Thursday, January 24, 2013


Welcome Elijah Mason (Eli) Ball! My beautiful nephew was born Thursday, January 23, 2013 around 6:30 pm. He weighed 8 lb. 3 oz. (just like his cousin Jude). My sister is doing great and Phillip was a champ in the delivery room. My Mom had the honor of helping Jillian through the delivery and see Eli be born! (I'm pretty jealous but I did get to hear Eli's sweet cries only minutes after his arrival over the phone and got to watch him nurse for the first time ever via webcam and "spend time" with him and family that way.)

I am so thankful this beautiful blessing has arrived and I know he and Jude will be into some rowdy trouble in the years to come! I love you so much Eli and can't wait to meet you in just a few weeks!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

To God Be The Glory

 Not only has the Lord given me a very brave, sensitive, sweet big brother to begin with...
He has given me the chance to make many more wonderful memories with him.

Thank you Lord for healing Zach again! We love you and know You alone are worthy of praise!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Why I Like Police Officers

This is a slightly random post, but I feel that I hear a lot of negativity about police officers, especially when we get speeding tickets or we see a cop drive really fast down the high way with no lights or sirens on. I know, like in ANY profession, there are cops who don't really do what they need to do or actually do what they shouldn't do, but I feel that being a police officer is a noble job and one that many people do not take advantage for and truly do want what's best for their community.

Over Christmas break, Jude took a bad tumble face first down my parents' back porch steps, taking us to the ER and now a series of doctors and pediatric dentists. (As of today, one tooth has become abscessed aka infected) and will more than likely need to be extracted, meaning general anasthesia and a gaping hole in Jude's mouth for the next several years. (X rays will also tell us if any damage was done to permanant teeth.)

With all that said, when the fall happened, Justin, Jillian, Jude and me immediately jumped in the car and my Dad, like any good Pop would do, drove like a crazy, yet being responsible person would do to get us to the ER. He sped a little and did some illegal passing, but overall, was safe. At one point we got behind a car that had a fire fighter license plate so my Dad put his 4 way flashers on, honked the horn politely, and tried to motion that we needed to get up the road or have him pull to the side so we could safely pass. The car SLOWED down and any time my Dad tried to pass him in a safe zone, he would speed up. My Dad was finally able to get around him and we pulled into the ER. I ran in with Jude, not knowing the damage, with him screaming, blood all over him and me, and Jillian explained what happened. There was a very nice police officer standing there observing what was going on. (Take note my Dad was parking at this time.)

A few minutes later, the police officer came up to my sister and asked her if she drove a silver camry. She said, "No I don't, but my brother does." (This was the car my Dad was driving to the ER.) Any who. The car that we passed who was being such a jerk had followed us to the ER and made a complaint about my Dad's driving to the police officer. The police officer politely told him where he could put it and reminded him that any family rushing their child to the hospital was ok by him. He told him he saw a baby with a bloodied face and screaming, he would have done the same thing for his own child.

That is why I like police officers. He took the high road and though technically, did my Dad break a few traffic laws that day, yes, but for the greater good. They're still out there, doing the right thing.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 Recap

