Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas

    Christmas is almost here!! I can't believe it. Our family has been so blessed this year from the purchase of our first house to the birth of our second son Reid! I have definitely seen Psalm 37:4 come to fruition in our lives. ("Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart") I have had two main desires this year and I am sitting inside on the couch in one and holding the other in my arms!  God has been so incredibly good to us!

   Milt and I had a conversation the other night about Christmas with the boys and how we want to make sure that the focus is always on Christ a not how many gifts they get. We shared stories of other couples that we admire and how they either put a money limit on each child, or a present number limit. Milt shared about how a couple that he knows give their children four gifts each year. Each child receives these gifts: something they want, something they need, a book, and something meaningful (a bible, devotional, or even a memory making gift) I LOVE this idea! 

   Christmas is such a huge part of my happy memories from growing up, but as I recount my memories I couldn't tell you more than maybe three gifts that my parents gave me. My happy memories are making Christmas cookies with my mom and sister, playing our annual Foosball game with my dad, brother, and sister, sitting with the whole family on Christmas Eve listening to my dad read us the Christmas story out of his bible. I cherish all of these memories and I want Cooper and Reid to have some of the same! 

   I am so excited to spend our first Christmas as a family of four in our home! I have loved taking the boys to pick out their Christmas ornaments, and making our first batch of Christmas cookies. I know we will have many more Christmas seasons here but for some reason this one has been so incredibly meaningful!

                                          ~ Merry Christmas from our family to yours ~


Monday, December 3, 2012

My Favorite time of Year!

   This is my favorite picture from Thanksgiving break! I have never seen two brothers love each other so much. No one can make Reid light up like Cooper can and Cooper loves it when he gets a smile or laugh out of Reid. I can't believe that 5 months have passed since Reid was born. It has flown by. I find myself enjoying each stage much more than I did with Coop. I don't want any day to rush by or any new stage to get here before its supposed to. I realize even more after having Cooper grow up on me that these first few months are precious and priceless! 

  Reid is in the process of cutting his first tooth and attempting to roll over. He has quite the tummy so he gets angry at me if I leave him on his stomach for too long :D He is such a happy baby and will flirt at anyone that looks his way.

  Cooper and I have started doing a few preschool things at home during the week. He is so smart (witty really LOL) We have talked about homeschooling him. If that happens, I will only have him at home through elementary school. After that I am sure that he will be smarter than me and teaching him would be more of a challenge! 

  I am so excited for Christmas and to start our own family traditions this year. So far Cooper and Reid have had their first taste of Eggnog, we have made Christmas cookies, put up three Christmas trees (two of them at my parents house, and started an advent calendar. I can't wait to be able to share with you the stories that I'm sure I will have of Cooper and the unique way he views the world this Christmas season!
  I am one hooked mommy. Both of them have me wrapped around their fingers. I am truly thankful this year for the boys in my life and the amazing husband that just stares at me when I become a pushover at one droopy lip look from Cooper!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Season of change

  We have had the best month! It has been filled with many get togethers with friends, family days, days of doing nothing, and days of making memories. Our family has been so blessed these past few weeks with the closing on our first home, to the friends that help us celebrate. This pictures was taken on Halloween. We spent the evening with friends from our small group at church. As I watched Coop run around in his cowboy getup with his friends, I thought about how happy I am that he will grow up surrounded by these amazing people. We are part of a church community that has loved on us from day one and is so completely invested in our lives so much that we never thought once about moving away from Knoxville once Milt graduated.

  This has also been a month of change. Cooper started preschool the week after he turned 3. He has been hesitant, to say the least, every morning to go but enjoys it once he is there. We were still having problems with him feeling comfortable and getting sick from nerves up until this past week. We decided it was best for him and us to pull him out and feel out preschool next year. Where does that leave us? I have a nice little area set up in the dining room where we are going to do a little preschool at home. I am a wife and mother at heart first, but a teacher next. I love watching him catch onto new concepts! I am pretty sure I am more excited about it than he is. 

