Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4:17 am Wednesday, December 19, 2012 OR I've Finally F-ing Lost It

     Night time sharpens
heightens each sensation
Darkness stirs
and wakes imagination

     Or something like that.  You can't expect me to remember every lyric to every musical when I haven't been a practicing thespian for well over a decade.  Whatever the lyric may be I sure hope the sentiment is correct and
When the dawn comes
tonight will be a memory too

 because if Mr. Sun, Sun. Mister Golden Sun wakes up and I'm still a hot mess there is going to be a problem.

      I'm technically awake because after nursing me bone dry Dorothy still insisted on fussing so I changed her diaper.  The diaper was the ticket and she was asleep before I had the second tape fastened but I was out of bed and could no longer pretend that the icicles forming around my nostrils were either intentional or cool (WOW.  Lame play on words, Mrs. Jones!  Do NOT write before sun up any more.) so I scampered off to check and make sure both wood stoves were out and cold to the touch.  I was not disappointed.  That isn't really why I'm awake though.  I'm awake because while changing Dottie's diapie (say THAT ten times, fast) a thought popped into this pretty little head of mine.  Well, it was more of a thought rapid fire, which those of you who read my Train of Thought know this kind of through process happens to me quite often.  This morning the thoughts were:
A) A whole bunch of families are saying good bye to loved ones because some ding-a-ling shot/stabbed/blew up their someone special.
B) A child brought a knife into my children's elementary school and I know the principal (whom I really like) sent home a letter telling us that no one was ever in real danger but how can she KNOW that?
C) Remember last week when Clara came home going on about Julian M. told Claire V. that he was going to bring a knife to school and kill her?  Remember how you told your daughter that was nonsense and nothing was going to happen?  How can YOU KNOW that? (and isn't it cute when kids use last initials when referring to each other?)
D) There are people out there that BELIEVE the world is going to end this Friday.  What are they capable of?

     The only shred of sanity I'm clinging to is a darling little invitation I received when turning on the computer. Aston has been invited to play Hot Wheels with his "First Friend" (Astonese for Best Friend) this weekend.  That is the world I want to live in.  Little laughing boys and Hot Wheels and the highest level of dysfunction achieved being the fact that the one boy is the son of the other boy's half brother's half brother.  That is really all I can take.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Aston Says

I'm very thankful that I got to meet the real Santa

So are we, Buddy.  So are we.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Big Gray Kitten's Culinary Experiment OR Why I Need a New Stock Pot

     Big Gray Kitten was born in Aston's closet to either Sarafina or Chrysanthemum, I don't really remember or care which it was.  Eventually I had to move Big Gray and his twin to our yard  (his name was either Mary Kate or Ashley back then and his equally annoying identical twin bore the other name) because a two year old Aston and his friend Joaquin murdered the third kitten of the litter, Moses, during a friendly game of catch in which Moses was the unfortunate ball.

     Not long after his relocation, Mary Kate or Ashley (a.k.a. Big Gray) watched on from beneath a thorn bush as Ashley or Mary Kate took her final nap in the wheel well of our mini van.  Unaware of the sleeping kitten and in a terrible rush to get to a restaurant and commence our tenth anniversary celebration Mr. Jones and I unknowingly bumped off  Big Gray's twin right before his eyes.  This tragedy stripped him of his only remaining sibling and his silly name as we never really knew which one was Mary Kate and which one was Ashley and we felt as if calling him by the wrong name might further offend the poor cat whom we had already upset unspeakably.

     Not surprisingly, I suppose, Big Gray Kitten never let any of us Joneses near him after that but he did remain at the only home he had ever known.  Ariel made some sort of insane mission of befriending the cat and I, with the children's help, have always left food on the back deck for him.  The children's idea of feeding the cat was to dump a twenty five pound bag of cat food in a heap on the deck and Ariel became so fed up with the mess that he finally made the call: no more feeding that cat.  We respected the ruling of our beloved head of household for two whole months but we just couldn't leave Gray's tremendous meows unanswered any longer and we started leaving table scraps out for him in the grass hoping not to upset Dear Old Daddy with our offerings.

     One week after Thanksgiving I slid what was left of our turkey along with a bunch of carrots, garlic, onions, and celery into my biggest stock pot and plopped it onto the wood stove where it all transformed into a tasty broth for the soup I made the next day.  My fridge is tiny and I couldn't fit my massive pot inside of it so I placed the pot in the chilly garage to keep the stock from spoiling.  I put two quart cans of paint on the pot lid to keep any little critters from messing with it.  After making a delightful turkey, mushroom, and rice soup, I still had half a pot of stock left so back in the garage it went until the next day when I would whip up another pot of soup.  Who knew a heat wave would sneak up on us in the night?  Ariel said he refused to eat anything I made with the garage stock and I agreed with him so I decided to give the pot to Big Gray Kitten. Not wanting Gray to miss out on the yummy broth I had to leave the pot on the deck because the lawn, obviously, would have absorbed the liquid.  I'm sure at this point you are thinking back to the title of this piece and thinking Of course you need a new stock pot!  You can't eat after a cat.  But I must confess that I planned on simply soaking the pot in bleach and returning it to my cabinet to use again when another turkey crossed my path.  No, no.  The reason I need a new pot is because when I went to see if Big Gray had finished the soup I found a few cups of broth in the bottom with a mouse frozen in it.  One can only assume that Big Gray Kitten knew this liquid in the pot was intended for a stock and not a finished product and decided to whip up a batch of something appealing to him: mouse soup.  And this is where I draw the line.  I must, must, must say Farewell to my big pot forever because bleach simply isn't strong enough to erase the image stuck in my mind.  No, even if I cleaned the pot with an atomic bomb I'm quite sure I would forever see the morsel of brown fur surrounded by yellowish ice at the bottom of that pot and consequently gag uncontrollably every time I even thought about simmering anything in the damned thing.

   So,  Bye bye Pot.  It has been grand.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Down Side Of A Positive Outlook

     When we first moved into our home my mother in law asked us who was the "bad neighbor" here, because there is always one.  I studied the two homes I could easily see from my driveway.  I strained my eyes to make out a third home through the trees. I considered the homes and their inhabitants before turning to my mother in law and replying, "Us".

     In our five years here we have tried to compensate for our sloppy yard, screaming children, early morning loud exhaust pipes, odd hour mowing, senseless tractor rides, quad rides to nowhere, a garage stereo system that seems dedicated to pumping out exclusively old school rap , and annual illegal fireworks extravaganzas with an occasional helping hand.  But on the eve of Thanksgiving I nearly negated the positive effect of a couple of driveway plowings and a lent cup of sugar.

     I was walking through the family room past the bay window.  I noticed a beautiful warm glow in the usual pitch darkness.  "Ooh.  Kids!  The neighbors are having a bonfire!  Lets go get a better look."  I gathered with my children in the shadows of our yard and enjoyed the cheery display before us.  Eventually Clara's sweet voice twinkled through the darkness, "Mom, isn't that a little big for a bonfire?" she asked.  I hmmmed her as I remembered the summer Ariel and I burned the wooden remains of a mobile home in our side yard with a spectacular fire the flames of which reached twenty feet and wondered just how ticked off I would have been if anyone had come poking around and told me my fire was too big.  I decided that even though I agreed with Clara, I wasn't going to be that neighbor.  I was going to mind my own business: the roast in my oven. With a sigh, I broke up our merry scene, turned from the big, beautiful fire and made my way back inside.

