Friday, March 27, 2009

Moo

WARNING: PERSONAL WOMANLY TALK FOLLOWS!


If there are any males who regularly read my blog (which I don't think there are), beware, I'm going to talk about some womanly things. I'm not saying you shouldn't read further for future reference, just prepare yourself.


OK, now that that is taken care of, I can continue. I have thought about this topic for a blog for a while, but I wasn't quite sure if I was bold enough to really open up about it yet. I've only been blogging for a couple weeks, so I haven't yet reached the "anything goes" mentality as far as sharing my personal thoughts. But, I do want to write about this stuff, because it's stuff I was too embarrassed to talk about face to face with anyone. So, I can avoid the redfacedness that I would have if I were to talk to you, by hiding behind the words on your screen now. What is this scandalous, personal topic? It's BOOBS ... well actually its really more about breastfeeding.



One of the most awkward changes that has come along with having a baby has been the whole milk production aspect. Every time I go to feed Chaselyn or pump while I'm at work, I'm totally amazed at what my body is doing. I actually produce milk...like a cow produces milk. It's very surreal and very weird, yet it feels like the most natural thing. I mean think about it, when you think of milk, do you not think of the a farmer in overalls and a straw hat sitting on that little stool with a bucket next to the big black and white cow? Obviously, that's what I think of, but now, I see the same picture, but think of that poor cows little teats. I also wonder if that cow has little embarrassing leaks when she hears a calf cry. Because to me, this is what breastfeeding has meant.


I have been very blessed, and do not have any chapped nipples or anything like that. In preparing to breastfeed, the books prepare you for the worst, and believe me, they come up with some scary situations, but better to know before you have the problem and feel all alone. Anyway my three biggest problems are 1) Chaselyn likes to look around and see what is going on while eating and 2) I have had a bra and breast pads on for 4 months straight with the exception of showers and 3) the planning and time dedication.




Concerning 1, any noise, motion or anything can make Chaselyn want to turn her head now. Which is great developmentally and we like to test her, but when it comes time for her to be suctioned on to one of the most sensitive parts of my body I really want her to be focused on the task at hand. And there has been more than one cross word yelled at Stanton when Chaselyn is slowly eating her way to a good nap and then he has the nerve to slam a cabinet door or throw another aluminum can into the recycling. Oh yeah, babies are born with the startle reflex, which again is very neat to see when she's not attached to me.








Now, as far as 2 goes, I will admit, most of this is probably my fault. I probably don't have to wear the breast pads EVERY day ALL day long, and while around the house, I could probably let the girls breathe a little. But while expressing milk does feel totally natural, randomly leaking milk is not natural at all. It's mainly just a big embarassing mess. I have forgotten my breastpads once while getting dressed for work. That resulted in me having a nice dark wet spot to highlight my right boob. I then substituted some TP in my bra for some containment, which then made me have lumpy mutated boobs. I hid in my office and didn't talk to many people that day. And God forbid I should ever forget to protect myself and go to the grocery store. A crying baby opens the flood gates almost every time.


With 3, I am more than happy to sacrifice for Chaselyn, but I do miss being able to go anywhere on a whim. Now everytime I even begin to entertain the idea of going somewhere, I have to think "She ate last at ____, and she ate about ____ ounces, so she's probably good for another ____ amount of time. I think it will take about _____ hours to go do _____, so I need to either take my Hooter Hider or pack a bottle. Is there somewhere to heat the bottle if I take that? Is there somewhere that I can discretely feed her if the bottle is a no go?" Oh it's exhausting. But on the plus side, when breastfeeding, you are always prepared if an unexpected hunger episode hits. You never leave your boobs at home, they're always there. In addition to planning, it takes time. And it's not something you can put off. I have to spend about 30 minutes 2 times a day while at work pumping. When I'm with Chaselyn it's usually 20 minutes per feeding, and this has to be done every 2-3 hours. Thats quite a bit of my time. I usually try to use that time to rest, but going back to 1, thats not always so easy. And, though she has a pretty regular eating schedule, you always have to be aware of it. Do we have time to play one more round of Wii tennis before she's hungry? Do I have time for a shower now? If I fix dinner now, will it be done in time for me to have time to eat it while its hot? If she's sleeping now, how quickly can I get to bed to optimize my sleep? She's pretty stable at sleeping for a 6 hour stint at night which is good, but oh how I long to sleep for a solid 10 hours like I used to do.


