Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Beautiful Day for a Stroll

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday and get outdoors after being cooped up all month due to the cold & snow. We went to Norris Dam where there is a nice walking/jogging path that follows the Clinch River.
 A quick pic of Jus & East before we left for our walk.
 Justin wishing he was carrying a fly rod instead of a stroller. We saw many fly fishermen & women on our stroll.
 Easton's view from the stroller.

Momma & Daddy

 A view of the Clinch River in January

We finished the day with a nice dinner at Cheddars with the Sharps. What a fun Saturday!

January- the calm after the storm

In January, I find that many people find themselves in a bit of a sad state after the hustle and bustle of the holidays has passed. It's almost as if you have to regroup after all the shopping and holiday events come to a halt. At the Chester house, we have been able to utilize the month of January to get used to the day-to-day as a three-some as well as spend time with cherished friends and family throughout the month.

 A fun lunch at Calhouns with Alicia to start off the month

 Easton with Aunt LiLi and Pappaw (top) and Mammaw (bottom) at Pappaw's 75th Birthday on Jan 14
A visit from Adalynn one snowy Saturday while the men went to Bass Pro Shops

A quaint lunch with friends from pharmacy school on their way back through Knoxville from a stay in Gatlinberg. 
From left to right: Amy and little Maddie (19 months), Brooke and E (9 weeks), and Kristin with Katie Lynn (9 months)

 Brooke and Julie at Ober Gatlinberg. 
Julie is a dear friend from pharmacy school, and we were so happy to get to spend some time with her family as well as introduce the Dougherty family to little Easton.
 A visit for lunch in house with Ms. Darla

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Back to Work

Alas, in less than one week I will return to my full time job with Wal-mart as a community retail pharmacist and pharmacy manager. My time at home has been wonderful as it seems we couldn't have planned a better time to have Easton - off through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, as well as both mine and Justin's birthday. I have enjoyed being home and being able to have the time to get to know Easton over the past 3 months. It has also been great for our family as this is Justin's "slow" time with work so the 3 of us have had fun playing together and just being with each other daily. We have had a lot of meals at home through the week as I have had the time to prepare new things for dinner (thanks to which is one of my favorite things-learning/trying new recipes. As I go back to work next week, Mumsey (my mom) will be taking over the reigns with keeping Easton throughout the day. She is so excited and literally counting down the days until she gets him. I will miss spending each day with Easton but enjoy my job as well as the flexibility that it allows as I will have many days off each week due to working longer hours on the days that I do work. 

The only part that's unsettling about returning to work is that I've heard that when a mother returns to work the days and weeks seem to fly by. Hopefully they won't go too fast.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Gift of Sleep

This pic was taken a few weeks ago when Easton fell asleep on our down comforter. He was all "snuggly wuggly" (as we say at our house) so how could you blame him.

Yesterday, I had breakfast with a few girlfriends and one of the topics of conversation was How old should a baby be when they sleep through the night (meaning 10-12 hrs)?  Of course, every parent has a different opinion depending on their child, sleeping situation at home, etc. After talking with my girlfriends and hearing their opinions based on what they had been told by their pediatricians, Justin and I decided that last night we would see if Easton could sleep through the night without momma rushing in his room at the first stir of the night (I would usually go in immediately when Easton would wake between 4 and 4:45 AM so as not to allow Easton's voice on the monitor to wake Justin). We had a game plan...the plan was when Easton would start to "talk" I was to stay in bed and not go in until a certain length of time had passed. Well, sure enough at about 5 AM Easton started "talking". I was prepared and stay put, that is. I turned the monitor down so that it wouldn't wake Justin and just waited...But then I didn't hear anything. I thought, "surely he is still awake. It's only been 3 minutes". Justin turned to me at that time and in a very sleepy voice asked "Did you go in?" I responded "No, but will you go and check on him? I haven't heard anything else besides one little peep." Sure enough Justin went to check and when he returned I anxiously awaited the news. I asked (puzzled, of course), "What is he doing in there?" Justin's calm reply, "sleeping." 

Our little boy slept form his last feeding of the day (11 PM) until 8 AM this morning...a whopping 9 hours. And if you count that his bedtime was 8:30 PM and he didn't really wake during his 11 PM "dreamfeed" then that would mean he slept almost 12 hours. Way to go Easton and mom!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An old addiction-rekindled

Since I've been home (from Nov 3 til now) my days have been busy with feeding, playing, and hanging with Easton as well as cooking, cleaning, laundry, lunches with friends, holidays, time with Justin, exercising, etc. In keeping up with all the demands of home, a husband, and a new baby I've secretly found an escape in the afternoon from about 4PM to 6PM (Easton naps most of this time and cooking dinner comes after) when Beverly Hills 90210 comes on the SOAP network. Yes...BEVERLY HILLS 90210! (the show that was popular in the 90's). You see, I was ADDICTED to this show throughout middle school and into my high school years.  Lo and behold, one afternoon when searching through the channels while feeding Easton I found that this show comes on EVERY DAY. I started slow...only watching a couple shows here and there when ever Easton was eating (what else was I to do for 30 minutes?). Now, Justin would say I'm hooked. Oh well...maybe going back to work will be good for me. It will get me away from Brenda, Brandon, Dillon, Kelly, and the rest of my friends in Beverly Hills. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Visit from Uncle Landon

Justin's brother, Landon, stopped by last night to share dinner, a movie, and some snuggle time with Easton before bedtime. Uncle Landon is a HUGE fan of Easton and has been a big support throughout Easton's life (both during pregnancy and now). Easton is blessed to have so many who love and adore him.

