Monday, June 28, 2010

5 minutes with Jacob

The highlights:

smile at 0:37

gurgle at 1:21

yawn at 1:32

awesome dance moves at 1:41

tiny squeak at 2:55

My favorite 3:21 - 3:25

big noise at 3:39

responding to my voice 3:56

squeak 4:31

good-bye squeal at 4:44 my absolute favorite!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mommy WOW! I'm a big kid now.. dum, dum...

No, Chaselyn is not already potty trained, but she's showing some hints that she's ready to start trying soon. In any event, she's a big girl. Within the past month little Chaselyn has totally stepped into the role of BIG sister. It seems like she's aged a whole year in just the short time since Jacob was born. And as much as she's changed, it's hard for me to explain exactly what's different. It's in the way she walks, it's in the way she talks, its in the glisten in her eyes. She's just beginning to realize that she is an independent person and she can do things for herself, and even make decisions.

She fills the big sister role well. She will point and run to Jacob if he grunts or squeaks or cries. She also tries to give him his favorite toy all the time (his pacifier). She loves to hug him and give him kisses too.

She is learning new words everyday. And she's becoming more and more aware of what exactly the word "no" means. Based on our interactions, she apparently knows that when I say "uh-uh" or "no, no" I mean business. But my "no" is not clear enough for her to really grasp the full meaning. She has the absolute cutest high pitched, drawn out "no" when she really means yes.

While we were in Arkansas, she showed that she could be the social butterfly that I have never seen before. She fluttered all about the tailgating and mingled among the people. Put her in with a couple of older kids and she'll be gone laughing and playing along.

Chaselyn really is showing her personality these days...

She's strong.
She's smart.
She's fashion forward.
She's fun-loving.

She's hungry.
She's adorable.
And she knows it all.

Fun facts:
* first two word phrase "eat bean"
* has clarified that a cow does indeed say "moo", but was confused when she talked to Papa's horses and they raspberried her instead of saying "neigh".
* LOVES shoes - notice the shiny ones in the picture above in her swimsuit cover-up those are her favorites
* gives great smacking kisses and blows kisses too
* gives the stink eye if you don't pray with her at dinner time
* can jump and actually get both her feet off the floor at the same time
* learned to dance like a ballerina
* calls a Hog a "Woo" (and is ready to point out every single one in Fayetteville, including one on a flag on top of Wal-Mart)
* is a great pretender. She can make pretend phone calls on her various cell phones, cook up a whole dinner in her little pots and pans, and feeds the whole gang of babies, stuffed animals and real people just before she wraps them up and pats them to sleep (not the real people).
* knows the word "tv"
* will go outside for playtime no matter how hot, no matter how tired, she's always ready for outside.
* likes to try big people things like walking up stairs, drinking out of a cup with no lid, eating with real forks, wearing size 8 women's shoes, copying our various mannerisms while we drive (Stanton taps the steering wheel, I sing)
* is making great progress on singing E-I-E-I-O and making animal noises for Old MacDonald

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hair today...gone tomorrow...or maybe not

Hello, my name is Brandi. (This is where you all in unison say "Hi Brandi".) I am a decision phobe.

There, I said it. And admitting the problem is the first step, right? Now, this decision phobia is not in concerns to big commitments like marriage or raising children. Those things are no brainers in my book. So what has me all in a tizzy today? My hair.

Yes, I know, hair shouldn't be a big commitment issue, it grows back. But it's the initial decision that makes me quiver. I've been growing my hair out for quite a long time. And it actually still looks pretty healthy. I was advise by several moms before Chaselyn was born that I should grow my hair out because I would want to chop it off when she started pulling and yanking at it. Well, I survived baby one, but with two, my hair seems to be in my way more. So, my initial thought was that my hair would be gone as soon as I was done with my wedding obligations. But now, I can't let it go. I want my hair out of my way, but I like my long hair. I've had my hair short, I look different. And in my opinion, I look thinner with long hair. Right now, that's important to me. So that's what's keeping me from chopping it off. I am more out of shape than I have ever been in my life. It's more than just baby weight, it's a health issue. i don't want to make a change in my appearance that will make me feel even bigger, but my hair is getting in my way.

