Monday, January 22, 2007

Christmas in Utah - Part 3

Christmas in the desert. Paul and Kathy, Nathan's parents, have created such a glorious oasis in their little desert patch. Paul designed and constructed every little detail on the outside. It's such a peaceful place to rest and contemplate --that was in the pre-babe days however!

Christmas morning in St George. Here's Zoe with her daddy, she's ready for breakfast!

Here's Des and Zoe chilling with thier cousin Jon and his great girlfriend Kristen. Des sat there for 20+ minutes scarfing down those goldfish crackers and his tender stomach ultimately rejected them and up they came! Yuck!

Ahhh... a Christmas morning kiss!

Des trying his new hat on for size -- just right!

We thought we'd give a go on Zoe. Good shot of those jowls, which is totally Grandpa Jones!

Hooray! Happy to catch a smile on this little face.

Des loves Grandma's big bathtub. Nate turned on the jets and those bubbles exploded (nearly double in size from this pic). I decide to join him! (not pictured)

We love to lounge at the Joneses. Here's Zoe caught redhanded trying to lift her Gma's beverage!

Here's a food shot. A note on Christmas dinner (not pictured) which was a glorious ham a-la-Paul Jones, resident cook. Mmmmm... melt in your mouth!

The weather was so nice that we drove to a large playground to relive some of our missed New York outdoor activities. This playground was fantastic!! We had the best time enjoying the sunshine with Des (while Zoe was napping back at the house with G&G Jones.)

Playing pirates with Dad. Arghhhh....

Mom (that's me) likes these posing shots. Lets smile and show how much fun we're having! Which is literally how it often goes since I'm the one most frequently behind the camera. Every once in a while I hand it over for Nate to document that I'm a part of the family activities too!

Here are my boys, walking hand in hand on the path.

Here's another one of those shots -- turned out well I think. I just don't trust Nate with candids. He hasn't the patience, or it's all a joke and he trys to capture my more rotund areas. All these pics are taken with my new Christmas camera -- thanks Mom&Dad -- I've been a camera-less blogger for many months now. Heidi's boyfriend Chris has been loaning me his over these past months. He's an angel!

Des a friend to aligators. Or is it a crocidile?

Nathan P. Jones doesn't look so bad on camera when he actually smiles. I usually get these uncomfortable little smirks.

Nothing but net.

An intense one-on-one soccer game with Dad.


Ultimately, the time had come to return home to NYC -- Here we are at the airport stretching out and rummaging for snacks. The 2.5 hour drive to the airport was quite pleasant, Grandpa somehow managed to lull both babes to sleep. Whew!

We had a partial night flight -- and here are the results of a helpful dose of Bendryl! Don't leave home without it!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Christmas in Utah - Part 2

Finally a family pic that is somewhat formal -- thanks Dad. We spent an entire morning setting up and dressing up for family pictures. What an excercise! My Dad is a great photographer, but I don't think he's very fond of taking these types of portraits.

Des was able to unwrap some belated bday gifts at Grammys. Zoe is seen here trying to get in on the action. Des loved his big Noahs ark
When my sister Holly arrived we launched into our Christmas craft. Heidi had the idea of updating our Christmas stockings. For years we used these felt stockings that my mom lovingly made as each of us were born. They have since scattered as we've moved away. Mom found some giant sized stockings, big enough to fit Zoe into (where's that photo?) We got some felt and pompoms and Holly brought copious amounts from her school supplies. It was funfunfun to watch everyone create.

Here are the results.

This was the setting on our Christmas morning in Cedar City. Lovely. My parents have dramatically restored their 100+ year old house and, for almost a decade, operated a bed&breakfast, The Garden Cottage. Among the other upgrades and perks, one of my favorites is that we no longer need to share a bathroom! We each have our own in our former rooms. Though the timing is all wrong, life would have been so much easier if that had been the case 15 years ago!

Here's Zoe with her sweet Grammy. Notice any resemblance? Zoe was waking every morning around 5am. I would try and nurse her for another hour and then carry her downstairs to Grammy&Grampy's room for some one-on-one early morning time sans Mommy. We all learned quickly that Zoe was much more social if I disappeared. We never figured out the trick for Des though. Little stinker!

After a terrific snowstorm and a few days since the worst of Desi's flu had passed, we decided it was time for the long awaited sledding experience!! (So, why does Des look like he's about to fall asleep in this pic?) Des had long been looking forward to sledding for the first time "like Caillou does" and I told him there would be snow in Utah! I tracked down some snow boots (which was uncommonly hard to do in this snowy city!!!), mysisters got the gear, Grampy picked the site, we bundled up magnificantly and we were set. At home in the snow.

Here we are more lively trudging up the hill. Des didn't like that part.

Me with two of my sisters, Heidi and Hailey.
Hailey's a dedicated pro when it comes to *all* outdoor sports and she's got the doctor bills to prove it!

Hailey coaching Des on technique.
Heidi and I are just in it for the pics.

This doesn't look like a Christmas dinner shot (anyone have it?) but nevertheless must comment somewhere on the FOOD. I have these wonderful memories of visiting my Grandparents in Las Vegas and once we'd settled in the first order of business was always food. What shall we eat? Ideas were shared, lists were made, grocery shopping was done, cooking commenced. Fond memories. I LOVE that food can be so much a part of a family's experience. I likd that everyone got involved at my Grandparents. I remember often trying to convince everyone to get Kentuky Fried Chicken for the take-out night. :) That was yummy.

