A Gingerbread House for the Jones Kids

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I bought this gingerbread kit (Trader Joes does it again, guys) weeks ago? A month ago? Anyway...I've had it tucked away in a closet, waiting for the perfect day to take it out.

Today did not start off as the perfect day. Lately, it feels like we spend more and more time not being on the same page as one of our kids. This one child will often disregard our requests repeatedly, enough where I was beginning to wonder if my voice was actually on "mute." And to be honest, it's really hard and very frustrating. C and I often go to bed feeling exhausted and defeated. So, after a morning of tears (and a hard lesson on consequences) I decided we needed something to perk us all up. So, I sent the kids downstairs for a few minutes, promising them a "Christmas surprise" and got to work making the icing and setting out the gingerbread spread.

Isn't it amazing how it's the simple things that make your kids think you're the best parent ever? When they came up the stairs and saw what they would be working on, they were thrilled! We had the Christmas music playing in the background, and for the next hour, everything was a perfect, sweet, and sticky mess. I told myself beforehand that I would get in the way, and just let them decorate it however they wanted. I kept catching them sneaking little pieces of candy and their fingers were in their mouths only a hundred times.

And here is the finished product! They were so proud! It is now sitting in their room (I know, bad idea) right on their dresser. I'd be willing to bet that over the next few days, pieces of the house will not-so-mysteriously go missing. It's a good thing our house isn't made of candy or else we'd be completely homeless. 

Lines for Hugs

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

So, yesterday, C picked the kids up from school, and came home and told me that as S left her classroom, ", five or six boys lined up to give her a hug goodbye."

Sof proceeded to name them all, and said, "It was actually four boys."

So. Yeah.

Christmas on the Farm...and My Own Five-Year-Old Christmas Wish

So completely unrelated to the above picture, but as I sit here sipping my hot chocolate I came to the conclusion that I might not mind working at Starbucks during the holidays. You guys...Christmas music is playing (and I already spotted a few customers bobbing their heads along), there are little fake trees with adorable little Starbucks ornaments, and everyone just seems so dang happy. Like..."Thanks for coming in!" And you almost want to say, "You're welcome! You are SO welcome to enjoy my presence. And a happy festivus to you!" If someone comes out wearing a Santa I might just lose freaking my mind. (In the good way of mind-loss.)

Oh gosh. Oh gosh. For real, a worker just came out with a bag full of toys to be donated to a kids charity group. You guys....send my husband. Send my kids. I might not leave this place.

Moving on...somehow.

We were invited by our favorite little farm down the road, Petersen Family Farm, for a night of fun, and it was almost perfect (aside from the huge freak-out our kids had when they spotted a cat.) We started the night by visiting Santa, and guys, he was just the sweetest Santa. Although, I feel like the Santas nowadays have gone a bit soft. When I was little, I remember my heart racing as I waited in line, and then Santa always asking very firmly, very seriously, "Have you been a good little girl this year?" It was like he was asking my very soul if it had been good that year. It was THE most important question of the year, and I felt like if I lied he would see right through me and give me nothing but coal. Yes, Santas back then knew better. I'm pretty sure a ton of kids could get away with anything today and Santa would be fooled. So, yeah. Kids of 2016- consider yourselves lucky.

After S visited with Santa, I asked her what she told me. She responded by giving me a look and said, "Mom. I can't tell you. It was just for Santa." 

Moms...always putting their noses where they don't belong, right? (Sheepish.)

Now that I think of it, my earliest Santa memory was the when I asked Santa for a "Dance Magic Barbette." I couldn't say "Barbie" for the life of me, but somehow I had no problem saying "Barbette." You guys, I LOVED that Barbette. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I found a picture of her HERE. Just looking at the picture reminds me of all the times I would sit and comb her hair and don't even get started on her color-changing lips. Also, for a second, I am reminded how much alike S and I are. She would go crazy over a Dance Magic Barbette, too. (And if you can imagine how much I enjoyed this doll, you should have seen me with Hollywood Hair Barbie. Talking about losing my collective mind. I styled and sprayed the crap out of that doll's hair. It's a wonder why I am useless at doing my own daughter's hair.) 

After visiting with Santa we took a ride in a covered wagon lit up with sparkly lights as we bundled up under blankets, listened to a Christmas story and sang Jingle Bells. The kids were especially good at ringing their bells while they sang...they've been getting in some extra practice lately.

We ended the night by warming up with some delicious hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was really unique, and I was actually pretty confused when I saw it. We were handed a cup of warm milk, and then chocolate + marshmallows that were on a wooden stick. You would then stir the chocolate into the hot milk until it melted. And voila! 

Thanks for the fun night, Petersen Family Farm! And thanks for letting me take a tiny detour down Christmas memory lane.

