Saturday, February 15, 2014

My Girl

Today marks the 10th Valentine’s Day that I have spent with my girl and the first spent apart.  This day was meant to be spent together physically but seeing how that’s not possible here’s my attempt to help us feel closer in other ways.  Straight up girl friend, time for a little embarrassment - but really I can only stay modest so long.  The world needs to know how much I scored.  My top ten favorite things about my girl (top meaning there’s way more than 10, trust me):

10.  She loves football! 
Not kidding in the least.  More than me actually – which makes me the envy of every other man in America.  It could be the Texas in her.  The standing joke during football season is “hey babe, you don’t want to miss this game it’s North Dakota University vs. New Hampshire State!”  We can plop down on the coach and watch the alma mater game and she’s yelling at the refs and 30 seconds ahead of the announcers.  It makes game time us time and I love it.

9.  She’s a girly girl. 
More appropriately put: she’s perfectly feminine.  As bachelors my friends and I used to joke about how to avoid the high maintenance women – well, personally I don’t prefer a woman whose too low maintenance either (not a huge fan of the hairy armpit look).  Rebecca is truly the dialed in perfect maintenance.  Yeah she likes the mani/pedis  and gets her hair done and likes to shop but I reap the benefit because not only does she keep expenditures reasonable but she looks really cute too.  Heaven knows she doesn’t get enough time of proper pampering.  Delaney is learning from a pro.

8.  She’s a simple equation: 
 Warm Rebecca + Fed Rebecca + Downtime = Happy Rebecca.  No joke; if she’s grumpy one of these things is out of balance.  I don’t have to spend anytime guessing why she’s irritated or trying to mind read.  She’ll just tell me, I’ll snag some take out, we’ll snuggle up on the couch and catch up after a busy week and without fail she’s becomes Happy Rebecca (aka Usual Rebecca).  No grudges or complications with my girl, just good times.  I probably should point out that they may not all be equally weighted.  Fed Rebecca might eek out ahead considering this girl and BBQ (likely that whole Texas thing again).  There is no containing that pure joy! 

7.  She’s beautiful. 
I mean beautiful.  Understandably, this was the toughest picture to choose – literally thousands of options!  Four kids?  No big deal.  And her feet!  Seriously those have got to be the cutest things on the planet!  Trophy wife?  Best believe it.  The woman is straight up flawless.  I often can’t look away - I think whoever created the “staring is rude thing” obviously didn’t have a wife of my caliber.  Okay, superficial-ness aside, I can’t not smile when she smiles, she has the ability to brighten my day in miliseconds.  Thankfully, her smile made its way onto each of our children’s faces which is probably why I find them so beautiful too.

6.  She’s fun and funny! 
Taking my girl out is a hobby of mine.  Not only do I get to look forward to our dates but they even seem to end better than they start every time.  Her company is one to be cherished not only because she’s cute, pleasant, real, witty, sympathetic, but funny too.  If I sound incredulous it’s because (I’m not trying to be a chauvinist here) very few women comedians actually make me laugh.  So the fact that Rebecca often has me unable to vocalize anything but wheezes for minutes at a time is saying something.  Yeah, I’m not talking about a funny face here and there – she’s great at the kid humor too – I’m talking trying to stay “professional” while on the phone with my wife in the office and the result is the loudest attempt at quiet laughter you ever heard.

 5.  She’s a team player. 
Yeah, she’s a good sport and all when it comes to white water rafting or enduring the occasional pure testosterone man flick but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.  Remember the Texas thing? That’s where home is for her and even though we started dating there since we married I have moved her three times each time farther away than the last.  How would you like to have a baby, keep the house show ready and manage moving logistics, and take care of four rambunctious kids while battling her own illness while your spouse is working out of state?  All to leave a place and friends you love?  Please sign me up – not.  She is beyond supportive and works so hard for the family’s well being it never stops to amaze me. 

4.  She loves me unconditionally.  
She is interested in my day even when it wasn’t interesting.  Gosh, she is caring, tender, affectionate, often asks what I would like for dinner, all around fully committed.  She is continuously trying her best to take care of me in ways that make me feel sincerely loved even when I don’t deserve it.  Only she truly understands what it takes to put up with me but I always feel loved by her and it’s the best.

