Monday, January 31, 2011

Always Be My Baby

This morning I pulled out Annabeth's teal and two-shades-of-pink birthday banners and hung them across the windows by the breakfast table. Birthday week has begun.

This little gal is turning two on Thursday.

My baby is becoming a little lady. Her favorite thing to do is to rummage through my purse or sit at my knee and watch me put on makeup.

These days, she only sucks her thumb when she's tired and has her blanket, which is also called "Baby."

One of my mothering goals has recently been accomplished. Annabeth asks for her bow. We really like this new purple one.

I was making my bed and when it came time to arrange all 14 pillows, I found my little darling making herself comfy.

Always be my baby, Abey.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Every now and then I have an experience with my children that takes me back to the days when my mom had a fabulous wardrobe of leotards and large, geometric earrings and drove a sweet, earth toned stay wag that was named after a dinosaur.

This morning on the way to the kids' school, we were listening to the Passion: Awakening CD. "How He Loves" was playing when we pulled into the parking lot and I brought the car to a stop right when the song gets really good. Some of you musical people know the name for that part of the song and are saying it to me like I can hear it through the computer screen. Anyway, y'all know which part I'm talking about.

It seemed like such a shame to turn off the car before we got to sing "And we are His portion and He is our prize! Drawn to redemption by the grace is in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking. And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us..." Jackson threw off his seat belt and climbed in the front seat and we sang it together with all our guts.

I remembered being only yay big and in the back of that station wagon, sitting behind my mama's big 80's hair and belting out some Amy Grant and Larnell Harris. Nothing in life was so urgent that we couldn't finish "Angels Watching Over Me" before we got out of the car.


This old church directory photo from FBC Victoria, Texas, came into my life this week. There is no end to how much joy it's given me. When I look at it I feel loved.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

The Jones family has been under the weather for the last week. I came down with some kind of weird stomach bug last Sunday night. I tossed and turned all night with a horrible stomach ache that stuck around for several days. I finally consulted Dr. Google, who diagnosed me with a stomach ulcer. That would make sense since I tend to be an overly anxious person. Remember my resolution not to freak out about things?

When Jackson started complaining of a stomach ache on Wednesday, I knew my problem had been a virus and not an ulcer. That's good news. The bad news is that Jackson had to go through it and now a week later, this virus is still in our house! Jackson refused his breakfast this morning and said his stomach hurt. It sort of appeared as though he'd learned to wield the power of the bowel complaint and was using it dishonestly. Surely the virus was not still in his body five days later. I busied myself getting ready and we finally got in the car to leave. A minute down the road Jackson's complaints got louder and his face was as white as a sheet. Curtis turned the car around to drop us back off at home and I started crying. I just wanted to have a normal Sunday! My attitude was pitiful. The kids and I had missed Wednesday night church because of this, too. I was and am so ready for everyone to be healthy and for us to get our lives back to normal.

I had Jackson lay down in his bed and he didn't fight me. That's a pretty good sign that he wasn't bluffing. A few minutes later he was in the bathroom puking. Bless his heart. My pouty attitude quickly changed to compassion and thankfulness that God did not let Jackson get sick in the car or at church. This was the first time we've seen puke all week and I'm definitely grateful for that. Hopefully this is an extension of the first bug and not a new one. Ugh!

So many weird health issues have come up lately that I'm wondering if there is a spiritual component to all of it. If the Lord brings us to mind, will you pray for my family that this infirmity would leave our house? I know without a doubt that there is a spiritual battle going on around our family - and yours too - and I would be grateful for any of my friends' prayers for our marriage and children.

As weird as this sounds, when we turned off our TV we became much more aware of the battle. For example, one day I started feeling unreasonably afraid for my kids' safety. It had been quite a while since I'd fretted about it and this paralyzing fear came out of nowhere. I might have blamed it on something scary I'd seen on TV, but that was no longer an issue. Because I was able to discern the source of this fear as darkness and not truth, it was easier to reject it and not let it set up shop in my mind. (I'm sorry I keep talking about the TV thing, but it has brought so much fruit into our lives.)

