Ringin’ In ’09

Tonight we had plans to ring in the New Year with our friends the Schwalbachs.  Unfortunately, their little guy came down with some upper respiratory thing that, as they put it, now made them the not-so-excited owners of a nebulizer.  No fun. 

We would brave the dreaded upper respiratory thing anyway and head over to their digs for a little while, but Cooper’s just getting over one of those nasty nighttime coughs and we’re just not willing to take our chances, so we opted to reschedule.  Tis the season, right?

Anyway, with no other plans for the day and D.Jones having the day off, we ran a few errands, took Coops to a mall play area, and are now back home for some end-of-the-year R&R.  Ahhh….  Much appreciated after the holiday hoopla.

Tonight we are going to try to muscle our way into a place downtown that we like for an early dinner (fingers crossed), and then ring in the New Year with a champage toast from our couch in front of the fireplace.  Truth be told, I’ve never liked to go out on New Year’s, so this is just fine by me.

Wherever you find yourself tonight, we wish you and yours a safe, lovely, and very Happy New Year! 

May ’09 bring you nothing but good stuff…

Cheers from the Jones family couch!

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Holiday Recap Round II

Christmas morning Doug and I were awakened by Cooper padding into our room in his santa feetie pjs and yelling “Ka-Chow Mommy & Daddy!  It’s time to get up!”  I groggily managed a “Merry Christmas baby, go see if Santa came, okay?”  To which he ran off down the hallway.

We heard a short pause in the movement, and then he came sprinting back down the hall to our bedroom.  He peeked in the doorway and shook his head ‘no’.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  I said “check again…maybe your stocking is in a different place?”  To which he ran off again.

In the meantime, D.Jones and I hauled ourselves out of bed and joined him in the living room.  He was very calm as we looked through what he got in his stocking, and then we actually had to prompt him through the gift opening.  Each thing he opened he loved and just wanted to play with that one thing. 

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As Coops played with his new stuff, Doug and I scurried around to get the car packed and make sure we had everything necessary for the holiday festivities in Wisconsin.  Off we were for our 6 hour drive, which included Cooper watching Word World more times than I thought humanly possible, but at least it kept him occupied.

We arrived at Papa’s house around 5pm, and found Uncle Tom, Auntie Michelle, Casey, Sarah, Suzette and Jay waiting for us.  Once Cooper spotted Papa’s tree and the presents under it, he could barely contain himself.  I think he lasted about a half an hour before he went up to Auntie Michelle and said in his usual reserved manner, “Auntie Michelle, what did you get for me??” 

We proceeded with gift opening #3, which produced a cool new truck from Papa that comes apart, an old-school spinny top that makes cool noises like a pipe organ, a bunch more cars and trucks, and a “real” fire truck from Uncle Tom and Auntie Michelle that is just like the fire truck that Uncle Tom drives!

D.Jones and I scored some very nice gifts as well…thanks for everything Papa, Tom & Michelle!!

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Uncle Keith was able to make it over a little later to say “hi”, but had an hour drive home, so he couldn’t stay long, but it was good to see him.  Then we had to hit the hay.

Day 2 we spent hanging out with Papa and playing with all the new stuff.  In the afternoon, Aunt Betty and Uncle Jerry stopped over with even more presents, and then Chuck and Ann came with even more!  It was awesome to see everyone and get a chance to catch up.  After that crew had to leave, along came Kristine & Dicky with Collin and Jordan.  Awesome!  Cooper was excited to play with them and was waving furiously from the front window as soon as he saw their car pull up.  Yet another present to unwrap and more fun to be had with them.  They were also staying for dinner, which was deeeelish!

After hearing them talk about RockBand for their Wii, D.Jones and I are determined to get it before too long and host some crazy RockBand night at our place.  It sounds like a blast! 

Cooper, as always, just wanted to spend time with the boys, and he was so sad to see them have to go, once he and Collin got a few quiet moments to play with the new firetruck and other cars and trucks.

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He just adores those boys.  Can you tell??

The next morning we went to breakfast with Papa, Tom and Michelle, and then it was back on the road again.  It was an exhausting quick turnaround, but well worth it to spend some holiday time with the Wisconsin family as well, which is what the holiday season is all about, isn’t it?

A Holiday Recap

I have been neglectful of my blog here due to the holiday craziness that I know you all can relate to, and as such, will not hold it against me.  Right?  

I’ll begin with a slightly hyperactive Cooper-style version of Jingle Bells.  Warning:  This is not for those of you who suffer from motion sickness of any kind.  This boy has energy.

