Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm a doctor, but not the kind that helps people.

We heard this line on some sitcom (Maybe Big Bang Theory) quite a while ago, but it's how I always clarify my current educational status. It's always been a joke that the prefix "Dr." would ever come before my name, because of the simple fact that I faint at the sight of blood and usually just the mention of it makes me a little queasy. But alas, as of last December I am officially Dr. Brandi Greer. The only time I really like to emphasize the title is on fancy invitations in which proper etiquette demands that the address read "Dr. and Mr. Stanton Greer". It's a small victory for my independent side. I mean I lost my last name, can't I get some respect. Those of you who recieved our Birth Announcement/Graduation Announcement/Christmas cards last year may have noticed that we "signed" them from Dr. Brandi and Master Stanton.

Really the title is awkward and I don't think I'll ever really revel in it. When I did graduate, my mom and dad were so proud. I think there were even some tears. I was glad to finally be done with school, but the doctor thing still hadn't set in. As my mom had pointed out many times before, I should be more proud of myself. I tried to figure out why I wasn't shouting from the rooftops about my accomplishment, and I have since then come up with a couple of reasons:

1) It's not my accomplishment, it's all through God's work in my life. I knew I would go to college after high school, because that's what people do. But after my undergrad, I didn't really know what to do. The math department at the U of A needed more grad students to teach, so they offered an assistantship. And not having any other plans and loving the academic lifestyle, I carried on. In my last semester of my master's program, Dr. Jack Tubbs from Baylor visited the U of A campus and my major professor pointed him in my direction. I had no intention of going away from AR or even continuing my education. But God knew. And so with many tears, we decided to make the big move. The whole time I was working down here, I knew that something bigger than me was taking control. I can see it even more now as my work ethic is even worse now than when I was pregnant. I worked hard to finish quickly so that I could move back home, but we all know how that turned out. And now, God is still providing for us in ways we never thought possible.

2) I have an inferiority complex that causes me to believe that I've been able to fool my professors into thinking that I'm smart and I know what I am doing. So in my brain, getting the Ph.D. just meant that I had fooled enough people into believing that I am intelligent to get another piece of paper. I also thought that now I could stop trying to fool people. I was wrong. The funny thing about having a higher education degree is that it really is just the beginning of your career. Now I have to fool a whole new set of people into thinking that I'm worthy of a job.

3) I have always been around the smart people. I've always been at the top of the class. My family is not full of dummies either. And in Grad school, you are surrounded by people who are doing the same thing you are trying to do. So it was easy for me to forget that what my fellow grad students and I were doing was something out of the ordinary. It didn't really hit home at how special my degree was until I read that according to the 2000 Census Bureau, only 1% of Americans have a research based doctoral degrees.

So, I try to remind myself of the unique opportunity I have been given. And I'm trying to keep in mind that I need to be a good steward of the blessing that God has given me. (At this point I could go into another debate of working vs. stay at home, but I'll spare you having to read that again.)

All of this came up today, because my advisor Dr. Dean Young insists (generally on a daily basis) that I call him by his first name, because we are now colleagues. I appreciate that he is easy-going enough to allow me to do this, but for the life of me, I can't. By the same token, I wouldn't call my elementary school teachers by their first names. And could you imagine seeing Mr. Hogue in the grocery store and saying "Hey there Wesley!"? It's just not right. My teachers are still my teachers even if I have earned some extra letters to put with my name. It's disrespectful to think otherwise. So I'll continue to call him Dr. Young. Maybe it would comfort him to know I call him DY in my comfort zones. But then again, maybe that's too casual.

Jack, Dean and me at the Doctoral dinner in December. ;) I had to post this for 2 reasons. First to try out the first name thing. Second, this is historical evidence to see DY dressed in something besides Baylor sweats and t-shirts.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Say you've been trained to do something for maybe the first 27 years of your life and then suddenly, the rules change and now you have to change your ways. This is what the school system has done to me. For 27 years, I knew that you go to school August - May. June and July are break times. It's a fantastic system. Granted, I'm still kind of on this schedule. But Stanton now has a real job. A 40 hour a week job, with a limited number of vacation days. And I'm not liking the paradigm shift. I don't think he is either.

The closest we've come to a vacation was this past weekend. We finally made it back to Arkansas. We spent the weekend at a family reunion for Stanton's mom's side of the family. It was great to see family and share the joy of our new family member. And the fact that it was held on Mount Magazine was a super plus for me personally. Usually the reunion is held at a lake location in AR. But for me, I'd rather wake up to the mountain view than the lake air any day. And here's some pictures to prove it.

