Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend Summary

This weekend was filled with lots of fun! Friday was Ross' 30th birthday! Ross got a few new toys, and we celebrated with good friends that night.

The next morning we woke up to find that Santa had come early! Jackson had lots of fun checking out his new toys as you can see.

Jackson's 1st Christmas

There are more pics of Jackson checking things out and our house decorated for Christmas in the album.

My dad drove down Saturday, and we spent most of the day finishing up the last of some Christmas shopping. He drove down to babysit Jackson that night so we could stay out late at a wedding for our friends, Chris and Shannon. Ross works with Chris, and he and Shannon are the ones that cleaned up our yard after Ike when we were in Leakey. Both the ceremony and reception were very memorable occaisions. I've never laughed so much in a wedding ceremony, and the reception was a blast. We didn't take any pictures, but another friend took one of the two of us after the ceremony.

E & R

We can't thank my dad enough for taking care of Jackson and letting us enjoy a night out. It wasn't an easy night for him because Jackson is sick again. We're really hoping his fever will go away and he'll be able to enjoy his 1st Chrismas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

are my two bottom teeth.

It's been a fun day with Jackson. Ross woke up to Jackson saying "dada" this morning, and when he picked him up from day care today, he discovered that Jackson's bottom teeth cut through!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shuttle Fly Over

Today the shuttle flew right over our house on the back of a 747 on it's way back to Florida from California. It was a great site to see, and may be one of the last opportunities we have. Since I was home with Jackson today, I was able to get a few pictures.


Not so perfect night for our 6 month old...

So the perfect December night included a not so fun first for Jackson. He had his first fever. Jackson will be 6 months old tomorrow, which means it was time for his 6 month vaccines and the newly reccommended flu shot. Around 12:30 this morning, Jackson woke up with a fever of 103.3. It's such a scary feeling to wake up in the middle of the night to a sick baby. Fortunately, we knew it was likely a side-effect of the vaccines, but we still called the doctor last night because the fever was so high and was accompanied by a couple of other symptoms. After a dose of Tylenol, some food, and some rest, Jackson is pretty much back to normal.

Jackson is SO much fun! He has a very laid back personality. At 6 months old, he is rolling over and sitting up. He sleeps 11 to 12 hours straight at night! He laughs at everything, tries to grab everything, and then proceeds to stick it in his mouth. He loves Bailey, and they are so sweet to each other right now. I get the feeling they are both looking forward to the days where they can play together more though. Jackson seems ready to start moving around, but at the same time he isn't very motivated. He fills our hearts with so much joy! We look forward to every moment we get to spend togehter as a family, and we are looking forward to sharing the reason for the Christmas season with him. Here are a couple of pictures from Jackson's very first professional photo shoot last week.

JacksonJackson and SantaTaylor Family

Of course, there are more pics in the album.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Perfect December Night

Shortly after I got home tonight it started snowing...yes, snowing in Houston! So I made some hot chocolate, curled up on the couch and watched White Christmas while I watched the snow collect in our atrium.

Yesterday the temperature was in the 70s here, and today it's been snowing for several hours. Here's a picture from our backyard that just shows how quickly the weather can change. This is one of our hibiscus...

Here's a picture of our house and the reindeer Ross made a few years ago being covered in snow. I can't wait to see if it's all still there in the morning!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in Shreveport this year. Thanksgiving day was spent with the Taylor family and some close family friends. As you can see here, Uncle Philip has become one of Jackson's favorite people.

Jackson & Philip

Friday we spent the day with my family, which included a visit that was way too short with my aunt, uncle, and cousins from California. My grandparents also came by and got to visit with Jackson for a little while before we braved the crowds and went shopping at some of my favorite local stores.

Jackson with Great Grandmother and Granddaddy

Today we picked out Jackson's first Christmas tree! There are a few pictures in the album along with more from our trip to Shreveport. It's been a wonderful it's time to refocus and check email again. :-)

Oh yeah, this is one of Jackson's new favorite things. Ross turns him upside down, and he starts giggling. It's the cutest thing!

Jackson with Great Grandmother and Granddaddy

Working in Hawaii

Ross is still planning to do a post about his trip, but here's an article about what he did. It even includes a quote from him!

Ross has also posted some pictures in the album. He really did spend the majority of his time working really hard, but he was able to get some amazing pitcures during his time off. Here's one of my favorites.

Church in Hawaii

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Welcome Home!

Ross is finally home! After three weeks "working" in Hawaii, this just shows how much he was missed!


