Life is a test. We are not present on earth to just exist; we are here to learn. Life is a lesson. Love one another unconditionally. Love thyself unconditionally. We spend our whole lives learning to do this. Some succeed and some never have a clue. I'm trying. Love my fellow man. Don't react and don't always have to be right. This is one I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. Appreciate each day and recognize positive and negative as a part of life's experiences. Look around me and see life at it's best. The joys of living come as you strive to achieve your dreams. Its the quality of each day that is important, not the distant dream once achieved. Teach and nurture my children. You can never give them too much love. -Randa Jex 1/1/94

Saturday, December 17

Austin gets down Frosty style

Austin dancing with Frosty, it is hilarious to watch him move his little legs and wobble back and forth. It reminds me of the scene from Forrest Gump when Forrest is a kid imitating Elvis.

Love it.

Oh and here is Austin at a party we went to tonight. This is him showing off for his baby friend Molly...he just loved her and was sittiing up like a big boy trying to get her attention. {okay okay he was really watching the football game}

Friday, December 16

Christmas Card Display

Thank you Pinterest for lighting the fire in my creative sole that seemed to be extinguished as soon as I had the baby....because we all know when you have a baby you gain a person and a whole lotta love but you lose your mind, your sleep, and your free time. Those 3 things were a necessary combination to fuel the creative right side of my brain.

So I looked on Pinterest for a creative way to display my cards and saw where they used a frame and painted it red and then mounted chicken wire inside the opening so you could clip your cards to the wire.

I improvised due to the following limitations....1. I didn't feel like making a mess in the dining room trying to paint the frame and it was too big to paint on my art studio desk. 2. I don't have chickens, therefore no chicken wire.

So I used foam board wrapped in fabric and took a picture (and glass) out of a frame we were about to donate. I left the gold frame gold...although it is way too gold for my taste I think it screams holiday and works well with the fabric.

I secured the cards to the fabric-wrapped board with straight pins which I had in the sewing closet. So all in all, the project cost me $0 and I think it looks quite cute!

Thursday, December 8

Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday to my fabulous husband, Zach!!

He's COOL...





Saturday, November 26

Turkey Trot

This morning we walked (well I strolled) down to the river to cheer on Papa in the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot Run. I insisted that Mommy make Papa a sign and cheer him across the finish line. He had a great time and was one of the first 10 people to finish the race, he even beat all the turkeys.

Mommy, Grammy and I watched from the sidelines this year since Mommy can't workout post surgery

I was so nervous I could barely peak out of my blanket

Don't tell Papa but I took a quick nap while waiting on him.

My buddy, Molly! We had a great time chatting about the diapered life! She is a cutie, I think I might date her in a few years!

But I woke up right in time to see him cross the finish line! I was so proud of my Papa!

Run Papa Run!

Mommy was trying to put my silly paci in my mouth, otherwise I'd be smiling!

Tuesday, November 15

What??? Surgery?? What??

I wish I was here to report that I was going under the knife to get that coveted post pregnancy tummy tuck and boob job but it's not nearly that exciting.

If you know me well...or have been in a conversation with me lately in a noisy place than you have heard me say "What?" and then I probably refer to “my good ear and my bad ear”. Stand on my left side and we are all good, stand on my right and it's a crap shoot whether or not I can hear what you're talking about... and on occasion I might use this to my advantage just so I can claim "oh I didn't hear you tell me no, Zach". It's not really as bad as I make it out to be but with any background noise, hearing a whisper is almost impossible.

2 years ago I went to an ENT and discovered I had Otosclerosis, a condition in which spongy bone has hardened around the base of the stapes- the innermost bone in the ear. If the stapes is fixed in position (my condition), rather than being normally mobile, then a conductive hearing loss results. In 2009 it was minor and the Dr. said we would not need surgery or a hearing aid since my other ear is perfect and that ear wasn’t too bad. Then after I had Austin I noticed it was worse. So just in case you thought pregnancy only made your waist change you are sorely mistaken. It also can change your hearing, vision, shoe size, hair, skin, and the most gives you a body straight out of Nation Geographic saggy skin edition. BUMMER! Good thing I have 14lbs of cuteness at home that makes everything worth it.
This is a picture of the inner ear....the tan area is where I will have the procedure.

