7 Days [ish] in Retrospect

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In retrospect this week was pretty wonderful. [these photo’s are not in consecutive order but I didn’t feel like fixing it. Time is of the essence right now!]

Ava is crawling! And this is how she’s starting to sit up. She’s got a cute little lean going on. :)

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A pretty wonderful and candid picture of us.

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One of the rough days.

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More than usual Ava Leigh has things in her mouth. We’re keeping an eye out for that first tooth!

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Yesterday morning, Jameson and I had a date and headed to Jacksonville to spend a few hours with my good friend Erica and her two boys! We swam, we played and we talked some good heart stuff. I am so so thankful for her heart and honesty.

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I will forever remember this day as a tipping point for me as a mom and just as a woman in general. Seeing my great. great need for a Savior. This is why I say the week was good in retrospect. It’s never enjoyable to be stretched and convicted and refined. It’s never enjoyable to go through the fire, even for a short time. But the outcome is always strong and beautiful.

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Seriously, how cute is this little diva?

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We got to enjoy a short but sweet visit from our friends the Pflugi’s! John is so stinking cute! And it was adorable the way they all played together!

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I love her so much! I can’t wait to meet Miss Paisley!

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Jameson and Ava’s first bath together!

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We always enjoy time with the Newby’s. Even the hard times. Love you guys <3

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Lots of Bible journaling this week!

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Ava Leigh is somehow SIX months old!!!??!

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Time flies when you’re having fun!

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cheers, ka

Spinach Red Pepper Risotto

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One of my 30 Before 30 goals is to cook through an entire cookbook. I said that I was going to take pictures of each recipe and post an entry about all the recipes I’ve tried but so far that hasn’t happened. The pictures at least. I have tried a delicious handful of recipes from the chosen “cookbook” from BHG titled Skinny One-Dish and a few that were mediocre. So, even for the recipes I was unable to snap pictures of the cooking process I’m still going to share the recipe.

I adapted this one in several extremely yummy ways.

I am a sucker for a good risotto recipe and this one is no exception. It is so, SO good y’all. It used healthy brown rice instead of arborio rice and it would be a good option for a vegetarian or meat-free meals.
Spinach and Red Pepper Risotto

1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup fresh snipped basil
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. In a small saucepan bring the chicken broth to a gentle simmer and keep warm throughout cooking process.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add bell pepper to hot oil and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add rice to pot with bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Lower heat to medium-low.
  3. Add the white wine and the kosher salt. Stir and cook until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Over the next 20-30 minutes, add 1/2 cup warm broth at a time, stirring and cooking until each addition of broth has been absorbed.
  5. Once all the broth has been added, taste the rice to make sure it has the right amount of crunch to it. Adding more water or broth if necessary.
  6. Add spinach, basil, almonds, lemon zest, garlic and parmesan cheese stirring until the spinach is wilted and the cheese is combined.

Try it soon. You won’t regret it!

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cheers, ka

Dear Jameson

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My sweet bear,

I’m so sorry for all the ways I’m failing you and will continue to fail you. I never realized just how selfish and easily angered I am until becoming a parent. Especially since you’ve entered toddlerhood. You’re this tiny person who is developing ideas and opinions, thoughts and oh-so-big feelings. And my tendency to be selfish and easily angered is so far from where I want to be when I see you expressing your thoughts and declaring your independence as a little boy.

I love you, son. My favorite definition of Love is found in 1 Corinthians 13. I tend to overlook these verses because I feel like they’re overused but the Word of God can’t be overused in my hateful heart. I need it more than I could ever realize. Verses 4 and 5 speak of love being patient and kind. It says that love never demands its own way and that love is not irritable. Well, my dear Jameson … I have shown you the very opposite of love today. I have been anything but patient and kind. I have demanded my own way even when it came at the cost of hurting you. And I have been terribly irritable. I’m so sorry.

I want you to grow up seeing two strong, kind, loving parents who lead you well but still give you the freedom you need to grow. I want you to see that we aren’t afraid to apologize and make amends when we screw up in any situation, toward any person :: including you. Hopefully we’ll screw up less and less.

