You Saw It Here First

He’s a trendsetter, our boy.  Remember that you saw it here first, folks, because I think ties with feetie pjs are about to be all the rage…

And not only does he design the trends, he clearly has a future in fashion modeling as well.  Though I told him if he’s to pursue the modeling angle, he really should work for a little less “glee” and a little more angst. 

Well, he tried anyway.  We’ll have to continue working on angst.  Though he did decide the look was a little “lacking” and thus, added some shades to the mix.  Please note…shades must be worn upside-down now.  Wearing them correctly has become so passe


A Trip to the Zoo – Toddler Style

Clearly we spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to amuse the Buddha.  Oh, and by the way…his name is not Cooper anymore.  It’s Buddha.  He’ll surely correct you if you get it wrong.  With a very theatrical point to his chest he will announce  “me Buddha…not Coopie!”  Hopefully he stops doing that before he starts school.  I might get a call home.

Anyway, D.Jones and I had our first night away from Buddha on Friday and we headed up to Duluth, MN to spend a night at our favorite hotel….Fitgers.  Don’t ask how it went, it was kind of a bust.  Who knew that we should check the weather reports when planning anything Duluth-related and that we’d be traveling up north in a snow storm and be constantly stuck behind salt trucks?  Who knew that our first stop would be at a liquor store somewhere in the city of Duluth, where we would forget our cash card and have to try to navigate our way back…..just as they call our name for our dinner reservation?  So, a romantic night away consisted of some onion rings and some cold beers while seated up at a bar (because we missed that res-o), and me renting A Mighty Heart on pay per view while D.Jones went to a casino.  Yeah….it was that good.

Regardless.  By Sunday we thought we should do something fun with Buddha so we went to the MN Zoo.  I haven’t been there for awhile and I forgot how awesome it is!  Oh, and a quick FYI…it’s now the largest zoo in the U.S. second only to the San Diego zoo.  Pretty cool, huh?

While there, we saw gorgeous Siberian tigers,Photobucket

some cute Asian horses,Photobucket

and some fast-as-lightening little Long Horns (or something like that.  Okay, I admit it…I’m not sure what they are called but here they are….)Photobucket as well as sharks, monkeys, dolphin, more monkeys, a puma, a grey wolf, and umpteen other wonderful creatures….but what was Buddha most interested in?? 

Riding the “train”.  Which was really a monorail, but whatever.   Yep.  The highlight of his day….and all he talked about on the way home.  $35 worth of zoo tickets and we actually could have probably just jumped on the public lightrail downtown for what?  $2.50?  So be it.  D.Jones and I really liked the animals.

Underwater World

After missing my boys on Friday night and all day Saturday, I was determined we were going to do something fun on Sunday, even if I did have a killer sore throat and even if I did want to stay in bed all day.

D.Jones has wanted to visit Underwater World at the Mall of America pretty much since Cooper was born, so I looked up the hours and asked if he wanted to load up Coops and head over there.  Since it was a balmy -15 degrees in Minneapolis, it was one of our only options.  We started bundling up….

It’s a little pricey to get in, even with Cooper being free, but we did see some cool stuff.

We saw turtles….Photobucket

and a stingray Photobucket and some sharks….Photobucket

My child was swallowed whole, stroller and all…Photobucket but I was able to rescue him…Photobucket

Then he and his Daddy touched some sharks and some stingrays in a tank.  (I passed on this lovely opportunity and hid in the corner with my camera). Photobucket

After a stop at the food court for a happy meal, we enjoyed a very quiet ride home. Photobucket

30 Hour Famine

I volunteered this weekend to take part in a 30 Hour Famine for World Vision Hunger Relief.  Kids in 7th through 12th grade could participate by asking for donations and raising money, and then fasting from noon on Friday until 6pm on Saturday.  I knew very little about the program except that it sounded like a great thing to be a part of….

I had volunteered to man the registration table, which meant that I checked kids in, provided any last minute details for parents, confiscated cell phones, directed traffic, obtained permission slips, and tried to keep the 7th and 8th grade boys from beating on each other in the name of fun.  (Boys are crazy…FYI)

After that, we watched a video from World Vision about hunger relief and the horrible starvation going on in the world.  We were in a huge room and there were hundreds of small votive candles burning while we watched the video.  When the vid stated that a child somewhere in the world dies every 3 seconds from starvation, two of the senior high girls began blowing out the candles one by one.  If I hadn’t still been trying to corral jr. high boys, I would have been crying buckets.  Maybe they are an okay distraction sometimes, huh?