In light of noticing additional hearing loss, I went to a specialist and they confirmed that the Otosclerosis has gotten much worse and surgery is the best option and the “do nothing” approach that we originally opted for is no longer desirable….for me or Zach since I am constantly saying WHAT? WHAT?? Not to mention he hears the baby monitor long before I do if I am sleeping on my “good ear”. So this surgery is going to improve my hearing thus improving Zach’s sleep. This coming Monday I am having a procedure called a Stapendectomy where they go in and place a micro prosthesis (see picture below) in my inner ear that makes up for the hearing loss and will be a permanent fix. A stapedectomy does not require any incisions on the outside of the body, as the entire procedure is performed through the ear canal.

The tan bone is the Stape and the Christmas Ornament hanger looking thingamajig is the micro prosthesis.

I was totally cool with the procedure until I did what any inquiring mind would do...I googled it. After hours of internet research, I am officially scared to death that next Tuesday I will be deaf, paralized, or dead....yup I am worried that an outpatient surgery might kick my bucket. Wow thanks INTERNET. Oh but there is ONE silver lining, it's free thank to Austin! We met all of our deductibles this year with the delivery so this surgery is on the house.

All kidding aside, prayers are welcomed and appreciated. Going into the week of Thanksgiving I have to say I am thankful for science and medicine. I am thankful for Dr. John J.Shea Jr. for inventing something so tiny that goes inside my head and allows me to hear my little boy whisper his prayers at night and deliver his Valedictorian speech at Ole Miss in 2034. I am thankful for my wonderful husband that is going to be there with me through the entire thing and thankful he hasn't divorced me for how many times I have said "what". I am thankful for Mom and Dad for being amazing grandparents to Austin and taking care of him while I am out of town and for Mom's generous heart. She is staying at my house to care for the baby 'round-the-clock while I recover and Zach works since I am forbidden to lift anything (which includes my sweet baby boy) for 2 weeks.

Please pray for the surgeon's steady hand and my tolerance of the pain and discomfort for the weeks following the surgery. And pray for my heart as it breaks everytime I want to pick up my sweet baby (12 billion times a day) and realized that I can't.

I'm sure gonna miss this :(

Thursday, November 3

They grow up too fast

As a kid, I always laughed at people when they look at kids and said "oh they grow up way too fast" we were actors on a soap opera that age 4 years over the summer. You tune back in after missing a few episodes and Sammy who was 9 and learning to ride a bicycle is now married with 6 kids. Well, now I get it.
This morning one of my best friends in the world gave birth to her 2nd daughter. Around 1am I had picture texts rolling in introducing me to her sweet little girl and as I looked at that tiny baby in her arms, I thought...."oh they grow up way too fast". So this morning when I got up to feed Austin, instead of putting him back to bed for an hour while I got ready for work, I just sat there for a few extra minutes. I held him tight and rocked him back to sleep and I can barely believe that this little boy in my arms that now laughs, holds his own bottle, and recognizes familiar faces was that same tiny baby I held in the hospital 3 1/2 months ago.
I have learned how to live in the moment and cherish every second with this little one. Even last night when he was screaming for no apparent reason, I held him close and thanked God for that sound.
holding his bottle

His new thing is he reaches out and touches your face when you talk to him. It's the sweetest thing ever and pretty much melts my heart.

Friday, October 28

Tuesday, October 25

A mobile for Austin

So for a few months now I have been on a quest for a mobile for Austin and in the process realized how tacky some of those prefab ones look. I have read a lot about using black and white (dark/light) and different patterns to stimulate babies minds so after a little research on Etsy I decided to make my own. Thanks to Kate, I had a nifty new circle cutter-she works at Michaels and always find me the most handy gadgets. In keeping with the theme of his nursery I used a variety of navy and light blue patterned and textured sheets of card stock. Then I went into sketch mode and planned how many circles I would need in each size and pattern. Mom had some wooden dowels and fishing line and I had hot glue, white paint and card stock so this project cost me a whopping $0!

