Monday, January 30, 2012

Adoption: What's Next

This was the coolest moment with my son thus far. We wake up Saturday morning, Ababayeh was out early grading papers, and Tegegne comes into my room...

Mommy: Tegegne we sent in our adoption application yesterday and now we've got to pray. Do you know how much money we need for our first payment?
Tegegne: No, how much?
Mommy: $4,050!
Tegegne: Oh, mom!!! I know how we can get it. I've got my bank. Go get Rufus! (his "doggie" bank) I can give the money in my bank. 
Mommy: Wow Tegegne, that is really nice of you. It is a good thing to give all that you have, because God will bless that.

This gesture, son, means more than you know. We counted all of the money in your bank, minus one euro and stuck it in a envelope. I will make sure this $19.27 goes straight to our fund. Actually, my prayer is this:

Dear God, 
Will you please multiply Tegegne's doggie bank funds two-hundred and ten times for our first payment? This is a humbling and tummy-grumbling process. It is so hard to be taking this step of faith. Like are we stepping into deep water without endurance to swim? I want the endurance though. So does Michael, and Tegegne, and Hensley (she smiled the other day when I mentioned a baby sister.) This process just goes so against what most people, or even what I would naturally do. You have definitely called us to something more risky and eye-opening in this life though. Michael and I are looking up the "poverty guidelines" with 6 in a make sure we have more than that to qualify. We do, by the hair of our chinny, chin, chin. There is nothing "comfortable" about this, but we see it as good. Good, because when we loose our life we find it, and it's better to give than to receive, and when you give to the least of these, you're giving to Me. All of these lessons that you, God, remind me of throughout the day. Lessons that I thought I once knew, and still don't completely.  

God, we are ready to sign the first papers toward bringing two children without family into a family, our family. But we must first have the humble $19.27 turned into $4,050.


P.S. I mentioned praying about this again to Tegegne (as it's been on my mind all day) and he says, but Mommy...remember the money I found at the gym yesterday (he found a penny!)? We've got to add it to the envelope!

That penny is Tegegne's mustard seed.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hensley Ruth: 11 Months

You've almost done it, Little Stink Stink. Almost one year old. You still cry nearly every time you're strapped into the car seat. Good thing your cry is kind of low pitched, but really Hens. You've been eating lots of crackers and we've been weaning you off of breast milk with almond milk. We've also introduced peanut butter.  Still breast feeding at breakfast, lunch, dinner and almond milk at snack time. Also smoothies, and whatever we are having for dinner. You've been quite healthy thus far. Thank you Lord. Here's a bit from your doc, doc.

1.  "milks" for toddlers.
2. Nuts (peanut butter included), shellfish, and eggs.
The research regarding introducing solid foods is actively changing. This means the foods that have been traditionally restricted until later in toddlerhood (eggs, shellfish, peanut butter) are no longer on the “Do Not Have” list. In fact, some recent data suggests that delaying the introduction of high-allergy foods (shell fish, nuts, eggs) actually increases the risk of developing a food allergy. Other studies do not show an increase in allergic disease by starting allergenic foods early. In addition, adding dairy sources (cheeses, yogurt) and animal proteins (meat, chicken, pork, fish) can be added at any time. 

Love your doc!  

Love you too, Hens. 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tegegne: Conversations + Life

Tegegne, you were such a darling little nugget with a huge noggin'! We love this photo that was on all of your embassy paperwork, and just framed your Ethiopian birth certificate in our kitchen. You still have a large forehead, and many shirts struggle to get over it. We love it. It has actually been months since you got a goose egg on your forehead, and I think we may be moving on! You are growing into a kind, funny, gentle boy, and of course you are still full of life. That energy is being used more productively these days, and we see you growing into a fine oldest brother role model kind of kid. This is not coming without much effort...timeouts and good discipline in love. : )

Mommy: "Tegegne, come here! Have you looked outside? It's a Magical Mystery kind of day!"
Tegegne: Don't say that's just fog.

(Last night was sad for our family...our dear friend Mike is no longer staying with us.)
Tegegne: "Don't woowwy mom! It's gonna be okay. I'm gonna be here....but somedays I'll go to school  and I won't be here. Okay?"

