Happy Anniversary: Michael

Happy Anniversary Michael! It’s been eight awesome years.

Remember when it was just the two of us…

Honeymoon 117_2
Four-wheeling on our honeymoon, of course.

Then there were three…

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Boy was that fun!

And then four…

Heeeyyyy Hens!

And hey, why not five!

Welcome Fieldsy.

I love you, Michael. You are my best friend. Thanks for loving me and our kids so well. You are the best. 


Bicycle Mama: Goes Back to Work!

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Lisa Schmitz Interior Design

Well, I’ve got a bit of exciting news. I’m going back to work 3 days a week with Lisa Schmitz Interior Design, and it is going to be awesome! She has a large project that I will jump right into, and after I discuss it with her I will share the details. The photo above is one of her projects. Her work is stellar. I have been unable to fall asleep at night, excited about this new venture for 3 reasons. Lisa is very cool, the spaces she designs are gorgeous, and I love her studio.  I am thrilled to jump back in to the design world and create spaces with Lisa. Another really awesome part of her work is that her husband serves as the General Contractor on her projects. He and his crew build the spaces she (and I) will create. I can’t wait…(*good thing because my first meeting with our new client is in the morning!!!)

What about the kids? I was wondering the same thing. Our 75 year old neighbor offered, and although I considered that…I decided to go with a really cool gal named Dillon, who is a friend of ours. She’ll take great care of our sweet Hensley and Fields, and I know they will enjoy her special attention! Hensley and I talk often about Dillon and discuss ideas for them to paint nails, do art, play dress up, go to the park, maybe even the zoo.  And Baby Fields, the almost 1 year old, is down to early breakfast and dinner feedings from Mama. I am glad to share my sweet babies with Dillon, and I know their time together will be enjoyed. I must also give a shout out to Micah and Taryn, who have watched these two on several occasions, including my meeting tomorrow. Thank you Micah and Taryn!

I will still get to take Tegegne to school and pick him up afterwards. I am excited for that special time with him. Sweet Tegegne broke his little arm, btw. I’ve gotta write about that soon. Kindergarten is going very well for him now. We are so so proud of our sweet boy.



P.S. Check out Lisa’s publications.

3506: Installing Beams

3506 Kitchen1

3506 Kitchen2Hello again house. We are in the process of opening you up to bright new possibilities! In the views above, you’ll see our kitchen rough draft, emphasizing the new openings, which was Michael’s most recent endeavor. He tore out walls and put in beams…not in that order exactly.

3506 Before 12
Before, before.
Then this. Removed drywall/plaster.

Here’s his quick step-by-step for “Installing a beam.”

1. Select walls to demo. Check if those are load bearing. 2. Start from bottom up. Support basement first. 3. If load bearing wall, build floor to ceiling supporting wall 6″ from main wall on either side. (This is very important step…don’t want house to cave in!) 4. Take down wall that will be replaced with beam. 5. Support beam on either side. 6. Put up beam. 7. Remove support walls. 8. Enjoy your new open floor plan!

It’s not going anywhere now…but really, did you notice the existing steal beams in the photos yet? There are two in the living room ceiling. The Big Bad Wolf’s got nothin’ on this house .

With new beam! Connecting kitchen to dining.

Here’s another before in the kitchen, looking towards the refrigerator and half bath. He opened this wall completely with a 14 foot beam!IMG_1315After…IMG_1370

And our rough draft “After” view…(I think the opening is taller than I have it drawn, yay!)3506 Kitchen3

Hooray for beams and opening the first floor! Michael found this cool painted wood. It says something like J. H. Tschudy Kansas City MO. We will integrate into our design somewhere. IMG_1322 IMG_1323 IMG_1324

He filled this dumpster to the brim. Even got in there and reorganized it so every square inch was efficiently used. Glad the demo days are behind us. A friend just offered to watch our kids Saturday afternoon so Michael and I can work on the house together! I’ll be cleaning after demo to get ready for drywall and electrical.

P.S. Michael has an MRI tomorrow to find out why his leg and hand are numb. Will give an update when we get word…probably early next week.

Dear Tegegne: First Few Days

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Sweet Tegegne,

Your first day of kindergarten was a bit rocky. You were sailing on the sea of “what is this all about, and what can I get away with…” and it ended in my emailing with your teacher all evening, a talking to from your father and I, and all of us very tired. Day 2 was much better, aka “normal”. This was wonderful news to me. Not only do I represent you, I represent your father as a teacher, and I took your first day too personal.