     A bit later, with a belly full of wholesome food and arms full of dirty table linens, I shuffled past the bay window again.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the glow had changed.  There, in my neighbors yard where the joyous holiday fire had been, were a number of flashing lights belonging to fire trucks and assorted other rescue vehicles.  The fire I dragged my babies outside to enjoy was in fact a horrific accident that could have flattened the two homes I can see from my driveway (it burned in the yard/wooded area between them) and taken the lives of the lovely families who live in them.  I guess sometimes the glass is half empty and from now on I'm going to have to be the person who goes around asking if my neighbors are aware of the status of their glasses because my personal judgement stinks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting With The Joneses

     I brought my four children with me when I voted today.  A very small part of me did this because I wanted them to witness what makes America special but most of me did it because I'm painfully aware of the fact that my children are demon/children hybrids and I don't like to ask people to care for them.

     Enzo showed me what it must have been like for women when they couldn't vote (a time period Enzo, Clara, and Aston all swore they could remember) when he begged me to vote for the presidential candidate he would like to see in office.  "This Mitt Romney character makes me nervous, Mom.  He wants to cut the funding for baby educational t.v. shows.  Mom, that is getting dangerously close to the programs I enjoy!!!  Pleeeeeeeease vote for President Obama, Mom! OBAMA,  Pleeeeeeeeease!"

     I'm not about to tell you who I think you should vote for.  We all want different things and I suppose which ever guy is promising to deliver what most American's want will be sitting in the Oval Office next year; but a dear ten year old boy, who has no political voice of his own, would like to ask anyone willing to vote "Demlican" (direct Enzo quote) today.

     Thank you.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our First Year With Dorothy Grace


One Month Old

Two Months Old

Three Months Old

Four Months Old

Five Months Old

Six Months Old

Seven Months old

Eight Months Old

Nine Months Old

Ten Months Old

Eleven Months Old

Happy First Birthday
Dorothy Grace!
This has been an amazing year with an amazing little girl.  We love you completely Baby Dot.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Penis Envy

     I've often heard that it isn't healthy to strive to be a perfect mother.  That you should settle instead for the title of good enough mother.  As I'm sure my children will tell their therapists some day, I doubt I've even achieved the latter.  I'm not completely clueless about my field though.  In my decade as Mom I have picked up a few things.  One thing, for example, is that if you have a to do list and you have managed to accomplish any of it you can be sure that your children are currently up to no good.  A clean bedroom equals a new mural in the baby to be's nursery; a clean bathroom means your kid is mostly bald in the front; you really don't want to organize your coat closet if you frown upon a thirty pound child consuming the entire contents of your sugar bowl; AND if you are finally washing the last dish that has been hanging out in your sink for who knows how long your baby girl has her own ideas about toilet training.  She is tired of having you fuss with her diaper tape.  She doesn't want to take her pants off.  She hates that chilly toilet seat.  As you are elbow deep in bacon grease she is trying out a new trick she saw her brothers doing...

Heaven help me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Romance, Jones Style

     I assume most husbands like to remind their wives that they are loved by surprising them with flowers.  It is a pretty standard gesture and I'm guessing it became standard because bunches of guys were doing it.  Today I came home and found a submarine sandwich in my fridge and my heart just melted because that is how my husband lets me know I'm loved (well, that or a double cheeseburger from Mc Donald's).

    There is a valuable lesson in this for young lovers searching for "The One".  Remember that "The One" is YOUR One and don't get all caught up in what that means to every one else.  When I was in high school the vice principal called me to his office (this was no particular shock, I was there so often I asked if we shouldn't put my name on a second plaque on the door; sadly, this was shut down) and told me that he didn't like this Ariel Jones character.  Being a sassy smart ass in desperate need of a punch in the mouth I tartly replied, "Then I won't call and invite you along when we go to the movies", spun around and left the room. I'm really glad I did though, because I could have ended up with a traditional good guy who brings me flowers regularly and missed out on the "obnoxious kid" who brings me processed meats and mayonnaise.

    You have to be true to yourself to be happy.  I didn't know this when I started dating Air, I just lucked out.  Thank goodness the total babe sitting next to me in math class turned out to be funny, hard working, loyal, and honest.  This is not to say that it is always a bed of roses around here.  There are times I'd like to give him a good punch in the mouth.  I try not to though.  Instead I try to remember that more sub sandwich days are sure to come, but probably not if I sock him one or walk out that door.

     Maybe this makes a heap of sense to you.  Maybe it is crazy babble.  Either way, I have a date with an Italian mix and I'm going to thoroughly enjoy it.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An Apple a Day

     Last night during dinner I told Ariel my stepfather was at the hospital with a bad infection in his foot and that his doctor told him earlier in the week that he might be developing diabetes.

     "How do ya get diabetes?", Enzo chimed in.

     "Well, there are two kinds.  One you're just born with and the other is believed to come from eating a poor diet and living an unhealthy lifestyle, I think.  That is why we are always pressuring you to eat a balanced diet.  If you don't start eating a little better you might find yourself with diabetes one day".

     Today at lunch Aston asked for an apple with his lunch because; "I don't wan't to get die-a-feeties.  I don't want my feet to fall off!"

     It may further secure my spot in Hell, but I have zero intentions of correcting the child.  If he actually eats a vegetable because of this gross misinterpretation of the facts it will all have been worth it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Is This Mic On?

     At breakfast this morning Enzo said, "I lost my lunch box and I don't think it is coming back this time".  So today I dedicated a few moments of my completely open schedule to picking up a new lunch box for the boy.  My mother joined me on this mission.  She needed some make up and milk, which she totally forgot.   I grabbed a copy of The Chatham Press, a little local paper and flipped through it as we walked through the parking lot.  I saw a picture of a girl I took dance classes with when I was a little girl.

     "Mom, Kate is the new post master", I relayed.

     My mother looked concerned and then confused.  She asked, "What is a toast master?"

     Now, I think fifty is a little young to be thinking about long term care but maybe it is time.      

Monday, October 1, 2012


     Sometimes I feel like I gave birth to the same kid twice.  When Aston was born Enzo said, "I like this baby.  It looks just like me!"   He begged us to name him Enzo.  When we shut that down he asked us to name him Pizza Boy.  Looking back, both were insanely appropriate suggestions.  Those boys were cut out of the same cloth.  A cloth, I might add, that tries to exist solely on pizza.
They look alike. They walk alike.  At times they even talk alike.
One could lose their mind...
     One day when Enzo was a little kindergarten lad he came home all excited and told me, "I haveded breakfast with the boss of all the teachers today".

     "Oh?" I asked, pleased to see my little boy all smiles, "What did you have?"

     "A cereal calleded Raisin Bran.  I don't like Raisin Bran very good".

     I turned my thoughts away from Enzo's darling grin and considered what he was saying to me.  "Enzo," I asked, "at any point did anyone call the boss of all the teachers 'principal'?"

     "Yeah!  That is it, Momma!  That is her name!"

     "Uh huh.  Uh, Enzo, why did you get sent to the principal's office today?"

     "To eat Raisin Bran".

     Fine.  Fast forward five years.  Aston is now a cutie patootie kindergartner.  Aston skips merrily from the bus to the kitchen where I show him that I've purchased his favorite cookies, the big fat sugar cookies with the cake frosting and sprinkles on them, at the store today.  I expected a huh-uge thank you and hug for my mothering success, and Aston was excited, but instead of thanking me he jumped up and down and said, "They gots them cookies at the printable's office.  Only they gots chocolate.  When I saw them I was like THIS".  Aston drops his arms to his sides, bulges his eyes out and starts hyperventilating.

     "Did you have a chocolate cookie while you were there?" I ask while thinking I've done this before.