A Year of Oscar: Eight Months

Monday, December 12, 2016

With a pit in my stomach, I look at these pictures and realize that we are getting closer and closer to having a little one-year-old on our hands. I know every stage of childhood brings its ups and downs. The first wobbly steps are delightful, hearing those first words are something you never forget, and seeing your kids learn things and need you a little less is both amazing and a little heartbreaking at the same time. But, there is absolutely nothing like the baby stage. We still aren't sleeping all night. I still end the day with milk, drool, and baby food on my clothes and in my hair. And I still can't get enough of his baby smell. 

This month his little personality has continued to peek out. He has started to get sad whenever I leave the room, so when I can't sneak away, I place him right outside the door when I have to use the bathroom. He still doesn't have any teeth, but I feel like those will come out any day now. He is pretty good at army crawling around the house and sticking every tiny thing he sees in his mouth. Ask me how many near-heart attacks I've had already after finding bits of stuff in there! 

Our little peanut continues to be as sweet as sweet can be and we can't get enough of him.

Sometimes I really wish I were a baby...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

...and this is why.

Coziest shirt from Jean & June found HERE. Now, if only it could make it sleep all the way through the night...

I like matching pajamas and I cannot lie.

Monday, December 5, 2016

I know what you're thinking. Well, I have a few ideas anyway. So, I'll address them now.

Yes, I went there. We have coordinating family pajamas! Man, just when I thought my Christmas pajama obsession couldn't go any further. And they're so comfortable! You can ask C. Ask him how many days in a row he wanted to wear those pants.

Also, no. We don't always look that happy. Are you kidding me?! If you walk into our house at any given moment, there's a fair chance you'll find at least one person in this picture crying or feeling frustrated because someone else keeps touching their stuff.

Also, because Thanksgiving is over, and I never really talked about what I'm thankful for here on the blog (still recovering from the cheese thing...if you're confused, maybe it's better you don't know what I'm talking about) I wanted to share a couple thing I am thankful for about each person in this little family of mine.

C: I am so thankful that he doesn't expect me to have dinner on the table the minute he walks in the door and have the laundry all done at all times. I am thankful that he is a person who sticks up for others. I am thankful to have someone by my side who supports all my endeavors. I'm sure if I said I wanted to start a career in making sculptures out of butter he would be my biggest supporter. 

S: I am thankful for her because she made me a mother. I am thankful that she has a forgiving heart, because I mess up a lot. I am thankful that I have a daughter who loves to sing and make up songs. I am thankful that she has such a good memory because oftentimes, before we go to the grocery store, I tell her what we need and have her say it all back to me when we get there.

J: I am thankful that he was given one of the kindest most loving hearts that I have ever known. I am thankful that he still wants to cuddle with his mama. I am thankful that he adores his little brother and is always eager to help out when I need it. I am thankful that he always knows what day of the week it is because some days I feel like I don't even know what year it is.

O: I am thankful that this little guy will sit and watch Baby Einstein videos so I can brush my teeth and get dressed. I am thankful that at least one of my kids doesn't care what I dress them in that day. I am thankful that he is such a good eater! I am thankful for the joy that he brings to our family every single day. I'm thankful for his dimple that melts me when he smiles. Oh, and I'm thankful that he doesn't remember that time he rolled off the bed and got a bloody nose.


All of our pajamas are from Burts Bees Baby, and can be found HERE. We have several of their sets, and I promise you can't go wrong with any of them. They are so cozy and festive, but not like, too festive, ya know?

A post where I try to not be political but just end up talking about cheese.

So, I had a very sweet friend point out to me today that I hadn't blogged in a little bit, and wondered if it had been due to the latest presidential election. (Yes, the last time I blogged we lived in a world where people still thought there was no way he would win the election. Turns out, people were wrong.)

I really don't want this post to be about DT, so I'll keep it brief.

Yes, part of the reason I haven't blogged in a few weeks is because I am so darn disappointed and still wake up wondering if I had just dreamt it all. The day after the news broke, I felt this feeling that I don't know how to describe entirely? It was like I had fallen asleep one night and then woken up, stepped outside, only to discover that everyone's bodies were turned inside out. I know that sounds graphic, but can you imagine the confusion one would feel? Like...I thought I KNEW what our country looked like, but all of a sudden I didn't. I'm not saying that overnight, everyone who voted for DT had their hearts turn black. I'm not saying that. Because I know people that I love who voted for him. But, now there are all these people walking around with their guts hanging out and I'm just puzzled. 

