Saturday, December 9, 2006

We are swamped with work....


Thanks to all our friends for visiting us on the web.  As you can see we haven't posted anything new in quite some time.  Right now, we are in the middle of school photography season, which means long days for us.  Lucky for us, Karen seems to be sleeping pretty good most nights.

Check back in a few weeks, as we hope to have a few moments to update the blog by then.


Matt, Susan, and Karen Jones

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Daddy's Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts for today.....

On music -- At our wedding, a good friend, Stephanie Schneiderman, sang a beautiful song, Grow Old with Me, by Mary Chapin Carpenter.  Friends and family are still telling us how beautiful it was, nearly two years later.  When I put together the Birth CD, the 12th song was Mary Chapin Carpenter's version (as Stephanie hasn't recorded it yet).  And at the moment that Karen Teresa was born, this very special song was playing. 

Months ago, we purchased the Moby Wrap, so our baby could be close to us while we work.  Once she was born, this wrap looked just way too confusing.  But, now that we've been using it for a few days, it is really fantastic.  Karen Teresa stays nice and warm and gets plenty of rest while Daddy is wearing the Moby Wrap.  Susan gets some good rest too, which we are all very thankful for.

That's it for today!

Oh, and if you haven't seen them yet, here are Karen's First Pictures.  Soon enough we'll set up the lights for some professional portraits!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Introducing Karen Teresa Jones

Hello Friends,

First things first, thank you for all your prayers!  We've felt your prayers for the past nine months, and especially these last few days.  Thank you!

The big news everybody has been asking about is her name.  If she had been a boy, we had a name ready.  But since I'm sure she wouldn't want to be called Benjamin, we needed to take some time to think about her name.  We did have a few names in mind for a girl, but did not expect to be able to name a girl immediately.  For two days after her birth, we tried a number of names out, for a few hours each. 

The name that stuck surprised both Susan and I, as it had never come up prior to her birth.  But once we started calling her Karen, no other name seemed to work for her.  Karen means "pure one," and until tonight's diaper changing, she sure was pure.  (After that change, we aren't so sure.  She had three more servings of meconium after we took off her diaper!!!)

Teresa is both after Blessed Mother Teresa, and is a variant spelling of my mother's name, Theresse. 

A 100% natural childbirth was pretty rough on Susan, but she was very grateful to have given birth at home.  She is getting better each day, but is very much looking forward to total healing.

Much has happened these past few days that we would love to share with you, our friends and family.  But there is too much to write in one sitting.  So, we'll probably share bits and pieces of our Karen's birth story with you throughout the next weeks and months. 

Oh yeah, and here is a link to Karen's First Pictures.  Sometime in the next week, we'll set up the lights for some professional portraits, but these are a start!

Peace and Love,

Matt, Susan, and Karen Teresa Jones.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


She was born at 2:57 this afternoon, weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 21 inches long. 

We are going to take some time to get to know our baby before deciding on a name.  She is beautiful, and soon enough we'll post some photos. 

Thanks so much for your prayers.  Please keep it up! 

Nurse is on the way, Doula is here!

Contractions are now about 5 minutes apart.  The nurse is on the way.  Jennie, our wonderful doula, arrived about 30 minutes ago. 

The contractions are hard, but Susan is doing great.  Please keep praying for her today, as we prepare for our baby's birth today!

Filling the tub & contractions

Contractions are now between 6-8 minutes apart.  And we've just decided that it is a good time to start filling the water birth tub.  It will take a few hours to fill, as it holds 80 gallons, and our hot water heater only has 51 gallons. 

Obviously, as this gets more intense, you'll have to wait until it's over for the big update!  Keep us in your prayers!


The water broke about 20 minutes ago (midnight).  We've called the doctor and the doula.  Dr. Zumhagen said to get some rest, but of course we are so excited we can't sleep, and had to let you all know!

Please keep us in your prayers, and check back regularly, as this will be the easiest way for us to let you know the progress!

Monday, September 11, 2006

40 weeks, 6 days....