  I loved having three mornings a week when it was just me and Reid, but I am looking forward to having Coop home again. I don't ever want to look back and feel like I made him grow up to fast or force him to do something that wasn't what was best for him. We live right next door to one of his best friends, and we have play dates with his other friends at least once a week, so i'm not to worried about him interacting with other kids! I'm praying for the best and hoping that this ends up being a great experience for both of us. I'll keep you updated!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tis the Season

I admit it...........I am one of those people that skips right over Halloween and Thanksgiving the moment  we have a day below 75 degrees and the stores start stocking Christmas cards. I can't seem to help myself! I tell people that I grew up in a house that might as well be the North Pole starting the day after Thanksgiving. My best family memories more times that not come from the month of December. My parents raised us to cherish family time and to love Jesus (insert the season of Christmas!)

Now that Milt and I are spending the first Christmas since getting married in 2006 at our home instead of my parents I feel the pressure to make those memories just as special for Cooper and Reid. I want the house to look just right, I want to Pinterest the heck out of each room LOL, I have been trying to find crafts and homemade gifts for us to make, cookie recipes, and the best books to read them.

It hit me today that I am missing a great opportunity to create wonderful memories and teach them things..........The entire season of Fall and Thanksgiving!  What a better time to show them the importance of family and how to be thankful. I am thankful every day for my parents and they values they taught me. I knew how to be grateful for what I had. Even though it was very little at times I didn't know I was missing out on anything. Things weren't important to me. My parents raised me to put a bigger priority put on relationships and creating memories with the people I loved. My favorite thanksgiving memory was when I was in elementary school and my grandmother helped me make a layout of a house completely out of leaves. I was complete with furniture and a full bathroom! I want Cooper and Reid to have those times to look back on too, therefore I need to not rush and just be in the moment with them.

I want to make sure that I don't skip over time with my kids during the holidays. They already grow up to fast as it is! This fall I will be thankful, and not rush the days. I'm excited to spend the next few months making memories!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Playing catch up!


Life has been a little crazy lately! Let me see if I can catch you up. When Milt graduated from Johnson in May, we really didn't know if he would still be working at Johnson as the graphic designer or not. He had been working there since he started school but his employment wasn't guaranteed after he graduated. Therefore, our housing on campus wasn't guaranteed either. We started looking for places to rent shortly after graduation because we wanted to be moved in before Reid was born. I called one of my friends, Betsy, in a moment of sheer panic one morning because I can always count on her to chill me out! She informed me that her neighbors were selling their house. Seeing as renting somewhere we felt safe to raise our children was going to cost the same as buying a house, we began to pray about the possibility of buying.

We called the homeowners and let them know our situation and that we couldn't start the buying process to even see if we qualified until Milt's job was secured. Tasha (the homeowner) very quickly became a friend. I felt an instant connection with her and felt like I could share my heart with her. I remember telling my mom that it felt like we were trying to buy a home from family! We drove over to see the house and Cooper very quickly realized that he could be living right next door to one of his best friends and ran straight to the fence separating the yards and began yelling for him!
Tasha told Milt and I once we were getting ready to leave that she was praying for us. She had been praying that the next people to come and look at the house would be the new homeowners. She had a peace that we were the ones. Knowing that she was praying as hard as we were gave me such huge peace.

A month later we were told that Milt's job was only guaranteed through September and that the chances for him to stay on were 50/50 after that. We were disappointed and a little stressed out. I called Tasha the next day and sadly told her that we could not pursue the house but as soon as Milt found a job that we would call her if the house was still on the market. I didn't give another thought to the house that day, I was too exhausted.

Milt and I were leaving small group later that night when I received a call from Tasha. She said that she and her husband had talked and prayed about what to do next and felt like if they listed the house that they would be taking our house from us, (I get chills every time I get to this part in the story, even when I'm typing it.) I told her that I felt like it was our home too. In my mind, I could picture bringing Reid home and raising our family here. I pictured their first day of school, taking pictures on the porch, and all the holidays that we would spend there. Tasha asked me if we would be interested in renting until Milt found a job and we could potentially purchase the home. I have never felt more humbled and more excited all in the same moment. I just knew that God was in this and that his plan was WAY bigger than we had even thought of for ourselves.

