Friday, November 30, 2007

This and That

This is exactly why, when Curt tried to give me an engagement ring that could nearly buy three houses in my neighborhood, I made him take it back.

I've gotten a couple of questions in my comments this week. Here you go...

What do you and Curtis do about Santa?
I'm not sure yet because Jackson's really not old enough to get it this year. We're not going to boycott Santa, but we're not going to make a huge deal about him either. Ask me again next year and maybe I'll have a better answer.

What was in Sunni's magical airplane bag?
It was a little backpack filled with two books about planes and travel, a mini-magnadoodle, two small maracas (that make a soft sound), and a little train. We also took Curt's laptop along with a Nickelodeon video that had several of Jackson's favorite shows on it. We got him kids earphones and they worked great. (Earphones and video were from Target.) If you make a bag like this and your kid has enough teeth, throw in a pack of M&M's.

Here are the books:
"Lift-the-flap" Things That Go by Baby Genius

Planes by Anne Rockwell

And for everyone in D/FW, here's a very thorough list of everything fun to do during the holidays.

My MOPS group is having date night tonight. We paid $5 (or was it $10?) to drop Jackson off at childcare for 3 hours and we can go do whatever we want. I'm putting on a dress and hubby is taking me to dinner! It pays to be a MOP.

The Tour of Playgrounds

I loved these so much that they had to go on both blogs today.

This was the second out of three playgrounds we visited this week. Jackson is tired of our living room.

Honestly, sometimes I'd rather sit on the bench and visit with the other mommies.

But then I would miss this...

Life is good when you've got mulch in one hand and a Tonka truck in the other.

He kept hitting his head on that thing.


Will he go down?


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Facebook Scam

If you are on facebook, you need to read about this scam.

Praise God!

I talked to Sunni about an hour ago and she sounded so great. Tiffani was out of surgery and it had gone very well. That old valve was fused to the breastbone, but it ended up not causing any problems. Thank You, Jesus!

Sunni and Emili had to take Ava to the ER tonight (for 3 yucky hours) to get checked out for pneumonia again. She was still running a fever after several days. Thankfully, it is only a virus. Let's pray that God will just make it dissipate so that she doesn't have to think about it anymore.

Tim will spend the night at the hospital with his sweet bride, but he can't stay in her room. Even if he has to sleep upright in a chair, I'm sure he will sleep well with this surgery behind them! God bless that hubby!

Thankful and relieved,

Quick Update

*Latest update here.*

I just got word that they just took Tiffani into the operating room. The surgery should last 8 hours.

Thank you all so much for praying! I know Tiffani and her family have been encouraged by your support. I just love the body of Christ.

Also, Sister Lynn in Missouri, would you please send me your email address? My mom was looking for it the other day because she wanted to share something fun with you. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prayers for Tiffani

If you've been reading this blog for very long, you are probably familiar with my dear friend Sunni and her little girl Ava. I would like to humbly ask all the prayer warriors out there to lift up Sunni's family this week.

Sunni's sister Tiffani is having open heart surgery on Thursday at St. Luke's hospital in Houston. Tiffani had open heart surgery once before when she was much younger. There is a valve they need to replace now that she is an adult.

Sunni, Tiffani, and their youngest sister Emili lost their mom to breast cancer when they were kids. This family has had to walk a very tough road through disease and loss. I can't think of another way to say this, but they don't have the luxury of thinking that their worst fears can't happen. Even though they fully expect that Tiffani will be just fine and they know God is holding her in His strong hands, I think the battle for peace this week will be hard fought.

Here are some specific prayer requests for Tiffani and the surgery:
-Please pray for peace for Tiffani anytime she has a fearful thought.
-Pray for strength and confidence for her husband Tim. Pray for peace for her dad, Mr. Panian.
-Pray for precision and skill for the doctors.
-Pray that the old valve that they're replacing will not be fused to the breastbone. (This is really important.)
-Pray that the surgery will not have one complication and that it will go even better than the doctors expect.
-Pray for her recovery to be as easy as possible.
-Pray that she will never have to worry about this again! Amen!

Here are some prayer requests for Sunni:
-Sunni was sick with a stomach virus yesterday. On the same day, Ava had to be taken to the doctor and then to the hospital (for x-rays) for what they thought was pneumonia. Then she had yet another trip to the doctor that evening for something unrelated. I fully believe the enemy is at work here trying to discourage Sunni, wear her down, and prevent her from being able to minister to her family this week. Please, please pray for our King to rise from His throne and make her enemies scatter. Satan is mean and he loves to come at us when we're already dealing with a lot.
-Please pray for God to make Ava healthy and extra-content this week while they are in Houston. Sunni will need lots of grace while she is trying to be there for Ava and also for Tiffani, who will be in ICU for days.

