Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jackson's Christmas Visitor...Meeting his Hero!


Merry Christmas!  Sure its been a while since our last post...and sure I promised to post more often....we'll chat about that later.

I wanted to post today to tell you about a very special Christmas visitor that appeared on our front porch yesterday.  

Our Christmas was amazing.  Justin and I soaked up every minute of this last Christmas where Jackson was our only child to focus on.  Jackson soaked up every fun activity the season offered.  From Christmas crafts to reindeer food - we did it all!  None the less...admist all the fun Jackson never let his love for sports or Gary Harris fade.  We've watched a lot of Michigan State Basketball (even my IU loving husband joins in on the fun) to cheer on Gary Harris.  (read more about Jackson's love for Gary Harris here).

Late Christmas Eve night, Justin and I returned home from a family celebration with the Bixler's.  I found a fax on our fax machine asking me to call "Joy" to arrange a special delivery for Jackson. (We do not have a land line and our fax number is the only number published). It was too late to call and Justin and I were puzzeled.  We agreed to call a couple days after the holiday wanting to allow "Joy" time with her family on the holiday.  I did google the phone number and it led me to a woman named Joy Harris.  It didn't sound familiar and I noted to call her on Wednesday or Thursday.  

Christmas morning was a hit as Santa was very good to Jackson!! Our morning moved on as we hosted 26 people for lunch.  After our family left, Justin and I were packing up our car to move on to our next Christmas celebration with my family.  Then, our door bell rang...

I could see a woman I didn't recognize through the window.  As I opened the door, I recognized the person she was with very well.  It was Gary Harris!  All of the sudden everything clicked.  I looked at the woman and said, "You're Joy!" She said, "Yes, and this is Gary!"...as she pointed to my 4-year old's hero.    I knew who he was.  After all, we spend a lot of time at our house talking about Gary Harris. "How did he get to be that good, Mom?","Why doesn't he want to play for the Royals anymore, Mom?", "Does Gary Harris eat his vegetables, Mom?" So, yes when Gary Harris was standing on my door step...I knew who he was.  I also knew what it would mean to a certain 4-year old little boy.  


I immediately asked them inside and told Jackson someone was here to see him.  Justin and Jackson came to the door.  Jackson walked right up to Gary.  I asked Jackson if he knew who this was...he said in his very shy 4-year old voice, "Gary Harris."  Though - I know inside Jackson was shouting to the roof tops.  But as a four year old - when someone who is larger than life (figuratively and literally) is standing in your home you turn to your shy-self.  The one that doesn't want to admit that you are about to jump out of your skin. 

On the other hand, I was in awe.  Here stands a 19 year old kid who is home for a short time for Christmas break - and yet he and his mother took time away from their family to say hello to our son.  I was speechless.  But not tearless.  Yep, I cried.  And I won't blame it on the pregnancy hormones...I cried when Jackson met Mickey Mouse...and yet this was even better.

Gary handed Jackson a package.  A signed Michigan State basketball.  Again, Jackson didn't know what to say.  He was still trying to figure out why and how Gary Harris was standing in his home.  So was I.  I looked at Justin and asked, "Did you know about this?"  Justin explained, he had no idea.  Gary's mother explained that someone had tweeted Gary our blog post about "Jackson's Hero- Gary Harris" and he wanted to do something special for Jackson.  I couldn't quit hugging Joy or Gary.  Jackson was being shy and yet I wanted them to know exactly what this truly meant to him and to us.

video

Jackson took Gary's hand and showed him his new playroom where they replaced a regular basketball hanging on the wall with his new Michigan State basketball.  I think it looks perfect.  Jackson also showed Gary his HSE Royals sign that my sister had made for him (it is similar to the ones you see around town signifying that an HSE athelete lives there).






We explained as IU fans we had never watched Michigan State much before this year but had certainly become fond of watching him play when we can...and because of his kind heart to take the time to show our little boy such love on such a sacred holiday - we were certainly Michigan State fans now. 

Jackson remained shy most of the time...I believe he even chewed on his sleeve at one point out of nerves and pure excitement.  I asked Jackson if he wanted to show Gary his HSE cheer he knows by heart after cheering for him and the Royals so much.  Jackson politely shook his head no.  We thanked Gary and his mother over and over, said our good-byes.  After they left, Jackson hugged me and said, "Mom, I wish I would have shown Gary the HSE cheer - can you text it to him?"  Love his innocence!