I have several friends who are preggers right now. I want you all to know that it is totally worth it. I'm sure you've seen all the lists of benefits from breastfeeding. And I can't imagine having it any other way. It does wear on you, but I'm sure using formula wears on you too. Aside from the health benefits, remember, you never have to worry about leaving food behind. As long as you're there with the baby, she'll have food. There is an indescribable bond that you make. I feel sorry for Stanton sometimes, because he can't comfort her like I can. I can give her food...and who isn't comforted by a nice warm meal? And the closeness spreads to more than just getting some food. Some of the more practical pluses: saved $$ on food, more entitlement to eat for two even after the baby is born (so maybe not so much $$ saved on food), an extended time of not worrying about your monthly womanly requirements, and your boobs generally get bigger, which most would consider a plus.




So I guess thats it. I'm really open to talk about this topic in a more personal setting. But I feel that most of my readers are women who will have to deal with this issue in the future, and I want you all to know that it is doable, but it does take commitment and discipline. But look at this face and tell me its not worth it...





Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cowboy X



My advisor DY is one of the most straight forward, no BS type of people I know. He's the kind of person that wears Baylor sweats to school everyday. He's very easy going, as long as you do what you're supposed to do (i.e. not be late for class, get your homework done, write your papers, etc.). Anyway, DY has referenced this "Cowboy X" cartoon many, many times. Watch it, and think of it in reference to pretty much any administration that you've ever encountered...

Things aren't going so great...we'll see if we can change it...YAY!! We made some tiny insignificant change!... And we'll live happily ever after, because we're not very smart.

Speaking of people in high places not being very smart, I can't rob you of this one. I give you a congress-woman from Florida "Gradulating" her "Gator" on their "BS..BCS national championship". This is the raw footage, I also recommend you watch the remix posted by "NoopsDawg"



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Flash back to one year ago

I'm driving home after taking my sister to Dallas so that she can hitch a ride back to AR with my aunt and uncle for Easter. It had been a fun week with Rachel and Stanton's parents visiting, but now everyone was gone, incuding Stanton who was at a conference in Dallas. Like I said, I'm driving back all alone contemplating the future. The week prior, I had been offered a full-time teaching position at UAFS, and I need to make a decision soon. Because of the visiting and everything I didn't have much time to just sit and think and process everything. Taking the position would mean getting back to family, good income, and finally starting to grow up (scary), but possibly sacrificing opportunities to really excell in my research. Letting the position go would mean a longer stint in TX, uncertainty of jobs, the possibility of a postdoc, and continued time for both mine and Stanton's research efforts.

Now that I have a moment to myself, I become overwhelmed by the decision at hand. So I do what makes sense... I begin to pray. I plead and plead with God to show me the direction that we're supposed to take. And if he can't show me, to tell Stanton and give me peace about the decision. As I pray and pray, I become more and more broken. I'm not getting clear answers, but I begin to feel more comfortable with the idea of coming to a decision. I decide that since I will have the apartment to myself when I get back, I will spend the weekend in constant prayer furiously reading His Word in hopes that I won't have to actually make a decision, but that He will make it for me. Then an idea pops in my head... I'll fast too. That way, I can clear out all the junk in my body and in my brain and just soak it all in. Almost immediately, I feel the presence and hear the voice of God inside of me. He tells me not to take the job in AR and not to fast because I'm pregnant. I have never had an experience quite so strong. And I try to remember that feeling when I felt so close to Him, just an overwhelming sense of peace and awe. I then do what makes sense now...I break down. I try to keep my eyes on the road, but its like driving through a torrential downpour with the tears. On the radio, Matthew West's "You are Everything" was playing...

