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

Tuesday, August 28

Blessings of the Backpacks

Our church has a tradition of bringing all the kids up to the alter and blessing their backpacks in preparation of going back to school.  From pre-school to college age, the kids march up there with their adorable backpacks on…some backpacks look larger than the kid wearing them. We decided Austin should have his backpack blessed too even if he isn’t in “real” school yet.  He walked up there like a big boy and stood there the entire time wearing his backpack like a champ.  He was so mesmerized with all the kids I could have made him wear sunglasses, a sombrero and a tutu and he wouldn’t have noticed.  Not sure if I told you yet but Austin LOVES other kids.  He will stop eating at restaurants and just watch kids at another table. 
Getting handsome for the ladies
Sorry most of my pics of him are blurry these days since he is always on the move.

The first time I got to see him walk!

Totally tuckered out at lunch from all the walking

Monday, August 27

GAMEROOM-- What would you do?

Zach and I are are experiencing another creative high! Every couple of months (sometimes weeks) we get the itch to so something drastic to the house.  This month we changed the Art Studio to a gameroom and we are in the initial stages of redoing the back guest bedroom.

So I am here to ask for your input on the Gameroom:

The new Gameroom has a fresh coat of paint on the walls (Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams-LOVE!) and a fresh coat of white on the moldings.

We purchased this couch:

This rug is due to arrive anyday:

And we use a bar that used to be downstairs as an entertainment center.  We needed something tall so Austin wouldn't be messing with the DVD and cablebox and we wanted something we could store toys on too.  So I grabbed adorable canvas tubs on clearance at Office Depot for $5/pop for toy storage.

This is the little table I had when I was a child- a lot of creative energy was spent around this table!!  We are looking for a small chair but the Ole Miss pop up chair will do for now.  The obscenely large black cabinet in corner is where my creative side lives.  Yes- all my art supplies are organized in there so I had to keep a little real estate in the room even if the piece it huge and ugly- it's very functional.  So we are going to put big alphabet magnets on the front and chalkboard paint on the side and transform it into a learning center for Austin.

Here is what I am thinking:  I want to do BOLD primary colors in pops around the room.  The floors are dark Cherry and the walls are a very light blue/green so we are starting with a very cool/neutral pallet.  I am thinking about bringing in a complimentary geometric pattern  or maybe even a bold stripe into Roman Shades for the 4 windows-  Kelly Green with Blue Accents keep going though my mind.  I'll call Ralph (Ralph Lauren that is) and see if he has ideas since it feels right up his alley.  Or maybe thick Red/white stripes.

Here is the kicker that is going to tie together all these primary colors...3 custom Dr. Suess whimsical drawings for the large window-facing wall.  Oh maybe I could do 3 totally random pieces like The  Cat in The Hat, The Hungry Caterpillar and Curious George- all in primary bold colors! The artwork will go on this long wall.

I can be persuaded to go in a totally different direction if you have a strong case.  Otherwise I would love your feedback/ideas/input on the room.

Love the Dr Suess artwork but I am thinking about going bigger  and drawing it on canvas

What would you do?  (gosh I really wish Candice Olson or Antonio Ballatore were reading this!)

Girls Weekend August 2012

My Girls (Shay, Quain-dawg, Eldy, Bick, and Geesh)

Each year my best friends from college reunite in some form or fashion for a girls trip.  For years the weekend doubled as a bachelorette weekend or bridal shower.  Now that everyone is married they are starting to double as baby showers.  Between the 6 of us that are regulars on these trips, we have packed 7 babies into the past 5 years..that is a lot of celebrating! (Lisha-2009 and 2013, Laura D- 2010 and 2011, Shay- 2011, Laura S- 2011, Lauren-2012).
At YaYas- not the same "bar" we used to sit at on a Friday afternoon 

We started the weekend in Jackson so we could meet Laura S. and Quinn.  This was our first time to meet Quinn and she is a doll, definite Phi Mu in the making.  Then we moved onto God’s Country aka Oxford to celebrate Lauren and Baby Grace due to join us in November.  The group of us always fall right back into sync with each other.  We are every color of the rainbow and it’s so fun to see one another grow more beautiful inside and out each passing year and build families of our own.  It doesn’t take but a minute to rediscover the uncontrollable belly laughs, immature humor and inside jokes we all love.
Within an hour of being in Oxford it was clear to us that the entire weekend would revolve around food.  I mean you really don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of focusing on anything else when traveling with 2 pregnant girls and a CIA-grad and food expert/snob.  Haha just kidding Megs.
We had a great time at lunch on Saturday at City Grocery.  We had a shower for Baby Grace and we could have fooled the wait staff that all of us were eating for 2 by the amount of food we put back.  We did some shopping, took walks, drove around campus, and retired to the Inn at Ole Miss both nights relatively early just to stay up late talking, laughing and even doing a few gymnastics routines since we were all obsessed experts on the Olympics at the point.  What a great weekend and it came at a perfect time for me since I had been working so hard and keeping such long hours the weeks prior.
Other meals consisted of Ajax, YaYa’s, SnackBar, drinks at Burgundy Room, City Grocery, Old Venice, Ice Cream Shop, and Bottle Tree….my goodness, sounds like we were there for a week and we were only there 3 days.

Dinner at Snack Bar- fantastic!

Shrimp & Grits @ City Grocery- the best!

Shower for Lauren

They still had Lisha's "HIO" from college!
Another picture of us eating, this time ice cream

4th of July

Every 4th of July the available family members meet out at Lake Athens to celebrate independence in typical style- eat way too much, swim and play on the lake, and a giant fireworks show.  This year was really special not only because I hadn’t been to the family 4th in 2 years due to work and being 9 months pregnant but more importantly because it was Austin’s first summer trip to the lake. He loved splashing in the water, playing on the sand and napping outside in the breeze.  It was a beautiful week to be there and we couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather and better company.
Ebby decked out the house with baby toys and Austin was in heaven.  The entire coffee table was covered with toys and stuffed animals.  We also celebrated Austin’s birthday a little early with the family. 
Austin was surrounded by so much love this week and we are so blessed to have such an awesome family that makes a point to come together each year to spend time together. 
Loved looking out the window

I took his swim diaper off to see if he would feel more fee but his tiny lil waist wouldn't hold his shorts up.
Grandma Ebby has that special touch
Chillin in the lake with Papa
Ebby teaching me how to walk

Chillin with MY girls
Napping on Ebby

Just got back from racing Grammy on the Jet Skis

I'm ready to party!!!!
Celebrating my birthday (early) on the 4th of July!  Here I am sporting 1/2 of my clark kent get-up.

Sunday, August 26

First Haircut

We got Austin’s first official haircut July 28.  I say official because I gave him a very amateur sideburn and mullet trim a few weeks prior.  Then Zach and I both decided that we couldn’t go any longer and although I had dreams of long curly blonde locks, Zach had to convince me that the interim “trailer trash mullet” stage was far too hazardous to Austin’s image to tolerate.  He was right.  Austin has some awesome curls in the back and I have heard one too many times that a mom cut the curls and they never came back.  We we trimmed it all, even the curls and they are already back! Fewwww!  But I swear this boy has his father’s genes, his hair is growing a mile and hour.  I think it might actually be time for another cut as I write this in late August.

BEFORE (in his defense he just woke up)
The back BEFORE

 He was SO good!

 All done!!! Time for a sucker!

Thanks Grammy! 
 Big handsome boy!