Friday, December 29, 2006

In case you were wondering

We have not fallen off the face of the earth. We are in Houston having a great time with my family. I have a ton of great pictures to share but I think I will wait until we get back home to post those. Jackson's first Christmas was very special and he was in a delightful mood the whole day. He got so many fun big-boy toys and cute clothes.

I got some really amazing gifts, too. My mom made a large shadow box for me with pictures of my early childhood and one of my dresses inside. She also gave me a huge plastic storage box of all my baby clothes. They were washed and pressed and folded neatly inside. You can imagine that I bawled like a baby and my mom said she did too while she was putting it all together. I had no idea she still had any of it. There was a tiny "Love ya Blue" t-shirt from the Houston Oliers days. There was also a little jersey that mom made for my second birthday that said "Manda" on the back and had a #2 on the front. It's so cute!

Curt and I are taking advantage of having free babysitters while we're here. We went to our old favorite date place - the AMC Willowbrook - and saw Casino Royale. It was not my pick of a movie and we had to sit on the very front row, but we had a good time. And I think it inspired both of us to get in we pigged out on a huge bag of popcorn. Hey, if you only get to see a movie once every couple months, you gotta live it up, right?

Jackson is practicing waving bye-bye and my mom is trying to teach him animal sounds. If he doesn't learn to say mama before he can bark like a dog I'm not sure I'll handle that well! He is being very picky with his foods right now. He still loves fruit in any form but he is battling me over cereal and veggies. He's really loving table foods. Last night he got to have some chicken fajita meat and he thought that was his best meal ever. He may be a meat and potato person like his parents.

Jackson will be waking up from his nap any minute and then we are taking a little family trip to the Galleria. I need some new black boots. The ones I have (see below) and absolutely love are so ridiculously painful that I am finally cracking. When your church shoes feel like tennis shoes compared to your everyday boots, something is very wrong!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas - Round One

Curt's mom and dad came down for a quick visit before Christmas. We're so thankful they were able to come! We went to Kinkaid's for burgers, looked at Christmas lights in Preston Hollow, had the world's best beef fajitas at Hacienda Ranch, and cruised around in the new Jonesmobile. I also squeezed in a hair appointment where I enjoyed an hour-long lecture for using two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. Sorry, sometimes Jackson doesn't want me to take a 20-minute shower. Back to Biolage for a while because the hair is seriously dry. The woman got a cardio workout just trying to comb it out.

Mommy put all the wrapping paper in this box and I had the most fun of my life pulling it all out!

Thank you for this beautiful red tissue paper!

Butterfly effect

I got so many great presents.

My doctor has one of these in her office but mommy won't let me play with it. She thinks it has sick-kid germs all over it. But now I have my own and I love it!

Beckham has some major boundary issues. And he thinks he's a cat.

Bill never met a box he didn't like. At least he didn't pee in it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17).

Something I wrote for our LPM Christmas newsletter:

I have a tear-off calendar on my refrigerator that my mom gave me for Christmas last year. Other than the gift of my son’s crib bedding, it was my favorite thing I got. Above the calendar pages is a picture of my sister and me with another set of sisters that we grew up with. I smile every single time I see it and think of how much I love the three other women in the picture. It was a little sad when November arrived and I had to tear off October. One reason is that October is my birthday month and I just love it. But the main reason is that with only two months left, the calendar that had provided a daily dose of simple joy now seemed very puny. And the most eventful, sacred, precious, amazing year of my life was about to be past tense. This was the year my son was born.

Becoming a mother was not something I dreamed of my whole life. I was quite a tomboy growing up and I never liked playing house. As soon as I got married I began asking God to prepare my heart for motherhood. It was not something I naturally desired, but I wanted it to be. Then one day a fancy-schmancy pregnancy test flashed the word “pregnant” before my eyes. Ten weeks later Curt and I were in my doctor’s office looking at our baby for the first time on an ultrasound screen. He was very tiny, but we could make out the shape of his head and body as well as his microscopic limbs. In that moment—seeing my child’s precious form long before I was even showing—I went from being pregnant to being a mom. “I don’t care if I have a boy or a girl, I just want that baby right there,” I said. Our baby arrived on a cold day in February, and as my whole family predicted and prayed for, he was a boy.