3.  She loves her kids. 
Sometimes its Candy Land on repeat, sometimes it’s her testimony during family night, other times is just making them laugh or jumping in on the dog pile.  She’ll take them on dates, have a private conversation, make them a special treat, you name it. When it comes down to it, she is there for them in any situation and very insightful on how they are doing really. Admittedly it’s not all fun and games, when the kids are melting down, disrespecting, rampaging, she can be the disciplinarian too. She is the complete mom and it makes her happy to see them happy. I see this face all the time and it is the cutest thing to me.

2.  She’s good.  As in, the righteous good.  She is such a strong example of doing the right thing.  She’s not only the commandment keeper but the nonstop server.  She’ll drag all four kids to church by herself if I’m out of town and she’ll be the first to bring a meal to friend in need.  She’ll wake up repeatedly at night with a newborn plus a sick toddler.  Yeah, sometimes its zombie mode, but she just keeps plugging away like a champ.  Thoughts of what she could do to improve?  I’m drawing a blank here.  Honestly, it’s like grasping at straws.  She is our family’s foundation of absolute goodness.   

1.  She makes me better. 
It may sounds cliché but it’s for real.  First there’s the obvious: she teaches me how to recognize when food actually is delicious (here’s that Texas thing again), how to enjoy a nice hotel whose premises are as clean as ours back home, how to not look like a bum who dressed in the dark at work, how to manage my time, etc.  Then there’s the truly important stuff: she inspires me, elevates me, holds me accountable, and reminds me of the important things when my life is off kilter.  My life without her?  Let’s not go there.  She’s my girl and my angel. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our new arrival is here!

Let it be written now that I am madly, deeply, irrevocably in love.  And honestly with a face like this one how can I not be??
Our sweet baby boy (and heaven help me, let's go ahead and emphasize the word sweet) joined our family on December 6th at 12:54 pm.  He weighed in at 8 lbs, 2 oz and honestly I can't remember how long he was.  But really, no one remembers the length right??
Because of Delaney's size and how quickly her labor went, my doctor was totally on board with inducing me a week early.  And by the looks of that belly, we all know I was ready for induction as well.  How is it possible I can look so huge yet this baby was a full TWO pounds lighter than Delaney??  This is me all nice and comfy, pre contractions and subsequent epidural.  I was feeling ready to go and more than excited to meet my new baby.  Enter my nurse who had graduated and been working for a mere four weeks and let's not sugar coat things.  She and I ... we struggled.  I will never underestimate the value of a good nurse ever again.  Ever.  Let's just say that the icing on the cake was when my blood pressure crashed after my epidural and as I'm telling her I'm going to pass out and/or toss my cookies, she tells me that this has never happened to her before and she's not quite sure what to do.  Well sweetie, press the call button, because my medical training begins and ends with Grey's Anatomy and I'm not sure I can be of much help.  Luckily for me she did page another nurse and once we got my blood pressure under control and my epidural turned off, I informed the nurse that I was pretty sure it was go time.  Fast forward to me working very hard to not push for forty five minutes waiting for her to page my doctor.  There were a few moments where I figured either she or Evan was going to catch this baby, but luckily for all involved (mostly Evan) my awesome doc showed up and we had ourselves a beautiful baby boy!
After one push too!  Here he is and I must say from the second I saw him I was wondering how I ever lived in this world without him. 
No, really.  How did I?  He has been so mellow and sweet and just a bucket of love.  The best part?  He loves his mama.  And trust me when I say, the feeling is more than mutual.
Oh and a name!  Bless my heart, coming up with and agreeing on a third boy's name...especially when top on Evan's list was Newt (as in Gingrich? what the??)...was akin to torture.  By the end of our stay when all hospital personnel had given up on us getting it together and naming our little guy, we pulled it together and settled on Tucker Carleton Jones.  There is something about this sweet boy and his two killer dimples that made the name Tucker seem just right.
My mom was able to be in the delivery room for Tucker's birth (a big thank you to Katie for watching Delaney!) but after he was here my mom went and picked up the troops to come meet our newest family member.  As luck would have it, Delaney came down with a cough/cold and we had to quarantine her from coughing all over our newborn.  Stinky timing since girlfriend thinks this baby is her baby to love on and hug, aka, squeeze to death. 
And me?  I'm in what I refer to as the "newborn fog."  I'm trying to remember how to function on no more than 3-4 hours of sleep strung together here and there and oh yeah!  How about the three other little people who need/want my attention or at the very least, to be fed.  Let's throw in there that it's Christmas (and I'm guessing that my peeps want a present or two) and that Colton turns eight and gets baptized on the 28th.  Luckily for me, my mom has been here keeping me sane.  When she leaves on Friday, all bets are off.  Four kids might just send me over the edge.
But then I see this little guy and it is all worth it.  No sleep, sore as all get out, and feeling like I can't possibly be a good mom to all of these little people and I wouldn't trade one single bit of it.  Not one bit.  We are so blessed and grateful to have Tucker here safe and sound.  I'm so glad he (and the other four people running around here) are mine.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The family adventure from you know where

