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

Monday, March 25

Turn Baby Turn!

We are so excited that the baby has turned and is no longer breach!  I want to thank all of you that may have been praying for her to turn, I know I was! And thanks to some of your nice emails, I got tips on exercises and yoga-like moves to do to try and encourage her to turn.  I actually did them a few times so we will say that was the secret weapon!

Our doctor's appointment went great today.  She is a little over 36 weeks along and she is head down and in great position now.  My body has begun to make progress so let's hope it is smooth sailing from here on out!  We also confirmed without a doubt that she is a girl.  She was showing no signs of anything else until now but it was hard to ever be 100% positive due to her modesty during the sonograms.  Today's sonogram was the validation I needed.....time to get the scissors out and cut all those tags off of the adorable new born clothes!

From here on out I will go in weekly to the doctor for progress checks.  Her due date is April 22nd and if history repeats itself we are expecting a very punctual baby since Austin started making his appearance precisely on his due date.

Face lift in progress...

Well spring is in full swing and so are all of the contractors in Natchez.  You can't drive down a street in downtown Natchez without seeing scaffolding, a painter at work, a man laying brick, etc.  This town gets busy renovating and restoring during that short window of nice weather before the unbearable southern heat moves in.

This spring we joined the club of crazy people throwing money out the window and into these beautiful but ridiculously expensive old southern homes.  We have a list of things being done over the months of March & April to our house...or as Austin calls it, "Daddy's house"....not sure where he thinks I live.  Maybe I am just the housekeeper in his mind, figures!  I thought we were slightly loopy for deciding to do all this work on our house just weeks before the baby comes but everyday when the contractor discovers a new issue under a know issue, I am convinced that we were not slightly loopy....we are full on crazy. But enough about that, I promised Zach I wouldn't be Debbie Downer during renovations since it is almost a guarantee to uncover double the problems you started with while spending double the money you budgeted.....BIG SIGH.

Here is a glimpse at the progress so far..

We removed these "gutters" or as I called them decorative trash since as you can tell they were serving absolutely no purpose in the shape they were in.  I am just glad they were so high up so you couldn't tell how awful they were.  New gutters went up around the entire house and I can promise you one thing, if I ever make a career change..."dude hanging heavy gutters on old Victorian houses on a ladder" will be the last career I pursue   I told my brother, that job is right up there with what he had to do in Afghanistan....not cool!

The second to last job I would pursue is this guy that is on 3 stories of scaffolding, removing the side of our porch rails.  I don't like scaffolding to begin with but I especially wouldn't trust it when it's being balanced on a 120 year old uneven brick driveway.  Count me out!  But here is a picture of our courageous carpenters dismantling and rebuilding our upstairs porch.
Please notice the scaffolding balancing on pieces of wood...CRAZY!

After the porch is complete and painted, we are onto replacing the windows.  Since the gutters have only served as decorative trash over the last decade, it caused a lot of leaking issues with the windows. As much as I complain as we budget for repairs or mail off the payments, I do have to admit that I love our home.  I love that we took something that was already special to the family and poured ourselves in it to make it special to our new little family.  I love coming home to my big porches, high ceilings, and 100+ year old makes you feel like you are adding a chapter to the grand story of the home.  Most of all I love seeing our family make memories in it and hearing the screech of pure joy as Zach slides Austin down the banister knowing that was Zach sliding down the same banister 20+ years ago. Hopefully people will look back on this generation of ownership and feel that we did the home justice.  

Friday, March 15

Baby Jex 34 Week Update

Mom and I went to the doctor Tuesday to see little baby Jex.  She had never seen a 4D sonogram so I know she would really enjoy it!  It is always amazing seeing them biting their lip or moving their little bitty hands!  She loved it but I had to cut it short because I started to get dizzy- another one of my classic pregnancy episodes.  Lying flat on my back does it to me every time so sonograms and dental visits are always “eventful”.  Enough about me, here is the update on our little sweetheart.

She is weighing in at 5lbs 10oz which is right on schedule, her body (stomach/femur) are measuring 34 weeks and her head is measuring 36 weeks.  Yikes!  However they informed me Austin had a big head too about an hour before he was born so I guess that is par for my babies...big brains like their daddy!

