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Chief first baby contest finally has a winner

Jan. 15, 2013

Shawna Houk, 21, and her mother Julie Houk spent New Year's Eve just staring at each other, waiting for Shawna's water to break.

It was a long wait.

Instead, baby Mason Thomas Houk was born Jan. 5. He is the winner of Mukwonago/Lake Country Publications first baby of the new year contest.

Mason's petite mom, Shawna, from Dousman, said she just didn't have any more room for him. The 19-inch long, 6-pound child was due right on New Year's Day, so Shawna didn't spend the night celebrating with streamers, ball-dropping ceremonies, polar bear plunges or fireworks.

"I had been talking to her (on New Year's Eve) with my hand on her stomach, just kind of saying 'anytime now!' " Houk said.

It was a nerve-racking time, to be sure, but the nerves dissolved right away when the family had a chance to meet baby Mason.

"While she was pregnant, she kept asking 'How do I do this?' or 'How do I do that?' but I told her, it'll just come naturally. And the second he was born, she had it," said Julie .

They've got a routine of sorts already. Shawna gets up early in the morning with Mason and spends her day with him. When Julie gets home from work, she'll give Shawna a break, and they'll take turns watching over him for the rest of the night.

"I don't get stressed out as much as I did on the first night because I know that I have 50 people who I can call to help out," Shawna said.

So, little Mason has his mother, Shawna, and his grandmother, Julie Houk, watching out for him. But he also has his great-grandmother and his great-great-grandmother. If you weren't counting, that's four generations of Houk or Houk-family women.

"It's funny because if he does squawk or anything, he really just needs to see a face. To see his people… and he'll stop," Julie said.

There are some boys in the family (such as Shawna's older brother) but they're all a bit older, so these ladies are happy to see a baby boy in the family. Shawna, who was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, describes herself as a tomboy and said she's happy to have son. She said she wants him to root for the Badgers and the Packers. She wants him to play hockey and football.

"I know how much of a handful I was, and I wouldn't want to go through that myself. And I'm more of a tomboy myself, so if I had a little girl, I really wouldn't know how to do all that girly stuff," Shawna said. She added that her son already has a big personality, and she's looking forward to seeing him grow, and seeing more of it.

New grandmother Julie shared similar sentiments about her daughter.

"For me, this has been a chance to see my baby (Shawna) - because she's my youngest - become a mom. I'm just so proud of her, and I couldn't ask for anything more," Julie said.

The contest

The winner of Mukwonago/Lake Country Publications' first baby contest must be born in an area hospital (little Mason was born at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital) to a family that lives in specific area communities, including Dousman. The family and hospital staff must contact our papers for consideration, and they must consent to a story and photo in the newspaper.

Shawna's new family will receive a $50 savings account at Johnson Bank and a $50 gift certificate to the Mukwonago Pick 'n Save donated by John Amato Ford. Ace Hardware and Walmart are both donating $25 gift certificates, Rivercrest Tire and Auto is giving a free oil change, Mukwonago Family Dentistry is offering tooth whitening trays and material for the new mom, and Waukesha State Bank is providing a Kids Club basket. Even better, the family will receive a free, yearlong subscription with Mukwonago or Lake Country Publications.

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