NYE: a look back over 2012

Tonight is the first new years eve that we're staying in. We usually find something to do, friends or family to be with. But this year it's different, this year we have a baby who is presently fast asleep and has no idea 2012 is over and a new year is beginning in less than 3 hours. As we tucked baby Anna into bed earlier tonight we kissed her over and over again like we usually do, but this time we reminisced and told her how amazing this past year was, a year filled with new beginnings, greater love, and endless Jubilee!

Since I'm not a big journal writer (I dabble here and there) I decided to look through my photos and blog posts of the past year and reflect on how great it was. So many great times:

January: we found out we were pregnant with Juice Drop! We also moved into our new home.
February: we took a trip to Ohio to share with our family and good friends that we were pregnant.
March: My sister and brother visited us and we hiked Crowders Mountain. Visits from the sibs are the best! We also shared with the world (aka Facebook and you all!) that we were expecting.
April: we found out Juice Drop is a girl!
May: One of my best friends, Heather, had her baby, Kiah, who is of course Anna's best friend :)
June: we went on vacation with my family to Fort Myers, Florida and it rained the whole time! We also celebrated Travis' first Father's Day.
July: we went on our babymoon, our last vacation just the two of us, to Amelia Island, Florida. 
August: we took an 11 hour road trip to Indiana to be in one of my best friend's weddings. Even though I was 34 weeks pregnant I was not going to miss seeing Lindsey walk down the aisle!
September: the best month of all, Juice Drop arrives and finally gets a name! Anna Jubilee made her debut on the 21st (her Mama's birthday nonetheless!)
October: Anna took her first road trip to Charleston, met her grandparents and aunts and uncle, had her first halloween, and showed her first smile!
November: we celebrated Anna's first Thanksgiving in California with her aunt and uncle (Travis' brother). 
December: A month that went by way too fast but was filled with great family and friends! Anna celebrated her first Christmas, met her great grandparents, went to the zoo for the first time, and sat on Santa's lap!

God Bless You in 2013!


A Christmas Card

I meant to post this a few days ago. With it being Anna's first Christmas and the chaos delight of seeing every family member in the Columbus area it just slipped from my mind. So without further ado I bring you the Joneses family Christmas card:

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your family, and we pray for a blessed 2013!


Here Comes Santa Claus!

Doing the whole Santa thing was something I wrestled with before Anna came along. I don't want Christmas to be all about Santa, presents, and getting. I want it to be what it's really about. I'm going to throw a Jesus grenade here: Keep CHRIST in Christmas! I guess it doesn't really matter this year; I've got another year to wrestle with it since Anna doesn't quite understand anything yet. But as Christmas nears, I'm reminded of how much I loved Christmas growing up. I loved believing in Santa. I mean, I was 10 (basically in middle school!) before I really stopped believing, and even then I was sad to not believe anymore. I think deep down I knew for a while before I was 10 it was my parents stuffing our stockings, placing all our toys under the tree, and consuming the milk and cookies (I should've known when my mom always suggested putting out oatmeal raisin instead of chocolate chip!), I just wasn't ready to stop believing. After I stopped believing I even kept it alive for my younger siblings instead of telling them like a lot of older siblings do. But along with Santa my parents made sure to share the real meaning of Christmas. They told me about Jesus, about how he came as a baby born of a virgin to bring the world back to His Father. Christmas began to mean more to me as I grew older and learned more about Jesus and felt Him living inside of me, especially knowing the real gift given and what it means for everyone. While Santa was a great thought and fun while I was younger, I couldn't deny Jesus' existence. My prayer is that my daughter won't be able to either.

As of this Christmas we're kind of doing the Santa thing. Well, at least getting pictures with him. I still have another year to decide what we're going to do exactly. I would hate to not give my daughter the opportunity to believe in something that brought me so much joy as a little girl. So for now, Santa lives and he's coming to town!

Classic cousin picture. Each kid is doing something hilarious! Before the picture was taken Anna was pulling Santa's beard! Guess we'll see if she gets coal in her stocking this year :)

She looks so tiny on Santa's lap!

