Friday, December 31, 2010

5 years

Happy 5 Years to Us!!
Hubby and I are celebrating our 5th Wedding Anniversary today.

I love that each and every day I love you more and more.
Thank you for choosing me as your lifelong partner, Clay. I can't wait to make a lifetime more of memories with you!

Love you,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

our crazy and beautiful life...travels, family and more

Can I just do a quick recap here?

Half of my brain wants to relish in the remaining holiday moments...drinking hot cider by our sparkly Christmas tree that I refuse to take down for another week, reading Norman Rockwell's Christmas book a time or two more, and jotting notes and ideas for next years magical season...whereas, the other half of my brain is going "Holy Moly!! Could our Holiday season have been anymore crazy busy?!" (as I start yet another list of "to do's" shaking my head at the growing numbers of things yet to be marked off)

I think that on the Jones side of the family, the year has been one not to be forgotten. Two moves, a new baby and a poor mom. :) Between my brother and me alone, her agenda has stayed quite full. Mom, one of these days you will have your time...time to actually start and finish your own house projects. Thank you for being the mom that you are who drops anything and everything for us at any given moment. You are amazing.

2010 has been quite the experience and excitement. In April, our family moved from our little apartment complex of 5 years to a house in the suburbs with the space to accomodate our growing family. During the summer months, we traveled to Mississippi to see family and spent quite the time here. The rest of the time was spent "moving into" our new home and getting settled and ready for baby #2, who arrived on October 11. We were blessed to be able to have our family staying with us most of the fall and winter; in years past, we might only see them a few weeks out of the year due to work schedules and other conflicts. For Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, Clay's family was able to come up. In between the two holidays, I flew with the two boys (by myself for the first time) down to Grenada for my brother's wedding and stayed for over two weeks. Arriving back late on December 14 with hubby gone and family flying in early on the 17th, made for quick and simple Christmas decorating this year. Clay and I had decided to continue our tradition to host our 2nd annual Cookie Swap at our home for our Sunday School class so when the Nolen's flew in on Friday and Saturday we put them to work baking, cleaning and helping with the boys as we all prepared for the event Saturday evening. Thank you for being so flexible and jumping into the party scene with us, guys. Ya'll were sweet to help us out. I'm so glad ya'll love a party as much as we do. :)

Sunday, I think we all practically collapsed and did NOTHING. Monday, we hit the slopes at Welch Village for an all day adventure. The rest of the week was a blur. If it hadn't been for the hundreds of pictures I took throughout the 12 days, I probably wouldn't remember a lot of mind seems to focus and remember certain moments and a lot of time the details are forgotten...hence, my love for photography and scrapbooking. :) Shopping trips to the mall, receiving, addressing, and mailing Christmas cards, more Christmas baking, last minute Christmas shopping, doctor's appts, fireplace evenings sipping hot cider while visiting...great memories made. I hope that Parker will look back on this year's Christmas season and smile at the opportunities and moments that we shared together as a family.

Because blogging has been low on my priority list lately, I have a backlog of about 34 "post ideas" that I finally starting jotting down in a notebook so as not to forget them. Though I'm not sure how I'm going to condense all this, I'm sure for the sake of my time and everyone else's boredom ;) I will come up with a shortened version of our traveling and seasonal memories and events.

To start...a picture of the boys and myself at the airport the Sunday after Thanksgiving...can I just say it was a miracle we made it to Memphis and back to Minne with all those bags. :) 
2 check bags, 2 carry-ons, 1 travel seat/stroller, 1 purse, 2 kids and a backpack, 1 diaper bag...and a partridge in a pear tree.

Parker was such a big boy helper at the airport; he wanted to do everything all by myself. "I big. I do it myself."
Even as the little fellow's face turned beat red from working so hard to carry "his" things to our gate, he refused to give up his bags. He was one determined little boy.

The entire airport experience there and back actually went really well...I felt as prepared as I could be traveling with two for the first time. Parker and Cooper were both truly amazing and it made me such the proud mama to receive some of the nice compliments we did after the plane landed. Parker of course had his backpack filled with special airplane goodies that kept him busy and happy. Cooper was either eating, sleeping or looking around quite happily admiring the view. :) It was a great way to start our trip... the car ride from the airport to home was an entirely different story, but we won't even go there. Let's just say it involved a lot of crying, attempted consoling, spit up, messy diapers, pouty faces and relief to finally reach our destination (I am referring to both ends...from Memphis to Grenada and from Minne to Eagan).