I know that you are watching us, taking it all in. And I want for your father and I to be examples of all the good things. I want to be an example of creativity. I want to be an example of health. I want to be an example of wisdom. I want to be an example of truth. I want to be an example of joy.

Above all else, I want to be an example of Christlikeness. I want you to see the fruit of kindness and patience in me. I want you to see the fruit of self-control and peace in me. I want you to see the fruit of love.

And for you to see that… to really, truly see that… I must remain deeply rooted in The Lord.

Whenever we put you in time out we always hug and kiss you afterward and tell you that it’s okay. We tell you that whatever the cause for discipline was that you’ll remember next time.  For example: “You’ll remember next time that we don’t hit sissy.”

Well here I am. I’ve had my time out and I’m telling myself. “It’s okay, Kelly. You’ll remember next time to be patient and understanding. You’ll do better.” And I will.

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I love you, baby bear. Thank you for growing with me as I try to become the best mom I can be. The mom I want you to remember. The mom you deserve.

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Love, Mama

Ava Leigh’s Birth Story

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DISCLAIMER :: This is a birth story. It reads and shows pictures of pain, blood, umbilical cords and some more of that beautiful but uncomfortable for some stuff that happens when you give birth to a human being. Don’t continue reading if you don’t want to hear and don’t look at the pictures if you don’t want to see it.

DISCLAIMER 2 :: First I’ll say that my birth story is important because it got me my daughter. I have mounds of respect for moms who birth/gain their babies in every way vaginal, c-section, adoption, epidural, all natural, water birth, hospital birth WHATEVER it may be. You’re a rock star. Also, please don’t hate me after reading this if you had a super hard labor!

Three months have passed since we birthed our beautiful baby girl and I can’t believe I haven’t written it down yet! I hope I remember everything.

This pregnancy was extremely difficult and much more uncomfortable than when I was pregnant with Jameson. The hernia in my belly made me damn near bedridden. I ended up in tears more days than not due to pain and discomfort.

I woke up one morning around 38 weeks and didn’t feel Ava kicking around as usual. I drank some chocolate milk and waited. Nothing. I poked around. Nothing. I laid flat on my back, on my side. Nothing. I drank some cold orange juice. Nothing. I ate a donut. Nothing. Over the course of 5 hours, I tried everything to get baby girl to kick and nothing worked. I knew that if two hours passed without movement it was cause for concern so I finally called my midwife’s office and after explaining our morning to them, they wanted us to come in for a non-stress test. I kid you not that after about 5 minutes of sitting in the waiting room I finally felt Ava move a tiny bit.

Even after her giving me a little, I was worried about her lack in movement throughout the morning. When the nurse brought us into a room for the non-stress test she had me lay down while they wrapped my belly with the monitors. When placing these monitors on a woman’s belly, sometimes it takes a few tries to find the baby’s heartbeat depending on its position. Thank the Lord that the very second she placed the monitor on my stomach we heard Ava’s strong heartbeat. I began weeping right then and there. You could feel all our relief in the room. We laid there being monitored for almost thirty minutes and when Missy came in to talk with us she explained that while everything looked fine, Ava’s movements weren’t exactly what they should be so she wanted to send me in for a sonogram to do some more checks. Everything was beautiful.

When we went back into Missy’s office to talk to her she decided that, yes, everything looked good this day but she wanted me to come back in two days to have another non-stress test just to check on everything. While we were talking with her I mentioned the idea of wanting to be induced again like we were with Jameson. With how much pain I’d been in, with the scare that day, and the fact that the sonographer estimated she was already over 8 lbs – I liked the idea of going ahead and welcoming Ava sooner rather than later. And I had had such a wonderful experience delivering Jameson, I was totally comfortable with being induced again. Not just comfortable, I felt like I would prefer it. I hate unknowns and it’s kinda nice being in the hospital with everything already going. Missy explained that Flagler Hospital’s policy is that elective inductions cannot happen before 39 weeks. She wanted me to go home for a few days and do all our “homework”. Homework being all the natural ways to induce labor and if when I came back in at the end of the week and nothing had progressed, we could put in for an induction. And that’s exactly what happened. On Friday, February 13th we scheduled my induction for Sunday evening, February 15th. We were SO excited.