I crossed 4 dowels at a centerpoint and hung a line of circles from the end of each dowel and then the longest line in the center point of all the dowels. Every other line is a different length so it has a cascasing effect and looks pretty cool from all angles. Then I spaced each paper circle 2" from the next by using a dot of hot glue on the fishing line. I finished it off by painting the dowels white and dropping fishing line from a tiny hook in the ceiling to hold it and ta-dahhhh!

Here it is from the side (aka. Mommy's view):
Here it is looking up at it (aka. Austin's view):

Austin loves it and this morning he spend 30 minutes talking to it as I was doing other things. His eyes get really big when it twists and turns as the fan blows. It has great movement and he told me he liked it much more than one of those stuffy store bought rigs.

I have a video of him talking all kinds of gibberish to it this morning but it won't seem to upload. I will work on that and hopefully get it uploaded soon.

In the mean time here he is in awe of him mommy's creation (or at least that is what I choose to think...he might just be working on a dirty diaper).

Friday, October 21

Balloon Race Weekend

I can't sum up in a blog post what an amazing weekend we had with the family. These pictures are so precious to me. We feel so blessed to have had all of Austin's grand parents and great grandparents in town along with his great Aunt Bev (as the kids call Great Bev) and Uncle Cory, Aunt Alicia, Nathan, Nolan, Neely, and Nora Kate!
Meeting G-G for the first time. Grandma Marilyn gave Austin so much love this weekend!

Meeting Papa Leroy and Ebby for the first time. Austin reached out and "shook" Papa's finger like he was saying "how do ya' do". You couldn't pry Austin from these two!

Waking up Saturday morning to meet Mr. Austin. Me, A, and Nora Kate.

Nolan loving in Emma. Sydney and Emma loved playing with the kids this weekend since they are used to getting a little ignored when the baby is around.

Mama Neely. She was SO good with Austin. I just wished she lived closer so she could babysit one day! She would even rock him and whisper "shhhhhh" in his ear if he got fussy. She knew exactly what to do without us even telling her.

Saturday morning when the Ross Monkeys met Austin for the first time.

We spent all morning rocking on the porch, drinking coffee, having breakfast, and waiting for the balloons. My S.I.L. Alicia and Nora Kate.

Paint project with the kids. We painted canvas trick-or-treat bags.

A seasoned veteran!

All the little monkeys sitting in a row.....Let's see if I can get this right:
Nathan 11, Nolan 8, Neely about to be 7, Nora Kate 3, Austin 3 months.

Austin and Emmet hanging out! Shauna stopped by on her walk to say hi.

Neely feeding, notice NoKe supporting his head...too cute!

My awesome brother and SIL Alicia. Cory was squeezing in a lot of Austin time since he will be leaving soon for Afghanistan :(

Balloon races with G-Pa.

Aunt Bev and Grandma getting the low down about to help crew and launch the balloon.

Dad and Nora Kate watching the balloons launch.

Okay I have to blog about Sunday because it was so special. Austin was baptized at Jefferson Street UMC by Rev. Ed Temple and Rev. Karie Sue McKaleb. After Zach and I took our oaths as parents, Ed placed water on his head and baptized Austin into the Christian faith. It was a very important day and as Ed walked Austin up and down the aisles during the hymn I started to cry thinking about last year at this exact time. I had been praying for a baby for months and I remember balloon race weekend finding out 2 of our friends were having babies and I was starting to worry if it would ever happen for us. To think back to that time and then be standing there in front of the congregation, our family, and before God baptizing our healthy son overwhelmed me with joy and gratitude. Austin is such a blessing to our lives and although it is an enormous responsibility to raise him to be a good and faithful man, I can't think of anything I would be more proud to do.
Rev. Ed walking through the aisles with sweet sleeping Austin

After church we celebrated with friends and family at our house and had a surprise birthday celebration for Ebby. It was a day I am adding to "my favorite days" list.

Oh yeah and there were hot air balloons, carnival rides, and bands too.....sorry I didn't get any pictures of that. We were way too busy having fun with the family.

This weekend we plan to do NOTHING and recover from last weekend. In the 9 years I have known Zach I don't think I have ever seen him nap but after the company felt Sunday he did some serious napping.

Happy Friday everyone. Have a great weekend in this beautiful fall weather! Austin says have a great weekend y'all and bundle up!