Telling Santa what she wants :)


Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Mother's Christmas sweets. There is just nothing like them. My favorite were these mini cherry cheesecakes my mom used to make. I'd sneak into our family's garage fridge and steal the ones especially for our neighbors--pipe down, they didn't even know! Those little guys were oh, so good and oh, so addicting. And now that I've become a mother I felt it only essential that I begin making these Christmas sweets. We had our office party last night and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share them--and of course leave a dozen few at home for the hubs and me!--but really just me ;) 

I know you're just dying to know the recipe because who doesn't like cheesecake?! And who doesn't like anything that is miniature?!

And now I present to you my Mother's wonderfully delicious, cute mini cherry cheesecakes:

 All the good stuff!

Beat the cream cheese.
 Beat in eggs
and milk, vanilla, and salt
until it looks like this
Fill cupcake liners with vanilla wafers.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until filling is puffed and set. Once cool top with cherries. Chill then
Yay for Christmas, mini cherry cheesecakes, and ugly sweaters!

What is your favorite Christmas sweet?


It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Well besides the fact that it's 70 degrees and sunny, but I'm not complaining! It at least looks like Christmas in our living room and that's really all that matters. And honestly, I don't mind if it doesn't snow this year; keep sending the 70 degree weather, God. I love it!

We had a great time getting in the festive mood and making ornaments last week with our small group. So much fun I thought I'd share with you how we made them so you can make your own for your tree. They are super easy and super cute!

I decided to make one for Anna since this is her first Christmas. Her middle name is Jubilee--perfect for this time of year, no?

What you need:
yard stick
scrabble pieces (our friend found a few scrabble games at a thrift store)
ornament hook
wood glue
table saw
decorations: ribbon, bells, stickers, etc.

What you do:
1st-pick out the letters you want
2nd-glue them on the yard stick
3rd-using table saw, cut yard stick
4th-drill a hole at the top of the stick for the ornament hook
5th-decorate with ribbon, bells, stickers, or with whatever your heart desires. Get creative!
6th-hang on tree to enjoy all season long!


Head Up, Little Lady

Wouldja just look at that?! Wouldja just look at that neck control?! Just look at it, will ya?!

We are just so proud of our 10 week old! Did I just say 10 week old? That just blows my mind! 

I remember when I was 10 weeks pregnant. It was right after we visited our family in Ohio to tell them the great news about Anna. I remember thinking how far away meeting our baby seemed. But, boy, did it fly by and now that tiny, little salamander looking thing is a bouncing 10 week old! Crazy how fast life goes and before we know it we'll have a 10 year old, don't remind me! But for now I'm not going to think about the past when she was the size of a pin needle or the future when she'll be having slumber parties. I'm going to bask in the awesomeness that my daughter can now hold her head up during tummy time for a solid 5 minutes without fussing! You go, girl!

P.S. I know she's not in a cloth diaper. No, I haven't given up on them. She doesn't wear them at night; this was right before bedtime.


And We're Back!

I know, I know, where have I been all your life?! You missed me didn't you...please say you did! 

We were in California!!! 

That's right, our little Juice Drop took her first flight to see her Uncle Troy and Aunt Carly (Travis' brother) in the great state of Cali for Thanksgiving! Before our little one came along a trip to the west coast sounded like a superb idea, then when she finally arrived I began second guessing how I was going to actually survive a plane ride and a week away from normalcy with an 8 week old. But we did it and with great success because our baby girl did a fabulous job and gracefully slept through it all. Can I just say, without being a bit biased at all, that our baby was the best baby on all of the flights?! No crying, no blow outs, slept when she wasn't eating...Ok, ok, now I'm just bragging, and it will all come back to bite me in the butt when I have to fly alone with this little girl come January; the tables may just turn.

I would love to stay and chat for a bit, tell you how amazing California was (because it truly was a wonderful vacation with beautiful sights that were seen and the best company we could ask for), however, I feel like my words won't do any justice (and neither will the future pictures). I'd rather wait until Travis is done editing so I can really share with you the awesomeness of this trip. Until then I leave you with this silly picture of a little girl who is sound asleep in her own bed (what?! my sweet baby is growing up way too fast!)


