Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby + Party: Boy or Girl + Recipes

What will you be little baby? We should find out this Friday at our sonogram! Then we will give you a name and get more excited for your arrival this fall. 

I've been thinking of you more often. Especially because I feel you moving. That's nice. At my last appointment, I had to choose whether or not to do the testing to find out if you have down syndrome, or other things. We waved that test. I just want to let you know, that we'll love you with all our might no matter what.

So will you be a boy or a girl? Tegegne says boy. Ababayeh says girl. Grandpa Ben guessed girl, Grandma Debby thinks boy. I also think you are a boy. Hens probably is rallying for a sister to play dolls with, that won't want to wrestle her...or she may want a brother who won't be sharing her wardrobe! 

On another note, the Ladies Night, Shop and Swap was a total blast. I think there were 43 lovely women here. Wished I could have visited more with everyone. It was so fun to hear of everyone enjoying their new outfits!

We hope to have a low key family week before Michael heads off to France next week.

P.S. Here were a few of the recipes from the party!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ladies Night: Shop and Swap!

Well, it's here! Ladies night, shop and swap, Springtime Edition! Are you coming? (If you're a friend, or a friend of a friend, look for the invite on facebook.) About 40 of you are planning to be here, and I'd say we are going to have a smashing time. How am I pulling this off without my mother's help, you ask? With the help of good friends, and a dear husband that took a personal day. We are getting set up, dusting off a few things, and looking forward to your arrival at 6.

And yes, Michael is baking chocolate chip cookies, and we will have that killer vanilla bean butter and fresh baked bread. So if you're not in it for the clothing, at least come for the food! 




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fab Finds: Retro Furniture

On our way home from a fabulous St Louis weekend, we stopped at one of the famous Iman Auction's in mid-Missouri. And yes, you guessed it...we bought this mustard gold sofa + two accompanying blue swivel chairs (not pictured), the Chromcraft blue vinyl sofa set with tables, as well as a new retro dining table and 6 chairs! We scored big time! 

Iman Auction happens to be my parents family-owned business which my grandfather started many moons ago. Their auctions are mostly in the Columbia and North of Columbia, mid-MO region, but at times they have auctions in Kansas City. And, check this one-and-only brother, Eric Iman, holds online auctions, and will soon head to Kansas City to continue the family business in our neck of the woods!!! He and my father also do real estate! 

Dear Dad,

Thanks for showing me the importance of remembering someone's name, giving a firm handshake, and being a good, honest person. When we were at your auction yesterday we noticed how the people there highly respect you. I feel so proud when I get to say I'm Ben Iman's daughter. 




Dear Eric,

You can find humor anywhere and your laugh is so enjoyable. People love being around you. It was so neat to see how you supported Erica during her show this weekend and through her time in grad school. Good work, bro. I love being introduced as your little sister!



Monday, April 23, 2012

Erica Iman: Ceramics Show

Erica, seriously amazing show. These photos are just a glimpse into what the experience felt like walking around your show Saturday night. I wish I could post your artist statement that goes with these works. It was beautiful and seriously good. It was such a great night celebrating you and all of the work you've accomplished. What you've done, and what's yet to come! I also am beyond excited that we got one of your drawings! (We bought the middle drawing/pouring...she takes black oxide and pours on the canvas in many containers and then sprays water, etc...and that beautiful magic happens!) 

Love, love,


(Erica Iman Ceramics)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

St Louis Art Exhibit: Erica Iman

Will you be in St. Louis this weekend? Or are you looking for a reason to take a road trip? Well, I've got the thing for you. You don't wanna miss Erica Iman's Thesis Exhibition at the Lemp Brewery in St. Louis Saturday night. Her work is phenomenal. See a bit of last year's work on her website. For the latest and greatest though, you've gotta go to the show! We'll be there and would love to see you!

So, Erica is my sister-in-law, (my brother's wife) and I am so excited to see this culmination of her work and really the beginning of something big. Her work is receiving awards and recognition across the country. I cannot wait for this weekend and what the future has in store for Erica. She will be traveling all over doing art shows soon, so make sure you don't miss her in your city by signing up on her news blog.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Big Red: Balloon

Please meet Big Red Balloon, Scuba Boy, and Tea Party Girl! These balloons typically last a month inflated, but ours popped half way through! That's what those 1980's popcorn ceilings are good for. 

