Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tough guys

Teaching the next generation about being a tough guy...
even when you are just 4 years old

There's something about tough men that just makes my heart race.

You can see it in their face, often worn by the sun, and in their hands, callused and chapped from the jobs of the day.

Josh qualifies as the leader of tough men in MY opinion (and this is the way it should be...after all, he's my husband). In my head he's right up there with John Wayne and Gus from Lonesome Dove (this analogy has been used by others too...which makes me smile and laugh).

Just a Monday afternoon bird hunt with Kenzie.

Now, being a lover of tough men isn't for the faint at heart. Loving one of these men requires a certain breed of woman that is confident enough to believe that she too is tough and can handle what life throws at her and subtle enough to quietly guide her tough guy in the right direction when he's led astray. I hope to be one of these women.

Fixing feeders

I'm feeling this nostalgic love because lately when I arrive home after a long day and dream of an evening on the couch or porch with wine in hand, I'm often met with this...a tough guy, with some type of heavy equipment, doing something ridiculously dangerous without anyone around and hoping to finish it quickly before the sun goes down. He's covered in dirt and sweat and starving from forgetting to eat that day. Yep, he's all mine, ladies. Stand back.

Just a typical Tuesday...building a barn

I love this tough guy...and love that his heart isn't callused and cut like his hands are. He lives his life for Christ, me, his family and friends. He loves all things outdoors and manly, involving firepower whenever possible. He can spend hours practicing and researching ways to become better at the things he's passionate about. He's a great daddy to our two girls...making him an equal sucker, just like me, for black labs and blue lacys. He's kind and compassionate. He would rather be out of the spotlight and behind the scenes of fulfilling someone else's joy. He loves a glass of whiskey paired with a chocolate chip cookie after a long day.

He's funny...and smart...and protective...and mine.

Yeah, this is a tribute, in a way, to my husband...and his toughness. But, it's also a tribute to all of our tough guys...whether they are the killers of big bugs in the house, the Saturday morning T-ball coach that is strong enough to face a dozen 5 year olds, or the man that is able to handle a full day of shopping without whining (there are few that can reach this level, let's be honest).

But, if he's like my tough guy, he'd probably just roll his eyes after reading this, laugh that I wanted to be considered tough myself, and ask for that cookie and glass of Crown Royal.

Friday, March 26, 2010

ADD morning...

It's my Friday off! Hallelujah!

I had great intentions of getting up, drinking a little coffee, doing a little laundry, possibly thinking about working out, deciding not to work out and maybe bake some muffins for the weekend, begin taping the laundry room for painting this weekend, etc., etc.

However, it's been a very ADD morning...

I've had the coffee, watched the news, uploaded photos, remembered that there is laundry in the dryer, switched the loads over, decided I should finish the latest Real Simple, remembered I hadn't read the mail stack that is on the counter, started a grocery list, checked the DVR to see if there was anything better to watch on TV while cleaning, checked some email, uploaded a few more photos, scolded the dogs for breaking some of my garden pots, and sadly realized I had accomplished only a few of the actual tasks I had hoped for...and of those it was just drinking coffee! Lovely.

Ahh...time to go bake some muffins right after I write a couple of thank yous.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Photo by House Beautiful

Who would have thought that picking a paint color for the laundry/craft room would be so tough? I didn't. I knew what I wanted...light blue. Well not a baby blue, but a soft, light blue with a grey undertone...but not too much grey and definitely not too 'little boy nursery' looking. Why doesn't the Sherwin Williams sales guy know exactly what I am talking about?! Why does he look at me like I'm smoking crack?!

I know, I'm overly optimistic sometimes. Ok, ok...a lot of times.

Sometimes it is just better to give me 3 choices...the idea of ALL of the options in the world can cause me to freeze and not make a decision at all.


So far we have 3 large sections of blue painted across the laundry room walls. I look at the colors in the morning (the early sunlight), the late afternoon (when the room is filled with sun), and after dark (when the room is lit by the overhead lights and when I will probably in the room the most).

Hmmm...no decision.

The contenders now stand at...