The same as with Jameson, they admitted me to a room. As a matter of fact, it was the exact same room we delivered Jameson in! Room 2052! They did a few routine tests, hooked me up to an IV, then started me on cervidil. Cervidil is a thin strip of fabric or material that is inserted vaginally to help soften the cervix. The hope is that the cervidil will not only soften/ripen the cervix but jumpstart contractions as well. When this was done with Jameson, the cervidil softened me up a small bit but nothing else progressed by the next morning so I didn’t totally expect that it would this time either. Although the nurses did say that it may progress more quickly because this was my second labor.

We loved all of our nurses again this time, I couldn’t say more wonderful things about the labor and delivery unit at Flagler Hospital. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. And if I had written this three months ago or even two months ago maybe I would remember some of my nurses names but alas, I cannot. Our two nurses for the first night were extremely helpful and efficient. When I was struggling to get comfortable with Ava’s monitor on my belly, one nurse didn’t tell me to just stay still because the monitor had to stay as it was [as one nurse told me when in labor with Jameson], she instead stood next to me for nearly 30 minutes while I tried to get comfortable and did everything she could until we got it fixed just right. We watched the season premiere of Walking Dead and tried our best to get some sleep. But oh goodness, we did not. I was either too uncomfortable or too distracted. On each side of our room was a screaming, all natural delivering woman. I say all natural just to say that obviously they were truly feeling all that pain. One woman just screamed bloody murder for an hour. While the other woman was screaming “weeee!” like she was going down a water slide for at least 3 or 4 hours. It would make us laugh one minute and then frustrate me to tears the next because I was just so tired. The nurses actually apologized to us several times saying how bad they felt for me. I think in total I got about 2 hours of sleep that night.

At around 2 am I began feeling mild contractions. Nothing severe or even regular. But at around 5 am they picked up a tiny bit. Between 6 and 7 am the nurses checked me to see if I had dilated any more and I was still only at 1 cm as I had been for several days. Although my cervix was a bit softer, it wasn’t soft enough for delivery by any means. Somewhere around this time, Bryan [Luke’s dad] came to see us before he headed into work. He prayed a beautiful prayer over us, Ava, and the doctors. I can’t remember if it was before or after he came that they started me on the pitocin. Let’s just say they started me on the drip between 6 and 8. Within 30 minutes of being started, my contractions intensified majorly. So much so that I told Missy, “Let’s just go ahead and have that epidural done.”

When the anesthesiologist came to perform the epidural, I remember it hurting a bit more than it did with Jameson. But even still, I am so glad for that medicine! Within 10 minutes I was feeling relief. As time went on over the next few hours I definitely realized that this epidural wasn’t quite as strong or quite as effective as it had been with Jameson. Don’t get me wrong, it was WONDERFUL, but I felt a lot more this time around Which I didn’t necessarily love. Still, it was absolutely better than nothing.

9:15 rolled around and Missy checked me herself for the first time that morning. I was at 4 cm! Yay! She knew that if she broke my water it would assist even more in dilating me but because Ava had kind of pushed herself higher up in my uterus Missy didn’t want to break my water because there would be a risk of Ava’s cord slipping through first. Other than that, Ava was in a perfect position. We just needed to wait a bit for her to move back down. But because of how the contractions were going and since I was steadily progressing, Luke kept saying, “We’re gonna have this baby by 11:30. You watch!” I thought that was wishful thinking.

20 minutes later at about 9:40, my parents arrived at the hospital. They sat and talked with us for about 30 minutes. My epidural was in [mostly] full swing so I was only slightly feeling each contraction. Enough that I was aware they were happening and I was uncomfortable through them. Before Mom and Dad left, they prayed over us. They were just leaving to grab some stuff from their car and visit the gift shop.