God is building our faith and giving us vision, which is incredibly exciting. He is answering prayers that we've been praying for years, but it has definitely turned up the heat. Pray that we will not shrink back from the enemy's intimidation, but that we will fight the good fight and believe our powerful, almighty God. Thank you, friends.

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wake Up Call

I just found out that the little soccer league Jackson was in last fall made a schedule change for spring. His age group will play on Wednesday nights now instead of Monday. We are already having to choose between church and sports at four years old! Ha! Oh well. They didn't even have real games at his level and I had been wondering if soccer would be too much for us this spring anyway.

I'd heard about a little reading program for pre-kindergarteners in our area and I decided we would do that instead. (Lucky boy, right?) I got Jackson signed up and then I was on a roll! I looked up when kindergarten registration is...and then the first day of school. Lord, help me. I was getting tears in my eyes just looking at the school calendar. This is really going to happen.

Then I realized that we forgot to consider Jackson's school schedule in a little weekend trip to Missouri that we planned for next October. Eek! Thankfully we had not booked our flights. That just gave Curtis and me a big wake up call. We're soon to be owned by the school calendar. The daily and monthly structure is going to be a big change for our family. Our schedule is kind of backwards compared to a lot of other families. We're used to being out and about in the evenings and coming home after all the other houses on the street are dark and quiet.

In other news, tonight the kids were playing in the gameroom upstairs and Jackson yelled down to us, "You need to change Annabeth's diaper! I don't like her to stink!" Ha!

Later when I was laying my girl in her crib, she folded her hands so we could pray. As usual, I had her repeat a prayer that goes like this: Jesus. Jesus. I love you. (Which she never says.) Love you. Wuv oo. Amen. A-me-ya! However, tonight I reaped the consequences of entertaining my children with fake flatulence. Her prayer went like this: JESUS! (Insert fake toot) A-me-ya!

Lord, forgive me. I knew not what I did.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chocolate Party

Earlier today I wrote a down-in-the-dumps post that I thought best to abandon. Instead of hitting publish, I walked into my kitchen and found some chocolate and things started looking up. This is probably TMI, but we're all girls, right? My hormones have been whacked since Annabeth was born, such that I cannot predict when my melancholy, irritability, ravenous appetite, and poor body image is going to take over. But let's go back to the topic of chocolate.

Yesterday I accidentally mentioned getting frozen yogurt to my kids before I knew if I was serious about it or not. I'd been out all day, it was freezing cold, and the kids were tired from school, so I changed my mind and pointed the car home. Jackson was not shy in sharing his devastation at my change of plans. And, truly, I felt bad that I'd made such a rookie mistake.

So I did two things. First, I spent about five minutes making a chorus of fake flatulence for my kids. They quickly forgot all about the fro-yo and Jackson was laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. Those of you who do not have sons may not understand my actions. Let me tell you that having a little boy will cause you to do and experience many things you could have never imagined.

The second thing I did to console my children was promise to have a chocolate party at home. This was a huge hit, especially with my hormones. I made hot chocolate and each one of us had a bowl with a brownie (thanks, Nancy!), a few M&M's, and two chocolate wafer cookies. It was a chocolate extravaganza. Call me Wilhemina Wonka. Annabeth was really into the M&M's but she didn't know what to think about eating the brownie. Instead, she held it up to her ear like a phone and started talking to Bibby. I ended up having to dig some brownie remnants out of there.

By nighttime I had descended into such a bad mood that I felt it best to end the day early. Maybe it was a chocolate hangover. At any rate, I was asleep by 8:30. My body clock was very confused and woke me up at midnight, which is when my mind decided spend an hour analyzing a recent conflict and panic about something stupid I said on Twitter. I think I'll go to bed later tonight.

It just wouldn't be right if I didn't continue this week's theme of copying others. Kristen and Jamie say it's national de-lurking day. So if you're not a regular commenter, I'd love to hear from you! Are we connected by a mutual friend? Or by a second cousin? Or by the Spanish National Honor Society of Cypress Falls High School? Or by our love of red and white polka dot blog backgrounds? Or by an unreasonable fear of wind and tornados? Whatever it is, don't feel weird. You couldn't possibly be weirder than me. Just say hi!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I just feel like copying people this week. I have zero creativity right now. Thanks to the lovely Bianca Juarez for sharing her confessions today. Here are mine.