I must mention that Michael found the photographer, Toyokazu, that inspired this photo shoot. His photos of his daughter on the road in all of the different outfits and props are sooo good. He shoots with film, which is how he gets that gorgeous finish. 

I know the last post was a heavy one, so I tried to come back with something light and airy like this big balloon.
(photos by lauren)

FYI: Dangerous Game Among Teens

I don't share news stories often, but heard this devastating story on NPR this morning. A mother was being interviewed and her teenage son had recently died from the "choking game." The game has many slang names and is a huge fad among middle schoolers and teens. Anyway, please inform yourself via the links below or your own research. I heard that story this morning and got this huge urge to educate the teens I know before they are pressured into playing this "game" that they know nothing about. 

Choking Game, Wikipedia

Pass-Out Game,  Chicago Tribune

Pass-Out Game, NY Daily News

God, I pray for these kids that get curious and pressured into this "game." Please have mercy on them, and give their young minds wisdom to know that it is dangerous. I pray for the teens I know and Lord have mercy on our children who will someday be teens! Amen.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kids: Little Helper & Responsibility

Hi cute boys. I like you. Hens, I like you too! By the way, I feel like I dogged on you a bit with the whole crying often in the last letter, but you totally made up for it on Friday. We ran errands allll daaaay long. You were so good and we had fun laughing, hugging, and finding some things for summer (backyard pool, suit for mommy, sun hat for you...) Anyway, I wanted to say thanks for being such an enjoyable little helper. 

Tegegne, tonight Ababayeh gave you the keys and told you to pull the truck up. You said okay and gladly took the keys and headed for the truck. You successfully found the right key, unlocked the door and climbed in the drivers seat. Then Ababayeh said, you wish! Not quite yet, son! 

Then I was thinking. If you were in Ethiopia, you would have lots of responsibility. I mean, probably not driving trucks around, but you might have a donkey and a cart on wheels that you rode to town and back!

(first photo by lauren, second photo)

I wrote to Birth Mom, via a man named Solomon, and hope to hear news from them soon. We shared your special prayer story, and asked that Solomon print it and take it to read to Birth Mom. I hope he is still able to do this, and we hear a bit of good news from her as well. 

Here are two special photos of your dear Birth Mother and I embrassing. She holds a dear place in my heart. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Conversations: And the Daily

Tegegne: Mommy, what should I play with?
Mom: You could make a village with your little cars and your big Tonka trucks could take over the village.
T: Oooorrrrr?
M: Or you could play baby, and you could be the daddy...and the mommy.
T: Well, I don't want to play those. I'm bored.
M: You know what? I'm okay with you being bored. Because when you're "bored" you just might become creative and invent something. 
(Then you stomped off with an umph and found a balloon and proceeded to keep it off for the next hour.)

We've been listening to an Elizabeth Mitchell's music station on Pandora. It's fun to dance around a bit while we do our thing.  

I also have a note for your sister.

Dear Hensley,

I love you so, but oh baby I must say you cry a lot. See, you would be so content if I could carry you everywhere. If I let you cry for a sec, you can sometimes get over it and play. You see, we've all got some adjustments coming our way. Mommy's tummy is increasing by the minute, and soon enough it's going to be mainly piggy back rides! 

I was thinking through this yesterday. How can I be in tune with your needs, but also get things done with less of your tears. One thing that dawned on me is that unless we are outside playing or doing something mega fun, you are still a two nap a day gal. And with summer coming, the afternoon nap should be later in the day so you don't lose it during dinner around 6. You still love sleep, and I cannot forget this! 

On a brighter note, you love really tight hugs and we are having the sweetest moments cuddling. 

Love you and Tegegne too,


(photo by lauren.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Conversations: Of Significance

Tonight was special. I was sending you to bed, Tegegne, and you reminded me to come to your bed with you to pray. I asked you what you wanted to pray for and you said, "that God would help Jesus come back to life." I then explained  to you that He did! That's when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. You asked, so Jesus is alive, and I said Yes! In Heaven with God. And his Holy Spirit is here with us. You said, "I want to be with Jesus in Heaven!" I said, you can! If you believe in Jesus you can be with him in Heaven when you die. And Jesus is with you on earth, through the Holy Spirit. I asked if you wanted to pray and tell Jesus that you believed in him. You said yes. I got Ababayeh from mowing, and he talked more with you and prayed with you. 

Then Ababayeh gave several scenarios of how much we love you, but how much more God loves you. 