At 10:40 Luke and I were laying around the room together watching tv when all of a sudden we heard a loud pop over the heart monitor. Loud enough that it startled us both. At the exact same time I felt an extremely large gush down below. It scared me though and I was certain something was terribly wrong. Luke jumped up as I said, “You have to look under the sheet! Is it blood?! Is it blood?!” He smiled and said, “No, it’s clear. I think your water broke!” This was so weird for me because when my water broke with Jameson is was a trickle so small I thought I had peed myself. But this was HUGE! He went to retrieve one of our wonderful nurses to have them double check and she said that not only had my bags of water most definitely ruptured but I was suddenly at 8 cm! I couldn’t believe it! I started looking at Luke like, “Maybe you’re right about meeting Ava before lunch!” The nurse asked me if I felt any pressure and I said yes, but that I wasn’t totally sure. She left the room to take care of some stuff and to call Missy to come check on me. I can look back on this now knowing that I was a little scared/taken by surprise. With Jameson, everything had happened at such a steady pace and when the time came to push, I was calm and knew exactly what to do. But this day, I couldn’t believe how quickly it was going! And because of that I think I was a little in denial. I couldn’t be feeling the pressure to push already, could I?! I just kept telling the nurse, “No. I just feel like I have to poop.” haha! Luke texted everybody to tell them my water had broken and that we would most likely start pushing within the hour. He texted my parents first to let them know! We couldn’t believe it considering they had just left a half an hour ago!

Missy took what seemed like an eternity to get to my room but in reality it was only about 10 minutes. During that time the pelvic pressure became almost unbearable. Once again, because of two very different experiences with an epidural, I was feeling way more pressure this time around, it hurt a lot more than it did with Jameson. Also aiding to my confusion and surprise! Now remember, 10 minutes ago I was checked and I was 8 cm dilated. Missy checked me once she got to the room and not only was I at 10 cm but she could see Ava’s head! No wonder the pressure was so intense! She said that when my water broke so abruptly and so powerfully it basically shot Ava down into position and my vagina was a bit surprised by it. Nothing bad, just what happens when it goes fast apparently. Missy was casually sitting at my feet smiling and asked, “Do you feel like pushing?” I was still so dazed about the rush of it all that I said, “I guess so?!” She laughed and said, “Okay, lets push!” At 11:10 I gave my first small push. At first, Missy stayed casually sitting on the edge of the bed. The cart wasn’t out yet, pretty much nothing was prepared. I think we all thought we had some time. I gave my second push. Missy grabbed my hand and let me feel Ava’s head. I was in disbelief that she was already crowning. I asked if I could have a mirror so that I could see what was happening. While the nurses retrieved the mirror they also got the cart set up and put gloves on Luke. They set up the mirror and I stared in beautiful horror at what my body was capable of. I gave a huge third push and Missy, “Stop. Stop. Stop.” because all of a sudden Ava’s head and shoulders were out. Missy told Luke to go ahead and get Ava so he pulled her out and immediately put her on my chest. I remember when having Jameson that I repeatedly said,” Oh my God. Oh my God.” because of the overwhelming emotions of the moment. And while the emotions were just as incredible and strong this time around, I remember saying, “Oh my God.” because I was truly shocked at how fast it had happened. I only pushed for SIX MINUTES. While Missy and the nurses got to work checking everyone and everything Luke grabbed his phone to start filming our first moments with Ava. On the video you can hear me crying and saying, “Hi sweetheart, Happy Birthday!” You can hear Missy saying how beautiful she is and happily confirming that it’s all girl parts. You can also hear Missy asking, “Your heart just grows doesn’t it?” It does. It really does. I asked Luke to text my mom to tell her to hurry back. Ava cried and cried a strong but girly cry. She was perfectly pink and covered in vernix. I was still holding her on my chest when my mom got into the room. She was overjoyed. I held Ava for a few more minutes before I started trying to breastfeed. I was delighted that she perfectly took to the breast. During this time Missy stitched me up because I had a small tear again. After about 30 minutes of skin to skin the nurses took her to give her a sponge bath under the warming table. Luke was texting everyone to keep them in the loop but the only people at the hospital so far were our parents and big brother Jameson.

