Anna Banana and the Likes

Big things are happening over here in the Jones household! 

But before I jump into that I want to let you all know that Travis arrived home safely on Thursday!!! I never exited a car so fast when I saw him walking out of the airport doors. I jumped into his arms and didn't want to leave them. While he was delayed a whole day(!!!), he is now back on American soil and cannot believe how much Anna has grown in only the 2 weeks he was gone. She's talking and screeching like a banshee, laughing (not a fully belly laugh though), and moving things from one hand to the other and then to her mouth. He's just in awe of his little girl--makes a Mama's heart melt! He had an amazing time in SE Asia, fell in love with the people, and has so many stories to share he hasn't even gotten through half of them with me. We were able to get away on a little date on Friday night. But let me tell you, these southern folk really get in a tizzy when a little freezing rain comes to town! Everything was closed, even the mall! So we had to nix our original plans and find one of the only open restaurants around--a little Italian restaurant called Mezzanote, which if you know anything about my love for Italian food, I was totes fine with that! All in all, I'm just really glad to have my man home and all to myself for a while--well at least until soccer season starts. ;)

So like I said, big things are happening over here in the Jones household! At Anna's four month check up her pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start on solids. I really wanted to wait until 6 months because I heard it was better for digestion and because I really didn't want to deal with the clean up or new poop adventures. But alas, after reading the signs of readiness our baby girl definitely seems ready for something more than just my milk. 

-At least 4 months old...check
-Weighs twice as much as her birth weight...pretty darn close
-Weighs at least 13-15 pounds...13 lbs 9 oz to be exact
-Can sit with support and has control over head and neck muscles...just recently
-yada, yada, yada...check, check, check
And the big one:
-Shows interest in others eating around her...YUP!

Over the past few days I've really been thinking about what her first food was going to be. A lot of moms begin with rice cereal, but we didn't have any on hand and I didn't want to buy a box if Anna wasn't quite ready for solids just yet. I read that bananas are a good food to start 4 month olds on and we had one more left. Plus we call her our little Anna Banana so it worked out perfectly! After I fed her some milk I mushed up a teaspoon of banana, we donned her bib, put her in her seat, and got started!

Despite appearances, Anna seemed really excited about me putting the spoon in her mouth. She wanted to help!

For the most part, I think she enjoyed her first solid food experience. She made funny faces, which made me wonder if she liked the banana, but she definitely didn't want to stop. I guess we'll just see what happens tomorrow. Our baby girl is growing up way too fast! Slow down, Anna Banana!


A Dozen Years

It all began (at least from my point of view) when Travis asked to be my softball partner in our sophomore gym class. Little did he know I had been playing softball since I was 6 years old. He said I blew him away because I could actually throw a ball, ha! We became friends and remained that way for the rest of the semester. After Christmas break I told Travis that my former boyfriend and I had broken up and without skipping a beat he asked me what I was doing that night. So what did I do? I gave him my best friend's number! We did hang out that night. And the next night, and the night after that. But we weren't considered boyfriend and girlfriend yet. I wasn't ready. My naive little high school heart didn't want to be in a relationship just yet. So I told him when I was ready I would be the one to ask him out. He must have really found something in me he liked to be okay with waiting! Any other high school guy would've left. January 22, 2001 was like any other day. We went to school, ate lunch together like usual, and spoke on the phone for an hour before hanging up. After we said our good-nights for the evening there was something I still wanted to say. I called Travis up right away.

"Hello?" Travis answers.

"I'mreadyforarelationshipnow." I sputtered out. Silence on the other end for a few seconds, I'm sure because he was trying to process what I actually said. Then...


"Ok, cool! Well then, I guess I'll see you tomorrow at school. Good night!"

"Good night!"

And that was 12 years ago. It really doesn't feel like that long ago but we've been together almost half of our lives! I sometimes still feel like that high school couple, spending every moment we can with one another, walking to the Tasty Freeze down the street from Travis' family's house, babysitting my younger siblings, and talking about our future beach mansion one day. I feel so blessed to have married my high school sweetheart, to be spending the rest of my life with him, and raising a family together. To the man I love with all my heart, you still make my stomach flutter and my heart skip a beat like it did 12 years ago!