Flipping for Cloth

Yep, that's right, we've started cloth diapers! And I'm super excited! Who gets excited about something that will be soiled within hours and then have to be washed? It's me, it's me! Ask me how I feel about them in 5 months and I'll let you know if my opinion has changed :)

Maybe I'm super excited because they're just so darn cute. I know, it won't be so cute in a few hours when I have to change her diaper and then wash it but...I mean, just look at her...

Loving our Flip Diapers!

Confessions of a First Time Mom, Part Deux

I thought my post pregnancy hormones had settled down, then 6 weeks hit and it was like I got ran over by a freight train. All of a sudden my newborn wasn't so newborn-y anymore. She's like a little person now, waking up with a huge grin on her face to brighten my morning and coos telling me how her dreams were. So like I said 6 weeks hit and the waterworks began as I realized how fast my baby girl is growing before our eyes. I've caught myself on numerous occasions this week holding her a little longer before I put her in her bed for the night knowing another day down is another day she's older. I know this is perfectly okay but as I'm squeezing her I'm also bawling my eyes out! I begin to think of all the things I haven't done yet or things I told myself I would do and didn't do and now my chance has passed. 1. Likesuchas her baby book. I hadn't written in it at all! Now I forget a lot of what's happened. I opened the book the other day and on one of the pages I'm supposed to write about our first day and night home. What did we do when we got home? I have no idea!--this of course is something she is so desperately going to want to know 25 years from now! 2. Although I have a ton of pictures and a decent amount of videos I really wanted to be that mom who did weekly updates or made a cool montage of my daughter 10 years from now looking back on the past 10 years. I hope she can forgive me for not buying those blocks with the numbers and weeks/months on them and taking her picture each week. She'll be ok, right? 3. Or how about the fact that friends and family bought her adorable, too cute for words outfits she can't fit into any longer that she wore only once or not at all?! This makes me so terribly sad. I hated removing her newborn clothes from her dresser and I know in just a few weeks (because she's growing like a weed!) I'll have to do the same with her 0-3 months clothes. 4. I think the biggest reason why the tears won't stop is because I just need a little more of Jesus in my life right now. I've missed Him in a big way. I know He's been right beside me this whole time but I think I've forgotten to acknowledge His presence. I still see Him, especially in my daughter, but I haven't had (let's be honest) taken the time to sit at His feet and just talk with Him, tell Him how I'm feeling, what I'm going through, and ask His guidance on how I can be the best mom and wife, since this is exactly what He's called me to. Even as I type this I can hear Him telling me what I've been ranting and raving over above isn't what makes me the Mom I need to be to Anna. The baby book, the pictures, the super cute outfits will all fade away, and yeah, they're great for memories, but what really matters is the love I'm giving to Anna, those times that I do hold her a little longer, the moments I sit and talk with her, sing over her, play with her--those are going to be what she remembers. So if I'm crying this week over a baby book, a lack of pictures taken and videos recorded, and outgrown outfits I've totally missed the point. And I really don't think that's why I'm crying. My baby girl is growing up too fast and I don't know if I can handle it. How do you other mothers do it?! I think I know how...well at least this is what I'm going to do...I'm going to stop living in the past and instead enjoy every moment I have with Anna. Life isn't going to slow down for me so I should probably cut back on the tears (don't get me wrong, some tears are good :) because while I'm crying, she's growing, and I may just miss it due to blurry vision.

My little cross eyed beauty, on the day we went home from the hospital

Anna's most recent picture from 6 1/2 weeks. She's making America (and her Mama and Daddy) proud :)


She Ain't Afraid of No Ghost!