You are good at transitions and new things. You give me a kiss in the car, then a school intern helps you to the sidewalk and you walk by yourself to your classroom. This morning you looked back with a big grin and said, “I love you.” That made me feel so special. Picking you up from school is our new favorite thing, as we often play on the playground afterwards and I get to visit with the other moms.

There will be more tough days, I am sure, but overall you will thrive at school. It is such a great environment for you to learn, play, and be a friend. A mom of little girl in your class told me that you really helped her daughter at summer school. She was often sad at school, and you were aware of that and helped her to be happy.

Tonight we are meeting some neighbors at our new house to write bible verses on our studs before putting up the drywall. It was their idea…what a blessing! They have 2 sons, ages 4 and 6. We are so excited to have a neat family with kids a few houses down! We have been so well embraced by many of our neighbors so far. It’s going to be a great community.

P.S. Daddy may have a pinched nerve in his neck. We must pray for him. He’ll go to the doctor on Wednesday. We’ve got to make sure he rests in the mean time.

Dear Tegegne: The Night Before Kindergarten

Dear Tegegne,

It’s the night before Kindergarten and we can hardly believe it. A new chapter in your life is just beginning. For many years to come you’ll wake up and put on a navy, white or red polo and khaki pants. We are very excited about your teacher this year. You got to meet him last night, and I know you and Mr. Thomas will hit it off. You two have something in common, because he is adopting children from the DRC who will come home in a few months. Do you remember when you first came home with us?

Tegegne Dena, September 2009, Ethiopia

This is our earliest photo of you. Only the good Lord and your precious birth family and friends have visual memories of your first two years of life. I could stare at this photo for a long time, as it holds such depth in my soul. This was Daddy and my first time to ever see your face, precious boy. Oh how we love you, Tegegne. I stared at this photo with such a longing to see your smile. Then we saw it and it was better than we ever imagined…

Tegegne Dena Jones, May 2010, Kansas City
Tegegne Dena Jones, February 2012, Kansas City
Tegegne Dena Jones, Preschool at Our Savior Lutheran 2013, Kansas City

Tomorrow I’ll take several more photos of you on the big day, Kindergartener. For now, I’ll close with the most important thing. I want to pray this prayer for you in the morning…

Dear God,

Thank you. Thank you for blessing us with this beautiful, precious child that you created. Be with him at school. Help him to learn and enjoy himself. Help him to be a good friend and student. Protect him from harm. Help his mind to be clear to learn. May he be brave because he knows you are with him. And most importantly, him to remember all the little details of his day so he can tell me play by play!


Tegegne, I may cry tomorrow. Tears because I’m sad that you’re growing up, and happy because you are growing up! And you are so ready to be a full time schoolboy.

Love, love, love,


3506: Affordable Labor Costs


It’s time that I introduce you to the man behind the machine…the hardworking, affordable yet talented, a man with many hatsMonsieur Jones. This, dear friends, is the only way, we can do what we do. He demolished the 1st and 2nd floor of our house in 2.5 days, and on the third made creme brulee for dinner with his folks. Here is his current “machine”…IMG_1340IMG_1339These dear, beloved, poor ‘ol hands (that he’ll never let me moisturize) were a product of a day of demolition.

Michael is a hard worker, and I admire that in him so. I learned quickly that I shall not compare my lazy days to his. Because he doesn’t have many. Once we have a goal in mind, he sets out to accomplish it…in a timeframe that this guy would be proud of. (If I had a photo of God, I would have linked it to God, fyi.)

We are so thankful for you, Michael. Tegegne cannot wait to help build. Fields loves knocking your hard hat to the ground, and oh Hensley. She turns into a 2-year-old-crazy-pants until we see you. (That was my kind way of saying she whines for “Daddy” many afternoons until we visit you!)

3506: Visiting Daddy at Work

IMG_1326IMG_1327 I love kids. And cardboard boxes. The kids new past time is sliding down the hill (#sorrygrass) on a flat box.IMG_1303 I spy our 10 month old son, Fieldsy…IMG_1306

IMG_1328 IMG_1329 IMG_1330 IMG_1331Visiting Daddy while he is remodeling our house has been a highlight to wrap up our summer. We have a nice sized front porch with wide steps just right for sitting and watching the world go by. Eventually we’ll sit in Michael’s find of the century…these Eames chairs bolted to front porch and repainted a cream color…Screen shot 2013-08-10 at 2.54.05 PMThis is our current back yard.

Tonight we’ll visit and order a pizza from Costco, which is less than a mile away! Home Depot is next to Costco…very handy when remodeling.