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

Sunday, January 30

Holy Moly what a day

So my Saturday started pretty ordinary. My plan was to go to the office for a bit, run by K-Mart to grab a ton of hangers for my NEW maternity wardrobe, and then hit the pavement for my first jog of 2011. It was a gorgeous day and it consumed me with productive possibilities!

First stop- the office. I just love my co-workers and the random humor the bring to my day-to-day. There are a few of us in the office that are particularly close and we have one of those "fun-loving, sarcastic banter, this company makes me crazy so listen to my problems" type of relationship. Well I am sitting at my desk pecking away and all the sudden I get kinda dizzy, break into a cold sweat, and think to myself, "this is gonna be bad". Right about then...Shannonland goes black. Suzanne came to the rescue immediately by laying me on my back on the floor and putting my feet up in the air, yuk I first comment when I got my wits about me was "I hope this carpet has been cleaned". So there I was, laying on the floor of my office in yoga pants and a t-shirt giving everyone in the office a little pregnancy scare (haha that term just took on a new meaning). I'm just glad I was around my awesome co-workers and not at K-Mart or I would have ended up on the K-Mart floor which is a far greater threat to a pregnant woman than listeria, soft cheeses, and hot tubs combined! Zach came to get me and took me straight to Sonic to pump some sugar through my veins and then he put me to bed for the rest of the morning. After talking to a few fellow preggos I found out this was in fact very common and it just meant I had a drop in blood sugar or it could be due to the increased blood flow...many factors that can throw your body out of whack. Zach was very protective of me all day and I was barely able to get out of the house for a baby shower, he made me promise if I felt bad to sit down, eat something, and find Becky. I said, ok "dad". I think baby shower cake and frosted sugar cookies were just what the doctor ordered however I might have gone from a drop in blood sugar to causing gestational diabetes that day.
That evening we got all dolled up for the Mardi Gras ball. It was a great evening that started at a friends house for a little pre-party. I felt like I had not been in society forever. Since all of the most recent Christmas parties and social events were a blur due to the lovely side effects of the first trimester combined with the fact that Zach and I are in bed by 9pm these days...I really felt like it was my debut to society! We had a great time seeing all of our friends and dancing to disco music but by 11:15 pm, Zach told me I had "rocked sexy long enough" meaning "way to go babe you really were a trooper and you can leave whenever you want because I know you are exhausted". And that I did! During my 3 block drive home I had time to ponder 2 pregnancy challenges I had discovered that night:

1. I have worn heels for 10+ years now- in college I wore them on a daily basis for hours on end and the past 7 years working I think I might have worn flats 5x. Why is it that at 4 months pregnant I feel like they are foreign torture devices? I was even wearing some of my more-comfortable-uncomfortable-formal heels. I felt like a circus act...come watch the 400lb gorilla stuff it's paws into 2 cotton candy cones and attempt to walk the tight rope. It was terrible. After complainging to other empathetic pregnant girls at the ball there were 2 theories we came up with a) our center of gravity is off making the normal heel wearing process awkward and uncomfortable, and b) the added weight makes a difference (I was somewhat skeptical of this theory since I have only gained 3 lbs and I weighed more than this at some points college).

2. Why do the general masses{old and young, male and female, pregnant and not pregnant} feel the need to extend their arm, flatten their palm, and proceed to rub my stomach. Going back to college...I had a bigger pooch during some points in college (thanks to Phi Mu house food and "Willie Burger day"). This is not okay. If you are reading this and you are my mom, dad, grandmother, aunt, best friend, or husband you are exempt. Basically if you have seen me in my bra at some point in life...go right ahead...rub away. But if you are some random 60 yr old man that I go to church with keep your hands to yourself. I am in my 17th week.... there is really nothing to see unless I am in head-to-toe spandex (haha fat chance).... and do you really know what you are grabbing for? I didn't think so. I have some body parts that are larger and lower than ever and you might get a little surprise if you think you are grabbing tummy. Just sayin' yourself buddy. I might start rubbing back.