That's where I am today. Trying to reason between practicality and vanity. Vanity is winning mainly because if I decide to cut it I then have to make another decision as to how to get it cut. (If you have any suggestions, let me know.)

I'm also currently undecided on my hair, wall paint colors, bathroom decor for kids, vacation activities, and my life goals in general. So there you have it. My most up to date psychosis.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Feels like home

The last weekend in May I had the honor and privilege of standing at the front of the church and watching my brother marry the love of his life. And as I gained a new sister, I was touched to see my husband serve as my brother's best man. I could write a whole blog about how eerily similar those two guys are, but I get scared when I think about it too much. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the beautiful bride and only stole a couple pictures from my sister's facebook of myself.

Fortunately Stanton was smart enough to snap a shot when he and Heath got their tuxes for the big day.
The wedding was beautiful and touching and very personalized. It was so special!

After the festivities were over, Stanton went back to Waco to work and I stayed at home with my parents and my kids. I was afraid of what it would be like to have two kids away from my husband. But I was home and that's exactly how I felt. Throughout the week, we played with the family.

We played on the farm.
We met up with old friends. (Sorry Al, somehow I forgot to take any pictures of our lunch together.)
We learned the benefits of finding an indoor playground. Thanks Ducky, CrawDad, and Chic-fil-a!
And made all 4 games of the Razorback Regional baseball tournament where we met up with our "extended family".
We all had an amazing time. We lived and learned. We missed Stanton, but learned a little about ourselves that we didn't know before. Chaselyn learned that she can play with others and doesn't have to be afraid around strangers. She's still cautious when they confront her directly, but she's more than happy to run around and put on a pretty good show. Jacob learned to squeak even louder and decided to wake up a little bit more. I'm pretty sure I saw him raising his arms for a hog call too.

As for me, I found out a little more about my stubbornness. I'm an independent person. I like to do things for myself. People were endlessly asking me if I needed help. I know they only do it out of love and any sane person would always welcome the help. But I just wanted to see if I could do the whole two kids thing by myself. It turns out, I think I can do it. In fact I did better than I thought I would. I know it's going to get harder as Jacob grows and is more demanding and heaven help me when I've got two mobile ones. But in general, I was greatly surprised at my ability to cope and manage. I even had toting the two tots up the stadium stairs by myself by the end of the series.

But, after a week of being away I was ready to be with my husband. I wasn't sad to leave Arkansas this time. I had a lot of memories to take with me, but there was a strong draw for me back in Texas. And as soon as I got home to my loving husband, I learned something more about myself. I am most at rest when I'm with him. He alone is the one who I rely on to help me. And even more, he doesn't even have to ask if I need help. I just expect him to swoop in and save the day. That is where my biggest lesson was learned. After a week of doing it all mostly by myself, I was feeling confident in my parenting. I had been patient and balanced. As soon as I walked in to our house I dumped quite a bit of responsibility on Stanton. Only I didn't tell him. Within a few hours I was getting impatient and frustrated. As I laid in bed trying to figure out why I could do it all at home with my parents and now I was failing within minutes of being home with my husband, it hit me. Stanton is a wonderful man, but he isn't a mind reader. I have to communicate the jobs that my brain has allocated to him. I can't get frustrated at him for not doing things he doesn't know he's supposed to do. On top of all that, I can't get frustrated when he doesn't parent the exact way I would. So what if he lets Chaselyn whine for a little longer before he steps in to stop it. He's taking care of it.

