Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Mother Load Layered Cookie Bars

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Girl That I Used To Be!

Okay, so I have gained a few pounds over the years. What's the big deal? Well, for me, the big deal is being able to live the next 20 years better than I have lived the last, almost 40. Yes, I did say that didn't I? Forty!

As a young girl, I studied all forms of dance and baton until I graduated high school, competing all over the south and eastern United States. After I graduated, I became a Troy State University Dancer. Not only did I have many dance classes during the week, but I had the chance to perform at all games. I could eat pretty much eat what I wanted and lose it when I needed too. In fact, I remember we would have ballet company weight checks once a week. If I was ever close to being over my weight, I could drop 5 lbs in one week. No problem! Not only did I dance, but I competed in pageants throughout my high school and college years. I guess the constant exercise and contact with the mass public, kept my weight in check. I can remember being a size 2 at 5'7 and thinking that was fat! Those were the days.

After marriage, I really kept my weight reasonable until I had my fourth child. The demands of wife, mother, career and constant moving in general, gradually took a toll on my health. The concept of putting me first was easily forgotten as I dove into survival mode. Sure, there have been times when I have gotten a bee in my bonnet and tried to diet and exercise, and was for the most part, successful. That is, until life got in the way, once again.

It wasn't until six weeks after giving birth to my last child, Weston, that a friend suggested that I do North West Arkansas Fitness Boot Camp. I will admit, that I was scared to death. I knew I wanted to do something. Needed to do something, but wasn't sure that I could do it. For the past 7 years, I have sat on the couch tending babies, and the only exercise received was walking. Well, not literally, but you get the picture. I am sure that many of you have been there before. The thought of getting up at 4 a.m. to get ready was not exactly something that I was thrilled about doing, let alone the fact that this was going to be hard core. Begrudgingly, I signed up, and in doing so, discovered something about myself.

You see, the reason that I had let myself go and gained weight, was not from lack of effort or desire, but rather in the lack of consistency and long term commitment on my part. Notice that I didn't say lack of desire. Come on, who in their right might wants to be overweight or unhealthy? You see, for me, I discovered that the reason sticking to exercise and diet failed in the past, was that life simply got in the way. Someone would get sick, would need to be picked up, teacher conferences, church responsibilities and so forth would slowly creep into my daily routine. The consequences would be me missing my workouts in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Here and there at first, but after missing a few, I would slowly get out of the routine and give up all together.

For the past 4 weeks, I have been getting up at 4 a.m. in preparation for my early morning workout. Five weeks have past, and I now find myself signing up for another session. Why you might ask? Four in the morning is crazy some would say. I could not possibly function if I did that, others would remark.
Well the answer is simple. I am a wife, a mother and a daughter. I have responsibilities that I can not put off if I am to do those jobs well. By getting up at 4 a.m. and exercising, it reminds me, that not only am I all of those things, but also of the girl that I used to be. The girl that had no other obligations, but to put herself and interest first. By getting up, for me, I am able to carve out time for myself, long before the rest of the world wakes up.

Okay, so the first few weeks, I was probably the heaviest and the most out of shape person there. Each day, I would come home exhausted and drenched with sweat. Yet, something during the 3rd week finally clicked. I have gained a new found confidence in my ability to do this long term and to take care of myself better. In the last 6 weeks, not only have I lost all of the weight gained while pregnant, but lost an additional 16 pounds. During boot camp specifically, I lost 5 inches in the waist, 3 inches in the hips and legs, 2 in the arms, and 1/2 inch in the bust. If you went to one of my classes, you would see that the intense work out sessions will enable those results from just about anyone really trying. You see, during that third week, I found myself actually being able to do those exercises and not being the worst one there. I constantly have to remind myself that I am not competing with anyone there, but ME!

I know I have not met my goal and have a long way to go, but find myself each day, on the right path to do so I have more energy and my clothes are getting loser. I also love the fact that I am able to accomplish by 9 a.m. more than I was able to accomplish by noon! So to those of you who say, I just can't get up that early. Hello! I started this when my baby was 6 weeks old. We all know the sleep patterns of a 6 week old. I have 7 children that have me spread out all over creation with different activities. And if that isn't enough, I teach dance at KDA! Did I mention that I buy nothing "instant." Every meal at my house except pizza is from scratch; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, if I can do it, so can you! It is all about carving a time where life doesn't get in the way or a time when you are not worn down by the events of life to do it.