I am not beyond laying prayerful hands on a picture on a computer screen! Here are Tiffani, Sunni, and Emili. Aren't they precious?

For Tiffani:
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Psalm 103:2-5)

For Tim and Mr. Panian:
He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear;
in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. (Psalm 112:7-8)

For Sunni:
So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest. The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp. Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,
"Rise up, O LORD!
May your enemies be scattered;
may your foes flee before you." (Numbers 10:33-35)

For the whole family:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Thank you so much for praying. This is such a special family and I know the Lord is going to show His faithfulness in a big way. I will keep y'all updated on Thursday and Friday when I hear how Tiffani's doing.

If you have a prayer need, please leave me a comment and I will so blessed to pray for you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Grateful People

Enlarge at your own risk. Jackson was growing lettuce out of his nose all week.

My boys doing the "We made it!" dance on top of the stump. We take pictures on the stump every time we go.

Jackson and me on the day it snowed.

The UNO Mafia.

This picture makes me so happy.

Sledding all the way down the driveway, which we caused to ice over. We almost had an accident when the Suburban couldn't make it up the hill and started rolling backward. Scary!

Pancakes at The Virginian. Don't miss these if you visit Jackson Hole.

"The Grand." You should really enlarge this one.

Hubs was the fire man.

Little Man loving the wooden tic-tac-toe board.

Wearing Daddy's big "boot shoes."

The Mister was a sledding fool!

After Thanksgiving lunch down at the ranch where our friends stayed. Curtis is checking football scores on, I am posting a blog entry for my mom, and Jackson is playing checkers.

Definitely a framer.

Yia Yia and Jayk, Bibby and Jackson.


Melissa and Dad. AKA Noogie and Pabby.

Notice that my child is screaming. It was so incredibly bright.

Thanksgiving '07

Today we've been thawing out after a great week in the wintry wonderfulness of Wyoming. I mean thawing out literally since when we got home at 12:30 last night, our house was 50 degrees. When I set the AC at 76 degrees before we headed out the door I didn't expect for North Texas to be freezing cold - even to have had a little snow - while we were gone.

Our Thanksgiving week was amazing. We have been going to Jackson Hole for 9 years now and this was my favorite trip yet. (Other than maybe the first time Curtis came with us.) It snowed on the second day and the Lord didn't let it melt until the day we left. For the majority of the time we had white ground, pristine blue sky, and the best scenery you could hope for.

This was Jackson's second trip to our mountain cabin, which is an hour outside of town and nestled into a national forest. Jacks was only 9 months old when he made his first trip. We had a good time then, but he couldn't really do much. Letting my baby crawl through the woods was not really going to happen. But my toddler had a blast stomping through the snow in his "boot shoes" and sliding down hills on a sled. As much as he hated his winter gear when I first bought it, he LOVED getting dressed to go outside. For him to actually cooperate in the process of dressing is a miracle. I didn't see real snow until I was in college, so it thrilled me to no end to see my little boy loving it.

Mornings were a bit interesting since Jackson slept in the same room with us. Once he opened his eyes for the first time, that was it. There was no slow wake up process. He would say, "Mommy?" and then if I didn't stir immediately he would start saying, "Bibby? Bibby? Pappaw?" And then Bibby would come to the rescue and let us sleep a little later. Bibby is amazing. We all love Bibby.

Kay, Jerrell, baby Jayk and their whole family (Aunt B, Uncle Roger, Jane and Wes) came with us to Jackson Hole. Our parents have been BFF's since they were our age and we have gone through every stage of life together. This was our third trip to Wyoming with Kay and Jerrell and our first with both of our little ones. We stayed up late every single night playing UNO or picking each other's brains about parenthood, ministry, and everything else under the sun. (We figured out a few days in that sitting next to your spouse in UNO is not a marriage builder.) We enjoyed being with them so much.

