stanton went for Holly. Chaselyn wobbled up to the door to see what was going on. She tried to follow the cute little boy as he walked away and as I shut the door, she began crying and waving bye-bye. It nearly broke my heart. The next couple kids came and went with similar results. On about the fourth doorbell ring, I picked Chaselyn up and Stanton got the candy. Only a little whimper as the door closed. The next one just got a puckered face, and then for the rest of the night she was fine.
So, now we know, costumes of vampires and goblins, not scary. The little monsters walking away without Chaselyn saying goodbye - terrifying.

Friday, October 30, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

Thanks to a way back friend who I've been able to keep up with through blogging (her blog is hilarious, you should go!) I was tagged to list some of my favorite things. Unfortunately, I am not as cool and into new things as she is, but I figure my favorites may shed some light to my world as it is now. So here we go...

The rules: share five things you are obsessed with, and then pass the award on to five of the most fabulous blogs you read!

Numero Uno: Fall, Autumn, Harvest - however you put it, it actually exists to some degree in TX this year and it's about to make me go CRAZY!! Never before have I been one of those people who have their Christmas lights up before Halloween is even over. But this weather is playing tricks on my brain. I had to buy some fall decorations this year to satisfy my decorating desires. I am so excited about this holiday season! Since the weather has been cool and refreshing, not hot and oppressing as it usually is, I feel like we should already be packing up to go home for Thanksgiving.

Next: Esty.com - "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade" I haven't actually purchased anything, but I have spent hours...er...days browsing around. It's such a good place to find some very unique items, check it out. I'm thinking of some personalized bloomers for Chaselyn's first birthday.

me 3: BabyLegs - And no I'm not just talking about the cute little chubby stumps that extend down from Chaselyn's torso, I'm talking about these:

These are not my precious baby's legs, but I got Chaselyn some of these rainbow colored fuzzy ones. And I bought her a jean skirt this week to go with them. I figure they'll be great for fall when it's cool in the mornings but warmer inside and mid-day. I can't wait to see how they look on her. (Disclaimer - Though the website proposes that these can be worn by the whole family, I think these could be added as #11 on the previous post.)

FOUR! : Amazon wishlists. Did you know you can create a list on Amazon and add anything from anywhere on there. I made one for Chaselyn's 1st birthday and have just been adding things as they come to mind. Or after I see something in the store, I can go home find it and put it on there. And even if you don't send it to people like a registry for Christmas gifts, you can use it to keep up with things that you think about that you like, so when the inevitable question of "What would you like for Christmas/ birthday?" arises, you have a list ready to go.

funf: My pocket size camera. I demanded that I have a camera that was small enough to carry around in a purse and preferrably in my pocket before Chaselyn was born. And I am glad that I did. You never know what kind of craziness kids are going to get into, or when there's just something that you want to have a record of. I have a TERRIBLE memory, and Stanton has the uncanny ability to recall what people were eating and decorations on the wall for seemingly obscure times in his life. For years, we relied on a digital camera that he had that rarely worked right and sucked the life out of batteries in no time. Every time there were issues, I got so frustrated, but to him it wasn't a big deal. Finally after about 5 years of marriage I was able to convey my dependency on pictures to hold my memories. Since then we got a nice fancy camera that he uses, and my little pocket camera that doesn't take as high quality pictures, but has been the source of many great joys. I love to be able to whip it out and catch candid shots of our family. For instance, who thinks of taking a camera to the grocery store? I don't, but I'm glad I did, because I was able to catch the joy on Chaselyn's face in her first shopping cart ride.

Ooooh, bonus round: I love the movie Elf, and once I hear "Jovie" sing "Baby it's cold outside", you probably don't want to be near me until about halfway through January. I was recently told that the actress who plays Jovie, Zooey Deschanel put out a new album as part of a duet called She & Him. She has a smooth and beautiful voice. I was very much enjoying my Pandora station based on her until I ran out of my 40 hours for this month (that would be a #1 on a least favorite things list).

So that's it. Yes, it's essentially all related back to my baby, but she's my #1 obsession right now. And besides I've never been a person to set major trends. Also, this list is a kind of a fad obsession to me. My regular obsessions include: God, family, Arkansas, Razorback sports, Tigger, Disney World, etc.

Oops almost forgot! I've got to tag people. Now I feel very limited on people to suggest, because I don't know who reads my blog. And most of the people who I do know who read it, do not blog themselves. So... first on the list is:

1) Anyone who has been thinking about starting a blog, but doesn't really know what to write about. Start here, and let me know how it goes.

2) Allison at Hammond Happenings (she's a great story teller, but honestly it's probably better if you can hear her voice and imagine her full body expressions as you read along)

3) Christi at Him and Her and Little Him (adorable pictures and honest revelations)

4) Charree at Held in His Hands (busy with a newborn, but wonderful recipes and inspiring perspectives on the beauty all around us)

5) Rachel at Rachel's Ramblings (that's right Goober, I'm calling you out...get back into blogging!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cute for baby, not for grown-ups

Chaselyn wore some adorable little black Mooshu squeaker shoes to church on Sunday, which spurred the FB status update of a friend to say "I feel like some friends of mine's 11 month old baby, my shoes squeak too much!" on a very rainy Monday. This made me literally laugh out loud (and no, I don't use the 3 letter abbreviation, because I used to, and then found that maybe I lead people to think that they were way funnier than they actually were, and stopped. Anyway, I digress...)! It then turned into a comment of the many things that are cute for babies and little ones (i.e. squeaky shoes), that are not so cute on adults. So, here's the list that I've come up with so far:

1) Fat, juicy thigh rolls. I don't know the defining age, but at some point, you are apparently supposed to lose your "baby fat".

