Monday, September 29, 2008

Gummy Smiles!

A friend of mine has a baby boy that is 6-weeks older than Jackson. She mentioned to me the other day that her son has two teeth.

Jackson has definitely been teething and I know teeth are just around the corner. While I am excited to see his first tooth, I am a little sad that I won't get that gummy smile every morning.

So for now, I will enjoy all the gummy smiles, kisses,...and even the gummy screams (see photo below).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Are you ready for some football?

Justin and I recently got to watch our nephew, Griffin, play football. It is so fun to see this little guy make the "big plays." Griffin played great defense at this particular game. We were so proud of him! Check out some action shots from the game. Maybe he could fill in for Bob Sanders...

P.S. Now, I'm not so sure about Jackson being on the other end of that tackle one day...but I know that day will come. I need to prepare myself!
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy 60th, Bonnie!

Jessica and Bonnie with Jackson

I wanted to take a second to wish someone a Happy Birthday! Someone very special to me celebrated her 60th birthday this week.

Bonnie Jones, along with her husband Rodney and their daughters Amy and Jessica, have been great friends to my family since I was young. The Jones’ and the Symmes’ have shared so much over the years.

In honor of Bonnie’s birthday, I would like to share a story of something that Bonnie did for me that will stay with me forever.

A day after my Dad passed away, Bonnie and Rodney stopped by to see my family. While visiting, Bonnie handed me a letter and told me to read it when I had some time alone. Of course, I read it immediately.

The letter told me of a theory that once our loved ones pass, they send “pennies from heaven” to us to let us know they are still with us. Inside my letter was a penny that Bonnie found at the hospital while she sat with my family when we lost my Dad. She told me that she knew my Dad would want me to have the penny. That penny sits on my night stand next to a childhood picture of my Dad and me. I will always treasure it.

Since then, I have found more pennies than ever before. Some come at times when I’m sad; some come at happy times when I know my Dad would be celebrating with me. It shows me that my Dad is always by my side.

A few weeks ago, I was having a hard time knowing that my Dad was not here to celebrate my niece’s 9th birthday with us. I was at the store buying a gift bag for her gift. I looked down and there was a penny. I picked it up. I knew then that Dad was celebrating too. I shared Bonnie's theory with my neice and gave the penny to her to keep.


Thank you for this special gift. I can’t thank you enough for passing on the penny from the hospital. It truly has helped me see that Dad is always with me.

I hope your birthday is special. You deserve it!

Love you,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Todd!

Justin and I wanted wish his brother, Todd, a very happy birthday!

Todd, we hope you have a great one!

We love you!

Justin and Kristen

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Lots of I do's!

John and Erin Neal

This past weekend Justin and I got to celebrate lots of I do's.

Our good friends, Shawn and Amy Galbraith, tied the knot. We couldn't be happier for them. Amy - you looked beautiful! (Sorry, somehow I didn't get any photos...someone send me some and I will post them).

Justin's cousin, Erin, also married her fiance John. They quite possibly could have been the happiest couple to say "I do." Check out the photo above. I thought they both were going to jump from the altar! How sweet!

Congratulations to everyone. We wish you much happiness!

P.S. Check out Jackson's wedding attire. I think Justin was hoping he and Jackson could take in a round of golf too!

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Just had to share...

I just had to share this photo. I love this bib. Our good friends, Chris and Rachel Hinshaw, gave us this bib for Jackson. It seems to fit his personality well.

P.S. Justin wants a matching one! :)
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Fall Y'all...until next year....

Each year Justin and I look forward to throwing the Annual Bixler Fall Bash. This year was no different. We even have the cutest outfit for Jackson to wear. However, the past couple months just haven’t gone as planned for our family.

Our family and friends have been such a great support system for us through the loss of my Dad. We were looking forward to the opportunity to thank everyone at our annual party. However, neither Justin nor I realized the intensive rehab and recovery he would undergo with his hand surgery.

So…for this year, and this year only, we are going to put the Annual Bixler Fall Bash on hold until next year. We will miss seeing everyone and catching up on their busy lives.