We spent some time at the doctor's office today with Susan hooked up to the fetal monitor for the Non-Stress Test, to make sure that the baby and placenta are doing well in their extended stay.   During this test, they check to make sure the baby's heart rate goes up when baby moves around.  They also monitor contractions, and while Susan was connected, she had another Braxton-Hicks contraction, or pre-labor contraction.  Unfortunately, it's nothing to get excited about, she's had them for the past few months. 

The fetal monitor is the same type of monitor that many women who deliver in a hospital are hooked up to throughout labor.  It has two sensors attached to long velcro-belts that wrap around her body.  They tend to make it rather difficult to change positions and to move around, which we hear helps a lot with labor pain.  Luckily, during the labor, our doctor will do intermittent monitoring rather than constant electronic fetal monitoring, so Susan won't have to be hooked up to the machine during labor.

Some have asked what we've been doing with our waiting time.  Susan has spent some time looking at homebirth videos online.  Here are a list of her favorites:

Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

No Baby Yet

We wish we were writing to let you know of our baby's birth, but alas, it hasn't happened yet.  And for the record, since we answer these questions over the telephone at least 10 times a day, you must be wondering....

  • The baby has not been born yet.

  • No, there have been no regular contractions.

  • No, Susan hasn't felt much cramping either.

  • Yes, we know we were supposed to have the baby by now.

As a side note, due dates are set at 40 weeks.  But the most common day for a first time mother to give birth is 41 weeks, 1 day.  So by that calculation, maybe the baby will come on Wednesday.  But we are hoping for sooner.  :-)

Tomorrow, we have an appointment with the doctor for a non-stress test, to make sure baby is holding up well during his or her extended stay in the womb. 

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers!  We are excited to share some good news with you!

Friday, September 8, 2006

Today would be a great day to be born!

It was a beautiful sunny September day.  I don't remember why, but I was a little late getting out the door.  When I snuck into my regular pew, there was an older lady sitting near the end, but next to her was Susan, and that was the first time that I was graced with Susan's smile.

A lot of people under 30 just go to Mass out of obligation.  But Susan was different.  She didn't just stand like a mute during the songs, she really participated in Mass.  Then, at the Sign of Peace, she smiled at everyone, but I felt she gave me an extra big smile.  [I found out later, this is when she checked my hand for a ring!]

During the closing hymm, our pew emptied out, except for Susan, myself, and the older lady who was trapped between us.  But I was thinking "Mass isn't over until the song is over, and if she's not leaving, I'm not going anywhere."  Susan was thinking similar thoughts.  :-)

After we let the woman leave, I spent a few nervous moments trying to figure out what to say.  Lucky for me, Susan started the conversation by inviting me to a bible study.  I invited her to coffee and she wrote her number on my church bulletin (I still have that bulletin!).  The rest is history.....

So, wouldn't today be a great day for our baby to be born?

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Labor Day is Almost Here

Well, today is Sunday, September 3rd, and our baby's due date is on Tuesday. Tomorrow is Labor day, and who knows, we might be in labor! At this point, the preparations are complete and we are ready to go.

A week and a half ago, at our Dr. appointment, we picked up the birthing tub. It weighs about 45 pounds and comes in the case to the right. Our doctor is so cool, he even helped load it into the car!

Of course, we are pretty excited about the birth, so we promptly set it up in the bedroom. Here is a photo of the tub. The walls are actually made out of a heavy duty styrofoam. And what you see right now is the permanent liner in the tub. Before the actual birth, we'll put in the disposable liner, which is currently sterile. Then, we'll fill it up with a hose hooked up to the faucet. We are told that it will hold about 80 gallons of water. Our hot water heater is only 50 gallons, so it may take a while to fill.

What else....I've started reading a great book called The New Father by Armin Brott. Baby Jones gave it to me as a Fathers Day Gift. It is kind of a month-by-month manual which explains child development and is full of great tips for fathers! Susan has been re-reading The Birth Book and The Breastfeeding Book by the Sears'. Also great books for new parents.