Another part of the "don't know quite how to describe" feeling is if you were playing a game with friends, and choosing teams. Your best friend knows you're not the best kickball player, thinks it's endearing (and I mean that in the sweet way...not the "you're a dope" way) the way you fall on your butt every time you kick, and tells you that you're doing a good job, anyway. But, when it's time to pick teams, your best friend doesn't pick you first, second, or third, or even last and instead wants to pick a piece of cheese instead of having you on your team. And you're left standing there not only feeling betrayed, but also kinda like...REALLY??? Cheese?? (However, my imaginary cheese doesn't grab anyone by the p****.)

Anyway. For a little while, I just didn't FEEL like sharing my life with everybody, ya know? Like, WHY should I move on if I'm not ready to? Why should I put on a happy face for anybody?

Anyway...this is already more talk of politics than I intended.

But, what I want to say is this....

I still love all you inside-out people.

I'm trying not to be offended that cheese was picked over me. I keep telling myself there's a good reason for it, and that you love me just as much as I think you do, but you just really needed cheese on your team at that moment. I truly hope cheese works out for you. I hope cheese gets a home run for your team, but I hope cheese will also hit a home a home run for all of us. I hope cheese is able to play better than I think a piece of cheese ever could. I REALLY hope cheese will stop stinking. 

And I wish Alec Baldwin a very healthy next four years.


NOW: for something ENTIRELY not political....

It's the holiday season! It's upon us! And that makes me so happy. You know what else makes me happy?

1. Every time Pato reads that letter board, he says, "I smell my snow." 

2. Christmas pajamas! Aren't they the best? O has quite the collection, partly because of his awesome hand-me-downs. The polka dotted ones on the top are my favorite because all three of my babies have worn them. I remember picking them out for S before she was born. I had no idea what she would be like, nor any of our other children. Turns out they are a hundred times more amazing than I ever could have imagined. 

And so it begins...

Monday, November 7, 2016

I few days ago, S came home with a little patch (the kind you find ironed onto clothes or uniforms) and informed me that a little boy in her class gave it to her. I really didn't think much of it because the first ten minutes after the kids get home from school are a total madhouse. Shoes, backpacks, and papers are thrown throughout the house, and I am following them along behind them trying to pick up every little thing I find on the floor. I also almost always find myself thinking, "Wasn't it JUST peaceful like twenty minutes ago? And did I really just spend all morning cleaning up just to be tidying up AGAIN?!" 

Anyway. The patch. I put it on the bookshelf in the kids room and walked away.

Well, the next day, S came up to, frantic because she couldn't find the patch. I didn't get what the big deal was, but I helped her locate it and all was well in the world again. Well. Until we had the following conversation. 

S: Oh, good! You found it. I thought I lost it! I'd be so sad because "Billy" gave it to me. (I'm changing the names in the story) I played with him all day today.

Me: That's nice. Is he a nice friend?

S: Yeah! He gave me a kiss and a hug when I said goodbye.

Me: What? He kissed you? WHERE? On the cheek?

S: Yeah, on the cheek! He says he wants to marry me. He told me he used to want to marry "Alice," but now he wants to marry me.

Me: Were you okay with that, love? With him giving you a kiss?

S: MOM! Yes! I was okay with it!

(I then talked with her about how if she ever feels uncomfortable around another person, she needs to say something, and that it's okay to tell the other person "no, I don't like that." Never too early to teach about consent.)

And then this morning she told me that "Billy" said he wants to get her flowers.


And this, my friends, is why I will never be able to give up Coke. 

Sunglasses c/o Jonas Paul Eyewear, and you can find them HERE. Sof got a pair of glasses and sunglasses to try out from their online store, and she LOVES them. I crack up because the regular glasses are non-prescription, but she loves to wear them at home and while we're out. If she's anything like her mama, she'll get the chance to wear really need glasses when she's older. They have so many cute styles for kids, and I wish they had been around when I was younger!

Jones Halloween Twenty-Sixteen

Friday, November 4, 2016

This may have very well been my favorite Halloween to date. The costumes the kids picked weren't crazy elaborate or creative, but I kind of love that we put it together all ourselves. Also, the kids were SUPER into Halloween this year, so, like everything else, when they are more excited about something, the more excited I am about it, too.

Serious props to Chris for making Pato's costume together. Especially those gloves. He cut out the felt and glued those black things on to the white gloves and spray painted the ears black. I feel like Pato always gets the short end of the stick on a lot of things, but this year, I really think we made his Mickey costume dreams come true. S made an adorable flamingo, and she told me, "Mama, I really like when people tell me they like my costume." She said this after the Halloween parade at her school. She waved to everyone as she passed by, as if to say, "Hello! Hello, adoring fans!" She was in heaven with her sparkly pink skirt that shed glitter everywhere. And I do mean everyyyyywhere. Poor Oscar somehow had glitter stuck to his scalp for a couple of days and I'm still finding it around the house. Did I mention glitter is C's worst nightmare? Worst.

