Monday, November 5, 2012



This year was the first time you got to go trick-or-treating and boy were you a fan!  Once you got the hang of the fact that you got to keep the things you put in your pumpkin pail, there was no stopping you.  You exemplified the term "big boy" on halloween night; needless to say I was proud of you but also stood in awe of this little person you have become.  You wanted to walk up and down the sidewalk to the houses, you would fuss and flail if I attempted to carry you.  You wanted to carry your own pail - expect you had to cave and let Daddy take it at the end of the night as it got to heavy for you to pick up!  If allowed, you would systematically empty someone's bowl one piece at a time into your pail.  You were picky too; if someone handed you candy, that was fine you would put it in your pail and be on your merry little way.  If YOU got to pick, you would dig through until you found the brightest colored package and select that one.  Daddy and I noticed that YELLOW seemed to be the theme of your choice.  I guess with all the brown and silver found commonly on candy packaging, the yellow of Peanut M & M's stood out.  At one house someone had a whole plate of Full Size candies and you moved things out of the way to claim (using both hands) a box of lemonheads.  You were very decisive in your choices; in that when we went to one house where there were two bowls - one with candy and one with Scooby Gummy Snacks - you started for the candy bowl then saw the other one, put back the candy and took a Scooby Snack package as your prize.  All in all we're guessing we went to about 25 houses (I took you up one side of the street while Daddy held down the candy distribution at home and then he took you on the other side).  You got quite a loot too - 78 pieces of candy / treats and 4 little tubs of Play Dough!!! 

Crazy to think that this time last year you were in 3 month PJ's and now you're walking around in your Winnie the Pooh costume charming your way into another piece of candy. 

All my love,

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2012

1st Treat

 Checking out contents of pail at the end of the night

Family Photo

Monday, October 22, 2012

3:48 am Wake Up Calls

October 22, 2012
You woke up at 3:48 am with a cry; me being Mama I’ve learned what your different cries mean.  It’s strange, I can tell by the pitch, fervor, sound what is going on and what you need.  Before you were born, people told me I would learn.  Over time I would know what was a hungry, sad, scared, tired, angry cry – each different in their own way.  Last night, it was a cry of pain, I think those darn teeth (your lower molars) are trying to make their way into your mouth and are giving you a fit full of pain.
When I came in you just looked at me with a sad expression and reached your arms up to me.  As I lifted you up you snuggled close knowing that everything would be okay because Mama was there.  I gave you your “teethy medicine” (Orajel) and we settled into the rocking chair to see if you would go back to sleep. 
As you very well know by now, you are a wiggle worm.  You are constantly on the go and won’t sit on my lap or allow anyone to rock you.  In one way it makes me proud as I see your fierce independence and I am so amazed at how much you have grown and learned.  The other side of me feels the bittersweet tinge of reality that my little peanut is growing up.  I say at that to say that last night, you let me rock you.  You laid your head against my chest and sucked on your fingers as you do when you’re tired.  You would occasionally look up at me as if to check and see if I was still there.  You then moved to lay in my arms, as I cradled you I found myself amazed at how big you had gotten.  The legs that used to barely reach across my lap now dangle off to the side.  For what seemed like forever you just laid in my arms and stared at me, as if you were memorizing me in that very moment.  You reached up and touched my nose, my lips, and my hair – as if to be sure I was not just a dream.  In that moment I didn’t care that in an hour the alarm would go off to tell me I needed to get up and start my morning routine (shower, get dressed, pack lunches, etc.).  In that moment time stood still and you were my peanut again; I need those little reminders for the days when you’re testing limits and being “curious” … I am thankful for those moments when time stands still and I am reminded that you are and will always be my little boy and I will always be your Mama, a title I treasure with every fiber of my being. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mama's Wish List

When Alex turned 6 months old I quickly realized my baby was growing into this little person and I started to put together a Mama's Wish List for him.  Just things I was looking forward to.  I found this list recently and started to update it with notes as many of these wishes have already happened:

Mama's Can’t Wait List (as of February 2012;updated 10/2012):
1.       Watch you take your first steps – 7/16/2012 – the day you turned 11 months old, you began to walk; your first step without falling was on 7/9/2012, then on 7/10/2012 you took 2 steps, but on 7/16 you walked from Daddy to Mommy without missing a beat. J

2.       Your first word - DOG

3.       The first time you say “Mama / Mom / Mommy” - saying Mama came quickly after Dada....and it makes me smile every time.