The three of us spent Christmas Eve at my parent’s house, which is a long-standing tradition that usually includes egg nog with lots of booze (I was neglectful about that this year, too, and didn’t make it.), a crazy game where you steal other people’s gifts, tons of appetizers, a little wine, and some good family time around my parent’s fireplace.  It’s pretty much my favorite day of the year and I look forward to it for months.  This year didn’t disappoint.  We had a wonderful time!  Here’s a little pictorial for you to enjoy:

First, here is my niece Jenny beautifully assembling a veggie tray.  Good job, Jenny!

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And it just wouldn’t have been a fulfilling family gathering if my mom hadn’t wielded a weapon of some sort at me…this time, it happened to be a knife.   In the past, it’s been anything from a fork to a large, heavy, injury-inducing head of lettuce.  Though, truth-be-told, that was in the grocery store, not at home.

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We took the usual photos by the tree….

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Coops, as seems to be his usual holiday style, refused to eat anything but lefse…again.  (but who can really blame him?)

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He had a blast hanging out with his cousins

 

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And Jack even let him use a new extreme fighting maneuver on him…

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Coops scored on the gift front, getting the tractors and tractor books that he really wanted from Grammie & Papa, among other things, some more Cars paraphernelia from Uncle Ken, Auntie Sue, Caitlin, KC and Sarah, and an absolutely crazy Bob the Builder tool bench from Uncle Greg, Auntie Fran, Jack & Grace.  It’s got something like 2,987,001 pieces to it.  Okay, maybe not quite that many, but it sure feels like it when I’m trying to pick them up.  Which reminds me…thanks a bunch Greg & Fran.  You won’t mind if we buy Jack & Grace a live pony for your backyard, will you??  Your neighborhood association would love that!

At one point in time, cousin Bob attempted to make off with Cooper’s Bob the Builder safety goggles.  That’s a nice look, Bob…I can see why you’d try to score those.

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We headed home under much opposition from Cooper, who was really enjoying his new tractors, but we had to call it a night. 

He wound down at home with a final Christmas Eve story with Daddy

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Do you think Bob sporting those goggles was the reason that Cooper woke up screaming in the middle of the night?  Hmmm….  Anyway.  He did.  I have no idea what it was all about, but it seemed like it went on forever, and he’s not usually prone to nightmares.  I’ll chalk it up to too much lefse.

Santa came, and we assisted him in stuffing Cooper’s stocking full of all things trucks & cars, as requested during his Santa visit(s), and one stuffed “gaga” frog to make up for the one that Betsy attacked and de-limbed.

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And then it was bedtime for all…and to all a good night!  (well, at least until Cooper woke up screaming bloody murder at 2 in the a.m. anyway).

Holiday Recap Round 2 coming shortly.  Stay tuned.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow…

I always hope for a white Christmas, even if it means scraping off the car, bad driving conditions and all that jazz.  After New Year’s Day, I curse the snow every single day until it melts, but this week?  This week, every year, I need snow.

Then again, it was poor D.Jones outside doing this last night

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While Coops and I were in the warm living room here:

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We were kind enough to wave out the windows at him a few times while he shoveled away, which leads me to believe it may have been D.Jones cursing the snow last night….week of Christmas or not.

In a One Horse Open Sleigh

Or a long plastic one purchased at the hardware store around the corner.  That’s where we got our Saturday morning fun…

Saturday was incredibly warm for this time of year in Minneapolis.   Read:  it was not sub zero like it is today (-10 to be exact).  There was no concern of your nasal passages actually freezing, or of losing digits or toes due to extreme frostbite conditions.  A perfect day for sledding!

Okay, truth be told, in K.Jones’ world, no day is a good day for sledding…or doing anything else outdoors after October.  So why do I live here, you ask?  I have no idea!

But that’s a side note.  This post was supposed to be about the “fun” we all endure once we become parents.  You know, that “fun” that involves playing matchbox cars for hours on end, watching the same Bob the Builder episode until you think you may suffer a fatal aneurysm, and gritting your teeth and pleasantly saying “oh honey, we don’t hit” when they sucker punch you in your eye.  Or for me, sledding, skiing or any other outdoor winter sports.  That kinda fun.

So Saturday we went around the corner to the little hardware store, purchased one of those long plastic sleds with the string on the front to pull it, and headed to a park in the neighborhood to introduce Cooper to the joys of MN winters.

He actually loved it, and I, in turn, loved watching he and Doug whip down the hill toward a snow-covered baseball diamond.  Coops was whooping with delight all the way down the hill, and then struggling with all his might to get back up to the top and do it all again.  And I honestly think D.Jones was enjoying it even more than Cooper!

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Until his mommy-genes kicked in after about 6 passes up and down the hill and he calmly said “I don’t want to walk back up the hill anymore.  Let’s go.” 

I hadn’t braved the sledding, but thought I should at least play some role, even ever so slightly, in this, his first intro to outdoor winter fun, so I showed him how to make snow angels.  I clearly picked the wrong role, because I forgot how great it is to then stand out in the cold with wet, snowy jeans on.  Good times.