I couldn't imagine a more perfect neighborhood to go trick-or-treating in than our own. They ran from house to house with their little friends, and excitedly filled up their bags. We ended the night by visiting the house from the movie Up, and called it good.

And in case you were wondering, I have already picked out all the 100 Grands and Snickers out of their bags, and fortunately, they have no idea. 

Oscar's Forest Animal Romper is from Little Cottonwood, and can be found HERE. It's one of those pieces you will have to pry from my cold dead fingers if you wanted to take it from me.

A Year of Oscar: Seven Months

This month's update almost escaped me! Between having family coming into town and the holidays, it feels like someone pushed the fast forward button on just about everything. Why is it that summer has a way of just dragging the heck out but fall is over before you have a second to realize what just happened? I would gladly give up the last month of summer for an extra month of fall. I'd give up the whole entire summer to be honest.

Anyway. Seven months! I hate that this means that he is closer to being a one-year old now! I keep trying to remind myself that each stage is so fun, but that's hard to do when I love this baby phase so much!

This month, Oscar has finally figured out how to get the whole sitting thing down. He had been sitting up for a little while, but I could never leave him alone because he would topple over after a minute. But, one day it's like the switch went off, and then he figured it out. 

He can be pretty wiggly, and often, when you're holding him he will turn his body around so he can face outwards. It feels like he wants to jump out of my arms, but I just tell him, "What are you gonna do, buddy? You can't crawl! Where will you go??" He hasn't figured out how to crawl yet (I am in NO rush for him to master that yet!) but he is able to move in an entire circle around him when he's on his belly. Seriously...once he's over.

He continues to be an absolute sweetheart with a smile that makes my entire day. And that dimple! I check every day to make sure it's still there. Im afraid one morning I will wake up and it will be gone. 

He loves to babble, and say ba ba ba. And I swear it sounds like he says, "Al-fal-fa." And no, he hasn't been watching The Little Rascals.

Still nursing and eating like a champ, but if he had his choice, he'd be drinking my Coke and eating whatever I'm eating. What am I going to do with you, Oscar boy? 

Holding my breath for an apple cake.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I love a good apple pie. Serve it up warm with some ice cream, and I'm in heaven. I love to see pictures of apple pies with their beautiful lattice designs and I always look at them and think, "Yeah, I could never do that." I was craving something apple-y, and something that I knew would make a little bit of a mess. Don't you feel like oftentimes, the bigger the mess, the better something tastes?

Anyway, I decided to try my hand at a nice and easy apple cake instead of a pie. There was something  slightly therapeutic about peeling and cutting the apples, and mixing things together on a cool fall day. As I was getting ready to put the cake in the oven, I did that thing where I held my breath as I slid it onto the cooking rack. And then I said a silent prayer saying, "Please, please, please turn out okay. Don't let it poison anyone. Please don't explode or burn or set the house on fire. And if it does set the house on fire, please let it not get to the fence because C just finished painting it, and I'm sure our HOA would not be happy about it."

Anyone else ever do that? Talk to your food before you're ready to cook it, and try to convince it not to turn into a disaster? That's totally a normal thing to do. Anyway. Here is the recipe I tried. I would suggest following the link because she gives a couple of great suggestions and if you're into raisins or nuts, for example. But, I'm a firm believer that nuts and raisins have no business being in desserts, so I left those out. 

Apple Cake (recipe found from Pretty. Simple. Sweet

1⅓ cups (180g/6.3oz) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon combination of your favorite spices (ground nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
½ cup (113g/4oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (100g/3.5oz) granulated sugar
½ cup (100g/3.5oz) brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (120ml) buttermilk
250g (about 2 cups/2 medium) apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch cubes (cut first, then measure)
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and flour an 8″ or 9″ round springform pan (8″ pan will yield a taller cake).
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and spices. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with buttermilk in 2 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Do not over mix. Fold in apples.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve cake warm or at room temperature.
Store cake at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Cake can be frozen for up to 2 months.

And in case you were wondering, yes, this tastes very good for breakfast, too :)

The stages of parenthood I didn't know were coming.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Maybe it's because the house is quiet, and I can actually hear my own thoughts. Mabe it's because last week's flowers are well past wilted. Or maybe it's because I have the Bon Iver station playing on my Pandora station, but man, I'm feeling all the feels.

One thing I didn't expect about parenthood, and being a mother to little people, is that childhood is all about stages. Some stages seem to end as quickly as they began. Some stages feel like they will never, ever, end. Some stages make you so happy that you almost want to hold your breath because already you know it's fleeting, and if you exhale, it will be over. Some stages seem easy and rosy and good. Some stages are dark, sludgy, and you go to bed laying with your eyes wide open, wondering how you'll make the sun shine in the morning. And some stages are invisible ones. Ones that you didn't even notice were there until you've already left them behind.

