Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

Wow, did 2012 fly by! This time a year ago, we were just learning that our family would be expanding by one; now, we've got a 3.5 year old and a 3.5 month old!

In lieu of the traditional Christmas letter, we invite you to peruse back through the blog. If you just want the highlights, here are a few:
Jeff's been busier than ever at work, leading some of Baylor's new social media efforts in addition to his work with Baylor Magazine. Bethany's been busier than ever at home, watching after twice as many little ones!

We hope you enjoy the blog; you can also keep up with our family on Twitter (@astrosjeff, @equusbeth, and @BrownBearCubs), or find Jeff and Bethany on Facebook. Drop us a line -- we'd love to know what life has been like in your world!

Until then, we wish you a blessed Christmas and a happy new year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

LittleBear gets a BigBear bed!

To celebrate LittleBear's 3.5-year birthday (and because he was getting too big for his old car bed), he got to move up to a "big boy" (twin) bed!

Here he is pretending to be asleep for a photo:

The transition went relatively smoothly... We've had a few "I want my old bed" moments, but he has relatively quickly been talked out of that. He got to pick out some new sheets -- he chose the fun, old-school Sesame Street set you see above -- and has enjoyed having those.

Here he is describing the sheets:

He's growing up so fast!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Guess Who's Three Months Old Today? LadyBear!!


Well, time just keeps on flying! LadyBear has grown out of the newborn stage where she loved to curl up on my shoulder and sleep all day.  She still loves to snuggle (hooray!), but she's a lot more aware of what's going on around her and doesn't really want to sleep that much during the day.  She loves to sit and watch whatever is going on (usually her entertainment is courtesy of LittleBear) and is still generally content unless she has a reason not to be (hungry, tired, diaper).  All in all, she is sleeping well at night and eating great.  We are very thankful!

As of this afternoon, LadyBear weighs in at 14.5 lbs (on our bathroom scale). She has been trying to roll over and can easily get on to her side, but not much further than that.

She loves to play silly games with Daddy and looks for Brother whenever she hears his voice.  The Christmas tree has become quite the attraction for her with the lights and different ornaments, she loves to have someone walk her up close to it.  She has also become quite the little talker telling us baby babbles happily throughout the day.  She's a happy girl and we are SO happy to have her!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Few Minutes With The Kiddos...

Family who don't get to see our kids often...this one is for you!  If you were to spend a few minutes alone with each one in the comfort of our home, this is what you might expect to happen...


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Learning To Serve: Operation Christmas Child

This year, LittleBear put together his first box for Operation Christmas Child and boy, did we have a good time.  We will definitely be making this an annual tradition!  We watched a few videos of kids opening their boxes from previous years and then talked about how this would be the only Christmas presents this little boy who receives our box would have. 

LittleBear seemed game for it, so we headed off to a couple stores shopping for a little boy ages 2-4.  He really enjoyed it and insisted on carrying the basket through the store, even once it was full.  He picked out a lot of his favorites: a bag of dum dum lollipops, a small basketball, a magna-doodle, an ambulance, and an adorable stuffed monkey with really long legs and arms with hands that velcro together.

Here is a list of what we included in our shoe box:
- our letter/coloring page with picture of LittleBear
- sheet of shiny transportation themed stickers
- coloring book of favorite Bible stories
- 24 pack of Crayola crayons
- comb
- toothbrush
- toothpaste
- soap in a plastic travel soap container
- ladybug wash mitt (I tried to heavily suggest he get the frog instead of the ladybug, but there was no changing his mind...ladybug it is)
- basketball
- magna doodle
- wooden ambulance
- wooden ice cream truck
- 4 pack of simple jigsaw puzzles (3 pc, 4 pc, 5 pc and 6 pc)
- stuffed monkey
- six punch balloons
- two of those rolled up party favors that you blow open (not explaining that well at all)
- one bag of dum dum lollipops
- plastic slinky
- strawberry that folds out into a large nylon tote bag (in case the shoe box doesn't last long)

I am told each child also receives a Bible in their own language.   We bought a plastic shoe box from the Dollar Store thinking it would last longer for the recipient than a regular shoe box, but there was no way once it was packed so we resorted to a regular shoe box instead (Yes, I own a pair of purple bowling sneakers).  Next year I think we'll just go with the boxes that Operation Christmas Child provides.

I wish I had taken a picture of the box all packed!  There was no way we could have fit one more thing in there :)  Hopefully our little boy will like everything we picked out.  Next year, I think we'll also do a box for a 10-14 year old boy as I've heard there aren't usually enough of those to go around and I saw a ton of things this year that I think would have been good for a 10-14 yr old boy.

We finally got our box all packed (minus a horse and a cow that wouldn't fit) and stopped off at Chick-Fil-A this afternoon to turn in our box.  LittleBear was so proud.  They gave him a sticker and a coupon for a free chicken sandwich!  One of the ladies at the drop-off said that most of the boxes they pick up at this location end up in Central America, but we'll find out what country it goes to when it gets there.  LittleBear and Mommy are both excited to find out where it goes!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guess Who's Two Months Old Today? LadyBear!!

