To My Little (not-so-little anymore) Brother…

Yesterday was little brother’s birthday.

Sometimes I forget that we are grown-ups and not little kids running around in the yard or playing basketball in the church parking lot. Time flies.

I am sure I would have never earned the “Big Sister of the Year” award. I was most likely being bossy or sassy. On a good day, I was probably making you play some kind of game that you didn’t really want to play or curling your hair and dressing you up like a life-sized barbie doll. And, I laughed when dad plugged up the vacuum and gave you a bad haircut with the flowbe. (You have to admit, it was funny!) It’s a wonder you survived. You were a good little brother. And I know you thought I was cool – even if you won’t admit it in a million years. You still think I’m cool, right?

I joke about how I taught you everything you know and how you got all your coolness and wit from growing up with me. The truth is – I think you really are awesome.

You. Are. Awesome.

I am so glad that God picked me to your big sister. I’m so glad that we grew up to be friends. Sometimes, I wish you lived right around the corner so we could take our fabulous spouses and go on a double date. Or, we could get together and make music, just for fun. I wish my kids could spend more time with you and Auntie T. They would be crazy about you. Even more than they already are. But, it’s ok. Why? Because God is using you right where you are to do great things.

I love watching you do and be what God has intended for you to do and be. I admire your courage and your patient endurance. I admire your obedience.
I love watching you lead worship. Above all, I admire your love for Jesus. You are a beautiful picture of God’s grace – a masterpiece, a treasure.

We are celebrating you from across the miles. We are thankful for you. We love you. Happy birthday!


Honor to Whom Honor is Due

This is my Dad.

Dad & Me

Today is his 60th birthday.  Woo-Hoo! Hooray! So, I am writing this one for him – to honor him and to remind him that he is loved beyond measure.

Dear Dad, you are one of my heroes. I am thankful that God picked me to be your daughter. I admire your strength and courage. I admire your perseverance. You have shown me what it means to love and care for others above yourself. Even those who may have hurt you or mistreated you. You have shown me how to be bold and courageous. I’m not speaking of a boldness that is brazen and arrogant or a courage that is proud. It’s a boldness and a courage that come from a place of humility. I’ve watched you make mistakes and get back up. I’ve watched you say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” or “I need help.” You taught me that it is ok to be imperfect and that God’s grace is greater than all my weakness.

Thank you for raising me to understand who Jesus is and what He came to do. Thank you for loving Him and putting Him first in your life and teaching us to do the same. Thank you for teaching me the importance of worship and the power of prayer. I used to creep over to the church office to steal your ink pens and hear you praying, you know. Sometimes, I would hang back and listen, realizing that I had stumbled upon a holy moment. Sometimes I would run off determined to come back and steal an ink pen later. You had the best ink pens!

Thank you for teaching me how to laugh. Now, little brother and I are funnier than you. Thanks for teaching me how to shoot a basketball, grab a rebound, and pass a volleyball. Thank you for telling me to sing. To work hard. To write.  To love BIG.

Thank you for believing in me. For praying for me. For loving me unconditionally. For being my biggest fan. For having tough conversations with me. For speaking truth and wisdom into my life. And now, you do all those things for my husband and my children. We are blessed beyond measure to have you near.

We love you. We honor you. We celebrate you. We are so very grateful for all that you are. You are one cool-smooth-God-fearing dude. And we are all the better for it!

Happy 60th birthday, Dad.

Random Updates & Merry Christmas!

It’s been a few weeks.

I just spent the last 4 minutes staring at the blinking cursor on the screen wondering where to begin. My thoughts are jumbled, which seems to be my normal state of being for the moment. Today I’m writing from the Guest Library at the Staybridge Suites.

By Library, I mean this. . .

Another guest just walked into the Library and said to her daughter, “There is supposed to be a library, I don’t see it.” I couldn’t bring myself to tell them! It’s a nice change of scene, anyway.

We’re inching closer to being into our new home. Woo-hoo! We went yesterday for a final walk-through.

We did get another big item checked off our to-do list when we purchased a mini-van last week. That’s right. A mini-van. Brian has affectionately named her the Jones Family Spaceship. We are still learning where all the buttons and switches are. It has automatic doors on the sides that open with the push of a button. What we didn’t know is that the van has to be in park and of course, the doors have to be unlocked! The first morning in carpool was interesting. Lots of beeping. A little embarrassment for our poor 5th grader. It went a little more smoothly in afternoon carpool. But, sometimes we still forget. The kids stand outside the door yelling, “Park! Park! Put it in park!” We’re having fun with it so far. The kids love it. It has plenty of space for Baby Girl. We are thankful for God’s provision. It is more than we could have imagined. But, isn’t that the way God does things. Yes, yes it is.

Family Date night was big fun last week. We went to the Paint Spot and painted some pottery. It’s therapeutic! At least that is true for the grown-ups. Madeleine, who is showing signs of being a perfectionist and over-achiever, was taking her time with every brush stroke. She wasn’t happy with her volleyball bank. William, who’s been named the “best artist in his class,” wondered why his Lightening McQueen bank didn’t look as nice as our baby owl ornament. After a few minutes, they both settled down and were pleased enough to continue. By the end of the night, there were huge splatters of paint on me, William and the wall behind us. William was shaking his bright red paint bottle with the lid open. Yikes!