"You are everything that I live for
Everything that I can't believe is happening
You're standing right in front of me
With arms wide open all I know is
Every day is filled with hope
'cause you are everything that I breathe for
And I can't help but breathe you in, and breathe again
Feeling all this life within
Every single beat of my heart"
And that's why its one of my favorite songs. I can't tell anyone. Stanton should be the first to know, and he is busy with the conference. I finally make it back to the empty apartment. Holly is there wagging her tail and so excited. I tell her all about everything. I wait anxioiusly for Stanton to call. I'm torn to tell him over the phone. It's not how I had pictured in my mind breaking the big news. So I tell him my experience, but agree not to take "the test" until he's there with me. I know in my heart what it would show, so waiting doesn't bother me.
On the afternoon of Easter, the first holiday that Stanton and I have EVER spent by ourselves, I do the deed and pee on the stick and sure enough it's positive. The rest of the day, we bask in the glory of God. Thanking Him for everything. For overcoming the grave to forgive our sins, for blessing us with a baby, for making decisions that are too hard to make on our own, for bringing us together, for His timing, for the grass and the trees and the birds, for everything he has provided.
And that's how I'm feeling again today. Unfortunately I'm at home without Stanton again, but this time I have some company. And she just makes the days brighter. I'm praising God for His provision, for His wisdom, for His guidance, and for all of His creation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

4 Month Check-up

Yesterday was Chaselyn's 4 month check-up with Dr. Dewbre. She is doing great! Very healthy. She's now 16 lbs. 3 oz. and 25 inches long. This puts her close to the 95th percentile for weight. But unlike last time, her height to weight ratio is close to the 50% mark. So now she's considered a big baby overall, rather than just a chunky monkey. Here's a picture at the doctor's office. I was trying to capture the rotundness of her belly.




So sweet! As with all 4 month check-ups she got another round of shots. That's why Stanton is REQUIRED to go. I hate getting shots myself. I can't bear to watch my precious angel get poked and scream. It hurts so bad. She is such a trooper though. She doesn't cry for too long. With her 2 month shots, she was very sleepy the day of and the day after and then got a little cranky and sore for a couple of days. It looks like the same is happening this time.
As I posted on Sunday, she rolled from her back to belly for the first time. Thankfully, she'll now do some tummy time as long as she rolls herself over there on her own. Last night she continued her rolling and after staying on her belly for a minute or so decided to roll back onto her back. She kind of cheated, because her arms were still tucked up underneath her (like in the picture below) from rolling from back to belly. But we'll count it as her first belly to back roll!


It's so exciting to see her new tricks! When she rolled from her belly to back last night, I was near tears. I can't believe she's already starting to move around, entertaining herself with her hands, and babbling loudly. Before too long, she won't need me at all. So, I am focusing on enjoying it while it lasts. And to take in every little moment. It's funny to think that I used to be a bit intimidated at the idea that a life would be solely dependent on Stanton and me for everything they needed. And now, I'm already heartbroken at the idea of relinquishing that power. I guess thats how things go though. And it seems that every mom will tell you that. And believe me, when you get pregnant or have a small baby in tow, EVERYONE will tell you! Even creepy old guys at Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

For St. Patty's Day

What's a girl to do?

Last night at LG, we split into girls and guys groups for prayer requests. The purpose was to be able to share more intimate needs that the group members might need prayer for. In our life group, we have 5 married couples (3 with kids, one expecting their first in Oct., and one couple still living with the monetary reality of grad school), one engaged couple, one single girl in her mid-twenties, and one single boy finishing his senior year in high school. It's actually quite a diverse group as far as where we all come from, where each of us are in our spiritual journey, and just general life experiences. So, as you would expect, we have some lively conversations about some pretty interesting stuff.

But for the women last night, there was definitely a theme to most of the prayer requests. We all just want to forget the whole feminist movement.