     "Nope.  Nobody offered me one".

     "What did you do at the printable's office?"  I cross my fingers and hope he'll say Dropped of the attendance sheet or something like that.

     "I sat in a chair and stared out of the window".  He acts this sitting and staring out for me.  Hands in lap. More bulging eyes.  Just as happy as a pig in poop.

     If Aston continues to follow in Enzo's footsteps I can look forward to a call from the teacher next year telling me that there has been a slight mix up.  Aston will have used the word "explode" when trying to describe his anger to a playground supervisor and said supervisor will think he has made a bomb threat even though he is only six and can't tie his own shoes.  He will be tried as an adult until someone thinks to ask him what he said, "I'm so angry I feel like I could explode".

     The next year I will be at the mall and come home to find a sheriff car in the neighbors drive way.  I will laugh to my sister saying, "WOW!  I wonder what they did.  They seem so nice!"  I will stop laughing when I see the car in the rear view mirror following me up my driveway.  Aston will have told a friend that he hates his sister and would like to kill her.  This will lead to an investigation where he will be asked How do you plan to kill your sister?  He will come up with an answer.  He will say With my father's machine gun.  My home will be searched and my husband's old broken bb gun will be what he was talking about.  I will be put under a six month investigation with the local child protection services.  The agent will express her concern at how little emotion he showed when she spoke with him.  I will explain to her that he is autistic.  She will say, "I know.  Honestly I was surprised he could speak at all.  All I know about autism I learned from the movie Rain Man".  I will resist the urge to kill her.

     Third grade won't be so bad and neither will fourth.  The teachers will complain that he doesn't really do any work and I'll be like Tell me about it, Sister!, but really I'll be happy because being lazy isn't illegal.  

How Do I Do It?

     It seems to me that in today's society a family with four children is as big a family as people can wrap their heads around without thinking the parents belong in a mental institution.  I guess it is from this frame of mind that people are always saying, "I don't know how you do it!" to me.  The answer is...drum roll please... I don't.  I don't juggle a marriage, two sons with Asperger's Syndrome, a chronically sloppy eight year old daughter, a baby who needs to be held to sleep most of the time, a home, a beggar cat widower who refuses to either become a pet or move on, as well as maintaining a relationship with extended family, and then squeezing in some me time to prevent myself from developing the dreaded Door Mat Syndrome.  I really kinda suck at this gig.  To illustrate for you what I mean I would like to tell you of my morning.  I've started a research project to entertain myself.  I was having a pee looking at the hamper, which is right across from the potty, and I wondered, How long will it take for the dirty laundry to actually hit the ceiling AND will I get to it before it does?

     Feel free to conduct this research in your own homes and get back to me with the results!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Moving Forward

     The only thing constant is change said somebody sometime.  That is one of those statements that will drive you nuts if you think about it too much.  This picture of Dorothy was taken two days ago as we changed to a new season (three cheers for fall!).  This picture was taken moments after Dorothy changed everything we know by taking her first two steps.  Now we are no longer the Jones family with a ten month old crawler.  We are the Joneses with a ten month old who is learning to walk.  It will never be the same again.  Why, it has already changed again.  Today Dorothy took FOUR steps.  Now we are the Joneses with a baby who has walked a couple of times, not just taken her first steps AND she'll be eleven months old in three days.  So many times since I have become a mother I have said, "I wish I could freeze time now", "No, NOW", "O.K., Really, NOW".  At this point in my life though I am finally able to calm down and stop trying to hoard moments.  (If only you could have known me during my Enzo's Baby Book days, what a lunatic!)  I've had enough greatest moments of my life to realize if one great moment passes, if my idea of perfection shifts and changes, it is just fine because another greatest moment ever is sure to come eventually with a new definition of complete bliss.  I first learned this lesson with clearance sales, spending loads of money on things I might want someday and definitely didn't have room for because I would never get a deal like that again, which turned out to be total b.s.; there is always cheap crap to be had... Anyway, I was able to apply the same thought process to my life and I am surprised to find myself enjoying it so much more as I let it happen and then slip away.

     This is much heavier than I like to get and I've given myself a headache, or maybe it is the gallon of bleach I just poured all over the bathroom because the toilet overflowed.  Now THAT is a moment I was excited to get behind me even as it was happening.

     Until next time, when things will be different from now...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our New Favorite Color is GREEN

Oh Mister Sun
Mister Golden Sun
Please shine down on me!
Oh Mister Sun
Mister Golden Sun
Hiding behind the tree...
These little children are asking you
to please come out so we can play with you
Oh Mister Sun
Mister Golden Sun
Please shine down on me!

There she is folks!  The Jones Family's very first solar panel (being installed by Mr. Jones and Marley).  
Isn't she beautiful?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Call I Was Dreading

     I've made peace with Enzo, Clara, and Aston being out of the house by rejoicing in Dorothy's ability to take a complete nap in our quiet house.  Today, however, Aston managed to disturb her nap from school.  I had just put Dot in bed, made my way to the kitchen, put the stopper in the sink, when the phone rang.  Wasn't it the school nurse telling me Aston was having a horrible morning and crying for his mommy.  Talk about a broken heart!  Aston must have felt REALLY bad.  He never calls me mommy!

     I took Dorothy out of bed, mad at myself for being annoyed with poor helpless Aston for making me do it, and went to rescue my little boy.  Oh, the guilt that came over me.  Why, why, WHY didn't I follow my instincts and send him to a nice half day preschool this year instead of kindergarten.  I can count the number of times he's been with someone other than Ariel or me on my fingers and even then it was a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.  Of course a full day of kindergarten is too much for him.  I remembered his tiny voice telling me just the night before, "I hate school.  It is such a big, big day and I miss you".

     When I saw his itsy bitsy self sitting at a table in the nurse's office I felt as badly as I ever have.  Then he looked up at me with a splotchy red face absolutely soaked in tears and I knew there is a special place in Hell for me because I have allowed my child, my child I am supposed to take care of, feel afraid and upset.

     I tell you, I do not know what to do from here.  I've been attacking this issue from a couple different angles. Firstly, I gave him a laxative.  This may sound a bit bizarre but that kid gets all out of sorts if he is backed up.  Secondly, I asked Aston about what was making him upset.  As with every conversation with Aston, I ended up having to hide a chuckle or two.  The school has a color coded behavior chart; green, you're good; yellow, you need to watch it; red...the seat in Hell next to mine might be for you.  After asking me if playtime was fun when I was a kid Aston exhaled, "The real problem is that staying on green is exhausting!"

     Aston says he wants to earn a prize from the treasure chest in his classroom so I'll try sending him back tomorrow but I'm not convinced he is ready for this... What doesn't kill him makes him stronger, right?  I just don't know if I'm strong enough to sit back and let him get strong.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sooo Not Where I Was Going!

 I was helping Baby Dorothy walk outside to where her brothers and sister had set up a little pop up tent community.  It was a crisp and beautiful day disturbed only by the viscous snarls and harsh words my little darlings were hurling at each other.  "What is the matter?" I sighed, not really caring what their answer was because I could tell from across the lawn their answer would be of the He looked at me!!! variety.  I switched the settings of my brain to the one that allows me to take three simultaneous strands of whining, crying, growling, and grunting, separate them into three individual monologues and comprehend them.  After I had it all sorted out I explained that they are siblings, flesh and blood, and that is far more important than any material thing on this planet or any other.