I don't know who was happier...our family to see us or us to see our family.

...Parker loved being able to venture outdoors to play in Rassie and Papa's yard

...more Mississippi Memories coming soon...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
We are rejoicing that our Lord and Saviour was born this special day!
Have a blessed time with family and friends!
Clay, Carrie, Parker and Cooper

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!!

After a fun day of sledding, hot apple cider, visiting time with family, wrapping the last of the gifts, making a last minute Target run, taking pictures underneath the tree, eating Christmas treats, watching part of "White Christmas" and missing hubby terribly tonight, I am crawling into my bed...resting up so that I am ready to play some more tomorrow! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Week before Christmas...

A day of skiing at Welch Village...
(we got to drive back in some fun weather conditions Monday night! ha ha! ...for those of you not up North, we had about 8 inches of snow that evening.)

Parker helping Nana cook in the kitchen...(wearing his green froggy boots, mama's apron, and Ashee's ski goggles)

Cooper enjoying some relaxed reading time with his Aunt KK

Baking cookies in the kitchen and hosting a Cookie Swap for our Sunday School Class...

Mrs. Leslie's Christmas Party, seeing friends, and meeting Santa...

a few of the things we've been up to since arriving back from MS...

This last week and a half we've been experiencing all the fun holiday activities including trips to the mall, sledding in the front yard, hot cocoa and tea, special Christmas cookies baked by Aunt CiCi, Christmas movies, fires in the fireplace and more!!!
I'm taking pictures of it all and can't wait to document it.
Christmas cards are mailed and almost all the presents are purchased and wrapped under the tree (what would Christmas be without that last minute run to the store that takes 3 1/2 hours?! ;).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

winter boots and snow

For all of my family down South...this is what I flew back to this week. Pity me please. ;)

The snow boots go with us every time we step outdoors. Need to run to the mailbox...throw on the snow boots. Grocery store? ...snow boots. Thankful that these suckers keep my footsies warm in this 10 degree (says winter zone.
Well, at least I don't have to worry about coordinating my shoes with my outfits... :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

"Mr. and Mrs. Jones"

Congratulations Taylor and Fair!!!
We love ya'll so much and are sooo happy for the two of you!
Have a blast in Mexico...and please pity those of us in not so warm conditions :)

 (Thanks Uncle Barry for capturing this moment of the two of them!)

This past weekend, my younger brother married his Mississippi Girl! It was an amazing and beautiful event that I am thankful our family was a part of. I couldn't be happier for the both of them!

We have been going non-stop around here for the last week. As soon as I can, I'll post more pictures and details about the Southern affair. :)

Welcome to the family, Fair (officially). I am thrilled to be blessed with another sister!

Song dedication: "More Today than Yesterday" by Spiral Staircase
(one of Taylor and Fair's favorites!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Among family...

Last Sunday, after all the Thanksgiving festivities, the boys and I flew down to MS for an upcoming special event. All last week, we enjoyed visiting with grandparents and more... (the "more" I am referring to will be shared upon later). Each of the grandparents and great-grandparents that we were able to see were thrilled to be able to see and meet the newest addition to the family.

...this week, we have been in full focus wedding mode. It has brought back many memories of the week before our wedding in 2005; those last minute details seem to take every second of each day up until the main event. Calligraphy, PowerPoint, pictures, white gift wrapping, tuxes and ties, dresses and boots, nails and jewelry, seating charts, itineraries, gift baskets and notes...making sure not a single detail is overlooked. 

The last 24 hours has been mad chaos, but so special. Time has been spent with both brother and has started arriving...Parker and Cooper have been amazing through all the busyness (thank you Aunt LaLa and Papa for your help today!)...hubby arrives tonight to join in the festivities (well, I guess I should say this morning since it will be 1:30am when he walks through the door)...everything is coming together.

Now I'm off to bed and early to rise! Busy day ahead...

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Shelly, a friend of mine, came over for a visit a couple of weeks ago. While she was there she snapped a few pictures of Cooper. I appreciated her capturing some sweet shots of my little babe in the moment. Shelly has decided to turn her passion of photography into a excited for you Shelly!
Photo taken by Shelly Peters

I enjoyed the visit, Shelly, and I know Parker had a fun playhour with Wesley. Thank you so much for snapping a couple of quick shots of Cooper! You are such a gifted and creative person; I can't wait to see where you take these talents with your new business! I wish you the best and can't wait to see you again soon!