I uploaded these photos, which were part of our recent photo shoot, but they made me think of tonight. I keep thinking of the song, "Go Tell It On the Mountain, Over the hills, and everywhere!" And I see you reading to your sister, or telling her about the book on your lap. I know that once you know and understand more of this Good News from God, you will want to tell it to people. Especially your sister. 

Go, Tegegne! Tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere...that Jesus Christ is King! Tell your story, and tell God's story through your life and through your voice!



Monday, April 9, 2012

Tegegne Dena: 4 1/2 Years Old

Oh, Tegegne Dena Jones. Your life blesses us so much. You are 4, almost 5. We are full of joy when we think of what God did in bringing you to us. You love riding your bike. Remember when Ababayeh taught you on your 4th birthday? No training wheels, just lots of pads. You were both determined even though you fell a ton. Now you ride like a champ. You are still inquisitive, and ask how everything works or why things happen like they do. You are growing up. You know that God loves you, and that Jesus cares enough for you to give his life. (And I'm crying, now.) You are well loved, my child.

We talked about Birth Mom a bit yesterday, but hadn't discussed anything regarding your adoption in a while. You said we should see her someday, so Lord willing, we will try. Otherwise, there's not been much adoption talk. Just family life as usual. People probably still look at our family and try to figure us out, but I must be less aware. It's nice. 

The other day we had two guys estimating our fence and you had been out riding your bike while we were all in the back yard. We were walking in the house, the two guys, you, Hens and I. One of the guys stopped and asked, "Do you know him?" referring to you! I gave him a look like are you crazy, and then replied, "Yes, I know him. He's my son!"

We are quite glad that we have these photos of the "little you." We look forward "big you" photos someday to go next to these. Since you love photo shoots, and such, we sent this last photo to the Gap Casting Call, in hopes to win a photo shoot and shopping spree! 

Love you bug,


(photos by lauren)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hensley Ruth: 12 Months!

Hensley, I am chiming in a month late but with some very special photos of you on your birthday! 

Seriously Hens, we love ya. You sure did like your birthday cake baked by your dear 'ol dad. He actually made you two cakes. One for your photo session, and one for your party. Lucky duck. You are walking a lot these days, wrestling back when Tegegne tries to get you, eating some vegetables thanks to my new veggies-first-when-your-hungry motto, but let me be honest and say you still drop your plate and fork on the floor when you're finished. And sometimes your food. You and I have been getting the giggles more, which I absolutely love. And of course, I'll be the disciplinarian in your life, while your father thinks you do no wrong. He's smitten by you, kid. Your favorite things include stairs, "bunny", waking from a nap, brownies, muffins, being chased, and baths with bro. 

Your words include dada, mama, bubba, dog, dawc-ter (it means lots of things), God, bird. You've got your dad's toes and nose, and your petiteness comes from yours truly. A security lady at the library said, "Wow, she's tall!", but you're actually not tall. 


Mom and Dad

P.S. Thank you, Lauren Overton, for doing a fabulous job taking photos of our wee ones. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Joneses: And Keeping Up

Today I got a feeling similar to the one I had a night before a final design project deadline in college. Like, Oh am I going to get all of this done? Back then I was an "Iman" and now I'm a "Jones," so it's like I am trying to keep up with myself. Here's my sort of to-do list...

We are hosting Easter this Sunday and I cannot wait to enjoy a nice meal with the family! Cooking a ham, lamb, potatoes, deviled eggs, sautéed green beans, a fruit salad, and Michael's rolls...yum! Had two interior design meetings today...and now I must get to work on those projects! Must make the kids Easter baskets, a new tradition for us. Plus put the bunny ears on our stone lions out front! Hosting a dear friends baby shower and planning with friends to make it super sweet! Finally unpacked our bags from spring break, but haven't even started that the dryer isn't getting fixed until Monday! Purging wardrobe to keep summer pregnancy items that will actually planning for my clothing swap April 26th (coming ladies?) Thinking ahead for the neighborhood Holiday Homes Tour that I agreed to even though we will have a newborn baby! Ha! Michael said tonight that'd he'd have the first floor projects kick butt is that? That means a bathroom, smoothing and painting walls, lighting in kitchen, we like have to decorate our house for Christmas. Should be fun and a lot of work. It's around Thanksgiving, so if you'll be in town stay tuned! Getting quotes for a back yard fence. Need one asap to keep my children corralled outside. Much be outside as much as possible during these nice days! (Note: If my children are crying or having afternoon fits, I try to go outside where all of there troubles blow away with the wind!) Friday night: Good Friday Service at church, 3 year old birthday party Saturday, date Saturday night with Michael, and Easter on Sunday! 