Austin on Left at 34 wks, Baby girl on right at 34 weeks.  Looks like we have another cheeky/big headed baby!!!
“She” still will not confirm that she is in fact a she.  Every sonogram we have looked and there is absolutely no sign of boy parts however she will not give us a good angle to be 100% sure it’s a girl.  My sonogram tech said she is 95% sure but you know what that translates to in my head--- a boy named Sue with a pink nursery.

I am pretty convinced this stubborn little one is in fact a girl and might be a little clone of her hard headed mommy because she is shaking things up and sitting breach right now.  Most babies should be turned head down by 34 weeks but she isn't.  We are hoping that she will turn on her own by the 25th when I go in for my 36 week appointment.  The good thing is, now we get an extra sonogram for the purpose of seeing if she has turned however I want the 100% “it’s a girl” confirmation.  If she hasn't turned, we will schedule an outpatient procedure for the following week (37 weeks) where they actually use brute force on the outside of my stomach to manually turn her.  They will hook me up to monitors and fluids to make sure nothing bad happens but they warned me it definitely wouldn't be the most pleasant process.  If this still doesn't do the trick, we will have a scheduled C-Section a week prior to the due date. EEK!

They told me I have a few things in my favor for the turning process- I am a relatively small person (apparently it is really hard to find the baby and turn the baby on larger women), the baby is average size, and I have a good amount of fluid surrounding the baby.  Please pray this goes well because I really would like to avoid going under the knife and the painful recovery.  It would break my heart not to be able to pick up Austin the day after and love on him and I am worried he would think I didn't love him if all the sudden there is a new baby and I stop holding him.  I know that is crazy mommy talk but I know my son and I really think it might hurt his feelings, he is a tender-hearted momma’s boy.

Wednesday, March 13

I Love You

I had to document this because it was the sweetest sound in the world and a first...

Austin said "I love you" clear as day to Zach this morning! We both melted.

Tuesday, March 12

Our second little miracle

As much as I moan and groan (mostly while trying to sleep or get out of bed) when I saw this, I just loved what it said.

As I am entering the last month of pregnancy and possibly the last time I experience pregnancy, this is such an awesome way to look at the whole experience.  This time wasn't easy- I felt sicker longer, I had more body aches and pains, and I had many more lightheaded/uneasy spells. But I am reminded after every doctor's appointment how very blessed we have been to only receive healthy reports.  Just like Austin, Baby girl is growing on schedule, developing well, and has a strong heart.  3 things I never take for granted!

It is a unique experience growing a life inside of you.  As Zach always says when I complain, "I know baby, you are making a person"....hahah...but really it's an awesome feeling to know a perfect little being is developing in YOU.

I love those moments when all of the stress at work is weighing on me and out of nowhere she starts to move and kick.  It's like a little reminder of everything bigger than the small struggles of today.

We are so excited to meet our sweet little girl whether it is in a few weeks or a week after she is due.  I know God has perfect timing in the matter and she will be here when she is ready.

Monday, March 11

Thank you Z!

I have to give credit where credit is due!!  The DC trip was all made possible my wonderful hubby who volunteered to stay home with Austin while I went to DC because let's face it, taking a 20 month old out site seeing for hours in the cold, windy weather is a disaster waiting to happen.

Zach is the most awesome dad when I am away from home- he constantly sends me pics and videos of everything they have going on so I feel like I didn't miss a thing.  Even if they were just sitting around by the fire all weekend, a mommy can't get enough of those cuddling on the couch pics.

I think this one might be my favorite--notice Austin's jersey is on backwards.  But hey, at least he is wearing clothes!

Pardon the mess of a living room in this video, apparently Zach allows him to he a free spirit in "his corner" while I am away.  He is so sweet and made Austin a pallet next to his reading chair so he could lay by the fire and watch cartoons.  Here Austin is reading up a storm- by far his favorite thing to do and now that he talks a lot he will read you an entire book cover to cover, too bad we can't understand a word of it. Notice how he crosses his feet up on his ottoman...such a big boy!

Playing guitar with Daddy is my favorite!

