Archive | December, 2009

reflections

One year ago today, my best friend, K.C., and her family finished their l-o-n-g drive from San Antonio to move in with us. They are a military family and instead of purchasing a home online or finding a temporary rental while they waited on the on-post housing list, we offered for them to stay with us. We had done it once {well, twice, actually} before and it worked out just fine. Ryan’s best friend’s family of four lived with us for seven months while they figured out where to go next {down the street, fortunately!}.

We knew when we purchased our house that the Lord had plans for us. It was a MUCH bigger house than our previous one and we felt beyond fortunate to be able to move into such a space. We’ve hosted many parties and events here, and are so thankful that we’ve been able to help out our very best friends with a temporary place to live. People call us crazy, but when you’ve been asked by God to use what He’s given, there really is no other option.

Anyway, a year ago, we were so full of anticipation for having house guests.

K.C. and I met our freshman year of college and lived together for three of the four years. We went through some ups and downs, but mostly just loved being together … laughing, studying, staying home, visiting her family in Arizona, and growing in our faiths.

{christmas 1998}

She married Dan, a former Marine, turned Army physical therapist who originally comes from Ecuador and loves to travel. I married my darling husband who happened to be from Washington state just like me. We moved back home after college. She moved to San Antonio,Texas. Then to El Paso. Then to San Antonio again. We were pregnant twice together {only long distance} and our littlest ones were born only 4 days apart. We did a few visits to each other’s homes, but mostly just talked on the phone any spare moment we had and kept up by email.

{brady & noe, 5 months old}

{noe & brady, almost 2 years}

{micah & mason, 4 months}

{micah & mason, 2 years}

{the three older sillys}

I don’t think either of us ever imagined we would live in the same state as each other, so when Dan found out his next assignment {is that what it is called?} was here in Washington, there was MUCH celebration! And anticipation. So many wonderful adventures we could take together! Our kids could be best friends! Our husbands could be best friends!

So, they pulled up at about 4:00 on New Year’s Eve with two cars loaded down with what the military didn’t pack. And our household of five became a household of nine.

The original plan was to look for homes near the Army post and get them settled by early spring. We had different plans. I secretly was hoping that once K.C. became friends with my friends and started coming to church with us, they would want to live close to us. Perhaps even in our neighborhood. It was a long shot, but it was my secret desire.

Well, eight months later … my dream came true. They moved into OUR neighborhood, go to our church and have fit in amazingly with our fabulous group of friends.

Those 8 months of cohabiting were not easy. For either family. There were plenty of times when we both wished we had our own space. Our kids were often times NOT best friends. It was trying and chaotic and a blessing all at once.

But I was just reflecting about what we learned from the experience. For our kids, they learned how to share their things, their space, their time. I hope that we set for them a good example of hospitality and what it means to help others.

For me, I learned A LOT about being a gracious host. I didn’t realize it until in the situation how selfish I can be. Perhaps it would be true for everyone. When you have your own home, you want to use the washer anytime you want. Or know that noone will eat the last piece of bread. Or let the house be as clean or dirty as you want it. When you are sharing a home, you have to share the contents of the home as well. With a household of nine {five of them kids, two stay-home moms}, you really can’t count on a quiet moment. I was surprised with myself for feeling so greedy. I really thought I was pretty unselfish. Maybe we all have a limit and mine was met!

While I much prefer having our house back to our family and having my best friend just down the street, I will never forget 2009 for being a year of personal growth, family sacrifice, fun memories and the year my best friend moved into the neighborhood.