Uncle Landon and Easton

 Momma's typical pose...Kiss, Kiss, & more Kisses

Monday, January 17, 2011

Daddy's Little Spitter

Justin got a new NIKON camera for his birthday that takes pictures as well as video in 1080 HD. These pictures as well as the video were taken this afternoon while Justin was trying out his new camera. The video is hilarious!
Our little spitter!

He's just cute as a button! Or so we think.

Justin's Birthday Weekend

This weekend Justin celebrated his 31st birthday. We had a fun family weekend at a cabin in Gatlinberg with my mom and dad as well as Lindsey and AJ. Mom and Dad had won the cabin stay at my dad's most recent high school reunion so we all went up to the mountains for some family time. We enjoyed spending time together playing games (like Phase 10 and Rummikub), cooking breakfast (Justin made pumpkin waffles for us on Sunday morning), and shopping. The guys even squeezed in a workout on Saturday morning as Justin brought his P90X videos up to the cabin.
Justin and AJ doing Kenpo X

Easton's version of P90X for babies

After checking out of the cabin on Sunday (Justin's actual birthday), Justin and I were looking for something to do and decided to try an "easy" hike that the 3 of us could do as a family. We are not the best planners and had left the Baby Bjorn at home but we remembered that the Laurel Falls hike in Gatlinberg was paved and trusted that our multi-terrain stroller could handle the hike-snow and all.  
Justin and Easton at the trail head to Laurel Falls

The sign marking the beginning of the trail

Needless to say, we ended up turning around after hiking 1/4 of the first mile of the hike. We decided it was a little too dangerous (even if we would have had the Baby Bjorn) due to the snow and ice that covered the pavement. We ended up driving to Townsend, had a nice lunch at a local diner, and then went home for the rest of the afternoon. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Few Words from a New Father

My life prior to Easton was great but was also missing so much that I could never have began to comprehend until now. When I saw the pregnancy test that Brooke left on the counter and a note that said, "Are you ready for this???" I could honestly say NO I was not. I was, however, overcome with great emotion, excitement, and an immediate love for our future child. At first it was so surreal but equally exciting. 

In the first weeks, I remember thinking Brooke said it will take a while to get pregnant and I still have some time to prepare for fatherhood. That could not have been any farther from the truth. I think the first time it was real for me was that first doctor visit and ultrasound. The doctor said, "Oh my gosh! Look at that BIG baby!" We were 4 weeks further along than we thought, and my response was "Holy Crap!" I was taken over by pure amazement and love that I can't begin to describe. The next few months flew by in a blur to say the least. I had major work to do to make room for this new little guy. I worked day and night to the point of exhaustion on a detached garage and den area to open up the room for him. These were tough months. My advice to anyone who wants to do major construction on their house with a pregnant wife is "You have lost your mind." The pregnancy went pretty smoothly with only one major scare that turned out to be no big deal, thank the Lord. I wrapped up the majority of my projects just in time to squeeze in one last hunting trip to Wyoming. When I got home, we began to mentally prepare for our new arrival (which no one can do). 

About 10 PM on November 5, after a nice meal with friends, Brooke began having contractions which continued into the next day. We decided it was time at 4:30 PM on Saturday. After checking into the hospital, we began the long night. It was very intense at times but indescribably awesome as well. The feelings and emotions that came over me when I saw my son's head that first time can never be put into words. One thing I can say is I serve an awesome God to allow me this kind of joy! I have never felt the kind of love and connection to the Lord or my beautiful wife as that November morning at 
12:27 AM. Cutting the cord that had given him life and bringing him into the big new world automatically brought tears of joy to my eyes. 

My love has grown stronger with each day of the past 9 weeks of life as a father. From his upset cry to his precious little smile and everything in-between, I can honestly say I love being a father. I pray every day that the Lord will give me patience and wisdom to raise my beautiful new son in a way that would be pleasing to Him. I also pray that one day he will love and serve Christ who gave me the great gift and privilege of fatherhood.

Justin Chester

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Sweetest Thing

So I guess there has to be one sappy blog entry every now and then...and this will be one of those... 