4.       The first time you say “Dada / Dad / Daddy” – you called your papa “Daddy” on his birthday 4.13.2012 – that totally made his day!

5.       1st time in a swimming pool (since you love your bath, I think you’ll like it!) – Verdict is in – YOU ARE A FISH; You love water, the pool, your water table…yup, it’s a big thumbs up on this one J

6.       1st time at a playground (hopefully Annie’s Playground – it’s really cool!) – ended up being at Lynn Stacie Getz playground since it was closer to our house; we’re planning to go to Annie’s Playground sometime soon 5/2012)

7.       Take you to the circus (and get a light up twirling toy and cotton candy)

8.       1st baseball game (hopefully the O’s will be better by then – 10/2012 – the O’s are in the playoffs for the 1st time in 15 years….hopefully they’ll continue to do well and we’ll catch a game at Camden Yards in the next couple of years)

9.       1st football game

10.   1st time fishing

11.   Dance in the rain / jumping in puddles

12.   Watch a thunderstorm through the bay window

13.   Run through sprinklers on a hot summer day

14.   Introduce to you to the wonder of bubbles! - another thing that you LOVE, and another word you say "bubbles"; you will say this at the sight of bubbles, a bubble wand, a bubble bucket, a bottle of bubbles...yup, you know and love your bubbles!!!

15.   1st haircut (supposedly on your 1st birthday, but it will depend on how much hair you have, still waiting for more hair to grow 10/2012)

16.   1st McDonald’s Happy Meal (really hope they still have the toy in it by then)

17.   1st piece of artwork

18.   1st Ice Cream  / Ice Cream Cone (perhaps at Brooms Bloom J) – you had bites of mine on the OC boardwalk (it was strawberry banana from Kohr’s Brothers); looking forward to the day you get one of your very own J

19.   1st time playing in the snow…10/2012 I think that’s going to happen this winter – they’re saying we should get 20+ inches of snow!!!

20.   1st time buying an ice cream dessert off the ice cream truck

21.   1st yoohoo and car ride with Daddy (childhood tradition)

22.   1st cupcake at the bakery

23.   1st time at the state farm

24.   1st visit to a theme park (Hershey Park has to be your first, it’s a tradition…there’s a story)

25.   Dancing on the big piano at FAO Schwartz in NYC

26.   Visiting Santa at the Macy’s in NYC

27.   Dressing up and going Trick-or-Treating on Halloween – 2012 Can't wait!!!! J

28.   Visiting the zoo

29.   Visiting the aquarium

30.   Teaching you how to bowl / taking you bowling for the 1st time

31.   1st Merry-Go-Round ride

32.   1st ride on an airplane

33.   1st ride on a train

34.   1st Bible Verse memorized

35.   Visiting the train garden this year (2012) – last year you were only 4 ½ months old and didn’t really get the whole concept.
 With the holiday season just around the corner, I am looking forward to sharing / introducing Alex to our favorite traditions.  I know they will be a little bit sweeter as he will be able to participate in more of them and is more aware of things now.  I'm hoping he won't be frightened of Santa this year (since he's more aware); last year he sat there and was perfectly content (as you can see below). 