Wow, time is really flying!  Today, LadyBear hit the two month mark and I'm having a hard time remembering where October went.  LadyBear loves to look around and take in the sights of wherever she is, be it the Baylor Homecoming Parade or admiring the stained glass windows during our BSF class.  Like her big brother, she seems very observant.  She still enjoys time on her playmat and also loves being carried around.

Big Brother LittleBear still really loves "Little Sister."  He takes great care of her and makes sure I do too.  He's an amazing big brother!

LadyBear has been smiling up a storm lately and we all love to see it.  Her dark eyes are starting to brighten up and she is quite the little joy.  As you can tell from the pictures, she's still eating well and she sleeps ok most nights.  We stopped swaddling her arms and she hasn't seemed to mind.  Again, like her big brother, she seems to be a pretty laid back little baby.  We love our LadyBear!!! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Family Treat Night 2012

We have decided to skip celebrating that one holiday that happens at the end of October, with one possible exception depending on how you view it.  One event we look forward to each year is "Family Treat Night" at Baylor.  For two hours, they invite the kids and grandkids of Baylor Faculty and Staff to visit a dorm in costume and interact with/get candy from the students.  As a student, I loved participating in this event and missed it when I didn't live in the dorms anymore.  LittleBear loves seeing students on campus and this is the only chance he gets to go inside a dorm, so we make an exception.  Plus, it's just fun. 

Admittedly, LittleBear has very little knowledge of TV, movies or what is on.  He likes Sesame Street (we have one DVD), Boz (I think we have four DVDs) and the only movies he has ever seen all the way through, Toy Story (specifically, Toy Story 2).  Since LadyBear took a little longer to join us than I thought she would I found I had a bit of extra time on my hands, so I decided to make costumes for the kids.  My mom did an amazing job growing up of making our costumes each year (THANK YOU SO MUCH, MOM!) and I really appreciated (even more so now) the time and effort she poured into them.  It was a bit tricky as I had no idea what size LadyBear would be and I needed to go with costumes that were fast, not too complicated and mostly used materials I already had on hand to keep costs down.  (Thank goodness for felt, my new favorite fabric.  You don't have to hem it and it's super durable!)  All that combined with LittleBear's interests and we came up with Sheriff Woody and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl

It turns out it was a good choice because when we asked LittleBear who he might like to dress up as, he said Buzz or Woody.  He was so excited when he found out I was working on a Woody costume for him and a Jessie costume for Little Sister!

My favorite little Sheriff!

Our little cowgirl

We got the chance to go through Ruth Collins Hall (all six floors!) where the residents of each floor decorated according to the theme of a different Disney movie.   LittleBear was so happy to discover there was a Toy Story floor.  A group of gals even had the theme to Woody's Roundup playing, which is a song that LittleBear really enjoys (he walked up and said "It's the Rootinest, Tootinest song!").  He stopped a while and danced with them (see below), which was really cute.  Apparently, the gals even thought so because they were pulling out their phones to snap a picture just like I was with my camera.  It really was cute!
Woody's Roundup Dance Party

We strolled through the halls and often heard exclamations from parents, kids and students of "It's Woody!"  Then "Aw, look at the baby! She's Jessie!" when I followed with LadyBear in her stroller. 

Choosing a piece of candy from a student on the Monster's Inc floor

LittleBear commented "That was SO fun!" as we were leaving so I am certain we will be doing this again next year.
As an aside, we don't let LittleBear have ALL the candy he gets on one of these evenings (especially from six floors)!  We weed out the things he just can't eat (jawbreakers, tootsie rolls, taffy, and peanut related candies), then Jeff and I have a "Candy Draft" after LittleBear goes to bed to go through those weeded out items.  Whatever is not chosen is pitched.

Big Brother got smiles :)

And we were also treated to a yodel from the Yodeling Cowgirl herself...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012

We joined some friends this evening in visiting a "pumpkin patch." (I use quotes because it was really just a bunch of pumpkins in the yard of a church, but hey, that works for us!) LittleBear had fun running around and checking out all the pumpkins; LadyBear just looked and looked around. Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Many Facial Expressions of LadyBear!

LadyBear has reached the six week mark and with it came what I am calling "On Purpose" smiles, meaning those smiles that show us she is happy.  We all LOVE to see her smile.  So far, Daddy gets the most smiles by far, followed by LittleBear and then there's me in last place.  *SIGH*
She had a baby well check this morning and weighed in at 11 lbs, 8 oz, so it looks like our bathroom scale might not have been as off as we thought!  Hooray for LadyBear!  She's also 22.5 inches long and doing fine health-wise.  
I pulled out the camera yesterday to try and capture her gorgeous smile that lights up a room and didn't catch one, but I did get some other facial expressions which I thought were cute and might help to show how expressive she is at home.  Clearly photography is NOT one of my talents...(by the way, I'm ok with that...Thankfully, I've got talented friends that help me document my family from time to time in much better quality pictures :) )
the closest thing I got to a smile...

seriously Mom, we're doing this photo shoot thing again?!

