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

Wednesday, May 22

Annual Beach Trip

Zach's family has a timeshare in Gulf Shores and has been going there every year since he was young.  We have been the last few years as newlyweds and now as a family and it is such a wonderful tradition that we plan to continue for many years to come.  Kate told me she can remember her dad and her playing in the sand when she was little and spending the week at the condo with her mom.  We want our kids to make memories playing on the same stretch of beach and hanging out in the same condo cooking hotdogs!

This year they chose to meet at the condo the first week in May.  When Zach initially asked me if I wanted to go this year I told him there would be no way we could swing it because that would be just a few weeks after the baby was due and I knew we would be in no shape to travel.

Well fast forward to May, Madeline came a week early and we were all dying to get out of the house and out of town after the kids had both been sick and spent way too much time indoors the past few weeks.  I was aching for a change of scenery and even though I knew we were taking a gamble with a 2 year old and a newborn on a road trip, I was willing to chance it.  Around 4pm, we made the decision to go and by 6pm we had the bags packed, car loaded, and kids buckled in and ready for an adventure.  Our complete spontaneity and lack of planning actually turned into a genius strategy-  drive during the kids bedtime.  It was awesome, Austin ate dinner when we got on the road and about an hour later snuggled up with Bonnie and Clyde (his night time stuffed animals) and he was out the remainder of the drive.  

This year Sue couldn't make it so it was Steve, Victor & Kate, and our crew.  The trip was a COMPLETE success.  The weather was absolutely beautiful, Austin was in heaven with so much to do and so many people loving on him, and Madeline as just Madeline- the chillest baby that ever lived.  The only time you heard a peep from here is when it was time to eat and other than that she just enjoyed the breeze and the sounds of the ocean. Steve was so nice and treated all of us to dinner every night and Austin did surprisingly well at the restaurants- it's always a crap shoot with a 2 year old.

I think this trip to the beach saved my sanity.  I was getting cabin fever the past week and I was even feeling gloomy some days and was just blaming it on the gloomy weather and the fact that both of my kids were sick, Zach was slammed at work, and my usual backup (my mom) was sick too.  What I imagined as a restful maternity leave had taken an unexpected turn and I was a sinking ship. But the beach trip gave me time to relax, a lot of help with the kids, and much needed time to reflect on how blessed we are.  Sometimes the stress during an adjustment period doesn't allow much time to smell th roses.

Zach teaching Austin how to swim and jump off the side.  Austin loved the water so much and did so well!

 Our sunbathing beauty

 Madeline "sat" in the chair next to me, it was the perfect weather- not too hot and not too cool!

Somehow this is the only picture I got of the 2 of them together, not great but that is life!  I and sure do live life!

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