Happy Birthday Grammie!

Cooper wasn’t the first to be able to deliver birthday messages to his Grammie, but we weren’t far behind.  Turns out his cousins Sarah and Gracie had done a beautiful job on some fantastic artwork over the weekend, which was promptly hung across the front of Grammie’s house this morning while she was out getting her hair done.  What she came home to was this….

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Seen here pictured in her living room because although she really wanted to keep it up for the day the wind had already sent it to the neighbor’s yard once and she didn’t want it to be ruined.  My favorite part, being slightly biased, is that Sarah and Gracie were sweet enough to include Cooper in the greeting and along the top edge, which you probably can’t make out in the pic, it says “I “heart” you, Grammie, love Copper”  Underneath in Sarah’s writing it says “actually from Sarah, but Cooper would say it”.  And yes…his name was spelled exactly as I typed it in that first part.    Aww…the treasured gifts we are given from the little ones…  I love it and Grammie loved it even more.

We arrived late morning to bring Grammie a beautiful flower (I think it was a Lily of some sort?) and some turtle chocolates with cherries in them.  Cherries and chocolate are some of her favorite candies.

Then, Grammie and Papa had plans to celebrate a birthday luncheon with my mom’s siblings, so they were off and Coops and I bid her a final “happy birthday” goodbye….but not before I got a few awesome birthday pics…

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The Jones crew can’t wait to continue to celebrate over a late birthday dinner with you tomorrow night!!

Who’s Number One?

Last night D.Jones had to go straight over to a neighbor’s to help with something, so Cooper and I were on our own for dinner.  Coops feels absolutely no sense of urgency when it comes to completing his meal, so out of sheer boredom, I began taking video of our small talk.  It was normal dinner conversation until things took a turn and Cooper made the hierarchy of our household known.  The scary part is, I’m quite sure he’s correct.

There’s A Thief on the Loose

Before I married D.Jones I used to get mad at him for consistently stealing my money.  Not in the “you’re about to see us on Dateline” kinda stealing, but little bits here and there.  He never tried to hide it really, just wouldn’t say anything and when I’d ask “Have you seen the $5 I left on the dresser?” he’d casually reply “Oh, yeah…thought it was mine.”  Pffft.  He clearly knew it was mine.

I never empty out my pockets before doing laundry, so laundry days were a goldmine for him, and the same conversation would be repeated but the stakes were ramped up.  It was usually more like “where’s the $40 that I left in my jeans, Doug?” to which he’d offer some smart mouthed retort like “What $40?  Are you sure it was your $40?  Can you identify it?  I think I left $40 in my jeans too.” and he’d smirk as he wandered  off.  With my money.

It almost became a joke, except that it was always me left without the cashola.  He has always been a big fan of the “finders-keepers” phrase, too, though I’ve told him at least a hundred times that sentence was not intended for those with whom you share an address.

His fun has been hampered now by the fact that we not only share an address, but also a bank account.  I think essentially stealing from yourself makes that quarter just a little less shiny and tempting, so lately, I’ve been in the clear.  I’ve gotten used to leaving my money wherever it finds a home when I return from the store, or when I do actually clean out a pocket at the end of the day.  Until yesterday.

Yesterday, the genetic line from father to son was clear when Cooper ran into our room when he woke up, as usual, and was cuddled up with me while we prepared to start our day.  All of a sudden he says “Hey!  I found some monies!”  I ask where and he replies “right there….on your nightstand.”  I say “No, that’s my money, not yours” to which he replies, in true D.Jones’ fashion “No, it’s mine because I need to save it.  I’m putting it in my piggy bank.”  He promply nabbed my change and took off.  Hmph.  I see it’s not only D.Jones I need to keep my eye on…and my money hidden from.

Tonight D.Jones is helping a neighbor with some stuff, so Coops and I dined alone.  When we were done with dinner, I was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher and he was running his usual after-dinner laps up and down the hallway, when he ran into the kitchen and said “I just found a bunch of money for my bank!”  I again ask “where?” because clearly I’m a slow learner and he says “your room” as he bolts from the kitchen heading toward his trusty piggy bank.  This is getting scary.  I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me with this kid under my roof.  Between he and his father I am liable to be quite broke by the time he’s, oh, six.

