Monday, November 30, 2009

Toy Ideas

We've got Jackson's Christmas presents 100% covered already. PTL! So far all I have for Annabeth is the Playskool Busy Ball Popper that I found on sale in October. Jackson had one and he LOVED it. Too bad it eventually broke and only the Lord knows where all those balls are now. I'm sure Annabeth will love it too because so far, she loves everything that Jackson loves. That includes matchbox cars, trucks and balls. She hates the baby dolls. Today I introduced her to the plush baby Minnie Mouse I got her at Disney World and she was slightly terrified of her.

I know I don't need to get her much because at this age she won't care and because her birthday is so close to Christmas. But I would like to get her one or two more things. It's "Cyber Monday" and I want to take advantage of the good deals online. So my question for you is this: if you have a baby Annabeth's age or slightly older, does he or she have a toy that has been a big hit? There are so many toys that I'd love for my kids to have but that I know in my heart they wouldn't play with. Then there are the ones I'd never have guessed they would have played with as much and for as many months as they did.

Here are some baby toys that were and are a big hit with my kids in case you're needing some ideas, too.


Leap Frog Maracas

Melissa and Doug Shape Sorting Cube

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank

Bee Bop Band

This has been the number one toy of all time for my kids. Jackson got it for his first Christmas and he still plays with it. Annabeth likes it a lot, too.

Busy Zoo Activity Center by Parents


Annabeth is obsessed with this.

Melissa and Doug Deluxe Fishbowl

These are very handy and CHEAP!

Fisher Price Link-a-doos

Thanks for your advice!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

All the Leftovers are Gone

We've been hard at work getting ready to Griswold our house for Christmas. Did you like how I used Griswold as a verb? Curtis is outside hanging lights and I spent the morning cleaning our house. I need everything to be orderly before we get out the decorations. We all know how disorderly things get when everyone is home together for a week. Curtis is using the big colored bulbs on our house this year and it's going to look awesome. That's all I know. We don't discuss his lighting plan beforehand so it can be a surprise.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My mom described it in detail here. For me, the highlight was getting to see one of my aunts and my two cousins for the first time in quite a while. I've had a big sore spot on my heart due to missing them and it's been nicely healed.

That night I folded mounds of laundry while we watched the Aggies and the Longhorns play some football. We ran out of time, but we fought hard. I wasn't sorry I watched it. I might have had to repent of something I said when that track athlete from t.u. ran the ball 95 yards for touchdown. That was a bit demoralizing. But seeing and hearing the crowd at Kyle Field and getting to kiss my husband after so many touchdowns made it worth the emotional turmoil.

Yesterday we all crammed in the Suburban for a day trip to Round Top where a bunch of longtime family friends spend every Thanksgiving together. The retreat center and the grounds are unbelievably gorgeous. Jackson played outside with a bunch of other kids while we sat in rocking chairs on a huge porch and watched. We had dinner at Royer's Round Top Cafe. The pie! Oh my word, the chocolate chip pie! If you're lucky enough to be close, you've got to go there.

I spent about an hour trying to do our Christmas card late last night. Curtis and I are currently disagreeing on how it should look. I'm slightly regretting asking for his opinion, but I'm sure we'll come up with a good compromise.

We're celebrating my brother-in-law Colin's birthday over Mexican food tonight. He's a wonderful guy and I'm thankful my sister fell so madly in love with him. Happy birthday, Colin! We're so glad you're part of our clan and my kids are blessed to have you for an uncle. We love you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jesus. My family. My friends. My church. My job. My husband's job. A sense of purpose. My home. Even my dog. PG Tips. Dr. Pepper. KSBJ. Brooke Fraser. People who pray for my family. Health insurance. Freedom. Memory. The Holy Spirit living in me. Hope. Justice. The patience of God...and my husband. These are some things I'm thankful for.