On the last full day we all went snowmobiling while the grandmas watched the boys. I have been bitter for two years that on our last Thanksgiving trip out there I was pregnant and couldn't snowmobile with everyone. God help anyone who would try to stand in my way this time. It was a lot of fun, but it took me probably 45 minutes to stop being scared and to quit obsessively praying for our safety. (To be fair, they had given us a 10 minute speech about how dangerous it was going to be.) I had done it before, but this time I kept asking myself if I was taking an unnecessary risk that might leave my kid without a mom. Who would want to leave her child motherless for the sake of entertainment? Maybe that's why people think moms are boring. Or maybe it's because they talk about things like breastfeeding and potty training and they spell words like d-u-m-b and s-t-u-p-i-d. I don't know. All I can say is God help all of us moms.

I cannot forget to give my God a standing ovation for helping Jackson be as good as he could possibly be (while awake) during our airplane rides. Curt and I worked hard for it, but he was great. Sunni let us borrow Ava's airplane bag and it did the trick. Among other things, it had some books about airplanes and travel and a glorious mini-magnadoodle. Oh, how my child loved the magnadoodle! I saved the biggest bribery for the last leg of the journey, which was our late night flight from Salt Lake. M&M's can get you a long way, people. Let's just say that he ate so many of them, I could smell the chocolate on his breath for hours.

I have so many things to be thankful for. Here are a few:
-My parents who provided every single thing for our vacation.
-Both sides of our family being in good health, of sound mind, and in fellowship with Christ.
-God's faithfulness to bring things full circle.
-God's ability and willingness to write an even better story for our lives than we could make up ourselves. (Ephesians 3:20)
-An adorable, slightly precocious, very energetic little boy who calls me Mommy.
-A handsome, God-fearing, hilarious husband.
-A cute house and two dependable cars.
-Two amazing sets of grandparents who love our kid. Jackson's aunts who are so much fun.
-Friends who cry with us, who pray for us, who laugh with us, and who just do life with us.
-A God who so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Thank You, Lord!

Pictures to come...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This is why we love the web

Last week I won my first blog drawing! Yay! It was at The Bargain Shopper Lady Blog, which is run by my friend Lori. I am not a skilled bargain shopper, and this web site is like Cliff's Notes for people like me. She does all the hard work and hunting, and just about every day she shows me a really good deal (like an Internet coupon code) that I can take advantage of. I get so excited when I see an update from her site on Bloglines. (Bloglines is great, by the way.)

The Lord loves me because I am totally obsessed with Bath & Body Works' Lavender-Vanilla "Sleep" line, but I have a hard time splurging on things like this. (I'd rather have a new shirt.) I was so excited to win Lavender-Vanilla hand soap and lotion for my sink! Here's your visual.

I also won a Lavender-Vanilla gift bag at bunco a few months ago. Now I think I have most of the products in that line! Give Him praise! He cares about my dry, chapped skin that hasn't recovered from the week of insane handwashing and sanitizing when we had that stomach bug. I really need to heal before we go to Wyoming next week. That place always wrecks my skin!

If you are in the market for some fun baby booties, a tutu, or an apron, check out my friend Bethany's blog and Etsy store. (Bethany and I went to high school together - almost 10 years ago. What!?!?) She has some super cute stuff and I have never seen a better deal on a tutu. Those boutiques are insane! My personal fave is the rocket ship thermal tee for little boys.

My next baby (don't go jumping to conclusions) will be getting these.

And if for some strange reason I ever have a girl, I guess she'll just have to settle for a tutu. Dern!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Playdate Pics

Janelle just sent me some pictures from last week's playdate at The Tubes.

The other girls gave me some advice on how not to fly out of the slide like a torpedo. But Janelle was poised at the bottom with her camera in case I did!

Jackson likes to run down this ramp...

...and fall in my arms. I like it too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Playground Discipline 101

If you want to see human sin nature in action, please go visit a play area in a mall. Today Jackson and I had many teachable moments in one such play area. There was only one little slide and there were many children trying to access it at the same time. By the time we left, Jackson had been in time out about three times, had his bottom swatted twice from leaving the play area over and over and over and over again. And I had a bloody lip from getting head butted by him.