So that's my story. A wonderful week of family, friends, fun and baseball.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Saying good-bye 2

In addition to losing MaryAnn and family. We also had to say good-bye to some dear church friends. Ben and Jenny are a wonderful couple who we met through our church. Originally from Indiana, they came to Waco via Austin. Ben was working on his Master's degree in something dealing with politics and religion. (I'm a little embarrassed that I can't remember exactly what it was called, because it always seemed very interesting to me.) Jenny was an elementary school teacher constantly dealing with the red tape and craziness imposed by the government. They were a sweet couple and Stanton and I related to them immediately. Ben was a good match for Stanton. They both enjoyed discussing politics and religion, but could also banter endlessly about college sports. Jenny and I related because our husbands were so similar and we were able to discuss family issues and how graduate school plays into the scheme of starting to grow the family. Jenny came around while I was pregnant with Chaselyn, so she was one of the first people I was actually able to feel like I could give some advice. (Although I always add the disclaimer that I'm by no means an expert.)

Ben and Jenny in the middle with the life group clan and some extras.

I guess I kind of thought of Ben and Jenny as being in a very similar spot as Stanton and me just about a year earlier. But they always seemed way more put together than I ever felt we were.

Ben and Jenny joined our wonderful life group and that's where our friendship was formed. Unfortunately, that's about the only time we were able to get together. But we understood. Ben was living the life of a grad student and Jenny was a caring school teacher who worked very hard. So we didn't hang out very much outside of LG.

Life group girlies. Left to right - Kristen, Jenny, Allison (who left us about a year ago but still visits), Christi, Rachel, and Claire-Bear

I'm going to miss them both a lot. I'm going to miss Jenny most because she's a great person and has such an awesome attitude toward everything. And she has such a heart for kids. And like I said, our husbands are quite similar, so she understood me. I'll miss Ben most for Stanton. Like I said Ben is a great guy, but more than anything he was able to relate to Stanton on all levels. It's a rare breed who can understand Stanton's intelligence, his infatuation with sports, and his insane sense of humor.

Stanton and Ben having one last deep conversation.

So through all of this, Indiana has taken away two great families from Waco. And I know for the Greers, Waco will not be the same. It will be different. But I can't express how thankful and how blessed that we feel for our path to have crossed with these great people.

***Thanks to Laura for the pictures! They were taken at our good-bye party for the Tolls.***

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Saying good-bye

I'm sick of it. It's one of the by-products of being in school for so long and living in a college town I suppose. Two great families of friends have moved away in the past couple weeks. I've been able to avoid feeling the sadness, because I was traveling. I was able to safely live under the peaceful oblivion of just thinking I was going away for a trip back home and nothing would be different when I got back. Ignorance is bliss. But now I'm back in Waco and they're not here and I don't like it.
First, I had to say good-bye to my good friend MaryAnn. And even worse, my family had to say good-bye to her family. MaryAnn and I met through our shared time in the Stats department at Baylor. She says she remembers the first time she saw me, I don't remember names and faces, so I can't say the same. But over the years, and especially in the past couple years, she has become one of my closest and dearest friends. She is a fantastic Christian sister who was always able to understand my point of view and thankfully was able to hep me get my focus and thoughts back to where they needed to be when I was struggling. We became accountability partners and did our best to keep each other grounded. I was most impressed with her parenting skills. I don't know how she did it, but she somehow managed the life of a growing kid, graduate school, a husband, extended family and numerous volunteer positions. I was constantly amazed at her poise and grace as she navigated the often difficult path. She was always able to find the strength to manage through prayer.
MaryAnn offered so much more than sage advice. She along with her stories of the antics of her family we're always a good break from the humdrum of research. And her servants heart was open to help anyone and everyone. I can't tell you how many times she anticipated my need for a little pick me up in the middle of the day. For me, these pick me ups generally involved food treats of some kind, but that's just another reason we got along so well. We both have an appreciation for good food. And she could cook up something up out of anything. One of my favorite memories is when Stanton and I were at a loss for dinner ideas and MA helped out. We were getting in the car to go home and I asked Stanton what he wanted for dinner. He didn't know. Exasperated, I told him (mostly joking) to go ask MA what was for dinner. He came back with one of our favorite recipies - ravioli casserole. It was an instant hit. Easy to make, delicious, and easy to modify to make new. And MA in all her amazingness just came up with it. And I have to mention that she makes a pasta salad with olives that I'll actually eat. I HATE olives. And I love that salad.
I will always remember what a blessing she was in the hospital the day I gave birth to Chaselyn. She kept Stanton and I calm and relaxed and gave us someone else to talk to when we really needed it. She prayed for us and was just the most amazing help.
I realize now that I have written a lot about MaryAnn in the past tense. Which I don't like. Because she is all of those wonderful things still. And she IS a great friend. We probably won't have quite as many impromptu conversations in passing through the office. We may not get to see each other as often. And our family cookouts will probably be a little further apart, but I still expect her to keep me accountable. I know that when I'm feeling out of whack she'll be there. I know that when I'm at a loss for how to handle the kids she'll be there for me to call. And that's a big deal to me. I only have a handful of friends that have stuck with me through a move. And that collection of girls are some of the most important people in the world to me.