Anna's Halloween costume had been planned out even before she was born. Back in the spring Travis and I were at Old Navy perusing the baby section and found the most amazing onesie. Travis was a bit obsessed with Ghostbusters growing up. He had a huge box full of figurines, his dad and he would have Stay Puft Marshmallow Man fights using shaving cream, he had the soundtrack and every Saturday morning as his family would clean the house they'd rock out to the theme song, and his grandpa built him a dollhouse haunted house so his little ghostbusters could zap Slimer and his friends. So when I say a bit obsessed I mean he lived and breathed ghostbusters! A little ridiculous...but, oh, so cute :) We tried to stay away from buying clothes for Anna before she was born because we knew we'd get a ton from baby showers and hand me downs but we couldn't resist buying a Ghostbuster onesie that has in big letters "I ain't afraid of no ghost".. We knew right away she was going to wear it for Halloween and decided it was only fitting for Travis and me to be those ghosts she ain't afraid of!

P.S. Who remembers Slimer Hi-C? Hands down, the best drink ever!

P.S.S. I'll leave you with this little ditty:


First Road Trip

How does one pack for a 5 week old for one night?

Gather a box of 20 diapers, 2 packages of wipes, 10 bibs, and 5 burp cloths. Pack 4 days worth of clothes according to two different seasons (end of summer, beginning of fall), disassemble the bassinet, make sure you have the stroller and carrier (for options), and you should be good to go!

Check, check, check, check, and oh shoot, I forgot her pants!

Poor Anna had to go pantless on her first road trip. And the Parent of the Year Award goes to: Moi. As I was packing it was still in the 80s and this girl gets super hot, so she usually struts around in her short or long sleeve onesies sans pants all day. Of course it had to be in the low 70s and windy the weekend we decided to travel to Charleston, but at least it made for a funny long running joke and thank Heaven for tall cozy socks!

Her first weekend away from home was a success. We had no major catastrophes, Anna slept through the night (except to eat), and she enjoyed cuddle time and kisses from Uncle Dave and Aunt Kristen. We visited the beach for a bit and put baby tootsies in the sand. You could say this little lady is like her Mama and will one day be a beach bum. She took in the scenery and enjoyed feeling the wind blow through her hair--and let me tell you, the wind was brutal!

I wish we could've stayed longer but this was great practice for when we visit Uncle Troy and Aunt Carly for Thanksgiving in California for a week! There will be a lot more packing for that so I'm starting the list today and first on the list: PANTS!

I can't get enough of these tootsies!
With the wind at her back she hasn't a care in the world! 

Photo Sesh with Daddy! Ohh I could eat her up, I love her so!
I'm pretty sure if I had let go Anna would've blown away!

Any other fun first road trip stories out there? 


This Little Piggy Went to the Market

It started out as a walk that turned into dinner for two three. Wishing those "take them a meal" deals lasted forever we were stuck with either beans and rice at home or spending money by going out. Beans and rice didn't sound appetizing and spending $20 on a meal when we knew we had food at home didn't sit well with our wallets. As we strolled along the Greenway with the Charlotte skyline behind us we noticed the Farmer's Market was selling pumpkins. As we got closer we were excited to see they were selling their usual fruits and veggies as well. The Farmer's Market open on a Sunday?! 
Rows and rows of pumpkins just waiting to be carved!

And they even had pumpkins the perfect size for Anna!

They had the coolest selection of gourds and a very colorful array of pumpkins.

After perusing the fruits and veggies and agreeing we just had to buy some we decided our dinner wasn't going to be beans and rice nor was it going to be wasted on an overpriced meal. We were going to buy fresh fruits and veggies and cook our own farmer's market dinner! We picked out 4 delicious looking ears of corn, a few potatoes to mash, and we completed our meal with salted ham that the market was also selling. We couldn't walk away without buying a basket of very plump blackberries and a bag of apples, making sure to choose the apples we'd never heard of before, like Nittany apples and black mountain apples. I always thought the Farmer's Market was expensive but we left only spending $16! We had our meal for the evening plus fresh fruit for the week!

King's Drive Farmer's Market, with your luscious fruits, delectable vegetables, and prices that can't be beat, believe you me, we shall meet again and hopefully sooner rather than later!