Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Card 2013

Hello all and Merry Christmas!

Just a bit more than what we could fit on a Christmas card here, but I thought I should post some updates while enjoying NBC's The Sing-off.

You know when someone writes how "this year has been quite the /such a/a doozy of a year" statement and you think, "Isn't every year?"  I truly feel like we can proclaim this year "quite the year" for The Jones clan.

As I posted earlier, we have experienced much change this year.  Here are some more changes and new endeavors we thought we would catch you up on:

David graduated from Chiropractic school!!!  That sentence deserves three exclamation points.  My husband has been a student for the better part of 8 years of marriage and (even though he loves school) we are both super thankful he is done.  

After his graduation we took a celebratory trip to Seaside/Watercolor.  Our first time going there and we had some wonderful relaxation and fun.
Seaside, we love you!

 David and I started a non-profit (well, soon- we hope- still waiting on the IRS approval :), The Jones Family Clinic.  It's a place where we hope to be a resource for parents of adopted and foster children, where they can come for holistic support.  This has been our dream for a while, and we are amazed that God brought it to fruition so quickly.
Where the magic happens

These are the kinds of things we do there ;)
My office, still in progress
We bought our home.  We became homeowners of a little chunk of Hope St.  and have had some fun renovating and fixing things up.

 My two, beautiful cousins were both married this year and the kids got to be in a wedding.  This was the highlight of Alisa's year!  They all loved being a part of the wedding.
Alisa with the Bride!

My wedding dates to Lauren's wedding ;)
I'll leave you with some fall pics...

This is the Star Spinner from "Higher Raisin", the Dolphin Show at the Aquarium.  Braylen talks about his so much, it's like he is a member of the family so he might as well be on our Christmas Card page!

 We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hope Street Renovations: Living Room

The Before, 70's laminate panelling and all

This is what our living room has been like for the last 2 years.  It was functional, and we enjoyed it, even with the fake wood panels and stained carpet.  But we were also happy to get to update it a bit!  We attempted our first room renovation in July.  There was a lot of ups and downs, and I fully admire those who are pro DIYers, designers, etc.  Those that can just attack a project with confidence awe me!  David and I are NOT handy by any means.  But thanks to those who live near us (Thanks Willis'!) we made it through.  Replaced the floors, added a dining area, painted, removed and replaced molding, had a scare that we were infested with black mold,  replaced some sub flooring, and now are in love with our space.  So thankful for our new living/ dining room!

The Fireplace- super easy and one of my favorite parts.  We just watered down some grey/cream paint and brushed it on with a rag.  It took maybe an hour and we were done.  Super easy idea for a facelift for an old brick fireplace.  The wooden frame was a find my mom had gotten from a yard sale and never had made it into what project she was thinking for it.  I like having it as a focal point because it reminds me of her and her creativity.

David likes things that look like they are "as old as France".  He says the fireplace reminds him of things he was around growing up, looking ancient and cool :)
The floors, the fireplace, the new paint, all together
Whole Room Pics:
We get great light in here- now I just have to figure out what to do with our lovely cane/brass/wood fan....
The Dining Area: 

This wall was kind of bare, so I did a gallery wall (below)
The kids helped me pick everything out from Hobby Lobby.  Sadly, I think it is their favorite store.  They did a great job!  So really, it was a group effort :)
This wash stand used to be in our foyer places in homes when I was younger.  Super old and well-made.  It makes me happy to have it here :)
The Floors:
We got an AWES deal on the laminate floors.  I originally was thinking grey-ish old oak looking floors.  But these were .69 cents a square foot.  That price was hard to argue with!  And at first I was second guessing them, but I actually like them much more than a grey.  They really brighten up the room and even have grey streaks and "knots" in them.
As I mentioned above, we had a mold scare.  Turns out it was most likely a fire, since there was a lot of charring on top of the sub flooring.  Maybe a Christmas tree fire?  But the black was just burnt wood, and not water damage.  There was no leaking near any walls or the fireplace.  We had several people come and check it out to make sure!  David replaced the bulk of them with a new piece of sub floor.  And can I say that I loved pulling up all the carpet pad staples with pliers- my favorite part!

A lot scarier than it looks!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Catching Up...

It's been a super long time since I have blogged.  Many reasons can account for that.  Some, superficial, like I kind of detest the speed of David's Acer notebook :)  And other heavier reasons, like this past year has been one of the hardest years I have had to face yet.  Adjusting to being an adoptive mother has not been all roses and butterflies.  My children did not just become instantly secure when the judge announced us as their parents.  It has been a long, winding, bumpy (sometimes mountain-terrain like!) road.

My mother also went to be with her Lord a couple months ago after suffering complications from cancer for a few years.  My papa did just before her.  Life seems much shorter to me than a year ago.