     I knew not to expect my desired results to play out; hugging, apologies, wiping away each other's tears, professions of love, that sort of thing, so when the only response I received was Clara asking how their flesh was the same I wasn't blown away.  "You all came from the same two people so lots of the information in you is the same, even things you can't see.  Maybe you won't see that similar information unless one or all of you decides to have children of your own some day.  Like Enzo has Uncle Steven's chin and Aunt Janelle's feet.  When you look up one of your eyes goes left and one goes right.  Aunt Alyssa has those same crazy eyes.  Your teeth are just like her's too.  Someone in the family we've never even seen must have had blue eyes with a yellow ring around the pupil, like yours.  Your face is shaped like your father's father's..."

     Enzo interrupted me with, "Scott?"


     "How are we related to him?" Enzo asked in utter astonishment.  The kids and I have never met Scott.

     "He is your father's father.  Your grandfather"

     "Yeah but him and Yang were divorced before we were born".

     "Doesn't matter.  He is your dad's biological father so you're biologically related.  Anyway he and Yang were never married so they technically never divorced".

     "WHAT?  Then how did they have dad?  Did Scott, like, donate a piece of hair so they could use his DNA?"   The fact that last year he attended the wedding of my mother and the father of her fourteen and eight year old sons must have escaped him.

     "No Enzo, Scott wasn't a stranger.  He and Yang just didn't get married".

     "Am I old enough to know how it is possible for me to have both your's and Dad's DNA in me?"

     "Absolutely not.  But when you are you'll understand how Scott can be Daddy's dad".

     "What I really want to know is how they extracted Dad's DNA in the first place..."

     At this I turned and left to streaks of fire in the lawn as I ran from where I had been standing to the front door which I slammed behind me.  Not today, my friend.  Not today.    

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Train of Thought

     Ariel ran out of materials on a job midday so he came home.  I am pleased to say that after spending half of our lives together I am still thrilled when I see his truck pull in the driveway.  We shared a simple conversation about our mornings.  He told me about work.  I told him about taking the baby for a walk.  I had wanted to go for a good long walk, it was such a perfect day, but she fell asleep so quickly and I'm so backed up on house work that I only made it to the neighbor's house before turning around to come home.

     "Like that?" Ariel asked, looking at my attire.

     "Yes" I said.  That yes was like a gun shot beginning a race of thoughts in my mind.  I stood there silently, maybe I looked furious ( I certainly felt that way), maybe there were puffs of smoke coming from my ears.  Or maybe I was gazing off slack jawed.  Maybe my face said nothing at all.  But my mind, my mind.  My mind was all rapid fire thoughts of compounding fury and anger.  It began small and guilty; a little confused then it grew entirely out of control. What is wrong with what I'm wearing?  I just bought this dress, like, two months ago.  I know it isn't anything fancy but it is clean.  There are no stains or holes or even pills anywhere on this dress so your usual insults about my hobo style don't hold any water today, my friend, and besides, if you want me to wear nicer clothing you're going to have to fork over more money Buddy.  Its not easy or cheap to keep six people clothed these days, Mister .  I don't even need a bunch of great nice clothes.  I rarely even leave the house!   I've worn this particular dress about a million times in front of you!  What is the big deal today? I'll give you that it is a little low cut BUT I have a tank top on underneath it.  No one can see anything.  No one is looking at me anyway.  How much trouble can I get into from our front door to the neighbor's house you crazy, jealous, jerk.  For Pete's sake I am your wife not your prisoner.   Even if I was your prisoner you've got four children doing a fine job of guarding me!  I'm never alone!  Although you SHOULD trust me.  Twelve years!  Twelve years I've been a faithful wife and now I can't even take a simple walk in a glorified T-shirt of a dress!!  My train of thought had reached full steam in the moment that had passed and it was about to stop at Homicide Station when Ariel spoke again.

     He simply said, "Your dress is on inside out".


Monday, September 10, 2012

Start 'Em Early

 Ten months old and Dorothy is already lending Daddy a hand with the bathroom remuddle.
I'm sure sure if you check infant development charts you'll find installing tile and grout at about the 
ten month point.  You know, give or take a month.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A New Hobby

     Clara is entering a photo contest being held by the children's magazine her grandmother gave her a subscription to.  I think this is a great idea so I let her use my camera to snap a few pictures even though Ariel told me when he gave me the camera that I was not, not, not allowed to let the children touch this camera no matter what because this is the third camera he has had to buy me since Enzo was born and cameras aren't toys and they don't grow on trees, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Last night I was looking through the pictures she took and had to laugh when I found this:

     This is NOT our house.  Ariel asked what was so funny and rather than come off as a total loon laughing at nothing I confessed to my crime of lending Clara my camera and shared with him how she was using the zoom to be a Peeping Tom.  Instead of being mad at me Ariel was relieved.  "She's entering a photography contest?" he asked.  "I guess that explains why I found about a hundred and fifty pictures of Mrs. Salt and Mr. Pepper (our shakers) on my cell phone.  I saw them and had no idea how they got there!"

     I don't know if our Claire Bear has a chance at winning this contest but I think her photography phase will bring us Joneses some excellent entertainment and that is good enough for me!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Out of the Mouth of Aston

   This morning I walked past the open bathroom door where Aston was perched on his little blue and green stool brushing his teeth.  As I did I called, "Remember to rinse and spit and clean out your tooth brush".

   Aston poked his head out around the door frame and said, "Hey!  Don't tell me how to do my job!".

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ariel as Advertising

     Ariel needed windows for a job.  The only place that had the size he needed in stock was Home Depot.  So he went there.  Upon arriving a girl asked him if he needed any help.  He thanked her but told her he was just picking up widows and could manage himself.  When he got back to the window section two gentleman in button up shirts and slacks holding clipboards approached him and offered him help.  Suddenly one of the men exclaimed, "Woah, woah, woah.  What are you doing?  Why are you wearing that?  IN HERE?"  The "that" he was speaking of was Ariel's Lowes T shirt.

     "Well," Ariel said, "because they gave me one and you didn't".

     "Get this man a Home Depot shirt!" the one man shouted at the other.

     Man 2 returned with a lovely Home Depot shirt and hat (Ariel's hat was also a gift from Lowes and had one of their brand names stitched into it).  "O.K..  We're going to need those" said Mr. Clipboard, nodding at the  Lowes shirt and hat Ariel had on his person, "We're going to burn them".

     "Now?  Here?" Ariel asked.

     Serious nods from the men.

     What choice did Ariel have.  He did as he was told.  He stripped down there in the windows aisle of Home Depot but not before the men took a picture of him wearing a sad face in his Lowes get up.  When he completed his costume change they photographed him in a happy super hero sort of pose.  Captain Home Depot!

     When Ariel made his way to the register to pay for his windows the girl looked confused.  She asked, "Weren't you wearing a Lowes shirt?"


     "Where did you get this one?"

     "The district manager gave it to me.  He made me give him the Lowes one.  I changed right in the aisle...and you missed it".

     At this point in Ariel's telling me the story I stopped him.  "Wait a minute!" I said.  "Did you actually say that...about her missing it?"

     "Yup" he beamed.  "I even told her I thought it was all an elaborate plan designed by the district manager  just because he wanted to see me with my shirt off!"

     Brilliant Darling.  Simply brilliant.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

With Great Flowers Comes Great Responsibility

     Ariel gave the children a chore a couple of weeks ago.  They are to pull weeds in the flower beds for fifteen minutes a day.  Today I overheard him telling his brother about the chore.  I also heard him say, "It is going very well".  To this I snorted.  "What?", Ariel asked.  "Isn't it?"