Also my wonderful in-laws came for the entire weekend to help. Zach has been crazy busy with one of the apps so they came the last 2 days of our trip to give him some relief.  I heard Austin walked around all weekend saying "Papa, Yeah Yeah...Papa, Yeah Yeah".  He loves them so much and has so much fun when they come to visit!
Having lunch at Mammies with Daddy, Papa, and Yeah Yeah

DC Trip- March 2013

Last week I flew to DC with my parents to officially welcome Cory home from Afghanistan! I have a million awesome pics but I won't bore you with all of are some highlights.

DC was a blast.  It is one of the most entertaining cities I have visited and you could be there for a month and still not see and do everything.  Seeing Cory and Alicia was the biggest treat of all and it felt like not a day had gone by since we last saw them although the reality was very different.  I hit the pillow hard every night after cramming our days and nights full of site-seeing, shopping, eating, eating, and more fabulous eating.  Some nights I didn’t even make it to the pillow before passing out, oh the life of a pregnant chick! I can’t wait to go back in warmer weather (and 30lbs lighter) because that city was made for outdoor touring.  From bike rentals to gorgeous running trails through historic sites.

Pentagon Memorial- breathtaking.

You can see the color difference in the side of the Pentagon from the renovation where the plane crashed
These are reflection benches with small pools of water under each in honor of each person that lost their life on 9/11, some are facing towards the Pentagon and some are facing away from the Pentagon depending if they were in the plane or in the building.  Then the benches were lined up in rows depending on the year the person was born  (very sad to see small children that had been on the plane) and all the rows were angled towards the impact site on the building.  The planning/architecture that went into this was really amazing.

Being in DC makes you appreciate how much our country honors and memorializes historic events and  people.  It can be really overwhelming at times to take it all in and fully grasp what people have sacrificed for our country.  After many conversations with Cory about his experiences in Afghanistan, I have never felt so ridiculously fortunate to live in America yet so damn scared of what is going on around the world and what our military is facing every day.  Ignorance may be bliss when it comes to knowing what he went through.  I will thank God for everyday he is safe in the US and pray situations change before he is ordered to go back.  Enough about all that- I could go on for days but it’s insanely depressing to think about.  However one thing I realized after hearing stories, talking to his friends, and understanding his role—the Marine Corps has an outstanding marine in my brother.  His respect for his country, for fellow man, for traditions and rules is unwavering 100% of the time, not just when he is in uniform.  

Iwo Jima
"At Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue." - Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, US Navy
Iwo Jima Memorial in the Arlington Cemetery was beautiful at night.   This is a memorial for all Marines.

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.  But the Marines don't  have that problem."  -Pres. Ronald Reagan 1985

We got to see where Cory works, where he did his officer training, and even where him and Alicia do crossfit….it’s called the BOX for all you crossfit junkies.  I entertained the idea of starting crossfit post- baby but after watching them complete a workout I have decided it might not be for me…it is hard core.  Maybe once I regain an inkling of abdominal strength I will gain more confidence but as of now, it just looked painful.  I think I may set my sites on the 2014 Disney Princess ½ Marathon instead…. I hear it’s a lot of fun and a great excuse to take the family to Disney since we will be missing the family Disney trip in a few weeks.

Alicia and Cory were the best hosts- driving us around through that crazy DC traffic (props to Cory since he hasn't driven in the US in quite some time), entertaining us non-stop, and they had their beautiful house prepped for company complete with snacks and drinks at the bedside! 

Thumbs Up with Nixon at the Wax Museum.  That was a pretty impressive place- cool to see all the presidents and how short/tall they actually were.

This is us at George Washington's boyhood home/farm in Fredericksburg.  Wonder where the cherry tree was...

Korean War Memorial
"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight." -Major General Frank E. Lowe, US Army
This one was awesome and Cory told us what each statue represented in the war-  what branch they were in and the role they played.  Our grandfather fought in this war.
This isn't one I took but I found this on the internet and I thought it looked amazing in the snow- you can just imagine being there.
Me and Mom at Jefferson Memorial

The cold family in front of the Capitol 

Dad with his Favorite President!
Looks like we got home right in time since a day later DC shut down due to a snow storm.

It was an amazing trip packed with so many laughs.  Like I said earlier I am so unbelievably grateful Cory made it back safely but please pray for the ones still over there and pray for our nation that we can figure out how to bring everyone home peacefully...and hopefully soon!