Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

The Jones family is leaving tomorrow for sunny and warm Florida!  We are spending Christmas with Ted's family this year, and they decided to do it beachside.  Yipee!

We continue to be unable to transfer pictures from our camera to a computer, but will someday give a nice photo entry for all to enjoy.

We hope you are warm, happy, and able to spend this time with your family.  Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy at Home

I have been reflecting lately on my position in life. Nolan and I were walking through the park the other day. I was thinking how my life is so simple. I felt like it has always been this way. Then I remembered "before".

I used to be in college. I marched in the marching band. I took classes. I had tons of friends. 4 years of all that with grad school. Life was so crazy!

I used to teach jr. high math. I was active in my singles ward. I had friends over all the time. I lived in St. Paul, Minnesota. Life was so crazy!

I moved to Alaska! I didn't know anyone before I got there, but fit right in. I taught elementary school; 1st-2nd grade and 5th-6th grade. I went hiking, camping, sleeping under the stars. I met Ted and fell in love. Life was so crazy!

We moved to St. Louis. I taught 5th and 6th grade math. I started a real home. Life was crazy!

Now, I stay home every day with Nolan. I clean my house, cook dinners, and basically try to make home as love filled, comfortable and cozy as possible. I don't have anywhere to be, no one telling me what I have to do when, no pay check, and nothing looks to be changing anytime soon on the horizon. Life is not as crazy. I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT! As I looked back at this small snap shot of pre-Nolan/stay at home mom life, I feel so grateful for my experiences. I can be happy and satisfied being home. I never know what may change in the future, but I am going to enjoy this for as long as possible and savor every minute.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We've Been Busy

Sorry about the delay in posting. We have been experiencing technical difficulties. Well, I still am, but I decided I better try to get a post done before I just get too behind.

Grandma and Grandpa Downing came to visit for Thanksgiving. We had such a fun time with them. I realized that I didn't get any pictures from the actual day, but it was definitely a day to remember. My first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

I decided to be a great hostess and make the pumpkin pies the day before. Disaster! Twice the pies spilled all over the oven. The second time there were actually embers roasting on the bottom of my gas oven. I really worried that I had no idea what to do if a fire actually broke out. Smoke filled my house and the alarms went off. Luckily, Nolan slept right through it all! After they finished baking (yes, I did push on) they looked alright, so I salvaged them.

Our turkey was also an interesting experience. We cooked it the designated amount and tried carving it. It looked raw! Yuck! So...back into the oven. We kept checking it, and decided after 2 more hours, it HAD to be done. (Good thing dinner was scheduled for 4:00-it wasn't too late for usual dinnertime!) Upon carving, Ted discovered that the jiggly undone-looking part was still there. Our poor turkey must have had a tumor or something like it. We just ate the other side and still had plenty of leftovers. I don't have any pictures of our dinner, but my parents and Ted said everything tasted good-especially the pumpkin pies! Who knew?

Nolan's birthday party was a blast! We had my parents, Ted's parents, his 3 sisters and his grandmother over. We had a great time. Here is Nolan's cake:
He really loves this truck. He puts all his toys in it and pushes it all over the house. Super cute!

He was also a great present receiver. Everytime he opened something, he looked at it, smiled, and really seemed to show appreciation. He got some really great things. My favorite reaction, and I think everyone's who was there, was this:
My mom makes each of her grandkids a quilt for their first birthday. Nolan's has puppy faces with floppy ears to snuggle. I opened it, and he immediately snuggled in. He spent a good 5 minutes rolling in it, smooshing his face down on it, and just letting grandma revel in his reaction. A great treat for the loving hours she spent on it.

Another favorite present:
This was from Great Nana and Papa in Maine. Nolan LOVES it. Mom will love it when it has a place in our basement. (It should be refinished in about 3 weeks! More updates to come!)

Well, as I was trying to post this, my computer really had it. It is chock full of viruses. Poor thing. I did manage to load 5 pictures before it shut down, but I can't for the life of me get Ted's laptop to work. Seeing that I started this post 2 days ago, I figured you get what you get and don't throw a fit! I guess we will all be in suspense for the remainder of our pictures. We did have such a great time with my parents. My dad was pretty sick, but gave Nolan TONS of love. My mom helped me with 2 craft projects-Yep, 2 in a month! Crazy. I made stockings for Ted, Nolan and I. Fun! Hopefully I can get things up and running again soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nolan's Big Day

This morning we had Ted's family over for breakfast. Ted made a delicious Santa Fe egg bake. It was great to have everyone here to celebrate with us. After breakfast, we headed over to the Museum of Transportation. It was such an interesting place. There were many old trains with interesting engines, passenger cars, and cargo cars that we could go inside of. Nolan kept pointing and going "Vrroomm, vrroomm." It was only in the 30s, but Nolan was bundled well and we really enjoyed ourselves. I bought both of these jackets for "my boys" last Christmas. I pictured Ted and Nolan walking hand in hand together wearing them. Cheesie-yes, but today I got to see it happen.
We found a little love for the Northern Minnesota family.Nolan even got this really great hat to practice conducting his own train!
After that big morning, we needed a nap. We ended our big day with a delicious dinner at Grandma and Wada Jones' house.