But still I am thankful.  I feel the need to list some of the things we are thankful for.  We have a game in our family, particularly helpful if you feel woe-as-me more often than not, called "5 Things".  Simple- you think of 5 things you are thankful for in that moment in time, and usually it helps get your mind in a better place.  (Sounds like a great game to make your kids do, which we sometimes encourage, but really- it is for Mom, because she is probably the families biggest complainer :)

So here are my 5 Things for today/ recently:

  • We were blessed by a stranger's complement today- We went to get silhouettes done for the whole family at a local children's toy store.  We were there for about an hour and the owner told us right before we left that she thought we should get a family award- or something to that effect because she thought our kids seemed very "secure" and we were "present and with them the whole time".  That complement may go down in the history of the greatest complements I/we have or will receive.  She didn't say, "Oh your kids are so well behaved..."  Which would have been nice, but the fact that she said we were present and that our kids seemed secure- such a big word and goal for us in this house.  Honestly, I would much rather someone see my kids as secure than well-behaved.  (And depending on your standards, they usually go hand-in-hand.)  I did reply that we are definitely not always that calm, laid-back. or present with our children and sometimes I go in a corner and cry to keep from yelling and sometimes I yell to keep from crying (well, I didn't share that last part with her :).  But at least it seems as if we are balancing out our mess-ups and parenting blunders with at least 51% of the time creating a safe place for these three who have not had one before our home.
  • Second, my husband is about to be a Chiropractor (soon to post on that endeavor...)!  I have been married to someone in school for most of our 8 years together.  He is ready to be done and we are so excited to see what the future holds!  God has given us a really neat vision to carry out and we know it will be rough and even mundane at times, but we are pumped!
  • Third, my Mia is smiling more.  That may not seem like a big deal but for us it's huge!  She has even cracked a couple jokes over the last month.  Miracle of miracles!  This is such a big milestone for her.  She has been our child who will just crumble and melt at any sign of confusion, a misunderstanding, or even times when she gets hurt by her siblings.  The best way I can describe her at a couple years ago is a small girl who was frightened of everything and everything seemed to make her unhappy.  She slowly came out of the melt-down phase over the first couple of months, but she still didn't smile very much.  We have been working with her tirelessly to help her find her voice and develop skills to use it  You know, the standard parenting technique of trying to be present and help her find words when she wants to use cat behavior- yes, she likes to act like a cat when she is nervous.  If Mia were newborn when we first got her, she would be just now entering the separation anxiety phase.  So developmentally speaking she is right on track, even though she's four.  She asks me to go with her everytime she goes to another room in the house- and I love it!  I love seeing her finally be vulnerable enough to ask me for help and cling to my skirt when she tries something new.  She finally has accepted us and trusts us as her secure base through which to explore her world.  It's weird to be thankful for smiles and clingy-ness, but for her, we totally are!
  • Fourth, Bubs is alive.  A couple months ago we had a near drowning experience in the Chattahoochee river.  I won't re-hash the details, but I felt like he and I were very specifically saved from a worse fate.  In fact, the most miraculous thing that happened that day was not being pulled out of the current, but what happened afterwards.  He had bobbed up and down several times and I expected him to be super traumatized afterwards, but we were able to have some calm, quiet time together where I could comfort him and somehow (The Lord) was not tripped out over the complete lack of control I just had over my own life!  The rest of the day, week, month I kept expecting him to trip out and go into a fear phase, which he has before when triggered by something from his past.  But he seemed to be able to tell his story to people with detail and calm and a little peace about it all.  Super thankful that God gave me the peace and calmness of mind to comfort Bubs after such an ordeal.
  • And finally, Alisa is beginning to cry- a lot.  I know, again, a weird thing to be thankful for; however, you may know what I am talking about if you have raised a hardened child who was adopted at an older age.  Living in fear or uncertainty for four and a half years demands a level of heightened guard and control for a small child.  Almost every night this week she has cried in mine or David's arms.  Sometimes I know what for: missing her first Mama, being sad I am going to get coffee with friends after she is asleep :), but other times, we have no idea why she is crying.  But since we know how much she has held in over the last six years, we encourage it- "Keep crying Baby Girl, until it's all out!"  And we pray that God comes into the space her grieving creates and that she can experience His comfort in more ways.  We hold her and love on her, too, but we know that the Master Comforter can heal what we cannot.  Her walls are coming down!  Praise the Lord!

The rest are pictures of things that happened over the last year- super-long-picture-catch-up-post!  You are forewarned :)

December 18, 2012, we officially became the Jones Family, party of 5!

We celebrated Christmas in Ocala Florida, went to Silver Springs, stayed in cabins, had a blast with David's fam.
Mim at Silver Springs Carousel

The Whole Gang
Bubs in awe of the carousel
We did round two of ear tubes.  For. All. Three. Kids!  Here is Alisa and her not hearing self at the doctors office:

We celebrated birthdays 3, 4, 6, and we took a friend to PF Changs for Alisa's 6th and the phrase "wear what you want" was taken quite literally :)  See below where Alisa's sweet friend Caroline wore her Susan outfit, from Chronicles of Narnia and Alisa wore an amazingly mis-matched outfit :)

This happened..

And we got this awesome Easter family pic where everyone co-operated beautifully and I don't look like a sleep-deprived crazy :)

And this happened...I was half asleep, in my defense!

We made cupcakes many times

We swam, freely I might add
at Surfside Beach, SC
We got to go to the aquarium with Uncle Bryan and Aunt Sherry, and Mimimo, Aunt Anna, and cousins.

We did naked chore time...
 We spent a month in Memphis and stayed with Grandma, Grandpa, and got to spend QT with Uncle Bryan, Aunt Sherry, and "Uncle" Scott and "Aunt" Lauren- here are the kids with their Build-ABear surprises their Uncle Bryan and Aunt Sherry got them.  In case you are wondering, the name of the pony is Ella, the name of the cat/bear is Jewler Lover, and the name of the monkey is Belew (like the bear from Jungle Book :)
 But we mostly spent our days like this: