Friday, July 29, 2011

Our House: Making Progress

So here we are. Photos of our house-in-progress. Before and after shots would help, I know. So would a wide angled lens camera. Anywho, our main staircase above. It was carpeted and we were quite pleased to find this underneath. Tegegne was surprisingly good at pulling the staples out with pliers. Not Handy Manny tools...they were the real deal! The window on the landing is light pink leaded glass. Blurry in the photo, but it's pretty. We have about 3250 square feet here, and often my mind races with all of the projects we'd like to do. Good thing Michael is such an enthusiast! 

Here's the family room with Michael's record collection. My mom found this sweet chair and ottoman at an auction. Most likely at one of my dad's auction's. A while back I got a phone call from my dad saying, "Hey Kristyn, are you into Eames furniture?...Um, yes dad. I totally LOVE that style." Since that conversation he keeps his eye out for all things modern.  It's quite the deal!

We opened up the butler's staircase and cut some random holes through to the kitchen. It has been so fun to peek our heads through to each other. There are five openings. I foresee that as us needing to have one more child (Lord willing, we will adopt again in a few years!) to get a peep-hole family photo. For now Owen get's a square (He really does peak his head through and it's so funny).

A view through a peep-hole to the kitchen. Exposing the brick walls (aka removing messy plaster) was Michael's project today. We were excited to find the arched detail above the window. I've always wanted exposed brick and here it is! That means that each exterior wall of our house has this same brick. I think there will be more "exposing" down the road!

This was taken in our second floor laundry room. Don't you love our "ericfon"? Ironically, my brother "Eric" is the little guy in the photo hanging from the oversized clothes pin. Our giraffe is from Ethiopia. Oh, and this is my toolbox. Michael borrows from it all the time, but I let him. 

And this is how we communicate ideas. I draw them up in 3D. I did this type of thing at work, (but with better rendering capability!) and it's so fun to do it on our own projects. 

Our peep-holes with one little peeper. 

Our back porch is home to most of our kitchen belongings until we get cabinets underway.

Michael has three more weeks until school starts. A friend just stopped by and we were discussing a major project that we are considering. Tearing out the bathroom and two walls that divide the kitchen and family room on the first floor. Opening this up would make the house awesome for hanging out, hosting, and just living. (Kitchen is currently11'x12') It would be way more open and lofty-urban feeling. Exciting. Okay, I think it's a go. Michael's renting a dumpster and will get started right after his bike ride in the morning! 

Hensley Ruth: 5 Months Old

Okay you may notice that these are not your "month photos," but I will have to get to those tomorrow. This was you in Austin as we toured the South Congress shops. The progression of the photos goes like this: at the top you were saying "Oh wow, this is going to be fun! I love to shop!" Middle photo - "Okay, did any of you realize that we are in Texas and it is seriously hot. Like, I'm not even sure it is safe for a baby like me to be in this heat." Bottom photo - "That's it. I'm done. But, did I mention I love my daddy?"

Hens, you are seriously adorable and we are crazy about you. Thanks for being a real trooper on our trip. 


Mom, Dad, and Tegegne

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summertime: Swimmy Swim

Pool time has been ubber fun this summer. We have two little fishes. Hensley you LOVED being in the water almost as much as your big bro. I've got a lot to catch you up on, besides pool time though. Little Hens you are growing and it's your 5 month birthday! Hooray! Wake up so I can take your monthly photos, or sleep...for just a bit longer. We had a blast in Austin, and I can't wait to share about our trip. And lastly, we are taking full advantage of Michael's days off and our house is in remodel mode. Especially the kitchen. Stay tuned to keep up with the Joneses. Our bicycle basket is overflowing with summertime fun. (wow, that's super cheesy talk and I like it.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Henri Nouwen: Feeling vs Knowing

red collection
What We Feel Is Not Who We Are

Our emotional lives move up and down constantly. Sometimes we experience great mood swings: from excitement to depression, from joy to sorrow, from inner harmony to inner chaos. A little event, a word from someone, a disappointment in work, many things can trigger such mood swings. Mostly we have little control over these changes. It seems that they happen to us rather than being created byus.

