House Cleaning

Now that we’re married, we had the arduous task of combining two households into one.  When I bought the house back in 1997, I thought, “This is so big, I’ll never fill it up,” and for a couple of years, the spare bedroom was mostly vacant.  Not so.  Somewhere there’s an axiom along the lines of “junk expands to fill available space.”  It might be “gas” and one of those properties of Chemistry class, but you get the idea …

We had rented a storage unit at the end of June, well before the wedding, but it sat vacant as we had no time to get things moved into it.  Now with the end of the month  approaching and Kona paying $630 a month in rent for a townhouse that she wasn’t living in, it was time to move things into our home or into storage (only $72 per month).

James’ stuff

I am the kind of person who will collect stuff and never throw it away and then go on a cleaning binge and get rid of stuff.  Kona made it clear that she needed the spare bedroom for storage of her clothes and other things and that my stuff had to go! We hauled a multi-purpose weight / exercise type device (I’m not sure what it’s called exactly because I almost never used it), a 27″ TV, DVD player, VCR, and end-table / magazine rack / light out to the road and hung a sign that said “FREE! Got married – need to make room.”

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It got a lot of smiles from people walking down the street or driving by.  It didn’t take long for the weight bench to disappear.  In fact, while we were cleaning out the house, we made trips to Kona’s townhouse to move things into storage and every time we’d come back home, something else would be gone.

I did manage to hang on to a few of my things, but they went into storage: a queen size bed, an exercise bike, the mirror for the dresser (Kona wanted to mount it — that woman is mirror crazy), my electronic keyboard, and some other things.

I ended up taking one load of my stuff to the Hope’s Attic thrift store in Decatur, the rest went into the trash or into storage.  While I was at Hope’s Attic, I saw Sharon Wilson.  Sharon and my mom were best friends when I was young and their kids spent a lot of time at each other’s homes in the 60’s and 70’s.  We briefly caught up and she was surprised, but excited, to hear that I had just gotten married … for the first time.

Kona’s stuff

Moving Kona’s stuff was more involved as everything had to go.  Her day-bed that she grew up on replaced the queen size bed, and I must admit that the room looked nice when she was done although when company comes, we only have room for one to sleep in a bed.  We also moved her bureau, china hutch, and some other furniture into the house.

Kona spent most of Monday night going through and sorting all of the material at her townhouse and didn’t get home until almost 9 pm.  I had steak, green beans, and Texas cheese toast waiting for her.  She really threw away a lot of stuff and I ended up taking two car loads of things to Hope’s Attic plus another couple of loads to storage.

The Closet

She decided that she didn’t like the closet organizer that was in the bedroom, so I pulled that out and built a closet from scratch.  The problem was that we had to move the clothes to the house so we could empty the townhouse but there was no place to put the clothes since the closet was being redone.  I built a makeshift clothes rack out of the dowel rods we had got to go in the closet, a 2″x4″ piece of wood, and a folding ladder.  It was quite the balancing act, but it managed to hold.

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The closet took a lot more time than it should have.  I bought supports for the dowel rod and shelf and mounted those, but because of the asymmetric alignment of the studs in the closet, one of them was too close to the end and so mounting the support was difficult.  Somewhere along the line, I had a bag with my three most commonly used wrenches, my Allen wrench sets, lineman’s pliers, and my good Philips screwdrivers that got misplaced / lost.  So I had to go buy another set of tools to replace those and finally spent the money to get a good set.

Then we couldn’t put the dowel rod in the closet because all of the clothes were on them, so I went back to Menard’s and picked up another dowel rod to mount.   The bottom rod went much quicker and Kona says she loves the closet and that it’s the best one she’s ever had, other than the ones at the townhouse, which were just freaking huge.

Day After the Wedding

It’s now July 12, the day after the wedding.

We spent the night in the Annawan Inn in Annawan, IL.  The room was very nice, but there was no working Internet connection.  We had planned on doing a little blogging before heading to bed, but it actually worked out well that there was no Internet since we were both exhausted.

We left a little bit before 9 and got back to Kewanee.  As we were loading up the car, Kona realized that we had forgotten the nice blanket that Bill and Mary had given us and so she called the hotel and asked them to hold it for us.  We then continued to load up the car and pack up the stuff to take home.

James’ brother and dad and their families stopped by as well as Kona’s uncle, aunt, and grandma, and after delivering the tables and chairs back to the church, we all had a brunch and spent some time talking.  We also collected digital photographs from everyone’s camera that was there and ended up with 681 wedding photos.  This is not including the wedding photos taken by the photographer.

Dad loaded up his car with stuff and my brother had to put the cake in his car.  We managed to get everything on this trip except for the folding tables and chairs.  We then went back to Annawan to get the blanket and headed home through Minonk so Kona could return something to a friend, there.

Yes, we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way back, but to Kona’s surprise (to Kona’s GREAT surprise 🙂 – edited by Kona), I didn’t get anything.  I do not have an ice cream addiction!  We got back home and unloaded the car and I managed to throw my back out again, so Kona did most of the work.  I would haul stuff into the house and set it on a bench, but then she would move it off the bench to the floor.  A great example of teamwork.

We then spent some quality time together and crashed hard for a couple of hours.

Wedding Day

Compared to the day before, our wedding day started bright and sunny!  The weather was perfect and everyone quickly got to work getting everything ready! Unfortunately, that’s where we ran into a major problem… as the men tried to put the tent together it quickly became apparent that the legs did NOT go with the canopy.