I guess my reasonons for posting this are selfish. I am not looking for a good job or pat on the back, but rather a forum where I can keep my goals, accomplishments and even setbacks recorded. For me, if the world knows about it or can see it, just like those pageant days, I am more apt to keep doing it. I need all the keep on, keeping on I can get! Go me! Oh, did I mention the fact that I love having the world wake up to me?

For those interested here is a sample advertisement about NWA BC and what typical results from the program can be:

• 3-5% reduction in body fat• 5-12 pounds weight loss• 25% improvement in strength• 100% Gain in self confidence• 1-3 inch decrease in the midsection• 25% improvement in endurance• Greatly improved posture• Better relaxation

We will be starting the next session at the end of October. It is Monday-Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. I usually get home by 6:40 to get the kids off to school. I will need a partner. Anyone interested? For those of you who live away, look up ladies bootcamps in your city. This bootcamp is all over!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


KDA held a fundraiser for the KREW Dance Team today. A theater was rented out for a private viewing of FAME. For $ 2o.oo each, the girls got their movie ticket, popcorn, coke and an awesome T-Shirt. We had a huge turn out and the proceeds earned today, will fund the team's future competition and convention expenses, of which Carson, Camryn, and Payton are apart of. A few more fundraisers will be held throughout the year and I hope they will all be as successful as this. I certainly had a great time spending the day with the girls. In the picture you will see Bailey missing. She had prior commitments Walking for Cure!

Just a side comment about Fame for all of you parents out there. The dancing was wonderful to watch, but I am sad to say, that the move was not PG ,and it should have been PG-13. There was nothing explicit, but rather excessive teen language that was really not needed. It is sad to see that the rating system that was once designed to protect our children, is just a formality that is manifested by a letter and number. For true protection, parents are more and more, seeing a need to view movies before allowing their children to watch them. What was once considered R rated at the height of the original movie Fame, is now considered tame by today's standards. More evidence that the world in general is becoming de-sensitized to violence, language, and nudity with regards to all forms of media.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

JOB OFFER-Orthodontist Needed

Wanted: One single, good looking, return missionary who will graduate within the next 6 years, to marry my oldest daughter, and set up a local practice near her father, Aaron Jones. Will provide room and board until household is established. Can not live outside of the area! In exchange for services, I will allow you to practice orthodontia, at no charge to me of course, on my 6 children, in exchange for public relations work the 6 children will perform during photo op's and commercials, in efforts to ensure a successful practice for you.

Okay, seriously, I am only joking, but aren't dreams what make the world go around, and wouldn't that be nice? LOL. As I took Bailey to get her braces off today, it got me thinking, HELLO! I have 6 more children to go, so don't break out the chocolates yet. It also made me slightly nauseous, thinking about the cost. Not adding inflation, nor special appliances or teeth extractions prior to braces, I will have spent approximately $40,000 on braces alone. Granted, some of my children will be in them for at least 3 years, so cost are a little higher than some other patients. Again, that does not reflect inflation as the last child will not need them for at least 12-14 years.

Do you know how much gas was or a diet-coke 14 years ago? Well, in 1995, the year my second oldest Hayden was born, gas was $1.16 and a Diet-Coke was .59 cents. I could by almost 2 Happy Hour drinks at that price! Happy, Happy, Happy!

I wonder why God didn't just send us down here with all of our teeth, and while he was at it, make them straight? Seriously, why must some be born with beautiful teeth, while only those who can afford high quality orthodontia care, get their mangled teeth straighten. And if some really can't afford it, go into debt to pay for it? Let alone, the fact that the rest of the population has to look at the disadvantaged lack of orthodontia and dental care, assuming they have all their teeth. After all, we are in Arkansas, right?

All joking aside, Bailey's teeth are beautiful and every bit worth the financial sacrifice and time spent to afford her a beautiful smile. My only request is that she brush, floss, wear her retainer, and smile all the time. It makes me sad to see beautiful young children, who lack financial means that would give them back their smile and boost their self-esteem. One of my relatives lacked the momentary means as an adolescent to correct her teeth. Although to me, she was always beautiful, but it bothered her, and that was what mattered. In all of her childhood pictures, I have never seen one with a grin that showed her teeth. It wasn't until her early adult years, that she was able to get braces. She now has a beautiful smile that, for her, should have been in those pictures long ago.

