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.   

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bug Race

Aston and his favorite game
-because he always wins-
     Aston and I were passing some time with a few rounds of Hi Ho Cherry-O recently when I decided it was a good idea to win the game when I spun a four rather than just putting one cherry in my basket so Aston could win.  I am reluctantly sending Aston to kindergarten in the fall and I need to work on his Bug Race behavior before I turn him over to some poor unsuspecting teacher.

     For those of you that haven't spent a ton of time sitting around with my husband when he is in story telling mode I will explain why we call Aston "Bug Race Jr.".

     Once upon a time there was a little four year old boy named Ariel.  Ariel was the only child of Miss Lari.  One day Miss Lari's friend Joe sat with her "Little Angel" Ariel while she was out.  The fellas decided to play Ariel's favorite game Bug Race to entertain themselves until Miss Lari returned.  Joe and Little Ariel set up Bug Race on the coffee table and took turns moving their bugs across the board.  Luck smiled on Joe that day and he won the game.  Little Ariel wasn't pleased with this turn of events and expressed his disappointment by throwing the coffee table, game and all, across the room.
Miss Lari and Little Ariel

     My friends, be careful who you name your children after.  My little Aston Ariel Jones is a horrific sport.  I ended up winning that round of Hi Ho Cherry-O and even though Aston had JUST won the previous round he made a move to pick up the game and hurl it at me.  I think I will just send Aston in to his first day of kindergarten with a sympathy card for his new teacher.  I feel confident it will come in handy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Dotty G.

     If ever there was a waste of time and energy it would have to be worrying.  I recently spent forty weeks worrying about what a new baby would do to the Joneses.  Now that Miss Dorothy Grace is among us I am embarrassed and ashamed that I did. The whole family has welcomed our baby with enthusiastic open arms. Ariel transforms into a pile of mush every time she flashes him a smile and works very hard to please her if she cries. I caught him watching Barney with her on his phone the other day, a true sign of parental devotion.  Clara is forever singing her ABC's and Wiggles songs about Dorothy the Dinosaur to her little sissy.  Enzo will go to any extreme to make Dot laugh.  Aston treats her like an equal, playing tag with her by running around the house like a madman then stopping next to her to either touch her or be touched by her.  He also talks with her as if she can talk too.  When Dorothy was a week old she was screaming her head off in the car and Aston calmly said to her, "You can stop crying now Dor-Tee, it's not gonna work.  They're not gonna buy us candy".

     As with most pets everyone gets really excited about feeding the baby.  Enzo, Clara,and Aston all enjoy helping me pick out jars of baby food.  This week's grocery trip was a real treat as the grocery store was stocked with all sorts of new flavors for Dorothy to try.  The kids were ooohing and ahhing and throwing jars in the cart as they announced, "Strawberry", "Mango", "Pineapple Smoothie".  I was deep in thought trying to decide if it would kill their enthusiasm if I asked them to lay off the Beech Nut because Gerber was sixteen cents less per jar when Aston's jubilant squealing pierced through my concentration.

     "Oooh yay!  Oooh yay!  Grass and pickles!  Grass and pickles!  Dor-Tee is going to love this one!!" 

     And my decision was made, just like that.  They enjoy taking care of their baby.  Don't ruin it over pocket change, Cheep-o.

Grass and Pickles
baby food

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012


     Last week our town's little movie theater was showing Madagascar 3.  This winter Ariel and the children worked hard at beating Super Mario Brothers 2, 3, Lost Worlds, Wii, and the original. Each night at bed time I read the children a little of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix a.k.a Year Five.  We started with Year One last year and have been reading them in order taking breaks occasionally to read all three of the Mouse and the Motorcycle books and a couple Poison Apple books.  Netflix organizes the cartoons into numbered seasons and the kids' new favorite movie is Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 Chipwrecked.  All this considered it shouldn't have taken me by surprise when Aston woke up on Saturday, the day after school let out for summer recess, and said, "Good morning Mom.  It's Summer Vacation 2!" and following up Sunday morning with, "It's Summer Vacation 3!".  I don't think he knows how to count above twenty.  We'll see how long this keeps up.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Call Me Siskel and Ebert

    This is not a review of a new movie.  I have an eight month old who thinks she's being tortured if she remains in the same position for two consecutive seconds so I won't be crossing the threshold of a movie theater to see a new movie to review it for a while.  I have the entire ten and under crowd here at my house for their first afternoon of summer vacation and a hellish thunderstorm is rolling in so good old Aunt Mommy (this is the name my sister and I came up with to facilitate referring to ourselves or each other while addressing the ten and under crowd)  popped some popcorn and turned on Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, ya' know, because it is the first day of summer vacation.