This week, Madeleine and William went to a class just for big brothers and sisters-to-be. They learned about changing diapers, swaddling the baby, and holding the baby. All the kids sat in a circle and talked about what babies do when they come home. It was big fun. It won’t be long now. They are going to be fabulous. I love our little family.

We are 32 weeks, which is the beginning of the 8th month. Things have gotten a bit complicated because my glucose tolerance test came back high, which means gestational diabetes. For the rest of the pregnancy, I’ll be treated as a diabetic complete with finger pricks and careful monitoring. It seems I won’t have to take insulin, but will rather be able to control my blood sugar by adjusting diet and exercise. We’ll do Biophysical Profiles each week to keep an eye on Baby Girl’s growth (gestational diabetes can mean really big, difficult to deliver babies) and amniotic fluid levels. Next week, we have three doctor appointments. Three. It’s no fun being labeled “high risk.” Sigh.

The last report was excellent. Baby Girl looks wonderful. She weighs about 4.3 lbs. We were able to see a few of the ultrasound images in 3D. That was so fascinating. It appeared that she was trying to get her foot in her mouth. She was pulling her toes up to her mouth with her little hand. The tech commented that she was quite an acrobat. You don’t have to tell me that, right!? She likes to use my bladder and my ribs as props! We’ll have 2 more ultrasounds next week and a regular check-up.

Looks like we’ll be spending Christmas morning in the Staybridge Suites, unless there is divine intervention. (Which is possible!) We finally decided we’d go and get a small Christmas tree. Presents are yet to be wrapped. I keep telling myself I still have time! Take a look at our little tree…precious, isn’t it? 🙂

The kids are convinced it will be fun to have to Christmas here…they almost have me convinced. Almost.

Please pray for us. We are growing a bit tired and weary. We are thankful for reminders along the way that the details of our life and our circumstance do not escape the watchful eye of Him who holds the whole world in His hands. Sigh. (Of relief.)

Merry Christmas. Blessings to you as you celebrate the Hope of the World. Baby King Jesus.

Perfect Chaos

Perfect chaos.

Those two words describe the past two weeks of life for our little family. My predominantly sanguine husband might say it’s been one adventure after another. At least that was probably true for the first of the two weeks. The second of the two weeks, however,  has given his melancholy characteristics an opportunity to shine! Chaos, indeed!

I’m writing from our cozy little suite at the Staybridge Inn. It’s a lovely extended-stay hotel tucked nicely between Southeast Christian Church and Bluegrass Harley-Davidson. (Sense my sarcasm!) After we moved out of our home at warp speed (7 days to be exact), we landed here. By “we” I mean Brian, Madeleine, William, and me . . . and the 2 dogs, 2 fish, 2 sugar gliders, and a hamster! Cozy = crowded! The dogs are not taking the change very well.  They bark and whimper and are generally anxious. Ruby decided the place needed a little color; so, she escaped from her crate and knocked blue nail polish off the sink. We were able to get all the polish cleaned up, but poor Ruby is still sporting one blue paw. I’m not sure which was more upsetting–the blue polish or the hole she left when she tried to dig her way out of the room (from inside her crate)! Poor pup. She doesn’t seem to be handling all of this too well! The rest of us are doing just fine! We really are, all things considered.

Ruby’s blue paw (left); Ruby’s big hole (right)

Hopefully, we won’t be here too much longer. We made an offer on a house last week and received the signed contract today!  We are still in awe and give God praise and glory for His divine provision. I am being reminded again and again of two important truths: 1.  He is concerned with the details of our lives–both big and small, and 2. Divine providence can be seen in our lives as He works in every situation–both big and small. He’s working one miracle after another for us. There is no doubt it’s God. He’s God in the midst of chaos. And, He sees us, in the midst of chaos.  I am so thankful for that.

One of God’s miracles.

Baby Girl is due to arrive in just over 10 weeks. That’s 74 days! I am pleased to report that we have started registering for baby items, making lists, making plans. That makes me feel so much better. This weekend we made the first purchase for Baby Girl.  You might think of a bassinet, crib, or car seat. Or maybe a going-home-from-the-hospital outfit. But, no. Here’s what we bought. . .

Sleep sacks! Please don’t ask me to explain that one! I have no idea.

She’s growing! The baby bump is expanding, meaning my lap has essentially disappeared.  I cannot seem to position  myself in any way to dissuade her from all her moving about. Her bumps and kicks are turning into rolls and jabs. Space is getting tight, I suppose! She especially likes to wiggle and roll when I’m lying down trying to rest. (That must be God’s way of preparing me for the sleepless nights to come.) We had to take a glucose tolerance test today.  That means I had a yummy breakfast, and she put on quite a show with all her acrobatics. You know that point where it actually hurts when the baby moves? We’re there.