-I'm a bad loser. Curtis whipped me at Words With Friends last night and I pouted about it.

-I left my dog out in the cold for too long yesterday and he came in shivering. I felt so bad! So I invited him up on the couch and covered him with a wool blanket. And tonight I gave him some chicken tenders. I hope he's forgiven me.

-I don't really like playdates. I'd much rather hang out with my friends without my children present. I know, it's terrible.

-My New Year's resolution for 2011 is to not freak out all the time. Or any of the time. I have another resolution that I can't tell you about. That was a non-confession.

-I'm taking 12 of my friends from Sunday school to a conference about s-e-x. All the husbands are ecstatic.

-Curtis and I are just now taking down our Christmas tree. This year we got a fake one because I'm allergic to pine trees and get sick every December. Having a live tree has always been worth it to me, but I hit a wall after last year. And when you don't get home from the holidays until well into January, it's just bad news. It wasn't that pretty and it didn't inspire a sense of wonder, but I have my health! Also, I believe the fake tree's greatest strength and weakness lies in the fact that there's no hurry to take it down. Now I must get off the computer and oversee the packing away of our Christmas keepsakes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Interview with Jackson

I don't think I've ever done one of these before. I was having blogger's block today and Annalee inspired me. I'm sure there are better questions to ask but I was lazy and just googled "funny questions to ask your kids." I'm not sure this is funny, but number 11 made me laugh. And the answer is no!

1. What is something Mommy always says to you?

2. What makes Mommy happy?
Being silly.

3. What makes Mommy sad?
Not doing what she says.

4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
To tell jokes.

5. What was Mommy like as a child?

6. How old is Mommy?
I can't tell.

7. How tall is Mommy?

8. What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
To play with me.

9. What does Mommy do when you're not around?

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Be on monkey bars.

11. What is Mommy really good at?
*Whispers* Are you good at golfing?

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
Playing baseball.

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
Help me.

14. What is Mommy's favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?
Getting me a toy.

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Minnie Mouse.

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
Get snacks.

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
We have the same skin.

19. How are you and Mommy different?
Because you have long hair and I have short hair.

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
Cause you love me. *How do you know?* Because you're my mommy.

21. Where is Mommy's favorite place to go?
To Chinese! *Chinese what?* Restranot!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

God's Eyes Are On Sudan

Back in November I let you know about our friends Vernon and Amber at His Voice raising money to build another self-sustaining orphanage in Sudan. The song "Actions Speak Louder" was available to download for 99 cents and all proceeds went to His Voice and the new orphanage. I just watched the video and wanted to share it with you guys.

Tomorrow Southern Sudan will begin to vote on a referendum that would make it a nation independent from the government of the North. This is huge. You can read about it here. Let's educate ourselves and be praying for our brothers and sisters in Sudan. If you'd like to get involved in helping God's family there, consider partnering with His Voice. God is enabling them to have a powerful and effective ministry there.

Swoope "Actions Speak Louder" ft. Lecrae, Tedashii, and Jai from Collision Recs on Vimeo.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Missouri Holiday

On Christmas night we put our kids to bed and discussed our travel-to-Missouri plans. I was completely wiped out and the house was a disaster. Curtis wanted us to pack and leave before dawn and I just couldn't wrap my mind around getting it all done. I really wanted to cry and actually I think I might have. But he got to work and showed me I wouldn't be doing all the prep work on my own. By midnight-ish we were packed, the house was ready for my sister and Colin to move in for 12 days, and we were ready to go. We got up at 3:45 and pulled out of the driveway with the kids in their pajamas at 4:45. The kids and I slept off and on until we got to Dallas. Then I drove a few hours and before we knew it, we were in Missouri. It really helped that the kids were tired and could sleep easily.