Anyway, I look forward to more gatherings with my sisters boyfriends. I've always been impressed with guys who cook. My sisters have made good matches in that regard, among their many other fine qualities. Chris is a natural, Randy is a champ, and Zach cooks with a flourish! I look forward to more gatherings with my sisters and the swifty-in-the-kitchen men in their lives. Can you tell I'm the only one lacking a foodie for a partner? Well, Jones appreciates beautiful food but he doesn't have the time to willingly cook! Boohoo...

Mom impressed me with all her signature meals readymade and waiting in the freezer. It's nice to come home and enjoy all these nostalgic dishes, especially when your eating them again with all those you've shared the memories with.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Zoe's Birthday -- 1 year old

What a nice evening we had together! Des&Zoe stayed up 2 hours past their bedtime to par-tay! So they were pretty highstrung. But it was fun, it was exciting!! Des was sure happy to see Auntie Heidi and methinks that Zoe was esp. happy to see Chris, Heidi's boyfriend. I caught her snuggling with him, head on shoulder, after dinner. :)

Des loved that Zoe had no clue how to open presents or even what the hullabaloo was about. He aptly grabbed for packages and tore them open and even played with them like a pro! Zoe loved the ballons that Heidi and Chris brought.

Since Zoe didn't express any food prefences, I decided to stop by on my way home from work and get some Domincan take-out! I also defied my historical convention / food purity babe ideas and got her a cheese cake with full complements of sugar and gooey cherries on top. If Des was aware he would have protested, "that's not fair! at my 1-year old party you made me an unedible sugarless carrot cake!" I've become a little more flexible over the years.

Zoe received some nice additions to her footwear. For a babe she's got quite a selection, compliments of Robeez and generous aunts! I've become a one-shoe per season kind of girl. Zoe has already departed from the ways of her mother. What is it they say about mothers and daughters? ahhh.... don't tell me!

Lacing beads. A family project.

Ode to Zoe

I would like to interupt this Christmas recap for a little word on my newly turned 12-mo old!!!


Zoe's Grammy sent this pick to around everyone this a.m. What charming teeth she has. She's also thrilling us with her mobility, mastering independant walking last month and becoming quite steady (unless that mass-of-movement Desmond Jones barrels into her). While on holiday, she began pointing and saying DPJ's name. The first name uttered discriminately. She points frequently now: little bit of a finger extending, lips jiggle to mouth some sweet little sound.... ahhh.... sweetness.

So here's the ode, er, poem I've long wanted to post and claim for my own. I didn't write it [but here's one from a month or so ago], Sylvia Plath did, but it is mine. It's been ringing through my head since having mybabes. It has possessed me.

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.

The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry

Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.

In a drafty museum, your nakedness

Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

All night your moth-breath

Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:

A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral

In my Victorian nightgown.

Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try

Your handful of notes;

The clear vowels rise like ballons.

Sylvia Plath, "Morning Song" 19 February 1961

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christmas in Utah - Part 1

What a fabulous time we had with our family in Utah. As I’ve broadcasted to all who’ll listen, it had been 5 years since we’d all last gathered. So we were all EXTREMELY excited to be together again. Lots of new boyfriends to meet and, of course, for many in the Jones and Simkins, a new baby to see and hold – our Zoe. I’ll only say this about the flight sans Daddy – my daughter can really scream. Even when we got off the plane in Las Vegas and proceeded to St. George, UT, Zoe continued to protest vigorously. This was the first time Grandma and Grandpa Jones laid eyes&arms&kisses upon their first granddaughter. Gma sat in the backseat for the entire 2.5 hour drive with ZDKJ, who very much disliked her carseat. Zoe gripped Gma tightly and buried her tear stained face into Gma’s shoulder and wept! Believe it or not, Grandma Jones loved it!

Upon arrival in StG it was quickly evident that DesZoe&I were becoming quite sick. We ended up taking more OTC drugs than we’ve ever taken in our lives! I’m a very reluctant medicator – but in the space of 2-days I had accrued about 8 different meds to battle our symptoms so we could carry on with the VACATION!! The pathetic pic of DesmondJones with a beverage for a pillow is a good illustration of our lowly state. Poor Joneses as they ultimately caught all our yucky symptoms as well and Gma could barely rise for Christmas.

When Zoe began feeling better she immediately began working out on the stairs. Without any prior climbing experience she quickly and dexteriously learned how to maneuver her little body and up, most impressively down. I was quite a proud mamma!

Here's an action shot.

Here's another with Des -- hard to get them to hold still at the same time.

We spent the rest of the vacation running interference between her and the top of the stairs. Ugh!

We bounced around from St. George to Cedar City enjoying two very different climates. Here’s a pic of the lovely snowstorm in Cedar City. We stayed out late that night and made a snowman. Very thrilling to play in the snow with my sisters again. The guys were there too, of course, shoveling snow.

It was great to see all my sisters again -- be together again and meet some boyfriends too! Here's a pic of Des kicking back with Randy, Hailey's boyfriend. Notice how Des has mimiced Randys posture -- being a guy.