Though I wish I could have the delicious glucose drink every day, I have managed to find a reasonable substitute. Chicken and dumplings has become a favorite. In fact, I’ve had them about 4-5 times in the last 7 days! Comfort food. The kids are officially tired of Cracker Barrel and Chick-fil-a. I can’t say that I blame them. Even still, Baby Girl seems to be a fan.

Madeleine starts playing club volleyball this week.  She tried out in the beginning of November for a non-travel team and made it! She’s very excited. We all are. She recently performed in her first Performing Arts Club production, “Rock Solid”. She was great! All the kids did an awesome job. She always surprises me. I think she surprises herself too. Her violin recital was last week. She did a fabulous job. We were all excited to have Poppy and Grammy be able to join us.

William is getting ready for his annual Christmas program at school.  He’s been singing and practicing hard. It’s one of my favorite programs of the year. This year we managed to get his little shepherd costume together before the night of the performance. We did not, however, manage to get a cute picture of said costume! Maybe, tomorrow.

I could go on and on, but I will spare you. Just know that we’re here and all is well. We’re taking it one adventure at a time…one chaotic moment by one.  And in the midst of our chaos we’ve had the opportunity as a family to be still, stand firm, and know that He is God. (That’s been hard!) But when we manage it, our chaos becomes something more. Something good.

Perfect. Chaos.

It’s just one of the beautiful things that comes with belonging to Him.

92 Days

Brian and I have a couple of those cool pregnancy apps for our iphones. They’ve been fun. Today, however, I opened one up and read “92 more days to go!”

Ummm…what’s that now?

I must confess. I freaked out.

Between moving (twice), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s there won’t be much time to blink before the beginning of February is staring us in the face! Never mind that I have been known to deliver anywhere between 37 and 38 weeks in previous pregnancies. That puts us in the middle of January! The MIDDLE OF JANUARY! There is still so much to do. That might be an understatment. We haven’t done anything!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Moving on.

We’re 27 weeks along. Our next appointment is November 22. After that, we will likely start going to the doctor every 2-3 weeks. We’ve taken one of our first prenatal classes. That was fun! Brian was paying close attention. I was overwhelmed and suddenly panicky as the nurse covered the labor and delivery process. Suddenly, I had vivid memories. I kept thinking, “Oh yeah, I hate that part!” or “Oh, right. That part HURT!” and even, “I don’t think I can do this again!” Shameful, I know. Brian, being the encourager that he is, gently reminded me that I’ve done this four times. He says it’ll be a breeze! He’s my biggest fan! Our birthing class will be in the beginning of January. That’s bound to provide plenty of opportunities for a good laugh and even more opportunities for sheer panic! Big fun!

We still haven’t settled on her first name. Only a couple names from the original list actually made it to the final list. Some of our favorite possibilities are new additions to the list! We have a short list for her middle name, also. Here is that list: Claire, Dawn (my middle name), Faith, or Christine (after my grandmother on my Dad’s side). That list was easy! Looks like we will take our list with us to the hospital and name her when we meet her. That is, if I can keep the planner in me at rest until then! Luckily, we have plenty of other plans to make!

Speaking of plans, there are a lot of other things happening around here at the moment. I’ll have to save those updates for a separate post. Thanks for reading!

Hello world!

12 Weeks

Hello family and friends! Welcome to our blog. This is the place to be to get the scoop on what’s happening with the Jones family. Trust me when I say that ALOT is happening. You can subscribe to the page and receive an e-mail notification when the blog is updated. Go to the right-hand column and enter your e-mail address. Then click “Sign Me Up.” You won’t have to miss a thing, and it is sure to be anything but boring! Read on and enjoy!

Most of you know we’re pregnant. This will serve as the first official update since we’ve spread the news. So, may I direct your attention to the picture at the top of your screen.

Week 13

This is “Junior.” Please do not get attached to the name. I promise it’s not going to stick! (More on that another day!) The image was created last week during our second ultrasound. Look closely and you can see the baby’s profile. Everything looked great, though I wouldn’t say the baby was cooperative! The good report was welcomed given that this tiny being is causing such a ruckus for Mommy, which in turn causes quite a ruckus for everyone else!

I’ve been SO, SO sick. Terrible nausea has been my constant companion nearly all day for most days the past few months. I have already determined that God graciously allowed me to forget the sometimes unpleasant details of my previous pregnancies. The first time I turned green-faced and raced to the bathroom, it all came flooding back. But I have to say that so far, I’m having fun. I marvel at the miracle taking place right under our noses. Sure, my blue jeans don’t fit (actually not much of anything is fitting), nothing tastes good, my nose is on overdrive, I’m exhausted, I’m sick, and I spend a good majority of the day in the bathroom, BUT it’s good.

It’s good and I’m grateful.

Here are a few tidbits of info:

First,  the estimated due date is February 10. That means we are 13 weeks 3 days along. (Woo-hoo for the 2nd trimester.)

The next doctor’s appointment is August 30th. We do not know the gender yet. We do plan to find out.  We may or may not tell. 🙂