First comes love
Then comes marriage
And then comes a baby in a baby carriage


Cancer's Life Lessons

I received an email a few weeks ago from a woman who wanted to share her story. On my blog! I've never had a guest post before but as soon as she told me a little about herself I knew I had to have her share. Heather is an amazing, beautiful, courageous woman who's had to endure more than anyone ever should. Please take the time to read her story below.

Thank you, Heather, for giving me the opportunity to share your story!

Three and a half months after our daughter was born in 2005, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos as a child. It was during this time that I learned what it means when people say it takes a village to raise a child. Our lives went from happy and full to sad and difficult in a matter of minutes. Lily was born on August 4, 2005. Our home was full of people. My family, my husband’s family, and our friends were always around to be with little Lily. We felt like life was perfect until that November 21st day when my doctor gave me the bad news.

I looked at my husband and daughter and thought about the grim news we’d just received. Without treatment, I had 15 months to live. I knew then that I would do whatever it took to live for those two. My doctor gave me 3 options, good better and best. We decided on the best option, which was also the most drastic. We had to send Lily to live with my parents in South Dakota so my husband and I could go to Boston. It was there that I met with one of the best mesothelioma doctors around, Dr. David Sugarbaker. On February 2, 2006, he removed my left lung. For 18 days, I lived in the hospital recovering. I met people in the hospital going through the same thing as me, and they helped me make it through each day. I spent another two months recovering my body before starting chemotherapy and radiation.

My mom and dad were caring for my Lily. They had full time jobs, however, so they relied on the help that was offered to them by our friends, family, and even the kids I used to babysit as a teenager. They are all grown up and have families of their own, and they were so kind to help take care of my daughter while my parents were at work. Without them, we never could have done what we did. I am so thankful.

Cancer is an ugly thing, but it’s also a funny thing. We learned how horrible it is, but we also learned that something good came from my cancer. Lily now has a bond with my parents that is unlike anything else and can never be changed, despite the miles and time that sometimes go between visits. We learned that life is special, and we really have to spend every single day focusing on the good in life and being thankful for the things we have and the people we love.

You can follow Heather here!


A Year Ago Today

I took a test. The most important and exciting test of our lives. There was no need to study for such a test. I just took it, biting my nails in anticipation as the results showed up 3 minutes later on a little screen. Two lines. Or is it just one? I can't tell! Get the instructions out again! What does it say?! A line is a line, even if it's a faded line. Whelp, we definitely saw two lines, which meant I passed. You can read the rest of the story here, it was pretty exciting, to say the least! That was a year ago. Today is a much different day. Those two lines have turned into a tiny being that has changed our lives forever. A good and perfect gift only our Heavenly Father and ultimate creator can give. What a blessing and joy those two little lines have become. What a sacrifice it has been to become a parent, to love another more than yourself, to have your heart now on the outside of your body (I now know what that means). The first test was easy; it'll be the test for the rest of her life that will be challenging and yet rewarding!

From this...

To this!


Finding Peace at 30,000 Feet

This has been easier than I thought it would be. Taking care of baby Anna has definitely filled my time and my thoughts. Of course I miss my husband and long for his company--and much more ;) but Anna has kept me on my toes and being surrounded by family has kept me busy. I've been able to Skype with Travis several times. It's been wonderful. The connection has been awful but hearing his voice even if it cuts out and he sounds like a robot has lifted my spirits every day.

I'm sure many of you are wondering how the plane ride went with a baby and a mama by herself. It was crazy to say the least. Definitely wish Travis was with me, but then if he was we wouldn't have been flying anywhere anyway. Side note: All you single mamas and daddies, I give you major props! God bless you, because doing it alone is no joke. The thing was no matter how loud Anna cried or how fast I had to haul-butt to get to my connecting flight or how much poop got on Anna's clothes after her blow out I felt at peace the entire day. I felt God with me more than usual, and I really believe it had to do with all of our family and friends who were praying for us. Thank you! You're prayers were definitely felt! I really am not a fan of flying. I hate any kind of turbulence--who doesn't? I'm known for squeezing the life out of the hand of the person next to me, usually Travis, during take off and landing. I'll look around wondering why everyone looks so calm reading their Nook or Sky Mall while I want to crawl into a fetal position, put my fingers in my ears, and yell "la, la, la, la, la!". But this time the fear of flying was the farthest thing on my mind. I was too busy trying to soothe a screaming Anna during the first flight and clean up her blow out in the 3 foot by 4 foot plane restroom during the second. And though Anna's cries seemed to ring louder than the plane's engines, my friend's words spoken to me a few months ago were even louder in my ears, "you'll never see these people again". The icing on the cake happened when we finally arrived in Columbus. I took a quick pit stop to the bathroom before picking up my luggage--first bathroom trip in 6 hours, not to mention with a baby still strapped onto my body--seriously something only a mother can do! A lady who was also on the flight said to me as I started to leave the bathroom, "You sure are brave! And you're little one did great. Good job, Mom!" Yes! Albeit a crazy day, plane ride sans Travis was a success!
you try taking a clear picture with a squirmy baby on your lap!