Then during our dinnertime prayer you had one arm around me and one around your father. Hens was already sleeping. Your arm squeezed tightly around me and your little fingers were squeezing my shoulder, giving me a little massage. It was so kind. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

DRC Adoption: What's Next

Photo from Agency's facebook page.
Michael and I have had many conversations lately about the logistics of this next adoption, and it seems crazy and right at the same time. To be honest, it seems less crazy than right for both of us. Tegegne too, he now asks me about his "brother and sister" (we have no idea if it will be that combination) that we are adopting and when they are coming. Today he said, "Mommy, I think my brother is going to be a baby but then he will be big. And we will be crazy together!" Then Mike (17 yr old Mike) chimed in and said, "See Kristyn, I told you this is gonna be more than you can handle!"

Here's what we've done so far. Found an agency that we hope to proceed with. A few of their fees are higher than the others, but they do in-country foster care which really helps the children's health and well-being. In foster care they are seen by a doctor and social worker monthly, get medicines, nourishment, and love.  Way, way, way better than the orphanages we've seen photos of. Also a much smoother transition for them.

I've joined the congo yahoo group, which is over a hundred families that have, are, or will be adopting from the DRC. Lots of emails, but a wealth of information. This website ( is new by an adopting mom and will be a great resource for families.

Going to send in the application this week and take a deep breath. It's most overwhelming because of the cost. If I'm in the worry state, it feels like a heavy weight champion is pinning me in the ring, saying "Are you crazy lady? You don't have the money for this." If I trust God, I get teeny butterflies in my stomach, and I gently try to see if God's up for telling me how this will play out." I mean, I don't even think I mentioned that we already got an anonymous $500 cashiers check in the mail. (Dear God, bless that person(s) more than they imagined and let them know we are forever grateful for their gift.) It was a sure sign that we should proceed asap.

In the mean time I'm praying for our daily bread...(and Michael's baking it!)

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, 
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the Kingdom and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tegegne: And KC Weddings

Tegegne also made an appearance in KC Weddings recently published issue! 

The text reads:

For the Kids:
Face it, ladies--the flower girls and ring bearers will always steal just a little bit of your bridal thunder during that first trot down the aisle. So when it comes to dressing these smallest members of your wedding party, it's best not to skimp one ounce of style! (Photo by Aaron Leimkuehler)

This adorable wedding also in this issue reminded me of Taryn and Micah's wedding. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

M Magazine: The Spread

M Magazine was so kind to do a write-up on us in their Dec Jan issue. We had so much fun with our in-home photo shoot too! Here was the article:

One thing Kristyn Jones isn't is bored. Between raising two small children, keeping up with an increasingly popular blog, and shepherding along a new interior-design consulting business, there are not enough hours in the day. But unlike so many of us who can be tempted to let cooking and family eating time slide in favor of shoehorning another project, meeting yet one more deadline, the Jones family prioritizes another way. 

"We think that 'table-time' is very important for family life," says Kristyn. "It's sort of a lost tradition that we try to keep alive. Michael and I hope that when the kids are in high school even, we want to have at least three nights a week where we all sit down together and eat so we stay in tune with each others' lives." 

The kids are 8-month-old Hensley and 4-year-old Tegegne, whom Kristyn and Michael adopted from Ethiopia and whose addition to the family actually became a catalyst for many exciting changes.

"I started my blog, Bicycle Basket (, when we began the adoption process in January 2009," Kristyn remembers. "I wrote letters to our son-to-be in order to bond with him in a similar way that a mother does with a growing baby in her womb for nine months. On those days that the process seemed unbearable I would sit down and write him a letter. Some day he can read about the immense love his dad and I had for him before we knew him. I wrote to Hensley, who was in my womb, in a similar fashion.  I also love pinning recipes to As a visual person, it's my go-to for meal planning." 

Now that he's gotten even a bit older, Tegegne loves to be an active part of mealtime. As well as his bright, inquisitive mind and a great personality, he also brought some unique traditions to his new family. "An Ethiopian tradition is to feed those at your table with your own hand. When he first came home, he always offered of food off his plate, insisting that we have a bite. He also loves to feed his sister and was quite proud to feed her her first food, mashed avocado." 