We frantically moved into the house a week later (15 days before Reid was born). We continued to job hunt for Milt, still feeling like Knoxville was where God wanted us to be. Nothing was looking promising, but Milt was okay with that because he still felt like Johnson, somehow, was going to work out. Milt continued to go above and beyond as he always had at work. He really tried, and succeeded, to make himself irreplaceable. To make a story about a LONG process short, believe it or not, a few weeks ago Milt was hired on at Johnson University as the graphic designer! He has worked so hard and proven him self over and over. I am beyond proud of him and excited that he is doing something that he is so passionate about. He loves his job, his co-workers and the University.

I believe the chain of phone calls went something like this: parents, siblings, Tasha! She celebrated with me over the phone and told me to let her know if there was anything that she could help us with during the process. We applied for the loan last week and have an estimated closing date for the end of this month! God is so good, and his timing is perfect. Yes it has been stressful. I have cried, yelled, given up, laughed, repeat, repeat, repeat. Milt has been with me through it all and I love him for it! We love this home already! We have made some amazing new friends because of it, created some amazing memories already, and are beyond excited for our life here. :D

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The new world of having a 3 year old!

I knew things would be different as Cooper approached 3. I was warned by parents of 3 year olds and from my weekly parenting emails! I look back on the past year of him being 2 and I know we had struggles but all I remember are the good times........the first time he told Milt that he was his best friend, all the times he kissed my belly and said "i love you baby Reid" while I was pregnant, and watching him learn things he didn't know the day before!
  Cooper turned 3 last Saturday and all of a sudden he is more independent, smarter, and wittier than he should be (without getting in trouble .........most of the time)  It makes me feel like I am quickly running out of time to have my say on the person he will be when he grows up. It reminds me of all the things that I wanted to do with him and as a family the past year that we never got around to. Having your kid have a birthday is like a having a parent's New Year's. I made "Cooper's 3" resolutions! lol This year I will try to read with him more, take him outside more, and let him call the shots some days on what we do cause most of the time he has amazing ideas! Most of all I will be more patient with him. He may drive me crazy sometimes but Cooper is the most thoughtful, loving, hilarious little boy I know.
  I'm hoping that this time next year I can say that all I remember are the good times and that I made the most of everyday we spent together!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cassie Ruth

  My beautiful sister moves up to Knoxville tomorrow!!!!!! I am beyond excited to have my Cassie 5 miles away. I was lucky to have grown up with a super close family and it has been hard to not to see them as much since moving to Knoxville. (they live in Alabama)
  Cassie just graduated from Troy University with her bachelors in Psychology and is about to start her graduate work at Johnson. She is going to be an amazing counselor!!  She loves people and honestly cares. I can't tell you how many times I have called her and she has given me advice beyond her years. 
  This photo speaks for itself but I have a little boy who is smitten with his aunt Cass. They gave a bond that I see continuing through Coopers adulthood. Cassie spoils the socks off of him and he in return thinks that she hung the moon! 
  I'm looking forward to dinners, movie nights, shopping trips, and just great sister time while Cassie is in Knoxville. God is going to use her to do some pretty awesome things and I can't wait to be right there with her!                     Love you sister <3