Three weeks ago when Ross left for Hawaii, Jackson had just started rolling over while swaddled. Now he flips over easily unwrapped, he sits up, and he's learning to eat from a spoon! Ross said the biggest change he noticed aside from those big milestones was how much more coordinated he seemed. He still has some work to do when it comes to eating though. He likes to face plant into the spoon!


Of course, there are a few more pics in the album, and you can expect a post from Ross about his trip soon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

5 Months Old!

Jackson is 5 months old today! I can hardly believe 5 months have gone by since he entered the world. A friend from work asked me today if I ever thought I could love someone so much, and words really cannot describe the amount of love I have for him. I absolutely LOVE being a mom. I'm not saying it's an easy job, but it's definitely the best one in the world!

Ross' mom has been here with me this week to help take care of Jackson while Ross is "working" in Hawaii. It's been wonderful having her here, and Jackson has especially loved it, which you can tell by this huge grin.

Jackson Taking a Bath

In the last couple of weeks Jackson has changed so much. He has developed a lot more arm strength, so he's rolling over more, grabbing and playing with anything he can get his hands on, and has even started trying to sit on his own! He's one of the happiest babies I've ever known. So far he really only fusses when he's hungry, but he loves to talk and coo and laugh, which is the best noise in the entire world!

There are more pics from this week in the album.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


My friend Emma tagged me for this post. I'm supposed to list seven random things not everybody knows about me...

1. I have seen every episode of Gilmore Girls.

2. I almost made dancing a career before choosing engineering as my major.

3. I have almost no depth perception, which makes driving at night especially scary.

4. My parents let me splatter paint one of the walls in my room growing up.

5. I like designing furniture and have considered interior design or furniture design as a second career.

6. I've been pulled over for speeding 3 times, but only gotten one ticket for it.

7. I love to fix things, so I often find myself looking for problems.

Now I'm supposed to tag 3 other people, so...Kammy, Candace, and've been tagged!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nana and Pop, See how I've grown!

My parents, now known as Nana and Pop, came down for a quick visit while Ross is "working" in Hawaii. We had a great time hanging out and eating way too much candy and food. Jackson's first Halloween was very laid back. I took the day off to spend time with everyone. I've been telling Ross about Jackson's new habit of sucking on his lower lip, so I thought I'd post a pic to show him along with a couple of really cute ones with Nana and Pop. Of course, there are more pics in the album. We weren't able to capture any smiles, but he has started to laugh for what seems like no reason at times. It's absolutely adorable!

Jackson & PopJackson & NanaJackson & Pop

Lots of Love...and time...and money...

Anyone who has ever had a dog knows how quickly they become a member of the family. Today, Bailey took priority when she limped into the kitchen from outside with her dew claw barely hanging must have gotten caught in her collar. I immediately called the vet to find the closest emergency animal clinic number since I knew the vet would be closed. Then I called our wonderful friends, Heather and Todd, who came to my rescue more than I expected. I was calling to have them come over and watch Jackson while I took Bailey to the clinic because he was sleeping. Once they arrived, I loaded Bailey into my vehicle hopped in to start the car, and you guessed it...nothing happened! Todd graciously drove me and Bailey to the clinic so I wouldn't have to try to transport her with her bleeding foot in Ross' car.

We ended up spending close to 4 hours at the clinic because two poor dogs had been hit by cars, and one of them had a broken neck! They ended up sedating Bailey while they removed the claw, and when they brought her back, her entire foot was wrapped with an adorable little heart on it to remind her of how much she is loved! After the insane bill, hours spent waiting in a freezing cold little room, and lots of love and attention, Bailey is doing her best to hop around and rest as best she can.

Bailey's Cast

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Baby Shower #2

The second of the two baby showers was this past weekend, and it went really well! I hosted this one with two other lovely ladies, Emma and Colleen, for our friend Christie. I think the three of us could start a party planning/catering business! I was impressed with the way everything turned out. The three of us divided and conquered different aspects of the shower. Emma did the name tags and cake, which matched a blanket Christie picked out, Colleen made a diaper cake and came up with the games, and I did cookies and decorations. We had other finger foods too, but they aren't as "cute". Not to boast, but check out how cute everything turned out...

Baby Bottle CookiesDiaper CakeCake

Everyone seemed to have a really good time too. Christie has some wonderful friends and family. It was so much fun getting to know them better. Here's a pic of the hostesses with the guest of honor. Of course, there are more pics in the album.

