August 27, 2010

New Family Member

Savannah (11) has been going through that phase for several years where she constantly asks why she can't have a baby sister (emphasis on the sister part - I guess she thinks we have more than enough testosterone in the house).  I have kindly explained to her again and again that MAMA'S ON THE HOME STRETCH!! I'm no longer medically able to have children, what with getting my tubes tied and then a little thing called a hysterectomy shortly thereafter just for good measure.

She's finally gotten the fact that I, physically, am not going to have a baby just so she'll have a plaything whose hair she can fiddle with when the feeling hits.  So she's moved on to adoption, especially since some friends at church have adopted several children from Haiti.  I can count on at least one pleading-for-adoption conversation a week and, failing that, discussions about the children she's going to adopt when she gets married (which I think is great; nothing wrong with it. I'm sure by the time she's 43, which is when she's allowed to begin dating, she'll be mature enough to make that commitment). We've even had conversations about fantasy children that I might adopt.

HER: "So if you HAD to adopt, what would you get?"
ME: "I don't have to, so there's no point talking about it."
HER: "But say you did..."
ME: "I don't, so it's not going to happen."

{Repeat conversation 23 times}

HER: "What if we became filthy rich, could we at least adopt a horse?"
ME: "Huh?!!!  How'd we move to horses?"

Lately, though, Tom and I have been talking about a new addition to our household.  We've talked, looked over the budget, debated, listed the pros and cons, talked about whether we could love her like the others, even if she was different.  This is not a decision to take lightly or on a whim, so we've just been discussing it and playing it by ear.  We hadn't even really talked about specifics - what characteristics we were hoping for. 

Earlier this week, however, he did the unexpected and brought her home, paperwork already filled out: fully and finally a member of our family.

Isn't she beautiful?!!!  :)  

She's the lone Nissan in a family full of Chevy's and GMC's, but I know with a little love and tenderness, she's going to fit in just fine...

August 21, 2010


The boys both came home last Sunday, very late.  Braden, of course, had only been gone for little over two weeks (although it really seemed like much longer), but Evan had been gone for 11.  In some ways that time sped by, and in others it lasted forever...

Anyway, I was very excited and anxious to have EVERYONE home where they belong.  Evan's girlfriend Cheyann came with Savannah and me to the airport to pick them up; we figured we'd have just enough room in my car for the five of us plus luggage. After a wait, we got their luggage and lugged it all out to the car and hit the road.

As we were driving home, Braden asked if we could please, please, please stop somewhere to get something to eat as it was almost midnight and they hadn't yet had dinner.  I pulled off at a McDonald's just off the freeway near Roy, but noticed that there were about 5-6 cop cars in one half of the parking lot, lights going, and many men in uniform milling around, which was a little strange.  However, there were several cars in the drive-thru, so they obviously hadn't closed the McDonald's so I got in line.  We ordered our food and were pulling forward when all of a sudden, my car died.

"Hmmm... I must have let off too much on the clutch," my tired brain whispered to me.  So I pushed the clutch all the way to the floor and tried again. 


You know where I'm going with this. There were other cars behind us, so the boys (Evan in his Class A uniform) had to get out and push us out of the line.  I had to walk through the drive-thru to get our order (something I would have loved to do when I was about 14, but not so much now) and then back to the now-defunct and dejected looking car.

Tom had just replaced the radiator in it 2 weeks previously, so I knew it hadn't overheated (besides, I've been paying close attention to that when I was having the problems with the radiator). So what could it be?  I called Tom, then called again, and again.  Drat - he's a heavy sleeper, IF he even had his phone nearby.  More than half the time he leaves it in his truck at night so he won't forget it the next day. I felt like there were too many of us to pile into a tow truck, and besides all of which, I'd probably have to sell one of the kids to pay for the tow!  I finally broke down and called my mom, knowing that I was probably going to scare her to death with such a late call.  She got my uncle on the phone and he walked me through checking the radiator, etc.  I finally told him to listen to the sound it was making, so I got in, pushed in the clutch and turned it over, when of course it fired right up!  I hurriedly loaded all the kids back in the car (they were eating on the grass and watching the crime scene investigation as it played out) and off we went to my parent's, where Dave promised to take a look. 

Once there my mom convinced me to take her car home so that we wouldn't break down in the canyon and become cougar-bait or worse :). We finally made it home, but it was close to 2:00 a.m., then Evan and I stayed up talking until almost 4:00 a.m. which is a good thing since I haven't had more than 5 minutes with him since - he's been busy visiting friends and running around, trying to shove an entire summer into a week before school starts.  On another note, he also bought his first vehicle, but that's a story for another day!

Welcome home boys - now PUSH!