As I said, what's even worse is that our families won't be able to grow up close together. Chaselyn was just getting to the good playing stage where she and MaryAnn's daughter could relate and play together. And I know that MA will miss seeing Cake (Chaselyn) and Jelly Belly Bean (Jacob) grow up in real life. And I'm going to miss her sweet little girl more than I can say. I can't believe how much she has grown in the time we were here together in Waco. And I just know she's going to keep getting more and more intelligent and more and more beautiful everyday. I'll miss having that sweet, respectful, wonderful little girl setting an awesome example for my kids on a regular basis. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful husband MA has. He's a world class fella. It was always inspiring to hear the little things that he would do to support his wife. And I could just see the love oozing from him whenever he was around the kids.

But I know they are following the path God has laid for them. I know how hard it is to leave family and the comforts of home to transplant your family in a seemingly far away land. And I know that without the peace of knowing that you're there for a reason, a move like that could be devastating. So I miss MA in her family. But I'm not sad. I won't let myself be sad. It's a wonderful thing that they are doing. And I know our friendship can make it through a few hundred miles. No problemo.
Love you MA! I'm so proud of you! I miss you and your sweet family.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jacob one month and counting.

Jacob is actually one month and one week now, so I'm a little late. I've already beat myself up enough about not being on top of things this early on. But hey, now that I've already messed up with posting his updates on time, I might not feel as bad in the future when I don't make it. It won't be like I'm messing up a perfect streak or something.

So, what can you say about a one month old? He does just what he's supposed to at an amazingly high level. He sleeps wonderfully. He's been asleep for most of his life. Jacob's just now getting to where he has some good solid awake time throughout the day. He wakes up every 2-3 hours to eat, but quickly goes back to sleep. We've had a few episodes of crazy inconsolable crying, but we have been able to manage with some Mylicon drops and a healthy dose of patience. He eats very well. And is usually a happy little fella for a while after he's done. And his pipes are surely working. I've become convinced that he genuinely opposes a fresh diaper. As soon as I get a new one on, I hear more little toots.

Developmentally, he's getting much stronger. He's really able to hold his head up quite well now. He's also getting more into deep sleeps for longer times and staying awake more too. And of course, he's growing. After about 3 weeks, he lost that "newborn" look and became a little baby boy. He's growing quickly and getting stronger everyday.We figure he's a little over 8 lbs. now.

For a one month old, he's gone quite a few places and met a lot of people. He went to church on his 2 week birthday and met lots of people. He went to work with Mommy and Daddy. And he made his first trip home to AR for Uncle Heath and Aunt Kimberly's wedding.


I can't begin to tell you how much we love you and how happy you make us. You are such a blessing to the whole family. You bring out the best in each one of us. We promise to do our best to raise you in a loving home and provide for your every need. We prayed for you before we even knew about you. And we continue to pray that you will grow to love the Lord above all.

Mommy & Daddy