I am sure you are wondering where his cake pictures are. My parents are coming down for Thanksgiving and we are going to have Nolan's birthday party next Saturday. That will be the presents, cake, ice cream, decorations, etc. necessary for a true first birthday party. What a lucky little boy-2 special Saturdays in a row! Happy birthday to our sweet, sweet boy.

Nolan's Birthday

I have not realized what a sensitive person I have become until this past week. I was so excited for Nolan's birthday. We were planning the fun things we would do and just how we would celebrate. Somehow, I think the former pregnancy hormones came back to haunt me because tears came easily whenever I thought of Nolan turning one. I cannot say that they were sad tears; I loved my little baby, but every day Nolan gets more and more fun. I look forward to him being able to do so many more things. I can't say they were completely happy tears though, either. It truly is cliche, but where on earth has this year gone? I feel like I was a part of everything, but that it didn't really happen. Do I really have a one-year-old? I am so grateful that my blog is such a great record of all the things we have done.

I don't think I can remember everything new that Nolan can do, but I will try. He is walking, eating and loving any and all foods (except of course nuts!). He loves playing catch, refrigerator magnets, pulling things out of drawers, bath time, his bear and kitty, books, toys, music and dancing, singing, the "Itsy Bitsy Spider", riding forward facing in his carseat, and watching other kids. There isn't much he dislikes aside from sitting still. He says "ba" for ball, "da-da", makes the sound and sign for an elephant, dog and bird, and says juice. He signs fan, hat, milk, more, all done, blows kisses and can identify many body parts. I am sure I am missing many more things, but we think he is truly amazing. (Compared only, of course, to himself and our previous experience raising children.)

The journey of Nolan:

Today was a turning point in Nolan's walking. He was taking a couple of tentative steps when coaxed, but nothing much more. Well, he decided that today he would let it all out. He has been trying to walk all day long! He still can't stand from a seated position, but he is definitely working on it. The first video is from this morning. What a great walker!

This video is from a few days ago. Future NBA star!

We love you Nolan and look forward to watching you continue learning and growing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

First Steps

Nolan took his first steps tonight! Ted was holding out some cornbread, and it was just too enticing for Nolan to pass up. He took 5 steps! We didn't get the camera out fast enough, so we missed it. We will try to get some footage in the next couple of days. Our little boy is growing up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

4 years ago I was a young 25-year-old woman. I had just started my new adventure of living in Alaska. I was teaching an exuberant group of 25 5th and 6th grade students. I was making new friends, and really loving life. Some of these new friends happened to be in the US Air Force.

In Anchorage, AK, there are 2 military bases-Elmendorf Air Force Base and Eilson Army Post. Alaska is full of active duty military families, as well as many retired military families. Needless to say, Veteran's Day is a big deal up there.

To honor this holiday in my classroom, I decided to ask one of my Air Force friends, Andy, to come in to speak to my class. He asked if he could bring a friend along to help out, and I thought that was a great idea. On November 11, Andy and his good friend Ted showed up in their full military BDUs (camouflage gear, etc.) to teach my class about military life. They put on an exciting presentation and my kids had a blast. I sat in the back with a teacher-friend of mine and giggled about Andy's really cute friend. I never believed what they said about a man in a uniform, but I understood what was meant that day.

Ted was a 21-year-old "boy". I thought he was so cute and was in GREAT shape. We became friends. I had a little crush on him. I figured that this guy, only 21 years old, would just be a really fun guy to date, get to know, and hang around with. I knew he wouldn't want a commitment, (who would at that age?) so it was harmless. Little did I know the mind of that young man...

2 weeks later, before our first date, Ted went home to St. Louis for Thanksgiving. While there, he met up with a good friend from high school. "Rob," Ted declared, "I met the girl I am going to marry."

After a lot of convincing (sorry sweetheart!) I ended up agreeing with him, and the rest is history.