Monday, July 30, 2012

Reid's Birthday : Part 2

   Here is the second half of Reid's big day! I left off where Milt and I were headed to the hospital.................(also, be warned it was such a whirlwind from here that I don't know what time it was from on thing to another!)
   Milt pulled into the front of the Women's Pavilion at St. Mary's where our doula was waiting for us. I got out and went in with her while Milt parked the car. I think Danielle wanted to laugh at me as we went up the elevator to the L&D floor cause I was still in the excited stage but stopped to have contractions then went right back to chatting and smiling. I have never been so excited to be in labor! I had waited 9 months for this, to deliver Reid the way that we wanted to :D
   Once we got upstairs they took us into a triage room to check me and make sure that my water did break and that I was truly in labor. It hurt so bad to lay down for this but I new I would be in a room and hopefully in the birthing pool soon. The nurse said that I was still 6cm and that my water did in fact break (No duh! I wanted to say, cause it's still running down my leg LOL) They got us into our L&D room and we waited for our midwife to come while they got us checked in and got my vitals and Reid's heart rate. They very quickly set up the birthing pool cause they were afraid that I was about to have a very quick delivery. One of the nurses joked to me, "I'm setting this pool up so you better use it! :D" I let her know that I would sit in it with Reid after I delivered if he refused to wait till she was finished. From the moment that conversation ended with the nurse my contractions starting coming fast. I was still able to stay on top of them but I don't think I said another full sentence until Reid was delivered. I was in full concentration mode. Milt was wonderful! He was there to encourage me, rub my hair and just let me know that I was doing amazing and that he was so proud of me. Milt's and Danielle's encouragement really kept me focused on the goal and kept me calm! I had about three contractions before I could make it up to get into the pool. The water was such a great relief but only for a short time. 
   My contractions started coming in twos and were not letting me have a resting period at all. My doula and midwife noticed this and realized that Reid was turned the wrong way and that was what was causing my contraction to couple like they were. They told me to get out of the pool and into the bed so that I could get into a position to try and encourage Reid to turn into a better position for delivery. This was incredibly uncomfortable and I let them know I was not to happy about it but I would do it anyway! LOL This was about the time that I had enough of Milt rubbing my hair and snapped at him during a contraction. Thank goodness he understood and didn't take it personally :D Reid did turn the right way so I flipped over to start pushing. Unknown to me as soon as I flipped over Reid did to. Milt said Reid continued to flip back and forth the entire time I was pushing and was born in a corkscrew fashion! Once he crowned my midwife saw that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice and was the reason he was flipping back and forth. (they didn't tell me this at the time and I'm so thankful for that LOL) Once she unwrapped the cord I pushed one or two more times and Reid was here!
    I was completely amazed at what I had just accomplished. Somewhere in the back of my head I think I felt like having a natural birth would just be a pipe dream for me. They placed Reid on my chest and he took his sweet time crying for the first time but was so calm and content. I just kept saying thank you over and over again to our doula and to Milt for helping me. Reid then nursed for the first time like a pro! It was just one more confirmation to us that we did this birth the right way for our little man. The positive news just kept on coming. While I was feeding Reid my midwife went to do repairs on me. She jumped up and said, "Well, you don't need any stitches! Way to go momma." (considering how Reid came into the world that was quite a feat!) 
   My water broke at 9:30 that morning and Reid was born a short five hours later at 2:30pm. Reid ended up surpassing Cooper by a few pounds :) Reid was born a hefty 9lbs 1oz and 20 3/4 inches long. I would not change anything about that day and will always have amazing memories of Reid's birthday. I am forever thankful to our doula, and midwife but without Milt's support and knowing me so well, I could have never made it through. Milt has told everyone that he knew I could handle a natural birth and that I was stronger than I thought. His faith in me is the reason I kept going when I wanted to cave. I love that man!
  Our family of four is amazing and I'm already forgetting what it was like when it was just the three of us. Happy Birthday Reid! I love you <3