     Day one was a fight to even get the kids outside.  All Aston did was cry. Clara pulled a bunch of weeds.  Enzo managed a small hand full.  Day two required threatening to tell Daddy if they didn't get cracking.  Aston didn't do anything except for beg me not to tell Daddy.  Day three Enzo asked Clara to do their fifteen minutes without any prompting.  Then it rained for a few days and we had to start back at square one.  Aston has refused to pull more than ten weeds and Clara and Enzo scream at each other about their poor performances.  This is after I dedicate a chunk of my time to begging them to go out.  Hardly any weeds get pulled and it seems like a big waste.  Today was the icing on the cake though.  I'm actually excited for Ariel to get home so I can share with him just how well his Operation Responsibility is going.

     Before leaving for work this morning Ariel told me that he'd like the children to do half an hour of weeding today because they skipped yesterday.  I told him I'd see to it.  Really, what harm can come of fifteen extra minutes of sitting in the shade on their bottoms insulting each other?  Who knew they would pick today to actually show some hustle?!  They asked what was a weed and what wasn't (See those two big Box Woods and the rose?  Those are the only things that aren't weeds.) and got straight to work.  I was weeding the mint when "it" happened.  Aston let out a blood curdling scream.  He had yanked a hand full of weeds and spun around to dump them in the wagon but got caught in the rose instead and was covered in thorns.  I quickly ran to help him and hold him as he wailed.  That is when the following fight broke out.

The Fight
A true story as witnessed by Mrs. Lora D. Jones

ASTON:(crying) Clara I HATE your rose!

CLARA:(smugly) My rose hates you.

ASTON:(still crying) I'm going to get my own rose and my rose is going to eat yours!

CLARA:(shouting) I'm going to get a Venus fly trap and it is going to eat YOU!

ENZO:(absentmindedly) They only eat flies.

CLARA: I am going to dress him up in a fly costume and then feed him to it!

ASTON continues crying for seemingly endless amount of time.

The End

     In the future I think I will ask Ariel to assign only chores that he has time to over see.  I'm content to battle entitlement issues with simple tasks like clearing dishes, keeping toys off the floors, and occasionally depositing dirty clothes in a hamper.  Anything else is on Papa Bear!  I quit.

The New American Jones Dictionary First Edition

hiclaireous (hi-claire-ee-us) adj. Clara Violet Jones causing great mirth

Aston keeps using all of my best jokes and now he thinks he's hiclaireous.

Monday, August 20, 2012

It's A Small World After All

     During dinner Ariel noticed Clara kind of talking to herself and asked what she was saying.  "I'm naming all of the countries", Clara replied.  I decided to abandon my efforts to make Aston and Enzo stop punching each other under the table and turn my attention to my shining star of a daughter in her impromptu moment of brilliance.  She said:
North Pole
South Pole
I keep wanting to sat Tennessee but I know that is just a state.
Did I say Europe?

Friday, August 17, 2012

You Say Tomato...

     On a chilly February evening I snuggled with my little baby in my rocking chair and watched my sweet husband and three of our darling children working away under the warm glow of the kitchen lamp.  They were planting tomato seeds to plant in our little vegetable garden when spring came.  The kids absolutely loved working with the dirt. Ariel and I loved having them be a part of the creation of our food because we were sure it would get them excited about eating their veggies.  Aston was the most excited of the bunch and told the others, "I hope my tomato grows into a beanstop (yes, that's right, beanstop) so I can climb it up to the clouds".  The next morning he ran straight to the tray of little pots in the bay window and sighed, "Oh, my potato didn't turn into a beanstop after all".

     Checking our seedlings was a favorite daily event.  We got through to Aston that the tomato plants were going to grow tomatoes.  We offered to plant green beans so he could see a bean plant.  Everyone finds the fact that we can go and pick food we grew from seeds amazing but Aston's disappointment with the size of our bean plants was obvious.  Of course, Ariel and I have our own disappointment to deal with.  Baby Dorothy is the only kid who will eat everything we've grown and she had NOTHING to do with the planting process.  So much for that theory.  Aston actually threw up when we forced him to eat one green bean and Enzo cried about the lettuce.  Clara pretended to like the tomatoes but finally said, "I can't do it Mom.  I hate them!"  More for Ariel and me I guess!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Baby Talk

     During Aston's nine month career as a big brother he has really focused his attention on communication both with and for his baby sister.  Sometimes he gets frustrated and says, "Mom, I can't understand her!  What does she want?"  Other times he confidently tells me Dorothy is hungry or tired or whatever, as if she has just relayed this information to him.  Of all the kids he is the only one who speaks to her as if she can understand. He treats her more like a sister than the bigger kids.  They treat her like a baby.  If I leave the room Aston calls after me, "I'll sit with Dorothy".  He does this because he is afraid of being alone and assumes she is too not because he thinks she needs caring for.  He nearly gave me a heart attack while sitting with her today.  I was going to the kitchen to get Aston some water and he and Dorothy were sitting at the dining room table together.  Aston screamed, "OH NO!  Mom come QUICK!"  All of the blood drained from my face as I imagined the horrible things that could have happened to Dorothy in the brief moment it took me to cross the threshold from the dining room to the kitchen.  I jumped back into the dining room and tried to figure out why the baby was sitting in her highchair smiling at me while Aston informed me, 'Dorothy just said,'dehydrated'".

     Thank you, Aston.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Supply and Demand

     Aston has made a request for the commencement of his academic life.  He would like to spend his first year of school in a pair of sneakers that bear the images of the Mario brothers.  With the two July Jones birthday parties behind me I decided there was no time like the present to go online and find these probably hideously ugly shoes. Hey, they are his feet not mine and he'll only be five once. Can you believe I could only find two pair of sneakers with Mario's mug on them!?!  Both pair were lace up, one only came in adult sizes, and the other was eighty dollars. Fail.  Fail.  Fail.  When I gushed, "Of course you can have Super Mario Brothers sneakers for kindergarten Sweetheart, if that will make you happy", I imagined myself popping into a Walmart or Target or Payless or Sears and sorting through an endless sea of crappy velcro sneakers with every fictional character known to man clinging to the side of each shoe and victoriously fishing out a twinkling pair of size elevens with Mario AND Luigi on them making my beloved boy's heart melt for thirty bucks or less.  My internet research, which I'll admit was rushed because Dorothy can now reach my keyboard and is on a mission to crash my computer, gave me Spiderman, The Avengers, Batman, Cars, Phineas and Ferb, and one pair of Transformers sneakers in an infant's size 4 to choose from.  The latter really got to me.  If you can't come up with something sweeter to decorate your infant son's feet with than Megatron, please, I beg you, let him go barefoot.  A second search added Spongebob to the list of choices.  My new plan is to take the young lad to a shoe store and let him pick from shoes that actually exist rather than ones he dreamed up.  It will be fine but I can't help wishing I could have made his dream come true.     

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ticks and Chicks

     Much like Little Red Ridinghood we live on the edge of the woods.  This is the only place to live if you, like me, really adore each of the four seasons and wildlife.  There is nothing prettier than a snow covered wood and I have the pleasure of staring at over 100 acres of autumn leaves and spring buds.  What a treat.  I sit at my dining room table and watch deer munching on my lawn and compost, who knew they like Fruity Pebbles?!  I have turkeys come by and visit all the time.  I even have a couple of hawks who hold morning meetings on the top of our van.  I love all this, I truly do.  But there are smaller, eviler creatures in the woods that nobody loves, creatures who wouldn't bake a pie with a Disney princess on a bet.  Ugly, dangerous, and if I'm not mistaken, useless creatures live in the woods and make their rotten way into my home like it is their job.  I am referring of course, to ticks.

