Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trick or Treat...

Happy Halloween from The Bixler's and our "Little Stinker!"

It was more than a house...

Why is this so hard?

I haven’t been a fan of living in Bloomington since we got here. I tried it. However, I prefer living closer to my friends and family. I just have never felt like Bloomington was “home” for me.

So, why am I sad to be leaving?

When Justin and I sold our last house we both had tears in our eyes as we left the house for the last time. That was understandable. It was our first home together. We built the house and had such great memories of that process. It was where we started our married life together. Where we built the foundation of a marriage that will last forever. So, when we were sad…we understood.

I have never felt connected to Bloomington. Never felt tied to our home here. To me, it was a house we bought so we wouldn’t waste money on rent while we lived here for a few short years. Now, all of the sudden, I realize it is much more than that…so much more.

Our house here is the purchase we asked my parents to drive two hours to see on a work night. They happily did so. I needed my parents approval (and so did Justin) before making such a big purchase. When we did purchase it and began to move in, I had a minor meltdown that our refrigerator wasn’t big enough for the area built for it. Justin immediately called my Dad and asked him to drive 2 hours (again on a week night) to assure me it would be fine. Dad picked my mom up from work and they were on their way. They were here long enough to take a look, assure me it was fine, and they returned home. I never questioned the size of the refrigerator again.

It is the same house that my nephew, Hayden, shouted “Weeeeeee” after pulling down the drive way. We have had so many jokes about our drive way with family and friends! We would like to point out that we never had trouble getting up our drive way (in the car….by foot is a different story).

This is the house that Justin and his Dad bricked our mailbox on their own (bricklaying isn’t Justin’s forte’). The mailbox was completed just in time for us to sell it (underneath all that brick, written in cement are the words "JACKSON 5-3-08"). Justin and his Dad put their handyman work to use again last week when they had to rebuild the front porch. John never tells Justin no when he gets roped into these projects. Instead, John just shows up when asked and ready to work. These are memories Justin will cherish with his Dad.

Most importantly, this is the home we were in when we decided to have a baby (actually, the deciding conversation happened in the car somewhere on State Road 37…but it started in our house). There were many nights we sat in the family room and talked about “Baby Bixler” that hadn’t even been conceived yet. We discussed our hopes and fears about starting a family during our dinners at the kitchen table.

This is the house that I took pregnancy test after pregnancy test to finally see a positive one. I paced our master bathroom to think of a neat way to tell Justin. Finally, I just opened the door and told him. We hugged, cried, and then ran to the Kroger to buy other tests to confirm.

It was that same night that we decided then and there that the baby’s nursery had to be the guest bedroom next to ours. We wanted Baby Bixler as close to us as possible (little did we know he would prefer to sleep in our bed most nights). Each night after that I would catch myself walking into the room that would soon be a nursery just to imagine what it would be like when the baby was here…I often found Justin doing the same.

As my belly got bigger and my due date closer, Justin and I spent most of our free time searching for nursery ideas. When I told Justin I wanted polka dots, he thought I was crazy. But he didn’t blink and eye. He instead drove me to look for polka dot wallpaper. I found what I wanted immediately. In a few days, Justin was on the phone to my Dad explaining our idea for the nursery, but that we would need some help. This is where “Operation Nursery” began.

I will make sure to tell Jackson when he is older (maybe when he is ready to have his own children) that his nursery was built with so much love. I will tell him Papa Mike, Grandpa John, Uncle Tom, and Justin worked so hard to get everything just right in the nursery. I will tell him of the fond memories Justin and I have of putting together the crib with my parents. I will tell him how hard Mamaw Charlotte worked on the polka dot valance for the window. I will tell him about the table and chairs coming from Grandma Marge and all about the trouble Grandma Penny went through to get the perfect changing table.

This is also the same house that I put a Christmas ornament on the tree in honor of Jackson for the first time. It was December 11th and I was 19 weeks pregnant. That morning we found out that we would be welcoming a boy in May. Justin and I went that day and purchased a Christmas ornament that read JACKSON to add to our tree. I can still remember putting it on the tree and thinking “next year he will be here to celebrate with us.”

As winter turned to spring, Justin and I celebrated Jackson’s upcoming arrival with friends and family at many baby showers. After each shower, Justin would insist we immediately put all of Jackson’s new things away in his room. I can’t begin to count the hours we would sit in there and find something to do. Even our dogs began just walking in to check things out. Jackson wasn’t here yet, but it was our way of being closer to him.