So here's to 1 down and 6 to go. I can almost see that family portrait now. Oh, did I mention I was getting braces again? Yes, I did say again, didn't I? Bailey, you better wear your retainer! Remember, the key word is inflation, and it will be so much more expensive when you have to may for it as an older adult.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Right Under My Nose

I can not say this enough! The Lord is watching over my children in spite of myself! I am sure that many of you feel the same. Ever since I can remember, I have been in tune with with His watchful eye over me, and now even more so as a mommy. There have been huge manifestations of this over the last 37 years, and I am so grateful for those. Yet, what I find most comforting, and that I am most grateful for, is the protection that my family receives in small ways on a daily basis.

Trust me, I always have a story to tell with 7 children. To me there are very few certain things in life, and in the Jones house, we can always count on a large grocery bill, lots of laundry, something always needing to be cleaned or fixed, mom never having her own drinking cup, private bath time, lots of crying and laughter, sick kids, and never enough eyes on Emerson. That girl came to me as my 6th, because I probably would have been too strung out to have another!

Don't get me wrong, I love her. She is so darn cute most of the time and is super sweet. She talks up a storm at home, but never makes a peep anywhere else. In our house, we often refer to her as "silent, but deadly." In fact, when she is talking at home, that is a good thing. It is when she goes silent, that we get very worried. I have complained to my husband about her antics and my rough days with her. His reply has always been the same, that I need to watch her better, and with little sympathy to boot! Sticking my tongue out and fingers in my ears. No, I find the best word to describe Emerson, is calculating. She waits for the precise moment that you are on the phone, in the bathroom, changing a diaper, cooking, or just plain busy with something to do her deeds. She is always watching for her moment.

To make my point, there was on time, Aaron had a huge Hershey Chocolate Bar he brought home from work. Not the large kind, that you get at the check out, but the one 4 x's that size. He placed in the cabinet and thought nothing about it. Emerson saw the bar, knew it was there, asked about the bar, and was told not to touch it. She patiently waited all day, never once trying to get into it. In fact, Aaron knowing her and my complaints, was pleasantly surprised at his great parenting! Ha! All the while, and little did he know, she was calculating getting her prize right under his very nose. Five hours of "great" and uneventful parenting had past as Aaron tended her. He really never left her side, which for a man, is unusual. Not exactly good at multi-tasking. He got her down for a late nap, thought she was asleep, and went to take a shower. Here comes his insert foot in mouth moment!!!! Drum roll please.

While Aaron was enjoying his hot shower, Emerson was faking being asleep. She finally had a moment to seize her prize. Now remember, she waited 5 hours for it. When Aaron got out of the shower, he saw that she was missing and went looking for her. He found her behind the bar with 1/2 of the chocolate bar gone. She tried to convince him that she didn't do it. It was literally written all over her face and everywhere else! Chalk that outfit up to a lost cause. Aaron has become a little more sympathetic to my complaints as of late, having had the pleasure of tending her more with the new baby in the house. My favorite part of the day was coming home and hearing about his day with her and saying, "sounds to me, like you need to watch her more," tongue in cheek.

Well, today was a another crazy morning. I am not feeling well, had to get kids ready for school, and the baby was fussy. I was making a bottle for him, while Emerson was puttering in the kitchen. Feeling confident and thinking she was behaving, I continued to wipe down counters and sweep the floor. I still had an hour or so before she got her gears going. After all, it was only 7 a.m. and she still had sleep in her eye.

Wrong! Remember the silent, but deadly description that I mentioned earlier? Well, Emerson was standing behind the center island, being all too quite for herself. I put down the broom and peeked over the counter and freaked!!!! Emerson had 3 bobby pins, without the rubber tips, shoved into the electrical outlet located on the island. I screamed, she screamed, and we all screamed; including baby. I was so shocked, scared and grateful at the same time. Once again, the Lord had his eye on one of my children.

I have raised 5 of the 7 children past the stage where I have to worry about such things. Sure there have been times were one or two have tried to stick keys, scissors , or other larger objects into the outlets. I always freaked, put the items out of reach, and bought outlet covers. I also thanked my lucky starts that they were not electrocuted. However, never, in my wildest dreams, would I think that Emerson would use 3 bobby pins to lift off the cover and jam them in, right before my watchful eye! I can barely get those stupid covers off myself. She is one of a kind, that girl. Did I mention she is only two?

