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.