Then, one day, I woke up in labor. I can look back now and say that it was the greatest day of my life. I love my memories of Justin and me walking around the neighborhood in the rain trying to get my contractions closer together. That is a memory that will last a lifetime. I remember pulling out of our drive way and looking at Justin to say, “We will have our son with us when we return.” We did.

Once we arrived home, Justin and I showed Jackson around the house. We couldn’t wait to show him his room that everyone had worked so hard on. After about an hour or so I laid him in the bassinet and immediately felt complete. I had a wonderful husband, an adorable baby, and home filled with love.

That is when I realized this house was more than just a place to live….it was our home.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We're on the move!

If you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that we are in the process of moving. In fact, we are down to only two days until the big move. So Justin and I have been a little busy. I haven't been able to post much this week. Sometimes, I'm surprised Justin hasn't boxed me up and labeled me "Storage" yet. He is a little frantic with boxing everything up.

This week, my Mom and Grandma have been staying with us. They have helped us pack up most of the house. When they needed a break they helped spoil Jackson with extra love while we kept packing. We can't tell them thank you enough!

I also wanted to say thank you to the "Moving Crew" that we have coming down this weekend. I am thanking you in advance because I am looking around and realizing how much stuff we have! Eeek!
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best Wishes to Jason and Jenny Power!

Recently, Justin and I attended a couples baby shower for our friends Jason and Jenny Power.

You could tell instantly how excited they both are to meet their baby boy. The baby is due to arrive around Christmas and will make this holiday a memorable one for everyone.

Justin and I wanted to wish Jason and Jenny luck as they near the end of Jenny's pregnancy and the beginning of such a neat journey. Enjoy every minute of it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our Little Football Star!

As I posted a couple days ago, we recently made another trip to The Picture People to have a few photos taken of Jackson.

Some good friends of ours, Lisa and Eryn Travis, gave us a Notre Dame Jersey with BIXLER on the back for Jackson. At the last minute, I grabbed the jersey and thought it would make for a good photo. I know I might be biased...but I think the photos turned out FANTASTIC.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Baby Book

The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears has been a lifesaver for Justin and I. It was given to us when by my parents when we told them I was pregnant. We refer to it often and it hasn't let us down yet.

Just last week, Jackson felt a little warm to me. I know fevers are normal right now while he is teething. So, I whipped out my book to check and see what a "normal" temp should be during teething.

While I was reading, I had Jackson on my lap...just as I often do when reading. However, this time Jackson was reaching for the pages and trying to turn them himself. I put The Baby Book down and picked one of his books. He loved it!

It was probably one of the first times I read to Jackson and I could tell he really enjoyed it. He loves the touch and feel books with different textures.

Tonight, I dusted off some of my childhood books to add to his collection. I can't wait to share them with Jackson!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jackson's first pony ride!

Photos from Ashley's cell phone

Tonight we went to the mall to have Jackson's photo taken in his first Halloween costume (check the blog October 31 to see his photo). He was all smiles (well, until he got a little hot in his costume)! Jackson celebrated via a shoulder ride with Dad all the way to the food court. After dinner, he got his first pony ride.

I sent these photos to my mom and she replied with, "Did Jackson also enjoy the pony ride?" Good one, Mom!
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Sunday, October 19, 2008


Lately, we have been noticing that Jackson has been watching us eat. Bite by bite he almost glares at us as if to say, "where is mine?".
Last week, he even reached for my broccoli. We got the message! It is time to try some baby food. The formula and cereal just isn't cutting it anymore. We were trying to wait until he was 6 months old like the doctor suggested...but I'm not sure our little "beefcake" liked that idea.

I went to the store today and came home with a "yellow" vegetable just like to book says. But, who eats squash? Not me, and surely not my son. I was wrong. He loved it! In fact, Penny and John were here when he tried it and Penny mentioned he probably wouldn't eat the whole jar. Jackson proved her wrong. I couldn't give it to him fast enough. When I wasn't quick enough he decided to chew on the tray of the high chair. :)

Get this boy to a buffet!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thanks for your help, Ashley!

Justin and I owe Ashley a big thank you! Not only is she a great aunt to Jackson, she has been a fantastic nanny. This week she went over and beyond as she helped us prepare for our move. When I came home tonight, Ashley had gone through Jackson's room and organized his closet by sorting out the clothes he had outgrown. Thanks so much, Ashley.