In the midst of our springtime lots-of-things-a-goin'-on may we remember that there is only one real "to do" list. Breathe, eat, sleep. And for us mothers, make sure the rest of the family is breathing too!

Good night and happy breathing!

- Kristyn


Monday, April 2, 2012

What I'm Reading: Getting Kids to Eat!

Hi there! So, I'm really going to summarize this topic since my post-spring break house is bloating with chores. I'm just so excited to share about this because we are trying it and it is working!

So what is it, you ask? Well, in Bringing Up Bebe, Pamela Druckerman talks about French kids and food. She researches how they are good little eaters who do not throw food, and will eat a wide range of foods. They can even sit through 4 course meals at a restaurant! ( way!)

The first idea regards snack time. French kids eat breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack at 4pm (a goûter), and dinner. No other snack times. So when they sit down for meals, they are actually hungry. And the goûter is a special time, where they sometimes have visitors to enjoy the snack with. Druckerman tells a story of a mother and daughter who were out late morning and picked up a pastry. They had already eaten breakfast, and when they purchased the pastry the little girl knew that she would get to eat it during the goûter at 4:00. She didn't even ask her mother if she could eat it that moment.  In the US we allow kids (myself included) to eat what they want, when they want. 

The kids and I have been doing this, and it is going so well! We do our snack at 3:00 and dinner around 6:30.  I remind Tegegne to make sure he is full at meal time. And we totally look forward to 3:00 and really make it an enjoyable time to snack together. He still asks for snacks at other times, but I remind him that he can have it at 3:00. He is getting used to the idea. Our neighbor gave him a large packaged muffin (ha!) yesterday and he immediately said, "Mommy, I want this for my 3:00 snack!" 

The second idea is what meal time looks like, and how, and what is offered. In France, preschool is free and quite good. There is one committee in Paris who makes the meal plan for all of the public preschools in Paris. Druckerman sat in on one of these meetings and was in awe of what was on the menu. Each meal is in four courses. They start with a vegetable. (This is genius, btw.) One of the meals they planned was a follows. Chopped tomato with balsamic drizzle, a nicely prepared fish for the second course, blue cheese for the third course, and fruit for dessert. (Can you believe that?!) Each preschool has a chef, and the food is nicely prepared and presented. They also find it important to describe the food to the children, offer them a variety of foods, and reintroduce things often.

I have also been doing this with Tegegne and Hensley and it is fabulous!!! I'm giddy about it and hope to keep it up! Hopefully, we can continue to eat this way as a family. Tegegne has been so excited to eat the first course and see what is next! He also asked me to describe the food again so he could tell Hensley! It is easy and so fun. As far as meal planning, I've just got to make sure we have fresh vegetables, a protein, and fruit or yogurt.

Here's what they ate last night. For the starter, chopped red and yellow pepper and broccoli with a poppy seed drizzle ((I tried to make it sound fancy! ), rotisserie chicken with barbecue drops, and apple, pineapple, strawberry, and grapes chopped with a dollop of Greek yogurt with an agave nectar drizzle. In the book she notes that the child must try the food, but they do not force them to eat everything. Hensley tried several pieces of the vegetables, ate all of the chicken (which she had refused previously), and of course LOVED dessert! Due to the lack of fine cheeses at a reasonable price, we are sticking to 3 courses! We have a large stack of small melamine plates, that works great for courses.

Other things she mentioned...during the week young children eat around 6:30 and go to bed (or to their room to play), then the parents do mealtime alone! Weekends are for family dinners! They also bake with their young children most Saturdays. They stress the importance of having the child help prepare the meal in some fashion (or at least setting the table), so they will be much more excited about eating it. If they don't sit down and enjoy a meal, it doesn't count in France. They do not eat on the go like Americans do.

What these basic rules do for children is so valuable. They grasp patience, and do not have the mentality that they get what they want whenever and however. 

I know it is not easy to enforce these ideas when those around us are eating snacks at 10 or 11am, but we've been doing it and will continue.

Ha, so much for making this short. Thanks for reading, and if you are intrigued at all I'd love to talk more about it...and I'd highly recommend the book!

(book, photo.)
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