Following the vid, we had 2 guest speakers.  One 18 year old girl who goes by the name Tati, and a woman who wrote a poem about poverty in the Twin Cities called “My Name Is Not Those People.”  Her poem is featured in many publications and text books.  Tati grew up in a home filled with violence, was raped for a gang initiation, was molested by family members, and became homeless at age 15.  She now attends an alternative arts school, lives on her own in a transitional housing apartment, does slam poetry, spoken word, and may be featured in an upcoming MTV special.  She’s an amazing girl and has a very special energy.  I told her as much later in the evening and she said “yeah…I know I’m a little hyper”, to which I replied “No, your energy, girl.  You are inspirational with your positive spirit and your drive to succeed.”  It was the first time I saw even a glimmer of shyness, as she looked away for just a second and quietly said “thank you.”  

As the evening began to draw to a close and we got the kids ready for lights out, I headed home at around midnight.

9 a.m. on Saturday came quickly and I had to be back at church to pick up a group of kids with our “assignments” for the day.  We didn’t know what we’d be doing, but we knew it would involve hunger, and we knew we still weren’t eating.  Believe me…I was dreaming of cheese omeletes, not service projects.

Our first “mission” was to take 8 kids to a grocery store with $180 cash and purchase enough food to make 245 bag lunches.  We had specific orders like the lunches needed to include at least 2 oz of meat and/or cheese, fruit, dessert, and water.  We also had to buy the paper bags and ziplock bags with our budget.  The kids did a great job of picking things out and bargain shopping.  I was impressed.  Then we brought all our goods to a homeless shelter where we assembled everything with the help of “Mo”, one of the employees there.  She was fantastic and at one point, knowing we were fasting, she grabbed a sammie we had just assembled and took a huge bite.  When the kids reacted to it, she explained that it is how many homeless feel when they look through the windows of restaurants and see us all enjoying our lunches….except they don’t know when they are going to have their next meal…we knew we’d be eating at 6.  The kids loved her and there were hugs all around when it was time to go…but Mo had one more surprise for us.  She made a quick call on her cell and then asked the kids “would you be willing to bring some of these sandwiches to some of my clients?”  We ended up visiting an apartment complex of transitional houseing for women and children.  We buzzed in, and then visited the apartment #s that Mo had written down for us, introducing ourselves and basically delivering lunch to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have any.  It really hit home with the kids….

Mission accomplished, we headed back to church for our next assignment; Feed My Starving Children.  It was around 2pm when we arrived at the next location, where we were handed aprons and hair nets and given our instructions.  In 2 hours we were to assemble as many bags of soy, rice, and veggies (all dehydrated) as we could, which would be shipped to Haiti (recently given 4th world status, by the way).  By this time, we were with the larger group again, and there were about 65 of us.  Some of the boys volunteered to box the bags, and run them on pallets out to a warehouse where they would be stacked for shipment.  We got to work…my duty was to use a heat sealer to seal each bag and make sure there was not one single grain of rice by the seal, or rodents on the ships would tear into all our carefully packaged foods.  The assembly lines we set up were busy little hives, and we ended up packaging almost 1800 packages of food.  Enough food to feed 33 people for a year!  Then we all met in the warehouse where we said a quick blessing over our shipment, enclosed a large posterboard of “art” for the village, and away it went.

By the time we got back to church, even the boys were wiped out!  I had a headache and wanted nothing more to go home and go to bed….but it was only 5pm. ONE hour until we could break our fast…at which time all of us adults were going to serve pasta to the kids….

By the time I got home, I was so happy to see D.Jones and little Buddha…but I was also changed.  I try to regularly keep in mind how lucky we are to have the things we have….a nice house, a safe place to live, food, heat, clothes, etc., but these two days put it all in a new perspective.  I cannot imagine those mothers all around the world who listen to their babes cry out in hunger and cannot do anything for them.  I can picture the moms in Haiti who regularly feed their children a mixture of mud, flour and salt to stave off hunger for just another few hours.  The man who runs Feed My Starving Children told me that last summer a mother brought her 3 year old daughter to their emergency medical tent because her belly was so distended.  The doctors found EIGHT pounds of rock and mud in her gut from the desperation to get something in there to stop the hunger pains.  I couldn’t help but shed a tear for her and for all the other parents and children who are affected by this….

I was so proud of these kids who worked diligently through our little 30 hour famine.  I saw how tired and hungry they were…especially by Saturday afternoon.  But we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing 6pm was looming closer and closer.  So many people never see an end to their hunger.  They should.  There has got to be enough in this world for everyone, but what’s the answer?  At least these fantastic kids I spent my day and 1/2 with made some impact, however small. 