It is so much easier to go to work knowing that Jackson is with someone who loves him so much. Jackson is very lucky...and so are we!

Side Note: It is amazing to look at the newborn clothes and know that just a few months ago our little "beefcake" could fit into them!

What happened to this little guy?
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Naked Baby!

I just couldn't resist posting these.
They made me smile at the end of a sad day!
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Calling all Handymen!

He could have at least changed out of his work
clothes before he tore our house down.

We're moving.

I'm sure you have heard us celebrating down here in Bloomington. You might have also heard Justin complaining about the people buying the house. Their inspection didn't go as easily as our last house. We met them half way with the items we agreed to fix (our house is a year bad could it be)....and we still have a list a mile long.

We close in a week. Yes, one week from today...So, we figured we better get busy.

This photo is what I came home to today. There were a couple minor things wrong with our railing to our front porch. It was caused by the house settling. Nothing we could have prevented. I imagined a new screw here, or a nail to hammer there. But Justin doesn't keep projects that simple. Instead, both sides of the hand rails are now OFF our house. He dismantled the whole thing. He then looked at me and said, I think I may need my Dad to help with this one. :)

Did I mention we close one week from today...geez!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Franklin College Homecoming

This past weekend was Franklin College's homecoming. Each year, Justin and I go with 2 other couples. It has been a tradition for the Noah's, the Charles', and the Bixler's for 7 years now.

The Noah's, The Bixler's, and The Charles'

Each year, we make great memories while we drum up all the funny stories from our college days. This year was no different. We also got to see friends from college who we don't get to see often. It was great to catch up and reconnect.

Justin and Kristen
Check out Amanda's dance moves in the background! :)

Amanda and Kristen

We can't wait until next year!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jackson is 5 months old!

We can't believe it has been five months already. Jackson is changing everyday. He is getting so long and "round", as I like to call it. Just today, we noticed that he is able to sit up a bit on his own. I snapped a couple photos. I had to be quick because he doesn't last long.

Happy Birthday, Jackson...we can't wait to see what the next month brings!

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Swimming and Giggles...what could be better?

Here is a quick video of Jackson swimming at the hotel this past weekend. Justin and I love watching this video. Jackson's laughter is contagious!

I hope it brings you a smile too.


Justin is back at work!

Jackson wants to be just like his Daddy!

We've kind of grown accustomed to the "duck" cast. However, its time with us is coming to an end. Justin has been released to go back to work starting tomorrow. He is very relieved.

I'm certain that Jackson will miss spending time with him when I leave in the mornings. The two of them are adorable in the mornings. Jackson lays with Justin for a while before Ashley takes care of Jackson for the day. Check out the photo above...I will miss seeing this every morning. How sweet!

But it will be a little easier for me to get up knowing Justin has to get up too. :)
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008 is what you have missed...

My Dad with Jackson - July 4, 2008

Sometimes I can’t believe I haven’t talked to my Dad in two days, let alone two months. So much has happened in my life since my Dad passed away. I often go to dial his cell number to share some news…only realize he is not there to pick up.

I have missed sharing my life with him. Most importantly, I miss his advice or humor when I’m stressed. He always had a way of making me feel like everything would work out.

My Dad loved this blog. He checked it daily and would call me and complain if I hadn’t posted that day. He always loved seeing pictures of Jackson and the other grandchildren. Since I can’t call him and update him on the happenings of my family, I have decided to write a post to him. Maybe someway, somehow, he can still read this and know what is going on in my life.

Dear Dad,

First and foremost, I miss you. We all miss you.

You have missed a few things since you have been gone and I want to fill you in.

Jackson is as sweet as ever. He is constantly grinning. He is talking so much (of course, no words), but he babbles all the time. We are constantly getting funny stares and comments when we mention his age. Just this weekend someone asked how old he was. I mentioned 5 months and this gentleman said, “Well, he sure is a big boy.” Justin and I just smiled. We’re happy he is a healthy eater. We joke that he gets his belly from you.

Jackson can roll from back to belly now. He gets his arms out and he is even starting to “scoot” now. I’m not sure I am ready for him to be mobile…but I know you would be so proud. He sucks on his toes, give us wet kisses, and is eating cereal like a champ. I wish you could see him. Justin reminds me all of the time that you can see him. I just wish I could see you with him one more time.