Justin and I couldn't believe who had just been in our home.  All because he heard about how our little boy had followed him and truly looked up at him.  Justin commented what a kind heart this "kid" has and that you don't see that very often.  He is right.  There just aren't words to express our graditude or how highly we regard Gary and his family because of this short visit.

We tried to explain to Jackson that this was a very special day.  We told Jackson that Gary didn't stop at all the little boys houses that day.  I do believe Jackson understood that.  When we walked into my sister's house for our last family celebration the first thing Jackson announced was, "Gary Harris came to my house!" My nieces and nephews were busy talking about what Santa brought them.  Jackson never mentioned his Wii, iPad, or Air Jordan gear that was under the tree that morning...all he could talk about was that Gary Harris came to his house to see him and brought him a REAL basketball.  

It was all Justin and I could think about too.  In a day where some college athletes get a reputation for losing sight about what is important - Gary Harris reminded us that isn't always true.  Gary was returning to Michigan today...and wanted to be sure to meet Jackson before he left.  To me, that proves that Gary Harris is not only an amazing athlete - but he is a kind hearted individual who cares about others...even those he doesn't know.  

A big THANK YOU to Gary Harris for making this Christmas one to remember for Jackson...and for us too.  There is something that happens to a parent when your child meets his hero.  I can't explain it - but it sure feels amazing!  

What a Christmas!  We wish everyone an amazing holiday! 














Thursday, September 20, 2012

Boy or Girl??? Our Gender Reveal

Since finding out BB#2 was on its way, Justin and I battled whether we wanted to find out the gender of the baby.  I didn't want to.  I will have a scheduled c-section and felt like we should leave something as a surprise.

But as the pregnancy progressed...so did Justin's need to know.  Once we knew Jackson was a boy - Justin was in total "Dad Mode."  He said he needed to know the gender this time to feel close to the baby.  How could I turn him down?  The decision was made - we would find out whether we would be bringing home a boy or a girl.

Our ultrasound was scheduled.  Our plan was to have the ultrasound and if the baby looked healthy and all was good - have the tech show us the gender - just as we did with Jackson.  But, this time was different.  I wanted it to be special for Jackson.  After all - who knows if he will ever get another brother or sister.  I wanted it to be exciting and special ... something he could remember.

So I called Brand Photo Design (literally a week before my ultrasound) - who has photographed our family since Jackson was born - and asked them if they would be willing to help with our Gender Reveal.  Brooke and Dan Brand couldn't have been sweeter to our family and helped make this Reveal such a special time for us.

On the day of the ultra sound, we arrived at the doctor's office as a family.  Checked out the baby (who by the way does not enjoy pictures - that will need to change) and got the news that everything looked great.  I asked the tech to seal the gender in the envelope and I drove it over to Brand Photo Design right away.  I DID NOT PEEK!

That evening - we met up with Dan for a quick photo session so he could capture our reveal.  I will forever be grateful to Brand for helping us capture such a neat moment.  Jackson was so excited and is still talking about it.

I will never forget the moment the gender was revealed...




It's a Boy!  Another boy for the Bixler Bunch!  And Suddenly our family felt complete.  I couldn't be happier that we know what we are having....just knowing that soon we will bring home another son and a brother for Jackson seems just perfect.

Jackson immediately grabbed a balloon and we have kept it for the baby book.  Jackson said the rest of the balloons went to heaven so Papaw Mike and Mamaw Margie would knew he was getting a brother.  Sounds perfect to me!  :)

I will cherish these photos forever.  Just knowing they captured us at the moment we realized that Justin and I will raise two boys.  We couldn't have felt luckier in that moment.  Sure, there was talk about how it would be nice to have a girl - one of each.  But its so funny how the minute you know what you are having - it just doesn't matter.  Another Bixler Boy sounds perfect to us!

We captured some other family photos and laughed with Jackson about being a big brother.  When we drove back into our neighborhood our neighbors were waiting outside to hear the news.  Jackson stuck his head out the car window along with his blue balloon and shouted "I'm getting a baby brother!"  Hearing his sweet voice shout those words took me to tears...how lucky are we??!!!

Stay tuned and enjoy the ride as we navigate life with two boys!  The journey is sure going to be fun!

Baby Bixler

If you don't mind - I'd like to take a break on getting you up to date on the exciting things that happened this summer to share one very important thing that happened to us in May!