     Two Sundays ago I was holding Dorothy in such a way that I was granted a rare visual treat, a peek at her neck.  With her many chins out of the way I was able to view the necklace she was wearing.  It consisted of five ticks who had set up camp in my precious baby's flesh.  I plucked them out and rinsed them down the sink drain wishing I knew some good old fashioned curses to place on them and their families.  Then I leaned over to scratch at what I believe was my first patch of plant poisoning and spied a tick of my own nestled in my knee pit (that is what the kids call the back side of their knees, I am aware that this is probably not the scientific term for this particular body part but I've got nothing else).  I tried to evict the scoundrel myself but couldn't position my tweezers quite right so I whined out, "Airrrrr, I neeeeeed you".  In a flash Prince Charming was at my side ready to rescue me.  "Can you please pull out that tick for me?  I can't reach it."

     "That's a tick?" asked the prince.


     "Then I'm going to need you to lie down".

     Thirty six ticks were in the backs of my legs.  Nine were in my right foot.  About twenty were in my back, arms, and bikini line.  Nothing confirms the importance of the institution of marriage like a bug hunt in your bikini line.

     I checked Ariel after that.  Not one tick.  Enzo and Clara were clear too.  Poor Aston had six in his foot.  Not a day has gone by since then that we haven't found about half a dozen of the little scumbags on us.  Yesterday I saw one on my toe.  Then one on my ankle.  Thirty one ticks later I was ready to cry.

     Ariel, not one to be reduced to tears by anything ever, has decided to wage war on the ticks.  He will be the commander and chief of an army of guinea hens.  When he told me his plans to get us some hens I was excited (I like the idea of keeping fowl...completes the country living package for me) but I had to wonder if my husband remembered the last time we tried having pet chickens.

     Flash back four years with me.  It is springtime.  Clara is four.  She, the twins, and my youngest brother are going to start kindergarten in the fall.  My mother and sister have baby chicks at their houses for the first time and I really wish I could too but I know Ariel won't be interested and I don't have the nuts to ask him.  Clara, Enzo, and Aston fall in love with the chicks at Aunt Alyssa's house so she gives them each one as a gift and promises that Uncle Mike will come build a house for them when they get bigger so that I don't have to bother Ariel about them at all.  Enzo names his chick Rex.  Clara names her chick Madilla.  Aston names his chick Cheeeeeken.  Ariel comes home, finds the box of chicks in Clara's room, makes it fairly obvious that he is less than pleased by leaving the room muttering about "stink" and "more mouths to feed".  By the next morning it looks like there is one less mouth to feed because Aston accidently crushed Rex while grabbing for Cheeeeeken.  Aunt Alyssa and Uncle Mike insist on mending Enzo's broken heart though and have Rex 2 at our house by lunch time.

     Some time passes and the chicks are still in their heated box in Clara's room.  The children are enjoying their pets and I am happy we are doing something special with Clara's last moments before I have to hand her over to the elementary school.  But one day when Savanna is over playing she comes and tells me that Clara's chicken is sick in the tub.  I can hear Clara in her room so I am not panicking.  The chicken is nowhere near the tub.  I stroll into Clara's room and my serenity vanishes.  The chicken is drenched all the way through next to the full bathtub on the bathroom floor of Barbie's dream mansion.  I don't normally do carcass removal but these chicks are my fault and not Ariel's so I walk over to Barbie's place while Clara shrieks, "I'm sorry!  She was DIRTY!!!" at me.  Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle, Madilla appears to be breathing.  I instantly figure she must be freezing so I move her sorry tush back under the heat lamp.  I hadn't planned on the seizure she started having when I set her down so I'm totally upset and decide to let the voice in my head have complete control over this situation because, let's face it, farmer I am not.  The voice in my head must not be a farmer either, maybe it is some sort of day spa employee, because after seeing a teeny baby chick gasping for breath on molded magenta plastic tiles next to a very full plastic claw foot tub the first thing it told me to do was grab my hair dryer.  Knowing I was not the boss here I simply followed the order and soon found myself hunched over a little box aiming a purple hairdryer at an epileptic chicken while two four year old little girls watched me intently.

Madilla and me
     Believe it or not, Madilla was restored to perfect health by my master styling skills (NOTE: Blow from above. You DO NOT want to hit the underneath of the wings with your dryer turned to high.  It is just a disturbing sight.).  Unfortunately we found ourselves in need of a Rex 3 though.  Rex 2 was so upset by the sound of the blow dryer firing up that he committed suicide by flinging himself into the wall of the box and breaking his neck.

     I was thrilled to move the chicks outside when Alyssa told me they were big enough.  Not that I would admit it at the time but Ariel was right.  They stunk.  I set up three hay filled clementine boxes and food and water in an igloo dog house I bought at a neighbor's yard sale.  It looked so flipping cozy in there.  After the kids and I placed Madilla, Rex 3, and Cheeeeeken in their sweet new home we wrapped the entry of the igloo with chicken wire and secured it with bungee cords.  Then we snuggled under our quilts and enjoyed a good country night's sleep.

     The chickens weren't old enough to lay eggs for us that first night but I went and checked on them first thing in the morning anyway.  I found my chicken wire bent up and nothing but feathers remained in the clementine boxes.  That was it.  My days as a chicken farmer were over.  Until now, I guess.  I guess we'll be fine.  I mean, it can't go any worse than last time!  Maybe the new hens will eat a few ticks before something eats them!  We can only hope.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

All Because Two Nerds Fell in Love

Enzo is opening  the Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Wii game
the Witherells gave him for his tenth birthday. 

     Today is a rainy day and Enzo is passing his time playing his new Pirates video game.  He has almost conquered the entire game in the week he has owned it (he might have been passing a few sunny hours playing the game as well).  He just complained to me that he really wants to add Davey Jones to his cast of characters but he needs five thousand coins to get him.  This seems an impossible amount to my young son.  Reluctant to encourage anything that has to do with that blasted video game system but concerned that my boy is becoming too lazy for even video games I murmur, "I bet you can do it".

     A look of complete joy crosses Enzo's face and he enthusiastically says, "Well then, I'd better get crackin'!"  There was a moment's pause before we both started laughing.

     My mother always told me there are different kinds of humor for different kinds of people.  She would say this whenever one of us kids would use bodily function humor, reminding us it was the lowest form of humor and reserved for the simplest of people.  I thought about this as my son and I wiped laughter tears from our eyes.  A joke that plays on words concerning mythical sea creatures must be reserved for nerds.  

     I never planned on bringing four nerds into this world but let's face it, when two nerds fall in love...  Well, it was just plain silly to expect anything else.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Home Decorating with Mrs. Jones

     If I tried to put a label on the decorating style of our home it would have to be Shabby S#!%. That said, there are two things in our home that I think are worth sharing with you.

1) The urinal.

     Ariel came home from work a couple of years ago, on what he probably remembers as the happiest day of his life, with a urinal held tightly in his grasp.  Upon installing it he remarked, "Finally, the luxury and decadence of a public restroom in my very own home".  Ladies, trust me, even if your husband hasn't said so  yet, he wants a urinal.  Let him have it.  You'll enjoy never having to wonder if someone forgot to lift the seat.    Fellas, you will be the envy of all your friends if you treat yourself to this one thing.  Ariel has received such positive feedback on his urinal ownership that he has considered becoming a urinal sales and installation specialist!  Little Aston defined himself as all grown up the first day he was able to reach the urinal to do his business.

2) The chalk board wall.