E, Emma, Christie, & Colleen

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fun Visits

Thursday after work, Ross, Jackson and I met up with some friends and their adorable kiddos at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Lupe Tortilla. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat outside and watched the kids play in the huge "sandbox". Their middle kid, Elena, very nicely asked to hold cute are they?!

Jackson & Elena

Then we had an impromptu visit from some friends from LA Tech yesterday. Tammy, Marc, and Bryan were headed to this side of town for the air show at Ellington Field. Tammy was one of my roommates and a sorority sister in college, so we were thrilled to get to see them and finally introduce Bryan and Jackson to one another!

E, Jackson, Tammy, & Bryan

Monday, October 20, 2008

Will it ever end?

I got nothing when I tried to start my vehicle this morning! Ross was home, so we were able to jump the battery and get it started, but I just have to wonder when my string of bad luck with this vehicle is going to end!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catching Up

So we're a little behind on our posting as far as the events in our lives are concerned. This has been a busy week for the Taylor family. Last weekend our friends Heath, Barbara, and their son, Carter, came to visit. We had a great time! It was a short visit, but filled with quality time. Whenever we go to Louisiana we always spend time with our families, so we don't get much time to spend with friends. We didn't really do much. We just spent the time visiting and catching up, and of course doing a little shopping. :-)

Jackson got an exersaucer last weekend, and he has been loving it. I can't believe how many parts they come in! I guess this is probably just the beginning of many, many hours we will spend putting together toys for Jackson. Even Carter put in some time helping us put all of the pieces together.


Columbus day was a holiday for those of us that work for the government, so Ross and I took advantage of the extra day and started working on our front yard, which was in desperate need of some attention. Since Jackson came along, it's been left untouched with the exception of the occasional mowing that the summer necessitates. Ross spent several back-breaking hours extending flower beds and putting in edging. In the process he took out a good chunk of a root from the tree in our front yard, so we're hoping it doesn't die or fall on our house! We finished the majority of the planting work yesterday. We still have a few more flowers to plant and some mulch to put down, but it's looking a lot better! We have some plans to extend our front porch/patio as well, but that will have to wait until after Ross gets back from Hawaii.

I spent most of my evenings this week preparing for 2 baby showers. The first one for Jennifer and Eric was today, and the second one for Christie will be next Sunday. I had a lot of fun putting together these "sweet thing" favors and making a diaper cake for the shower today.

Sweet Thing

This will be Jennifer and Eric's second baby, so they mostly got diapers and clothes, which was perfect. Their first kid was a boy, and they are expecting a baby girl, so some fun girly clothes were a must. You can tell Dad and big brother, Scott, are excited about them...

Eric and Scott

Of course, we can't have a summary post like this without at least one picture of Jackson, so here's a picture of Pam holding our sweet little boy. He had his 4 month checkup this week, and is continuing to grow at about the same rate. He's a little above the 50th percentile in height now, and he's still in the 25th percentile in weight and head circumference. The doctor said we could start him on solids whenever we're ready. It may not be long, but I'm not ready just yet!

Pam & Jackson

We've posted pics from the shower today and our visit with the Tims in the album, so be sure to check them out!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Candidate Charitable Giving

Way back in May, I posted about the presidential candidates' charitable giving (or lack there of). Well, now the vice presidential candidates have released their returns as well, so I figured it was worth revisiting. In summary, I am appalled by the lack of charitable giving by the people who are vying for the opportunity to run our country.

Before talking about the vice presidential candidates, let me update a couple of things from the previous post. McCain has since released a snapshot of his wife's return for 2006. This, combined with a misread of his return on my part, makes his giving much less impressive. First, I said that he gave 28.6% to charity in 2006 but I didn't notice that part of this was carryover from the previous year. In actuality, he gave 19% which is still good until you consider that he claims half of the family's combined giving so when you factor in Cindy's $6 million dollar AGI, the combined giving is reduced to right at 2%. Their charitable giving nearly doubled for 2007 but we still don't know what Cindy made in 2007 so I can't give a percentage.