As a bit of a "surprise" - but not exactly - we found out we were expecting Baby Bixler #2.  Baby Bixler #2 was certainly in our summer plans...but we thought he/she would make their debut in August or September.  However, this baby had a mind of its own (doesn't every Bixler that I know)!  So in May, we found out we would be welcoming a baby into our home in February 2013.

Baby Bixler #2 has us all very excited.  No one more than Jackson. In fact, if you ask him - HE is having the baby.  He will tell you that "my baby will be here after Christmas!"  Jackson has tons of questions about the baby...mainly, "Exactly how did God put the baby in your belly, Mom?"  We assure Jackson God knows that Mommy and Daddy love each other very much and he gave us another baby.  He will then reply with - "yes, but HOW did he put my baby in your belly.  Oh boy!


Telling Jackson our news with a very special gift.  His very first "Big Brother" T-shirt.  
He was so excited that he would be the "oldest!"




Telling our families was more than fun.  In fact, I think some had counted on Jackson being an only child.  While we took our time enjoying Jackson - it was never our intention to not grow our family.  In fact, it was our dream.

Many of you know that Jackson is super close to his cousins.  I love that they all differ in age - yet have remained such a tight group.  The "Cousin Club" is known for their theme song (many of you have heard it) and their Cousin sleep-overs.  Jackson couldn't wait to tell his cousins about adding a new member to the "club" very soon.

The Cousin Club

We made the announcement on July 4th with allowing each Cousin to open a gift.  They were thrilled to have Cousin Club t-shirts...but one gift bag included a onesie in it for the baby...after a few seconds my sisters and my mother ran around the room screaming (those who know us well, will not be surprised by this)!  It took a few seconds for the men to realize what was going on...but immediately we were all very excited.  Jackson then announced: "I'm gonna be a big brother!"


We couldn't be happier about BB#2.  However, its been so long that Justin and I are afraid we forget what its like to have such a tiny baby.  Hopefully, its like riding a bike - and we will remember right away!  :)  Bring on the diapers, the bottles, and the very little sleep (for Justin - ha!)









Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jackson's Hero - Gary Harris!

Many of you know about Jackson's love for sports.  He doesn't have a favorite sport - perhaps his "favorite" sport is what ever sport we have him currently enrolled in.  However, Jackson DOES have a favorite athlete.  Gary Harris.

Who is Gary Harris?  Well some may know and some may not.  Last year, Gary Harris was Hamilton Southeastern's (our local high school) leading basketball player (he was also pretty great at football too).  He was also named Indiana's  Mr. Basketball last year.  Justin and I spent many Friday nights taking Jackson to the HSE basketball games.  Jackson was in awe.  I even stood in line in the freezing cold to get sectional tickets to watch HSE play in sectionals.  Most Mom's rush to buy Disney on Ice tickets, or tickets to the newest Cars movie...not me...I stood in line for high school basketball tickets. :)

Justin, Jackson, and Pop at Sectionals.  Go Royals!


National Anthem


At home - Watching the "Buzzer Beater" by Gary Harris that won the game!  
He watched it over and over and over...


Unfortunately, HSE lost sectionals in the end and Jackson was missing our Friday night Basketball games.  Justin and I thought he might enjoy seeing an NBA game.  The Pacers were playing at home and at the last minute we all hopped in the car headed downtown.  Three tickets actually weren't that badly priced and I settled in my seat ready to watch a good game.  However, up hops Justin and Jackson to head to the souvenir stand.  I followed....wondering what Justin had in store.  

We got wrist bands...

We got noise makers...

 We even got a jersey...

A PERSONALIZED jersey...


 All thanks to Daddy!

So one would think this would be a perfect night four a four year old little boy obsessed with sports.  Don't get me wrong, Jackson was impressed.  But we could tell Larry Bird and his "boys" had nothing on the HSE Royals and Gary Harris in Jackson's mind.  Until....the announcer announced that this year's Mr. Basketball was in the building (Gary's photo was projected on the big screen in the stadium)...now that was something to be excited over!  Jackson lit up right away.  From that moment on - it was as if Jackson thought "if Gary is here - it must be a big deal!"

And...look who we ran into on our way out of the game!  Now...Jackson's night was complete!  Its sad to report, I almost teared up when Jackson met him - the same way I did when Jackson met Mickey Mouse for the first time.  Gary Harris truly is Jackson's hero!