But this. This right here. I don't know what I would call this stage, except that it brings so much joy to my heart. I feel that lump in my throat thinking about how one day, I'll have to search deep into the sacred place where I hold my fondest memories to remember the scent of his skin and the quiet sounds he makes as he nurses. I'll close my eyes and try desperately to remember the way Pato gently brushes his hair to the side a hundred times a day. And I'll never want to forget how much I love to peek at S when she's working hard at making something. She will often quietly sing a made-up song as she works with her little hands, and giggles when she catches me watching her.

I don't have a time machine to stop time. I don't have the guarantee that I'll remember every single second of my children' lives. But, I do have a grateful heart. I very, very grateful heart. There is nowhere else I would rather be.

That time I was determined to make Fall happen.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Okay. So, today I sat down and started jotting down things that I wanted to do with the kids or as a family in the next couple of months. It was prompted by an email that I received that was announcing some upcoming events near us, and you would have thought that Mindy Kaling herself was coming to Utah or something because all of a sudden I started researching every fun thing we could do from now until Christmas. 

I actually personally blame Target for how quickly fall seems to fly by. Are you listening, Target? Because I'm talking to you. They start putting their Christmas stuff out in mid-May (someone should probably fact check this...) and it just makes me feel like September and October are the annoying old friends who talk too much and are being rushed out the door because you have dinner to get to. Did that make sense WHATsoever? 

Anyway, yesterday C came home earlier than normal, and I sprung up the idea of going to pick out pumpkins and surprising the kids with a fun activity. I was worried it wasn't going to happen, however, because Pato has decided that he doesn't like fall, and we literally have a ten minute battle every morning because he now hates wearing long sleeves or pants. He says long sleeves and pants are for winter, and that he will like them then. Instead, he likes to wear the same shirt and shorts for days at a time. His current favorite shirt is a grey and black Star Wars shirt. He doesn't even know what Star Wars IS. He always asks, "Wait, who is this on my shirt?" "It's Yoda, buddy." "Oh. Right. Yoda." He also calls Darth Vader "Dark Vader" and just learned two days ago that he was a bad guy.

Now I'm rambling. Back to the pictures, which of course, are what the grandparents really come here for.

"Hmm. What is this stuff? Verrrrrry interesting. Bet it tastes good. Mom says I shouldn't eat it, but that's also what she said about that leaf I shoved in my mouth the other day."

"Huh. There's more over here, too. Better eat some quick before anyone sees. Don't you give me away, pumpkin."

"Oh, hey. What? No. I'm not eating the hay...I swear. I was just looking at it. As if I'd eat HAY."

So, as much as I love the bond that our two oldest share, I can't wait to see how Oscar fits in their mix. In fact, numerous times, Pato has come up to me and said, "I wish Oscar was big now. So we could play with him."

Funny thing. We always thought that Pato would be the one who would have a hard time when O was born, but as it turns out, S was the one who has had the roughest transition. I guess "rough" isn't the right term to use, but let's just say that she was pretty lukewarm towards her new baby brother at times during his first couple of months. For a while, she would draw pictures of our family but wouldn't include him in the pictures. But now! Oh, how she adores him! She loves to make him laugh and hold him whenever she can.

And look at that smile! He is probably the smiliest of all our babies, and I've said that he is the kind of baby that makes people want more babies. We are all pretty crazy about him!

So, please don't hate me if you start seeing a bunch of fall stuff over here, but I was telling my friend earlier that I am determined to squeeze out every bit of fall that I can. Last year I feel like I let my kids down a bit in the "fun mom" department what with being pregnant, in pain, and in a new city. This year I'm determined to make it memorable. 

Even if it means it's in shorts and a Star Wars t-shirt.

I wish I were five-year-old me so I could be friends with five-year-old her.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

If I had a picture that would perfectly portray one Sofia Jones at just barely five years old, it would be this one.

The twirling. Everything she wears is measured by its "twirlness" factor. When a skirt or dress fails to fly around her as as well as she would like, she gets a sad look on her face and says, "This one is only a little bit twirly." While it does get a bit complicated to get her dressed sometimes, I do love this about her. We will have to figure out what to do when I have to break it to her that she needs to wear pants sometimes. That'll be rough, you know, with their twirliness factor of zero. 

I should also mention that she wore that dress every single day for a week. We told her she had to wear something else this week. #rudestparentsever

The bow. Sof always makes sure that every bit of her outfit comes together, down to the bow in her hair. The other day she came out of the bathroom with her hair in two "braids" that she had made in front of the mirror. (Although, really she had just twisted her hair around and called it a braid.) She had clipped two bows at the ends and asked me quite seriously, "Mom. Do I look high school-ish?" Are ya KIDDING me, kid? What will I do when she is ACTUALLY in high school? I swear, they need to do a medical study on me because I am certain this girl is aging me at an astonishing rate.