Justin will miss building the bonfire (though he won’t miss me nagging him about catching our house on fire). I will miss the warm apple cider (though I won’t miss it spilling all over my new cook top stove). I will miss Penny’s burrito dip (but Justin won’t miss my cucumber sandwiches). We will miss the visits from good friends “all the way” down here in Bloomington (though I won’t miss our friends jumping from my 2nd-story loft onto an air mattress in my family room). :)

So…please forgive us for not greeting you with pumpkins, haystacks, and scarecrows this year. We love and miss you all. But life just got a little hectic.

The Annual Bixler Fall Bash is on for 2009!

Funny...the things you remember

Yesterday, Justin and I were at the Colts game trying to cheer the Colts to a victory. It was half-time and I of course needed popcorn. We headed to the concession stand. However, most of the crowd was doing the same. We got separated.

I looked back and could see Justin chatting up a very tall man who looked just a bit familiar. I stood to the side and waited for Justin to finish talking. Then, Justin and this very tall - somewhat familiar man came over to chat.

Justin said, "Kris, remember this guy? He gave you the epidural for Jackson." Ah ha! I remembered him instantly. For a 20-minute period that eventful night...this strange-tall man was my new best friend.

I shook his hand (I should have hugged him) and said thank you. He smiled back and we separated in the crowd.

Justin remembered him instantly because during the procedure this man yelled at Justin for talking. I gave Justin the look of "do what he says - he has the good drugs!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A few things I never told my Dad...

Justin and I were having one of our night time chats about my Dad. We usually talk about what a great father and grandfather he was. We talk about how supportive he was to Justin and I both. We remember how excited he was for Jackson's arrival and how he brought us dinner each night in the hospital so we wouldn't have to eat hospital food.

Last night, during our talk, Justin said "you know, you couldn't have showed him or told him how much you loved him anymore than you did." Justin is right. Some people have often teased me because even after I was married, I called home every night to say good night. I don't regret one phone call.

I told my Dad a lot about my life. But of course, there were a few things I didn't tell him. Or…even a few times I didn't tell the whole story…So here I go. Dad, there are a few things I need to get off my chest…

  • Ok, so I really was the one who wrote KRISTEN on the wall when I was 5. It wasn't Michelle. (Sorry Michelle!)
  • When you would come home from work for lunch. I would tell you to stay home with mom and I because "I didn't feel well". I felt fine. I just wanted you to stay home and watch Young and the Restless with us. You always liked Victor.
  • When I was in the 6th grade, I had you go to school and have them switch my teacher. I complained he wasn't nice to me. I'm sure he was nice enough…but I wanted to be in the same class as Jenny. But… I think you knew that was why and you did it anyways. Jenny and I both thank you.
  • In my bedroom in our old house, there is a spot in the carpet that is a little shorter than the rest of the carpet. I spilt nail polish there and I cut it out rather than tell you and mom.
  • Once, when I was grounded from the phone (one of many times) Deb told you I was hiding in my closet talking to a boy. I called Deb a liar (should have called her a snitch) and said it wasn't true….it was true. I was hiding so I could talk without you knowing.
  • Also, when I told you that my bad mid-term grade in biology was because my teacher was just "so tough"...that wasn't really true. The teacher was reasonable, the work was easy...but I spent my class time writing notes back and forth to the same guy mentioned above. Sorry...turns out, he wasn't worth it. You always told me that.
  • Once, when you thought I had been at a cheerleader slumber party you found out we had been drinking (I was only 16). The girls and I came up with a plan to tell our parents that we went to Edgewater Park and had a few drinks there. We told you this because Stacey wouldn't get in trouble if that was our story. The rest of us were in trouble either way. Truth be told, we all went to our first college party at Ball State. (I hope the other girls have told their parents by now!)
  • In college, all those charges on my American Express to the Willard weren't always for Pizza…there might have been a few pitchers of beer here and there…and there might have been a couple of shots….ok, more than a couple. Truth be told, we had a toast we did to "Mike Symmes" for buying the round of shots! My sorority sisters thank you!
  • Also in college, you would comment about the extensive miles I was putting on my car. I would insist it was because I came home to see you so often. However, I think it was all my trips to Ball State to see Justin. But, I think you knew that too.
  • While on my honeymoon, I called home "Collect" quite often. I told you it was the only way I could call home. Truth was, I knew I couldn't afford the charges, but wanted to talk to you and mom so badly. I wanted to thank you for the amazing wedding and tell you how much I loved you both...and it couldn't wait until I got home. So, "Operator, I'd like to make a collect call" sounded pretty good to me.