Gary Harris and Jackson!!

P.S.  This summer Jackson's school held an Art Show.  All the children were asked to draw a picture of their hero.  Most girls drew pictures of princesses and most boys drew pictures of bat man or spider man...Not Jackson.  It was no surprise to us when we walked in and saw Jackson's "Hero."

  
Jackson's "Hero" Picture for the Pre-School Art Show


Jackson's 4th Birthday!



Jackson turned 4 in May.  Four...4...not 3....4!  He was officially no longer a baby or toddler.  At four, he was just a little boy.  A little boy obsessed with sports, full of energy and laughter,  and way to eager to grow up!  I want to bottle up this age - all the questions, funny comments, and innocence that still remains.  I am trying to remember to enjoy every minute - because my little boy will be a big boy soon.


As always, we spent a night celebrating with family and close friends.  We are so lucky to have such great people who love Jackson and join us for each year for dinner and presents.  This year, we topped off the party with a baseball cupcake-cake.  It was perfect!

This year- I also promised Jackson we would host his very first "friend party"...a party where he created the guest list and Justin and I entertained his friends for an afternoon!

Months before Jackson's birthday I decided it would be fun to throw a "Carnival Themed" birthday party for Jackson.  As the planning began, I started researching carnival games I could create at home.  Instantly, I asked Justin to build the Grand Prize Game from the Bozo show.  Of course, we had to have a duck pond, a "Knock em' Down" game...and when I had to out rule a dunk tank due to cost...I signed Justin up to participate in the "Pie in the face" game.  Perfect for him, right?  :)




As Jackson made out his guest list, I called on family members to help with the party.  A big thanks to Aunt Deb for the Popcorn Cupcakes.  I loved that Jackson's friends came in and thought they were actually popcorn! Justin's parents were a huge help.  "Pop" built the balloon dart board and the photo booth where the kids got to play dress up.  A big thanks to all of my nieces and nephews who helped work each game.  Also, a thank you is owed to Justin's sister, Ashley for helping the kids with their tattoo's.  Mamaw Penny was busy in the kitchen serving hot dogs!


A big hit at the party was the bounce house of course!  I am fairly certain I could have just rented a bounce house and all of the kids would have been happy!

AND...who leaves a carnival without a fish!  Each of Jackson's friends left with a fish to take home as a pet.  Though like some carnival fish - some fish didn't make it but a few days.  However, our fish - Royal- is still going strong!

A Carnival themed party was a lot of work - but, as always, very worth it.  I loved seeing the kids have fun...and sometimes home-made games are more fun, right?

I had to travel for work on Jackson's actual birthday.  So I stayed home from work the day before and allowed Jackson a day to play outside with his friends.  We even got out the slip and slide his buddy Ryne gave him as a birthday gift.  I loved watching all the boys have fun! :)

At preschool, Justin and I brought in Chocolate Chip cookies from Paradise (Jackson's favorite) for all of the kids and sang happy birthday!  He was elated!

Check out our video of all the birthday fun!  - Note: Check out Jackson's Hamilton Southeastern Athletic Garage sign he received from Aunt Deb and Uncle Greg.  Jackson loves to drive through Fishers and look for the "Royals Signs"...he is so pleased he has his own now.  He keeps asking when we are going to put his up above our garage like all of the other high school athletes! :)

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!

Video Link:
http://www.viddler.com/v/b59bc56b





Monday, September 17, 2012

Back To Blogging!


OK....so its been a few months since Easter (our last post).  And A LOT has happened in our family since then.  One major change is my lack of free time (AKA blog time).  Why the lack of blog time? Oh, many reasons. Let's start with the fact that my baby boy who was once happy bouncing in his bouncer while I filled you all in on the happenings of our family has turned into a little boy who loves to be pitched to, played with, or even snuggled with during his favorite show - The Voice.  My point, Jackson is one very active boy - who never wants to miss out on an ounce of fun!  And that, my friends, leaves me with very little "blog time".