The only thing left is to make some refinements to the Birth CD. This is supposed to be music that will help Susan to relax. It actually is pretty much done, and includes music from our wedding and some other relaxing songs. But thinking about a birth CD is kind of fun. Here is a list of songs that are not on our CD, but based on their title or lyrics, maybe they should be part of a birth soundtrack.

  • "It's the end of the world as we know it," REM

  • "A whole new world," Aladdin soundtrack

  • "Push it, Push it real good" I don't know

Can you think of any fun or satirical ideas for a birth soundtrack? Login and let us know!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Baby Shower Report!

It is amazing what a difference a day can make in preparing a home for a child.  About 34 people came to our baby shower yesterday at Bartolini's and showered us with love and gifts.  We registered at two places, and Babies R Us.  With the generosity of so many family and friends, we have most of what we need!  Our big purchases in the next few weeks will be the safest carseat available, a stroller, and some velcro diaper covers!  Again, a big thanks to Susan's Mom (Bettie), Dad (Ron), and Sister (Lori) for investing so much time and creativity to throw such a great shower!  Each table had a fun and whimsical centerpiece and the decoding game ended with a special message to the littlest Jones (we hope to post the game soon--check back tomorrow).  Many thanks to all who came or sent gifts and prayers!

It was great to go back to Bartolini's in Midlothian Illinois, where we also held our Chicago area wedding reception.  We like them a lot and wanted to give them a plug on our blog, just in case somebody is searching for a banquet hall in the area.

It's hard to imagine us, two vegetarians, enjoying a restaurant that advertises "Meatball Mayhem in the Midwest" on their home page.  Once again, the food was delicious and plentiful.  My favorite is the cheese lasagne!  And if the food weren't enough for them to earn a recommendation, their service is exceptional. As a wedding photographer, I eat at a lot of reception halls, many of which charge over $100 per plate.  The service at Bartolini's is better than it is at most of the expensive halls.  I think what really sets them apart is that so many of the staff has the last name Bartolini.  They have real family pride in what they do, and it shows.

Monday, July 24, 2006

2006 Summer Vacation

We've heard several people tell us what a wonderful time they've had on trips they've taken before their baby's were born. So, a few weeks ago, we decided to pack our stuff and head to Portland for one last trip before our baby is born! Since subletting didn't work out very well for us last time, we decided to ask our friends in Portland if anybody was going on vacation and needed a house sitter. The response was overwhelming, and if we had the time, we probably could have house-sat at 6-7 houses from the beginning of July through August. Unfortunately, even though we are self-employed, we also have to work. :-) A big thanks to Karen, Ed, Andy, and Marie who opened their home to us last week!

While we were there, we had a great time visiting with family and friends! But this trip, we also made it a point to take a few days to be tourists at the beach and Mt. St. Helens. When we weren't being tourists, our vacation schedule often included spending some time in the morning with my parents, lunch with a friend, an afternoon of relaxing, and dinner with more friends! It was a busy, exhausting schedule, but Susan did great!

Oh yeah, we also took some photos during the trip! Sometimes, it really is fun to just put the camera in auto mode to capture some fun memories for ourselves!

And here's a travel tip for anybody who wants to travel using United Miles. They normally advertise that you only need 25,000 miles for a ticket, and that's true, but we found that you really have to book months in advance to only use 25,000 miles for the "saver" coach award. "Standard" coach awards require 40,000 miles, and we found the availability was pretty good on those. But the real nice thing was that the "saver" first class tickets were also 40,000 miles, and they were available. Susan really appreciated the extra room, and I appreciated that they gave us extra snacks!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A great quote...

This quote came to us in the mail today, and it's so great, I wanted to share it. It is a quote from St. John Chrysostom.
"Young husbands should say to their wives: 'I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us ... I place your love above all things and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you'"

Sunday, June 18, 2006

What to name the little one?

We found this really cool site today, the Name Voyager.  You enter a name and it will show historically how popular the name has been. 