And did you catch that little tongue sticking out? She does this almost every time she is getting ready to twirl. Or when she's hard at work making a masterpiece out of some colored paper, glue, tape, and pompoms (o'course.) 

I'll say this. There have been some rough times with Sof where I felt like every second of that day was just trying to survive her. There have been moments where I wanted to hide from her and hope she couldn't find me. 

But, I can truthfully say that right now, I wish so badly that I were five-year-old me so I could be friends with five-year-old her. She makes life more exciting, colorful, and I wouldn't change a single thing about her.

Fall, I missed you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Okay, all you summer lovers. I gave you your summer. I waited long and (sort of) patiently as you rejoiced in your beach going and bathing suit wearing and watermelon eating. Well, I love watermelon, I rejoiced with ya there. But, it's fall! And I feel like this fall is a little bit more special because it's Oscar's first time experiencing it. 

On the first super chilly day, I took him out while the kids were at school, and let him play on a blanket outside in the yard. Oh, the squeals that came out of him! He kicked and kicked and waved his arms around as if to say, "Yes, ma! This is amazing! I love it out here!" Listen, O, I know how you feel. That's how fall makes me feel, too! I want to kick my legs and wave my arms like a madwoman, but, let's just say that a 29-year-old woman doesn't quite pull that off as well as a baby. 

Unfortunately, the one downside to it being fall now is that I've recently discovered that not only have the big kids outgrown most of their warm clothes, but they somehow now have giant kid feet and their shoes don't fit either. Maybe I can convince Pato to really pull off the Mowgli look? I mean, less clothes= less laundry. 

Serious thoughts.

A Year of Oscar: Six Months!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Half a year has flown by, and I can say that these last six months with this sweetheart have been some of the happiest times of my whole life. Sure, we had to pack an entire house and move across the country when he was just two months old, but I swear, it's like I've almost forgotten the whole pain that was. This little guy right here is pure joy. I feel like everywhere we go, I catch people smiling at him and making funny little faces to get him to smile. I mean, I don't blame them! One little peek at that dimple and you just can't wait to see it again!

How would I describe O boy? He's one part honey-child, one part monster sleeper (come on, O! Let's get this night thing down already!) and 100% loverboy. Guys, I'm really good at math. I know that all made mathematical sense. 

Why, oh why, does time go by so quickly? As I was putting him to bed last night I thought, "I know every stage is wonderful. But dang, I really really love this baby stage here right NOW." Which of course, led me down to that big question: does the baby fever ever really go away? But, let's not go down THAT rabbit hole. Not today, anyway :)

A little more about this should see him eat. Or rather, you should see him watching other people. He just lunges right for anything you're about to put in your mouth. He looks at your food so intently, and then starts smacking his lips. I actually started feeding him some solids here and there earlier than I did with S and Pato simply because he was practically begging for it! 

He's not moving around just yet, but if you put him on his back, he can go clear across the room just by pushing off with his legs. He normally only does this when he's upset though. This reminded me that Pato was beginning to scoot at six months, and well, I'm okay with O taking his sweet sweet time.

Hoping this second half of the year moves at least a tiny bit slower than the first.

That time I needed a really big ol' print of my baby.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Do you remember the olden days? You know, back when you had to wait several days to get your filmed processed, and you would cross your fingers that maybe you'd look half-decent in one of them? My middle school days were a time when my dad should've probably invested in Kodak with how many disposable cameras my friends and I would go through. And then when you got your pictures printed, the quality was never super great anyways, so you were left with stacks of pictures with weird looking-pimply people in them. Or wait...maybe that's just because those people really were pimply middle schoolers.

Nowadays, we've come a long way when it comes to printing pictures, and thank goodness for that. When Parabo Press approached me with the chance to try out some of their products, I jumped at the chance because I like to take pictures of my kids here and there. And by here and there, I mean that scrolling through the day's pictures when I'm ready to go to bed at night is one of my favorite things.

When I checked out their site, the very first thing that stood out to me were their Engineer Prints. They are huge. No, really. Let me say that again. They. Are. Huge. And since I figured that my love for my kids is ALSO huge, then clearly, I needed a print that would be big enough to prove it. Now, I really put Parabo Press to the test here when I decided to try out one of these prints. I chose a picture of O-boy that was already a close up, and I really was skeptical that an image blown up that huge would print well.

I'll tell ya what. I was wrong.

As I unrolled the print out (it took two people to do so, by the way) I was absolutely giddy with excitement and I couldn't wait to display it. The quality of the image was fantastic and I knew it would make a perfect statement piece in our home.