First, lets take the single girl (beautiful and smart by the way, if you're interested or know a guy, let me know she's quite a catch). She is just tired of being single. She so wants to get to the point in her life where she has someone she can depend on to be there and to feel safe and secure. (These are my words, not hers. I'm taking some liberties in analyzing what I think she's searching for.) She wants a man who can care for her. I know it's very hard for her to admit. She's a very independent woman. Like I said, she's smart, beautiful, very ambitious, she's one of those people who you honestly don't worry about too much. You know that she can handle herself. But there deep within, no matter how much drive and self-motivation, she still feels the need to have a companion. I think for many young single girls, this is their secret shame. Our culture has done so much with the feminist movement. "Independent women" is what our culture tells us to be. We don't need no stinking guys in our lives. We can do it all. We can live by ourselves and not depend on the care and concern of some man. Any girl who admits to needing a man in her life is often characterized as being weak and needy. Therefore, for a girl to admit that she needs a man is a big step for a lot of us. Believe me, I used to hate the fact that I was so dependent on Stanton for so much. I hated that this one persons opinion could mean so much to me. I had worked so hard to develop my self-confidence to the point where I didn't care what people thought. I tried to put up so many barriers that had to be broken.

Next, let's consider the married gals with children and the one expecting in October. We were all trying to figure out how to balance work and raising children. Can we afford to quit and stay at home and just raise the babies? Of course, we all probably could quit and stay at home, but it would mean a drastic change in our way of living. So, are we making a mistake by sacrificing our time with our kids in order to make money to provide some of the nicer things for them? Before the whole feminist movement, this wasn't really even an issue. The wife stayed home and was a homemaker. Now the wife not only has cook, clean, and raise the kids, she also has to work 40 hours a week and bring home some bacon. And it's not the men who are telling us to do the cooking, cleaning, child rearing, and work a full time job. I honestly think that we as women are wired to do the first 3, and then our pride tells us we must do the fourth. I feel guilty no matter what I do now. When I'm at work, I feel I should be at home. When I'm at home enjoying my family I think I should be working. It never stops, and I just start to feel inadequate at both aspects.

And last, we have the married girl with a grad student husband and the engaged one. These two are just trying to figure it all out. How can they make it work. Where are their lives going to be a year from now? How about 3 years? 5 years? I can almost guarantee, they're going to go through something similar to those of us in the married with children category. They are both teachers now, elementary level. So obviously they love kids, and undoubtedly hope to have their own some day. But will they feel they need to give up teaching and enriching the lives of 25-30 students at a time to feel that they can provide the love and attention for their own children? Is that being selfish to only worry about your own children? Will they push through, keep their jobs, and end up overwhelmed by children at the end of the day?

Don't get me wrong, I am glad that women have the right to vote and are thought of as intelligent human beings and all that. I just think when it comes to women in the workforce, the feminist culture looks down on those women who make the choice to stay at home with the kids and let their husbands take care of the financial needs. And I truly think that it causes many, many women a tremendous amount of grief to try to do it all. The shift to having women working has caused a gigantic shift in family dynamics as a whole, and I can't say that society has greatly benefitted from the shift.

The young 17-year-old Brandi would never believe this crazy talk would come from her own brain. The 17-year-old Brandi would say thats what daycares are for. The 17-year-old Brandi wanted to be an actuary who flew around the country working hard to make millions of dollars so she could have vacation homes. The 17-year-old Brandi would never-ever understand the relief and freedom that come with Ephesians 5:22. And now here I sit, ten years later wondering - Is it dumb to just be Dr. Mom? ... If I stay at home, will I truly be satisfied? ... Can I handle being a stay at home mom? ... Can I let go of all I've worked for my whole life, just for family? ... If I don't work haven't I just wasted the past 10 years of my life? ...

Monday, March 16, 2009

She's Mobile!!

Yep! Chaselyn rolled over for the first time last night. And, we actually caught it on video! She turns 4 months old today! How amazing!!
video

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Broken Break

It's the end of another spring break, and as usual, I'm not at all looking forward to getting back to work. I feel more disappointed this year than any other. First, going into it all, I knew that Stanton wouldn't be able to join Chaselyn and I so things were going to be off any way. By Sunday afternoon, I couldn't talk at all. My throat had been scratchy and then I just had no voice. By Tuesday, I had congestion and pressure building in my head. I wasn't feeling real bad, just bothered by the constant sniffling. So, Tuesday we went to town and tried to find some Easter clothes. No success, but we had a good time. Wednesday I felt horrible. I just wanted to sleep all day. My papa wanted to take the family out to dinner, so I took my box of tissues and went along. I was supposed to take Chaselyn up to see the Greers that night, but they were nice enough to make the trip out to my parents house to visit.