Another cool site is actually the Social Security Administration's website.  I didn't think I'd ever find a reason to visit their website (after all, it won't be around when we retire).  Here, you can enter your name and find out (with a bit more granularity) how popular your name was in any given year.  For example, we found out that in 1975, Matthew was the 9th most popular name.  and in 1980, Susan was the 64th most popular name. 

Here are some names we like:  Anna, Maria, Veronica, Emma, Benjamin, Peter, and Trenton.

How popular was your name when you were born?  In 2004?  Login to the blog and add your ranking below!

Oh Daddy, The Places We'll Go

At this month's doctor appointment, Susan had to take the glucose test for gestational diabetes.  We had to arrive an hour early so she could drink what looked like an orange soda.  Then after the appointment, they took some of her blood to test.  We haven't heard anything from the doctor, which is good because most doctors only call with bad news from various tests.

Our first birthing class was on Monday.  Since we are planning on an unmedicated home birth, we chose the Bradley Method classes.  The class is every Monday night for ten weeks.  The video this week was actually of a home birth, so that was nice.  I hope and pray that I'll be able to support Susan as well as the guy in the video supported his wife.

We also decided to plan a trip to Portland next month.  We sent an e-mail to about 30 friends to ask if anybody was going on vacation and needed a housesitter.  Five people offered, and we felt bad that we couldn't housesit for everybody!  We are very excited to be in Portland July 13th through the 22nd.  A big thanks to Ed & Karen, Stephanie, Janice, Steve, and Martin who offered their homes to us. 

And now, what you've been waiting for.  Baby Jones wrote me a beautiful poem this morning!  I read Baby this book almost every night, which inspired this poem that baby wrote for me.

Oh Daddy, The Places We'll Go

By Baby Jones
June 18, 2006

Oh Daddy, the places we'll go
The worlds we will visit the fun we will know

The parks and the beaches will greet us hello
As will the hills covered deep in the snow

You'll show me new things like starfish and slugs
And if I get scared you'll take care of the bugs

Out in the fields we'll discover new creatures
And when I play ball I'll find you in the bleachers

We'll laugh and we'll learn as we play in the sun
And you'll read me a story when the day's done

And it'll be fun to hop on you, pop
But I won't be surprised if you ask me to stop

But whatever we do things won't always go right
I might make a stinky in the dark of the night

And I might run into a bully as kids often do
But you'll be there to teach me the right thing to do

As each day passes you'll see more of yourself in me
And that will make mom and I has happy as can be!

The world sounds great and I can't wait to explore it
So when labor starts, tell mom to Floor It!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Susan's First Mother's Day

We celebrated Susan's first Mother's Day a week ago.  Here are some portraits from her first Mother's Day.  As each day passes, less of her pre-maternity clothes fit.  Luckily, friends have shared some maternity clothes.  And if you know Susan at all, you know that she's a big evangelist for  In addition to getting our car, dining room light fixture, and kitchen sink off of craigsilst, we've now purchased maternity clothes!

Last week, we also had a trip to the emergency room of Palos Community Hospital.  Susan had some pains in her abdomen which were pretty major.  When we called our doctor and described the symptoms, he told us to go to the hospital just to make sure that she wasn't going into early labor.  Thankfully, we did not have a baby last week, and an ultrasound and several hours of monitoring revealed that everything was okay.  And the pain subsided and hasn't returned.  We are very relieved that it's all good.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Until now, all of our appointments have been with Dr. Zumhagen, but since you are supposed to meet with the other doctors in the practice we saw Dr. Paul Schattauer.  They are both very friendly, courteous, and pragmatic doctors.  We'll be happy no matter who shows up for the delivery!

Since everybody kept asking us when we were having the ultrasound, we decided to ask the doctor what their policy is.  As we've read in the great book Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth, he explained that the routine use of ultrasound has not changed the outcomes.  If there is a medical indication that we may need an ultrasound, or if we just decide it would make us feel good, we'll have one.  But for now, thankfully, everything is going well medically, and there is no indication that we'll need an ultrasound. 