Dad, none of this would be a suprise to you. You always knew what I was up too. After writing this, I realize what I'm in for as a parent. But, through it all your loved never waivered. You were strict and tough with your groundings, but always tender with your love. Thank you.

I will walk a little lighter today knowing that I finally came clean...funny how this stuff stays with you.

Justin is normal….well, almost.

At the Kenny Chesney Concert

I wanted to do a quick post to say thank you to all who have continued call or e-mail to check in on Justin.

For all others, here is a quick update: The finger is getting better each day. In fact, Justin had his stitches taken out this week. He continues to do the exercises and he is still wearing the “duck” cast. He will continue to do so for four more weeks.

Justin did take a turn for the worse a few days after surgery. Long story short, he had a bad reaction to the pain medicine. After some further testing, the pain meds had shut down part of Justin’s liver function temporarily. However, after a few days of drinking Gatorade and water like it’s….well, like it’s water…he is back to normal. The doctor said he will be just fine. It was scary for a few days as I knew Justin was feeling terrible (he even passed up having a few beers at the Kenny Chesney concert). However, things are starting to look up for Justin.

Thanks to everyone for all your get well wishes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cereal and Raspberries...

Cereal and Raspberries are the two newest things at our house....however, the two don't go hand in hand.

Jackson has finally figured out the spoon. So feeding him cereal is going a lot smoother these days. However, the same day he figured out the spoon...he learned the raspberries! Cereal and raspberries together makes for a very messy baby. Check out some videos of our very talented cereal eater.

P.S. Please excuse the baby talk...sometimes we forget the camera can hear us too. :)

Best Wishes to Adam and Sara McCord!

Our good friends, Adam and Sara McCord, told us this weekend they were expecting a baby! Justin and I were thrilled with their news.

We wanted to post a note to wish them well on this amazing journey. Adam and Sara celebrated with us as we prepared to welcome Jackson into this world. We can't wait to do the same for them!

When they told us the good news, Justin gave Adam some advice. It made me chuckle. He said, "Dude, try not to miss any of the doctor appointments...I only missed two". It was good advice...but, boy how their conversations have changed through the years. Next, they will be discussing what brand of diapers is best or what episode of The Wiggles is their favorite. Sara and I will do what we always do: sit back and laugh at the two of them. They are worse than women, but they keep us entertained.

Adam and Sara~

The two of you will make amazing parents. Baby McCord is already lucky to have the two of you!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wash him on cold!

Tonight was laundry night at our house...or should I say this week is laundry week. I've gotten a little behind on the laundry. Tonight, I was on a mission (though I'm still not done). I was starting to get a little frustrated with myself when Justin laid Jackson down in the middle of my laundry pile. Jackson looked up and gave me his usual gummy grin. All of the sudden it didn't matter that we didn't have clean underwear...okay, it still mattered!

But Jackson sure made me smile while I continued on my laundry mission.

Baby got a new pair of shoes!

It is a family tradition that Mama Charlotte and Papa Mike take each of the Grandkids shopping for their first pair of shoes. Last week, my Mom asked me if it would be okay if she took Jackson shopping for his first pair of shoes. Of course my answer was yes. And..of course, it was hard knowing my Dad wouldn't be there to help do the shopping.

Mom called as they left the store and was thrilled with her purchase. I couldn't wait to see them.

My Dad might not have been here to help pick out the shoes...but it feels good carrying on one of his favorite traditions.