Benjamin Moore's Glass Slipper
Photo from House Beautiful

Sherwin Williams' Silvermist

Can't remember where I found this...but it looks great on the wall in real life and actually contains a lot more blue than it looks like.

Benjamin Moore's Ice Cube Silver


A few of the great inspiration photos I am using...

Great unknown color by Farrow & Ball

Photo by House Beautiful, I think.

I'm loving this one...wish I knew what it was.

Liz Levin Interiors

And so we stand...and stare at a blue splotched wall. And Josh laughs because they are all within a tiny shade or two of each other...and look very similar, I know. And then he scowls when I mention that maybe we should try a few more...and I laugh because I know in the end, I'm going to cover a majority of the walls with white cabinets. Jeez, I should be focused on the floors! What am I thinking? And my ADD kicks in and I'm gone...looking at floor samples with a very blue and frustrated husband and very splotched laundry room walls.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! We are surviving the time change...barely surviving.

It's been a long, busy week that has involved some kind of activity or get-together every night. I've loved it, but I could seriously use a nap.

I came across these images this morning and had to share.

Isn't this the most divine table you've seen? The Mason jar chandelier is incredible. I just adore it. I can see myself sitting next to Josh, sipping wine, laughing at some story I've heard a hundred times, and loving every minute. These images just made me happy...and let's be honest, crave a glass of wine.

Style Me Pretty

Style Me Pretty
Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, March 15, 2010

A groggy Monday...

Oh the time change! This is might be one of my least favorite days of the year. It's the Monday following the spring equinox. This is always the day that I feel exhausted, no matter how hard I tried to go to sleep early the night before. Everyone in our family is feeling it this morning.

Katie, our Blue Lacy, showed it the most yesterday...

Although the time change is a tad frustrating and tiresome, the spring life that is popping up around us is amazing. We went to the ranch on Friday to check on the cows. The Fredericksburg peach trees are blooming and the peach orchard was full of beautiful pink blossoms.

Truly gorgeous.

This weekend was all about enjoying the sunshine and working hard on our spring 'to do' list. It went a little like this...

Friday: Wake up to a day off (thank you, Lord!); sit and enjoy my cup of coffee and check my favorite blogs; start laundry load #4 of the week; make to do list; check on new concrete slabs being poured for dog kennel and work shed; travel around town picking tile, paint and tin for the laundry/craft room; finally order new couch and chair for living room; meet hubby and father-in-law for lunch to celebrate the weekend and couch decision; pack cooler and supplies for evening; travel to Fredericksburg to visit and feed the Belted Galloways; laugh hysterically at my cow's personalities; hit Hondo's in Fredericksburg for dinner with friends; travel back home and discuss how tired and blessed we are; crash into bed.

Loving hay

Saturday: Wake to a gorgeous Saturday morning outside; watch/assist Josh with digging new waterline to dog kennel; make Home Depot run for waterline supplies and storage supplies to empty laundry and craft room; start laundry load #8 of the week; watch Josh finish digging waterline and blow the 1 billion leaves that are falling around the house away from the house with the new industrial leaf blower that he had to have; become impressed by my husband's backhoe operating skills; run in and switch over laundry load #15; spray weeds around house and make note to one day hire lawn company when we hit the lottery; sit on outside lawn furniture, recharge with Coronas, and muster up enough energy to complete chores; prepare for the friend coming in that night, friends coming in Wednesday night and friends coming in next weekend; have small meltdown due to fatigue; regroup and sit in hammock; come up with an easy dinner and wait for friend to arrive; ponder how we end up with so much laundry; drink beer by the fire pit outside and enjoy friend's stories; crash into bed at midnight remembering the time change; try to figure out what time the sun will rise with the new time change and set alarm for an hour prior to that; worry that alarm isn't set correctly; give up and cuss profusely about time change.