Thus it is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life. Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us. As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are. We are and remain, whatever our moods, God's beloved children.

- Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nothing Beats It

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Nothing beats late nights with Michael in the kitchen, slowly enjoying his delectable chocolate chip cookies.  Seriously. I usually scoop them off the hot pan with my fingers because I can't wait for them to cool. Ummmm. With a cold glass of milk in a mason jar of course. A good time to chat, which currently means that I am learning a lot about The Tour. I love it. I can even sort of hold a conversation about The Tour these days because I've been a good listener. 

Nothing beats it. Except the early morning cookie that didn't get eaten the night before. Or the late night cookies that he promised to make with our awesome friends in Austin, Texas this weekend! We are taking a last minute trip to Austin, and we cannot wait to explore the city but especially spend time with our friends. Michael and Johnny G go way back and they are ridiculous together. Tanya and I usually can't stop laughing. And we've both become parents since we've hung out last. We are in for quite a weekend. 

Sorry I'm having weekend talk and it's only Wednesday.

Hopefully yours will come sooner than you know it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tegegne: Memory Lane + First Moments Together

It is fun watch these videos and remember how special those first moments were. You were a thirsty little guy. You held onto that yellow airplane so tight. We had no idea what the next weeks, months, or years would bring. We were stopped in time and so mesmerized with you. It took a while for you to smile, but at the end of our time together you did. You also kissed us.

You love watching these as well. Especially since Hensley came. You are so curious about what it was like when you were a baby. You just asked, "Mommy, did I come from your tummy or birth mom's tummy?" You ask questions like these, and it is so neat to see the story unfold in your mind. Yes, there is sadness (which will eventually come I'm sure) but our story has unyielding joy. Because we are meant to be together.

We are watching videos as I type this and you just discovered that we were not wearing seat belts in the van. Your mouth dropped!   

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tegegne: Memory Lane + Anticipation

I love these trips down memory lane. What a sweet time it was to eagerly anticipate meeting you, dear son!

Parenting 101: We Make Mistakes

Everyday People

M: "Tegegne, did you pee in Taryn's trash can?" 
T: "Yes."
M: "Why did you do that?"

This cartoon is so true. We ask Tegegne why so often, and it's usually a because-I-wanted-to sort of answer. 

So, my cousin Christina sent me this article and it was just what I needed to read!

7 Discipline Mistakes All Moms Make 

When it comes to dealing with bad behavior, everyone screws up. We'll help you do it right.
By Katy Rank Lev

I haven't been to the post office since "the incident." I was that wild-eyed woman with a screaming child, slowly working my way up the line as one customer after another let me go ahead. Turns out my desperate attempts to comfort my kid were the result of a rookie error. The tantrum came from an oversight I made earlier that day: failing to notice the signals (eye-rubbing and crankiness) that he was tired. No wonder he had a meltdown.

I'm hardly alone in missing my child's cues, saysParents advisor Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. According to her, there are patterns to behavior. Kids do the same things when they're tired, hungry, or getting fed up; it's up to adults to take note and adjust accordingly. My son's moodiness should have told me to let him nap, then run errands when he was ready.

Ignoring a kid's signs is one of many discipline mistakes parents make all the time, but fixing them can make a huge difference in the parenting experience. We asked the experts to reveal the most common missteps.

We're too negative.

"Don't hit your sister!" "Stop pulling the dog's tail!" The number of things you tell your toddler or preschooler not to do is endless.