Mom, thank you for Jackson's new "kicks". Even more, thank you for making sure Jackson got to take part in the family tradition.

I love you more than anything.

Dad - we miss you more than you can imagine!
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Jackson!

A little over a year ago Justin and I found out we were expecting a baby. After a late night pregnancy test I told Justin my exciting news. We hugged and cried...and hugged some more. Justin insisted we go to the store and buy every test they make ... you know, just to be sure. We did. By the time we finally went to bed...we knew our lives had changed for the better.

As I look back on what we have been through this last month, I know we were meant to have Jackson. I'm not super religious, but I know God gave me Jackson to help me pull through the loss of my Dad.

I have always had a fear of loosing my parents. I don't know why, just something i always worried about (probably why I called my Dad every day). I always worried my Dad wouldn't be here to see me graduate from college, walk me down the aisle, or see my children. He was here for it all. Not only was he here to see it, but he was here to celebrate it.

As this month marks Jackson's fourth-month birthday, we will celebrate it...Just as my Dad would have. Happy Birthday, Jackson!

We love you!
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Jackson rolled over...from back to belly!

Jackson has been getting so frusterated during the night. He wants so badly to be able to roll over onto his belly. We often hear his frustrations on the monitor.

Tonight, Jackson finally learned how to roll from back to belly. He even figured out how to get his hand out from underneath his big belly.

Justin and I were so excited when he finally accomplished it. We cheered as if he had won a gold medal. Our screams frightened we had to tone it down next time.

A video to come...I promise! For now, enjoy some photos.

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Jackson is ready to join Oprah's Book Club!

Justin and I enjoy the same hobbies...for the most part. The one thing we don't agree on is leisure reading. I love to read history books and biographies (I get it from my Dad). I will admit, I like a romance novel here and there (I get that from Deb).

However, Justin doesn't enjoy reading. Once on a vacation, he took a novel...I think he stopped at page 17. Instead, he spent his time at the swim-up bar. :)

I am hoping Jackson will have my love for reading. I was so excited when he spent about 30 minutes with his "First Book." He spent his time flipping through the pages and looking at the colors.

Note: Check out the big toe in the bottom photo...he gets that from his Dad.
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We have upgraded to cereal!

Our little "Beefcake" just can't get full. So we waited four months - like the doctor said - and we have upgraded to rice cereal twice a day. Sounds yummy doesn't it?

Jackson doesn't quite know what to think of the spoon. Check out the photos from Jackson's first high-chair and spoon experience.

It is getting a bit easier...Jackson will take food any way he can get it! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our little Michael Phelps!

Jackson finally fit into his first pair of swim trunks (and matching hat).

Check out some photos of our very own "Little Michael Phelps."

However, my Uncle Tom pointed out that Micheael Phelps would never wear the hat. Ok, maybe he's right. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

All this for a broken finger

Justin had a very tough day. The mobile cast he was hoping for didn't quite happen. He does have use of his index finger and his thumb, but even that is pretty tough. The "Duck" cast, as we have nick named it, is here to stay for six weeks.

The doctor has requested he take two weeks off work. Justin is very frustrated that he can't do much and even going back to work when he had planned is out of the question.

He isn't the best patient and I am certainly not the best nurse. We are both trying to survive.

If you don't want to see the graphic post surgery photo...don't scroll down. All this for a tiny broken bone....geez!

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Another reason to smile...

Like I have said before...these days I am always looking for something to make me smile.

Penny and John sent us this photo from a night that Jackson was staying at their house.

How can you resist smiling at that belly!

P.S. Maybe Jackson is growing a belly in memory of Papaw Mike! :)


Get well SOON!

Thanks to all who have called, text, or e-mailed Justin to wish him well.

Justin survived his surgery. Though it didn't seem he was feeling much pain! :)

Thanks to Penny and John, we have some pictures from the main event. Enjoy!

Justin is doing better (thanks to the pain killers). He will see the doctor again tomorrow and will hopefully get a different cast that will allow some use of his hand.

P.S. He is a bit grouchy... think the doctor could help out with that? :)