Soon, we'll write a blog entry on why we have chosen to have our baby at home!

Thank you for visiting our baby's blog! 

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Karate Kid

We've been feeling some movement in Susan's belly for a few weeks, but thought it might be gas...  But now, we are pretty sure that it is the baby kicking!

It was a lot of fun last night just lying in bed feeling the baby having fun swimming around in Susan's belly!

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Back from Houston

Hooray!  Susan is feeling much better!  She is pretty tired, but that is to be expected, since we've just spent the last two days driving.  Last year, I photographed the American Montessori Society's Annual Conference when it was in Chicago.  It went so well that we agreed to photograph the conference this year in Houston.  After Chicago's conference in 2005, our school photography business grew from one school in 2004 to ten schools in 2005.  We don't expect to grow our business tenfold by going to Houston--this was more of a thank you to AMS for last year's growth.  This year, we added on-site printing.  We sold 38 prints this year, and donated $115 to AMS's Coins for Compassion program for Hurricane Relief. 

Anyways, that's where we've been for the last week.  We are very glad to be home.  A road trip like this is pretty exhausting, even when you are not pregnant.  But Susan held up very well.  She is a woman of great strength!

Also, check out our Pregnancy Photos gallery, there is a new photo from a few weeks ago (16 weeks is the new photo, we are now 18 weeks)!

Monday, March 6, 2006

Oh, Baby, the Places You'll Go!!

The proverbial "they" say that the morning sickness (for most women) ends with the first trimester between 12 and 14 weeks.  At twelve weeks, it seemed like it wouldn't end.  But today marks 14 weeks into the pregnancy, and yesterday was a fantastic day!  Susan even signed up for a retreat at church this next weekend.

The Baby Race

Since we've posted this blog, we've found out about several friends who are expecting children near our due date.  Susan's friend and roommate in college Amber will probably win the race, as she is due in the middle of August.  My Americorps NCCC teammate, Loretta, is expecting her second child in early September.  And Randy (a former co-worker) and Hannah, are expecting their third child in early September.  So, please also keep Babies Grace, Morgan, and Klingelheber in your prayers as well.

Oh, Baby, the Places You'll Go!!!

A book to be read in utero!

Our friend Lyleen recently gave us a great book.  It is written in the rythmic style of Dr. Seuss, and inspired by one of his books.  Only, this is a book to be read in utero!  It is a great introduction to the many worlds created by Dr. Seuss.


Well, the dining room and living room are finished.  The walls have been painted new oak finish pergo floor is installed, and the trim is up.  Next up is the kitchen, followed by the bathroom.  Our kitchen desparately needs some work.  We are going to be painting the cabinets and walls, installing a ceramic tile counter, and bringing the pergo into the kitchen.  Oh yeah, and we'll be installing our kitchen sink that we got from craigslist!  With any luck, this will be finished when Susan gets back from the retreat next weekend. 

Thursday, February 23, 2006

2nd Doctor Appointment

Well, we just got back from our second appointment!  For the first time, we heard our baby’s heart beat!  At 144 beats per minute, it is perfect for 12 weeks.  Of course our next question was, “So, do you hear one or two heartbeats?”  The doctor then explained that you can only ever hear one heartbeat at a time, but he’s pretty certain that we will just have one baby in September.

At the second appointment, they normally draw blood for tests, but our good doctor decided to wait until Susan is feeling a bit better.  It was reassuring to hear the doctor say that "the sicker you are, the healthier the baby."  We're still pretty sure that's just an old wives tale, but it felt good nonetheless.

All along, Susan has been very strong, in spite of being sick.  We heard today that she has been sicker than most.  Luckily, the scientists have developed a shot that helps 80% of women who have severe morning sickness.  The main ingredients are vitamins B6 and B12.  We hope that this will help with the morning sickness. 