About a quarter after 12 they weighed her and measured her in all her beauty. 7 lbs 11oz and 19.5 inches of perfection.
We started letting people come in to see us. Mom left so that Bryan, Kathy and PapPap could come in to see her. That morning PapPap had a visit with his cardiologist and he took his time getting dressed because he knew there was a chance he’d be meeting Ava that day. Next my dad came. It’s all a happy blur but sometime once Bryan, Kathy and PapPap left, Jameson came in. He was excited to see us but confused about Ava. We tried to get him to touch her or hold her and he honestly couldn’t care less. [Note: this changed once we got home. His lack of interest changed to intense frustration which quickly changed to big love.]

It’s hard to find the right way to end “the birth story” because it’s not really over. I guess I should call it the hospital story. We still can’t believe we have a family of four. I can’t believe how blessed, how lucky, how fortunate I am to have had two healthy babies [I would be blessed, lucky and fortunate even if they weren’t healthy], two “easy” labors. I say “easy” because all labor is hard but I know that I’m on the easier side of things. The next few days at the hospital were beautiful. Neither of us had any problems and we happily and healthily left two days later to go home to our baby boy who was no longer the baby.

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And of course here’s a beautiful video that Hubby made of the experience [nothing graphic don’t worry].

Thanks for reading!

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cheers, ka

30 Before 30

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Hi, I’d like to reintroduce myself. My name is Kelly Ann Jones and I’m the queen of no follow through. I start projects left and right and never finish them. Like this blog, for instance. It’s been over a year since I made a single post. I lose interest in things. I forget about things. I can’t afford things. I fail at things.

But not this time dang it!

Yesterday I reached the age of 29 years old and I am so excited about it! I’m excited to be pushing 30! There is honestly no dread of any sort. I have no major regrets and I don’t see any of my twenties as wasted time. I know I can still accomplish dreams and goals even now that I am married and have children.

That’s where the list comes in. I want to become 30 years old a happier, healthier, more well rounded human being than I have ever been before. It’s a journey that my hubby and kids get to come along for too and they’re excited! Well, Luke is. Jameson and Ava are just excited for lunch. Much like their mother.

Some of these goals are ambitious while others will be simple. Some are experiences to be had while others are skills to be learned. Some are things to gather and gain while others are things to be rid of. My thirties are gonna rock.

Let’s get started.

1. Learn American Sign Language

For many years I have wanted to become fluent in ASL and I know a few handfuls of words but I always fall off the wagon and stop practicing. That’s no way to learn a language! I’m fortunate to live in St Augustine, FL where we have a huge deaf community and with plenty of opportunity to grow in this beautiful language. So, I’m dusting off my ASL dictionary and I’m gonna take a few classes so that by this time next year I can feel comfortable having a conversation in sign language.

2. Take Kickboxing Classes

How fun! I need a good cardio regimen and what better way than kickboxing! It’ll be a huge challenge, especially now that I’m heavier and more unhealthy than I’ve ever been in my life but I want and desperately need that to change. For myself, for my husband [who, thank the Lord, loves me and desires me any time of day] and for my kids and their kids. Plus, I’ll learn some awesome self defense!

3. Lose 50 pounds

The fact that I even need to lose 50 pounds scares me. I can’t believe that I’ve gotten to this place. The last few years have seen a slow and steady weight gain and I’m ready to shed it all! I could honestly stand to lose more than 50 pounds but 50 is just about what I’ve gained since Luke and I got married in 2009 and I loved the way I looked and felt then. I’m thankful that I’ve come to a place in my life where I love and accept my heart and body, flaws and all. However, health is the goal here. I want to learn how to eat healthier and exercise regularly all while learning to love myself even more. 50 pounds is a lot, y’all. I’m gonna need your love, support and prayers on this one!

4. Travel to Ireland

Plane tickets are already purchased for this one! Our primary goal with this trip and what we’re most excited about is to spend four days in Wales with Luke’s brother, our sister in law and two nephews!! But we’ll also be spending three days in Ireland at the end of our time in Wales. The only reason that this list item is Ireland instead of Wales is because I have wanted to visit Ireland since I was a little girl. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Ireland?!