This has not been an easy year. If Annabeth hadn't been born this year, I'd just as soon forget about 2009. But God has been so kind to us. I could spend every second of tomorrow thanking God for different things and never run out of things to say.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to bake a pumpkin crunch cake and head over to my mom's to help get lunch ready. At one o'clock we will sit elbow to elbow with our beloveds and the feast will begin. I'm really looking forward to some cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, and broccoli rice casserole. Did you hear my stomach? It just growled - no joke.

The highlight of my day will be getting to see my aunt and two cousins whom I haven't seen in almost two years. I'm so excited.

God is good. I love Him a lot.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From the Mouth of a Three-Year-Old

I tooted! I tooted! I tooted! It's stinky in there! Shew! It's stinking a long time.

I just opened up this page to write whatever came to my mind and was immediately given inspiration in the form of my son's toot announcement. Thank you, Jackson.

A couple of weeks ago he kept interrupting me while I was trying to write in my prayer journal, and I thought if I tried to explain what I was doing it would make him stop. Basically, I told him I was writing a letter to God and then I asked him if he wanted to write one. He said yes, so I set out to transcribe his little prayer. This is roughly how it went. Certain sentences were edited for clarity.

Dear God, I love You. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for my airplanes and my Christmas tree. And my house. And my window. And me. I love me. My mommy. And for my dog. And my baby sister. Keep the firemen safe today and help them put out fires. Thank you for Daddy. Amen.

I attended Jackson's Thanksgiving feast at his school last week and his teacher told me a gem of a story. On the second week of school, my son was playing on the tire swing when he looked at his teacher and said, "Do you know Jesus?" She told him that she did indeed know Jesus and he replied, "Good, because if not, we'd need to talk."

No words. I have no words.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Remembering Bonfire

It was the most exciting time of year on Texas A&M's campus. It was getting cold and Thanksgiving was approaching, which meant two things: Bonfire and the football game against Texas, our biggest rival. I was a sophomore that year. It would be my first time as a student to attend the all-important important game, as it had been in Austin the previous year. I'd attended Bonfire twice before. It may have been more, but I can't remember now. My best friend and I went our senior year in high school and of course I went my freshman year.

Students had been working on stack for weeks and it was almost finished. It was always neat to drive by on Texas Avenue or University Drive and see the progress. Bonfire looked like a huge wedding cake made out of logs rising out of a big, green field. On the night it would burn, thousands of students and Aggie fans would gather around it and sing our songs, do our yells, and tell our "good bull." The feeling of being a part of a huge family, the feeling of pride in this very unique and wonderful school - simply put, it was fun. For Aggies, this was the highlight of the year.

At 5:00 in the morning on November 18, 1999, my phone rang. It was my friend and accountability partner, Becky, calling to ask if I was going out to pray on the steps of the Administration Building. Say what? I had no clue what she was talking about. There were a lot of strong believers on our campus and it wasn't that unusual to think of people gathering to pray, but I was not so spiritual that I would involve myself in such an early gathering. Finally she realized I was clueless and she explained that Bonfire had collapsed on top of our classmates and there were many dead or injured. People were meeting to pray.

When you're growing up, those moments that involve death change you. And I was changed in that moment, along with my forty-something thousand classmates. We were thrust forward in the necessary process of becoming adults. This process, I have come to realize, often involves pain.

Becky arrived at our townhouse a few minutes later in her Ford Explorer, if I'm remembering right. She caught me up on what she knew and we headed to campus. It was pitch black outside. We parked by the Commons and walked over to the beautiful, white Administration Building that looks out on the Polo Field where Bonfire had been built.

I may never forget the chills that ran over my body when I saw the flashing red lights of all the emergency vehicles lighting up the night. The lights symbolized help, but the scene looked evil. Deadly. Horrifying.

We prayed with the other students gathered. We asked God to save our classmates who were trapped in the twisted mass of logs. We asked Him to comfort us. We asked Him to show Himself on our campus.

Then we moved down closer to the fallen stack. The day was breaking and we could see white blankets covering certain parts of the stack. It was sickening. It was quiet. There were big, burly guys trying to help. Others were kneeling and hugging each other. There were a lot of tears. There were mouths opened, covered by hands. There was shock and brokenness.