THE FIX Ask for the behavior you want to see. Nobody wants to raise a child who doesn't understand limits, but "parents say 'no' so frequently that kids become deaf to it -- and the word loses its power," Dr. Borba explains. Moreover, "we often tell kids not to do something without letting them know what they should be doing," notes Linda Sonna, Ph.D., author of The Everything Toddler Book. So save the naysaying for truly dangerous situations (think: fork in the electrical socket or your child eating the spider plant), and focus on telling kids how you would like them to behave. For example, instead of, "No standing in the bathtub!" try, "We sit down in the bathtub because it's slippery." Later, when you notice your kid splashing away in a seated position, offer some praise ("I like how you're sitting!") to reinforce her good behavior.

We expect too much from our kids.

You're sitting in church when your toddler shouts. As soon as you shush him, he does it again. Mortifying! Why doesn't he listen?

THE FIX Play teacher. Very young children still haven't developed impulse control or learned the social graces required in public places like stores and restaurants. "Parents assume kids know more than they do," Dr. Sonna says.

When your child breaks a norm, remind yourself that he isn't trying to be a pain -- he just doesn't know how to act in the situation, so snapping isn't effective (or fair). Focus on showing your child how you want him to behave, softly saying things like, "I'm being quiet because I'm in church, but if I need something from Dad I lean in close to whisper." Also point out what others are doing ("Look how Charlie is coloring while he waits for his meal to arrive"). Kids are born mimics, so modeling or drawing attention to something we want them to do goes a long way.

"It takes time and repetition for kids to learn to handle themselves," Dr. Sonna says, which means you should expect to give your kid a lot of reminders -- and remove him when he doesn't get the message. Over time, he'll learn how to act.

We model behavior we don't want to see.

When you drop something, you yell. A man cuts you off and you call him a rude name. But then you get mad if your kid reacts the same way when things don't go her way.

THE FIX Apologize and take a do-over. There's a boomerang effect to behavior: If we yell, our kids probably will too, says Devra Renner, coauthor of Mommy Guilt. Yes, it's hard to be on perfect behavior around the clock, so apologize when you do slip up. "Emotions are powerful and difficult to control, even for grown-ups," Renner notes, but saying "sorry" demonstrates that we're accountable for our actions nonetheless.

It also creates the chance to talk about why you reacted the way you did and offers appropriate ways to respond when you're feeling frustrated. That's what Deena Blumenfeld, of Pittsburgh, did when her son Owen, 5, protested so much about getting dressed that she snapped, "Just shut up and get dressed!" Realizing this was not how she'd want her son to react in a similar situation, she knelt down, apologized, then talked about how important it is to be on time for school. It worked: Owen got ready for school calmly after that.

We intervene when our kids simply annoy us.

You hear your children chasing each other around the house and immediately shout.

THE FIX Ignore selectively. Often, parents feel the need to step in every time kids do something, well, kid-like. But always being the bad guy is exhausting, Dr. Borba notes. Keep in mind that children sometimes do things that are irksome because they're exploring new skills. (So your toddler could be dumping juice into his cereal because he's learning about liquids.) Other times, they're seeking attention. When it comes to reacting, Dr. Borba's rule of thumb is: When safety isn't an issue, try watchful waiting. If your 6-year-old is playing his recorder with his nose, try not to shout. See what happens if you just continue with what you're doing as if nothing is happening. Most likely, if you don't respond, he will eventually stop -- and you'll feel calmer, havingavoided a shouting match.

We're all talk and no action.

"Turn off the TV... I'm serious this time... Really!" Your kids continue bad behavior when warnings are vague for the same reason you run yellow lights -- there aren't consequences.

THE FIX Set limits and follow through. Nagging, second chances, and negotiation all convey that cooperation is optional, says Robert MacKenzie, Ph.D., author of Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child. To teach kids to follow rules, make expectations clear, then take action when they're broken. If you want your kid to, say, get off the couch and do homework, start with respectful directives ("Please turn off the TV now and do your work"). If she follows through, thank her. If not, give a consequence: "I'm turning off the TV now. Until your work is finished, your TV privileges are suspended." 

We use time-out ineffectively.