Whether it helps or not, morning sickness normally goes away between 12-14 weeks.  Today, is 12 weeks and 2 days.  So, the end is (hopefully) in sight….

Please keep Susan and our baby in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What's in a Name?

There have been plenty of famous people or characters with the last name Jones.  Some of these names have quite a history, which we probably won't want to associate with our child.  However, here are a few entertaining options.  We invite you to sign-up or login below to add your own suggestions.



Do you have more ideas for what to (or not to) name our child?  Please sign-up or login to post your ideas in the comment space below!

Morning Sickness

Why is it called Morning Sickness when it lasts all day?  Or when it is particularly difficult in the evening?

And why is it that all the advice about managing morning sickness is either contradictory or unrealistic?  Here is a list to debunk much of the advice out there:

  1. Keep a box of crackers by the bed.  This is probably the most popular advice we've heard.  Of the many folks who have shared this, only one threw up regularly during her pregnancy.  Pretty good statistics, eh?  No.  For the most part, this is advice given from women who don't know what is like to throw up 4 times in a day. 

  2. Eat small, frequent meals.  This falls into the “unrealistic” category.  When you are really sick, the thought of eating can make you more sick. 

  3. Only drink water two hours before or after a meal.  It is true that water with a meal is a recipe for disaster.  But, it also means that your meals have to be four hours apart.  Doesn’t that seem to contradict “Eat small, frequent meals.”

  4. Prenatal vitamins will help you feel better.  Perhaps they would, but when the thought, smell, and aftertaste makes you sick...

Apparently, only half of pregnant women get the dreaded morning sickness.  Susan wasn't that lucky.  Some days are substantially better than others.  We are anxious for two more weeks to pass to see if Susan is like most women, for whom morning sickness ends at 12-14 weeks.

Have you heard some prenatal advice that might work, was ridiculous, or even mildly entertaining?  Click the Sign Up or Login link below and add your story here!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

8 weeks along.....

Today, we are 8 weeks, one day into the pregnancy! 

Lennart Nilsson was a photographer who once went to the editors of Life Magazine and told them he was going to photograph babies in the womb.  They laughed at him, but 12 years later, he returned with some fantastic photos.  His book, A Child is Born, is absolutely amazing.  He has photos of every stage of a childs live in the womb. 

At this point in the pregnancy, our baby is just over 1/2 inch long.  It's tiny heart is beating at 140-150 beats a minute!  The eyes, nose, and mouth started forming last week.  The arms and legs are still short, but the hands and feet are starting to take shape.

Last Wednesday, we had our first appointment with the Doctor.  After a lot of research, we decided that a home birth would be best for us.  Most of the midwives in the Chicago area work on the north side, and since we live in a southern suburb, we were nervous they wouldn’t make it here in time.  Luckily, we found a doctor who makes house calls, and has an office just 2 miles away.  Dr. Zumhagen has been delivering babies in homes for the past 20 years.  He also has a lot of personal experience with 9 children of his own with 7 of them being born at home.

This will be a long journey.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

We are having a baby!!!!


Susan and I are having a baby in early September!

She took the test on Christmas morning, and the result was the best Christmas gift ever. Unfortunately, while on the train back to Chicago, and ever since, Susan has had quite a case of morning sickness. But, according to the books, morning sickness is supposed to end at the end of the first trimester. We hope that March will bring some relief.

In other news, our remodeling project is progressing nicely. When we purchased the condo, it looked like the prior owners maybe owned their own paint sprayer and had some old paint lying around which they sprayed on. The problem with that is that there were drip marks everywhere, they didn’t bother masking anything, all the outlets were just sprayed over, and absolutely every wall and ceiling in the place was the same “prison off-white”. So before we left for Oregon, we spent many days prepping, and once we returned, the condo was ready for paint.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be installing laminate flooring in our kitchen, living room, and dining room. Unfortunately, Home Depot doesn’t have the stuff we like anymore. We had decided on a beautiful oak laminate, but we waited too long to purchase it…

Anyways, this is our new blog. My goal is to have regular baby updates!