We love our little girl!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

LadyBear Strolls Baylor's Campus

In our last post, we told you we are Baylor Proud.  Well, we thought it was time to introduce LadyBear to Baylor's beautiful campus.  She had met the bears already, but hadn't seen much else.
The weather was lovely and the flowers smelled SO good!! 
 We definitely enjoyed our little walk around the older part of campus...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

We are Baylor Proud!

Just like her brother, LadyBear is quickly picking up on the fact that our family is, yes, Baylor Proud!  :)

We're still a little slow getting stuff to the blog; these pictures were taken right about her one-month birthday by our friend Robbie. Thanks, Robbie! Below are a few favorites; click here to see the entire gallery.


Thanks again, Robbie!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fun & Random: Music!

Today, as we were playing together with a rainmaker toy that we have, LittleBear and I got to talking about different sounds, particularly the sound of the rain falling.
Somehow from there we got to talking about how we can make fun sounds with our voices and hands.  In an attempt to help, I showed him this video that Jeff found a while back that shows a pretty impressive acapella performance.  I think we all enjoyed it (LadyBear in particular)!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Guess Who's One Month Old Today? LadyBear!!!

WOW. We can't believe it's already been a month since LadyBear arrived and came to live with us "on the outside."  It really doesn't feel like it has been that long. She truly is a joy and a pleasure to have in the family. Earlier today, LittleBear came up to me unprompted, totally on his own, and said, "Mommy, I like my little sister." Oh, may that still be true in four years and beyond!!

According to our bathroom scale (which cannot possibly be right), LadyBear now weighs 11 pounds (?!) and is 21 inches long. She was 7 pounds, 5 ounces, and 21 inches long when last checked two and a half weeks ago.  She's out of newborn clothes (with the exception of two pairs of pants) and into 0-3 months, which thankfully we have a good supply of (thank you everyone!).  She eats like a champ and sleeps pretty well at night.  We've been swaddling her at night (which she doesn't seem to mind), just to differentiate between days and nights, and we think that helps, though we haven't been brave enough to try and let her sleep at night without the swaddle (she does nap without it).

She loves to hear her big brother's voice and will try to find him whenever she hears him.  He takes excellent care of her and is an amazing big brother.  She likes to eat, snuggle and spend time on her playmat.  In true girly fashion, she also seems to enjoy baths.  All in all, she is a pretty contented baby and really only fusses when she is hungry, needs her diaper changed or her tummy is not feeling well...all understandable.
Here is a recent video of her in action (sporting her favorite lei onesie for her Auntie and Uncle in Hawaii):

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tummy Time for LadyBear

One thing we learned early on about LadyBear is that she is physically a strong little girl.  The nurses at the hospital even remarked about this immediately after she was born as they were trying to get her footprint.  She's holding her head up like a pro and looking around with very little wobbliness.  Way to go, LadyBear!  Here she is in action!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Welcome, LadyBear!

It's taken us three weeks to get this blog up. [Chalk that up to taking care of two little ones now!]

LadyBear made her arrival much more quickly, joining Bethany, me (Jeff) and LittleBear three weeks ago today, on Sept. 7. Here's how that day went:
  • 1:30 a.m. Bethany woke up with contractions.
  • 2:30 a.m. Bethany woke me up and said I might want to get up and start getting ready.
  • 3:45 a.m. We left to drop LittleBear off with some friends (thanks again, Maynards!) and head to the hospital.
  • 4:15 a.m. We got checked in at the hospital.
  • 4:52 a.m. LadyBear entered the world!
My mom got to Waco about 10 a.m.; Bethany's parents arrived from Miami about 2:30 p.m. After my mom came to the hospital and saw us, she and I headed to pick up LittleBear and some lunch and bring both back to the hospital, so Big Brother met his Little Sister (he still calls her that more often than "Olivia") about noon the day she was born.

By noon the next day, we were home, dismissed from the hospital with no problems. (Thank you, Lord!) So now we've been home for almost three weeks, very well taken care of for most of that time by our parents (thank you, parents!). (Thanks also to all of you who have provided meals over the past couple weeks!)

LittleBear clearly loves his little sister; he is very gentle around her, speaks very lovingly of her,  often brings her toys or her blanket, and just tries to be as helpful as possible. He's also already very protective, which has been interesting to see. He's a great big brother!

LadyBear has done great since we got home. She eats well, and she sleeps as well as can be expected from a three-week-old. We are very blessed!

(A dear friend of Bethany's, Heather Sullivan, came and spent many hours taking photos of LadyBear and our family; those are her shots in this post. Click here to see more.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

38 Weeks (almost 39) with LadyBear

A dear friend of mine came over a few days ago to take some maternity pictures for me and I'm so thrilled with the job that she did.  I don't usually get excited about posting pictures of myself for people to see, but I thought at least a few of you might enjoy these :)  Thank you, Sarah Nazarian for taking these!!!!

 We are looking forward to meeting you, LadyBear!!!