That night we had Christmas with my in-laws, Curt's grandpa, and Curt's sister and her family. This was our first Christmas without Grandma Wanda and it was sad not to have her there. I opened up a box and found a little red apron in it. It was one Grandma's and each of the women in the family had been given one. Curt says he remembers the one I have vividly. What a sweet gift. Annabeth got a little piano and Curtis got the banjo he's been asking for. I have no idea why he wanted a banjo.

For dinner we had some Chinese take-out and I tried Springfield's famous cashew chicken. It's unlike any other cashew chicken you might find. So here's my conclusion for my readers from Springfield: it's good but not very Chinese! It's like a chicken nugget with gravy on it. Curtis reminded me that you don't get more American than Springfield, MO.

We enjoyed spending time with Curt's family over the next few days. One night we went to Silver Dollar City. I was not too excited about going, seeing as how we'd just been to Disney World. And in case you didn't know, Missouri is cold in the winter! But it ended up being a total blast. Jackson was riding next to me in one of the roller coasters and he was screaming, "I'm flying to destiny!" Funniest thing ever! The next day he was playing Hungry Hungry Hippos and he declared, "I'm chomping to destiny!" Where on earth is he getting that?

The babies stayed pretty happy at Silver Dollar City. Again with the popcorn!

Here's a cuter picture of them. I kept calling them the twins in my mind even though they look nothing alike. They're exactly 2 months apart.

One of my favorite things about being in Missouri during the holidays is the New Year's Eve party my in-laws host at their house. Lindsay's mother-in-law is Cozy's best friend, so we get together with them and with the rest of our family and it is like one huge clan of people. If you can picture it, we get to hang out with people we're not related to, but share nephews with. I think our kids were the only ones there without two sets of grandparents in the house.

Curt's 30th birthday was on New Year's Day and this was a fun way to celebrate. Cousin Erin even made him one of her special cakes.

Apparently Lindsay and I look like real sisters because Annabeth kept getting us confused that night. I think it's the hair. I actually think Annabeth's hair is going to be the same color as Lindsay's. We'll see!

Here's Lindsay, Erin and me.

This year we played Just Dance on the Wii. Annabeth and Jackson got really into it. Curtis even took on Lindsay, completely shocking me. He almost beat her, which is saying something because she was a cheerleader. After everyone else left, Curtis and I competed and I smoked him two out of three times.

Curt and Lindsay

Annabeth thought this bent up crazy straw was as good as a Wii controller for a while.

Gavin and his little brother, Cael. Horrible picture but you can tell they're dancing.

Lindsay and Jackson

Cael and Annabeth both threw fits because they didn't have controllers, so we gave them some that weren't being used. They had so much fun.

We had to go to the airport at 4:15 the next morning to leave for the Passion conference in Atlanta, so we called it a night relatively early. Passion will have to be its own post.

This is a major change of subjects, but yesterday was an amazing day. Our Amy, who I've described to you as my adopted big sister, had her first baby - a girl! My mom got to be with her at the hospital in San Antonio and I pestered her with text messages all day long. That afternoon my sister-in-law, Lindsay, had a sonogram and found out she is having a girl! (After two amazing boys.) Not only that, but on the same day we got word that my cousin-in-law, Mindy, is also having a baby girl! (She has one amazing boy.) I couldn't believe it. There was much celebrating going on in my house. Hooray for little girls!

Christmas Day 2010

These are our pictures from Christmas morning.

Jackson was thrilled to get his race track.

AB liked her kitchen. I was obsessed with the miniature pots and pans.

The baby doll that Jackson picked out for her was her favorite thing.

Jackson got this insane remote control car that lights up and plays obnoxious music. He was so excited about it. I didn't know about the music, otherwise I would never have bought it! He broke the antenna after five minutes and it was such a bummer. But somehow Curtis fixed it.

Both my kids got these Food Face plates. Annabeth won't get hers until she's older but I thought they were super fun.

Here's Jackson giving his daddy the present he picked out.

We'd had to wake
Annabeth up for all the fun and she was sleepy.

Very, very sleepy.

We had cinnamon rolls out of the can. Maybe one day I'll get fancy.

Jackson loved this silly straw.