Holiday Traditions in our family currently include:

- Visit Webers Farm and pick put pumpkins (while eating cider donuts and drinking apple cider)
- Carving pumpkins
- Decorating the house (inside & out) for fall & halloween
- Dressing up & giving out candy to trick-or-treaters (including 4 giant bars given for best costumes, winners decided on the spot by myself and hubby).
**New this year** - Dressing up Alex and taking him trick or treating

- Pumpkin flavored baking (bread, pie, etc) & Pecan pies :)
- Thanksgiving dinner with the family
- Our wedding anniversary & my birthday are both in this month
- Black Friday shopping & lunch
- Visiting Santa the weekend of my birthday (started tradition last year)

-Decorate house (inside & out)
- Christmas tree
- Baking Christmas cookies
- Stockings
- Christmas gifts at Grandma's house
- Christmas Eve with family
- Christmas Dinner with family

Friday, July 27, 2012

Freeze Frame Moments

The thing I love about photographs is that they freeze time, capture the essence of that moment and help to maintain a memory long after the event is passed.  This is something that was very important to me when i had my wedding because at the end of the day when the flowers fade, the gown is packed away, tuxes returned; the only evidence left of that day would be in the pictures.

As Alex's 1st birthday is quickly approaching, I find myself pouring over photos and videos of him when he was first born.  I've been putting together a timeline of images to display for his party and am amazed to see him grown in size and in personality.  The older he gets the more evident his happy and laid back personality shines through. 

When Alex was almost 2 months old, we went to visit his cousin Carter, who is 3 months older then him.  We, his Mom and I, took this picture below:

October 2011
Left: Alex, 8 weeks old - Right: Carter: almost 5 months old

I look at this string bean of a boy, with those skinny arms and legs and remember how tiny he once was.  Even though he's pint sized next to his cousin, you can see his smirk and personality shining through.

The boys spent the day together earlier this week while I was at work and Carter's Mom took an updated photo of the boys on that very same sofa (they swapped seats though!):

July 20112
Left:  Carter: 14 months old - Right: Alex 11 1/2 months old

Needless to say, these boys have grown quite a bit.  They are each other's best buds and playmates.  I have a feeling that in years to come there will many stories of the adventures of the Jones Boys and they will be the stuff of legends!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Father's Day - James' Gift - June 2012

Since this was James' first Father's Day as a Daddy I wanted to do something special to commemorate it.  I had a wonderful friend and talented photographer Mandi Loranger take some photos of Alex.  The concept Mandi had was to have Alex hold the letters D and A and spell out Dad in a series of pictures.  It turned out so great and James was really suprised.  Here are the pictures we used:

Alex is 9 1/2 months old in these pictures.  Mandi also took pictures of Alex when he was 6 months old and will be doing his 1 year photos as well.  If you are in MD, check her out:  Mandi Loranger Photography

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Little Fishy - June 2012

We introduced Alex to the POOL for the first time this month.  He reacted as we expected - with a big GRIN.  For a boy who loves his bath so much he gets upset when you take him out - I have a feeling he'll be living in the pool this summer! 

Alex - 1st Carnival

As the warm weather has taken up residence, we are doing our best to enjoy all that it has to offer.  This time last year Alex was still snug-as-a-bug inside me and we were anxiously awaiting his impending arrival.  As we walked around the carnival at a local church last year, we talked about how much fun it would be the next year with a little one.  We had a wonderful time taking Alex to that same carnival this year.
He was a little sober when we arrived, it was alot to take in; but he quickly warmed up. 
He had fun playing PLINKO (the homemade version of the Price Is Right game) and pick a duck (he LOVES rubber duckies). 

The first of many yearly visits to the St. Stephen's Carnival.  I hope that Alex's childhood is filled with lots of good memories of this carnival in the years to come.  I am someone who loves tradition, certain things to look forward to year after year.  I hope this tradition will soon become on of Alex's favorites!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


As a mom who works full time outside of the home I find myself coming home after being gone for 12 hours (I leave at 7 am, drop off my son, work, pick up my son, arrive home around 7pm) and I look around and am overwhelmed. 

The laundry is piled up, the dishes in the sink need to go into the dishwasher, but the clean ones need to come out first.  You know what I mean, you get the visual.  I know that I am not alone in this.  Every other mom in the world has the same laundry and dishes.