So there you have it...24 hours in the life of a pregnant woman. But you know, I can totally tolerate any and all of these little side-effects of pregnancy...because my body is MAKING A PERSON, what did your body do Saturday??

Tuesday, January 25

It's Official...

It's official....she's knocked up!

It may look like I have been hitting the 12 packs of Budweiser a little hard but I can promise it is not a beer belly and there is actually a baby bug in there!

Friday, January 21

January 21, 2011...Let me Clarify...

Okay I just need to clarify something about the word "cravings" in my pregnancy updates. I have to confess other than baked potatoes and oranges I really have not craved anything. Now I leisurely stroll down each and every aisle of the grocery store occasionally tossing "forbidden" items into the cart. Items that I would have quickly passed by months ago due to my strict "no junk food in the pantry" policy. Not because I am a health freak but really because I have ZERO will power and I don't want to be 400lbs. So today, my guilty grocery store pleasure was Cheetoh Puffs...something I haven't had in years...maybe since college. And may I just say if you are reading this and have not had puffs in a few and get some!! They are as glorious as I remember.

So there you have pregnancy has not brought too many cravings but instead it has opened the door to occasional guiltless- guilty pleasures. I know that after July it might be another 7 years before I touch a Cheetoh Puff, and I am totally cool with that.

Wednesday, January 19

January 19, 2010: Baby Update 15 weeks

In case you were wondering, yes this is my twin my Aunt Lynette...she took me to this gorgeous mountain and we hiked for 2 hours...whoa! She is the one on the Left and that is her dog Izzy biting my foot!

I'm 15 weeks! (2nd Trimester)

How many weeks/days remaining: 25 weeks
Expected Due Date: July 15, 2011
Next Dr. Appointment: Feb. 18…WE FIND OUT GENDER!!!

Size of baby: Baby Jex now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 ½ ounces- about the size of an apple.

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 3lbs since last appointment and 1lb overall.

Maternity Clothes:
Not yet however suit pants and some of my tighter jeans feel a little snug after a big meal. Pants with tight elastic waistbands make me feel like I’m suffocating the baby…so never lift up might shirt or most likely you will catch me with pants unbuttoned and my fly down. Most the time I do it, sometimes it does it itself! J

We will find out in 4 weeks. I have said all along I think it is a boy but this past week I am thinking pink. Zach thinks I have lost my mind entirely.

Feeling great (knocking on wood)

Workout: Working out 3 times a week…but not nearly as intense as normal. This week I did turbo kick, skied, and did a 2 hour mountain hike while it was snowing. I would like to take a moment of silence and remember this week because I have a feeling I might not have another workout week like this for 10 months.

Movement: Not yet, however I can still move like normal and that’s awesome.

Sleeping well but have started getting up around 5am to go to the bathroom.

Pregnancy Highlights: Nails and hair grow at a freakish pace, I feel like I am clipping my toenails on a daily basis. I LOVE the feeling of knowing you are caring for another life… and that there is someone growing inside you, HOW COOL!

What I miss: Still miss that clear skin...grrrr. This is getting annoying.

Cravings/Aversions: I love bagels and fruit. And I started liking ice cream again (God help me). I was craving cupcakes all last week.

Symptoms: At night I feel really exhausted especially on workout days… my bedtime has gone from 11-12 to 9-10. When laying on my back in bed I swear I can see a little bump in between my hips and Zach finally has started to agree. Boobs are the size of my head and not slowing down however my butt has not changed in size so I guess God gives you small victories to be grateful for.

Best Moment this week: I took Baby J skiing and hiking up a mountain for the first time and he/she did great! I wore a Camelback and kept us very hydrated! Also Z is starting to see my little bump when I am lying down. I think my overall highlight of this pregnancy is how sweet and thoughtful Zach is to us. He is always waiting on me hand and foot, in a kind way not a creepy obsessive way. He always asks if I feel okay and without even asking he makes me a 9pm PB&J every night.

Okay no lie, as I was sitting here typing that very sentence a gorgeous bouquet of roses shows up at my office door with a note:

Just because I love you!!! Thinking of you and Baby J. Love Zach” I love that man…everyday I imagine him with his child and I sometimes think…I hope I can keep up, this man is going to be an amazing father!