August 15, 2010

The Final Countdown

So excited!  I get to see BOTH my boys in 4 hours and 38 minutes.  But who's counting...???  :-)

So, before I leave for the airport to pick them up, I thought I'd better hurry and get the rest of our vacation photos up.  You know, closing down this chapter and starting a new one!  So, I'll be light on words (y'all can thank me later!) and heavy on photos.

So after we deserted the RV resort from hell, we made our way to Durango, Colorado which I swear is a little slice of heaven dropped down to earth.  Scenery was beautiful, the town is charming, the RV resort we found was SO FRIENDLY, and there was even a pool for the kids.  The sad thing is, when making the original reservations I had narrowed it down to this one and Satan's playground.  Ah well... live and learn!

Anyway, we rode the Durango to Silverton old narrow-gauge railroad which was the highlight of the trip for all of us.  I have never been so enchanted in all my life.  The trip takes you high into the San Juan mountains to places that are only reachable by backpacking, helicopter, or the train.  Stunningly gorgeous does not even begin to describe it!

Beware - you never know what monsters lurk in the deep!
See that curve?  It was tight, and man was there a drop-off!
One of my favorite parts of the trip:  Because it's a steam engine, they have to do a "blow-down" at several stops along the way to clear out the minerals that are deposited in the bottom due to the water.  You also stop once each way to get more water, which is pumped up from the river in the valley below.  It was soooo cool!
For a reasonable price you could buy a souvenir coffee mug and have it refilled endlessly.  Here, I think Braden had consumed at least 3 coffees with caramel and whipped cream!
And here, the inevitable sugar-crash... :)
After a 3.5 hour train ride, we reached the old mining town of Silverton.  Here we had lunch, then wandered around taking in the sights. 
With all the cool, old buildings to see, Tom found an old Army vehicle to crawl around.  I don't believe there was a single square inch under, around, or on top that he didn't check over! This is not an uncommon theme for him... :)

August 11, 2010

Fun with Photos

Tomorrow was supposed to be the day that Evan flies home from Basic Training, after graduation in the morning.  Josh and Braden drove to Fort Jackson today in order to surprise him for "Family Day," and they are attending his graduation tomorrow.  Anyway, Ev was supposed to fly in tomorrow night at 11:30 p.m., which late hour, I will admit, I was not that excited about.  But then Josh was able to arrange for him to return to Tennessee with him tomorrow, and then he and Braden will both fly home together on Sunday.


So now I wait for 3 more days... Sigh...

Actually, even though I was looking forward to it, I can wait 3 more days (after all, what's that after 10+ weeks?), and I'm really glad that the brothers are all getting time to be together.  With the way they're all growing up so fast, this may be one of the last opportunities they have for this.

Anyway, I will continue with the photos from our trip in the next day or two, but tonight I wanted to show off a few more from my photography class, which also fit nicely with the "Everyday Things" assignment for You Capture, along with a few I've played with in my favorite new toy, Adobe Lightroom.  What an AWESOME program, and I've barely scratched the surface! Most photos are SOOC, including the first photo of both the flower and the truck.  The ones I've played with are fairly obvious :).

I would love to hear some feedback...

And finally, by popular demand (Nicole :)  )

August 9, 2010

Vacation - Part I

As promised, here's more from the vacation, almost two months behind us now... :(

We began our adventure with a stop in Moab to spend the night.  We stayed at a rinky-dink RV park right in town where trailers were what seemed like a mere 2 feet apart.  I may exaggerate a little, but not much.  We had several spots to choose from, so we picked a nice looking area and got set up.  Shortly after, Tom and Bray went driving around town to see the sights, leaving Savannah and me to get dinner and relax.  Five minutes after they left, a biker gang (and not the Christian Motorcycle group either!) pulled in and set up camp in the 3 vacant spots right across from us.  The rest of our evening was spent watching them get more and more drunk, but at least it was entertaining.

The next day, after visiting the Hole in the Rock, we drove to our destination, an RV place near Dolores, Colorado.  When we were planning our vacation, I had studied up on all the RV parks in southwestern Colorado, spending countless hours weighing the pros and cons of each.  I finally settled on the one I made reservations for because it *seemed* like it was in a central location for all we wanted to do, had a river running right through, had fire rings for my campfire-loving honey, and had the widest spots so we could spread out and enjoy ourselves.  They also advertised themselves as being "family friendly," with a playground even, so I booked us for 3 nights.  Boy was I wrong!  Although it was a beautiful spot, it was much further away from things than I had thought (sure didn't look far on Google maps!), and the majority of the inhabitants were a motley collection of the world's most cantankerous senior citizens.  If they didn't have a seething hatred for children and large dogs, they were apparently not allowed in.  From the moment we entered, we endured glares, and you could almost sense an evil aura, something I never would have believed in before.