 I laugh when people say "I don't know how you do it, do it all".  I'm not sure what "all" they think I"m doing.  I'm going to work, making a living so that I can provide for my family.  I am spending the 2 hours at night my son is awake before bedtime playing with him and enjoying his presence.  I am running the dishwasher and washer & dryer in cycles in the evenings and swap them in the morning.  I am doing whatever it takes, what every other mom does.

Needless to say when I was little and I dreamed of a family, this is not what I had in mind.  I had the white pickett fence, stay at home mom, clean manicured home, dinner on the table at 5 pm, perfect little world idea (think Bree Van de Camp minus the crazy).  It wasn't that I was raised in Stepford Wives world, I simply thought in my head that was what it would be like. 

Don't get me wrong, it takes alot.  I juggle my time and prioritize.  I decide what's worth my time and what isn't.  I get overwhelmed by it all.  At the end of the day, if you showed me 10 years ago that this would be my life I wouldn't have believed you.  I would have thought "I can't do that".  I have found a strength within that I am daily amazed by. 

God knows my capacity, and He will not give me more then I can handle.  He knows what I can handle, better then I could ever dream or imagine.  He knows how strong I am.  My strength has been tested alot in the last 4 years, but I stand firm in the fact that God is and always will be my ROCK, my FORTRESS, my EVER PRESENT HELP. 

With this I encourage you, you are not alone.  You are stronger then you know.  You are an AWESOME creation of God and He doesn't make mistakes. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Daughter's Heart

Father’s Day 2010 I took my Dad to breakfast at Bob Evans to celebrate.  It had only been a few weeks, not even a month, since he had told me about his cancer diagnosis.  He was optimistic, cheerful, his usual self.  He got the biggest breakfast platter on the menu and drank a whole pot of coffee.  Since I was treating, he ordered it all the fixings…that was just Dad, being Dad. 
When we parted ways that day I whispered in his ear, “maybe by next Father’s Day you’ll be a Grand Dad again” (my sister has a son).  To this he grinned ear to ear and his excitement could not be contained.
God had other plans though; on November 9, 2010 he went to be with Jesus and walked through the pearly gates of heaven.  It was the day after my 2nd wedding anniversary.
December 18, 2010, I found out I was pregnant.  There is a saying, I don’t know it’s origin, that felt so poignant on that day: “As one life ends, another begins…”.  In my soul I knew it was a boy, that’s just the way the world / life / fate works.   My prediction would be proven true on March 30, 2011, the day that would have been Dad’s 72nd birthday.
Father’s Day 2011 was a tough one.  Knowing that my son (who would be born that August) would never meet my Dad was heartbreaking.  Dad loved kids.  He was that cute old guy in the store that smiled at the kids and made silly faces at them to make them giggle while waiting in the checkout line.  He was a big kid himself at times. 
As I face Father’s Day this year, I look at Alex in his 10 month old glory and it is bittersweet.  I am so amazed at this little guy that is growing and developing before my very eyes.  He has such a strong will and a personality his very own.  He is inquisitive, clever and fearless.  His giggles are infectious and he is rarely without a smile plastered across his face.  I hate that Dad didn’t get to meet him, see his smile, hear him laugh, watch him grow. 
In the midst of my grief and sadness, God has given me joy.  In the midst of my pain, he comforted me.  Alex is God’s soothing balm for my soul.  God knew I needed a little boy to help me heal.  He knew the profound effect this little man would have on my life and how much joy and pride he would bring to me.  Oh how I look forward to the days, months and years to come as I continue to watch him grow, learn and become the man God has ordained him to be. 
I find myself repeating Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die…”.  I am thankful that Dad is no longer in pain.  I am thankful for the 71 years 7 months and 9 days that he spent on this earth. I am thankful that he was such a permeating presence in my life for 27 years, 18 days.  I am and will forever be, his little girl.
Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love you.