Justin and I took your advice and put our house up for sale in July, you knew that. But what you don’t know is that you were right when you said I would be surprised how fast it would sell. It sold in two months! We couldn’t believe it…but once again, you were right. I wished you were here when we got the news. You would have been the first person we called. Justin and I both had tears in our eyes because we wanted to call you so badly.

We are moving to Greenwood for now. We are going to rent an apartment. We know you would be laughing about us moving back into a “2X2”. You know how much I love apartment living!. Justin and I found the 2X2 piece of wood you made us in honor of our last apartment. We think it will make the best home d├ęcor at our new place.

We know you would be relieved to know that we will be an hour closer to Mom, Deb, Shel, and everyone else. You always liked having your family close together. We all love being together, it just isn’t the same without you.

We are moving November 1. Right now, we are dealing with the inspection. We had some questions that we would have called you with for some “expert” advice. Instead, Uncle Tom helped Justin with them…we know you would have asked Uncle Tom anyways.

Justin’s hand is finally healing. He gets his cast off soon and he will return to work at the end of the week. I think he is stir-crazy. You know he doesn’t sit still very well. This makes me think of when you told Justin a few things he could do to help in the weeks leading up to “operation nursery” at our house. Justin had them done in a matter of days. He did this for two reasons 1.) He can’t sit knowing there is a to-do list to be completed. 2.) He always wanted your approval. I assure him he had it.

Justin and I still watch the politics each night. We miss calling you to repeat what the pundits are saying. I miss you telling me that Hilary is out of control…and I miss telling you that you are sexist. For the record, Justin is voting for Barrack Obama. He says he is certain you would have done the same. He talks about conversations you had about Joe Biden. He says he is certain you would be pleased with him as VP. He mentioned to me that you would be outraged by Sarah Palin, I think he is right. I never thought you would vote for a democrat, but I think this might have been the year. I will vote for Barrack Obama also…and you won’t be here to cancel out my vote. Score one for the Democrats!

Dad, I could go on and on. There is so much I have wanted to tell you. A funny story here or a stressed phone call there. You were always an ear to listen. I miss you more than you could ever imagine. I just needed to share what was new with me…with you.

I love you.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

They grow so fast...

When Jackson was born so many people told us to take in every moment because they don't stay babies very long. We are doing our best to enjoy every feeding, bath, cry, and even the diaper changes. We know Jackson won't be a baby for long.

I realized how fast he is growing and developing when Justin recently snapped a picture. Check it out...what happened to my newborn? He is getting so big...but so much fun!

Only 5 days old!

5 months old!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Our first family get-away!

Things have been a bit crazy lately at the Bixler household. Justin and I decided to take a few days and get away as a family. Our destination? Cincinnati, OH. We visited the Newport Aquarium, ate at our favorite restaurant -Montgomery Inn- went swimming at the hotel, and even took in a fall festival.

At Montgomery Inn for dinner

Hanging out with Dad

Sleeping in Mom and Dad's bed

Swimming in the hotel pool.

Jackson was a trooper through it all. He really liked looking at all the colorful fish. I even think he was quite fond of the turtle. It was so exciting to see his expression with all the neat sights.
With the Newport Aquarium Mascots

Justin showing Jackson the fish

Swim little fish! Swim!

Jackson loving the turtle

I'm not sure Jackson enjoyed the Sunflower festival. It was really hot and he wasn't loving the farm animals...neither were we (it was pretty obvious we are not country folk)! However, Jackson did fall in love with a sunflower puppet. Of course, Justin couldn't leave without it...and we now own one! :) Justin is such a softie!

Justin and Jackson and the stinky chickens

Jackson and Mom taking a break because we were hot!

My new sunflower puppet! Thanks Dad!

Our trip reminded me of trips my family would take when I was young (except Deb wasn't there to be amazed that the hotel had phones in the bathroom). Justin and I both commented how fun it will be to do it more often and create great memories as Jackson grows.

It was great to finally get to spend time with just the three of us. Life has been a little crazy for couple of months. We really needed to spend some time as a family.

Justin and Jackson,

Thanks for making my weekend so wonderful. You both make me laugh and smile...and I needed it!
I love you both!

Check out the rest of our photos in the Web Album -

P.S. I will post a video of Jackson swimming tomorrow. It is past my bedtime!