By the time every last log had been unraveled, twelve students (including one former student) were dead. The irony was not lost on a school that prides itself in the tradition of The Twelfth Man.

We knew our school would never be the same. It wasn't and still isn't. There was talk that Bonfire would never be built or burn again. It was hard to imagine A&M without its most prized tradition. But I think everyone knew deep down that even if students built it again and were very careful, eventually a new generation of Ags who weren't there to see the horror that we had seen would lose sight of why more care needed to be taken. And then the old ways would return and it could happen again. That would be inexcusable.

There's an off-campus, unsponsored Bonfire now. I've never been to it. So far, it's not the attraction that the original Bonfire once was. I don't really know what I think about it, but I hope they're taking care. I suppose there are many good causes worth giving one's life for, but Bonfire - as fun as it was - is not one of them.

My class, the Class of 2002, was the last freshman class to see a Bonfire burn. We saw some turbulent times on that campus, beginning with the Bonfire Tragedy and ending with 9/11 in the fall of our senior year. If those won't grow you up quick, I don't know what will.

On this tenth anniversary of Bonfire's collapse, my prayer is that current Texas A&M students will stop and consider how fleeting this life is. I pray they will look up from the near-sighted, self-involved season that can characterize the college years and consider that no person, no institution is invincible or self-sufficient. We are weak and humble despite our pride and boasting. The troubles of this life will bring us to our knees, but God will meet us there if we let Him. He is definitely worthy of the laying down of our lives.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:1-3)

*What about you? Was there a major event that marked your college years?

**Donna at Way More Homemade wrote a great post describing what Bonfire used to be like.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Future Trophy Wife

Today's topic is Things That Have Disgusted Me Lately.

On Saturday, Mom and I went to this shopping extravaganza called The Nutcracker Market. It happens every year at Reliant and it supports the Houston Ballet. We had the world's greatest mother-daughter day. When Annabeth gets old enough to walk without a stroller for three hours, she can come with us. I came away with a marshmallow-shooting air gun for Jackson for Christmas, a couple of dresses, and a cute wire rack for displaying Christmas cards. We also got to meet lots of our Bible study ladies, which was neat. We so enjoyed a great day of shopping amongst our people group.

Literally, the only negative thing I can say about the day is that I saw a vendor selling a t-shirt for a baby girls that said "Future Trophy Wife." I'll just let you think on that for a second before I proceed.



Thunk! Wow, moms and dads, is that really what we want for our daughters? To be beautiful and brainless arm pieces for a man one day? Oh, not really? It's just a joke? Well it was so funny that I almost threw up in my mouth.

Now I'll just move right along to the second thing that disgusted me recently.

When my in-laws were here, we had an early lunch at Pappasito's that Saturday. I mentioned that the restaurant was really not on their game that day. My chicken was undercooked and I lost my appetite. But that is nothing compared to what nearly made me lose what little I ate of my lunch.

Right before we left, a group of two moms and two early-elementary age daughters were seated at a table near us. The daughters were wearing sports bra tops and cheer shorts. Let me just tell those of you who are not blessed with a Pappasito's in your community that there is a sign near the front door clearly stating the dress code, which includes wearing a shirt. Apparently the hostesses turned a blind eye to their young offenders who might not have been able to read the sign or see it so high up on the wall.

The first thing I noticed was that both girls had their arms covering their stomachs. They were obviously self-conscious about their lack of clothing. Their mothers showed no hesitation toward taking their daughters in public that way, but the girls themselves clearly sensed that they were under-dressed.

Second, across their little sports bras (if you could call them that - they didn't need bras) was the name of a local cheerleading club. Of course! They were wearing their practice uniforms! Y'all, they start them so young here in Texas. Cheerleading in itself is one thing, but any organization that asks little girls to show their stomachs in public is ridiculous. It looks scandalous. I don't want to share the name of the club because I don't want to draw their attention, but I looked on their web site and they have 3, 4 and 5-year-old teams. There are even pictures of them competing on their web site. When I was looking at them, my stomach started rolling and I got a lump in my throat. They look like tiny harlots in their stage makeup, little skirts, and cropped spandex tops. That is not okay! What is wrong with our culture that we put up with this exploitation? What causes a mother to let her three-year-old wear clothes that teenagers shouldn't even be wearing? Do they think it's cute? Are they living their dream through their child? Do they want every perve in the community to come see their little darling strut her stuff?