Here’s to 2010 being another year of adventure …

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the real me

i’m feeling a little conflicted.

i started a family blog about 2 years ago. i {obviously} was behind the times and really had no idea how vast the blog world was until i started clicking and realizing all of the amazingly talented writers, crafters, mothers, decorators, etc. that are out there. anyway, i was having fun recording my children’s lives and jotting down my thoughts. and i started getting readers {well, besides my darling mom and sisters}. there is something about a stranger reading about my life and viewing photos of my home & family {and leaving really kind comments} that made me want to keep going.

but i have a husband who loves his family and really felt that we should keep our children’s lives private. i couldn’t argue … while i know the people who read what i have to write are not out to harm, we do live in a time where we have to do the best we can to protect what is most special to us. in order to preserve our family’s anonymity and to best respect my husband, i changed our family blog to a “by invitation only” one.

and started this one.

i’ve had my business for several years and it has been fun to venture into new areas of exposure. i figured i could use it as a place to market my business, but also document my creative successes {and failures}. i thought i could separate my life and just be the ‘jones design company’ emily.

but, truthfully, as much as i’d like you all to think that i am this great business woman who is very professional and talented and perfect, i am just a regular girl.

mostly a mommy.

a mom who loves to decorate and design and has been completely blessed with clients who make my small business meaningful to me, but also a mom who can’t seem to keep up with the laundry {three small boys do make a mess of their clothes} and spends more time thinking about projects than actually doing them.

so, i’ve been questioning. do i have to have separate blogs? does this one need to be geared to just my designs? or can i be me? must i reserve this space for professionalism or can i put my personality and honesty into it?

i think this is more about my life than it is about a blog. i say it over and over that so much of life is about finding that fine balance. i’m afraid i haven’t quite figured it out. maybe that is what i should work on in 2010. balancing my creativity with the practical needs of our family. balancing time with my little ones with time with my husband. balancing alone time with keeping up with friendships. doing chores versus reading blogs {!}. i should probably get this figured out pretty quick because we’ve got a new little baby coming soon.

anyway, i would love to simplify and just have one blog. and another part of me wonders if 1. anyone is interested in my everyday life and 2. if for the sake of running a business, i should maintain some distance between work and private life.

thoughts? i could use some good ones as i am in the midst of the ’8 months pregnant brain’.

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our christmas

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i love Christmas. my husband laughs because whenever the next holiday is approaching {or season, i suppose} i always declare that it is my favorite. but, really, i do love Christmas. the decorations. the lights. the coziness of it. the excitement.

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i love wrapping gifts,

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and making things.

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and {perhaps most of all} the yummy treats.

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anyway, as busy as I am leading up to Christmas, we try to make it feel as special as we can for our family. we want them to have great memories of this wonderful celebration and also learn how to give and host and do kind things for others.

on Christmas eve, after a beautiful candlelight service {in which our first little boy held his own candle for the first time}, once the kids were in bed and asleep {finally at 10:00}, we finished wrapping up all the surprises and stuffing the stockings. our house looked so festive! except in this photo, the walls look mint green, which they are not.

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on Christmas morning, this little darling woke up at 5:45 {about 2 hours earlier than normal}. that was not pleasant. the older boys awoke at 8 to a house full of grandmas & grandpas just waiting for them to come down the stairs. after about 2 hours of opening stockings and enjoying a delightful breakfast, this little guy had had it. he had a melt down over a candy cane {which he wanted instead of breakfast and got because 1. it was Christmas and 2. because of two grandmas who would do anything to make this little one happy}. so following his episode, he went to bed and missed all of the gift opening extravaganza. therefore, we have no photos of his third Christmas.

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the older boys really only wanted legos. but we got them a few other things. our oldest tore through the packages with very little emotion about any of it until i realized that he was just waiting for a lego set.

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sheer delight when they received what they wanted.

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and they realized that the other gifts were lots of fun too. Christmas night we went to my in-laws for a few days to spend time with family. we had our second gingerbread house making contest …

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an igloo

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and candyland. he pretty much just tried to get as much candy on his house as possible.

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grandma nonna’s dilapidated house

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my sweet gingerbread cottage

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my husband’s skyscraper {complete with elevator, lobby, boardroom, office, bathroom and, of course, helicopter landing}.

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a tank

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and our secind’s little gingerbread masterpiece.

Christmas comes and goes so quickly, but it was wonderful and messy and i think the boys will remember this as a good one.

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