5. Learn to Sew

Since Caleb and Crystal moved to Wales in 2013 I have been hanging on to Crystal’s sewing machine for her. Guess how many times I’ve made use of that. Twice! Twice in over two years. And that’s only because I asked my mom to teach me and then reteach me how to thread it haha. I understand how to thread it and sew a straight line but that’s about it. So, the goal here is to further my understanding of sewing. I want to be able to fix tears, hem jeans, alter dresses, create quilts and make clothes for my kids! This will prove incredibly useful when we finally move onto our homestead one day.

6. Make a Quilt

This will prove handy once I’ve made progress on number 5! I loooooove quilts. I love the story. I love the time involved in them. Growing up we had a ton of quilts that were made by the women in our family and they are some of our treasured possessions. I also love how a quilt has the ability to match colors together beautiful or be as crazy as the maker so desires. I have a feeling that’s how a lot of my quilts will be. There’s a quilt shop here in town that offers classes and I plan to take one or two to help me progress in this.

7. Spend a weekend with Luke in Charleston, South Carolina

We love Southern towns. Savannah is our favorite place to visit and we know we’ll fall in love with Charleston much the same. We understand the importance of spending time alone together and have been wanting to visit this town for a few years now. This will be an easy one for sure!

8. Host a Favorite Things Party

I have wanted to do this for several years now. The idea is to invite your girlfriends over for a night of food, drinks and gift giving! Each person thinks of one of their very favorite things that costs about $15 then they bring three of the item to the party. At some point during the evening each guest takes a minute to share what their favorite thing is. Then every lady will get the chance to go up one by one and choose three different items to take home!

9. Spend the night in the Casa Monica Hotel

The Casa Monica is a beautiful, upscale hotel in downtown St Augustine. I’ve only been lucky enough to walk through the lobby  haha. No, Luke and I also enjoyed dinner at their restaurant 95 Cordova for our baby moon and it was lovely. I haven’t picked which suite to stay in yet because that will all depend on timing and finances when we can but I’m super excited about this one!

10. Be an Elephant Keeper

I. Love. Elephants. I don’t know why I love them so much, but I do. They are some of the strongest, smartest, most loving, playful and unique animals on the face of the earth. There are several places in Florida that offer Elephant Keeper experiences so I’m leaving my options open as to which one to attend.

11. Hand Letter Recipes

I have hundreds of recipes of that I’ve altered to make our own and a few that I’ve created myself. I’ve been very slowly [snail pace] hand lettering them and placing them in a book. My thought behind this is that it will be an heirloom for my kids one day but also I think it’s neat to just make a copy of that when someone asks for a recipe. So, I’m committing to finishing this project by this time next year.

12. Read 12 New Books

The main goal here is to read more consistently. I enjoy reading very much but rarely make time for it. I’m actually quite a fast reader but the problem is sitting down with the book in the first place. So, I want to pick 12 new books, fiction or non fiction, and aim to read a new one each month! Suggestions are welcome!

13. Be Debt Free

The majority of Luke and I’s debt consists of student loans but we have a few hospital bills and a miscellaneous things to pay off as well. We actually don’t have THAT much debt. Especially since the government has kept our income tax returns for the last three years in a row to pay toward the money we owed. But we both want so desperately to be debt free and to learn better money management skills. We’ll probably use Dave Ramsey for this.

14. Day at the Spa

Ohhhh the spa. I could live there, couldn’t you? If I could afford it I would have a professional massage at least once a week. There are several wonderful spas in town and I want to go one day to have an hour long massage, a manicure, a pedicure and maybe even a facial! I’ve never had a facial before and I think it would be wonderful!

15. Throw a Fancy Dinner Party

I’ve already mentioned that I love to cook. We also both really enjoy entertaining and throwing the occasional party. I don’t know exactly what this one will look like but I know I’ll cook a delicious meal, maybe a full course dinner! We’ll have some friends over, dress up fancy and party sans kids!