Hard working man enjoying a few minutes of rest

Sunday: Listen to Josh drag himself out of bed before daylight; Josh and friend head to hunt for black buck and fallow; pull covers back over my head and cuss the equinox; drag myself from bed to get up and get moving; realize that there is no way we'll be able to make it to church due to the morning's schedule; find Dr. Charles Stanley on tv...listen and pray; start laundry load #28; dress and head to the nursing home to visit grandparents; miss the CBC Sunday message and feel guilty that we didn't plan better for the morning; Josh returns and finishes covering waterline, moving rocks, and hauling off brush; come home and look at empty refrigerator; make note that grocery shopping has to happen on Monday or we'll be eating Rotel and corn for dinner; laugh at the "Goose" (a.k.a. Katie) rocking in her chair; crash for a Sunday mini-nap; listen to Josh complain that he can't take naps; await friend's arrival to hook up outside stereo speakers; clean floors; start laundry load #32; look in empty refrigerator again; make list of blog topics; make list of to do lists to make; scrounge for dinner; pray for strength to get through the week; pour wine to help make dinner more interesting; finish laundry load #32; look at time and realize we need to be sleeping because tomorrow will be horrible; take sleeping pills; edit photos for blog; crash into bed; pray for friends and family and us; cuss at how bad the morning is going to be.

The Goose

Oh what fun! Just a typical Jones weekend involving heavy equipment, construction, travel, late bedtimes, early mornings, prayer, to do lists, wine, friends, family and sunshine. Whew! After writing this, maybe this fatigue has nothing to do with the time change after all!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


My precious husband gave me the most wonderful Valentine's gift that officially arrived on Friday. Now this gift would only fly with a select handful of women. Most wives would question their husband's sanity, would be totally offended, and would probably banish their husband to the doghouse for a good month. Josh got tears, an enormous hug and kiss, and a totally elated little wife.

Josh bought me cows.

Yeah, that is right...cows, as in the farm animals that "mooooo". However, these are not just your average cow. These are Belted Galloways. What the heck is a Belted Galloway you ask? It's an "Oreo cow" as most people know them. I've been mildly obsessed with them since they were featured on the cover of Texas Monthly a few years ago. I began to pull the car over to see them every time we passed the ranches along the highways in and out of Fredericksburg and Brenham to stare at them. They are nicknamed "Oreo cows" because they resemble the cookie with a very defined white band running around the middle section of their body. They are the most precious, adorable, shaggy, darling things that you have ever seen. I now own 5 of them and have added "Cattle Baron" to my resume. Ha!

We picked up my new bovine babies on Friday afternoon from the J&N Ranch outside of West Point, Texas. I was shocked at how small, docile, and shaggy they were. They made the long trip to Fredericksburg, where the Jones family ranch is. Josh spent the afternoon securing their water, checking fences one last time, and getting them acquainted to their new space. I spent the afternoon feeding them sweet feed, giving them hay, naming them and learning their personalities. Cows have personalities? Oh yes, they do.

Totally happy wife

There is Bernice...the big girl that overpowers everyone. She's named after Bernice Mattise from Hope Floats. It's fitting because she is plump and hysterical. There is Sissy...the bully that pushes everyone out of the way to get food. She's actually named after my grandmother who is the biggest eater I know (between you and me, I'm telling the real "Sissy" that this cow was the prettiest). There is the tiniest one (name pending)...she's so curious and timid until she feels comfortable with you. There's Miss Independent (name pending)...who will come to you when she feels like it. She's happy being away from the group or with the group, but it is whatever she chooses. And finally, there is Gus...he's my bull and the only male of the group. Since they were only born in June, he is still young and a bit shy. He's a southern bull...meaning, he lets the women fight for food and then comes to eat once the ladies are out of the way.

Sissy...continuously eating!

These guys will all grow and get bigger. They'll have the run of the ranch before long and will have acres and acres of grass to graze on. I like to think that they love their new home and are excited about their new parents and the ranch they are now on. In reality...they are looking for grass, hay and sweet feed, I know. But that's ok with me. It really is the little things in life that make me happy. Sitting with my cows is one of them. Mildly obsessed. Can you tell yet?

Friday was a great day for me and the cows...and Josh. He saw just how happy he could make me with 5 very unconventional (and a bit redneck) gifts.