The lowest point came during an interaction with an older boy. I think he might have been four or so. He was sitting on the top of the slide and I saw Jackson pushing his back, trying to get him to go down. This kid was pretty big and no amount of Jackson pushing him would make him budge. But pushing is pushing, so I went over and grabbed my child and made him sit in time out for a couple of minutes. The other boy obviously got some kind of joy from seeing my baby get in trouble because a few minutes later I saw the same scene replay. The older boy just sat on top of the slide and would not, would not, go down. Jackson was, of course, pushing him on the back to get him to go down. Only this time the older boy was slyly glancing back at me (and GRINNING) to see if I was watching and if Jackson was going to get in trouble. Anyone could plainly see that he was trying to provoke my child to anger and make him get in trouble. Bad move, buddy. You just provoked Mama Bear to anger. I know I deserve the Bad Mom of the Day Award, but I did not do one thing. I sat there and watched Jackson push this kid until he finally went down the slide. And I was glad I did. So basically my sin nature was on display along with all the toddlers'. And that kid's mom is probably writing about Jackson right now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Winter Fashion

I am a terrible person for making my child try on his winter warmies (my sister just cringed at that word) and then putting a camera in his face. I could not get one smile out of him. He also has pants, but I thought they might put him over the edge. All of this is in preparation for our Thanksgiving trip to Wyoming next week. Tomorrow our destination will have snow with a high of 37 degrees and a low of 17. Yesssss!

All the fluff made him get stuck when he was trying to climb the toy box.

Thanks for the shopping trip, BibbEE!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Morning Madness

This morning I decided that for me, the hardest part of being a minister's wife is getting myself and my child ready for church without the help of my husband. He leaves well over an hour early to start his Sunday morning duties, such as praying with other men of the church in our pastor's office. There's no telling what is accomplished in the heavenlies through that time of prayer. But this morning I was so frustrated that all I could think over and over again was, "I'll tell you who needs prayer! Their wives!" Awful, I know. Curtis going early is an important part of his job and his ministry, but sometimes...pretty much every's just hard.

There's fixing and eating breakfast, changing an atomic diaper, having a quiet time, ironing, bathing the kid, chasing him down as he runs throughout the house screaming "No! No! No!" because he hates getting dressed, actually getting the clothes, socks and shoes on his person, and finally sitting him in his crib with books to "read" before I ever do a thing to get myself ready. (Someone out there wants to advise me to do my ironing and bathe the child the night before. Yes, that's wonderful when I actually do it!)

I had not even bathed yet this morning when I looked at the clock and saw that to be on-time (which for college class leaders is 10 minutes before Sunday school starts) I would need to leave in 5 minutes. My child looked and smelled great, but I'd neither brushed my hair nor my teeth and I was still in pajamas. Then I recalled something I said to my sweet friend Lauren when she was expecting her beautiful baby girl. "Lauren, there will be some mornings before church when you will have to pick who gets a bath - you or your baby. And you will come to church unbathed." Can I get an amen? Already having an unclean attitude, I decided I really needed a bath and we would just get there at the normal-on-time, rather than the early-on-time.

I had my rollers in my hair and was applying my mascara as fast as I could without making a mess when someone knocked on the door. Oh, Lord, you've brought Curtis home to help me! Knock knock. Lord, why doesn't he just use his key? I'm already so late! Knock knock. It was my neighbor bringing me some homegrown tomatoes. How sweet of you! I'm so sorry about the rollers. Thank you so much! Back to getting ready.

We rushed out the door in a whirlwind. I pushed the stroller at warp speed, my hair in a ponytail because if I take one hand off the stroller to get it out of my face, it will veer into someone's yard. And then I will growl Stupid friggin stroller! on the way to church. That's not really preferable.

Half-way there, I looked down at my precious little boy, who was grinning and holding out a foot for me to see. A bare foot. The other foot was not bare, but this one...this one had no shoe or sock. Lord, help me! I could have sent him to Sunday school in socks, just as I did every week until his first birthday. (It always took less time for him to remove the shoe than it did for me to put it on.) But without socks? I could not do it. We went back home and fished the sock and shoe out of his crib. Our final arrival time at church was 15 minutes late. Actual-late, not early-late. Even the parking lot greeters were inside. Wonderful.

Once we were there, it was all good. Curt's second Sunday school lesson on dating was excellent. I really wish he had recorded it. The sermon was a blessing, our college section was overflowing, and we even had a few students join. We got to worship the Lord and have meaningful interactions with His people. It was a great day.

However, I woke up from my afternoon nap in a very stressed out state. Apparently the morning madness had really gotten to me. I dreamed that I was meeting my friend Elizabeth for dinner at her house, but I got hopelessly lost and ended up far away from where I should have been. I found myself at a park where I tried unsuccessfully to look up mapquest on a payphone. Then Michelle and Kay showed up to pick out dresses for a Presidential Ball. Then my car, which was parked inside a school, set off an alarm and put me in trouble with the police. After that, I was on a rooftop where a large plane swooped down and kidnapped me, taking me even farther from where I should have been.