Last week I purchased a container for my winter emergency kit for the car (as opposed to throwing extra coats, scarves and items in the back of the trunk and leaving them there for 6 months only to be covered in dirt and icy stuff by the end of winter). Excited to have this done. Now I just have to throw in the blankets, gloves, flashlight and other necessities and we'll be set...wish I had done this before Cooper's Sip n See in Chanhassen. :) Oh well, better late than never! Winter storm comes our way during a drive and we'll be prepared.

Speaking of being prepared for emergencies, I'm thinking of keeping a bag or two of these chocolate treats in the car for "just in case" moments. My Aunt Cindy would agree that chocolate is a necessity in any given emergency.

Found a new favorite candy...Almond m&m's...why am I just now discovering these?! If you've never tried these, run (and I do mean run!) to your nearest grocery store; from my understanding they're a little bit harder to find.

Another random topic...Over the last several weeks, I've had some people inquire as to what kind of camera I use and whether or not I am the one taking the pictures that are posted on my blog.

First, the camera that goes with me everywhere everyday is the Canon Powershot SD 960. I love this little camera (although my husband would scoff at my saying that considering I talk in my sleep about my dream camera...the digital SLR that I am saving to purchase. :) However, my husband did good with this one. When my previous point and shoot camera was stolen last year in Mexico, Clay went out and bought me this one. I really do love it and appreciate its quality. If you're wanting the best point-and-shoot on the market, this one is (or was last year) the best one to get.

Secondly, yes I do take all of the pictures that are posted on the blog unless I give credit otherwise (which is usually posted directly beneath a specific picture.) The only editing I usually do to mine is to remove red eye and crop. Most of the pictures shown are a glimpse of our everyday life (hence the blog title). I just like to document the simple things in addition to the big events. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Friends and a Recipe

A couple of weeks ago, some dear friends of ours from church came over to visit and bring dinner (thank you sooo much again guys; I now have 2 new favorite recipes!!!) It was great getting to relax for a bit after dinner and the kids were down the night; we laughed and chatted until it felt like it was midnight only to be shocked when we read 9:12 on the clock. ha ha! ...Tells you how old we are getting! Katie and Ryan, thank you for a fabulous evening of fun and friendship; we must repeat it again soon! :)

Ryan and Katie have an adorable little tot named Blake...and I have to say he reminds me so much of Parker when he was younger. A sweet little boy who is always into something. :) Prepare yourself for the upcoming year ya'll. It will be a fun one, but a very busy one! ha ha!

After dinner I begged Katie to share her scrumptious recipes with me, to which she humbly shook her head and laughed, but graciously agreed. One of those recipes is shared below...So, I speak for myself and everyone else who is smart enough to try creating this treat in their own kitchen...THANK YOU Katie!!! If I had one phrase to describe the tasty pumpkin bars I would say that it is "the perfect taste of Autumn."

P.S. I told Katie I was going to take her shopping with me so she could help spruce up my wardrobe. She always looks adorably fashionable.

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 - 29oz can of pumpkin (or 2 of the 15 oz cans)
12oz can of evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 C sugar
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
1 box of yellow cake mix
¾ C butter
Chopped pecans

**Katie says: I also added a dash of pumpkin spice but it’s not in the original recipe.

Mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, salt and cinnamon in mixing bowl.
Pour mix into a 9 x 11 pan
Pour yellow cake mix over top of pumpkin mixture
Sprinkle pecans on top
Pour ¾ C melted butter over top

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His faithful love endures forever." Psalm 118:1

Photo above taken by Shelly Peters

I am forever grateful to my Lord and Saviour for blessing me with these three boys...

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Clay's sisters in town...thank you Nana and Poppie for the delicious Thanksgiving meal that was pre-prepared (mostly!) for us. Thankful that Clay flew in Thanksgiving day and was able to be a part of the holiday with us. Still can't believe I got up at 4:20am to partake in the Black Friday Madness...even more stunned that I got hubby out of the bed to attack Walmart at 5am (he actually said the only reason he was grudgingly going with me was to make sure I didn't go crazy with the pocketbook!!) Got some good deals though...enjoyed the day with family...can mark "shop at largest mall in America on Black Friday" off my lifelong "to do" list :)

One more feeding for the littlest man and then I'm off to bed...gotta sleep hard and fast...2am will be here before I'm ready for it! :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Hope everyone has a wonderful, blessed day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a walk through our day

For our family who are not able to be with us today...we love you and miss you so much. Wish we could all be together! But as promised, here is a walk through our day. It was simple but very memorable.

