Monday, December 5, 2011

Two in one day...on a roll!

A few photos from the past few months:

Figs from the tree in our back yard! Elvis helped me pick them all.

My sweet boy giving me a flower.

Ruby all dressed up (in her brother's western wear) for the ZELC Tricycle Trail Ride!

Ruby rode the maximum number of laps around the trail. She had been practicing at home for weeks!

UUMC Harvest Festival/Halloween

Ruby played the part of the Virgin Mary in the Christmas play at church. They were such a cute miniature Holy Family!

So my first try to reclaim blogging didn't quite work...TAKE 2!

Promised first day of school picture. That's my girl excited and totally READY!

I missed blogging a couple of days, that turned into a week, that turned into a month, that turned into a few months. With my focus otherwise claimed and being a bit embarrassed I just didn't even try. Now that I'm going through photos deciding which will be part of our Christmas package of photos to family, I've realized how much I've wanted to share with whoever (if anyone) ever reads this. We've had birthdays (two in quick succession), milestones galore, sold our house, floundered a bit, volunteered a bunch, prayed a lot, watched bellies grow (so many beloved babies have been and are about to be born), Skyped, loved, argued, taken up, given, we've lived some life! With Ruby an accomplished school girl and Elvis a veteran at one on one interaction, I would say that we are settling into our new roles nicely. I'm no longer working outside the home (possibly my last chance for that in a while) giving me the opportunity to focus on the overwhelming to do list that I never stopped making while I was otherwise occupied with gainful employment. I think I may be busier than I was before.

On the day of their birthday party at Bouncing Tigers: my first time to give up control of a birthday party and it was still a success! Alex and I just had a conversation of the benefits of using shortcuts. He and I have an aversion to them, but we are realizing that some shortcuts can get us to the exact same place!

Until next time, I'm hopeful that it won't be months from now! xoxo

Monday, August 15, 2011

First day of School, take two!

Ruby on her first day of PreK

Last year Ruby started school at our church and it didn't turn out to be what she (or we) needed. This year we are in Zachary and she just started PreKindergarten at the Zachary Early Learning Center. It is a public school that is exclusively PreK. All of the Zachary schools are set up like this with only a couple grades per school. All of the kids in the district end up going to the same schools all throughout their learning career. According to my mom (the school law expert), all of the data shows this is the optimum way to set up a district. I must say that there is a tremendous sense of community here due to, at least in part, the school district set up. We all cheer for the same team, we all buy the same uniforms, we all deal with the same rules and administrators. If you have nothing else in common with people in this town, you have the schools in common. It is pretty amazing.

Ruby had her first day this past Friday, and she loved it. Today she gets to meet all of the boys in her class (the first two days they had boys attend alone then girls), which she has been looking forward to all weekend. For her first day she was totally Hello Kitty'ed out. She had HK shoes, an HK cover up for nap time, and an HK backpack. I have a lot of pictures that I just haven't uploaded yet...look back for those soon! She brought her lunch in her new lunch bag...PB&J, Pirate's Booty, cherry jello and limeade in her Hello Kitty thermos. I mean, really, she is the super coolest prekindergartener in the whole world!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Day in the Life

Two Fridays ago, both Alex and I had to call in to work because our beloved Jeep was having problems. After much research (thanks Car Talk website) we surmised that we had a dead air compressor causing the belt to burn up as we drove filling the car with toxic smells throughout the unairconditioned car. Of course, strapped for cash and wanting some sort of fix, Alex watched You Tube video after You Tube video on how to bypass the air compressor with a shorter belt. This did not work. BLAH! The only shop that could help us that day (and the one with the cheapest estimate) was 25 miles away near our old house. Alex drove the Jeep, toxic fumes and all, in to Baton Rouge alone. We followed after some playtime to pick up Dad and wait for the car to be healed. . .

Alex working on the Jeep

Al's little helper

Playtime started with a sighting of an old friend. A couple of months ago, the kids went to Long Beach with their Honey and brought back a tiny frog from Mimi and Papa's yard. They were so excited to see a bigger frog and Ruby started squealing "LOOK MOMMY, ELVIS'S FROG FROM MIMI AND PAPA'S!"