To hang our large Engineer Print, I also ordered a set of Parabo Press's wood poster rails. The rails are magnetic, and all we had to do was line up the print on them, and that was it. I love the idea of having several Engineer Prints printed, and switching them around every once in a while. I'll need at least two more so the kids don't think I'm playing favorites. (Although, if we are going to be completely honest, let's just say that O is definitely not my least favorite child. I'm just joking around, people. They are ALL my favorite! Okay!)

Really, though. If you're trying to think of an inexpensive way to spruce up one of your walls, I would highly suggest one of these prints. And get the rails, too. They're awesome.

Since I already foresee needing to print off more images, I also ordered the large skeleton clips that you can find HERE. What I love about these is that you can use them to hang your prints without having to poke any holes in them. OR, you could just turn them upside down and use them as photo holders. Parabo Press also sell's sets of washi tape if you'd rather hang your prints that way.

Can you imagine, though, if these prints were actually around back when we were those pimply middle schoolers? Big, huge, prints of all our tall platform wedges, blue eyeshadow and rainbow butterfly clips. Hm...maybe it's actually a good thing they haven't been around till now :)  

Cue the Backstreet Boys music.

**This post was a collaboration with Parabo Press. They're awesome. Really. If you want to learn more about the Engineer Prints I was talking about you can find those HERE. And those nifty wooden rails are HERE. 

**ALSO!!! If you're a first time customer, you can try them out, and receive 25 free square prints for free using the code JONES. Do it. You know you have 25 pictures you've been meaning to print don't ya? 

Ten Things I'm Not Even Mad About

Monday, August 22, 2016

I'm not mad that from the moment I wake up, I'm already tired.

I'm not mad that my hair is falling out at a crazy alarming rate. I know it's common, but dang. Just when I thought that this time around maybe I'd get to escape that post-pregnancy hair loss, bam. 

I'm not mad that O pooped on my side of the bed.

In fact, I'm so not mad about it, that I just wiped it up with a baby wipe and slept on it.

I'm not mad that almost twenty-four hours later, my right arm is still really sore from O falling asleep in my arms yesterday at church. He rarely does that, so nope, not mad.

I'm not mad that I have mom arms. And mom stomach. And mom thighs. And mom butt. Not mad about that.

I'm not mad that no matter how many times I sweep a day, there are always crumbs on the floor. It defies logic, I tell ya. Someday the kids will be older, hanging out with their friends who are much cooler than I, and I'll be begging them to sit with me just a few minutes longer and spill crumbs everywhere.

I'm not mad that Sof woke me up this morning with her face (and morning breath) in mine.

I'm not mad that summer is beginning to head on outta here. It's been good, but I'm not the tiniest bit mad to say bye to it.

And lastly, I'm not even mad that Pato told me he wanted Daddy, not me, to take him to school this morning. I'm okay with that. Especially because as he was getting ready to go, he put a picture of "Pato and mama" in his little orange backpack so he could think of me. 

Lots to just not be mad about today. 

**Matching Mama Bird and Baby Bird shirts from The Bee and the Fox. They can be found HERE. I promise, they are two of my very favorite shirts. I'll be hanging on to them forever, I'm sure.

What I Really Hope They'll Learn This Year

Monday, August 8, 2016

So, the kids started school this morning and I'm just all over the place. Last night, we packed their backpacks, ironed and laid out their clothes, and stayed up late making one of their favorite breakfasts for them so it would be ready in the morning. (Never mind that I took it out of oven too early and ended up undercooking it. They ate the fully cooked parts and didn't even notice) We knew this day was coming, we've been talking about it for weeks, but as I walked away after dropping them off to their respective classes, it suddenly hit me. And it hit me hard.

They are gone. They are off learning things, making friends (I hope), doing stuff...without me. I feel like the annoying little sibling who is left out and is sitting sadly in the corner thinking, "But, what about me?!" That's one of the points, though, right? Figuring out how to do things without your parents right next to you. Figuring out you. 

I could sit here and write about how it feels like they were just tiny babies in my arms. Or how it seems like just yesterday that they were bouncing around in diapers and footie pajamas. I could write about how Time is dead set on becoming my worst enemy and he always seems to be winning. 

There's a ton I could write. But, since I'm sitting in a Starbucks and am not in the mood to have a bunch of strangers watch me cry, I'll write instead about some of my hopes for my kids this year.

To S and P:

I hope you will discover and rediscover the brave little people I know are in there. I hope that you will find good friends, and that you'll be the kind of friend you wish to have. I hope that you will be helpers. I hope that you'll always choose kindness. I hope that you'll understand that it's more important to be nice than it is to be right. I hope that you will be challenged and make mistakes, just so you learn to try again. And finally, I hope you'll be fine with me hugging you a little longer at night because I just miss ya.