I will never forget how my mom sewed an ugly piece of lace on the v-neckline of my 7th grade dance dress. I have friends who still make fun of me for that. But, oh Lord, how I thank You for giving me a mother who shielded me from over-exposure instead of encouraging me to grow up way too fast. Give me wisdom and conviction as I raise my own daughter in this culture. Give her a heart to please You more than men. Give her humble confidence that comes from You and cannot be shaken by this image-obsessed world.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Using Up Some of My Words

I am very bored. It's not for lack of activity (there is never a still moment in the presence of Jackson Jones) as much as it is a deficit of adult conversation. Curtis has been in Atlanta since early yesterday morning. He's coming home this evening and all day I've been looking forward to the moment when he walks in the door and brings a festival of interesting conversation with him. But we just talked and I can tell he's exhausted. He's probably already used up his words for the day.

This is how our day went. I woke up and thanked God I was still alive. I usually only do that when Curtis is out of town. It's weird how a house can be so scary at night but then so happy and peaceful in the morning. Then I realized I'd left Beckham - my guard dog - in the back yard all night. Bless his heart. He usually sleeps on the floor right next to me. I step on some part of his body every morning when I get out of bed. He must think it's worth it if he can lay his head on one of the pillows that has fallen off the bed.

The kids weren't up yet, so I took some time to experiment with my hair. I normally wouldn't have cared but we had to go somewhere this morning. Last night I washed it, put it in a bun, and slept on it. This morning most of it was still wet, so then I dried it with a round brush as usual. At first I was really excited because I thought it could be a new routine, but it looked painfully flat. It looks like second day hair and I guess technically it is. Nevertheless, it could have some worth as an emergency option.

Later in the morning I had to take the kids to the doctor, which I can't believe I can now do without having a meltdown. It's amazing how human beings can adapt. There was an older kid sitting with us in the well child waiting area wrapped in a blanket. My eyes immediately zoomed in on her and my mental alarm was yelling "Danger! Danger!" Who comes to the doctor wrapped in a blanket unless they're sick? Her mom told the front desk people that she wasn't contagious. Still, we stayed out of her breathing space. I'm pretty sure I walked into a sick lady's germ cloud at HEB yesterday, so it could just be a matter of time. CAN YOU TELL THIS H1N1 FLU STUFF IS MAKING ME NUTS?

Anywho, on the way home my car suddenly turned right into the parking lot of a local park. It was totally unplanned, as I was wearing my ridiculous spike heel boots. They didn't prove to be a problem until Jackson wanted me to push him on the swings and I sank four inches down into whatever soft, organic, germ-infested (kidding, but not really) filler was beneath us. The true test came when Annabeth became unhappy sitting in the baby swing and I had to push Jackson while holding her on my left hip. In my heels. I'm every woman... And every woman needs some park-friendly boots.

This brings me to my recent fury toward the fashion industry.

I love clothes and shoes just as much as the next woman - possibly more - but I find it manipulative that every year they have us swinging to and from dramatically opposing trends. Do they not think we know why two years ago the must-have pants were the widest of wide flares and this year it is all about the skinny jean? (That most people do not even look cute in?!?!) I want to be in style but oh my word, it is so obvious that they want us to have to buy entirely new wardrobes every year. It irritates me.

Maybe I need some Midol.

Oh my, is it six o'clock yet?

No, it's not even four.

In other news, I am cooking tonight. Yes, that is newsworthy. Will it be vegetable soup and corn bread or spaghetti casserole? Both are comforting but one is much more sinful than the other. Which one will cause my husband to walk in the door and suddenly be revived and ready to talk to me all evening? I'm thinking the soup because my husband is on a health kick. And, yes, I'll post the recipe later.