Checking out the little froggy

For her third birthday Ruby got this skateboard, but we really didn't have any place for her to play with it at the green house. Now, at Honey's, she has a really long driveway to carve up and get scrapes and scabs!

One of our favorite pastimes is drawing. Whether it be with chalk on the carport or pen on paper, these two kids of ours LOVE LOVE LOVE to draw. We have stacks and stacks of paper that have the most interesting drawings on them. I have so many that I am currently turning some of their line drawings into a backdrop for this blog. We'll see just how long that takes!

Elvis's sweet little artist's hand

Elvis's MONKEY...amazing for not yet 3!

We finally made it away from the house to pick up Alex at the mechanic's. We rode around while the kid's took a nap in the back seat, dropped by Goodwill (where the only one of us to find anything was Ruby who nabbed a cool princess dress), then headed to Menchie's (our favorite FroYo spot) to wait for a call from the shop with our fixed car.

Ruby drew this on the board at Menchie's to go with the bigger drawing that was already there

After we got home and had some supper, Ruby made an awesome tower with plastic cups. She named it Ruby's PENTEEGON. That's my girl...being so super cool!

One last picture to cap off this good isn't from that day, but well worth sharing. When he first did this he said "Look Mommy, I can FLY!"


Friday, July 22, 2011


Once again I am finding myself unable to sleep. I can trace it back to starting back at work a year ago. Working double shifts three times a week has gotten my clock all screwed up. I can't fall asleep at night and can't wake up at a decent time in the morning. When I do succeed in waking up before the kiddies, I end up pulling an insane amount of waking hours. This evening I have already uploaded my most recent wedding's proofs, cleaned out the fridge and freezer (whilst waiting for said proofs to upload), combed Craigslist for places to live in Austin (my newest coping always makes me happy), washed dishes (I have more to wash now that I cleaned out the refrigerator), and now I'm blogging through my delirium waiting for more photos that I've taken of the family goings on this week to share on this here blog (insert countryfied accent here). All the while, I am dead tired but for some reason I keep on going. In part, I keep going because I'm afraid I won't have the energy or time to do any of these things later so I should strike while the iron is hot. Only, I'm not so hot right now. I may just pass out right here on these keys. I should really go to bed. That's something I've said so much lately. I've said it on nights like these, when I haven't noticed the time passing until the sun rises then I try to force myself to sleep until the kids "wake me up." This sounds so much like complaining, and maybe I am. Normalize, balance, contain the chaos. What to do? What to do? There is no way I'm posting a coherent blog tonight. This is all I have in me...maybe it is time I put on my p.j.s and gave sleeping a try.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Year and a Half Later...

Life has thrown us some curve balls in the last year and a half. I've really missed blogging and think about getting to it all the time. I suppose today is the day.

Ruby is almost 5 and Elvis almost 3. The changes in their physicality and personality are too numerous to list...see for yourself!