...I am busy addressing these...

Parker getting fitted and measured for his tux in the upcoming wedding... :)

Parker helping Ashee make our lunches...

CiCi and Carrie making a "quick" (only 3 hrs) Target run...more snow and ice fell while we were there...

KK and Parker getting excited about working in the kitchen...

Ashee, KK and Parker making a double batch of Chex mix...yum!!!

...and in the meantime, Cooper is enjoying his front row view of the falling snow out on our deck.

Ashee and Parker feeling quite satisfied after their successful baking experience with the Chex mix...

CiCi in kitchen during this time making dinner...
Ashee and Parker creating cool things with the legos...

KK and Parker building (and knocking down) towers...

a quick-before-bedtime picture...goodnight all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

awaiting the aunts' arrival...

Cooper - 6 weeks old

...just hanging out with these two while we excitedly await for the Nolen girls to arrive...Parker is thrilled that his aunts are flying in for a Thanksgiving visit!! See you soon girls!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

an album for my brother

At the start of this year, I started collecting photographs for a project I wanted to complete and give to my brother. Knowing an engagement and then a wedding would be in the very near future, I thought that now would be the perfect time to make this special book of memories for him. Each time I was able to fly down South, I would look forward to spending some time perusing through our old family albums and handpicking favorite pictures of my brother and me growing up.

I laughed, cried and smiled throughout the whole making of this album. I was so happy with the end result and was thrilled that I decided to make a duplicate copy for myself so that I could reminisce over the memories as often as I wanted to! (My husband is thrilled that I finished it too...more so because my scrap area has been clean and organized for several weeks now...for the time being anyway... :))

Here are a few pages and details to share...

(simple simple simple pages. Loved the pictures on this layout. :) used old school paper and embellishments, but thought it added to the theme nicely. ha!)

...included a good bit of hidden journaling throughout the book. I love journaling in scrapbooks, but don't always like it to be front and center.

...we both loved Christmastime with our family. Our mom and dad have always made it so much fun for us! Love that we always shared the special holiday with the crazy and exciting times we had with our cousins when we'd get together...loved the homemade goodies that Aunt Polly would bring to us in her signature tins several times during the season (the fudge always went first!)...loved our mix of handmade, funky boutique, and formal ornaments that always adorned our the traditions...loved our Christmas the memories of sitting in the little living room next to the fireplace staring at the white lights on the tree...loved all the special seasonal goodies that we unpacked from the attic each year (the walking snowman, the New England Village and its sweet accessories, the Nativity, the handmade felt advent calendar that hung in our hallway, the miniature Christmas trees that were placed on our dressers and decorated with mini could we ever forget the Christmas Muppets? ha! ...and so many more)...loved the many Christmas books mama would set out for us to read each night through the month...loved the Christmas Eve Candlelight service, the Christmas musical and Christmas plays at our how our parents made it fun for us in every way possible and through all the hooplah always reminded us the Real Reason for the season. I could go on and on and on and on about the many things I remember and will always cherish from our childhood Christmas memories.

I hope I can pass this same feeling on to our children so that they will look back with a warm heart and smile.

Enjoyed creating the layouts about our school days, youth group and church trips and events...this brought back many, many memories.

Paperclipped behind the title of the above page are some of my favorite quotes/sayings on family.

LOVE this page for the poem my mom wrote about us and the pictures to fit! (notice the far left and far right pics!!)

Towards the end I included a letter to Taylor.
One final page will be added after Taylor and Fair's include the whole family. The last page of the book though, is the page shown below of the two of us at Taylor's Senior pictures.

I am so very thankful for my family and love my brother very much. He is about to marry the girl of his dreams and I couldn't be happier for both of them. Before he says "I do" on December 11, I wanted him to be able to look back and smile on the last 25 years of his life...we have been so blessed to have the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that we do. I am thrilled that he is about to "officially" join a precious family that will also have him smiling over the next 25 years!!!

I love you Taylor and couldn't be a prouder sister. Thank you for all the memories of the past and the memories to come!

P.S. Reminder to self: show Taylor where hidden journaling is otherwise he won't have a clue it's there!!!

Album and page protectors: American Crafts