     Can I just say Clara and I both liked the Judy Moody books we read, she's no Junie B. but few are.  This movie, however, is total toilet paper.  We're watching it on our eight dollar a month Netflix streaming and I still feel like I've been ripped off.  We're half way through this waste of resources and not one of the kids has even giggled.  My brother in law has just arrived to collect his three children and they are running to his car without a word of protest.  They have never left Aunt Lora's without a fight.  That is how bad this movie is.  There is only one good point to this train wreck and that is Judy's house.  If any of you fell in love with Stuart Little's home decor in his movies, like I did, then you will adore the Moody's home.  That is it.  that is the only nice thing I have to say.  Everything else was P.U.

     I give Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer movie no stars or two thumbs down or the middle finger...whatever Siskel and Ebert do to rate a movie as poo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sunrise Sunset

     I was putting Enzo's blankets back on his bed after washing them but the baby started crying so I was only able to get to his sheets.  I asked Enzo to put his comforter and stuffed animals back on his bed before he went to sleep.  In the morning the comforter and stuffies were still on his floor.  I asked him to put his bed back together before school.  Enzo disappeared from the living room and returned almost instantly.  "Enzo, I asked you to make your bed and put your stuffed animals back on it!" I said.

     "I put my blanket on" Enzo said.  Then he made this sort of face.  He kind of glanced sideways maybe looking away from me.  It was really quick, but I understood everything.

     "Enzo," I said, and continued slowly,"Are you all done with your stuffed animals?  Do you want to get rid of them?  Are you...are you too old for them"

     Two quick nods of the head.

     I felt surprised, but not really.  I knew this was coming.  I went to his room to scoop up the pile and I lost it.  Tickle Bunny was staring up at me from the jumble, not really aware of what was going on.  Monkey was in there holding hands with Big Brother Bear waiting for their next Enzo adventure.  I spied the tail of the tiger and was transported back in time ten years.  Ariel and I were walking by KB Toys and he grabbed my hand and led me through the door.  I was wondering what in the world he could possibly need in here, a video game maybe or a remote control car, he had been talking about getting one for a while...but no, he brought me to a sea of cuddly stuffed animals and studied it for a while before fishing out an adorable tiger.  He looked pleased with his catch then said to me, "For the baby".  It was the first time he had acknowledged that we were having a baby other than the time he told me I had to pay off my credit card before I stopped working (which was really more him acknowledging that I was quitting my job than that I was having his baby).  Looking at Enzo's pals on the floor... it seemed like more than I could handle.

     I found a tolerable way to complete my awful chore.  Webkinz went on Clara's bed, Darth Vader, Wolverine, and Spiderman went in Aston's toy box, the teddybear and cow from my baby shower and assorted other cuties went in the crib.  I have granted myself a stay of execution but I have been warned.  The day will come for all of my polyfilled children to take their final curtain and more importantly, all of my real children are going to grow up.


Thursday, June 14, 2012


     Clara woke up this morning and said, "Mom, can you tell me when it is Flag Day?"

     "Sure Pumpkin, I won't let you miss it".

     Fast forward a few hours to when I'm on Facebook scrollin' down my news feed and notice there seems to be an odd explosion of American flag pictures on there.  I'm a little suspicious but not completely convinced I've dropped the ball until I get to Henry's status where I see in black and white that Flag Day is June 14th.  I move my mouse down to the bottom right corner of the screen and let it hover over the time until the date pops up.  June 14th.

     To quote the wise words of Swiper the Fox, "Ohhhhh Maaaannnnnn".

Spring 2012 Family Portrait

By Clara V. Jones age 7

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our New Guard Dog

     Maybe country life isn't for me.  I'm really not an animal person and it seems like animals are a big part of the country package.  My husband, who did most of his growing up in a city, has adapted well to his country environment.  He thinks he is Tom Sawyer and delights in bringing wild animals into our house, toads, frogs, salamanders, snakes, whatever.  I thought the housewife thing to do was to greet your husband at the door after work with a kiss and a drink but instead I have to block my husband when he returns home and demand he empty his pockets before I can grant him entry into our living quarters.  He rarely listens to my pleas to leave his immigrant of the day outside.  Instead he grants at least a temporary visa to almost every one.