It was also our anniversary weekend - 6 years of wedded bliss. The hike up to the top of the mountain was our special outing. We were officially on the highest point between the Appalachians and Rocky mountains. Don't get me wrong, I would love to go up to some snow capped mountains, but after being in TX for a while, any elevation change is a thrill.

We ended the weekend with a birthday celebration for my mom. She got just what she wanted, all her kids and grandkids in one house. It was very nice.

All that to say, we are running out of energy and patience and a new semester is just about to start again. We've already got another trip back home planned for next weekend, but I'm sure that won't be enough. Any one have any quick rejuvenation tips? I'm hoping that whatever job I do eventually have, it will be on an academic schedule. Also, I think it's worth noting that they train you to have 2 full months off. So a long weekend here and there is barely enough to realize that you're not at work, much less get fully recuperated.

So, for those of you still in school, I leave you with this advice, a quote from Billy Madison...


Thursday, July 16, 2009

8 months already

Sweet baby girl is already 8 months old! I can hardly believe it. So much has gone on, it doesn't feel like she was born yesterday, but it can't have already been 8 months. Chaselyn is learning new skills every day.

She can now pull up on anything and everything. And as of Tuesday, she can also lower herself down and crawl to a new place to pull up. Crawling is a relative, she still does the army crawl. She's real good at it though and can make it pretty much anywhere and quickly. I'll be surprised if she really develops the official crawling before she walks. She has 3 teeth and a hole for a fourth. The bottom two are well developed, the top left one just broke through on Monday, and the top right is on the way. We just weighed her tonight and she's a full 20 pounds! We didn't get a chance to measure her before bed time, but you can get a good idea based on some of the pics with my leg below.

She loves to flip around on Daddy's belly. She sits up on his belly and leans back. Stanton picks up her legs and flips her over. She laughs and laughs! It's precious! She also likes to play with Holly. The sweet dog is so patient. As long as a big person is petting her, Holly stays calm and relaxed. Chaselyn loves all the space in the new house. There's so much room for her to move around. We have all of her toys (when cleaned up) in a little shelf with doors. She pulls stuff off the shelf then opens the doors, sits down, stands up, and repeats it all. She also loves to pull out movies and game cases. She just gives them a taste and pulls some more out.

She generally likes her crib. And is getting better at sleeping. She actually did better when she was 6 months at the sleeping. Now she sleeps from about 8-12, wakes up for some food, then goes back to sleep until about 4. Then another meal and back to sleep until she wakes up at 6:30. Then she can be coaxed to go back to sleep or is up for the day. She's also getting better at comforting herself and being put back to sleep with a some back patting.

At daycare, she eats cereal for breakfast and some veggies for lunch. She usually has three 5 oz. bottles at school too. Dinner time is usually around 6. She gets a jar of food. Sometimes meat, sometimes veggies. We usually offer a side of cereal with dinner too. Then it's a mommy milk meal along with a bedtime story before she goes down.

I can't believe how much you have changed our lives. And although you are only 8 months old, it's hard to imagine life before you were here. You definitely know how to make us feel loved as well. You give sweet hugs and occasionally some sloppy, slobbery, wonderful kisses. I'll admit that sometimes it would be nice to get a full nights rest or to eat a meal uninterrupted, but I wouldn't change anything. Just as I was warned before you came into the world that you would grow up too quickly, I've also been told to cherish this time when you can't live without me. Someday, you'll be all grown up and won't want to be held by your mom and loved on. So I'll eat it up while I can. I thank God for the blessing that you are in so many peoples lives. Your little precious smile has brought smiles to so many around you. You are just a wonderful and beautiful baby. I get compliments all the time on how pretty you are and how you are such a happy baby. And of course I whole-heartedly agree. I look forward to seeing all your new tricks as you continue to grow. And I thank you for being the sweet angel that you are! I love you very much!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For my old man...

So, today Stanton turns 28. I’m pretty sure that officially crosses the barrier into the late 20’s category, no longer mid-20’s. Not that age really means anything to my wonderful husband. As we recently discussed, I’m pretty sure he was a small adult when he was a child. Only through his college years did he really start to take on real childlike tendencies. For example, since I have known him (granted it has been a long time, but we were 15 when we met, so that’s kind of in the maturing stage) he has developed an even bigger affinity for pirates, monkeys, and dinosaurs. I also think that he probably makes more silly faces and does more crazy dances than he did when he was little. But now, he’s 28, he’s a Daddy, he’s a homeowner, and he has a real job. His childlike world is colliding with adult responsibilities. He’s living a double life. He loves his job. He loves providing for his family. He really likes to play the business game. But, every once in a while he just has to play some Nintendo games to bring himself back from getting too far into the adult world.