Anyway, Coops had already had enough, so I was able to blast the heater to warm up my jeans, which only resulted in really wet cold jeans…not frozen ones.

To be completely honest, we really did have a good time, and Doug wasn’t yet ready to leave, but Coops called it, and it was time to go.

It was still a balmy 35 degrees out, though, so we went home, grabbed the dogs, and decided to check out a local off-leash dog park.  There is one in Minneapolis that also has a side park for small dogs only, which would be perfect for Lola, and it’s super close to home, so off we went.

Unfortunately, once we found the secret little doggie party place, we realized we needed a permit ($60/dog per year for the first dog, and like $30/dog for any other dogs in the fam).  Hmph!  So, we wandered around outside of the fence to check things out and decide if it was worth the donation to the City of Mpls to partipate.  The $90 will get all of us entrance into an acre and a half of fenced in doggy fun in the heart of the most expensive real estate in the Twin Cities, so we think it is…which means that shortly after the first of the year, we’ll officially be invited to the fancy dog party.

Apparently there’s more outdoor fun to be had, I guess…even for the pooches.

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Cookies and Holidazzle Hoopla

Yesterday Cooper and I went out to my parent’s in the morning.  My Mom and I had decided to bake some Christmas cookies and just hang out.  Some years our cookie baking involves all of the ladies in the fam, and some years it’s just a quiet time for my Mom and I.  Both are great, but the quiet baking days remind me more of when I was younger and got to help her out.  When all of us kids lived at home my Mom put on quite a production with the cookie baking.  We’d have tins and tins full of fantastic cookies that she’d start baking some time in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  She’d  put them in a closet just outside of the kitchen and I remember sneaking in there and rummaging through the tins marveling at all of the cookie goodness!

One of my favorites has always been her Russian teacakes.  She makes them small so they are just the perfect bite-sized cookie and they just totally melt in your mouth.  I try not to think about all the butter that probably helps make them do that!   She told me to pick a couple of kinds to make on Friday since we were pressed for time (since Cooper J. would need to be home for nap time) so I skipped the Russian teacakes and instead picked cookies I thought Cooper would love.   My Mom knows they are my fave, though, so she was already hard at work baking some when we arrived.  Now I’ve got those tempting little suckers in my kitchen!  I want to thank you and curse you all at the same time, Mom! 

We got to work right away while Cooper played cars and trucks downstairs with Papa. 

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A few hours later we had all these beauties to pack into cookie tins.  After a few small “discussions” about who would keep the most cookie temptations, we were all ready to go.  Well, I was.  Cooper voiced his displeasure about having to leave Grammie & Papa’s house in the form of screaming and tears.  After a few minutes of promising we’d be back soon, we were on our way.  We needed to get him home for naptime because last night we were meeting Matt, Megan and Jack out at the Holidazzle Parade!

The Holidazzle parade is a night time parade of lights that stream down Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.  The costumes are fully lit up and the parade is completely made up of different volunteers each night.  That’s right.  You simply volunteer to be lit up like a Christmas tree (literally) and then paraded through downtown Minneapolis in front of 400,000 spectators in 5 degree weather.  Volunteers anyone??

This year we decided to get smart and meet them at a restaurant on the parade route, and watch the parade from the warmth of a window seat and a glass of vino.  Score! 

As we sat there watching, Matt came up with a great idea to try to purchase our same table for next year.  We didn’t seem to make any progress on this with the waitress.  Hmm…  we’ll need to speak to someone in higher authority, I suppose.  Bribery is always good in my book.  Especially if it involves not standing in subzero temps for over a half an hour…

Cooper and Jack enjoyed the parade much more this year than last year, when they were busy eating cheerios from the confinement of their strollers.  This year they stood in the window ledge of the restaurant and dirtied the windows beyond belief, pulled on curtains, banged on the windows, and screamed.  I just know all the other bar/restaurant patrons loved our little darlings.

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The parade actually lasted just the right amount of time.  By the time the finale came by (Santa on a fire truck lit with so many lights it was blinding), they were both yawning and no longer trying to leap from the window ledge.  It was time to pack it up and head home, and lucky for us, there wasn’t even too horrible of traffic to contend with.   

Matt and Megan had also left Cooper with a little surprise gift bag to open in the car ride home.  They are smart, wonderful friends, because he was starting to get a little cranky in the car when I let him open this…

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He immediately was enthralled with his “new cool truck!” and was happy to keep telling us over and over and over again how the truck was hauling “red, lello, and green”.  Seriously.  He loves this truck!

So, thanks Mom, for a great morning full of awesome cookies and happy memories, and thanks to the Schwalbachs for being such great friends and for joining us for some holiday cheer….