When you send your 3-year-old to his room after he hits his brother, he starts banging his head on the floor in rage.

THE FIX Consider a time-in. A time-out is meant to be a chance for a child to calm down, not a punishment. Some kids respond well to the suggestion that they go to a quiet room until they're chill. But others view it as a rejection, and it riles them up. Plus, it doesn't teach kids how you want them to behave. As an alternative, Dr. Sonna suggests taking a "time-in," where you sit quietly with your kid. If he's very upset, hold him to get him settled down, Dr. Sonna adds. Once he's relaxed, calmly explain why the behavior wasn't okay. Too angry to comfort him? Put yourself in time-out; once you've relaxed, discuss what you would like your child to do differently. You might start by saying: "What can you do instead of hitting when Milo grabs your train?"

We assume what works for one kid will work for another.

The best way to deal with your son's whining is to get down at eye level and explain how his actions need to change. But your daughter is more aggressive and refuses to listen.

THE FIX Develop a diverse toolbox. It's easy to blame your kid when a discipline technique fails. But "you may have to go about getting the behavior you want in different ways with each kid," notes Avivia Pflock, coauthor of Mommy Guilt. While one might respond to a verbal reminder about what is acceptable, the other might need a consequence when she acts up -- like having her Wii unplugged. Being firm with one child and touchy-feely with another isn't being inconsistent; it's tuning in to different needs and learning styles, Pflock assures. "The punishment should fit the crime -- and the kid."

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Note From Everyone

Bookie Woogie

A Note from:

The Mom: I've enjoyed cooking dishes like this from my PInterest food boards (great cooking source!). I am currently trying to find the perfect peach to paint our bathroom, folding laundry, hanging with the children, and still reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I also enjoy our pool and picnic outings. 

The Dad: I'm guessing the best parts of his summer so far are talking with Hensley after school, (she seriously has a crush on him!) the Spin Pizza Group Ride, (best in the city!) evening chats with the neighbors, watching The Tour, throwing the football with this dude, meeting us at the pool after school, and today. Today is quite good. It's his last day to work until mid August!

The Little Guy:  Most recently you've been obsessed with carefully taking my earrings on and off. You gave me a foot rub this morning and used a ton of my Burts Bee's foot balm! You drink Ovaltine each morning. You spend half of the time at the pool under water. You are walking around saying "Talkin' Trash!" You've been enjoying the book A Teeny Tiny Baby

Our Teeny Tiny Baby: (She wanted to speak for herself.) Hi guys. My toofies weally huwt. I don't think anyone of you understand da pain. Tank God fow Humphwey's All Natuwal Teething Pewets. Sewiously, da thwobbing wakes me from my nap and makes me cwy. I'm usuawy happy. On the othew hand, I am looking fowawd to sowid foods. I can do tings like almost sit up, and watching you eat weally wooks fun. I ovewhewd you telling dad dat it may be another month and a half til I get to twy sowid food, and I tought, weally, dat's a long time to wait. I wuv the bath and pool and being a baby. Being a baby means the fans are always shooting towawds me! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Relationships + Marriage: The Enneagram

Did you read the cartoon above? I LOVE it. It's SO true. Especially when in a large group, right? Everyone is visiting, but we often have a thought trailing in the back of our minds. I am giddy and excited about the Enneagram, which is an in-depth study on personalities. For now, I'm sticking with a simplified book (below) which I just ordered a copy of. 

As I visit with other wives I usually bring this book up, as there are several great things I learned about my hubby that has helped our marriage a ton. I've heard it said so often, "try to think of where they are coming from..." but if I don't know the voice in my husband's head, how can I possibly know how to think like him. Personalities are different.  Relationships take work. And when one needs advice it's often humbling or expensive to seek professional counseling. I'm way excited for my copy to come in the mail and I'll try to share tidbits in hopes to get you interested in the topic!

The Enneagram Made Easy, Co-Authored by Elizabeth Wagele and Renee Baron 
Eventually I'll look into the more-in-depth and Christian perspective from Richard Rohr.