*When I was re-reading this I realized what a hypocrite I was at the doctor's office. We were at the doc for Jackson and he wasn't sick, so we sat in the well child area. But Annabeth has a cold and a terribly runny nose. I didn't even think about that! Clueless Me was probably getting the evil eye from everyone in there!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

October Assortment

These are just some random pictures from late October.

Here we are just getting a few pumpkins at a pumpkin patch.

This was such a gorgeous day. We blew up Jackson's little bounce house and let him play. Curtis can't jump in it or it will break, but he can hang out in there.

Annabeth wasn't sure what to think.

No one is happier than Beckham when the weather finally turns cooler. We had him shaved in late August and his hair is starting to come back nicely. He's naughty but so handsome.

And he loves our kids.

Chinch bugs ate up a lot of our backyard grass this summer and made it look ugly, but this one side is still like a green carpet.

A friend invited us to her church's fall festival one weekend and we had a lot of fun there. This was the Samson Smash.

My pretty girl with our fall display.

All my flowers died last week. How pathetic is it that I can't keep potted mums alive? Seriously. We did have some crazy storms that knocked them all over the porch. Maybe that had something to do with it. Yeah, I'll stick with that.

The metal words on the big pumpkin say "Autumn Blessings." Isn't that cute? They were a gift from a friend. They're in rough shape after two years, but I've really enjoyed them.

I noticed as we were driving to Kemah and back that the leaves are starting to change now. It's always hard to believe that cool weather will ever arrive, but it does! At least for a brief moment.

A Tiger and a Bee

*I just realized I never posted our pictures from First Fest. I'm just going to re-post this from the other blog.*

Our church hosted First Fest on Halloween night. We went every year growing up, so it's fun to go now with my own kids. Back in the day, mom was the women's fitness director at our Christian Life Center, so she was always dressed in a costume for this event. On our way there, we were recalling some of her best ones, which included the year she went as a plumber (our family was in the plumbing business) and another year when she was a present. She wore a huge, wrapped cardboard box. I would give anything to have a picture or two. I don't have those, but I do have these!

Here is our little tiger giving a loud roar to let everyone know he had arrived.

The best part of First Fest is all the inflatables they have. Jackson loves these. Curtis and I had our wedding reception in this outdoor area at the church. I think our groom's cake was pretty close to where this thing is.

I'm really blessed because my groom turned out to be a fabulous dad.

There's our tiger getting ready to take the plunge.

Me and AB, who happened to be A Bee.

Why is Santa Claus at First Fest and why isn't he wearing red? Oh wait, that's Noah, as his name tag clearly states! Meet Pastor Gregg, who was preaching about Noah the next day. Next to him is Bethie and our little bumble bee who was trying to figure out if she should grab onto Noah's beard.

Here's Jackson getting his face painted by Cinderella.

My camera battery died on me, but my friend took this of our family.

I had a spare battery at home, so all was not lost. Here's the Queen Bee.

And here's her brother in a sugar high frenzy.

He kept saying, "I love candy!"

These shots are all the same - Annabeth looking a little iffy and Jackson thinking it's hilarious.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Rambling About Our Weekend

The sky is gray, the air is wet and a tad cool, I'm still in my pajamas, and there are toys all over the floor. Annabeth is napping and Jackson is playing with a green army helicopter toy. Curtis is back at work and our much-loved weekend guests are on the long road back home. It's another Monday morning at the Jones home.

Curt's mom and dad came to visit this weekend and we had a great time with them. They arrived in the late afternoon on Friday, bearing smiles and hugs and gifts. Jackson got a really neat scooter and Annabeth got a V-Tech Move and Crawl Ball (which is really cool in case you need to buy a present for a baby soon). That night we grilled burgers and just hung out.

My sinuses were making my face and my right ear hurt, so I took some medicine that proceeded to make me feel like a zombie. So I went to bed at EIGHT THIRTY. Curtis said that was the earliest I've ever gone to bed since he's known me and I'm sure he's right. We are typically such night owls. I remember him coming to bed around midnight and I felt like it should have been morning. Ha!