Here are the kids on the way to Devils Lake, Wisconsin for a quick camping trip the weekend after school started.  This is the only pic we got of the weekend.  Why?  Because things only went downhill from here.  Remember when I said that camping wasn't so bad?  That there might be a chance that I even maybe...  Well, I lied.  Fresh off our not so bad experience over the 4th, when Evan mentioned that he'd been dying to take the family up to this awesome lake in Wisconsin, I wasn't too hard to convince.  Heck, it might even be fun!  Some good, wholesome family memories right?  So I spent that Friday the kids were in school packing us up and getting things all ready for our "weekend of fun."  Evan got off work and we set off on our three hour journey.  Why so far to go camping for a night?  Because according to Evan, the lake was amazing and this was one camping experience we didn't want to miss.

The drive took forever but we finally made it to our campground around 8 pm.  No biggie!  Evan just needed to make a quick fire, I'd get the tinfoil dinners on, and we'd get camp all set up.  Problem was the newspaper needed to start the fire had been forgotten and what was supposed to be a quick fire turned into an hour long process.  I finally throw the dinners on and when we go to set up the tent, no lantern.  Also forgotten.  We did not have an ounce of light to see by.  Awesome.  Using our handy dandy phones for light, Evan set up camp while I tried to wrangle the 3 hyper kids into making some smores.  Because, you know, when your kids are already psycho from their first week of school and a three hour drive, pump 'em full of sugar!  That's the ticket!  Oh and what's that kids?  Mosquitoes biting your legs off?  Oops, Mom forgot to pack the bug spray so since we're not eating dinner, let's make sure the mosquitoes get theirs!  The boys scouts just might have been onto something with that whole "be prepared" thing. 

About a hundred smores later, the tent was finally ready to go.  At this point, it's 10 o'clock and I'm wrestling the kids to the bathrooms to clean the melted marshmallows off their faces and threatening them within an inch of their lives that it's time to get ready for bed!  Oh yeah, awesome family memories going down right now.  I get the kids back to camp and Evan helps me hog tie the kids into their beds.  And when one child refuses to settle down?  No prob.  We throw him in the van and tell him to sleep there.  Parenting at its best, folks.  Evan and I finally settle down around 10:30 to eat our tinfoil dinners.  Because, you know, that's what time this pregnant woman likes to eat dinner.  And since we were so busy dealing with kiddos and making those wonderful smore memories, I never once checked on the dinners.  Which have now cooked themselves into a pile of charcoal.  Yum.  So after our delicious dinner, time for some husband/wife bonding 'round the campfire.  But for some reason, we can't seem to keep the fire going.  After a few minutes staring at each other in total darkness, I announce date night over and time for bed!  Give me a good night's rest and surely things will look better in the morning.  We settle down onto the air mattress (after retrieving a certain child from the van) and what's that I hear?  A whistling sound?  Probably nothing!  That is until Evan and I start our slow descent to the ground.  A hole in the air mattress?  Perfect!  Just what this pregnant woman wants.  To sleep peacefully on the rocky ground.  I just love camping.

Factor in the kid (not ours, surprisingly) screaming for 20 minutes at 4 in the morning, the rocks digging into my pregnant belly, the kids waking up at 4:30 am (YAY!) and me staring at the massive amount of daddy long legs crawling all over our tent screen (EW!!) and I'm ready to pack it in.  But wait!  We need to see this awesome lake and make some more treasured family memories.  So Evan takes the kiddos out in a boat to the middle of the lake.  Colt's trying to dive in, Cade's screaming every time the boat so much as rocks an inch, and Delaney's crying to be held.  By now even Evan, camper extraordinaire, was ready to close up shop.  We loaded up the kids (after busting out the first aid kit for Cade who scraped off half the skin on his body running to the car) and convince ourselves that the very far future...we might laugh about this train wreck of a camping trip.