I hope by sharing this, that one day, Emerson will read about her antics. In doing so, my goal is that she will know of the love that I have for my Father in Heaven and of the gratitude that feel for the protection and comfort that he has afforded me and my family. I hope that these examples of his love, big or small, will fortify her faith and her need to lean on him, while rearing her own family. My other greatest hope, is that she will have at least one child, who she will call her "silent, but deadly," one and apologizes to me weekly! I pray that she will have the testimony to lean on her Father in Heaven for projection and guidance, because if the child is anything like her, she is going to need it. Lots if it! That, and a large dose of Tylenol.

As for when she comes to me and complains about her wild child I will be ready. I sit here now, feeding my baby and writing this, feeling myself getting almost giddy with excitement thinking of my tongue in cheek reply, "well, Emerson, these things wouldn't happen if you were watching her better." I will laugh and chuckle knowing that at that moment, she will probably be sticking out her tongue and poking her fingers in her ears.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grateful for "The Suite Life"

Okay, so I am a little slow posting this, because the celebrity event actually happened two weeks ago. Walmart brought the twins...Zack and Cody, from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, to Bentonville, Arkansas. Yes, I know, we are so spoiled here! Free concerts and lots of celebrities. If you are a star, and you sell it to Walmart, eventually they will bring you here. Like the New Twilight premier on the set that Aaron was invited to attend, but couldn't justify the cost to his boss....girls are huge fans and were so ticked. That is a sore spot right now.

We found out that they were coming into town several days before. Actually, it was Aaron who found out and didn't tell us, because he knew that it would mean hours of standing in line to meet them if we didn't get up early enough to attend the Saturday morning meeting. He still painfully remembers the day Harrison Ford and Paula Dean came, because he missed lots of football that day. That was before DVR found the Jones Family, but since then, his life with women has become less painful. It has this neat tool that allows him to record and watch any game his little heart desires. Not many hissy-fits thrown by me now.

Getting back to Zack and Cody, but wait, I want to talk about Paula. I am obsessed with her show. Even my kids, at the ripe age of 2, prefer it over cartoons. Aaron and I got up at the crack of dawn to attend the meeting....she is a complete NUT. As if that wasn't enough, I, along with my tortured husband, stood at Sam's forever for her cookbook signing, all the while, he was wearing a hole in the concrete walking back and forth to the big screen T.V. section. True love people.

Anyhow, the girls got wind of Zack and Cody coming into town Friday night. I know you have all heard about Boot Camp till you are sick of it, but if you haven't, just know that I have been getting up at 4 a.m. for the past 4 weeks, and Saturday morning was MY day to sleep in till 7 or 8 a.m. NO WAY was I, in this life, going to get up early and head to the home office. So around 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, we headed to Walmart to see if we could get in line. We, as in the entire family, as in all 9 of us. Forget it, the line was huge. More than 2000 fans showed up that consisted mostly of screaming "tweens" and their "suite" parents who drove them. Just had to do that, corny, I know. Bailey would be so embarassed.

A friend of ours that we used to live by, works for Dannon yogurt, and Dannon was the sponsor for this event. BTW, gave out lots of free yogurts! My girls were in heaven. Free Food. While they were eating, he saw us and told us that there was a chance we would wait in line forever and not get up there. He suggested we head to Sam's where the boys were headed next. Before we left, he offered to take our camera into the tent and take a picture. He even came back with a "real" autograph and not pre-signed one, before we left. Our girls went nuts!

So, taking 2 weeks to write about this has left me thinking. Okay now, you can't tell me that our children are given to us by our Creator out of mere randomness. No way!!! I believe that the children we have are born to us for specific reasons and I think, not only do they chose us as earthly parents, but we chose them too. Our children are here to teach us to become God-like and in doing so, we learn sooooo much, whether we like it at the time or not. I think it is best said by my 5 year-old, Payton, "you get what you get, and you don't pitch a fit."

Some of the big lessons we have learned over the years thanks to our gifts, are how to be loving even when we want to spit nails from their back talking, destructiveness, and messy habits. Yes, unconditional love, that is the word I am looking for here. We also learned how to comfort and show compassion by tending to their daily physical, mental, and spiritual needs, and not just when it is convenient or easy, but rather when it is inconvenient and often difficult. Like when they were sick at night, or needed a science fair project due the next day. Don't pat yourself on the back yet and say, never, if they haven't pulled that fast one. Trust me, they will, just give it some time. I think the word here that I would use would be Christ-like service and patience. The list could go on and on here, but I am suppose to be talking about Zack and Cody!! Just a minute, I am getting to that.