Now, on to the VP are the numbers:

Bidens Palins
Year AGI ($K) Gifts (%) AGI ($K) Gifts (%)
2007 320 0.31 166 2.0
2006 248 0.15 128 3.8
2005 321 0.12 * *
2004 234 0.16 * *
2003 231 0.11 * *
2002 228 0.11 * *
2001 221 0.16 * *
2000 220 0.16 * *
1999 211 0.06 * *
1998 214 0.09 * *

* Not released

No, those are not typos, Joe Biden and his wife have averaged $369 in charitable giving over the past decade, or 0.15% percent of there AGI. WOW! This is despicable. As, I mentioned in my previous post, the average American gives ~2.2% of their AGI. I find it particularly disgraceful that candidates running on a platform of increased taxes for the rich to support programs for the less fortunate give at these low levels. If you want to support programs for the less fortunate, do it by giving to charity. While the Palins giving is certainly not staggering, given their relatively low AGI compared to the other candidates, these numbers are not bad.

Go Cowboys!

The kickoff of the game today didn't look so good for the Cowboys, so Jackson changed clothes and is cheering them on in hopes that will change the tone of the game!

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's really a... I found out it's really a giraffe costume, which makes SO much more sense! It's pretty cute either way though!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Whoa Little Horsey

Today I was going through some of the clothes that our friends Heath and Barbara let us borrow for Jackson. He's just about ready for the next size up, so I was sorting through their hand-me-downs when I ran across Carter's horse costume from Halloween last year and had to try it on Jackson...pretty cute!

Jackson the HorseJackson the Horse

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Follow On

There were some positive things that happened yesterday too. While I was getting ready in the morning Jackson woke up and rolled over in his crib! Also, the whole flat tire thing allowed me the opportunity to get to know 2 of Jackson's teachers better. While I was waiting for help, I called the daycare to let them know it was probably a good idea to give J another bottle since I was running late. When I arrived, he was the only baby there and was eating, so I got to sit down and get to know them a little better!

3 in 3

3 flat tires in 3 weeks! Need I say more? It doesn't help that I don't know how to change a tire...actually I know how. I've just never had to physically do it, which is pretty much the same thing. Ross has been out of town for 2 of the 3, so I had to call on other gracious men to help me. My brother-in-law, Philip, helped with the first by plugging it, and today two of my coworkers came to the rescue and put on the full size spare. I'm not sure I could have done it on my own if I had to. Those tires are heavy!

Of course, I was already in a hurry when I got to my car and found the flat...fortunately it didn't happen while I was driving. I also happened to be barefoot, which my rescuers found entertaining. This morning when deciding what to wear, I opted for a cute pair of 4+ inch heels that I know aren't good for walking around in, but I was planning to be at my desk all day so that was ok! Well, shortly after getting to work, which involves a short hike from the car to my office, I had to walk some information to my bosses that was urgently needed for a meeting on the other side of the campus. Normally this wouldn't have been a big deal, but these shoes leave awful blisters! By the time I got back to my office, my feet were bleeding. Lesson learned...if choosing to wear these shoes to work, bring an extra pair of walking shoes!

The worst part of the day was that the flat tire made me later than usual picking up Jackson, so I didn't get to spend any time with him tonight. We got home, and he went straight to bed like the good boy he is!

Ok...I'm done venting. Tomorrow should be better...Ross is coming home!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

As Promised...

Here are some recent pictures of Jackson. He took pictures at school today too. His teacher said he was the only baby that smiled for them, so I'm hoping they turned out good. They will be the first professional pictures Jackson has had.


Here's Jackson with his new favorite toy.

Jackson with Rattle

Here's proof that his Uncle Philip has held him...this was the one picture we took while we were in Leakey!

Uncle Philip and Jackson

This week Jackson and I are getting some practice to see what life will be like at the end of the month. Ross is in Canada for 5 days this week, which is just a taste of what it will be like when he goes to Hawaii for 3 weeks at the end of October! We've been doing great, but we're both ready for him to be home again!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rolling Over!

I just found out this morning that Jackson rolled over for the first time on his own at day care on Friday! I'm having a bit of a hard time dealing with the fact that I missed it and that they forgot to tell us on Friday, but I'm so excited too! He just keeps growing and changing everyday. It's so much fun to watch!

We all had a pretty good week last week. We got settled back into our normal routines, and Jackson is sleeping better at day care, which makes me feel a lot better. We spent most of the weekend continuing our clean up efforts around the house after Ike, but we took a break Saturday evening and went to a BBQ at our friends' Christie and Jason's, new house. I was so happy about how well Jackson did while we were there...people actually got to see him awake for a change!