I love the man he has become. I love that during the day he’s focused on his work, trying to make a product that will help so many people. And I love that when we come home he just wants to hold Chaselyn for a while and just love on her. I love that he still finds the energy to wash the dishes and help in other ways around the house. I love that he enjoys playing video games with me and reconnecting to his childlike spirit. I love that he is always looking to the Lord for direction. I love that we can talk and have profound conversations one minute and be talking trash while playing Wii tennis the next.

I am thankful for the many birthdays I have already celebrated with this great man. And I look forward to celebrating many more and continuing the saga between man and child.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


So it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post. And as you can probably tell, I wasn't very happy with the whole situation. But, we did end up going and signing at around 4 o'clock on July 1st. As we were signing the papers, and the interest rate on the loan wasn't what we thought it was going to be I really just wanted to punch something. Then as we were conversing with our not so experienced loan person, I realized that I had let the incompetencies of someone I didn't really even know essentially ruin the excitement and fun of the big step we were taking. From that point on, I reevaluated and just realized how amazing this all was. We were signing papers to buy a house. Something I've been looking forward to for sooooooo long! And it was finally happening!!!

Because the seller had already moved and was in poor health, we had to wait until Thursday, July 2nd to get the keys. But we got them and the great move started.

My parents, Rachel, and Stanton's mom were there to help. We loaded up the back of 3 SUV's and the trailer borrowed from the church and went to see our new home. It was so exciting!

And opening the door, I knew that this was our home. Not just another building that we would live in for some indeterminant amount of time. We could do whatever we wanted and could make it our own. Everyone took a quick look around and checked out all the little extras and then we started unloading boxes and furniture. Mostly in the first load things had specific places and so the stuff was put in the place it belonged. After we unloaded, Stanton and I had to go sign one more paper and pick up lunch the parents all went back to the apartment and Rachel stayed with Chaselyn at the house.

We took another load. Then Stanton and Dad went off to Lowe's while mom and I started to try to put some stuff away. Rachel was super helpful with Chaselyn (I would later realize that I should have had her stay). And Debbie worked endlessly on getting the apartment cleaned up. Stanton and my Dad came back with a super nice grill :) We have longed to have food with grill marks on it. It's something that we will definitely use many, many times (we've already used it 3 times). It was a super nice house warming present! And I'm so glad they came to help. Unfortunately, they had to leave around 5:00 to head back home. Apparently grocery stores are busy on holiday weekends, so my dad had to get back to his store.

And not too much later, reinforcements came. The Coxs, the Ellises, and the Warrens came to pitch in. The men went to the apartment to grab the big stuff - bed, couch, tv, etc. The women mainly just chatted, but it was nice. Pizza was provided by our realtor and there was plenty. I'm sad to say that we didn't take pictures of all the lovely people helping us.

We moved so much in one day. It was amazing. We had everything we needed and were able to spend the first night in our new home. Although I knew it was our home, it felt like some kind of weird hotel where you have to bring everything. But it was good.

Friday came and for some reason Stanton thought he would go to work that day. He did have to go do a few things in the morning, but his brain wasn't functioning very well, so he came home for lunch and stayed. Stanton and his mom continued to work on the apartment getting stuff out and cleaning. I stayed at home with Chaselyn since the daycare was closed. I wasn't able to do much, and Stanton and Debbie came back so exhausted every time, I felt so bad. They were doing great though. This continued over the weekend. Saturday we celebrated the 4th of July by keeping Chaselyn up past her bedtime, glow necklaces, and lighting a lone sparkler. Chaselyn was too tired to be real excited, but she was entranced at least. We also started to break in the new grill. And we got our tv hooked up with antenna so we could watch fireworks on tv.

Monday we all returned back to work. Debbie was still working on cleaning the apartment and waiting for the delivery of the Greer's house warming present - an awesome front loading washer and dryer. I can't even begin to explain the upgrade in quality from what we had. I was most impressed when stains in Chaselyn's clothes came out with absolutely no pretreatment. I used to have to soak them in Oxy-clean and scrub, but no longer. Just throw them in and ta-da they're clean. Monday night we started priming the apartment. Chaselyn wasn't doing so great with this, so I took her home and again Stanton and Debbie continued to work.

Tuesday we went to work and took a break in the evening and just stayed home. We put up a few things around the house and played. It was great! Debbie left Wednesday morning after leaving the apartment in tip top condition. Stanton and I tried to do little projects around the new house at night, but took it easy mostly.