The point that I am trying to make, upon my reflection, is that God knew just what he was doing by sending 6 girls to Aaron. Yes, that is right, 6 girls in a row. One right after the other. The crazy thing is, they asked to come to him and even crazier, Aaron accepted. LOL!!! For those of you who know Aaron, and to those of you who don't, he is the biggest "man's man" that you will ever come by. If it involves hunting and skinning a dear, camping, fishing, basketball or any other man thing, he is all over it. When it came to ballet, hormones, make-up, hair, fashion, "girl problems", decorating, shopping and other girl things, lets just say he would rather have his teeth pulled than to listen and learn. Oh, he appreciated a pretty face and a well-kept girl friend when we were dating. He also loved living in a nice, clean home, kept that way by his mom. He just didn't want to pay for it, know what effort it took, or how it was done. Boy has that changed as Heavenly Father knew just who to entrust his children to.

Some of you might ask, why am I picking on Aaron and not myself. This is my reflection here, and Aaron can make his own. So to answer that, if you know anything about me, I am a true G.R.I.T.S (girls raised in the south) and we all know, we don't sweat, we "glisten." The Lord had to balance us out and send Aaron a partner, who could teach the girls the difference between Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. And if you think you know the answer, trust me you don't. In the South, Fall, is for football, food, and shopping Winter, is for skiing, Santa, yummy food and more shopping. Spring is for bridal parties, drinks with fruit in them, dieting, exercise, and more shopping. Summer is for swimsuits, the beach, and suntans in full make-up and hair. Hard work, but someone has to do it. Only kidding. My point here, is that we are total opposites!

Over the years that we have been blessed with our girls, Aaron has learned more about girl things than he will care to E V E R admit. It is a fact, that he knows more about girl things than most girls and married women. He just will deny it till the day he dies if you ask him. For instance, he is so patient with them when they are upset or having a problem. Yes, the word for that would be hormonal. I want to ride my broom when they get out of line and he is calm, patient and is always there to listen when it matters. He knows that the only way to truly listen when we get that way is with tylenol (for them and him), diet-coke, some chocolate, lots of vertical head shaking and often follwed by the adjective, true.

He has learned to bath multiple children at once, or see that when they are older, get them to pass a sniff test to see if they are spic-n -span. He is now educated enought to know that if they tell him they washed their hair, brushed their teeth, or changed their bloomers, there is a good chance that they are fibing. He has learned to pick out clothes that mostly match and the good sense to delegate that to our fashion deva, Hayden, when he is over his head. And don't even get me started on what he has learned by ironing proper, frilly church attire! Oh, the layers little girls must wear. He has also learned that when they are older, bringing down dirty clothes means that it is probably the 10 outfits they tried on before church and thew down on wet towels because they were wrinkled. Wrinkled clothes, now imagine that?

He has even learned how to use a brush, not a comb, and to always stick a bow in their hair before sending them out the door. Okay, well, maybe we are still working on that last one, but a man has to have some faults, right? I am still trying to convince him that just because he adorns a bow on their head, doesn't make them cute. You have to style it and the bigger the bow, the better! As the girls have gotten older, he has learned how to delegate the styling of the hair to the older ones. He has also learned by rants and raves from me, when it "is" and "is not" just right. Smart man. His momma didn't raise "no dummy," however it took a few years for it to all click just right.

While we are subject of learning, just mention the word ballet to him. Go ahead, I dare you. For those of you who know me, I have studied and taught dance for more than 20 years. Ballet was and is my life! If I was not in a production, I was attending one. I once danced the lead as Clara in The Nutcracker. Go me! I had not missed performing or attending since I was 6 years old, until the first year I married my "manly man." Sure, I could have gone without him, but I wanted him to be with me and enjoy what I loved so much, and besides, we were living off of love; broke as could be. I had my reasons for being mad at his pre-marital false advertising when he refused my invitation to go. You see, I recall when we were dating, he once told me under the stars, that he loved ballet. My response under the stars to him was that I loved to hunt, too. We must be a match!!!! At least one of us tried to repent of lying by backing it up, if that is what you call it.