In the meantime, Stanton had been working essentially non-stop. I only got to talk with him for about 10 minutes a day, and about all he knew was that it was looking like he wouldn't have time to come and get me at the end of the week. Both my parents and Stanton's parents offered to take me back, so it wasn't a big issue, but that meant that we wouldn't get to go to baseball again. That meant I wouldn't get to see my niblings or my brothers again. (By the way in case you're not familiar, niblings is a term used to collectively identify nieces and nephews.) And it also meant that Stanton would essentially get to have no fun during the spring break time. I know thats what happens when you get a real job, but its still not fun.

Back to the weeks activities. On Thursday, I was back to just sniffling and some congestion, so we all went to Hot Springs to watch the Charleston Lady Tigers in the state championship game. They won, so it was pretty fun. I also got to see some ice on the trees on the way. Friday was spent mostly with Grandma Schluterman and going up on Mount Magazine. It was pretty, but the aforementioned ice that was on the trees was now melting and so it wasn't really safe to be under any trees. Therefore, we opted to view the scenery from the confines of the truck. After the mountain, my family took Chaselyn and I over to the Greers. We stayed there and then Debbie drove us to her sisters house in Plano where we met up with Stanton. We didn't actually get home until around 9 or so. Today we went to church and I just tried to rest. Stanton did some more work. We are both very tired and not at all ready for the busy two weeks we have ahead. I'm still not feeling teriffic. And poor Stanton is looking forward to his next day to rest which won't be until Thursday, March 26th.

All that being said. It was nice to be at home for a while and have my mom and dad take care of me when I wasn't feeling great. I know they enjoyed having time with Chaselyn too. I wish Stanton could have come, but he was able to get a lot of work done. And had Chaselyn and I been here, we probably would have been more of a distraction than a real help.

Now we're just praying we can make it through the next two weeks, which include Chaselyn turning 4 months old, Chaselyn getting her 4 month old shots, Stanton spending the weekend at a conference in D.C., and then a conference in Arlington. I hope that I can get over this cough and congestion and more importantly that Chaselyn and Stanton don't catch it.

I promise that in the future I'll write about more interesting things. But right now all I can think about is what I experience. I don't have the luxury of excess brain capacity to formulate opinions on important matters right now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Home, home on the Range



Ok, so maybe it’s more of a farm than a range, but nevertheless I am home. We kicked off spring break on Friday around 11:30 with our trip back to AR. We made it to Stanton’s parents’ house by around 6:30 and had some delicious grilled steaks. Saturday was spent at Baum stadium watching Razorback baseball. The game was terrible, but the company and food were fantastic. Sunday Chaselyn and I went back to baseball and Stanton made the trip back to Waco. Somewhere amongst all of that, I lost my voice. It’s still gone, but other than not being able to talk, I feel fine. Today Chaselyn and I caught up on some much needed sleep. Just hanging around the farm on a beautiful day has been great. We of course miss Stanton. He had a busy day of work and is probably finishing up at Life Group about now.

Speaking of my DH, I finally received my Valentine/ dating anniversary present just before we left to come home. He had told me what it was on V-day, but it didn’t come in until Thursday. Anyway, he got me 3 bottles of the Peach Nectar lotion from Bath and Body Works. The scent was discontinued a long time ago. It was the lotion I used throughout high school. I used to love that stuff. When I found out it was being discontinued, I wanted to buy up a supply, but I didn’t really have the funds. It was so sweet. He thought of it all on his own. He’s so good.