We have taken a couple of pictures recently, so I'll try to get those posted soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008


The power at our house was restored some time last night, so we'll be moving back home tonight! We are so thankful to everyone who has helped us over the last couple of weeks!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Wonderful Friends

We came back to Houston on Friday and found our house still without power. Our friends Stephen and Sara, along with several others, offered to open their home to us, which we gratefully accepted. The four of us (Bailey included) have been made to feel right at home, which is good because it's looking like we may be here a while since most of our zip code has power restored. All but 7% of our zip code now has power, but we are part of that lucky 7% without it.

We spent the day yesterday cleaning out our refrigerator and doing more yard work. With all of the windows open there was enough of a breeze to keep Jackson comfortable. It made us realize how much we miss getting to stay at our home, but we are so thankful for the option to stay somewhere with power!

Today our church, Gateway Community Church, held one service for everyone. They got power back yesterday, so we were able to worship with A/C. They have started their C.O.R.E. (Christians Organized for Relief Efforts) operations again, which they began after Katrina a couple of years ago. If you or anyone you know needs help during this recovery effort, they would like to help. Just let us know, and we'll put you in contact with the right people.

We go back to work tomorrow, but Jackson's daycare is also without power, which means we'll be taking turns staying with him...not that I'm complaining about that!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All Cleaned Up!

Here are a couple of pictures of what our house looks like after Chris and Shannon and one of our neighbours worked on our yard yesterday. We can't thank them enough!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Amazing Friends & Family

I've said it before, but I have to say it again. We have the most amazing friends and family. I was starting to feel a little down today. I've been a little homesick after evacuating from Ike and worried about the mess we will have to go home to. Just to top that off, I had a flat tire this week, Ross is on a business trip that got extended an extra day, Bailey had a seizure today, and Jackson has not been sleeping well at all.

Then I got to thinking about it a little more. We have been so blessed to have a place to stay and hang out. Philip was able to fix my tire, which unfortunately was just the beginning of a really long day for him...fixed my flat tire, took an injured worker to the emergency room, and then lost and fixed the water at his house at 4 in the morning.

Our friends Emma and Chris have been wonderful about taking the time to check on our house and keep us posted in the midst of their own recovery efforts, and then to top all of that off our friends Chris and Shannon (Ross works with Chris) cleaned up our yard today with the help of one of our neighbors! Emma and Chris were going by to see if we had power yet and found Chris and Shannon working in our yard. What a HUGE blessing!!! They have suggested we stay put as long as possible since we still don't have power and would have to boil our water. That's the plan for now I guess. Work starts back up on Monday, so we'll probably make the trip this weekend. Hopefully, we'll have power back by then. Even if we don't, we have SO much to be thankful for...especially our amazing friends and family!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pics of Damage

Here are pictures of the damage at our house and some of our neighbors courtesy of Emma and Chris. Ross was able to get his flights rearranged, so he's on his way to Philly now. We're still planning to stay put until we have power.

My day's off to a great start...I got a flat tire this morning. Philip is going to try to fix it later today...THANKS!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hiding Out in Leakey

We got a report from our friends Emma and Chris on our house yesterday. They made their way down to the Clear Lake area after hurricane Ike tore through Houston. They said our house is fine. However, our fences are down, and we have a lot of yard work to do because a lot of limbs fell. We are without power and water there, so we're staying put for now. We can't thank them enough for the report. It has really put our minds at ease. We feel so blessed that it wasn't worse.

We're also thankful for having such a great place to stay and hang out. We're staying at Ross' parents' cabin in Leakey and hanging out with his sister and brother-in-law, Leslie and Philip, during the day. Ross is supposed to go to Philidelphia for work tomorrow, so we're working on rearranging flights so he can leave from San Antonio. Hopefully, when he gets back our house will have power and water so we can go home.

Jackson turned 3 months old while we were here, and he got to go on his first Polaris ride around the ranch. It was pretty funny to see his car seat buckled into the Polaris. I'm hoping to get a picture of it so everyone can see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Football Watching Boys

We all had a nice relaxing weekend and tried to catch up on sleep. Ross and Jackson had fun just hanging out and watching some football. Go Cowboys!

Ross & Jackson Watching Football

Jackson is still having trouble sleeping at day care. I picked him up early yesterday and today, and he continues to sleep well at home. I'm not sure they're putting him down early enough, so he's probably getting over tired. Here's the face we're often seeing these days when he gets home and isn't crying...

Jackson's puzzled face

Now we're trying to figure out what to do with hurricane Ike headed our way. Jackson's day care is closed tomorrow and Friday, so at the very least we'll have a long weekend. Hopefully not too long though!