A Note for Uncle Pokey

Photobucket  This is Coops this past Christmas with his Uncle Jordan.  Coops loved hanging out with him and would laugh that crazy, perfect toddler laughter when he would hold his hand out to shake Coop’s hand and then pull it away quickly. Photobucket

Jordan’s family nickname is “Porky”, which Cooper quickly made his own and began referring to him only as “Uncle Pokey”.  He insists on looking at these pictures of he and Uncle Pokey at least every other day, and he points and waves and says “Hi Uncle Pokey!” 

Jordan had some major surgery this week and we’ve been worried and feeling very far away for the past few days, but thankfully got good news.  He’s recovering nicely from the surgeries and is doing well…except for freezing out visitors by insisting that the room temp stays just above arctic levels.

Since this is the best we can do for now, this is a big shout out from the Jones household to Uncle Pokey…..

Get well soon Uncle Pokey!  We love you and we miss you!  See ya soon!

Holy Grumpiness

Someone woke up on the wrong friggin’ side of the bed this a.m. and it wasn’t me for a change.  Man,  Buddha can be one little 30lb bundle of grumpy.  Clearly the shirt he was sporting today meant nothing to him.

I had a busy morning planned as I had to make it to the post office, to Super Target to stock groceries for Buddha & D.Jones for the weekend, and run a few other errands, and the result was one melt-down after another.  Again….not mine.

The first was in the tiny cubby-hole of a post office in our neighborhood, where even the postal workers behind the desk were trying to calm my child.  Talk about embarrassing.  After we left, (and I’m sure they were not unhappy to see us go), he repeated his new trick at Target.  Wow…trying to hold a child under two into the front seat of a cart should really not be as difficult as it is.  He was trying to climb out, while screaming at the top of his lungs, and swinging and kicking like a cage fighter.  He’s got skills, that little Buddha.

I finished shopping quickly, bought him a small snack bag of Buddha nirvana (goldfish crackers) and grabbed a seat at Starbucks.  That totally flipped a switch.  In a good way, this time.  Buddha was joyously shoving goldfish crackers in his mouth left and right, while dancing to old-school R&B hits.  It was quite a show.  The Starbucks employees actually clapped for him after one particularly James Brown-ish dance move. 

The end result at home was almost worth the price of admission to the melt-downs, though…  Major Buddha hugs for Mom and all was right in the world again….Photobucket

Newsflash: Cooper Gives Up Sleep for Lent

Okay, the title is not entirely true.  He actually gave up sleep about two weeks ago.  I’m not sure if it’s that he’s getting molars or if he’s just a 22 month old insomniac, or perhaps he needs to lay off the java, but the kid never seems to sleep.

 Last night at approximately precisely 1:32 in the a.m. (believe me, you look at the clock when you are roused from your sleep…you really do), I hear him yell out.  I close my eyes tighter and start the regular middle of the night mantra “please let him fall back asleep, please let him fall asleep, please, please, puhleeeeeease!”, but no deal.  The yell was followed by the “Mommy!” yell that should be reserved for broken limbs but clearly, he didn’t get that memo.

I go in to get him and flop on the couch, wrapping us both in the softest throw blanket on the face of the earth….which, for about two seconds, makes me okay with being up.  Alright, not really, but I thought I’d try to interject a positive note.  Anyway, I hold him with his head on my shoulder for about 15 minutes before I say, “are you ready to go back to your bed now?” to which he burrows further into my shoulder.  I was thinking I might as well forget it because he’d actually need to be surgically removed, but no sooner had I thought it, than I heard his breathing change.  Oh my God.  He’s sleeping already.  Okay….don’t breathe.  Don’t move a muscle.  Wait for that deep breathing that means he might sleep through me moving him back to his crib.  I’m holding my breath.  After about another 15 minutes, I determine he’s there.  I can move and see if he’ll sleep through it.  I hadn’t even fully stood up before his head popped up and he looks me in the eye and says “no.”  Simple as that…he’s clearly not going anywhere just yet.  I sit back down. This goes on for a little while and then bingo!  He’s out.  I replace him in his own bed and I’m good.  Until 3:30.  Repeat the above cycle, and you get the idea.

This all brings me to this picture.  This is Cooper when I got him ready for school this morning.  Looks okay to me, and I remember that the shirt was a gift from Doug’s cousin, so I snap a pic to send to Doug at work before we hurry out the door. Photobucket  Then I notice it.  Not only am I announcing to the world that my son can’t read…but I’m announcing that his mom is color blind, too.  Check out the socks.  Nice….  Apparently I was so tired this morning that I was completely unaware that I put two different socks on my kid until I took a picture of it! 

 Hope he sleeps well tonight or tomorrow I might leave the house with him in shorts and a t-shirt.