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reid's Birthday : Part 1

The day that we came home from the hospital with  our first son Cooper, we promised ourselves that our next birth experience would be different. Not that Cooper's was a bad one it was just full of circumstances that we could have prevented had we educated ourselves as well as some unfortunate things that we really had no control over. I was induced (for really no reason other than I was tired of being pregnant), I was on epidural meds for over 12 hours, Cooper had jaundice and was a horrible nurser (which I blame on his two week early arrival) and last but not least when administering my epidural they ended up causing me to leak spinal fluid resulting in a spinal headache for the first 2 weeks of Cooper's life. If you have never heard of these or experienced one take a migraine and multiply by ten. I wasn't even capable of sitting up straight. Remembering that experience, the first thing we did when planning our birth this time around was hire a doula. I knew that if I wanted to have the best chance of having a normal first few weeks of being a mother with no spinal headache and a good start to breast feeding that I was going to have a natural birth. Hiring Danielle as our doula was the best decision we could have made. Not only was she our friend already but she helped educate us and encourage us as well as keep me excited all throughout my pregnancy.
  Coming to the end of my pregnancy, I had the thoughts that every 39 week pregnant woman has........"This baby is never going to come out! I just know it!" In the last few weeks before Reid was born I had done everything I knew of to start labor: Eating spicy food, walking, sitting on an exercise ball, etc with no avail. It really didn't help me with having patience when starting at week 36 my midwife told us that I was already 3cm dilated. I continued to dilate all the way to 6cm by week 38 with practically no discomfort. I was so excited that everything seemed to be moving quickly and was praying Reid would come meet us sooner than later. I felt that it would still be a week or so before he came cause I still wasn't feeling any contractions.
 Milt's father came up to stay with us for a couple of days after hearing how my doctors appt had gone. (looking back it's a godsend that he did!) My sister was here for her masters classes the same weekend. She begged for me to go into labor all day and night on Friday. We went for a walk around the block and talked about how great it would be if she could be here when Reid was born. 
  Saturday morning Cassie went to class and Milt, Cooper and I slept in and got up around 8am to enjoy a family day together. Milt was wonderful and made us breakfast: eggs, bacon, and biscuits. I finished eating and just felt like lying down. So I laid down on the couch while Cooper watched cartoons at about 9:30am. Before I could even get comfortable, my water broke. I think the conversation went like this............

Me: (trying not to yell from the living room)Um..........Milt, I think my water just broke!
Milt : (from the kitchen) Huh? least let me get dressed!

I called my doula and she told me to not waste to much time at home since I was already so far dilated, but to go ahead and get a shower and start timing contractions once the came. Once my contractions started, after taking a shower, I remember laughing about how silly it seemed that I had called my doula almost everyday the week before trying to decide if what I was feeling were real contractions! LOL There was no doubt in my mind what I was feeling now! They started off pretty bearable but very close together. (this was about 10:30am) We waited through about 5-10 contractions and decided after calling our doula that it was time to go to the hospital. Milt's dad was at our house by this time so we had no worries about Cooper at all. We called him in our room before we left and explained in two year old terms what was going on and that he was about to meet his baby brother. (not sure if it registered or not!) Milt then helped me waddle to the car and we set off for the hospital. I was still in a very excited mood and so ready to meet our son! 
  Halfway to the hospital my contraction were getting stronger and less than 60 seconds apart. I was so ready to get off the road and into a hospital room with Milt and my doula so that I could concentrate. 

To be continued..........................


Monday, July 23, 2012

The beginning.... it goes. I wanted a place to share life, thoughts, and what not that goes on in the Chamblee household. On June 30th of this year we became a family of four. We welcomed Reid into our family and haven't looked back since. I'll share his birth story with you soon :D I love having two boys. It is certainly not an easy feat, nor am I completely settled into having two kids. (Reid is only three weeks old so I feel like I have a little more time to adjust!) In these three weeks however I have had time to think about what I want them to experience as they grow up, what's the most important things to teach them, what kind of household I want them to have and what kind of men I want to try to raise them to be. I haven't covered all of those yet but I do know that I want them to be adventurers.  

"An adventure is defined as an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold,  risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome."

I want them to be bold and not try to fit in. I want them to grow up in a Christian household and look to Milt for how to be a godly man but make their christian walk personal and not ride on Milt and my faith. I want them to struggle with God on their own and go on an incredible and completely unique adventure with him that makes them fall in love with him more and more everyday. 

Having a house full of boys is amazing, crazy, and never dull. I love this life and raising my adventurers!