     A serious line was crossed today though and I briefly considered becoming an ex patriot.  I was carrying a basket of folded laundry from the back yard to my bedroom (where it would probably sit untouched for weeks).  My route was through the kitchen then the family room where I discovered my path blocked so I stopped turned around and went back to the kitchen to call Ariel and demand he crawl down off whatever roof he was prancing around on and get his tushie back home ASAP because Slithers was stretching the guidelines of his visa and was currently making his way under the very couch Aston was conducting a Lego battle on.

     Ariel must have pulled some sneaky psychological trick on me because the next thing I knew I was poking a broom under the couch and ushering the foul creature toward the back door.  Ol' Slithers made a pit stop under the recliner.  An excellent defensive tactic if you ask me because I almost gave up at that point rather than move the chair and risk crushing him.  I had zero interest in spending my afternoon cleaning up mushed snake.  In the end he made the same mistake many Hide and Go Seakers make and he sought out a new hiding spot.  I blocked his path to the radiator with my broom and he hopped right out the back door, no big deal.

     Poor Aston was pretty upset by the situation so I sat with him to patiently calm him down but Dorothy made it clear she needed a nap.  I condensed Aston's comforting  into the Reader's Digest version  and went into my room to put Dottie to sleep.  Sleep wasn't actually in her cards at that moment because I thought I might have heard a knock at the front door and we had to shuffle off to check it out.

     I flung open the front door and was greeted by none other than Slithers himself, stretched across the entire length of our threshold.  I stared at him for an instant then  I slammed the door in his ugly little face and marched to the phone to give Mr. Jones a piece of my mind.

     Mr. Jones was unimpressed with the snake's ability to navigate a course from the back door to the front door.  He wasn't dazzled by the fact that it could knock without hands.  The only point in my tale that motivated a reaction from my beloved was me slamming the door on Slithers.  "Why are you so mean, Lora?" he asked.  "He obviously wanted to come back in".  Slack jawed and speechless it was time for me to let Ariel get back to roofing lest I gather up my voice and use it to say something I might regret later.

     I decided to check on the snake, not face to face but from the safety of Clara's room.  This is the only time our U shaped floor plan has come in handy.  Usually I blame the shape of our house and it's bad feng shui (a subject I know just enough about to fuel my generalized anxiety and not a bit more) for Ariel losing his job the year we bought the house (why blame the country wide economic collapse when you are clearly missing important square footage in your career bagua?) but today I loved being able to see the front door from Clara's window so I could see if Slithers was ignoring his deportation and was trying to cross the border.  I was astounded by what I saw.  Slithers was posted on the front step (he may or may not have just finished up blowing Aston's bubbles) playing Border Patrol.

     My final order of business before I washed my hands of the whole ordeal was to call my mother and see if Grandma was afraid of snakes as she was due at my house any moment and Keeping Up With The Joneses just isn't ready for another obituary quite yet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Little Miracles

     Parents of disabled children have been blessed with a different set of eyes to view their child through.  Normal milestones and average behavior are reasons to celebrate when your kid has a handicap.  When Enzo was two and the specialist warned me not to be surprised if Enzo never developed speech, that was actually my ticket to party every time he is rambling on and I want to say things like, "Is there a point to this story?" and "Will you shut up already?"   When parents of the other kids on Enzo's baseball team are worried about their child's batting average I'm over the top that Enzo has never bit a teammate and stopped self stimming in the outfield.  When people are stressing over report cards I'm pleased I was able to get Enzo to leave the house so many times.  If Enzo eats a new food I begin to see the possibility in Hell freezing over.  You get the idea.

     Here is an Autism Fun Fact for you, to help you understand how amazing Enzo was this afternoon.  People with autism can have a difficult time understanding facial expressions.  Today when Enzo was helping me load groceries onto the conveyor belt at the store he said to me, "Mom, something really funny that happened to me today at baseball in the bathroom..." and my eyes bulged out and my jaw dropped and I thought, as I glanced back at the long line of people behind me who appeared to be hanging on every word, Not now Buddy, dear Lord, this can't be good please don't say it, and he looked at me and said, "Maybe later Mom", I was beyond relieved.  The feeling was an indescribable bliss.

     So, since my boy used such amazing discreteness after recognizing the look of horror on his mother's face, I am going to share with you all, on the world wide web, the funny thing that happened in the bathroom at baseball this afternoon as told to me (in the safety of our kitchen) by Enzo himself.