Another reason is I used to work a desk job.  Those days did provide a little more blog time (Eek!  My old boss is probably reading this...).  These days, I work as a sales rep and I am on the road most days.  Those of you who know me best, know that I don't need to be texting and driving - let alone blogging and driving.  :)  When I finish my day on the road - most nights end in paperwork (I usually spend most nights cursing paperwork. )

And lastly, Jackson doesn't sleep.  Ok....sure he sleeps.  But, not like most four year olds.  Our little guy watches the 10 o'clock news with us.  Sure, we've tried to enforce an earlier bed time.  But our problem lies with pre-school (always easier to blame others, right).  They insist Jackson take a two-hour nap each day - which makes it hard for him to be an "early to bed" kind of kid.  And these days - once he finally hits the sheets...I'm not too far behind (Justin usually beats Jackson to bed!).

There are probably many other reasons that keep me from blogging more often like Pinterest, Facebook, great neighbors who are always available a glass of wine and girl talk, living close to family and friends again, my ability to allow laundry to pile up until I have to lock myself in our house until every inch of clothing this family owns is clean.  So perhaps, I have a time management issue....

Whatever the reasons - I'm making a change...I'm going back to blogging.  This way you can stay up to date on what sport Jackson is currently obsessed with, my latest pinterest project (or recipe that I destroy), and Justin's latest landscaping or house project.

Over the next few days I will be posting many updates:  Jackson's 4th birthday, our St. Petersburg vacation, Jackson's first season as a Little League baseball player, Jackson's swimming lessons, and other exciting news.

Stay Tuned!


Summer Fun!



Sunday, April 22, 2012

Easter 2012

The Cousin's Annual Easter Photo!

Easter has come and gone....and then some.

But before I file away all of the photos of our Easter fun - I thought I would share them all with you. We hope Easter was filled with family and fun for all of you. Once again, we loved sharing the holiday with Jackson.

Easter morning was filled with excitement as Jackson realized the Easter Bunny had come to our house to hide Easter Eggs and fill Jackson's basket with goodies. The fun continued all day as we spent the rest of the day with family...including the annual Easter Egg Hunt with at Gma Evy's house!

Enjoy our Easter Re-cap:



video

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt with Friends!




Just another reason I love my neighbors!

Justin and I couldn't have lucked out more when were picking out where to build our home. Not only are we surrounded by great people...but Jackson is surrounded with such great friends! There is always someone near by to play, celebrate, or even make a rainy day fun.

Easter is no exception. Our neighbor, Krista, arranged an Easter Egg hunt for the kids on our street. It was so fun to see their excitement and do something special together for this holiday.

Enjoy some pictures below from the big event.

A special thank you to Krista for putting this together!
They couldn't wait...

Let the Fun Begin!

Buddies!

Jackson found an Egg on Daddy's Truck!

Ryne
Carter

Morgan

Jackson

Tyler

Jordan and Miss Michelle

Ryne, Tyler, Jackson

The Gang

...and a special thanks to our "Easter Bunnies"



Monday, April 2, 2012

Little League 2012

Take me to the Ball Game...


Months ago Justin and I decided to sign Jackson up for Little League. As the season drew closer - the excitement in this house grew higher and higher. First, it started when we found out that Jackson would be on the Volcanos team this year...next we found out Justin would get to coach Jackson's first ever Little League team. Both of them were thrilled to say the least. Then, came the day to buy Jackson's first pair of baseball cleats (Its in the baby book already...and then came his first practice! You would have thought he was playing the major leagues...after it was over he told me, "Mom, I'm a real baseball player!"

Enjoy some photos and video from his practice this week. Jackson loves his teammates...especially Zak. Jackson is in awe of Zak because he is 6 and can really hit the ball! I love his love for sports. So excited for the season...if only I actually had a schedule of all his games (another rant for another time!).

Also worth mentioning is the fact that I love watching Justin coach this group of boys...but not as much as Justin loves coaching. I love that Justin is making sure these boys get the basics and yet is teaching them how important teamwork and effort is to the game. Way to go Coach Justin!

The 2012 Volcanoes!
Jackson - batting practice with Coach Don

video



video
Running the bases!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Buddies!

Jackson is loving the weather and the extra time with his buddies playing outside!




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Monday, February 27, 2012

Way to go Jackson!

So proud of Jackson who knocked it out of the park at the Dentist today. Jackson never even whimpered - just opened his moth and let the Dentist do his job! Such a brave little boy! This Momma was so proud!



We even celebrated at "The Cookie Place" (otherwise known as Paradise Cafe) afterwards! Not sure how my 3.5 year old managed to look like a 6 year old in this photo...but that is clearly never allowed again! ;)



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