But with a family, a blog and a business, how does she find time to get all the cooking done?

"Before having kids, I would go to the kitchen and cook a meal that was ready two hours later. Now I'm looking for a 30-minute meal, without compromising flavor. With that mindset, I went to make alphabet soup and thought: I know homemade pasta is not supposed to be complicated, but wouldn't lasagna noodles (that are right here in my pantry) work just fine? And they did! And on top of that, Tegegne got to help me cut out the letters with the cute little alphabet cutters I found at Pryde's Old Westport. He also helped me stir in the cranberries in to the instant cornbread mix for the mini muffins that are delicious served with a sweet vanilla butter. I've realized that even though it looks like the cupboard is bare, I can still usually make a satisfying meal out of it."

(Also in the article was the recipe for the alphabet soup and vanilla butter. The alphabet soup was a basic chicken noodle soup recipe with a secret ingredient of 1/2 cup of apple cider.)

Design: "Rope Lighting" and Woven Things

Isn't Christien Meindertsma's Flax Project nice? Lighting will make or break the mood of a room and I love how she integrated rope around the cord of that pendant lamp. And then there are her kick butt woven rugs that look cooo-zy. Ran across this when looking up "the pouf" ottoman, which is also quite a fun and versatile piece of furniture.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Family Outing: Bike Ride

Hello family. I like spending time with you. This bike ride on the Trolley Trail was especially fun. Also a bit stressful for me because I thought you (Tegegne) were going to crash into half of the people you passed. 



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thrifty Mom: Long Skirts

I did well today. Four skirts for $8. I was so excited I had to share.  Hooray for being thrifty!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Baby & Boy: Soak & Paint

Hens, you just fit in our sink. It's so cute. Just a little rinse off after a mega gross diaper.

Tegegne, you were hard at work making flower magnets for presents! I hope to offer you time and creative direction more often. This was a whole day spent at home and we had a blast! Love you, bugga.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Conversations: Tegegne

Photo credit.
Mom: Criss, cross, applesauce. Make a loop, wrap around, pull through...(I'm trying to make up a song while tying Tegegne's shoe slowly...He reaches in, eager to gain shoe-tying-independence and pulls the loops tightly!
Tegegne: Mom, what kind of college am I going to go to?
(As if tying his shoe will get him steps...)

T: Hensley, you've gotta dwive wight on the woad...get out of my garden!...we are fighting...(Hensley, you really do like tumbling around with your bro...and when you don't like it you b-line out of the room with your mad crawling skills. 

M: Tegegne, can you carry this (a small humidifier) to our sleeping porch? 
T: Sure...(he picks it up, grunting with Hensley crawling behind him)
M: Hensley, don't bother Tegegne while he's doing his job. (He took a break, sitting the humidifier on the floor.)
T: It's okay mom! She can bother it. She can touch my job.

Oh kids. They say funny things and keep the little things in life enjoyable. It is also, along with marriage, one of the hardest jobs I signed up for. But I love it. Marriage too. Phew, so good and so hard all at once. Well, not really all at once. Thanks be to God.

Speaking of marriage. Had a wonderful time with that dear young man I call my husband tonight. Our first date night in a while. We enjoyed Extra Virgin's Happy Hour, and hope to get back there sooner than later. I like that spot, a lot. 

And lastly I should be working. I know...on our first date night in months I'm pulling a close-to-all-nighter to do one of my interior design jobs. Always takes longer than I hope, but its all good. I love it. And of course, I found time to blog instead of get my work done. 

Good night!

(Stole Michael's The Dark Chocolate Lovers Chocolate Bar (85% dark!) to get me going!)


Kristyn and Mom and Wife

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Conversations: Nicknames & Meetings

Yesterday, while sitting at lunch, Mike thought Hensley needed a nickname. Not just any nickname...

Mike: I think Hensley need a black nickname. Can I give her one?
Me: Sure!
Mike: Okay...Fhat, Fhat! Gotta have a black spellin' too...F-H-A-T, F-H-A-T! 
(Hensley, in case this nickname you know where it came from...the biggest friend you have, Mike! You like him so much! He is pretty fond of you too! And Tegegne. Phew! You two fight and play like brothers. You and Mike. It's hilarious!)