Talk soon,


Kids: Confession + Conversation

Okay, confession. I spoke proudly the other day of not having television, boasting that we survive well without it. Well, I've had an inkling of guilt ever since writing that so proudly!  You ask yourself, what could my children be looking at so intently in the photo above? Well friends, that would be a School House Rock, Earth dvd playing on our Mac computer. We survive without the standard "television", yes, but it's not like we are without technology. I mean, it's quite obvious that this mama gets her fair share of computer time.

I feel better after getting that off my chest.  Thanks. 

Now on to Conversation with You, Tegegne:

(On the drive home from special play dough making time with mommy's friend, Miss Emily)
T: "Mommyeh, can you read me that book?" (The one I just got from the library, since Miss Emily conveniently lives across the street from the downtown library in the Library Lofts.)
M: "Not while I'm driving, silly."
T: "But you could drive with one hand, and read with the other..."

(While tucking you in for naptime)

M: "What do you want to thank God for?"
T: "Our car...the gray car, the red car, Donnie's car (Donnie's our neighbor!), my fan, that Owen would not get in the trash, my curtains...(at the moment you prayed for your curtains I laughed so you laughed, and we both couldn't stop. We were lying side by side, hugging with that contagious giggle.)

These moments with you are my favorite. Yes. When I catch your handsome smile that overtakes your face, I think that Ababayeh are in for it when the girls start coming around. You are ornery enough right now that your smile doesn't often swoon me into letting you get your way, but those moments that you are sweet or funny your dad and I want to eat you up!

Kids, won't you stay young and innocent forever? Please?



Summer Fun: Fourth + Fireworks

"Hey cuties!" What do you think? Like father, like daughter? 

Fourth of July, you were so grand. Thanks to our backyard Schieber/Jones-family-night-of-fun. Which included all boys shirts off, crazy neighbors entertaining the kids (or other crazy neighbors shooting off half sticks of dynamite, uhem...), babies on picnic blankets, and free food! 
I didn't realize we were at such a high elevation until we went to the top deck and could see fireworks displays for miles. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yard Sale: Get It While It's HOT!

Sale! Sale! Sale!

501 Wabash Ave and Entire Pendleton Heights Neighborhood

7 am to 2pm, Saturday July 9 Only

Come by and see us! 

Selling books, CDs, hand blown glass pendant lights, Direct TV dish, men's, women's, and children's clothes, baby swing and bouncer, shoes, artwork, cold drinks, household items and more!!!!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

peach photo

A peach for me, and a peach for you. That would make us a happy two. Who doesn't love a fresh peach in the summertime? The kind that you bite into and juice runs down your arm. That is one of my recent favorite things. A juicy peach arm is much better than a 4 month old's spit up down the arm. It takes patience and a watchful eye to get a peach at it's prime. If only fruit could talk. 

"Hey, don't buy me. I'm coming down with a bad mold and it will show its face tomorrow, right when you are ready to eat me." 

"If you get me today, I hope you can wait 4 days until I am good an juicy."

On another note, do you know the trick to buying a good pineapple or cantaloupe? For pineapple, you must be able to easily pluck a leaf from the top of the fruit. For cantaloupe, smell the core end and if you can catch a slight cantaloupe whif then its a go. If there is no scent, it is not ripe yet.

There ya go. Happy fruity Tuesday, I guess.

(Since Michael has been home we have been ubber productive. I love demo projects that yield beautiful results. We love this house. Tore out the carpet in our entry, staircase, and 2nd floor and found gorgeous hardwood floors. Also opened up the "servant" staircase to be usable. It's so fun. Another random cool idea emerged from that...we cut little window boxes out between the servant stairs and the kitchen. I drew it up in sketch up and gave Michael 3 ideas to pick from. He picked, I measured it out and traced a record, and he cut the squares. Once we paint the wall I'll take some photos!)
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