On Saturday we went to Toys R Us to get Jackson a helmet. I bought our first Christmas presents of the year without the kids knowing. We also had Jackson try out a couple of bikes because that's what we're thinking of getting him. He looked like such a big boy riding down the aisle. How is my firstborn almost four years old? Someone please tell me.

After that we went to Pappasito's for lunch. I have to say that it was the first time that restaurant has ever really bombed in the 15 years I've been going there. I guess that's pretty good for them! In the afternoon, Steve and Cozy took Jackson to ride his scooter. That night we went to Pottery Barn because that is what Cozy and I like to do together (everyone else waits in the car) and then we had dinner at Pei Wei. Yum, yum, yum. The adults stayed up late watching a movie called State of Play and it was excellent.

On Sunday morning we went to the early church service and then headed out to the Kemah Boardwalk. (Here's their web site, but be warned that a very loud song is going to greet you.) We had never taken the kids or our guests there before, so it was the perfect thing to do. We'd had gorgeous weather but of course on that day it was gray and drizzly. That may have worked in our favor because there were no crowds. We had lunch at The Aquarium restaurant and then let Jackson ride some rides. He had so much fun. Curt took him on the ferris wheel, which I would not dare get on. But later I saw a picture of it post-Hurricane Ike and the structure withstood the storm! I should be more brave next time. Curtis, Cozy and I then rode a wooden roller coaster and it was craziness! I screamed the whole time and kept catching air under my seat. That's a great ride. How dumb am I that I would do that but not the ferris wheel?

Later that night we all went to my parents' house and had some Goode Co. barbecue together. The chicken was really tender and I let Annabeth have some for the first time. She gobbled it up and kept leaning toward me for more. She also had some potato salad, but with less enthusiasm.

Mom got really excited because Annabeth reached out for her for the first time and then wouldn't reach out to me when I tried to get her back. There was much rejoicing on her part since, she said, she'd been working so hard for 9 months to earn it. Jackson was not a mama's boy but Annabeth is surely a mama's girl. That's not surprising as she comes from a long line of mama's girls.

I, too, was rejoicing yesterday because Annabeth said "mama" in my presence on two separate occasions. Mark it down! It was her first word! I proudly proclaimed to everyone within earshot that I believe I earned that.

Jackson came into our room crying this morning at 6. I thought he had either thrown up or he was scared. It turned out that the curtains had fallen down on top of him (he'd slept on the floor) and freaked him out. Annabeth also woke up at that blessed hour, so now it feels like it should be 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

I have two little Jackson stories that I don't want to forget. Jackson really likes to sleep without a shirt on, so a lot of times when we're dressing him for bed he says, "I want to sleep with my tummy." Last night he said, "I want to sleep on my tummy with my legs," which meant he wanted to sleep in just his underwear. I love his creative communication style.

This morning he came over to me while I was writing in my prayer journal and asked me to draw a monster on his hand. Usually he likes for me to draw a fish or a happy face, so I wasn't really sure what he was envisioning. I said, "What does the monster look like?" And he replied, "Like this. Rarrh!" Clearly, if I cannot draw a picture from that description, then I need some mothering classes.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Nine Month Report

I took Annabeth to the doctor today for her 9 month appointment. She didn't have to get any shots, but she and Jackson will both get four next time. That is going to be one crazy awful appointment!

I couldn't wait to find out how much weight Annabeth had gained since I weaned her. Get this - two and a half pounds! In one month! The last time I had her at the clinic was on September 30 (right at 8 mos.) when she had those hives. At that point I found out she had gained less than a pound since her 6 month appointment and I was very alarmed. A few days later she started the formula and the rest is history. I feel so affirmed that I made the right decision about weaning her. (Remember that I was warned by her doctor to also look for a change in personality and we had definitely been seeing that. If you are thinking about weaning but don't really want to, you should talk to your doctor and/or lactation consultant.)

I learned something new today. Apparently doctors look at the wrinkles (aka rolls) on sweet little baby thighs and check for symmetry. Annabeth has one less wrinkle on one leg, which means she has been putting less weight on that hip. Weird, right? They're going to re-check it at her one year appointment. I'm not going to worry about it because the doc watched her stand and thought she looked great. Also, I nearly fell out of my chair when I realized her next well-visit would be at a year. This has gone by so fast!

Here are her stats:
Weight: 17 lbs. 11 oz. 25-50%
Height: 27 in. 40%

The kids' current pediatrician is from the Middle East and our last one was from India. Our doctors have loved my babies' blue eyes and have fussed over them in the way that we women do. That always makes me smile because they get those beautiful blues from their daddy.

In other Annabeth news, her first tooth broke through the bottom gums on Tuesday. I can't believe it took this long! I was letting her chew on my finger when I felt it. I had wondered which teeth would bust through first because the top ones had descended long before the bottom ones.

She had two little milestones yesterday. I was giving her her morning bottle when I was overwhelmed by the smell of her diaper and couldn't wait one minute to change it. I knew she would be ticked if took the bottle away, so I asked Jackson to hold it in her mouth while I changed her diaper. He obliged, but she knocked his hands out of the way and held on to it herself for the first time. It was so funny!

Yesterday was also the debut of the Baby Sister Squeal. Until then, Jackson had gotten away with taking her toys without her telling on him. (Trust me when I tell you that I have seen it and have been dealing with it.) That all changed yesterday when she finally threw a fit at him. I was rather proud of her.

Now as I'm typing Annabeth is trying to pull up on the stairs for the first time. This is the first time she's even crawled out of the living room. It's something new everyday with her. Gotta run!

Help Find Joe Houston

A blog has been set up for anyone who would like to pray for Joe Houston and/or help with the search efforts. Teams of volunteers are urgently searching for him on San Jose and Matagorda Islands. Friends are driving down there from all over the place. Last week I looked up how long someone can survive without water. According to what I read, at the lower temps we've been having, it's still possible that he could be alive. Plus, servicemen and women have special training to survive in conditions that a normal person couldn't. We are all praying so hard that he will be found alive today. Here's the blog:

Thanks for praying!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Little on the Value of a Life

I'm taking a little break from my unintended blog break to say that Annabeth Ellen Jones turns 9 months old today. If I had known how much I would love this baby girl, I would not have been able to contain my joy on the day I gave birth to her. I would have floated away from my hospital bed and landed on the moon. In the last week, Annabeth started clapping her hands (which makes her so happy) and saying "dadadadadada." She doesn't know what she's saying but it's still fun. She even threw in a couple of "mamamama's" the other day!

I think it's normal for moms to pause and take it in when their babies get to this age. My baby has been with me in my arms for as long as I carried her in my body. Do you know what occurs to me? PREGNANCY IS VERY, VERY LONG. I once heard someone say that because we carry our babies so long, women have a keen appreciation for the value of a human life. I love that.

Speaking of the value of a human life, did you hear about this? I am so amazed and blessed by this woman's testimony. I have been disheartened that even though we had a pro-life president for 8 years, we were not able to stop infanticide in this country. Now that we have the most pro-choice president our country has ever seen, what hope is there? But God reminded me through this testimony that laws cannot stop our God from working in the hearts of people. That is awesome! I love that the woman is quoted as saying, "I feel so pure in heart. I don't have this guilt, I don't have this burden on me anymore." God is so gracious to all of us. I am praying for this sister that God will bless her and protect her.

I have also been praying earnestly for the last week for my friend Jenn and her fiancee Joe. Joe is a Navy pilot based in Corpus Christi, TX, whose plane went missing around the Gulf last Wednesday. The body of his co-pilot was found but there is no sign of Joe. The hope is that his parachute worked and that he is safely awaiting rescue. The official search has now been called off, but other people are continuing to search today. There are many, many people praying for him. Please join us. You can read more about it here.

Life is really busy right now and work is on the very full side. Maybe this post will free me from my bloggers block, but if not, just know that the Jones family is well. Much love to you on this beautiful Tuesday.