Evan's worried that he might not be able to convince me to go camping again.  I figure that's what I'm giving him three sons for.  Camp with them.  As for Delaney girl and I, you'll find us at the Marriott.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to School Time!

It's that time of year again!  In keeping things real, I was pretty darn ready for the first day of school.  For most of the summer I had been dreading it, as I was enjoying having the kiddos all home with me (or mostly enjoying it).  Come the last couple of weeks before school started, however, my boys really took it upon themselves to step up their game and the fighting between them reached epic proportions.  By the time school started, I think I was ready to call it a day and separate these boys a bit.  One day they will be the best of friends, or so I'm told.  Right?  RIGHT??
What I wasn't as ready for was sending my little man Cade off to all day kindergarten.  When Colton went off to school, he was beyond ready and really itching to go.  Cade, on the other hand, is my homebody and pretty content to be my buddy.  Combine saying goodbye to him for the whole day and my pregnancy hormones and I might have had a watery eye or two. 
The first day of kindergarten they have an orientation where they ask the parents to attend and gasp!  Evan was able to slip away from work and come hang out with Cade for a bit.  Work can be crazy for that guy so it was a treat to have him there.
The after school cookies and Cade eating his with style.
And what's Delaney been up to while her brothers are at school all day?  Playing pant-less of course.
Doing a little light reading with her brother's chapter books.
And eating in style.  I will say that it's been pretty quiet with just Delaney and I.  A lot less wrestling and broken lampshades.  That's just not how we girls hang out at home.  But with another baby (a BROTHER no less!) coming in December, I'm going to soak up the peace and quiet.  We're excited for another boy to join our family.  Let the classic naming battle begin!  Because let's be honest, by baby boy #3 I think Evan and I are all out of names we can compromise over.

Monday, July 22, 2013

And then there were four...

Baby Jones #4 will make his/her arrival in early December of this year!  Though I'm starting to think that if I have a post without a picture, it's sort of a tip-off to a big announcement.  I'm 19 weeks along and have my ultrasound this Friday.  This has been a doozy of a pregnancy for me and I'm just now starting to feed the kids something other than ramen or frozen pizzas.  Colton even mentioned sometime last month how he missed eating a dinner together that Mom made.  Well, lucky for him, I actually made dinner this week so I think things are looking up.  I still can't eat sweets without paying for it but hopefully this baby knows that Mama needs her donuts and that will be changing soon.

We're excited to have a new little one join our family!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ditch the Kids '13

My mom flew in after the 4th and was nice enough to watch the kids for a couple of nights.  Originally I was going to join Evan on a business trip to North Carolina but when the trip was rescheduled it was onto Plan B.  Fortunately for us, we live in a city that offers plenty to do and lots of yummy places to eat.  After camping for a couple of nights though, I was ready for some AC and a comfy mattress.  We were able to find a great deal for a hotel right on Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. 
Here's the killer view from our room.  If you look close, you can see the famous Navy Pier ferris wheel.  Divergent, anyone?
We kept things pretty low-key but it was so nice to for the two of us to catch up uninterrupted and have such an unscheduled couple of days.  We ate at lots of good restaurants, walked the city, and hit up a museum Evan had a couple of free passes to.  We were even able to squeeze in something for the both of us:  Evan went for a jog around the city while I took a nice, long nap.  Everyone wins.
We spent our last night in the heart of downtown eating outside at an Italian cafe.  The weather was perfect and so was the company.  Happy nine years to us!