Josh after a hard day of appeasing his wife's "Oreo" obsession

Now, all of this talk about Oreos has me humming the O-R-E-O tune and craving cookies.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Country air...

Living in the country is a true blessing. There is the crisp, clean air, the silent mornings filled with morning dove coos, the occasional coyote call in the middle of the night, and the incredible peace of knowing you are surrounded only by land, grass, oaks, and God's amazing wildlife. I love living out away from the city and would live even further away from town if it were possible. However, the country does contain a few rotten treasures and furry friends that can make life very interesting. We encountered one of these last night...a skunk. Not the cute Pepe la Pew that we all remember in the cartoons, but a full fledged make you gag, gross skunk. My lab and blue lacy found him for us last night...oh yes, and he found them too. It was horrible!

So, my first recipe on my blog isn't going to be my grandmother's famous cobbler or Mom's to-die-for apple pie...it's a recipe for de-skunking your pets. Oh yes.

Time is of the essence if your animals do get sprayed. So, throw on some clothes that you don't mind throwing away, grab a pair of latex gloves, and grab a bucket. You are going to get wet. You will need these ingredients...

In your bucket mix one part baking soda, one part hydrogen peroxide, and some dish soap. Add a little water to your mixture until it starts to fix and bubble. Once everything is mixed apply it directly to the dog. Do not get your animal wet beforehand. You want the mixture to sit on the dog for about 5 minutes to break down the oils of the skunk spray. Be careful not to get this in your eyes or your pets eyes. Rinse the dog after a few minutes and repeat if necessary.

This concoction managed to get Kenzie and Katie clean and de-skunked in minutes and they didn't have to sleep outside because of the stench.

So, as of now, it stands...

Skunk - 1
Jones Family - 0

Watch out, Pepe. We're coming for you.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

He's always there...

Long time...no talk (or blog for that matter). Last weekend Josh and I were in Houston for my best friend's 30th birthday. We celebrated like kings and queens and had a fabulous time until Sunday when we both came home with an awful flu like virus. We visited the doc on Monday to get meds for this virus and I learned that I had a sinus infection too! Wohoo! Happy Monday to us both. My body has not fought this thing off at all and I am on my second round of antibiotics and have spent maybe a total of 8 hours in the office all week. Lovely.

All that being said, our week has been tough. While laying in bed I was daydreaming about blog topics and decided I had to share this experience with you. This is an email from Josh to some of our friends and family about an extraordinary thing that we saw on Tuesday night. I hope my precious husband doesn't mind me sharing this email with you all.

Good Morning All,
I thought I would share this with you. I believe I experienced a truly extraordinary event last night. Lately I have been battling with some stress at work. Natalie has been on me to spend more time in fervent prayer about it; for whatever reason I subconsciously was convinced that I could analyze and solve the situation on my own. I attended a religious seminar with a good friend last night. I had to leave early because Natalie has been very sick and was at home. I had this work topic heavy on my mind throughout the entire seminar, I even made notes on the way home, and spent an hour or so discussing it with Natalie when I got there.
We fed the dogs, turned out the lights and were heading to bed when I glanced at the moon through our front door. It took a second to hit me and I called Nat over to see what I was looking at. We both stood in awe for a bit when it dawned on me to grab a camera, I snapped a few shots, we prayed and I asked Nat what He was trying to tell us. She immediately
replied, "to have faith in Him for He is right here with us always." I ran out of the room to change camera lenses to get a few more pics. The house was black with the lights out, and coming back, moments later, I ran into our entry table and a profane word flew out of my mouth. When i reached the door, just a few moments after I had previously taken the first two pictures the last two pics attached is what we saw, and just like that the cross was gone. There wasn't another cloud in the rest of the entire sky.
He captivated my attention to say the least. When i walked into the office this morning and read my devotional it stated Hebrews 11:6- which states to have Faith in Him! I thought this was too amazing not to share.
Have a great day,

Here are the photos that Josh took of the sideways cross...

And then it was gone...

I think this was a message from Christ that we each needed to see. He is here with us, through the work stressors, daily tasks, lifelong battles, sicknesses, joys and triumphs...along every step of every path. He is there.