Wednesday, January 12

January 12, 2011...SNOW BUNNIES

If you need us, we shall be in Breckenridge!

Crossing our fingers for no flight delays, fresh powder, no injuries, endless hot cocoa, and a wonderful getaway from a very busy life.

Monday, January 10

JANUARY 10, 2011.... A Special Gift

I have to share with you the sweetest gift. From July-October I lived in Jackson on the weekdays working at my old stomping ground, our headquarters. I was there filling in for a co-worker Kimberly while she was on maternity leave. Before she left I spent 2 weeks there training for her position and we became really close and ever since I found out I was expecting she is calling to check up on me all the time and she has been a wealth of new-mommy knowledge as well. Right before Christmas she gave me the sweetest gift. It is a round silver charm engraved with 11-07-10...the date we found out we were expecting. She said this necklace is to remind me of the day our lives changed forever. Of course this was a tear jerker when I opened it. I think this is the most unique idea. The other charm is a tiny little hand print. Mom and Dad gave it to me for Christmas and it is the size of a baby's hand at 12 weeks...that is how far along I was at Christmas. I wear this necklace everyday and I just love the meaning....our lives won't just change in July, our lives changed forever the day we found out we had be blessed with this child!

Friday, January 7

January 7, 2011: Baby J is 13 weeks

Since there is no change in the size of my belly I decided to post a picture of the size of this incredible life growing inside me. This week, Baby J is the size of a peach! And a side note- Baby J's vocal chords developed this past week...yup I have a feeling it's gonna be a member of the Carnegie Hall choir or next lead singer of the Black Crowes but I will settle for a chatty Kathy like it's mother!

I'm 13 weeks! (End of 1st Trimester)

How many weeks/days remaining: 27 weeks
Expected Due Date: July 15, 2011
Next Dr. Appointment: January 19

Size of baby: Baby Jex is the size of a peach!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained 1/2lb!!!!! I have worked hard for that ½ lb too.

Maternity Clothes: Not yet

Gender: We will find out in 6 weeks

Sickness: As of NYE I have been feeling great!

Workout: Working out 3 times a week…can’t wait for spring to be here so I can get out and run/walk again!

Movement: Not yet.

Sleep: Sleeping well!

Pregnancy Highlights:
Being able to eat more than normal and actually wanting to gain weight!

What I miss: Still miss that clear skin...but it is getting better.

Cravings/Aversions: Bagels, Baked Potatoes, Fruit, Sushi (only the cooked rolls I know!) and Hummus w/ Pita Bread (yeah I know it’s crazy)

Symptoms: I feel pretty normal at the moment (Thank God!)

Best Moment this week: It has been a great week and I have 3 moments that were notable. New Year’s Day went to a fabulous dinner at Hibiscus in Dallas with our good friends Holly, Parker, Cole, and Lisa. We went around the table and told our resolutions…one of Zach’s was to be the best father he could be. Later we looked at each other and said…”We are gonna be parents this year…holy cow!” I think after Zach said that about being a father it made this all feel so real. I have known we are having a baby but it finally hit me we are making a family!

Sunday afternoon we were lounging around on the couch watching TV and I turned on the Notebook, mid-movie. After about 10 minutes Zach asks…”I don’t get it who are the old people”… as I started explaining…”Now that is Ali and Noah when they are old. She has Alzheimer's and everyday he reads her the story of their lives together”…right about then I start bawling as I finish the story. Zach just couldn’t hold it back and busts out laughing…”You are SO pregnant, Shannon!”.

Another highlight from this week was last night I went to a childbirth class with my pregnant friends Laura and Jennifer. It was actually a lot of fun and so informative. I am glad I went at 13 weeks because the chick next to me was 38 weeks and when they started demonstrating the epidural she sure did start crying.

Tuesday, January 4

January 4, 2011: We wish you a Tacky Christmas

Zach dressed up as the Ole Miss Bear..he said it is the tackiest thing he could imagine! And yes...that IS Kellen!!