16. Say Yes for an Entire Week

Ever since I saw that movie Yes Man, I’ve been interested in what it would look like to only say “yes” for a certain amount of time. Then I recently came across this article and Luke and I knew this was something we would want to occasionally do with our kids. I’m an outgoing introvert and I tend to be a hermit. I cancel plans, I find excuses to not do things with people. It’s good for me occasionally but it’s also one of my biggest faults. So, I want to see what will happen when I say ‘yes’ for an entire week. When the time comes, I know I’ll have to set some ground rules for myself when it comes to money and ability but I think this will be a fun, life giving experience. Plus, if the people know about it and ask me to do something I’ll just have to do it. So, if any of you want to pay for me to go sky diving. This is your one and only chance. Please don’t ask me to go sky diving haha.

17. Start Saving Money for a Trip to New York City OR California

I’m leaving this one open for several reasons. The money saving for this is going to be extremely slow. What with trying to be debt free while also accomplishing some of the other items on this list. So, this trip may not happen for several years and by the time I reach 30 we may only have $100 set aside for this but a start is a start. And because this trip won’t happen for quite some time we’re leaving our options open for what we want most and what will be most do-able when the time comes.

18. Become a Regular Blogger

Seemingly a small goal but it’s anything but. Like I said before, I give up on almost everything including this here website. But I want to find ways to blog semi-regularly even if it’s just once a week. It will be hard to do. I have two kids, a sign making business and I’m the worlds biggest procrastinator after all. I do plan on documenting each of these 30 Before 30 in pictures and creating a blog post for each one. So there’s always that!

19. Face a Fear

I am a woman of many fears. My niece teases me about this. “You’re scared of a lot of stuff, Aunt Kelly.” I am, Kaitlyn. Yes I am. I’m scared of heights, sharks, not being able to breathe, darkness, rivers, oceans, lakes, sharp objects, boats, being alone, things having to do with eyeballs, and of course I’m scared of spiders. So even though this list item coincides with the next list item, I’m giving it its own spot because it’s a big one.

20. Go on a Cruise

Luke has mentioned a million and one times how much he would like to go on a cruise and I always shut him down because the thought terrifies me. What if we sink Titanic-style? What if the power goes out and we’re all disease ridden? What if we hit a bad storm? What if something terrible happens back home and I can’t get to my kids in time? What if pirates take over? Seriously, I’m phobic of way too much. Anyways, I was thinking about how Luke conquered his fear of going up in a “flying wicker basket fueled by fire” [aka: a hot air balloon] to propose to me so the least I can do is conquer my fear of being on a boat in the ocean for him. Plus, we hear it’s quite fun.

21. Watch IMDb’s Top 250

We are movie addicts. Not necessarily movie snobs, but definitely movie addicts. I’ve already seen 87 of IMDb’s top 250 but am extremely interested in seeing the rest of the movies on this list. This is a big one and is gonna take up pretty much all of my movie watching time but I’m okay with that. There are plenty of good ones on the list!

22. Teach My Kids to Swim

By the time I reach 30, Jameson will be almost 3 and Ava will have just turned 1 a few months before. I hear too many horror stories of children drowning to not be confident in my kids abilities if they were to accidentally find themselves in the water without supervision. Whether we put the kids into professional swimming lessons or take out extra time to really teach them ourselves we want both of them to be safe. Jameson should be able to hold his breath and paddle to safety while we want Ava Leigh to at least be able to hold her breath, flip to her back and float.

23. Have a Girls Weekend with My Sister

My big sister, Becky, and I recently realized that we have never gone off together! It’s a travesty! We live a few hours apart and we both have jobs and families of our own that will make this challenging but I know we’ll make it happen! I look forward to a weekend by ourselves to grow closer and laugh way too much.

24. Complete a Whole 30

Whole 30, as described on their website, is a “short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” We attempted a Whole 30 last year but gave up [as always lol] after about 9 or 10 days. I’ve seen so many people succeed at Whole 30 and come out of the other side looking and feeling so much healthier! I know we can do it! That’s right, Luke, you have to do this one too! haha

25. Have a Successful Online Shop

I am currently in the process of building up an inventory with my wooden sign “business”. Within the next few months I’ll be opening an Easy shop to sell these items. I know that success is a relative term but the goal is to consistently make new products, create a business name, operate under an official small business license and sell items regularly online.

