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, August 7

Special Visitors

The months of April and May were full of excitement!  We had many loving visitors come to visit baby Madeline and help us out a little.  

The visitors page of Madeline's scrapbook, I did it for Austin too and I am so glad I did because those first few weeks are a blur.

One visit left me in tears since it was a complete shock.  I decided being cooped up in the house on a beautiful spring Saturday was not for me especially while Zach was playing in a charity kickball tournament.  I loaded up with kids and the double BOB and somehow made it out to Duncan Park by 10am, this is a huge feat for a new mom of 2 flying solo with a 21 month old and a 4 day old.  Don’t freak out all you hyper-conservative germaphobes, Madeline stayed in her carseat covered by the stroller canopy and a light swaddling blanket that I would pull back if someone wanted a peak. No touching, no holding, no passing of germs were allowed.  Just observation from a short distance…and of course eewing and ahhing were allowed.

Back to the story, I was standing with a group of friends when a guy walks up behind me and says “what a beautiful baby girl”.  I turned to the familiar voice and see my brother and sister-in-law standing there all nonchalant like they just happened to be at the same park.  I may have screamed, not sure, but I do remember just starting to cry.  A very new mom doesn't stand a chance of keeping her cool when anything effects the emotions. Good, bad, exciting, stressful….tears are automatic.  I was so excited. It was so special to have them meet Madeline and spend time with Austin (who quickly fell in love with both of them).  I think Cory just wanted to fight for the “favorite uncle” position since Kellen made the drive to Natchez at 2am in time for the birth of Austin, Cory had to make a grand entrance into Emmy Jay’s life! They drove all the way here and surprised Mom and Dad the night before and then got us the next morning.  Alicia and Cory…I warned you, I am too old and unstable for all these surprises.  The Ross side of the family is notorious for surprise visits.  It is borderline nuts.  There were a few years there where at Ross family gathering you begin to look in the dark garage and peek behind the drapes just to make sure a surprise visitor doesn’t catch you off guard.  I can’t really talk, I was that surprise visitor many-a-time.  I may say I don’t like being surprised, but who am I fooling I love that game.  Franny, Cory, and I are the worst about being the surprise guest, I guess because for the longest time we lived the farthest away and were never expected to be at family events but none of us can stand missing out on anything.  My parents are usually behind most of the planning and conniving, they love a good “gotcha”.

Loved having these 2 here!
I don't know how I didn't get a picture of Alicia "the baby whisperer" Ross holding Madeline since she held her so much over their short visit....she seriously has the touch!  I guess after 4 kids you know just how to calm down a baby!

Right before Cory and Alicia hit the road, Kellen, Becky, and Julia Claire stopped by to meet Madeline. I have noticed that Austin warms up to Kellen and Cory like they are old friends.  I wonder if they remind him of us so he just acts like they are around everyday.  I love it and the same is true when Zach is around Julia Claire, she instantly gets a huge smile on her face even though we don’t see her on a regular basis.
Austin thinks "Untul Tell" is hilarious!

Later that week Ebby and Papa Leroy (Mom’s parents) came to visit.  We had a lot of quality time with the kids since they were both sick and I needed all the help I could get around that time.  Austin really warmed up to Ebby quickly, most likely because she could be my mom’s twin and we all know how much Austin loves his Grammy.  Like a moth to a flame….babies and dogs are so attracted to her.

Papa loves babies!  He was so calm and comfortable holding Madeline, as you can tell she loved it too!
4 generations: Ebby, Mom, Shay, and Madeline (@ 2 weeks)

 A few weeks later, Bev and Grandma Marilyn came out for a long weekend.  It was such a wonderful visit and it was great timing because Madeline was a little bit older so we had a routine established and it was much easier to make plans.  We shopped, we ate, and we just enjoyed a lot of family time.  Austin LOVED having more family in town to play with.  

Grandma Marilyn "G-G" and her Maddy {she said she always wanted a little Maddy}

Austin was hamming it up for Bev.  Bev was SO good with Austin and so informative- she teaches 3 year olds so she has so many tips and games to share!

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