Even the baby likes it!
     What a blast!  Countless hours of entertainment plus a great place to put reminders.  I just saw in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine that chalkboard paint is now available in a rainbow of colors.
Wishing Enzo a happy 10th

     So there you have it, my two cents on home decorating.  After years of reading  mountains of home magazines, watching countless hours of HGTV over at my sister's house, and putting together two apartments and three houses, this is what I've come up with.  Let your men pee standing up and let your kids draw on the walls. Enjoy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Traveler's Log

A wedding in the family inspired the Joneses to pile into the trusty Honda and drive through the night to Ohio where a good portion of our family is stashed.  The Wee Jonesies were very excited to visit their great grandparents and assorted cousins, aunts and uncles.  This trip would be the first time Baby Dorothy met the Ohio crew which includes Maw Maw Grace, the inspiration for Dorothy's middle name.  Ariel drove the first shift.  I had a couple of Red Bulls in a cooler and knew I could drive at any time thanks to those babies so I let him go first.

     At 1.7 miles Aston asks, "Are we there yet?"

     At 44.6 miles a suspicious smell tells us Dorothy's whining is not for nothing so we pull off the highway to a Dunkin' Donuts where we see a beautiful blonde woman in cat ears, a sequin shorts and bra set and black hooker boots making her way across the parking lot presumably to pay for gas.  I decide traveling is fun.

     At 51 miles a milk truck honked for the kids.  That was a pleasant distraction form the baby's five minute crying jag.

     At 53 miles our fearless leader Ariel announces, "There is nothing like a doughnut to be completely enticing then not taste all that good and leave you feeling sick by the time you are done".  He then launched his first F- bomb of the trip at a truck in front of us.

     At 62.6 miles after seven rounds of The Alphabet Song performed by Clara and me, Dorothy falls asleep.  Enzo decides this is the perfect time for an air guitar solo with his amp cranked to eleven.  He stopped when I shot him a look that said, "If you wake that baby I will kill you with my eyeballs alone".

     At 69.9 miles Aston says, "I want to go home", for the first time.

     At 90.5 miles we've pulled out the T.V. to distract poor Aston but the boys are sitting in the third row and can't hear Bugs and Daffy who are in the second row.  We have a two screen set up so I attach one screen to the headrest of Clara's second row seat with the intention of attaching the other screen to my headrest but the cord won't reach so Clara has to hold her screen.  There is a power outlet in the trunk that would solve all of our problems but I don't dare ask Clark Griswald to pull over.

     At 95.4 miles Ariel asks, "Do I keep passing this same suburban over and over?  It is like Brer Rabbit."  I   didn't give him the response he was looking for so he continued with, "You know, and the tortoise".  I smiled and nodded while scanning the children's literature and fables section of my memory trying to answer the nagging questions in my mind, Who the heck is Brer Rabbit? and Isn't it the tortoise and the hare?.

     At 108.3 miles Dorothy is awake and crying again.  Clara doesn't want to watch T.V. anymore so she hands me her screen which knocks the power out of both screens.  I ask Ariel what he did to fix the screens before the trip and he tells me he didn't have to do anything.  They were fine when he plugged them in.  I explained to him that they always worked when first turned on.  The power turns off mid movie and I could swear I explained that to him before we left.  Whatever, we have no T.V. and a crying baby.  Fantastic.

     At 124.2 miles I attempt to breastfeed standing over a car seat.  I'd pulled this stunt years before with Clara and figured I could pull it off again.

     At 136 miles after dozing off for a second Dorothy is very upset and breaking my heart.

     At 174.5 miles Dorothy is asleep, phew.  The first thing I forgot at home makes it's self known at this point.  Aston wants a blanket,  There are no blankets.  I offer him a dress out of my suitcase but he is very uncomfortable with the idea.  It sounds a little too much like wearing a dress for him.  He decides instead to use a pillow on his legs.  Ariel cheerfully says that we are making good time like I might care.  Sad uncomfortable children are making me sad and uncomfortable.

     At 222 miles Aston falls asleep after saying, "Mommy it is night time.  Daddy needs to turn the car around and go home.  I need my bed".  The second thing I forgot becomes known at this point.  There is no garbage bag for the orange peels left over from Aston's bedtime snack.

     At 241.9 miles I realize I forgot my pillows.

     At 287.1 miles I push one of my Red Bulls on Ariel with the warning that it is the worst tasting drink on the planet.  Think liquid wet wipes.

     At 309 miles I hear a strange sound in the van.  Enzo is crying.  He has to pee.  I timidly tell Clark Griswald he has to pull over and he tries to scold me for not telling him four seconds before because he JUST drove by a rest stop but I hiss something into his ear about him pulling out his headphones and me not being psychic and he leaves me alone.  When we finally do pull over the timing is perfect.  The baby is ready to eat so two birds are killed with one stone.  Ariel informs me we are getting f-ing great mileage at twenty five miles to the gallon considering how much weight we are moving with so many people and so much stuff crammed in the van.

     At 422 miles Ariel pulls off so we can switch drivers.  I slam my Red Bull in two sips and hop behind the wheel.

     At 432 miles I think back to Ariel's comment on how heavy our family is and try to figure out how much The Joneses weigh as a unit.  I have to laugh because even seated among my sleeping family crunching numbers in the privacy of my mind I have managed to lie about my weight.

     At 644.9 miles Ariel has crawled back behind the wheel for I don't know what reason because I'm still flying on caffeine and could easily get out and push the van the rest of the way if necessary.  Ariel  pulls into a McDonald's to get an Egg McMuffin and a coffee.  The kids are up even though it is only 4:30am.  I tell them we will get them each a milkshake.  This turns out to be a bold faced lie because the nearly asleep voice in the drive thru box says, "We take our milkshake machine apart at 2:30 every morning for cleaning".  I growl something about there is no way in Hell it takes two hours to clean the stupid machine but Ariel shouts his order over me.  At the first window Ariel manages to overpay by a dollar.  At the second window he is handed a nearly empty cup of coffee but doesn't complain because he is so shocked to see that Mr. T is now a woman and works the drive thru window of a midwestern Mickey D's.

     At 660.1 miles a delighted Aston says, "Ooh YAY! Red STARS!!!!"  but his bored older brother squashes his enthusiasm with a cool, "Those aren't stars.  They're towers".

     At 673.2 miles Aston tries again with, "ALIEN SPACESHIPS!!!!!"

     We made it in one piece.  We enjoyed our visit with our family tremendously.  We even survived the ride home.  Yet I am petrified because another of Ariel's cousins is getting married next year and we plan to be there and I don't think there is a teleporter in our budget this year.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dotty G.

Two days ago my eight month old crawled across the room.  Ariel and I joked the next day, "Work on walking and potty training today, Baby".  Today Dorothy pulled herself up to standing and let go.  She stood there for a bit before deciding to grab Daddy's knee and lower herself back down.  Dorothy Grace might be the toughest Jones to keep up with!

Dental Check Up

The kids had their six month dental check up yesterday.  Aston was the last to go.  He was good about the cleaning, didn't squirm, cry, or bite.  When the dentist was finished with him he popped up and exclaimed, "I'm still alive!".  Makes you wonder what was going through his head while he was sitting there so very still.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Operation Blue Goggles

     While on our way to an afternoon of swimming Aston requested a new pair of goggles as his were the victim of a tragic Monkey in the Middle incident.  I really wanted to encourage Aston's new found bravery in the pool but I really didn't want to unload the troops an extra time for one little pair of goggles.  BING! This is the sounds of a bell ringing as a light bulb appears over my head.  Enzo has probably been to the Family Dollar a billion times in his decade on this planet.  I could just give him five bucks and send him in to the store to fetch the goggles.  So I asked Enzo if he was up to the task and, what do you know, he was excited to do it!  This is a rare, triple win situation.  Aston would get his goggles and maintain an unbroken swimming learning curve. I would be subjected to minimal unbuckling and buckling of seat belts.  Enzo would have a giant leap toward independence under his belt.  POP!  This is the sound of the light bulb disappearing from above my head. This particular POP occurred at the same time my right turn signal was going CHHT CHHT and Enzo was saying, "Mom, is it o.k. to put squirrels in your pants...if it is for gambling purposes?"