2) Along the same lines, Allison
suggests that "a pot belly with a cute little bikini" - Totally adorable on a baby. Not so much for us older folks.

3) Dancing by slightly bending one's legs and swinging a single arm like a drunk Irishman.

4) Falling asleep in any random position at any random time and place. Some favorites that I've seen through various friends - shopping carts, super-loud sporting events, at the table (face down in mashed potatos of course), and curled up in some tiny cabinet or tiny space in a room.

5) Responding to questions with a raspberry or a vigorous shake of the head. (I think the cuteness on this one wears off pretty quick once they know what they are doing.)

6) Shouting things like "I went potty!" or a personal favorite "I peed on a leaf!"

7) Hiding bashfully behind another person when you're not sure about the people around you.

8) The honest statements about so many things. "What's wrong with her hair?", "Why is Daddy so hairy?", or "Why does she have a booger on her back?" (The last one was said by a ~4 year old girl at Target after seeing a mole on my back.)

9) Walking around seemingly aimlessly babbling nonsense. I think they put adults in the home for that.

10) Large open mouthed drooly kisses. Makes my heart happy when Chaselyn does it, but I think I'd have to decline from anyone else.

So that's my list. I know there's so much more. It's such a double standard. Sometimes for good reason, and sometimes due to the loss of innocence as we grow up. One thing is for sure, it's much harder to pull off cute when you're older. And yet how many babies have you seen that don't just make you want to pinch their little cheeks cause they're so darn adorable?

11month update continued

I realized I left out A LOT of stuff from Chaselyn's 11 month report. I know you can't imagine such an atrocity, but apparently there's this disease called "mom brain" in which mothers lose half their brains when a child is born. Some details were left out unintentionally, but others were just taken for granted. So, here we go.

Stanton's Aunt Shannon and Uncle David along with cousins Kelsey and Eric came for a short visit. It was Chaselyn's first time meeting that part of the family. We went to the Baylor game and cooked out back home. We had a great time.

Chaselyn also experienced her first live Razorback football game! It was a very momentous occassion. I've only selected a few pics here, look on FB for a more complete package of pics.

Leaving for the game, a great family photo.

Chaselyn was concerned about the Hoggies for a while.

But once she was sure they had it under control, she was able to relax.
After she slept for the last part of the first half, through half-time and partially through the 3rd quarter, with yelling, hog calling, jumping, and loud band music, I whispered to her that she was missing the game and she woke up ready to finish it out. And good thing that she did, the Hogs had a terrible 3rd quarter, but she helped them get back in line.

We got to sit with the niblings and Aunt Heather and Uncle Josh for the last part of the game. Matthew got a glove from one of the Razorback players after the game, thus the ginormous hand. Madison shared her pom-poms with Chaselyn too. Very sweet. Post game we went to visit with Uncle Heath, Aunt Rachel, Kimberly, Jim, Kyle and the rest of the family. Good times, but unfortunately no photos. When we got back to Stanton's parent's house, Chaselyn was ready to go some more. She loved riding this little Tigger rocker...
and taking a stroll around the house in her stroller.
On Sunday, we packed up and went to Papa's farm to take the farm pictures. Then we loaded up with Granny and headed back to Waco. Granny took care of Chaselyn Monday-Thursday while we worked and Papa was in Colorado hunting. She left Friday morning on Chaselyn's 11 month birthday. We were all mostly spoiled by the end of the week.
Chaselyn also got some fish. She loves them. She goes over to the tank and just looks at them. Sometimes she talks to them, sometimes she tries to hit them, but she is just fascinated. We (meaning me) decided to name them "Ooh", "Aah", and "Coconut" after the monkeys on playhouse Disney.
Chaselyn weighed a whopping 23.8 lbs a week after her 11 month birthday. She also likes to do a little dance she bends her legs and sometimes swings her right arm side to side. She loves to clap. She'll clap for just about anything. This is one of the few tricks she does most of the time on command. The dancing and clapping have made a very sweet and funny addition to our Sunday morning worship time. She bounces and claps and sometimes sings along.

She still likes to play with remote controls, and is not at all fooled by the toy one we got for her. Her remote makes fun noises and stuff and seems to be an enjoyable toy, but she absolutely does not think it of the equivalent of the ones we have.

She likes to try to repeat faces and noises that we make. She makes a smacking sound and for a while she would actually clack her tongue. She seems very interested in her tongue and figuring out how it works inside and outside her mouth. And she likes to shake her head in a no motion, but she doesn't yet know that it means no. It's just funny for now. But you can ask her all sorts of questions and she'll answer with a head shake no, so that has been fun. She's starting to exhibit some signs of stranger anxiety but mainly only when there's a bunch of people around that she doesn't quite recognize. She waves bye-bye, but usually after people are out the door.

Chaselyn is just a super fun bundle of joy! And I am thankful for every little moment that I get to see one of those magical little smiles. The hugs she gives her Daddy and me after a long day at work just melt away the stresses of the day. I can't imagine a more happy little girl. She is truly amazing!