There's a box of about 40 of these still sitting in our house, un-adressed, un-stamped, un-used and now it seems a bit late to bother at all. So we did intend to send out our Christmas blessings to you, but we missed it. And I feel bad, because I love the job that Leslie at Giraffic Arts did. So adorable! And we just like to let people know we are thinking about them during the holiday season. So to all of you out there, we did think about you, and we are still thinking about you as we try to figure out what to do with all of these cards.
My daughter is hilarious. She is a laugh riot. She's just a perfect combination of a little person and a innocent baby that hilarity ensues at every moment. Her latest craze is to put an "o" or "io" on everyone's name. For instance, I'm "Mommy-O". Stanton is "Daddy-E-O". And then there's Jacob-E-O, Craw-de-O (CrawDad), Pa-Pa-O, and my favorite Jesus-E-O. As in "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS-E-O!!!!!!" yelled at various points around Christmas time.
What a joy she was during the holidays. I love Christmas time. I love the lights on houses. I love the Christmas tree and ornaments. I love the cold weather. I love the special holiday treats. I love traditions. I love having time with family. I love almost everything about Christmas. And what a joy it is to have a sweet little innocent child to show all of the amazing things to. She loved the pageantry of Christmas as much as I do. "I see tismas yites" was one of the many phrases that made my heart happy. She loved all the decorations. She loved singing happy birthday to Baby Jesus. She learned about the story of Jesus' birth and wanted to read the story every night. By the time Christmas rolled around she could fill in most of the blanks and identify pictures. Here's the Christmas story as Chaselyn knows it:
Mary was told by an angel that she was going to have Baby Jesus. And Joseph was excited too. An angel told him not to be scared. They rode a donkey to Bethlehem (pronounced roughly as Bellyham). The innkeeper said that there was no room. So Mary and Joseph had Baby Jesus in a Stable. Then the Shepherds who take care of sheep saw a star and went to find Baby Jesus. This made Mary very happy. Then 3 wise men saw a big star and followed it all the way to find Baby Jesus. They brought him presents (one of which she identified as rocks which is what the gold looked like in the book). Then Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus left on a donkey to get away from the mean king.
Granted there were pictures to guide her answers, but it made us proud parents for her to know at some level what Christmas was really all about.
She is also quite the trend setter. She loves her tutu and leg warmers. She's also a fan of any shoes she can find and socks worn as gloves. Hairbands and anything round double as bracelets and she has quite the collection of purses to go with any outfit.
She's at the stage where she likes a friend to go wherever she goes. Favorites are Jessie, Violet, Baby Violet, Little Baby, Baby, and during Christmas time she took Rudolph.
She is quite the thinker. She has the greatest thinking face. Like if you ask her which friend she would like to take shopping (still a favorite past time). She'll furrow her brow, kind of smirk, and then make an "a-ha" face when she's decided.
But just when you think she's made her decision you have to be careful, because she negates things by putting 'not' at the end of her sentence. So rather than saying 'I don't want to take Violet' she'll say 'I want to take Violet not.' It's very confusing, but pretty great too.
Unfortunately Chaselyn is also very aware of the word MINE. I know everyone goes through it, but I'm just not sure I can take it. It's a real bother. It's nice when she says 'My Mommy' it's not so nice when she says 'No Jacob, My Mommy.' We're working on sharing and I'm hoping that getting her back into daycare will help some.
She is a good big sister most of the time. She wants to help with everything. Eating, playing, washing, soothing, tickling, disciplining, everything. She used to want to help with diaper changes too, but I don't think she ever understood the difference in boy parts and thought I was leaving Jacob 'eewy' all the time. So eventually she just gave up. It's nice though when they play together. There's even been a couple times when Jacob started crying when Chaselyn stopped playing with him as if he missed her. So sweet.
She does something new every day. She's getting better at her ABC's She often gets all the letters except 'TUV'. She can count her fingers up to five. But past that she gets lost. Without using fingers, she tends to skip 4 and 6 on her way to 10. She's also learning other songs like twinkle, twinkle little star, Jesus loves me, and more.