On our second day there, after an incredible half-day at Mesa Verde National Park, we happily returned to our campsite to find half a dozen (at least) gathered around our trailer.  Seems Stitch, our black lab (who's the world's biggest couch potato - the doggy-version of a slug), had been crying the entire time we were gone.  We had left him in his crate, which he loves and where he will purposely stay for hours, knowing that if we had just tied him up he would have cried.  However, rather than just leave him be, several of our new neighbors took it upon themselves to camp out at our campsite and wait to lynch us for our abuse when we returned.  Never one to disappoint, Stitch howled mournfully the whole time they sat there.  Had they left him alone, he would have quieted down within minutes.  It was quite the experience, and one I certainly hope to never repeat.  I won't repeat some of the things that were said to us, but if my children ever acted like those so-called caring adults did, they would have found themselves in some serious trouble.

Anyway, after that we decided that we'd had enough of that RV park and forfeited our final night's deposit in favor of friendlier accommodations; preferably one where they didn't eat small children. 

Regardless, we really did have a great time at Mesa Verde, and even went on a paid tour of the Balcony House ruins which are reported to be some of the most well-preserved in the park.  The pictures from our whole trip were all shot in automatic, just because I hadn't taken my class yet.  I'm thinking a do-over is in order, minus Dolores!

August 7, 2010

Oops – I Did it Again!

With apologies to Ms. Spears...

When we last encountered the Jones' family matriarch, she was making empty promises about posting more often and giving a detailed account of the family's summer. Well, I think we all know how that worked out, as here we are a month (at least) later!

Anyway,  here's the Reader's Digest condensed version of our entire summer:

  • Dropped Evan off for basic training
  • Went on vacation where the kids and I were thoroughly sand-blasted in Arches National Park in Utah, visited Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, and rode the old narrow-gauge steam engine from Durango to Silverton, also in Colorado.  We had a near-death experience with a raging posse of killer-ninja-mutant old-people in an ancients-only RV park in Dolores, CO and also inadvertently freaked out a policeman who had pulled us over with my desperate need of a restroom.  I had informed Tom roughly 100 miles before that I needed a restroom whenever he could see fit to pull over.  He said that he would and then promptly forgot.  Finally becoming desperate, I reminded him of his promise and he pulled over immediately, seeing as how his life depended on it, or at least the pristine state of his truck seats. The policeman was just approaching the window as I barked at my dear husband to hand over the keys to the trailer, RIGHT. FLIPPING. NOW. then sprinted to the door like an Olympian.   The policeman, who had apparently been following us for awhile as Tom looked for a place to pull off, took pity on Tom and let him go without even so much as a warning.  I wouldn't have cared if he'd been hauled off to jail, so long as I got to use that lovely porta-potty!
  • Weeded a gigantic garden patch
  • Planted a gigantic garden patch
  • Weeded a gigantic garden patch
  • Watered a gigantic garden patch
  • Weeded a gigantic garden patch
  • Ate a squash and 10 pea pods from the garden, all that has grown so far besides the gargantuan weeds. Got sick after realizing that each pea pod cost the equivalent of $23.50 each, give or take a few dollars…  

  • Vow never to plant another garden, at least until next year when I will fondly remember how sweet and crisp the peas were.  What's a few-hundred dollars for a nice handful of fresh-grown veggies? 

  • Savannah and I spent an awesome weekend in Idaho eating the incredibly sinful and delicious food cooked by my cousin-in-law Chris.  And spending time with my good friend and cousin, Karen. And spending oodles of hours gazing into the precious face of baby Jackson, my newest cousin. And spending time with my bestest friend since sixth grade, Dawn and her adorable son Bryson.  And stuffing myself with Chris' German pancakes. And hanging out with an aunt and uncle I don't see nearly enough.  And walking along the Falls trail, downtown, practicing my photography. Oh yeah, there was the Blue Angels air show going on next door too, which was definitely worth seeing…  And did I mention the food?!!!  
  • Took my photography class - best money I ever spent!  I never would have learned what my camera can do without it and I will NEVER go back to automatic settings...   See for details about her classes. 

  • Shipped Braden off to Tennessee for 2 ½ weeks to stay with Josh and Jess, also referred to as "Joshica."

  • All this while working a full-time job (with a dash of annual leave thrown in!)...
Next up: Evan comes home in 6 days, Braden 3 days after that, school for the kids starts 11 days later, and 4 days after that I start a class at the University, my first in almost 2 years!

See you in December…:)

p.s. Today's photos are all from the weekend trip to Idaho. I'll post vacation pictures soon, I PROMISE.

We saw the most beautiful sunset on our trip home, which was almost outdone by the moon that rose after the sun went down.  Stunning trip from beginning to end!
Savannah was once-again forced to be my practice model.  She was being a bit of a smart-aleck about it, then bonked her head against the tree.  Just the universe's way of teaching her to respect her mother!