Easton is precious all the time but there is something about watching him sleep that steals both Justin's and my heart. When I was pregnant (and even before that) I would hear from people (coworkers, friends, family, even people I didn't know that would stop me in the mall or grocery store) about how having a child changes your heart and your life in ways you can't fathom. I always thought "Yea, yea. That's what they all say" not knowing that my own heart would change immediately the minute Easton would arrive. My heart changed toward the way I saw my husband, who was not only by my side during Easton's delivery but was actually part of the delivery team in the hospital, holding his breath as I did with each push then releasing it every time I did to rest before the next contraction. My heart changed toward other mothers of sons: I thought of Melanie Bittle and her strength after losing little Hunter; I thought of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who watched her son die upon the cross; I thought of my mother-in-law and instantly understood a glimpse of the love she has for my husband (her first born son). My heart changed toward the way I saw myself: selfish. After Easton's birth I felt almost a conviction and embarrassment about the thoughts of resentment I had, while carrying him, toward the changes that were happening to my body (the weight gain, the emotions that would change like a roller coaster, the swelling of my ankles). You see, I didn't understand the gift I would receive on November 7. Sure...I had been happy about being pregnant, but truly did not understand what having a child would mean.

As a control freak with a "type A" personality, I've always joked and said "If the Lord wants to get my attention, all He has to do is change one thing in my life and He's got it". Well He did make a change...and I'm so glad He did.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two Month Appointment: Vaccines, Reflux, & a Parental Lesson from Dr. Greg

First, let me just say that we LOVE the Blackmon Pediatric Group that takes care of Easton. Special thanks to the Schaefers and Giffords for recommending such wonderful pediatricians in both Dr. Abby and Dr. Greg. We look forward to Easton's appointments as we did when I was pregnant. We love seeing how much he has grown and enjoy chatting with his pediatrician about how things are going at home as well as what we can look forward to in Easton's development over the next few months. And yes, when I say "we" I do mean that Justin makes every appointment and actually asks the Dr. more questions than I do (believe it or not).

At this appointment Easton's weight is 10 lbs 6 oz which is a big gain since his one month appointment when he weighed 8 lbs 3.5 oz (Birth weight 6 lbs 14 oz). He is measuring 22.1 inches in length (20.2 at his 1 month appt).

We talked with Dr. Blackmon about Easton's reflux which continues to plague his eating making it a little difficult at times for him to eat full meals without discomfort and frustrating me as new outfits are ruined before they're even worn (he spits up on them while he's being dressed). Justin and Dr. Blackmon joked that Easton may not like his clothes and that he is trying to give me the hint by ruining them as I'm dressing him. He received several vaccines today (DTap, Hep B, Polio, and Pneumococcal) and took those like a champ. He did let out one cry (after catching his breath) but didn't fuss or cry any longer.

We then chatted about how Easton does such a great job sleeping and even bragged about him sleeping 7 hours at night at only 8.5 weeks old. It was when we mentioned that he was sleeping on his stomach that led into the next conversation which became a little more serious. We justified to our son's doctor that since he could hold his head up and turn it in two different directions that it was "ok" with us to allow him to sleep on his stomach which goes against what we had been told by the hospital when he was born as well as any literature that we had been given at that time. We also explained how sleeping on his stomach helps with his reflux as his food is not sitting in the back of his throat when he's on his tummy. "You're playing with fire" was the exact response we received. We were then taught about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and how it has nothing to do with how well Easton can hold his head up or even turn it side to side. We learned that infants less than 6 months of age do not have the brain development to regulate their breathing in a deep sleep when on their tummies; thus, they can suffocate. Dr. G explained further that the hypothalamus that says "wake up and breath" in children and adults while asleep (and yes, we all stop breathing at some point during the night) does not wake infants up when their head reaches a certain position (most likely to happen when asleep on their tummies). He told us that by laying Easton on his back SIDS is reduced by 50%. This conversation alone is enough to change our start "teaching" East to sleep on his back today.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I just had to post this picture of Easton sporting his bathrobe and booties. This pic was taken after his bath the other night and I had forgotten about taking it until noticing it on the camera today. He loves playing in the water which makes me excited to think about future times in the pool this upcoming summer. 

Easton and the BUMBO Seat

Today Easton sat in the BUMBO seat for the first time. We were concerned he wouldn't be able to hold up his head for a long period as it still bobbles a little, but he did great! He was so cute putting his hands on his knees like he was sitting there by his choice. Special thanks to Emery Kehne for allowing Easton to use her BUMBO.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Justin = Daddy

Justin and Easton are big time buds. Justin is such a good daddy to our little man and it's so neat as his wife to see him as a dad.

Snow Days in Tennessee

We had a White Christmas this year with snow that accompanied the holiday. It was beautiful and we had to take Easton out just to snap a pic of his first Christmas and his first snow. We did a couple of quick shots so that he didn't freeze outside.  Justin was so good to pull his truck up and set it the camera up just right so as to capture a "family" shot.

Welcome! The Chester Family is Online!

The Chester Family is now online! We will use this blog as a journal, if you will, of monthly, weekly, and even daily events that take place in the life of Justin, Easton, and myself. We will update with pictures and video, when available, things that we find interesting or even happenings that occur just in the everyday of our home.