I can't express how much joy I get from being able to observe her daily and watch her grow.
me: Hello, my name is Brandi. you: Hello Brandi. me: I have been living in Texas for 4.5 years. I have been a legal resident for almost 2 years. I am the parent of 2 children who were born Texans. you: Welcome Brandi. me: Thank you, it's taken me a long time to admit it to myself, but I can now, and I'm ready to grow now.
So as with many other parts of my life, I feel like I need a support group sometimes to get through these things. I need words of wisdom and support and usually just a swift kick to the rear to get me in line. But I'm tired of living a double life. So that's why I'm here today. I love Arkansas. I miss it. I miss so many people there. Family, friends, the Razorbacks, restaurants, mountains, so many things that just aren't the same as they are down here. And now as people complain about the snow they are getting in Arkansas it just makes me want to thump them in the head. I will always, always be an Arkansan. But, there's more to me now.
I like Texas too. Before my family and friends freak out on me, let me clarify. I still can't stand UT and their burnt orange obnoxiousness. And I don't like that there aren't really seasons per se. But I do like my life as it is now. And a big part of that is because of where I am.
For a long time I lived in denial. We were foreign missionaries in Texas just trying to get our edumacation and get back to our roots. After we were done with that we were willing to engage in a little experiment where we start a family, I work full time and Stanton works more than full time to start a company. Still on the ready to go back to AR at the drop of a dime, hoping that's where God was getting us back to. But now, there's no denying it and I'm actually embracing it. My family is living in Texas. My children are Texans. And I'm not going to apologize for it any more.
God has blessed us beyond what we could hope for. And as my dear friend so eloquently put it, but being apologetic and denying what was going on for us, we were diminishing God's glory and grace in our lives. And I'm done. A while back I was able to say that I really enjoyed a lot about our lives, I just wanted Waco to be transplanted about 6.5 hours to the northeast. While I would still love for that to happen, it's really not very likely. So I'm just going to fully and completely embrace my life here. Yes, I live in Waco, TX. Yes, my children are Texans. Yes, I miss out on a lot of family things. Yes, I like the attention of being the event when we do make trips back home. Yes, I am happy.
I have a great network of friends. I have a part time job that I love. I have the ability to be at home 5 days a week with my kids. Stanton is doing a job that he loves and finds great value in. We are in a good place for our kids to grow. Our kids are healthy and happy. And quite frankly if I don't change my attitude soon, my kids might grow up thinking they are second class citizens because of where they were born. While I do want them to know how much we love AR, what it means to us, and all the great things about it. I've got to stop being so reactive to the few Texans I know who think they are somehow privileged because they were born here. It should just be a non-issue. There are some pretty neat things Texas has to offer. And we need to take some time to enjoy them.
On that note, part of this shift was due to the realization that we can no longer escape back to AR whenever we want. Stanton's job keeps him BUSY. He is allotted a good number of vacation days, but by the time you take some time for Christmas vacation, a summer vacation, a spring trip and a fall trip, there's not many days left. We no longer have the luxury of academic schedules. And we also want the kids to have more experiences than just traveling to and from Arkansas once a month (though we're not sure how this balances with how much we value their time spent with family). We want to go to zoos, maybe some camping, do short day trips when we can. Unfortunately, this means we won't see our families as much. But hopefully they'll be able to make some extra special time for us when we do come. And maybe start making even more trips down here.
It's a hard shift for me to make. But I'm not going to apologize any more for living in Texas. We truly believe that we're here because of God's grace and provision. And as another blogger put it, it's time for me to BWYP - Bloom Where You're Planted.
p.s. Speaking of being unapologetic, my background will remain Christmas-y until my house is no longer decorated. I set the minimum amount of time based on bowl games. Christmas lights and tree stay up and on through bowl season. Stanton is out of town this weekend, so I'm guessing you may see a switch around the 20th or so. :)
So I asked Stanton to do Jacob's 8 month update and he did a marvelous job on telling what he did over the last month, but I felt it was somewhat lacking in some of the details. So here's the skinny.