Fourth of July, Evan style

I'm not a huge fan of camping.  Never have been.  Why camp when I can be comfy in my own bed with a bathroom a few feet away?  Thing is I married a man who loves to camp.  Adores it.  Is fulfilled by the mere mention of it.  And I have sons.  Thus far, I've miraculously avoided doing much more than an overnighter and packing up first thing in the morning.  Fast forward to the 4th this year when some good friends of ours invited us to camp by Lake Michigan and go to the beach.  The beach and camping??  I think I saw stars in Evan's eyes just thinking about it.  So camping we went and the boys were in heaven.  All three of them.
The boys loved hanging out with their buddy, Mark and started catching fireflies, ants, and all things bugs the second we hit the campground.
The first night of camping the kids went to bed late and woke up at the crack of dawn.  And I do mean the actual crack of dawn.  Hence why Cade is sleeping in the car before we even got to the beach.
I worried that Delaney would have issues not getting to play in the water with the boys but she was completely happy to play in the sand.  Give that girl a shovel and she's good to go.
Evan doesn't agree but Lake Michigan was coooold.  I might have put a foot in and called it good.  Is it just me or does Colton look a tad hypothermic?  Evan's thermometer might be a little off after growing up in the frigid waters of Cali.
Cade wasn't the only one feeling the effects of the early morning.
Not that Evan was complaining.
The prune effect after a full day spent in the water. 
Rather than watch fireworks, Evan was gung ho on buying some of our own.  I've never seen the man so giddy.  He went into the fireworks shop with our friend and asked to see the big stuff in the back.  What??  Are we putting on a show for our family or for the state of Indiana?  At one point he came out to the car and my oh so frugal husband asked me how much exactly I was ok with him spending.  Once I squashed his dreams of spending our retirement on fireworks, he bought a few and we had our own little show after the beach.
I wasn't too keen on the idea of the boys helping Evan light the fireworks but after he promised me the boys would still have all of their appendages, I gave him the green light.  And Colt and Cade loved every minute of it.
This little girl, on the other hand, not so much.
Kind of beats the point to do sparklers when the sun is still up but I, for one, was not willing to keep my tired past the point of exhaustion kiddos up past dark.  Turns out they didn't mind one bit.  And my verdict on camping?  I hesitate to put this in writing, but I had a great time.  I think the combination of very clean bathrooms with running water and hot, clean showers didn't hurt one bit.  Not to mention that we've never camped where I didn't feeling like my nose was going to get frostbite while I slept.  Evidently, if I'm warm, fed and not using a bush as a bathroom, I'm one happy camper.  Throw in some great friends to hang out with and celebrating the 4th Evan style wasn't such a bad way to go, after all. 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kicking off Summer

School is out, the kiddos are all home and summer is upon us.  Growing up in Houston, I know summer and I know it well.  Seeing as how about 9 months of the year is summer there, I feel right at home in the heat and humidity.  So here's how June shaped up for us.
Cade's end of preschool swim party.  I did a home preschool with some other moms from church in addition to his preschool at the local Presbyterian church.  It was such a good group of moms and kids that it ended up being a great experience for both Cade and I.  Finish it off with some swimming and popsicles and everyone's happy.
Taco Bell runs for dinner.  I am actually not a huge fan of the place but the boys adore it and when Evan's out of town and mama doesn't feel like cooking, Taco Bell it is.
Swim lessons for a couple of weeks.  And what's more, Colt decided to lose a tooth while there.  And when I say lose, I mean lose since he had no idea where it went.  Apparently, the tooth fairy will accept a heartfelt note in lieu of the actual tooth.  The boys both made huge improvements and my biggest challenge was keeping a jealous Delaney out of the water.  Poor girl still can't get in the water because of her kidney issues, but we have her surgery scheduled in September and next summer will be her time to shine. 
Relaxing with a snack, sans pants.  Though I should clarify that Delaney is the only one who tends to do this on a regular basis.
Celebrating my 32nd birthday with my man.  We got a sitter at the last minute, went out for dinner and some hanging out in my fave place, downtown Naperville.  Throw in some homemade gifts from the boys and I was one happy girl.  Colton even offered to change Delaney's diaper since he thought I should not have to do that on my birthday.  Cade on the other hand told me that I should just go ahead and change the diaper because no way was he doing it.  Oh that boy, gotta love his honesty.
Spending lots of time like this.  Though I'm starting to wonder how much longer this little pool will keep their interest.  Right now they still love the thing so I'm running with it.  Not pictured is the other side of summer.  You know, the breaking up of fights between the boys, the constant "I'm bored," the never ending messy house from having everybody home, and then the complaints when I ask for someone else other than me to clean it up.  But with the knowledge that both of these boys will be gone all day come fall, I'm soaking it up having all my kiddos home under one roof.