My mom has always said that children have the uncanny ability to make you feel more vulnerable than you could ever imagine—like your heart is beating in another’s body. I have found her description to be quite true. This year has been an exercise in many things—selflessness, endurance, self-control (while shopping for baby clothes), and taking my anxious and fearful thoughts captive to Christ. My natural instinct is to shelter my son from anything unpleasant like germs, falling on the hardwood floor, or even having cold feet. I try not to think about the bad decisions he will make one day that will cause him to have to sit out during recess. I ban thoughts of the broken bones and stitches that accompany boyhood and the temptations and heartaches that will come in his youth. Simply put, I don’t want him to suffer. God is good not to tell us what this life holds for our children because I don’t think we could stand to know the unpleasant things. We would not yet have His grace to walk through them.

And then I think of the Father who so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son to a sinful, pain-filled, diseased earth in need of a Savior. I imagine how the Father would have rejoiced when baby Jesus smiled for the first time. How His heart would have melted when the angels told Him, “He really has Your eyes.” How He would have laughed when Jesus tried to crawl away from Mary when she was changing His clothes. And all the while He knew the incredible suffering that awaited His Son on the cross. Thankfully, He also knew the glory that would be His when all was said and done.

Among many, God’s gift to me this Christmas is a new tenderness toward baby Jesus, a deep respect for His mother, a stronger love for the Father, a greater sense of awe at His sacrifice, and a fresh desire to see my Savior in all His glory.

Baby Boom

Two of my best friends in the world had babies in the last 7 days. It was a very joyful week! Jackson would like to say welcome to the world!

Brynne Avery
Born Friday, Deceber 15, at 10:57 a.m.
to Beau and Melissa Schmidt


Jaykob Samuel
Born Monday, December 18, at 10:08 a.m.
to Jerrell and Kay Altic

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Making Headlines

If I manage to make it to Jackson's first birthday without making headlines I'll be very pleased. I've imagined myself doing this first one.

Baby Left Behind

Baby Put Through X-ray Machine

Jackson had a check up today. We both got flu shots and he got a blood test for iron and lead levels. Dr. Raja said not to even think about weaning until I see her again at Jackson's 1 year appt. She said forget about him taking a bottle or formula at this point in the game. I need to get his nursing frequency back up because he's dropping in weight percentile. So I've got to fatten him up! He gets to have more solids now and start eating meat. At lunch he got to try beef baby food for the first time and he seemed to like it. I also got to order him something from Chick-fil-a - a big milestone! It was only a fruit cup, but still...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Playdate

Complete chaos, as usual. Next time we're going to get smart and take pictures at the beginning instead of the end.

Left to right: Jackson, Ava, 7-week-old Jonas, Joshua, and Ella

Jackson, that booger has been bothering me all day! Just let me get it for you!

We did a board book exchange for the babies.

If a dog is like a two-year-old...

I recently heard someone say, probably on TV, that dogs are like two-year-old children. It's really driving me crazy that I can't remember where I heard it. But that's not the point. Curt and I like to discuss whether Jackson has exceeded Beckham in intelligence and, if not, when it will happen. I won't get into our current opinions. But this latest bit of info has me thinking about what life would be like if I had another baby when Jackson is two years old. If Beckham really is on the same level as a two-year-old child, then I can assume several things.

A) When I call baby #2's name to see if he or she (let's face it, #2 will be a he) will crawl over to me, Jackson will come running as fast as he can.

B) Jackson will enjoy giving very slobbery kisses to baby #2.

C) Baby #2 will enjoy grabbing Jackson's hair and lips. Jackson will sit there and take it like a champ until Mommy sees it and rescues him.

D) Instead of resenting the new division of attention, Jackson will take on the role of #2's guardian and best friend. He will practically never leave #2's side.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

This is my new jacket.