 Wow, 2012 came and went in a whirlwind. I hope to use this post to remember all the wonderful memories we shared in 2012. Many memories indeed! We started the year out with Jude's 9 month pictures taken by a wonderful family friend who is a photographer while still in NC for the holidays. They were taken in downtown Asheboro and I love how L.C. captures our family.
 Jude continued to teeth in January, having 9 teeth by the end of the month. (He would go on to to have 12 by his 1st birthday and all 16 "baby" teeth, only minus his 2 year molars by 15 months. Whew. January was a hard month in that Justin and I both had stomach viruses, again, and Jude kept a cold. We had a good visit over MLK weekend when Boofee came to visit!
 February was special because Pop and JJ came to visit and we got to see the Grand Canyon! Justin hiked the 19 miles down and back in 1 day and the rest of us stayed up in a hotel enjoying the scenery from above and having fun within the town. We also visited Sedona and Justin, Jude, and I travelled to Seattle at the end of the month to check out UW. (Little did I know this town would become my new home.)
 March was very special because not only did we go home, but we celebrated Jude's first birthday! He was also dedicated to the Lord at my Dad's Church, Iron Mt. Baptist, and all our families got to join. It was a very special weekend!
 3 days after Jude's birthday, he took his first steps. We weren't sure how quickly he would walk simply because his walker was his favorite toy and he would zoom around the house like Mario Andrette, but once he took those steps, he never looked behind. He also began to verbalize a lot more this month and continued to shower us love and snuggles.
 April was fun too! We celebrated Easter with Mamaw Joyce coming to visit! We had an Easter picnic with our church on a ranch which was amazing. Jude continued to learn more gross motor skills, trying running and jumping. We also enjoyed the warm AZ weather in our new kiddie pool and going up the Pinal mountains to go hiking.
 I surprised my Mom and MIL for an early Mother's Day present and flew home. Only my FIL, my brother, and BIL knew and everyone was surprised. It was especially fun seeing my Mom's face at the airport (she thought she was going with Zach to pick up his girlfriend at the time) and my MIL was totally shocked when we walked into her work office a few days later.
 Also in May, Justin's grandparents on the Caldwell side and great grandmother Mart drove all the way across country in their RV to spend some time with us. We visited Canyon De Chelley, the Painted Desert, and the Petrified Forest. We had a great time with them, enjoying the sights and spending time with them. They also helped begin packing our first home into a storage unit and helped prepare us for another move. We also found out my sister and best friend was pregnant!

I must pause here and say, this was a HUGE turning point for me emotionally and spiritually. At this time, we had made the decision to move to the Seattle area which meant another job hunt, house/apartment hunt, child care hunt, church hunt, and new friends. (We had only lived in AZ for 10 months.) I didn't want to move unless it was back east and man did the Lord do a work on my heart. I still struggle sometimes being so far away from family, but I know God's plan is better than mine and he will bless me for being obedient and submissive to my husband's leading.
 I finished out my school year at the end of May and we started our summer with a sweet couple's wedding in Prescott, AZ before flying home for the summer. Justin found a job in NC while I spent time traveling between family and friends. Justin's younger brother also graduated high school and his Dad celebrated a birthday. In June, Jude and I got to spend a week in Auburn, AL visiting old friends. Y'all, it was a really beautiful week and such a blessing to see Jude interact with my best friend's children, several who I had yet to meet b/c they were born while we were in AZ. I hope to have the same opportunity this coming summer.
 We also spent a week at N. Myrtle Beach with my family. Jude loved the tide pools, playing in the sand, and napping with Mo Mo daily. We enjoyed good sea food and lots of time with family. Jude also dropped his morning nap this month and officially began taking a 2-3 hour nap after lunch.
 In July, we spent a lot of time at the YMCA's Splash pad. Boy did Jude love it. We also had the opportunity to spend time with Justin's family. Good family dinners and playing out doors made for some great memories.
 Mom and I also spent some time in TN with her side of the family. Jude and Jamen loved going to the lake together. Jude also adores Mamaw Peggy.

July was also special because we celebrated Justin's birthday. Justin and I also celebrated our 4th anniversary. The inlaws kept Jude so we could do dinner and a movie.

I also got to go to Ocean Isle Beach with my best friends from college for a few days. (Minus Candice...we missed you.) I got to see my sweet friend Natalie's baby boy, Colt for the first time. He and Jude were born almost a year apart exactly. July also held 2 visits to the NC zoo, one being with some of my small group friends from college and their children and/or neices and nephews. What a blessing.
 In August, we celebrated my Dad's birthday and found out that my sister and BIL are having a BOY! Elijah Mason Ball (Eli) should be making his debut literally any day now. In mid August, Jude and I made our way back across the country to begin our new life in WA state. Justin had gone before us and drove the moving truck from AZ to WA with Mason. (After the 3 day drive from AL to AZ I vowed I would NEVER do that again.)

