Merry Christmas: Love, The Joneses

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I feel so blessed to write that it was a happy Christmas at Big Sky! We watched the children giddy as they sat out cookies and milk for Santa, then open gifts Christmas morning. We bundled up and ventured out into the mystical snowy outdoors. We are all standing on the icy pond in these photos, which was great for sledding!

We hope your Christmas was merry and bright! 


The Joneses

P.S. This afternoon we are surprising the kids with an overnight at the Great Wolf Lodge. They are going to go crazy when they see the huge water park!



Christmas Story: from Children

We LOVE the videos that SPANK (via St Pauls Art and Media) create! If only we could go to Auckland, NZ with our good friend, Mimi, and see them live. My kids watch them over and over. It’s so neat to see the story of Jesus played by children. I’ve linked to the others below…watch WHEN GOD WAS BORN, GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY, AND THE CHRISTMAS STORY. They are all so good!

SPANK St Pauls Church, Auckland

Happy Season of Advent and Merry Christmas to You!



Dear Kids: You are Neat


Hello Handsome Tegegne. How are you? Whether you are now 14 or 42, I’m writing to you at the current age of 6. Can you remember being six? Let me help you. You’ve been in kindergarten now for 4 months, and you love it. You can understand your teacher’s French, and teach me many French words and phrases. Your Christmas program was so cute. You were biting your cheeks so you wouldn’t smile, because Daddy (on the front row) was making goofy faces each time you looked at us. (You were also focusing on getting every word and action right!) I never imagined you being self conscience, but you are. You won’t “show off” for people like you used too. Ya know, most parents like to show their friends what their kids can do…like a dog with tricks. Well, you’re over show-and-tell. You DO NOT like to be embarrassed.

School is so much for you mentally and socially. I cannot wait to be able to come home to our new house and let you de-brief in your new room. You have no idea but there will be cool bunk beds (shhh!), low tables and a bin just for Legos. Neat carpet, curtains, huge windows, and cage lights that look like you’re on a boat.  I love you so much, even when you are frustrated at me and even when you wear me out! At the end of the day, I just love ya. So so much. Ya got that? Now get down and gimme 20. (jk) (It just dawned on me that I need a special nickname for you.  One that you’ll have to tell your girlfriend, “Sorry my mom is a little crazy, but she says she gave me that nickname and she is the only one that can call me that. And she says you’re not allowed to kiss me!”)

Fieldsy, I’ll talk to you next. Just because. Hi.  I think you’re cute. You are 15 months old and I’m bribing you with sweet tarts to walk. You love wrestling and tumbling around. Your growl is intimidating, but mostly adorable. Daddy is your favorite, unless I’m around. ; ) You (and Hensley) shopped with me for an hour today. Thank you for being so laid back! It is fun to watch you get in on the action with Hensley and Tegegne. I’m also glad to see you stick up for yourself when Hensley is a stink bug to you. Hensley has her baby (doll) and she says you’re my baby (doll). You are my best snuggler. (More recently I’m realizing that sometimes I’ve gotta stop my day and sit down with you three and be available for snuggling!)

Hensley Benz (I just realized this, but we call you “Hensley Benz” as a nickname…not foreseeing that you’ll marry one of the Benz boys…but what if?!) You are my pal. I seriously have such a great time with you. I not-so-secretly hope you someday tell people, “My mom is my best friend…” You can have a BFF your age, and I’ll have one my age, but secretly, or not so, can we each be each others BFF&E? The boys can share Daddy. You steal my jewelry all the time and wear my shoes around the house, so I think we’re on right track towards BFF&E. We bake together ( you cracked an egg perfectly the other day without me knowing!), brush each others hair, dance for long periods of time, eat and eat, we laugh and cry (for different reasons and at different times but it counts). You’re so cool.

P.S. While sitting on Santa’s lap you asked for…Tegegne – a white ninja, green lantern (costumes), and a nurf gun. Hensley – a dolly with hair. Fields – world peace…or a bed not in a closet…or snuggling with mommy?

Twinkly Lights: On Grand


Just sitting here with my nightly cereal-after-dinner-tradition that I never gave up after pregnancy, enjoying the small bit of Christmas decor we put up in the Condo. I think it really comes down to twinkly lights. The ones that you can control the speed of. Put those puppies on the slow sparkle setting and it’s going to get you in the Christmas spirit right away.

It really is the simple things, isn’t it? The things I don’t notice until I stop moving and just breath for a sec. Family. Michael, Tegegne, Hensley, and Fields. You’re the move. My whole being lights up as I remember you tonight. Kids you’re asleep, Michael your removing ductwork (and hopefully wearing a fine mask).

When I sit in silence for too long there is the temptation for this Christmastime to feel “off” or “sad” but oh no. There is much to be grateful for. God is reminding me of my many blessings. Counting them one by one, out loud, by name…

Join me.

May God’s presence be with you, a calm presence of peace…with a sparkle of joy and something good on the horizon.

Much love.


Dear Tegegne: Naming My Favorites



You are six and a third, thriving in kindergarten, and you know a lot about your mama. Thanks for being my thoughtful fellow.

Out of some conversation this weekend, you said this…

“Mom, I know your favorites! Your favorite drink is…oh what is that drink called…chai latte. Your favorite things to wear are earrings and nail polish. Your favorite tree is willow. Your favorite song is number 11 on the French CD.”

Often when we listen to that CD, you’ll request your favorite song (which is currently number 6, used to be number 3, then number 1, but a few days ago became 6) You’ll request number 6, then number 11. As you request number 11 you wink at me. Then you say, we can listen to it again if I want to.

You’re rather in tune for a young gun. We love the sock off of you, Tegegne.