     I completed the right turn, then the following left.  I found a parking space and turned off my engine before I spoke.  "Enzo, maybe I'd better go and look for the goggles".

Enzo in our only pair of non leaky goggles
     Enzo's disappointment was clear so I told myself there was no opportunity for gambling in the twenty feet from the car to the store and let him go.  As it turned out there were only very leaky Marvel Super Hero goggles inside so Enzo decided not to waste our money by making that purchase.  What a big boy.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name

     What is in a name?  For the Joneses nine months of brawling go into picking a name when a new member arrives.  I never understand why Ariel has any say at all as he gets all huffy every time I tell him I'm pregnant and says stupid things like, "Why?" and, "How?".  In the end, the very reason he shouldn't have a say is the reason I give him the power to VETO my proposed names.  I'm always hoping to give him some way to get excited about the impending baby. I've fallen in love the moment the second line turns blue every time and don't need extra encouragement.  Ariel really doesn't either though because three of the kids had the good sense to be born looking like carbon copies of their father, which makes my narcissistic husband's heart pitter pat, and Clara was just so adorable and pink who could help but love her?

     We've never known what kind of baby we were getting so we try to have boy and girl names hammered out before go time.  When I was pregnant the first time we had a pretty easy time picking a girl's name.  Aurora had always been a favorite of mine and my middle name is in honor of my father so I proposed Aurora Ariel to which Ariel said "No WAY" on account of Aurora being an awful name to say with all of the Rs.  Fine we'll switch to Rose because, let's face it, Rose was Sleeping Beauty's other name in the Disney movie and the elephant in the room is that my slightly burly husband shares his name with an animated mermaid.  Rose Ariel was set in stone.  So I prayed and prayed to have a girl (even though a fortune cookie I opened during the pregnancy told me Every Rose has it's thorn and I just knew that "thorn" meant "penis") because Ariel insisted on sticking this dumb name he heard in The Godfather on his first born son, Enzo.  As my father had killed himself mere months before and I was missing him so desperately  I wanted to name a boy  baby Daniel after him.  My mother begged me not to because she didn't want to have to utter the word Danny ever again and Ariel flat out refused because the name Enzo was IT unless I could come up with something better and he himself would be the judge of better and maybe the baby's middle name could be Daniel.  The End.

     Sticking with the Disney princess idea but ditching Rose because a couple we knew snatched it up during our two year baby break, my second pregnancy's girl name was Jasmine until a few of Ariel's  buddies sat us down and explained to us that there is no way someone named Jasmine Jones was going to be anything but a stripper.  I was seriously drawn to the color purple during that pregnancy so I chose the name Violet after deciding  I couldn't get away with naming the baby Junie B..  Ariel researched baby names from the year 1900 and came across Clara, a beautiful name which we both decided sounded like it belonged to a good girl.  My favorite boy's name was Julian and so was every other woman's who had a 2004 baby apparently.  There were two Julians in the hospital with us when we had Clara and the hospital we use is microscopic and when we bought Jones Family Home #3 we were delighted to discover a little boy living across the road just Clara's age named, you guessed it, Julian.  I went into labor with Clara on my sister in law's birthday and thought it might be nice to honor that by having the girls share the middle name Belle until my mother came to visit Baby Girl Jones four hours after her birth and asked the obvious question, "What is her name?"  We managed to mutter out Clara before Mom cut us off with, "Really?  Are you serious?  You are naming your daughter after a talking cow?"  The cow being Disney's Clara BELLE the Cow.  So, in an instant Clara's middle name became Violet.

     By the time I came to Ariel with the phrase, "I'm pregnant" for the third time it was obvious he could have thought of a zillion other things he'd rather hear me say so I tried to think of baby names that would turn his frown upside down.  For a girl I decided Dorothy Grace was perfect.  Firstly, I didn't want to upset Ariel by suggesting his name was a girl's name again and secondly these are our grandmothers' names and our Grannies are very special to us.  Ariel gave me his stamp of approval first try on that one.  The boy's name I had fallen in love with since I came to grips with the fact that naming our baby after the neighbor's son would be a bit awkward was Jude.  I decided this baby's middle name would be Ariel because I couldn't bear to do a full on Jr. with The Little Mermaid issue but I wanted to salute my husband just the same.  Ariel hated the name Jude.  No shim names was an important rule to Ariel as well as no one syllable names.  Then one day Car and Driver magazine showed up in the mail box with a bright and shiny Aston Martin something or other on the cover and knowing that these were Ariel's absolute favorite cars I scrawled Aston Jones on a page of Clara's coloring book and though it looked rather nice.  So we went to the hospital with Dorothy Grace and Aston Ariel as our two baby names but as we paced the halls waiting for this little baby to fall out already I confessed to Ariel that I didn't really think the name Aston was such a hot idea.  "Me either," my husband said, "but I promise you, this baby is a girl and will be our little Dot".  When the baby came out Ariel strolled down by my knees to check it out and kind of gasped, "That baby has a penis!".  All of my fears about the name Aston have come to pass.  When I introduce him most people scrunch up their faces, tilt their heads sideways, then say the name Ashton real slow like perhaps either I or they are mildly mentally retarded.  Once people get comfortable with the fact that his name is not, in fact, Ashton they will 50% of the time, confidently refer to him as Austin.  Even my uncle calls him Austin (or Enzo, and one time Austrailia, but Uncle Gary is a story for another time).  Worst of all is the reaction children have to his name.  Just yesterday I encouraged Aston to introduce himself to some boys he was swimming with and as soon as "Aston" left his lips the boys were rolling with laughter and choking out, "You said a bad word".  Poor Aston.

     Obviously I had to tell Ariel I was pregnant one last time and it flew over like a ton of bricks.  I made a list of names that Ariel and I had both stopped and said, "That's pretty" to upon hearing because I wanted Ariel to like the name but I didn't want to actually discuss the fact that I was pregnant with him until A) he brought it up or B) I wasn't pregnant anymore.  My list consisted of the names Iris, Celia, and Mina.  When Ariel finally did come around and start talking to me about the baby we picked Mina Iris to be the baby's name.  By the next morning I had all of the kids at school calling her Meanie Mina and every adult she came across saying, "Nina??" when she introduced herself.  The name list for baby number four ended up being several pages long until one day I said, "You know, we were all excited to name Aston Dorothy Grace and we didn't get to.  Maybe we don't have to come up with a new name at all".  We let the children vote on the baby's name and they all picked Dorothy (although when Dorothy was three days old Aston asked, "Who is this Dorothy anyway?"  Since we had to explain to him that Dorothy was the baby we think maybe he didn't know what he was voting on).  We had not agreed on one boy's name at the time of Dorothy's birth so thank goodness she was a girl!  After she was born Ariel said he might like to just call her Little Baby Jones because she seemed so impossibly small and we toyed with the idea of calling her Minnie until Ariel said the middle name could be Mina and I accused him of trying to name this little girl who, yes, looked just like him, Mini Me.  We love that we named her after our grandmothers though.  It makes it special.

     In conclusion I ask that the stork not deliver us anymore children or at least to send them with name tags from now on.  Thanks in advance.