Needless to say, we are getting some good laughs over here on Wabash Avenue. We love having Mike here. I had a meeting tonight and the boys laughed the place up (Hens was sleeping.) I was out with a new interior design client. My second new client this week! I'm quickly becoming way busy, as I'm working with two couples who own Brookside wants kitchen and bath designs and the other wants furniture layouts and selections. I do love the work and am giddy about helping people make their homes super cool. Kind of nice to make a little money too! It's going to be a full week. 

We hope you enjoy your week! 



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Friendship: A Gift

The Gift of Friendship

Friendship is one of the greatest gifts a human being can receive. It is a bond beyond common goals, common interests, or common histories. It is a bond stronger than sexual union can create, deeper than a shared fate can solidify, and even more intimate than the bonds of marriage or community. Friendship is being with the other in joy and sorrow, even when we cannot increase the joy or decrease the sorrow. It is a unity of souls that gives nobility and sincerity to love. Friendship makes all of life shine brightly. Blessed are those who lay down their lives for their friends.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Here and There: Santa + Sweet Friends

So we did Santa at the library this Christmas! He was a jolly ol' soul, but Hensley's not too sure of him in the photo! Tegegne, instead of telling Santa what you wanted for Christmas you asked where his sleigh and reindeer were! 

Of course you have to show off while hanging out with the girls! Here are two sweet buddies of yours. Olive and Petra, after storytime. 

We finally got to watch Taryn's younger brother (saying "little" brother is not accurate) play some basketball in Richmond the other night. We love her family, and hope to go to another game soon! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hensley Ruth: 10 Months!

You are always on your tippy toes!
Oh Hensley! You can throw down some dramatically sad faces!
Are you a baby genius, holding up 4 fingers at the large number 4? Or maybe you were trying to wave to brothers photos!

Happy 10 months old, baby girl. We are starting to see more of your personality and it is so much fun. You've said "kiss" and make a cute little lip smack trying to imitate me. You say "ma-ma" specifically now. "Da-da" was your first sound, but now you say that toward your "da-da." You give the cutest little wrinkly nose grin, especially for your brother and daddy. You are at the beginning phase of throwing a good fit. Haven't been interested in our random attempts to use the potty, but that could simply be that you haven't need to go when I've tried. We recently noticed that you associate your silky bunny blankie with thumb sucking and sleep,  so I've learned to bring it with us in the evenings. You stand alone, and walk while holding onto us. You like to crawl.

You don't know this yet, but you are most likely going to have two more African siblings.  I know I didn't have to say "African"on one sense, because at your age you will simply see them as more siblings to play with. One special thing about your relationship with Tegegne at this age is that you see him purely as your brother. I know from some eyes you may look like the "miracle" child, the biological one. I see so much of God's love through your relationship with your brother, and I am sure that you and Tegegne will learn to love these next two with the same heart. 

Thanks for being such a sweet baby, Hensley. We love you!

MaMa, DaDa, and Bu-Ba

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Conversations: Big and Little

T: Mommy, are we going to the wec center tonight? Well, here's our lock. I'm sitting it wight here. We can't forget it this time!

T: Are we getting two more kids adopted yet? Are they coming now?!
Me: Not yet, we have to get an agency first. 

M(ike...not Michael): Can I go get Hensley?
Me: No, she's napping! Why?
M: Well, I feel bad for her. She's been sleeping too long.
Me: (laughing a little...)Oh, Mike. Don't worry. She will wake up happy. Babies and small children need much more sleep than one would think. 

T: Ababayeh, let's westle! I'm gonna beat you because I'm 15 tall.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This Little Light: of Mine

O Candle Holder

Folding Lamp
Folding Lamp
Book Rest Lamp
This little light of mine.
I'm gonna let it shine.

Light after dark, what a phenomenon. When the sun goes down, we all need a little light, right? I much prefer lamps, or candlelight, to create a soft glow and set the mood just right! So here are a few little cuties for sale. I just love the 2nd robot-looking one and the book rest!
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