I started my new job, Jude started day care for the first time, and we found lots of new parks in the area, including the one above that is walking distance from our new place. Jude loves going to parks, even now when it's cold and wet outside.
 September was beautiful weather in Seattle. We continued to enjoy all the local parks, and there are many, and the Woodland Park Zoo. Jude's vocabulary had really spiked at this point and his love for animals was more apparent than ever. He also fell in love with "choo choo's" after seeing one at Kirkeek Park.

We realized the importance of webcams, making it a weekly tradition with both sets of grandparents.
 October was really busy and lots of fun. I celebrated my birthday and used my b-day money to invest in some rain boots, haha. Some of our best friends from AZ came for a weekend visit and we enjoyed showing them Pike's Place Market and the Space Needle. My Mom and sister also got to come for a whole week and see Jude be the cutest tiger in the town for Halloween.
 We also showed my family down town, the awesome dog park Mason gets to enjoy, and the fishery in Issaquah, one of Jude's favorites. Jude continues to blow us away with what he's learning, including his colors and most of his alphabet.

November was our "slowest" month yet, meaning that we were able to buckle down and spend time continuing to learn the city and spend time just us three. We celebrated Thanksgiving on our own for the first time ever and enjoyed the Seattle Christmas parade the day after Thanksgiving.
Justin and I used the fall to really embrace our marriage. We made a point to go on more date nights and be more intentional (my one word for 2013 by the way) with one another.
December was another wonderful month. We enjoyed going to Snowflake Lane in Bellevue, going to the Reindeer festival, decorating, and celebrating my personal favorite holiday, Christmas! Jude loved opening presents and Justin and I enjoyed teaching him about the true  meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We made it home to NC for the holidays and what better way to end a year than with family.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Belated Christmas Post

Christmas came and went quicker than I could have imagined it would have. The good thing about living across the country from family is that Jude gets to have 3 "Christmas mornings". 1 with us before leaving, 1 with Justin's family on actual Christmas day, and 1 with my family when we arrive in Asheboro.

Christmas break started with a minor set back. We were supposed to fly out on Thursday, 12/20 but due to the weather in the mid west, our layover in Chicago got cancelled. We weren't able to fly out until Sunday, 12/23. After some tears and long phone calls with American Airlines, we did make it home.

On "our Christmas morning" in Seattle, I made a yummy breakfast and eggs and pancakes and we opened gifts. Jude got some fun things to take on the airplane ride including stickers, crayons, and coloring sheets. He also got a cute reindeer hat and a Radio Flyer Tricycle. He checked it out by taking his elephant on a ride and once it was approved, he hopped on.

We celebrated Christmas Eve with Justin's family and did the annual sock exchange at the Clongingers. Christmas morning was a blast watching Jude open presents. His favorite gifts there included his Fisher Price nativity scene, aka Baby Jesus and his new puzzles. We went to Denver for the day to spend time with the great grandparents and great, great grandma's and enjoyed time with family. We also got to visit Papaw Derrick's golf course and ride on the golf cart.

When we switched over to my family, we enjoyed a Christmas dinner and opening gifts with my family. Jude loved his new Lightning McQueen suitcase and all his new animals and dinos. On the morning after we arrived in Asheboro, Jude took a fall off my parents' back porch steps and we spent the day in the ER and the pediatric dentist. Thankfully, his teeth were still in tact, but he had several deep cuts in and outside of his mouth and lots of bruising. For the next few days, he survived on applesauce, yogurt, and scrambled eggs. He was so pitiful.

While in Asheboro, we started a new tradition of a family bowling tournament and had a good time! We rang in the New Year at Jillian and Phillip's, spending new year's eve helping organize Eli's nursery and packing Jillian's hospital bag. We rang in 2013 a little early so we could get up at 5:30 am (that's 2:30 am Seattle time) and head back west.

We had such a wonderful visit with our families and I am so thankful for the opportunity to share time with people we love and create traditions for Jude.

Above all else, I loved teaching Jude about the real meaning of Christmas. He is beginning to talk about Jesus and is listening to the Bible stories we've been reading to him since he was born.

*I hope to learn how to upload my camera pics to my school mac soon...I know that's what people like to see. :)