December 2010

The Austin Fam, December 2010

A year and a half in review...The beginning of 2010 brought my
setting up my photography business's Facebook page which automatically set me up for a personal one. It sucked me in. The allure of "keeping up" with every single person I have ever known grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. But now with all of the things that have happened to our family in the last few months I've realized that I need to focus more on MY FAMILY than everyone else's. I tried to keep a paper journal for my kids, but that lasted all of two weeks at a time sporadically for about 6 months. I was really dedicated to this blog for a while and hope to be so again. Big changes came in July of last year when we needed a boost in income so I reentered the workforce (at a starting position and wage in the only industry that I feel comfortable just slipping into...the service industry...a whole vault of other stories for other times). That first job was short lived until I got a position in November at Whole Foods. In August we welcomed a new addition to the Austin family. Alex's sister, Jenny, got married to Frank whom she met just before my last post. It is a romantic story that rivals mine and Alex's. They met at LAX helping one another find their connecting flight (the same one...they were on their way back from Italy to San Francisco). They are happy as pie now living in beautiful Switzerland! Past a haze of working through and living through the holiday season we ended up on the other side in one piece. Getting frustrated with our house not selling (it has been on the market since August of last year because due to the financial climate our "transitional" neighborhood was making the opposite transition it was geared up for when we bought) we got the biggest shock to our family life in April. On April 1 (yep, April fools day) at around 10 in the morning a stray bullet flew through the kids' room missing Ruby by only feet. Even with the shock and fear I was sure God had shined a white light on us all. I had been in that spot only minutes before and all experience said Elvis should have been right there when it happened. You see, Ruby was on the potty. The bullet hit the vanity mirror above the sink. Usually when Ruby is on the potty, Elvis is at the sink playing in the water. But that day, he wasn't! Thank the LORD! Gun shots heard at night can be ignored or explained off to other causes. A stray bullet through your children's room cannot! We were packing up my car and my mom's van while the police were still at the house. We've been living with her since. We are still paying our mortgage, keeping our utilities on so as not to look too desperate, and spending more money on gas than we had ever intended (my mom lives 30 miles out of the city and work). Since then we have been trying to get a leg up: Cleaning out and fixing up the house on days we can find the time, struggling to retain some normalcy for the little ones (it's been hard), searching for options to get us out of this mess. As much as the kids love being with their Honey and Nana so much, this just isn't ideal. I'm not even going to touch on my recent medical woes in this post. So, as you can read it's been a crazy more than a year. I wish I had been documenting it! I think blogging is so much more personal and cathartic than stupid Facebook. FB has it's place, but I've been going overboard with it to the point of having it be my only sense of connection to the world at large. I have more to say than the occasional status update and I know it it more fulfilling on my side to write like this (writing about my family keeps me more plugged into my family). Maybe it's more fulfilling for you to read the "rest of the story".
Other things of note since I last wrote:
-I watched through my camera lens as friends and family got married..I started shooting WEDDINGS!
-I made a some new amazing friends that I will have for a lifetime!
-Last summer was the summer of Art Night every Wed with the Amanda and Scott who are now the VonSteads (formerly Vaughn and Stead...awesome, huh?)...Amanda proclaimed when we first met "we are going to be friends" and we haven't looked back since. We've watched them get married, been among the first to know they were pregnant, and encouraged them to go for their dreams. They are moving to Oregon in two weeks for amazing opportunities for the both of them. We will miss them so much, but know that their future is so bright & we'll find a way to be a part of it!
-Even though I've been shooting photography has really slacked off since I started working. I'm a stay at home mom with a part time job (sounds easy in theory, but it really sucks) is so hard that I can't seem to find time to do much photography in between all of my responsibilities. I will, someday!
-Ruby started school in August, but we pulled her out a few weeks later. I've since joined the board of the school (it is our church's school) to help pull it out of it's slump. It has been really exciting being able to use my love of research and writing toward a goal that is so much bigger than just me. I love the way I feel when I use my mind to solve such complex problems...the politics of it all have been really frustrating, but we seem to be getting past that so we can get some real work starts in a few weeks! I've also made a few great friends along the way...bonus!
-We've been regular church goers and Sunday School attendees for the past 2 years. It is so amazing to have built such a great community around us at church. It is refreshing to have people who like us for who we are and are open to our views. We love our Sunday School class, they are our soft place to fall at least once a week...everybody needs that! They are surely friends for a lifetime! ALEX chose our current study..pretty amazing for a guy that never wanted to go in the first place!
-Ruby has had 2 dance recitals. She's a pro now! She'll be starting her third year of dance in August and Elvis will be starting his first. I'm hoping to get Ruby started with soccer this year, too!

I know I am missing at least a year's worth of details. There is no way I could go back over it all. I'm going to try and start fresh, get it all out there for my kids to see when they want a family history. Come along on our journey for whatever reason. You can laugh with us, cry with us, and feel like you aren't alone! It's a crazy life for my little tribe!
xoxo Jayme