Marrying a man in the military brought many things close to home. Although he was honorably discharged 4 months after our wedding, he is still an inactive-duty airman until December 2011. Every time I see a commercial for the military, hear a story of a brave man or woman injured in the line of duty, or even hear the National Anthem, I think about Ted. I think about how we could've been and still could be affected. He will never call himself a veteran. Ted has never served over-seas. He has never set foot on a war-zone. I have never had to live one day without him while he was deployed. But he still served honorably and faithfully. He could be called back without any notice at anytime. It could be him over there tomorrow.

I am so grateful for the men and women who have chosen to serve our great country. Many have given their lives, and most will never be the same. Whether or not I agree with our position in the war, we still have families forever altered by the repercussions of this war. I am grateful for our vets, and feel so strongly about what they stand for. Veteran's Day helps me remember.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Did you???

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Crafty Day

For those of you who know me, I am a VERY non-crafty person. I don't tend to create many artistic items. Part of the reason why is that I never can sit down alone and accomplish something creative. I lose interest quite quickly.

Today, my ward had a "Super Saturday" of crafting. There were some fun projects you could make. The great part is, someone else thought of it, someone else helps you make it, and there are plenty of other great women to chat with while doing it.

These are my creations:

A great banner for Nolan's room

Fun paint/decopage magnets
I also made some really yummy Chilled Curry Pumpkin Soup.
I have a general recipe that I followed, but I didn't have all the "right" ingredients, so I substituted with what I thought was yummy. It turned out pretty tasty! Here is the original recipe:

1/4 c. butter
large white onion, sliced
3/4 c. green onions (white part only) sliced *save green part for garnish*
1 large can (15~20 oz.) pumpkin
4 c. chicken broth
bay leaf
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I didn't have this-I used pumpkin pie spice instead!)
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley (I omitted)
2 c. half and half or whipping cream
salt, pepper, cinnamon and cloves to taste
*molasses and/or brown sugar to taste for a sweeter soup

Melt butter in 6 qt. saucepan over med. high heat. Add onions and saute until soft and transparent. Stir in next 7 ingredients. Bring to simmer and continue simmering uncovered for 15 min., stirring occasionally. REMOVE BAY LEAF. (I forgot this part!) Transfer soup in batches to blender or processor and puree. Return to saucepan and add cream or half and half and remainder of your spices. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, but do not allow to boil.

Can be served hot or chill thoroughly for a cold soup.

Top cold soup with green onions, chives, tomatoes, or sour cream.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

We have had a busy Halloween. First, we went to our neighborhood Farmers' Market to pick out a great pumpkin.
Of course, we couldn't pass up the second pumpkin.
Then we took it home and carved our SCARY jack-o-lantern. (Notice how both the pumpkins have 2 bottom teeth that show when they smile.)
Then, we knew we were ready to put on our costume. Can you guess who I am?
That's right! Indiana Jones. I travel is style. Notice my creepy-crawly bugs lingering about. Don't worry though. I have my trusty whip to take care of them. But, aren't I supposed to HATE SNAKES?
On our way out trick-or-treating, we ran into some scary folks: a pirate, Wonder Woman, and Snow White. We joined ranks and went on our merry way.

We came upon a mysterious scene: there was a party going on at the end of our cul-de-sac.
Many of the neighborhood villians, superheroes, princesses, and other random exciting people were putting away their stigmas and mingling together!
After all this excitement, we sure were tired.
Happy Halloween Everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Rash

Sorry for all of you who are tired of Nolan sickness updates. But this kid just can't kick it! These pictures are his latest rash. It started yesterday, and has just spread over all his torso. From his scalp to his entire bottom area. Strangely enough, it seems to have spared most of his arms and legs-seeing that they are already suffering from the other rash. The doctor said it is just a secondary symptom. At least he isn't itching! Poor little Nolan

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Fun Day

I spoiled myself today. Since Christmas last year, I had been saving some gift cards for a special day. Today was that day. I left Nolan at home with Ted, and went out for 4 luxurious hours alone. Here were my great purchases:
After all that hard shopping, I discovered what makes for a great lunch.
Thanks Ted and Nolan for letting me out of the house!

Nolan's Spots

Any Doctors in the house? We have been experiencing this very strange hive-like rash for about 2 months now.

It started in August, and the doctor said it was probably bites. She thought our dog Cassie brought some bugs into the house. We put him on Zyrtec, washed and vacuumed everything in the house, and found Cassie a new home. (I will admit that this isn't the only reason Cassie had to go. She was a great dog, but shed like crazy. Nolan was always covered in dog hair, and I just couldn't take it.) The Zyrtec got rid of the "bites" and all was well.

After a week, we stopped the meds and the bumps came back. Then the Doc said it was probably an allergy. Try Zyrtec for a month. No bumps.