We got ready to spend the rest of the day at my parents' house.
Annabeth wore this beautiful outfit that was sent to her by H.E. Organics. Isn't it gorgeous? We've had it for a long time but she just now fits into the pants.

My grandparents gave Annabeth this Winnie the Pooh train. It was a HUGE hit with her.

I wish I had more pictures but I was too busy enjoying the day with my kids to bother with it. My mom made an amazing feast for lunch that everyone enjoyed. If only I had some leftovers!

I'm so thankful for Jesus Christ - Emmanuel, God with us - and the hope of salvation that we celebrate on Christmas Day. Maybe we would still have temporary things like green tool bags, play kitchens and toy cars if it weren't for His death on the cross and resurrection. But the things that matter like love, forgiveness, mercy, redemption, peace that passes understanding, joy, faithfulness, strength, justice and hope would never be ours. This morning I read these words that Jesus spoke and thought I'd share them here. None of the gifts we gave or received will benefit us in any way if we lose our very selves.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25

Christmas Eve 2010

We just got home from our 12 day holiday extravaganza and I have a lot of catching up to do! We had a great Christmas vacation and I hope you did too. I have to say that after almost two weeks, it was sweet to wake up and realize I was in my own bed this morning.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was just as exciting as Christmas Day. My dad's big extended family gathered at my grandparents' house and we had a grand, long dinner and exchanged gifts. Mom always got mad at Pappaw for trying to give us kids the spiked egg nog and sometimes Santa Claus showed up to surprise the little ones. Uncle Mike and I never failed to share a bite of turkey skin and Uncle John could always be depended on for help with gifts of technology. One year my dad accidentally gave my grandpa a $300 shirt from Orvis and no one will ever forget the hilarious and shocking realization of his costly mistake. My dad wanted to return it but Pappaw declared it to be his favorite gift he'd ever received. He wore it proudly for years. That is a story we retell at every family gathering.

Our family's Christmas traditions have changed over time. Last year our little family found ourselves without anything to do on Christmas Eve and it was just sad! So I invited my parents, Melissa and Colin, and another family over for a spaghetti dinner. My mom was still recovering from her surgery and needed all her strength to get ready to host everyone the next day and Melissa and Colin were spending time with his family. So it just ended up being us and Kristy and Drew and their kids. We had such a sweet time with them and were eager to do it again this year.

There were two differences this year. One, we had baked spaghetti rather than spaghetti and meatballs. Two, Kristy and Drew have a daughter now! It was actually on Christmas Eve 2009 that they told us they were expecting again. What a joy to have that little one with us this year. Little Annika looked edible, did she not?

This is where the big boys ate.

This is where the rest of us ate. I need to buy more chairs but that is not what I want to spend my money on.

Before dinner, everyone played outside in our backyard. It got dark pretty quickly and then we came inside to eat. After our tummies were full, the adults gave each of the kids a stocking and little presents.

This is Levi (2).

Here's Kolby (almost 5).

Sage (6) and Jackson (almost 5).

Annabeth (almost 2) and Annika got tiaras. Annabeth loved hers, even though it didn't match her Rudolph dress.

We busted out the Wii at the end of the night. If AB gets to hold a control, she thinks she's playing.

We tried to take a pic of the kids in front of the tree in their Christmas pajamas and it turned out like this. This will be a treasure to me one day.

Last year we let Jackson sleep in our room so we'd know when he woke up. We wanted to see his face when he saw his presents in the living room. He asked to do it again this year. Here he is on the pallet listening to his daddy read the Christmas story. He looks mad but this is his "on the verge of sleep" face. Notice the ever-present Beckham. He loves his boy.

Once the kids were asleep, Mr. and Mrs. Claus pulled out the presents to wrap them. Then we realized our cute wrapping paper was at Curt's office. Awesome. Curtis had to go to CVS to get some more. I seriously doubted his ability to pick out anything I would like, but he did well considering it was like 11 PM on Christmas Eve.

Annabeth got a little pink kitchen.

The one thing Jackson asked for consistently was "a race track that crashes cars." Thank God there was such a thing.