There aren't too many true southern belles, who have never been in the WILDS, who would throw on cameo, pack a gun over miles of dust, cactus, and thistle. Yuck! For all of you southerners who are thinking, what is she talking about....miles? It isn't Alabama people! You actually have to walk to earn your deer. You don't get the privilege of sitting in a tree stand. I had no clue what I was doing and was too dumb to realize it at the time that he sure as heck wasn't looking for my companionship on the hunt, but rather my deer tag. For those of you who hunt legally, you will know what I mean by that. I am sad to say that he didn't get to shoot nor skin a deer that season. Do you think it was the Tide Detergent that I used to wash his nasty, disgusting, cameo in? I do love a "man's man," but didn't dare want him to smell
like one. What would his mother think of his new wife, much less the deer?

Years later, he has earned forgiveness of his lie by picking up, sitting at, or watching more dances than he could ever imagine. In fact, it was this past Christmas, that he attended his very first ballet musical, The Nutcracker. A proud day for me. The Royal Moscow Russian Ballet was performing and the girls were in the children's dance cast. He feel asleep during most of it. He was however, there in spirit, unlike the Alaskan, Ice Road Truck Driver, who was
seating next to us on the edge of his seat. Seriously, he drove hours to see it. It was so funny. This huge lumber jack, remixed biker, ex-solider dude, clapping like a dainty school priss. In the end, the girls did great and Aaron survived the first of many performances. However, I don't think the Lord will hold him accountable for his prejudices against men in tights. That still haunts him and he still thinks it is plain WRONG.

So what has all this got to do with Zack and Cody, you might ask? Well, for me, it allowed me to reflect on what a wonderful husband and father that he has become. Not many men would put up with what he goes thru daily, handling 7 woman and all that we entail. Not many men I know of, even in my immediate family, would dress, fix hair, let alone cook, change diapers, make bottles and share in nightly feedings X 6. Let alone agree to it before he came to this earth.

I guess I am not talking about many men here, nor am I really talking about Zack and Cody. I am talking about this "girl" daddy sometimes called Aaron. A dad, who upon seeing the excitement that his girls had while waiting in line, and understanding their look of disappointment as they were told they might not get to see their idol, showed just how much of a "girl" daddy he had become by taking action. What is a "girl" daddy one ask? It is a daddy who knows how to be strong enough to learn new and uncomfortable things, sensitive enough to show emotion, and smart enough to know when to act upon it.

For Aaron, being a "girl" daddy, is a side that has not always come easy in contrast to his own personality and interest. It is often awkward, and has taken years to develop, but it is a side that has allowed him to be the best "girl" daddy anyone could wish for. Knowing that on this
Saturday, what was more important, was to create a memory with his girls instead of watching football. He stood in line with 5 girls from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., while I was home with the baby. You see, by being unselfish and standing in line with them, Aaron gave the girls all the hopes, dreams, and silliness of childhood.

I can tell you, there weren't many dads standing in a line that wrapped, what seemed like forever, around the building without the mommies pulling them by their ears. Maybe it was
because most of them were watching football in their Lazyboy. Who knows and it really doesn't matter. However, what does matter, is that God knew just what he was doing when he sent his girls to Aaron. Long after my girls grow up to have babies of their own, they may or may not remember their childhood crush, but what they will always remember, was that they had a daddy, who often sacrificed his wants to make them happy, and that they had a very, "Suite Life."

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Heart Stood Still

This week I am on break from Boot Camp. Normally, I wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready. I get up a little earlier to allow myself some time to unload the dishes, start a batch of laundry, and other small chores, before heading out the door to exercise. Boot Camp ends at 6:30, so I usually arrive home about 6:45 to crying, hair flying, and squealing on most days.

Since starting this routine 4 weeks ago, a typical morning at the Jones house is hectic, to say the least! Trying to get 5 of the 7 children to march like solider's and out the door with everything they need before 7:10 and 7 :45, let alone feed a hungry newborn and 2 year old, would rattle anyone's nerves. I might also add, that this afore mentioned 2 year-old, happens to think she has to pack her bags and snacks for the day right along side her sisters. She will NOT take NO for an answer, either! Thus, adding to even more morning chaos.

Since not having to wake up so early this week (off from camp for one week), the morning routine today was not nearly as hectic as the others. I was able to get the kids off, tend the baby, and even brush my teeth. Okay, I must confess, I even managed to sneak in my diet-coke, without anyone losing an arm, or gnashing and whaling of teeth. I didn't even need to get my broom out and ride it, as my kids like to say, to get things done on time and my way.

Once the kids leave, I try to get the baby down for a morning nap around 10 a.m. This allows me to focus on Emerson. It also allows me to get a jump start on chores and cooking preparations for the evening meal. If I am really lucky, I might be able to sneak in a mommy break. I love nappy time!

