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.