He’s Spoiled, I Tell Ya!

Cooper and I had to run to Target this afternoon.   As we returned home and pulled into the driveway, we spotted D.Jones walking down the block toward us from his bus stop.

I had Coops run to greet him, which is always ridiculously cute.

As Doug approached the truck with Cooper in tow, Coops is rapid-fire telling him how awful it was that we went all the way to Target and I refused to buy him a new truck. 

D.Jones looks at me and I begin to tell him about the nightmare trip to Target.  My rant went something like “seriously Doug!  He screamed all the way through Target ‘all the other children are getting new trucks except for me!’, and yes he used the word ‘children’.  I just can’t believe how he expects to get a new truck every stinkin’ time we go to that store!  I told him no, that in no uncertain terms was he getting another truck to add to his collection of 2.7 million trucks that he already owns.  I mean really.  It’s ridiculous.”

Doug nodded in agreement and then said “I know!  He’s spoiled.  He should not be getting any trucks.  You did the right thing”, but I am continuing to unload the car with my back to him and have not taken a breath as I go on…”I mean, you should have heard him, Doug.  Literally yelling in the store and having temper tantrums about trucks!  It was embarrassing to say the least…” as I hand him this:

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 D.Jones stares at me in disbelief.  “Wait.  Didn’t you just…”  (headshake)  “Nevermind.”

I say “But he needs something to play with in the yard.”

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Honesty in Years

Last night I was finally able to make it to a GNO (girls nite out) with the high school friends.  They are scheduled once per month, but I always seem to have a conflict.  Truth is, we had a conflict last night too, but D.Jones sacrificed a Summit beer release party so that I could go.  In fact, he insisted.  He’s a good guy that D.Jones.

So after dinner I made the trek to visit with 3 friends…all of whom I’ve been friends with for over 20 years.  Wow.  That’s so crazy.

With close friendships of that duration comes an ability to be crazy without even giving it a second thought.  Things like grabbing my camera and yelling “Nan…show some dobber love!” and her responding immediately, allowing me to capture this image, even though she knows I’ll probably use the picture to taunt her for years to come.

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Now that the dobber made it’s appearance, I probably don’t need to tell you that this particular girls nite out involved Bingo.  Bar Bingo.  For a cause, so I think that makes it less dorky? 

We sat at our rickety little table in the back of the sports bar by the stinky free taco buffet, but it didn’t matter.  When I get a chance to hang with these girls, we could be just about anywhere and I wouldn’t mind. 

So, with dobbers poised, we made small talk between bingo calls.  And snapped a few more ridiculous photos, too.  Seems things haven’t changed in the 20-some years we’ve called each other best friends.

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As conversation flowed, our chatter turned to kids as it usually does nowadays.  I guess some things do change in 20 years.  The girls put the usual pressure on me to add a sib for Cooper.  I accused them of not telling me the truth about motherhood from the get-go and added “he is 3 and I’m still not getting a good night’s sleep!” 

There was a collective pause.  Jen and Kris held dobbers still while Jen looked at me incredulously and said “what!?  why?”  I told them that Cooper wakes two or sometimes more times per night yelling things like “tuck me in!” or “where’s my Hoppy?”    Seems stuffed animals get easily lost in the darkness of a 3 year old’s bedroom.

Kris makes a face of disbelief and says “and you go in there?” 

My response seemed sillier than it ever has before as I said “well…yeah…what else would I do?”

This is where the honesty of all of those years of friendship comes in. 

Jen and Kris burst into laughter.  They taunt me with jeers of having laid the foundation for this nighttime craziness.  Jen says “how about you just tell him to put himself back to bed?”  Kris adds “Oh my God…I would just ignore him until he goes back to sleep!”

What!?  I am dumbfounded.  How did this not come up over a year ago?  How did they leave me hanging for this long!?  Couldn’t someone have told me it could be that easy?  Who knew?!

Kris adds “If you would have had two right away, he wouldn’t have been that needy from the beginning.”