And I completely despise it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I think Jackson's nursing problem was due to a new round of teething. This must be one crazy tooth. It's gotten better, although we are still far from normal. My friend suggested I give him Tylenol 30 minutes before nursing and that helped. Hopefully within the next day or two this will pass and we can return to my plan of gradual weaning that will end within a month or two. She also recommended that I try putting the formula in cereal and then adding some fruit to it. Maybe he will warm up to the taste that way.

Friday morning was really emotional. I was not a happy camper and my deceitful heart convinced me that there were those (who shall remain nameless, but their initials are Curtis Jones) who were glad to see me finish nursing. I felt I was the only one on my team. Again, I know this wasn't true. It's just that I've put untold energy and dedication into the simple act of feeding my son for the last 10 months. We're talking about ending something cold-turkey that has been my full-time job since February. I didn't feel like I was sweating the small stuff.

Curt, Jackson, and I were all in Houston for my LPM staff Christmas Party. We had driven 4 hours and were spending 2 nights away from home so that I could attend. We have THE best party every year and this year it was a bowling party! I love bowling. However, when the morning came I did not feel like celebrating or bowling or even pretending to be in a good mood. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and sulk all day. If you read Genesis 21 you'll see that I am not the first to handle weaning very well. Abraham threw a party on the day Sarah weaned Isaac. Sarah, like me, was not in the mood to be gracious and fun. She coerced Abraham into getting rid of Hagar and Ishmael that day. It wasn't her shining moment. This weekend hasn't been my shining moment either.

Jackson, on the other hand, had a few shining moments. There were rumors that Santa Claus was going to make an appearance at our LPM party and Curtis showed up with Jackson in his Santa suit. He was delightful, if I may say so. He also tried to stand without holding on to anything (imagine a very primitive form of standing) a couple of times. His coordination boggles my mind. As simple as it is, just watching him hold and eat a piece of toast still blows me away.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It's been a rough day. Jackson is determined to force me to wean him. He will not stop biting me no matter what. This has been going on for some time, but today was my breaking point. It's horrible. It's both very painful and upsetting. He and I have been in tears all day. Sobbing, actually. I imagined weaning would be a slow process, but if he keeps this up I can't see myself lasting another 24 hours. And to make matters worse, I am ready to drop one feeding and subsitute it with a bottle of formula. But do you think he wants to drink from a bottle? No. And he sure as heck isn't going to even try the formula. So I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Tomorrow is a new day. We'll see what happens. Advice and prayers are welcome.

Here are some of Jackson's developments from this week:
-He pulled up at the window sill and moved over to another piece of furniture (which was right next to him, but he still had to move!)
-He's holding out his hand to people who approach him. He's on his way to waving, I think.
-He's chewing his crib. If you see little white specks on his face it's the paint. Idiot me bought a crib that is irregularly, however beautifully, shaped and can't have a crib guard.
-Yesterday he learned how to sit himself down. He practiced all day. This means I don't have to rescue him every 5 minutes! Yay!
-His bottom side teeth are on their way in.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

La Virgen de Guadalupe

Last Friday Curt and I went to a marriage enrichment evening for our young married/newlywed class. We have been trying to put into practice some things that we learned. For me, it's not arguing or critiquing. For Curt, it has been doing the little things he used to do to make me feel special while we were dating. For the first year of our relationship, I literally had fresh flowers in my room at all times. As soon as one floral gift withered, a new one was delivered. In that respect, he set a very high standard. Yesterday afternoon there was a soft knock on the door, which I knew was Curtis because he wouldn't dare make noise that could wake up the baby from his nap. (I can't even eat CheezIts without waking him up.) When I opened the door he was standing there with a huge smile on his face, arm extended presenting me a bouquet of flowers. How sweet! Only there was something a little odd about them.