Great Grandparents are the Best!

I didn't get to know my great-grandparents. I really wish I would have. My parents love to tell me how amazing they were and how loved they felt by them. Unfortunately Anna won't get to meet her great-grandparents on my side either. Before this gets to be a depressing post...Anna is able to know her great-grandparents on Travis' side and I am so thankful for that! They are all so wonderful and have taken me in as one of their own. I love them so much. One of the best moments of Anna's first Christmas was having her meet her great-grandparents. Their faces lit up when we brought her in to their houses, they giggled with eagerness to hold her as we pulled her out of her car seat, and they loved on her like only a great-grandparent can.

"Thanks, Great-Grandma Phyllis, for patting my bottom. I just love laying on my tummy. It's so hot I had to take my shirt off!" Anna's words, not mine ;)

"Ahhh, the joys of Great-Grandpa Roger and his recliner!" :)
Aren't they just a beautiful couple?! I love hearing stories of their marriage, such an inspiration!

"I love you, Great Grandma Virginia"

From generation to generation. Just beautiful!


day 1 down, 15 more to go!

We survived the first day and with minimal tears! --when we said our good-byes doesn't count, I was an absolute wreck! Anna and I spent today in our jammies, played, sang, read a few books, and caught up with a great friend on the phone. Plus Anna seems to be feeling better! 
Day 1, I would say, was a great success!


Bless Her Heart

Dang you, RSV, you couldn't have come at a worse time! My husband leaves the country in less than 48 hours and you just had to rear your ugly head on my poor baby girl. Thankfully the airlines worked with me and now Anna and I will be leaving Thursday instead of Monday free of charge! Continued prayers would be greatly appreciated!


Thailand, Please Take Care of My Man

I've been waiting to write this post mainly because I just wish it wouldn't happen. My husband is leaving for Southeast Asia on Monday and will be gone for 16 days (SIXTEEN DAYS!!!). When he first told me about the opportunity to go to Thailand and a few other countries over there (I cannot say for safety purposes) I told him he should go for sure.

But Anna will only be 3 months old; I'm afraid I'll miss something, he said.

But, Travis, this is a trip of a lifetime, the entire Urban Eagles staff is going, and you'll be training hundreds of sports ministers. How can you not go?! 

Now that this trip is only 5 days away I'm beginning to question why I told him to go...of course, all for selfish reasons.

I really am so excited for him; he may even get to ride an elephant--totes jelly! I know the Lord is going to do some amazing things over there that will strengthen Travis' faith even more, and I can't wait to hear all the stories when he returns. I just wish he could take me along.

While he's riding elephants, eating authentic pad thai, and sweating in 95 degree weather, Anna and I will be shivering in the freezing cold air of Ohio. That's right, she and I will be heading back up north to be with family to keep us distracted from continually thinking about Daddy. I don't think I realize just how hard it's going to be not seeing, touching, or talking with him for 16 days. I'm trying to savor every last second with him before we leave one another, I'm trying to allow him to spend as much time with Anna before they leave one another. She can't receive enough kisses from her Daddy in the next few days. Ok, I need to stop, I'm going to make myself cry before it's even time! 

Please pray with me. Pray that the Lord would speak through Travis and the other guys going. Pray that these sports ministers who are being trained will be encouraged and take what they learn and use it for God's glory. Pray for the people who these sports ministers are ministering to, that they would come to know Jesus through the sport of soccer. Pray for health and safety for my man and the rest of the team. Pray for Anna and me.