The title: "Jacob-E" is Chaselyn's term of endearment toward her little brother. And so it's become our nickname for the little man too. Other versions inspired by our sweet girl include "Jacob-E-O" and "Jacoboy" and "Jacoboy-E-O". (I'll have to do another post to update Chaselyn's ever expanding cuteness). My personal nickname is Buddy Bear as in "Hey there Buddy Bear" a la Tigger pouncing Winnie the Pooh.
The food: Jacob is eating the stage 2 foods and handling them quite nicely. He generally has 4 oz. of cereal and some fruit for breakfast around 9:00. Lunch is around 2:00 and consists ofa jar of some meal type concoction such as chicken noodle, turkey and rice, etc. along with half a jar of veggies (As Stanton mentioned, we have nixed the sweet potatoes. He likes them, but they seem to be to blame for many fussy days.). Dinner is a little more flexible. Sometimes he eats his meal around 6 and sometimes not until around 8. For dinner he eats the leftover fruit from breakfast, the leftover veggies from lunch, 2 oz. of cereal and either a jar of meat or another meal jar. I have great ambitions to become less dependent on Gerber for Jacob's food, but for now, it's what I can manage. He also takes about four or five 4 oz. bottles throughout the day.
The sleeping: Jacob goes to bed around 9:00. He has been waking up regularly around 3am for a little snack, then up again at around 6. At this point he can either wake up and get going for the day or snuggle back into bed and snooze until around 8. We are hoping to have him out of our room (finally) by the end of the week. That will be our opportunity to try some of the tough love to get him to sleep through the night. He was supposed to be out by the 6 month mark, but some redecorating issues are just now being addressed. He has been taking pretty good naps in the mid-morning and late afternoon. We're just getting it worked out after the crazy Jacob that was taking over my sweet boy for about 2 months.
The tricks: Jacob is mobile. He can roll in any direction and scoots a little to get toys that are just out of his reach. He babbles and coos and makes raspberries to show excitement. The newest trick is sitting up for nice long periods of time. And since we got the fussiness worked out, he's able to play more contently. He also likes to make noises by rubbing his arm across his mouth while he babbles. It's cute I'll try to get some video.
As you can tell both Mommy and Daddy are very happy to have their little man back to normal. Who knew something with sweet in the name could cause so much sadness?!
You are a growing little man. We are so happy to hear your coos and laughs. We are so relieved that you are back to being the joy that we knew you always were. And above all, we're happy that you aren't uncomfortable anymore. Your smile is amazing. And we love to see your curiosity as you roll and scoot your way around to get into all kinds of trouble. We know that in a few short months you'll probably be a bit more curious than we're ready for, but we'll try to let you be as free as we can. Just take it easy on us. We love you so much and were reminded during our Christmas break of how many other people there are out there who love you too. You are blessed with a great network of friends and family who want only the best for you. Keep growing and learning, we're all watching.
Stanton here to tell you about our 8 month old little guy.
He started out the month completely crazy, which is how he has spent the majority of his awake time. Just look at that mad look in his eyes.
This month he had his first Christmas season which means pictures in front of his first Christmas tree. He enjoyed it most when he wasn't being smished by his sister.
He enjoyed mommy's birthday and a special visit from friends.
He saw Christmas lights and his very first Razorback basketball game.
He had his first Christmas and visit from Santa at the same time he was showing off his new floor skills.
And, he finally joined Mommy's Tigger collection.
Jacob has ended his eighth month crazy happy. Brandi seems to have solved the great mystery of why he was constantly fussy and overly needy. The culprit? Sweet potatoes. There is still some experimentation left, but he is an amazingly happy little boy now. Now he has time to play in his seats and on the floor with his toys, and in the last two days seems to be catching up on his previously missed learning time. It's very exciting and I'm very happy for him to be feeling better.
Mom of beautiful Chaselyn and handsome Jacob.
Wife of wonderful husband Stanton.
Daughter of lovely parents.
Sister of siblings I've grown to love (yes it took some growing on my part to learn to love them).
Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics.
Student of life.
Friend of many great people.
Child of God.