Turns out it's Our Lady of the Guadalupe's feast day. And many people like to bring her flowers. Okay, so Curtis didn't go to a florist to get me flowers. And he didn't inspect the wrapper to see if it contained the likeness of La Virgen. But what blesses me is that while he was running errands at Walmart, he saw flowers and thought of me. Because he loves me. And that's all I need. Sorry, Virgen de Guadalupe, that you will have one less bouquet of flowers this year. From one mother to another, I really needed these.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Survey

I got this from my friend, Sunni, in an email. I thought it would be fun for the blog. Leave yours in a comment or in your own blog. Have fun!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate??
Hot Chocolate with peppermint, but I do like egg nog.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa wraps!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
The adult in me likes the white lights but the kid in me loves colored lights. We change it up year to year.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but I always intend to.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
The beginning of December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
My mama's dressing and green bean casserole.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child:
One year when I was probably 5 years old Santa came to my grandparents house on Christmas Eve night. He brought toys for me and my sister and it was so amazing! I got to watch a video of it for the first time a few months ago and it was so fun.

8. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
It depends on what family we're with that year. With mine, we open up presents with my dad's family.

9. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Lights, ornaments, silver and red balls, and silver ribbon. Every year in Jackson Hole I buy some new ornaments (at the "Moose Be Christmas" store) that are moose, bears, or something else mountainish. I hope to have enough one day to have a separate tree for my Jackson Hole ornaments.

10. Snow, like it or dread it?
Snow is magical.

11. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but it hurts my feet and I'm not exactly good. I prefer old school roller skating in a church gym.

12. Do you remember your favorite gift?
My Nike Air Jordans in 5th grade. My bff and I both got them - mine were red and black and hers were purple and teal. We were so awesome! Curt got me my dining room table the year we were engaged. I was thrilled beyond belief.

13. What's the most important thing about Christmas for you?
Remembering it's all about Jesus. Being with my family members. Going to see Christmas lights in really rich neighborhoods with Curtis. Eating all my favorite foods. Seeing everyone open the gifts we picked out for them.

14. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
My mom's Texas Sheetcake - really rich chocolate cake with amazing chocolate frosting and pecans on top.

15. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I don't know if this is a tradition, but I look forward to seeing my stocking every year. It has Santa riding in a cupcake/candy train. It's a felt applique stocking with sequins and beads on it.

16. What tops your tree?
A silver star.

17. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
I love giving when it's a gift I'm really excited about and proud to give.

18. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
O Holy Night; Jesus, Born On This Day by Mariah Carey

29. Candy Canes - yuck or yummy?
Yummy in moderation.

20. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Home Alone, but I used to love watching Steel Magnolias every year with my mom, sister, grandma, and aunts.

Changes for the changing table

Bill has decided to take up Jackson's changing table as his new perch. That's okay because it has become almost impossible for me to change Jackson on it. He is DETERMINED to flip over and grab a wipe out of the container while I'm changing him. I've mostly been changing him on the floor because it's easier for me to pin him down.

Here's a fun Jackson update. He's learned to play hide and seek with me. I go crouch behind something like the side of the couch and make eye contact with him right before I disappear. Then he crawls over to me with furious speed, laughing all the way. When he makes it to me he squeals. It is THE sweetest thing. Jackson has also developed the courage and curiosity to crawl into other rooms. When he gets it in his mind he takes off as fast as he can, as if he knows I will be chasing him down any second. He pants with such excitement that I can hardly bring myself to foil his plans. Also, pulling up is his most favorite activity. He spends a great deal of the day standing up at the couch. He's getting a little more graceful in sitting back down (I guess you could call it his landing), but mostly he cries to let me know he wants down.

O Christmas Tree

Here are some pictures from the day we got our Christmas tree and one of Beckham in the snow...if you're willing to call it snow. It was beautiful coming down but a little disappointing on the ground for those of you who regularly see snow. To me, any snow is exciting snow.

This is our first real tree in three years. The last real tree was a blue spruce. It was gorgeous! I guess we left it up too long because when we finally took it down every single needle fell off onto our carpet. Just some advice for any newlyweds, it is not a good idea to vacuum up pine needles. Two years ago we bought a really nice pre-lit artificial tree. Beckham was still a puppy and he ate - literally consumed - the lights off the bottom two feet of the tree. So much for that!

