2001: The Jones-Helton Odyssey

Our 2nd Annual Holiday Newsletter

No space odyssey. No flying cars. The Jetson’s lifestyle seems as far away today as it was 25 years ago. For the Jones-Helton family, it’s been another wonderful year, nonetheless. I’m a numbers person, so here are a few for this year:

  • Number of new additions to the household: 1 (Kendall Atieh)
  • Number of new cars: 1 (Dodge Grand Caravan)
  • Number of times Tia has complained about the lack of snow in Denver: 2,361 (Fall 2001 only)
  • Number of kids potty-trained: 1 (but more coming next year)
  • Number of computers in the house: 9 (only 4 on most of the time)
  • Number of toys chewed up by our dogs: 12 (down substantially from previous years)
  • Number of facts learned about trains: 593
  • Number of books read by Kyle this year: 48 (best guess)

Kyle has really grown this year. Since the summer, Tia and I have really seen him developing into a teenager (he’s actually 9, going on 30). He gets himself up, dressed, fed, and out to the bus everyday for school, often without Tia or I even getting out of bed. He’s been a tremendous help with Kendall, rocking her, playing with her, even taking care of her in the early mornings sometimes by himself (without our even asking!!!!!!).

This year, Kyle has also developed more of a passion for reading. Of course, our limiting TV may have helped, but he has chosen to read quite a few books by himself. And he’s read quite a variety from fantasy to science fiction to westerns to true stories. Most nights, we are entertained by Kyle’s piano practice, which has really taken leaps forward this year. He played for the relatives over Thanksgiving from his growing repertoire of songs and has started learning “The Rose” for his spring recital. He also accompanied the family for Delaney’s birthday.

“Conductor Jones” (Delaney, now 3) developed an amazing fascination for trains in 2001. I can’t quite remember when the train thing started, though he’s been a motor vehicle kid for as long as I can remember. This year, everything has been a “train”, including the upstairs of our house, which Delaney’s little imagination has morphed into a complete train with a sleeping car, a dining car, a coach car, an engine, a caboose, and sometimes a boxcar. It’s been fun and reminds us of the various fascinations that Kyle had over the years (lighthouses, tornados, the Titanic) as well as Delaney (school buses and construction vehicles). Trains have really been the kicker and he has spent countless hours with his wooden Thomas trains driving the freight trains around. At this point, I’d bet he could test some of you with his knowledge of trains. Luckily we have a train museum in Denver that has actual trains parked on rails the kids can climb on. Delaney’s been several times and asks at least once a week to go back.

Delaney has also grown quite a bit this year and is doing well with our third nanny of the year. She has a 3 1/2 year old named Ryan, and he and Delaney play together well, both being “train/truck” kids. Alas, no potty training yet, but not a big deal, it’ll come someday. Earlier this fall we started Delaney in school, but he didn’t like it. Nor were Tia and I pleased with his reactions, so we went back to the nanny-thing. Unfortunately, Delaney caught a cold in school (expected) that has passed back and forth through the family (unexpected) and still lingers after 2 1/2 months (Very Unexpected!). Hopefully this will disappear by Christmas. Delaney has also regained his love of books this year (though mainly train books) and loves to work on his ABCs. He’s learned most of the sounds for the letters and we are starting to teach him to read. We have about 8 ABC books and he seems to love them all. If I get a chance, I’ll post a video of him singing the ABCs at the dkRanch.net site.

Kendall Atieh Jones became a part of our family on May 15, 2001, born in Littleton, CO. Needless to say, when she arrived, I think both Tia’s and my own jaws dropped when we noticed the lack of “equipment”. Never had we expected a girl, though we did have the forethought to pick out names for either situation.

After a rough first couple months and Dad getting used to changing a girl (much different from a boy), Kendall has settled into our house and is rapidly becoming the cutest little baby in the world. She’s also the most ambitious kid we’ve had. Sitting up at 5 months, never wanting to lie down, always having to see what’s happening, drinking from our glasses at 4-5 months and wanting to eat what we eat. We’re guessing she’ll be walking at 8 months and ordering the boys around by the time she’s one.

Tia, the love of my life, is looking fantastic. At 29 years and 46 months, she’s back in fantastic shape after having Kendall and is ready to begin her marathon training again. After nearly a year of part-time work, she’s back full-time and ready to change jobs. Someone at work asked her if she was interesting in changing jobs to something more people oriented and she’s considering it. We’ll let you know more next year.

Tia’s also become a bit of an artist this year. And not just helping the kids trace their hands and paint with their fingers. Earlier this year Tia was inspired by a series of photos on the wall of a model house. She decided to do her own and has created a series of photos in black and white that adorn our family room wall. If you haven’t seen them, you are really missing a beautiful scene. Her latest project is a series of nude photos of her and myself (tastefully done, get your mind out of the gutter!!!!!). She’s still trying to decide how to do them, but one day they’ll be hanging in our room somewhere.

Which leaves me. It’s been almost 18 months at my company and I’ve survived through tremendous growth, the bust in the economy, 3 layoffs, quite a bit of stress about going out of business, and finally it looks like we’ll make it. I also started a side business with a few colleagues at www.sqlservercentral.com, a website focused on databases. We’ve grown from 1 member and a thousand pages in March to 20,000 members and 300,000 pages in November. No money yet, but maybe one day. This year I co-authored a book that was published in August. Not that many of you would want to read it, but my SQL Server 2000 Design Study Guide from Sybex press should be in all the local Barnes and Noble stores. For a lighter read, check out my www.dkranch.net website. It’s amazing to me that I accomplish anything with all the time and effort the kids take, but I love my family and wouldn’t trade my life for anything.

Well that’s it for this year. Among the chaos of two boys running around screaming, one baby screaming because she thinks it’s funny and trying to keep up with Tia’s list of chores, it’s amazing I finished this thing. Actually, one kid’s watching a movie, one’s asleep and Tia has the third out shopping for my 911 Targa (pleasepleasepleaseSantapleasebringmeaPorsche), it’s been fun recapping the year. Love and best wishes to all and enjoy the holiday season. Hopefully we’ll see most of you sometime next year.