     I was in the bathroom peeing and I had my water bottle with me so I started to drink out of it as I peed...  I was like a fountain Mom.  There was water going in me just as fast as it was coming out of me.  It was HILARIOUS! ~Enzo D. Jones age 9

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some People Can't Take a Hint

     I don't know about you, but the day the authorities remove me from somewhere will be the last day I show my face in that place ever again.  Just today I dropped in, uninvited, on my sister Alyssa because Aston just had to share a box of donuts with Phoenix.  I must confess that a piece of me was worried that I was keeping Alyssa from her plans and ruined her day during the entire visit.  Good Mrs. Witherell would never make me feel unwelcome in her home (she just pours bottomless cups of tea and coffee) so I have no way of knowing if I've ticked her off or not and I will return. Her sister Mean Old Mrs. Jones however once had an uninvited guest removed from her home, and I think that just screams "You're not wanted here".  So tell me why I looked out of my back door and saw the offender sitting on my back deck looking in at me a couple of days ago.  Creep!

     It all started about a year back when I would randomly notice this jerk in my back yard.  I'm a sissy and I despise confrontation, so I'd just pretend not to notice him and hope he'd go away.  Then I spoke with my neighbors who mentioned seeing him sitting on their front porch.  It all really became too much though when I took Aston into the bathroom for his morning pee and glanced into the bathtub while lifting the toilet seat  and saw him sitting IN THE TUB just smiling up at me.  I was so freaked out I just backed Aston out of the bathroom, shut the door, and had Aston pee in the front yard as I loaded up the other kids in the van to get the heck out of dodge while Ariel obeyed my wishes and called for professional help even though he was feeling particularly heroic that morning and really wanted to throw the bum out himself.

     Ariel stayed in the house while the villain was removed.  I guess the men who came to our rescue had a bit of a time getting him out.  He put up a good fight and even relieved himself in the very bathtub where my precious children take their tubbies.  Am I crazy, or is it outrageous that this creature has the nerve to darken my doorstep after all of that?  I was quite surprised to see him back again and rather regret that he was let go with a mere slap on the wrists last summer.  I wonder what lengths I will have to go to to get the point through his thick skull. You're Not Wanted Here!!!!!

There he is
just sitting in my tub
like he can!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Little Help Here...

     I saw a chart that said the average American home size was 1,660 sq. ft. in 1973.  Homes grew bigger until the average US home reached 2,519 sq. ft. in 2008.  The little graph ends in 2010 with the average US home at 2,392 sq. ft..  In the interest of reducing the Jones family's carbon footprint (Ariel says that the next person he hears use the phrase "carbon footprint" is getting punched square in the mouth...thank goodness he doesn't usually read this blog), work load, and impact on Ariel's wallet (not necessarily in that order) I've been thinking about downsizing to a smaller house.  Jones Family Home Number Three is about 3,000 sq. ft. if you count the stupid smelly living room in the basement, which I do not but Ariel and his real estate agent  do.  I've got it in my head that I can fit our family in half that space, maybe less.  Ariel thinks I'm nuts (for a multitude of reasons... cramming six people into 1,500 sq. ft. probably doesn't even rank top ten on his list).

     Now, I'll admit that all moves are horrific.  I'll admit that I own way too much crapola.  I'll even admit that I don't know exactly what I need and what I don't. But most importantly, I will admit that I really, really, really like being right SO I have started going through my possessions to see if I can even fit us comfortably in the house we live in now before I join in on The Great American Downsize I keep reading about in Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living (which I'm canceling my subscriptions to to reduce clutter) because I desperately want to be successful.

     Over the weekend I made the grand journey into my attic.  My attic is proof that there is life after free piles.  My attic is like a disorganized Salvation Army or Good Will.  It looks like a gigantic I Spy photograph  up there and could probably get me a spot on that Hoarder's show.  On Sunday I went through a tote and two garbage bags in an attempt to find shorts for the kids.  There are at least five more totes and five more garbage bags of children's clothing alone.  I'm tackling the clothes first (then maybe holiday decorations or unused toys).  I've decided I'd like to share some of my booty with other kids but I'm not sure how much I should keep.  So, my question to you is how many of each type of clothing do you or your children own?  How many T-shirts? How many pants?  How many long sleeved T's, warm shirts, button ups, jackets, pairs of shoes, jammies, play clothes, dress clothes, and winter coats should a person have?  I've always kept whatever I could get my hands on because I have the space and I think I have a bit more than we need.  What do normal people have in their closets and dressers?  I would really appreciate your help with this.  Please leave an answer to this question in the comments section here on the blog, or on Facebook, or in my e-mail, shoot, if you see me in town flag me down and tell me what you think.  I really want to get to the bottom of this!  Thanks for your help!!!