Would anyone like to analyze my dream? Here's my take. I am frustrated with a hundred things getting in my way and going wrong when I'm trying to get somewhere. Church just happens to be where I'm going most of the time! From now on, when I see a mother simply show up at church with her children, I will give God profuse praise and thanksgiving, because it is truly His handiwork that such a thing can be accomplished.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Twenty Months

Dear Jackson,
Life around the Jones house has been anything but boring this fall. You have been keeping Mommy and Daddy so busy! It has been amazing watching you learn and develop lately. I can hardly believe how much you're changing. Here are twenty things about your twentieth month:

1) You dribbled a soccer ball across a friend's backyard. Then you stepped on the ball and got your first little sports injury. You limped for a couple of minutes, but you didn't cry.
2) You learned to say "please." The second day after you picked up this word, you were whining because you wanted something. All of a sudden you stopped mid-whine and said "peesh" because you remembered that you had a new way to ask for something.
3) You learned to throw the basketball into the hoop. You have long since been able to tip it in, but we are amazed that you can make an overhand shot.
4) Three days ago you said "No Mommy" and then you combined the words into "Nommy," which you have been saying repeatedly.
5) Yesterday you tried to say your name for the first time. I tried to get you to say "Jacks" and you said "Dacks."
6) That same day, you saw your old pal Ella across the room at church and you said her name without any prompting! We all screamed with excitement.
7) You had your first real live stomach bug. It was so sad.
8) In the past couple of months you started saying animal sounds like meooooow, neigh, tweet tweet, moo, baa, and squeak. You still don't want to do the dog sound, but that's okay.
9) This fall you also learned to identify many body parts like fingers, toes, eyes, hair, teeth, tongue (your favorite), elbows, feet, knees, ears, and nose. You're very much obsessed with your bellybutton.
10) You finally started repeating after Daddy and me anytime we teach you a new word. It's been so much fun! We got really excited when you learned the word "Bible." One day you were pointing at my Bible and I told you what it was. Then you went and got your little Bible, brought it to me, and told me what it was.
11) You've been more affectionate with Mommy lately and you've been saying her name so sweetly. She's totally loving it.
12) You started puckering up really good for kisses and you give them out liberally. In fact, one night at DoubleDave's Pizza, you and Ella kissed each other over and over. I will always laugh that your first kiss was with a big bite of pizza crust in your mouth. You guys were so happy with yourselves.
13) Your current nicknames are The Mister, The Sir, Sirmin the Wormin (like Sherman the Wormin from The Backyardigans, I think), Bubba, and Monkey. Sirmin is the only new one we've had for a while.
14) You learned to hop and jump.
15) You sometimes stand there with your hands on the waist of your pants, which are eventually pushed down several inches. When I lift up your shirt in the back, I see your hiney, all bright and shiny. What can I say, but that you honestly come from a long line of plumbers.
16) One day when Mommy tried to take you out of the bathtub, you laid all the way down on your stomach in the water in protest. You decided you liked that and now you swim around in the tub like a little fish. You're not afraid to put your head under the faucet or to put your face down in the water.
17) You started fighting me when I try to brush your teeth.
18) After you got sick, you would only eat bread and crackers. Mommy was very scared that her good eater was gone forever. But now you are back to eating almost anything I put in front of you. You really enjoy chicken strips from Chick-fil-a, but if I'm not looking you stuff half the thing in your mouth at once.
19) You learned to say "Pappaw" and "Bibby," which we think might turn into "BeBe."
20) You have continued to be a joyful, smiley, people-loving little boy. You have very strong opinions about things, but you generally wear a big grin and you don't shy away from making eye contact with strangers and trying to win their attention.

What a special soul you are, my son! I feel so blessed that I get to be your Mommy. I love you with every bit of my heart and more. I see so many strengths about your personality, and I pray that God will mold each one into something great for His kingdom. I know that He is going to use you in very special ways.

September and October pictures

This was the day I played in the sprinkler and ate some dirt. While Mommy was grabbing her camera from inside the house, I ate one serving too many and I threw it up. But I bounced back quickly and decided to go visit my neighbor's driveway, which I love for some reason.

I made it!

Then I got a bath and felt so clean.

My monkey and I used to be about the same size.

I'm serious about eating.

Thank God, my belly button is still there!

The great Pants Migration.