And now, I'll go back to watching the clock and counting down the seconds till it's time to see them again :)

Ah, shoot, here come the tears. This is just a really good hot chocolate, okay people??

Why I won't be apologizing for my son's long hair.

Monday, August 1, 2016

When we're both much older, and I'm thinking back on my first boy in all his almost-four-year-old glory, this is how I'll imagine him. Wearing blue, because that's his favorite color. In his sandals that he's so excited about because he can buckle them all on his own. With a bowtie because that's what Daddy wears. And running because that's his favorite way to get around lately, it seems. Each time his foot hits the floor, it's followed by a loud "stomp stomp stomp." And what I'll remember even more than all those things is his long hair.

He loves his hair. It's become a huge part of him. He's had one haircut before (last summer, actually) and we've started discussing getting another haircut soon before he starts school soon.

As I was getting ready this morning, I started thinking about all the different responses we've gotten about his long hair through the years. It's funny because they have almost become predictable, and don't vary much. Here are the responses we usually get...

The "OMG! His hair is so gorgeous" Response

Obviously, this one is our favorite, because, we totally agree! It IS really beautiful! He hardly ever gets knots in it, it's super soft, and has a really pretty color. The sun has given him a few natural highlights, and I've found myself eyeing his hair enviously more than once. We always respond with a, "Thank you so much! He really likes it, too!"

The "Girl" Response

This has several parts to it. I've been asked, "So, are your girls twins?" a hundred thousand times. I could have him wearing a shirt that says, "I'M A BOY" in huge block letters and people will still think he's a girl. He actually has a sweater that says, "Hey Ladies" on it, and he's gotten some strange looks from it. (But, that's a whole other discussion, now, isn't it? Another day!) When I was pregnant with O, I also had people ask if I was "...finally getting [my] boy?"

What do I do when people refer to him as a girl incorrectly? I always try to gently correct them by saying something like, "Actualllllly, he's a boy!" Or, "No, they're not twins. HE is a year younger than his sister." Lately, however, Pato has no problem saying, "I'm a boy!" 

Which leads to the part 2 of The "Girl" Response.

After we tell people that "she's" actually a "he," we always get the same looks. The look of surprise, and then they look at him again even closer, and more often than not, they quickly apologize and say something about his hair. (Or, they look at me like I'm crazy, and don't really know what I'm talking about. I kid you not, once I was asked, "Are you sure?" Yes, I'm sure. I'm married to a man. I've seen what my body looks like, oh, just my entire life. I've changed more diapers than I can count. I've been peed on by both female and male parts. (In case you're wondering, pee is pee. It's bad no matter where it came from.) And you know what? If I DIDN'T know, there's a 100% chance my kids wouldn't even be alive. Let's think about that.)

Okay, I know it sounds like a bit angry, but I promise I'm not. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, I'm not at all bothered when people mistake my son for girl. But, as I was thinking about how I my own reaction to others, I realized that too many times, I've found myself apologizing for the confusion. As if it were my fault! I've said, "Oh, I'm sorry! It's because his hair is long." Why am I saying sorry for that? It's 2016, people. By now, if you're cringing at the possibility of little boys having long hair, it may be time to step back and rethink things a bit. I am so glad that we live in a day where we can tell girls they can do anything a boy can do. When Sof told me the other day she wants to be a construction worker, and asked if that was something girls could do, I said, "Yes, of course!" I love that it's become more acceptable to tell a boy that it's okay to cry and to have feelings. 

But, the very best response came from my son. One time, when someone mistook him for a girl, he said, "That's okay! Because girls are great, too!" You are so, right, Pato! Being compared to a girl is not a put-down, and we shouldn't apologize for the mix up as if it were a bad thing. Because girls are just as strong, talented, athletic, and amazing as boys.

So, while I will still gently remind people that, nope, this awesome and wonderful kid is actually a boy, I will no longer apologize for their confusion because of his hair being long. And those people who just assume he's a girl but never ask, I'm totally okay with you thinking he's my daughter. Because girls are great, too :) 

A Year of Oscar: Four Months!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What can I tell ya about this little lovebug that I haven't already mentioned like a trillion times? He's a chit-chatter, and we suspect he said "da da" already. I have it on video, and I was totally not expecting it. Now, I just find myself getting really super close to his face and saying "mama! mama! mama!" in a super annoying high-pitched voice. It'll stick one of these days, I'm sure of it!

He keeps trying to roll over but juuuuust hasn't been able to yet.

Really has the best smile and dimple to go with it. He smiles at everyone at church and gosh, I want to eat him. 

He's discovering how to use his hands. He thinks they're great to chew on, and is getting better and better at grabbing things. S is quickly learning that he's been perfecting his hair-pulling skills. And pooping skills...he's been practicing that one a lot lately.

Love this little drool monster. Can't imagine life without him. He is pure joy.

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