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, January 20

Madeline Monthly, the countdown to 1

                               8 MONTHS

                                  9 MONTHS

Thursday, January 9

They have the music in them....

Fortunately 3 out of 4 of my family members have the musical gene.  Zach is a pro on the guitar and moving on to piano and Austin looks to be following right behind.  He loves listening to music and playing guitar with Daddy, everything from Black Crows to Band of Horses and mimics Zach's every move.  He is one musically cultured little guy.

Maddy has been dancing in her bumbo since 7 months so she either inherited Zach's musical gene or my dance/cheerleader rhythm.  I do love being backup singer in the family band right now, you know before my kids can tell me how off key I am.

Here are the kids doing what they love best......jammin.

Please note, a few seconds into the video he stops to tune his guitar.  He's been watching daddy one too many times.  Also if you watch the actual Lumineers video they are wearing hats, so Austin insisted on wearing this hat.  He could watch that music video for days.  He also yells "ticker tape" at the exact part when the ticker tape flies over the crowd, evin if he isn't watching the video. One day I'm gonna make some confetti to throw at that part.

Wednesday, January 8

A Magical Christmas Eve

I will go to any lengths to give my kids a magical childhood! And Christmas Eve is the Olympics of childhood magical moments. Seriously people, imagine the excitement of thinking that all in one night a big jolly man with tons of gifts would visit you, a group of flying reindeer would be flying to your home, and a baby in a manger is having a birthday.  Okay, so that is the over simplified version however this sums up the simple joy in our 2 year old's heart this Christmas season. This year I knew we had to start some lasting traditions since Austin is now old enough to remember EVERYTHING you say.

I don't think this sweet boy stopped smiling all day he was so excited.
Here we are right after Christmas Eve candlelight service (my favorite Christmas tradition) at church.  As we arrived home, we had a huge surprise.  There were muddy prints on the front porch which could only mean one thing, the reindeer made a delivery to the house (I wanted the horse drawn carriage to do it but they weren't running that day...maybe next year!).  Prancer and Dancer delivered Christmas Eve boxes from Santa complete with notes to the kids and other goodies. 

This year the boxes included popcorn, a movie, gingerbread men, Christmas PJs, a book of the Christmas story, a book for Maddy from the Madeline series, cake mix, icing, and candles to make Jesus' birthday cake, candy, notes from Santa, stationary to write Santa, reindeer food, hot chocolate and a mug, etc.

Letters from Santa telling the kids how excited he was to be making the trip to Natchez.

 Stationary for the kids to write and draw for Santa.

We sprinkled this on the front yard to entice the reindeer

Reading Austin his note from Santa

He was so excited about his box of goodies

"Writing" Santa his letter.  There was a box he had to check for Nice or Naughty and he sure did check Naughty.
Reading Maddy the Christmas Story.  Every page he would "read":  "and then Jesus was born"

 Maddy was so excited to go to sleep so Santa could come!

Santa dropped off bags of toys for the kids.

And read the kids letters and wrote back a very sweet note...and of course gobbled up the cookies we made him!

It was such a special night for the kids and us and I can't wait to continue this tradition every year.

Thursday, January 2

The most wonderful time of the year!

I love Christmas!  I love the spirit of the holidays and most of all I loved hearing Austin say "Merry Christmas" and "It's Jesus' birthday" pretty much the entire month!  I don't regret one day of going to bed dog tired because I crammed in making a gingerbread house, treats for Austin's class, a 4th Santa visit, etc. I love that every time we drive by Dunleith (where we visited Santa), Austin says "I wan't to do that, that's Santa's house".  How cute is that?? I wish I grew up thinking Santa lived in Dunleith, what a dream! I love baking and creating.  Nothing says Christmas like gifting homemade pie, chess squares, having the kids help make white chocolate train mix, and baking Jesus' birthday cake on Christmas Eve! 

Austin had a blast creating his first gingerbread house and as you can tell, enjoyed eating the candy as we worked.  Madeline supervised from her directors chair and would shake her fishing pole at is if she saw us getting messy.

I think this may have been my first gingerbread house too, at least that I can remember.  I have to admit, I had WAY too much fun.  It's a giant edible art project, my dream come true.  My inner art nut thought about distracting Austin with a bowl of M&Ms so I could elaborately transform the gingerbread hut into a gumdrop and snowflake castle.... however my loving Mommy side took over and I let Austin do most of the decorating.  Okay okay I strategically placed globbs of icing and told him what candy "might look best" there.  He had a total blast and told all visitors to look at his "ginga bwed house"!

Yup that sure is a half eaten starburst...hahha he tried!

 The final product!

 Supervising is exhausting!

  My family is a big weenie dog family.  Here are some TOMs I painted for Mom and a pillowcase I painted for my cousin-in-law.