So, as I was saying, I managed to get the baby down close to his schedule time, and laid him in the crib. I really wanted that mommy time this week, since there was no Boot Camp. I immediately started sorting laundry and folding clothes. Not more than 10 minutes into his nap, Weston woke up for some reason. I usually let him fuss it out for a few minutes, however, this would not be the case today. Emerson, is a real mother hen and busy body to boot! She loves to lug her pretend babies and our cat Izzie around all day!!! She would have none of leaving him alone, when I asked her to not go in there. She marched right in there and told him to hush up. That went over real well as you can imagine. Especially, since she was standing on the crib inches from his head, and talking pretty loud, as most 2 year-olds do.

I was a little irritated, because I was almost at a stopping point , where I could sit down with Emerson, put her up to cartoons, and chill out a bit. I put the baby in his car seat, put Emerson up to cartoons, and rounded the corner to finish loading my washer. Yes, I admit, I was dreaming of my down time. Not even 2 minutes went by, when I heard the screams of my 3 month-old baby, Weston. Not the "I am ticked off, tired, or hungry scream," but one of hurt and sheer terror. As I was rushing back in the living room to see him, Emerson, ran crying up to me saying that he was too heavy. What I saw next, literally made my heart stand still. My little baby was lying flat on his back about 5 feet away from his car seat on hardwood floors. Immediate panic set in, not knowing if she actually dropped him, tripped with him, or set him down hard. While Emerson put her own self in time out, I took off his clothes and checked for any signs of injury. I didn't see anything, so I said a little prayer in my heart, as I tried to calm him down. After a few minutes, he soon settled down and wanted a bottle. To me, being hungry was a good sign. I know you aren't suppose to put babies down after a fall, so I tried to keep him awake as long as I could. It really wasn't easy, because it was not only his nap time, but he had worn himself out crying. In fact, I am still checking on him as I write this.

I often find myself being taught and humbled by the Lord thru my trials and accidents, no matter how big or small that they are. I have learned, once again, that life holds many ironies.
One being, that parents, especially mothers, often long for that next stage in a child's life, while not fully appreciating the season that they are in. I have often said to myself, I can't wait for them to get a little older and start sleeping at night, so that I can get a good nights rest. I have also heard others say that they can't wait for them to start school, so they can finally have silent and "me" time. Many more have said that they can't wait for the day when they are grown, so they can flit and flitter wherever it is they want, without being tide down. Some have even said to me, that as many children as I have, I will never get that chance to go and do. Yet, the irony of this all, is that when those days finally come, and our children are older, we too grow older with them.
Once, when we would give anything for sleep, we now find that sleeps alludes us, and we can't sleep. Not only do we soar with the eagles in the morning, but we hoot with the owls all night too! Once, where quite and "me" time was wished for, is now replaced by a sound so silent, that it is deafening. For, there was once a time, where we couldn't even walk to the bathroom without someone pulling, clinging or needing something. We now find it to be replaced by the simple fact that know one needs us at all, and that they are just too busy to come and visit. Once, when all we wanted to do was get our children grown, so we could flit and flitter, we now find that we are too crippled, too old or too dead to care. Once again, my heart stood still, only this time it wasn't from panic, but rather from listening.

Long gone is the desire for mommy down time on this day, for my Heavenly Father has once again replaced it with a love and gratitude, that is steeled with a quite resolve that only a mother could know, but often forgets. And that is , that our most important responsibility as wife, and mother is living in the "Now" for our children, whatever the "Now" is during the particular stage in life. For me, that stage is planting, and nurturing. I often forget that, while getting caught up in doing all of the things that must be done to run a household this size. Come to think of it, a lot like Boot Camp where everyone is treated like a solider. There are always marching orders, missions to be completed, and more missions to follow. There is no down time, lots of physical exhaustion, and no rest for the troops.

So on this day, I sit here with my children, while my hair is frizzed, no make-up on, beds not made, floors not swept, a sink full of dishes and the laundry piled high, knowing that all is well in this world when my children are looked after, cared for, and watched over by my Father in Heaven, and often times, in spite of myself when I sometimes "forget."
Today, I got 2 very important things done: 1) I brushed my teeth and 2) I played and held my children , not my troops. Can I get another diet-coke, please? Oh, and by the way, this picture is posted for all non-belivers. Proof is in the pudding, don't you think?