I have to blog about one of the funniest nights of Christmas. The 2nd Annual Griswold Tacky Christmas Party. We host a big tacky Christmas party at our house and ask that every guest bring a gift for the kids at the Natchez Children’s Home. It was an even bigger fĂȘte than last year (so I hear). I was in bed by 11pm thanks to morning evening sickness and since this party usually hits its prime between 11pm and 2am I think I missed most of the action (thank goodness)…this year 100+ people, Zach’s dance mix, and adults reverting back to college for just a night made for a heck of a party. At 3am the last tacky guest left and Zach woke me up from my Phenegran-induced coma. I walked downstairs and I felt like I was in the post-wedding scene of Father of the Bride where the house is a total disaster and Steve Martin is walking around plucking random items from the most peculiar places…mixed with a scene from Animal House. At 3 am we went to work…I just couldn’t leave the house like that for another minute plus I feared Syd or Emma would ingest something deadly by just licking the floor. After hours of cleaning, 3 floor moppings, 3 deep scubbings of the granite, turning the oven off (which someone had bumped into and it had been on Broil for God only knows how long) and chunking the nasty tablecloth that was used on the bartenders table…our house lost its frat house feel and became home again. Tacky Christmas 2011 will most likely be held at an alternative location…the crowd and the mess is getting too big for Casa Jex. The highlights of the evening included a costume contest- won by Chase Brown in his light up long johns and yes he stood next to a plug most of the night and that was followed by Zach’s dance recital ON THE GRANITE COUNTERTOPS and to a mix of Katy Perry, Miley Cirus, and Ke$ha. I knew after that it was time for me to go to bed but not after a looooong prayer for no injuries to my home, my guests, my dogs, or my furniture. Let’s not forget the most awesome part of the party, loading up the entire Tahoe full of Christmas toys and school supplies and on Christmas Eve delivering them to the Children’s Home with a monetary donation of $200. This will be a tradition we continue with our kids one day!

This is light-up long john Chase! (Homemade costume of course)

Sam is wearing an ACTUAL stocking that K-mart sells...he just cut foot holes in it. Man there are some greedy people out there!

B and Kellen lookin Sexy!

January 4: 2011: Christmas at Casa Jex

This Christmas was much more low key than usual. I started by only getting out about 1/4 of the Christmas decorations because I was so tired that first week of Christmas. At first I felt like Scrooge and then I realized my 25% Christmas = a sane person's 100% Christmas. If you know me very well you might say I have a tendency to go overboard but I am working on that one holiday at a time because I know once Baby Jex arrives life as we know it will change. So no garland on the banister, no garland swags with white lights and red bows on the outside porches and no Christmas tree upstairs with our childhood ornaments. This year we also decided it was the last year for a real tree...although it is so fun to pick out the tree and smell it every day when you come home the hassle of always cleaning up needles, watering it daily, and my insane fear (after watching a YouTube video) that it will go up in flames and burn the entire house down in 14 seconds flat just isn't my cup of tea. So I am on a hunt for a pre-lit 11 ft fakie...any suggestions? Since I had been so sick the week of Christmas we spent many of those nights home by the fire. Not sure who snapped this lovely pic of us but it pretty much summed up our Christmas...

Christmas Eve was my favorite and for the last time ever it was just me and Zach. We went to Christmas Eve service and then grabbed dinner and ate it on the couch with our pups in front of the fire. It was so wonderful to have a quiet night at home counting our blessings. It seems like society is making the holidays into such a superficial gift-driven event that it was such a blessing to have that down time where you turn your focus to God and the gifts He provides. Christmas night we had dinner with the entire Jex side at our house and opened presents and then the day after Christmas Mom, Dad, and Grandma came to town. It never feels quite like Christmas until your family comes to town....we had a great time and since I was feeling much better we toured a house, did some serious shopping and ate (like the Rosses do best!)

This is Jules playing with the step stool I made her. She had Kellen hold her hands and she would step up...and then down..and then up.. then down. It was so cute!

At our tour of The Towers...such a cool experience!

The pups in their new harneses so they don't choke themselves on walks. They look so darn cute! Thanks Gramma and Grampa!