The Cox's came over for a cook-out on Saturday the 11th. It's always so nice to see them. And everytime we get together, I always think "We should do that more often" and yet we still only manage to do it every few months. We also were able to host our Life Group last night! We had space for everyone including the kids! It was super exciting. Being able to share our home was one of the big reasons that we wanted to have a home. And now we can and it just makes everything so great!

So this was more of a journal type entry for me. I just needed to take a few minutes and record everything before I forgot it all. Click here for a picture tour of our home. I'm sure the post was boring to you, but hey, I'll make it worth your while, take a look at this...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This post is not about our wonderful house...

So, my calendar says today is July 1st. A very fine day, the beginning of the second half of the year, getting close to a long 4th of July weekend, and 1st are usually quite refreshing and a good time to make a change. And here I sit in our apartment livingroom scowling at this stupid date. We were ready to start afresh in July, we were ready to embark on a new adventure. We were ready to be homeowners. And until yesterday, we thought that's what we would be. But I guess it's not in the cads for us just yet. So here's what was supposed to happen:

June 30
10:00 - Get water hooked up in our name.
11:00 - Do final walk through with realtor.
11:30 - Get some lunch on our way to sign papers.
12:00 - Sign the papers on our end and take possession of our new home!!!!
1:30 - Swing by the apartment to pick up Chaselyn, Holly, and a box of special items for each room in the house. Bask in the glow of the humongous step we had just taken towards becoming grown ups, because as Stanton said, he's seen lots of kids have babies and buy new cars, he hasn't seen that many kids who have bought houses.
2:00ish - Stanton go back to work, go get the first load of boxes loaded up from the apartment and bring Stanton's mom too with a load.
2:30-??? - Keep taking truck loads of boxes and possibly empty some.
12:00 - Have Stanton's mom let my parents and sister in at the apartment to sleep, while Stanton, Chaselyn, Holly and I spent the first night in our new home.

July 1
6:30am - Start a full on move effort, SUV's & trailers full of shelves, boxes, decorations, etc.
6:30pm - Continue the moving effort with help from friends that are now off work and able to help move large items
10:00 - Have an evening with all visiting family in our new home

July 2
6:30 - Get an early start on projects for my dad, doggie door, water filter, dimmer switches, trimming trees, while the rest of us continue the moving effort.
3:00 (afternoon) - Send my family off with many thanks and hugs for helping with everything.
3:30 - Keep on moving.

July 4
5:00 - invite friends over for dinner and celebration for helping us get into our new home.

Sounds fantastic doesn't it! Unfortunately, this is how things have gone:

June 30
10:00 - Get water hooked up in our name.
11:00 - Do final walk through with realtor. Although, the owner was still there with movers, so it wasn't really in the state it should have been in for a FINAL walkthrough.
11:15 - Get told that there are some issues with the papers and that we won't be able to sign until possibly tomorrow, but hopefully by 4 today.
11:30 - Have lunch on the Realtor, because he feels bad. Stanton goes back to work. I go back to the apartment feeling very defeated.
The rest of the afternoon - "You may not close until Monday because of the holiday", "Papers are being sent, they are promised to be at the title company by 12:00, you can sign tomorrow at 2:00." Calls made to my family telling them the situation, should they come? should they wait? what's going on?
5:00 - Call my dad and say we've been promised to sign the next day at 2:00, we can be in the house by 3:00.
11:20 - Mom, dad, and Rachel arrive. Chaselyn gets woken up, and they play for an hour or so before everyone crashes.

July 1
6:30 - Chaselyn's awake, so Stanton and I are awake. Not too much to do until we get ready to sign the papers.
7:30 - Stanton goes to work for a while
8:30 - Stanton and Dad go to Home Depot to get some supplies for the jobs around the house.
11:30 - Start checking to make sure everything is progressing as promised. It's not.
12:30 - Probably not going to sign today.
1:00 - Get ready to go to Dr. Pepper Museum.
1:26 - about 4 blocks from the apartment get a call saying we're signing at 2:30-2:45.
1:45 - Call to confirm that we will be allowed possession when we sign - confirmed. Let's start loading.
1:48 - Not so fast! Not signing until 3:30 and can't take possession until 11:00 tomorrow.
1:50 - No time to go to museum, just waiting to sign. We're all sitting around staring at each other. Start watching "Prince Caspian" to pass the time.
2:30 - Start writing this blog
2:58 - Still under the impression that we will be signing in about half an hour, but won't take possession until tomorrow morning. Not going to even make plans as to what the rest of the day holds, my heart can't take any more.

And that's where we are now. And it's killing me.