26. Cook Through an Entire Cookbook

This one won’t be too hard seeing as how I cook a full meal 6 nights of the week. While standing in line at Public my eye was caught by a BHG special edition magazine titled “Skinny One Dish”. I glanced through it to find that every single recipe looked or sounded incredible. There are 155 recipes in this book: some side dishes, main dishes, snacks, etc. Each recipe notes the recommended serving size and all the nutritional information. Both things we’re trying to pay more attention to. I’m excited to share these with y’all! I’ll have to try at least two of these a week in order to complete the entire “cookbook” and I plan on taking pictures of the final product and doing a blog post for each week of meals from this magazine.

27. Have a Successful Container Garden

I love love love gardening and haven’t “been able” to garden for a few years since we’ve been renting. But that’s simply not true that I can’t do it. In an effort to learn how to homestead where we are I’m aiming to have a successful, fairly large container vegetable [and flower] garden.

28. Learn CPR

I “learned” CPR in high school and Luke’s younger brother gave us the basics a few years back but I want to re-learn it and become certified. Especially for the safety of my little ones!

29. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been open at Universal for 5 years now and I still haven’t gone! It’s only two hours away for crying out loud! I’m making it a priority to finally go. Especially before I get knocked up again and have to wait to ride the rides lol. Thankfully, I know a few dozen people who would happily come along!

30. Go Without TV for a Week

Just like we love movies, Luke and I love our TV Shows. We are perfectly content with sitting down in the living room together and relaxing in front of the TV. But of course we wonder how much would happen if we unplugged the television for 7 full days. What wonderful trouble could we get into? What fun things could we do with our kids instead?

:: BONUS :: 30 Random Acts of Kindness ON My 30th Birthday ::

On May 4th, 2016 I will spend the day performing 30 random acts of kindness for other people. They’ll be random so I won’t plan this until the day of but I can’t think of a better way to spend my day than pouring love onto other people.

Alright, peoples. That’s it. Those are my 30 Before 30. I’m excited and scared!! Bring it on, 29! I own you!

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cheers, ka

Calligraphy

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This last month has been such a surprising blessing. Luke and I both spent a lot of time in previous months talking and praying over my talents and where I need to use them, how it can benefit our family, how to spend my time and which to focus on the most. As far as a hobby that earns us money, I have decided to focus all my efforts on calligraphy. Everything that will fall under this will be making signs of different sorts and maybe if I gain enough skill, addressing envelopes for weddings, miscellaneous invites, etc. The plan was to get enough practice and work behind me to eventually open an etsy shop.These were all things we discussed. Once the decision was made, I started nonchalantly posting things on Instagram and Facebook. Different quotes I had scribbled with pen and a few things I brush lettered on wood and canvas. Within days I had over a dozen people texting and emailing me asking how they could go about getting pieces made. It has continued every single day. I am so happily overwhelmed. This is such an incredible answer to prayer. And what a confirmation that I’m going in the right direction!

Thank you to everyone who is placing orders and thinking about doing so. You can email me at kellyann_jones@ymail.com to discuss your ideas! :)

Here are a few peeks of things I’ve been playing around with. Most of these are just impromptu pictures taken with my phone. I’ll post better ones soon!

 

These first two, and a few others were written with a pointed pen and dipped ink. Actually writing with it is easier than I expected although I have SO MUCH PRACTICE to put forth in order to be where I’d like with this skill. It’s fun in the meantime. :)

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For signs, I always practice out my sketches and almost never like what I first come up with. These are a few pictures of rough drafts.

 

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Here’s a few fun little signs I made on scrap wood.

 

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A canvas piece.

 

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A letter to a friend.

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The beginning of the biggest piece I’ve ever done! I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. I’ll post that another day. :)

 

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Christmas cards!

 

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And these are a few calligraphy pieces I just did a few days ago for some friends at church. Just written out on scrap cardboard.

 

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So, that’s where I’m at today. I can’t wait to see where I’m at a month from now!

 

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cheers, ka