A month later, stopping the Zyrtec, bumps are worse than ever. Do you see how big they are? The doctor doesn't know what is causing them. I don't want to keep him on Zyrtec anymore. They don't really bother him. Anyone have and advice what to do?

Friday, October 24, 2008

The One

It is 2 am. He woke up with a high fever. I held him while the medicine took affect. I have such faith in the doctors and Ibuprofen. I am so grateful for modern medicine.

As we sat rocking together, I felt this strange empowerment.

I am the One

I am the one who will comfort him because I am Mom.
I am the one who will nourish him because I am Mom.
I am the one who will love him because I am Mom.
I am the one who will support him because I am Mom.
I am the one who will cry for him because I am Mom.
I am the one who will be there for him because I am Mom.

I can think of no greater power than being Nolan's mom. I can also think of no greater responsibility. When we are given these little beings, we are entrusted with so much. I think we are given an extra little help: being Mom.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ear Infection

Another milestone was reached today. Nolan has his first ear infection. He woke up again last night with a fever of 103.7. Poor little guy. He was so miserable. We went to the doctor and found out that he has the ear infection, and probably has a little something else, too. Amoxicillan for us. As for his rash, she has no idea what is causing it. It is probably an allergic reaction to something. What? Who knows. We may never know. Ahhhh-my allergy saturated gene pool.

On another note, I need some advice. You may remember that when Nolan was born, he basically starved for the first 3 months of life. My breastmilk wasn't doing it for him. When I started supplementing, he gained 2.5 pounds in 11 days. That is more than 2 ounces a day! Our pediatrician wasn't concerned about it. She is of the thinking that breastmilk is always best and will work itself out eventually. That thinking may be good for some people (do I hear La Leche????) but didn't make me feel any better about constant nursing with no satisfaction. EVER. She is an extremely intelligent person, great at what she does, and has earned many awards. Do her accolades and experience outway my personal grudge?

Today's appointment was with a different doctor in the same practice. I LOVED her. She experienced the same nursing issue with her first child. She supplemented. The baby thrived. Do what it takes to help them eat and grow is her philosophy. I am much agreed.

So---do I switch doctors? They are both competent, able women. I will have a guilty conscience every time I go there if I switch. The second doctor assured me that people do it all the time and no one takes it personally. What would you do?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

11 months old

11 Months Old
Whew-what a day! Nolan has been a little grouchy lately, but I passed it off on teething. This morning I thought he felt slightly warm, but again, passed it off to teething. We went to church playgroup at the park and played outside for an hour and a half. Nolan was clingy, but still climbed and slid down slides. We got home and I realized he felt even hotter. 102.2 degrees. Oops-bad mom award goes to me. I gave him some Motrin, and put him down for a nap. He barely slept and just wanted to snuggle. Poor little guy. I figured he just needed some mom time.

Well, throughout the evening he got hotter and hotter, and his "rash/hives" (former problem-unsolved of course) started getting worse. After dinner, I decided to try the temp thing again-103.6. Uh oh. Ted was at school. My good friend/neighbor/go to girl Kate was on a Disney cruise. I was alone. I called the doctor and my mother in law. Grandma came over to be with us, and the doctor called back. Apparently, fevers aren't serious until over 105. Have any of you heard different numbers? I swear, everyone says something different. Well, I guess I had a case of overreacting. His second dose of Motrin brought the fever down nicely, and he is snoozing away peacefully. I, on the other hand, am still slightly worried.

Tonight again makes me realize why I love having family and friends. Sisters that you can call for advice on anything from what the heck to make for dinner, to helping you out with a kid sickness. Even if they are just a listening ear. Parents that are supportive and try to help as much as possible. I am so appreciative that my mother in law didn't hesitate to come be with us tonight, even if it was unnecessary. I also know that I have friends that I could call on if needed. I feel so lucky to be blessed with such good people in my life.

Although Nolan was sick this morning, he was so cute in his vest, hat and sweatshirt needed for our 50 degree day. I forgot my camera for playgroup, so I was planning on dressing him up and taking him outside to play in the leaves this afternoon for his 11 month photo. As you can probably guess, the photo didn't happen. Nonetheless, I did get a couple of cute ones.

It is hard to believe that Nolan started off so skinny-this little boy LOVES to eat. It seems as though the only thing that makes him cry is if he isn't fed as soon as he thinks he is supposed to be. Including snack time.
Nolan is on the verge of walking. He looks for things he can push and walk behind all over the house. He can stand on his own for a few seconds, and walks well holding hands.
We can't believe how fast time flies and that in a month, we will have a 1 year old. He truly is the sweetest little boy, and every day I am so thankful that I am his mother and that I have the opportunity to teach him and watch him grow each and every day.