A beautiful tree, indeed! The breakable ornaments are on top and the soft ones are at the bottom. Luckily, we bought a baby gate at the same time and Jackson hasn't been able to get to it.

Jackson has his own little Christmas tree in his room. This was given to us last year by my mom because we were too busy moving to put up our tree. It was our only decoration. Can you tell I'm still not over having to move last year during Christmas?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I have never shoplifted in my life. Until today. Almost, that is. Jackson and I went to the grocery store and he sat happily in the cart while I filled it to the brim with cheetos and candy. Not really, I was getting stuff to make lasagna. Be very impressed. Jackson's a curious boy and he reaches for everything at arm's length. There was no way I could keep him from grabbing what was in the cart. My mom advised me that there need to be as many yeses as possible because for the next few years there will be many, many no's. So I put this into practice at Kroger today. Unless he pulled out something from the meat department, it would not be worth inciting the screams that would follow me prying the item from his hands anyway. His item of choice? A bag of shredded cheese. He's his father's son. He had great fun mouthing it and holding it and showing it to the other Kroger patrons. I decided to let the cheese be the last thing given to the cashier, at which point it would become like the velveteen rabbit going into the fire. It wasn't until I got my receipt and began to push the cart forward that I realized Jackson was still playing with the unpaid-for-cheese. The cashier, sacker, and I got a good laugh out of it. I paid for it and left, thankful that I was neither followed into the parking lot by a Kroger employee asking for my $3, nor faced with the dilemma of having to go back inside and pay after getting my kid strapped into his carseat - which could really be an Olympic sport, by the way.

Baby Einstein

Monday, December 04, 2006

Faith Baby

HE's still in the business of healing.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Kill Bill

Bill is the cat my husband gave me right after we got married. He was a girl for 9 months and then we realized that he was a boy. Male cat parts are harder to identify than male dog parts. So there you go. Nothing about Bill's life has been normal. Curt played too rough with him when he was a kitten - or maybe he was inbred - and he became crazy. Sixty years ago he would have been given a lobotomy. When he was younger, all it took to provoke him to lunge at your head was to make eye contact for more than a few seconds. Once when I got food poisoning he attacked me while I was throwing up in the toilet. Another time he jumped into the toilet while it was flushing. He did mellow out and at age 4 he's rather pleasant. My only complaint is that he regularly wakes me up at night by scratching doors or miniblinds and tries to get me to play. When my baby is sleeping through the night I should not then have to deal with the idiot cat!

Bill is an inside cat. For a brief season he lived with my folks while we were in England. There he got to experience the exciting life of an indoor/outdoor cat. My mom also fed him A LOT. He was living the sweet life when we packed him up and took his fat butt to North Texas. It was back to eating in moderation and living indoors. I'm too afraid of him being hit by a car to let him outside. Bill has escaped a handful of times. Last night we brought home our lovely Christmas tree and at some point he managed to slip out the door unnoticed. Jackson woke up at 2 a.m. and at that time we realized we hadn't seen Bill in a long time. Curt turned on the porch light and that little turkey came running in. He must have been so cold!

Curt immediately put him in the back room in his kennel. I know how ridiculous that sounds. But really, it's the only way to keep him from waking us up. This morning I went in to let him out of the kennel and I ignored the weird smell until he emerged sopping wet. Oh. my. gosh. Bill peed himself.

Bill slept - and marinated - in a pool of his own urine all night. Oh, the horror. Did he not know he could pee outside before coming in? Was he saving it for the litter box? I, coughing, heaving and gagging, picked him up and attempted to bathe him in the sink. His tail, wet like a paintbrush, slathered my arms with undiluted pee. (Pee smells so much worse when it's not in the toilet!) Curt sacrificed his arms to help me and even with both of us holding him down, Bill's soaking was barely adequate. We let him air out today, but tomorrow he may be getting a professional dunking at Petsmart.

I'm starting to think I need to let this cat outside regularly. Maybe then he won't want to play at night. And maybe then we won't have to put him in the kennel. And maybe then we will never experience cat pee in such a way again.