Chaselyn and I don’t have much planned for the week, just spending time with the family. We’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Spring forward, Fall back

Just in case you haven't heard, this weekend is the Spring forward part of daylight savings time. Yep, it's time to give back the extra hour that you slept through last fall. Stanton must be excited about Daylight Saving Time this year. Yesterday, he tried to enact it a little early. I was sleeping peacefully with Chaselyn right beside me (Yes, sometimes when I finish feeding her at 5:30 in the morning I let her sleep beside me in the bed. She's my little cuddle-bug.) when Stanton says "Brandi it's 7:45 we have to get up." That doesn't immediately register, so in my drowsy state I drift back to sleep. Then 8:00 rolls around and I glance at the clock and think "Oh no! I'm giving a test today and my office hours are at 8:30! There's no way I can make it." I quickly threw on some clothes. Then I quickly got Chaselyn up and put her on her changing table and started pulling off her pj's and changing her diaper and putting on new clothes. She seemed a little bewildered since usually I sing "Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!" as I pick her up out of bed and continue to sing and talk to her while I'm getting her dressed. She was still very sleepy, rubbing her eyes, stretching, and not cooing and gooing like she usually does.

I make a plan with Stanton for him to take Chaselyn to daycare and I'll go directly to school. So I take our sweet baby in the living room and am about to put her in the car seat to get ready to go, when I find Stanton standing in the living room just staring at the wall. Usually, when he's in this position, his focus is a little lower and concentrating on ESPN. But this time was different. He was staring at the clock on the wall. It wasn't 8:22 like it said in the bedroom, it was only 7:22. It seems that when he hit the snooze at 6:30, he also hit the hour button. So there we were, both ready to head out the door, but now with time to spare. Oh what a relief! We got some bonus play time with Chaselyn and made it to school a little before 8:15. And wouldn't you know, I actually had a student come by and ask a couple of questions during my office hours.

Well, that was my interesting story of the day, for yesterday. I meant to blog last night, but Stanton was working on the computer and then I just wanted to have some family time. Thus, you get the delayed copy.

Today I'm thinking I'm only going to be at school for a half day. Then I'm going to work from home and keep laundry going so I can pack tonight. We'll probably head out shortly after I'm done teaching tomorrow morning, unless something comes up in Stanton's world.

I'm so ready to be home, thats home, home, AR home. I miss my family so much and just know they are all going to flip over how much Chaselyn has grown.

Since most of the readers of this blog are family, I'll end by saying "See you all soon!!"

B

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

SING date

Just look at these pictures, and you can see that I have absolutely no regrets about passing on our SING tickets.











Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cool mornings, warm afternoons

It's March now. Which means it's the pleasant time of the year for Texas. Beautiful afternoons of sunshine and cool breezes are pretty regular now. I'm a little disappointed to see winter go, since I didn't get to see any snow this year, but maybe I'll get a little exposure next week in the AR hills. This week will be all about preparing for next week. We leave on Friday to go to AR for my spring break trip. Chaselyn and I will be spending the week with family and taking a nice break. Unfortunately, Stanton will have to come back to Waco and work during the week. We're not quite sure how it's all going to work out. We very rarely spend this much time apart, and now with Chaselyn added to the picture, I'm afraid Stanton will get too lonely. He has assured me that it will be ok. So, we're continuing onward with the trip preparations.


I am really glad that I'm still on an academic schedule. I don't know what I'll do if I ever have to join the real work force and only take vacations like 3 weeks of the year. Schools give great Christmas break time, a nice spring break, and usually plenty of time during the summer. If only I didn't feel guilty when I take breaks for myself.


Chaselyn is doing great. She's completely recovered from the cold she had and has had 2 "excellent" days at daycare. She's becoming very talkative while she lays on her pallet to play. She likes to lay on her back and watch the fan or tv. Tummy time is not a big hit, but she'll get there. She's also getting very big. I just washed a fresh pack of 3-6 month onesies, and they already seem a little stretched. Based on our scale, she weighs over 15 lbs! Now thats an arm workout. She slept for 7 hours straight last night. A great thing for mommy. We're thinking she will move to her crib before too long. Right now she's in a co-sleeper right beside the bed...easy access for mommy :)


I am having a very hard time figuring out work and family. I feel like I'm not doing my best at either one, so I constantly have a feeling of inadequacy. From what I understand, most working moms (if not all moms) say the feeling never goes away. I'm not sure if I can live with that. I've become very accustomed to being successful at most things in life. I don't know how to cope with this feeling of failure. All I know to do for now is pray and ask God for peace of mind.


I guess that's all for now. I'll leave you a couple of good pics and hopefully a little video of our Angel.





video