Now, from anyone else some of the other statements they added may have been offensive.  I may have even said something in response to imply that they didn’t know what they were talking about or that they should mind their own business.  But these girls do know what they are talking about and I love their honesty that comes from 20 years of telling me that the guy I’m dating is a jerk, or that my favorite Guess jeans with the zippers on the legs really don’t look that great, or that when I promise to be the designated driver, I really shouldn’t do a shot of tequila.  Yes, they have weathered the storms with me for years, which gives them the right to taunt me with the verbal assault deserved of one who is being ridiculous.  God I love them…

So, I made a mental note to tell D.Jones that we are idiots.  Sucker parents…I think that’s what we could be called. 

This is why it’s imperative that I make the time for girls nites.  It’s that simple.

Even though we weren’t big winners last night on the coverall or the “bingo the hard way”, I definitely felt like a winner after spending a little time with my girls.  And tonight…maybe I’ll get a better night’s sleep.

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The Soundtrack of a Walk

Sunday night I threw on a jacket, grabbed Betsy’s leash and headed out the door.  I knew that a walk from our front door, around one of the city lakes and back was exactly 4 miles, so I decided to hit the road right before sunset so I’d be able to watch the sunset reflected in the water as I walked.

What a beautiful night.  Not a perfect weather night, not a nice warm spring breeze, but a gorgeous night nonetheless.

I usually walk in silence because I like to hear what’s going on around me, but on this particular night, I felt like some upbeat music, so I nabbed my iPod on the way out.

When I do listen to music, I do this game in my head where I try to see if the music I’m listening to is reflected in what is going on around me.  Like, if I’m listening to Britney sing Womanizer, is there a guy walking by with a perfect John Travolta strut?  It’s something to pass the time and it cracks me up because sometimes the music and the surroundings are in perfect opposition.

Sunday night everything seemed right in the world and the soundtrack of my walk fell right in to place as well. 

As I rounded the first part of the lake I was marveling at how great it felt to get out and walk, and what a good best four-legged friend Betsy makes.  I heard the steel drums and Caribbean flair of Jimmy Buffett begin.  It was Last Mango in Paris.  The lighthearted tune was the perfect backdrop for the slightly portly Dad trying to beat his five year old daughter at the best air karate chops and kicks on a grassy hill to the right of my walking trail.  I must say, he did pretty well and I could hear her giggles muffled in the background of Jimmy singing “we shot the breeze for hours as the sun fell from the sky…”.    I couldn’t help but notice the girl and her Dad surrounded in the pink hues of the end of a Sunday.

Next up was Jamiroquai and the soothing sounds of Virtual Insanity while I passed a group of women in head to toe coverings.  Their long flowing skirts whipping around their legs as Betsy and I passed, and then smelling the sweetness of their mingled perfumes on the night air.   As I passed them we exchanged brief smiles.  I glanced over at the water’s edge.  The sun was going down now, and silouetted on the lakeshore was a Dad surrounded by 4 small boys, all quietly holding their fishing poles and waiting for a big hit.

Ahh…a perfect night indeed.

I rounded the last leg of our lake walk and saw the Minneapolis skyline glittering as the last bits of sunshine made their escape and the walking path shadows became darker.  I listened to the Beatles break into their funky little “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, life goes on…” and I looked up to see a middle aged man scaling a tree on the beach and finding a perfect branch on which to relax.   A little weird, yeah, but he probably thought the same of me as I didn’t see him right away and was singing the “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” part out loud.  Our eyes connected for a moment and then we both went on doing what we were.  I must have smiled for an entire block.

A perfect soundtrack for my perfect night.

So Busted

Conversation with Cooper and I this morning.

Intro:  I hear a suspicious sound that I am all too familiar with from down the hall.

Me:  Cooper Jones!  What are you doing?

Cooper: (from hallway)  Um.  Nothing.

Me:  What was that noise!?

Cooper:  (appearing in doorway)  Um.  I didn’t spit.  (someday he’ll be a better liar than this and I dread the day)

Me:  You better not have.  You know you do not spit in this house!  Are you telling me the truth?

Cooper:  Yes!  I didn’t spit, Mommy.

Me:  You better be telling me the truth because I’m about to walk down that hallway and find out.

Cooper:  (runs for room as he yells) “No!  Don’t find out Mommy!  Don’t find out!”

So busted.  Unfortunately I know he’ll only get better at lying and hiding things.  For now, as you can see, I don’t exactly need to be a super-sleuth.