Tent

You can see in the picture above, they got so desperate they were actually reading the directions!!

The tent came in two separate boxes and the store didn’t give us the legs that went with the canopy!  After a couple of long phone conversations with the East Peoria store we bought the tent from and a couple of family members who were on their way through Peoria to Kewanee, we were able to arrange for the tent legs to get a ride to Kewanee with James’ dad and Alice (Thanks again Dad & Alice!!).  Once we got the right legs, the tent went up in less than 15 minutes and the rest of the decorating was then able to be completed!  **Here I would like to say how much James & I truely appreciate the assistance provided by our family and friends in getting everything set up.  It was truely amazing to see everything come together so quickly with everyone helping!!**

With the decorating and food on track for a 4pm wedding, James left to go get a massage and I headed off to get my hair done.  At this point I think both of us needed some quiet time to sit and relax. I know for me it was a nice break from the craziness, but James told me he “tried” to use his massage time to work on memorizing his vows.  After getting back from our appointments, the photographer (Tanya Smith from Decatur) was already there, so we hurriedly finished getting ready and went out to take the majority of our wedding pictures.  Tanya was great and I can’t wait to see the pictures she got.  The following pictures in this blog were taken by our family, but as son as we get the pictures from Tanya we’ll make sure to post them!!

Under the Arch

A non-orchestrated moment 🙂

Time seemed to fly as we got our pictures taken and soon I noticed more and more people meandering around the yard.  I looked over at my friend Angie and asked her what time it was and she said 3:45pm!!! I slightly freaked out and quickly got myself inside to freshen up and “hide” until my grand entrance.  After the longest 15 minutes of my life, I finally heard the wedding march and stepped out onto the back deck… From this point forward I have to admit I really don’t remember anything and am eternally grateful I had both my parents walking me down the aisle!  The next thing I remember is seeing James come into focus as I got closer to him and seeing tears in his eyes.  From this point forward everything else ceased to exist and it seemed like we were the only two people there.  James can make amazing eye contact with people and our wedding was no exception.  He held my eyes and my heart the entire wedding.

Kona Wedding Vows

Me doing my vows… I wasn’t sure if I could make it through without crying!

We wrote our own vows and hearing James say his vows was an amazingly powerful moment because I could hear the sincerity and truth in every word he said.  For those of you who couldn’t hear our vows during the wedding we posted them on our blog so you could read and enjoy them.

James doing his vows

James getting ready to start his vows

We made it through the ceremony and as my Grandfather and Jerry (James’ brother) announced us as James & Kona Jones I finally noticed everyone else there.  It was great to see so many family and friends there to support and celebrate with us, which is exactly why we wanted a group picture of everyone at the wedding.  We wanted to be able to remember everyone who took part in our special day!  After getting the picture and greeting people, we got a few more pictures of James and I while an amazing group of people helped my mom to get the food served.

Good Wedding Picture

One of our favorite wedding pictures so far!

The rest of the afternoon/evening was a pleasant blur of talking and laughing with friends and family, cutting the wedding cake, dancing to our first dance, opening presents, and just enjoying ourselves.

Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake… notice James pointing towards his Groom’s cake? He “really” wanted his Cherry Delight!


First dance

Our first dance as husband and wife… REO Speedwagon “Can’t Fight this Feeling”


Feet

For some reason I just love this picture…


Opening Presents

Blowing bubbles at James while he opens one of our gifts

As you can see from the pictures above,  James & I had a dream wedding and will be forever grateful to everyone for helping to make our wedding day so special.  It was truly humbling to see so many of you and know how far you traveled to be there to share the day with us.   Special thanks goes to everyone who helped set-up before the wedding, assisted with the actual wedding, kept the food and reception on track, and/or helped to take everything back down and clean up.  We couldn’t have done it without you!!

Wedding Plate

**Update from Kona**

October 25th, 2009 Linda came to see the new house and during this visit we were able to download the pictures she took at the wedding.  The following are some of my favorites.

Wedding Vows

There were a number of people who couldn’t hear our wedding vows, so we thought we’d post them here for everyone to read.

Kona’s vows to James

I, Kona, take you, James, to be my husband, my partner in life, and my picture taking traveling companion. I promise to be understanding of your needs, open with my feelings and emotions, do the majority of the laundry, cook most of the meals, go on all the roller coasters with you, travel only with carry-on luggage, embrace your family as my own, and be your closer. As we grow together as husband and wife, I will love and trust in you completely, care for you in good times and bad, respect you, and honor these commitments as long as we both shall live.
[podcast]/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/konavows.mp3[/podcast]

James’ vows to Kona

I, James, take you, Kona, to be my wife, my life-long companion, and my photo taking traveling partner. I will acknowledge and respect your feelings and emotions and continually pester you and ask “What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Kona, what’s wrong?” until you learn to open up and share them freely. I will do the yard work, the grilling, and the majority of the dishes. I will seek out new and exciting experiences for you to enjoy. I will be your grammar checker. I will embrace your family and make them mine. Although you think I’m always right, I will still solicit and value your views, input, and wisdom. I will make you laugh and smile. A large part of that will be tickling. As we mature together as husband and wife, I will give myself to you completely, trust you wholly, love you fully, care for you always, respect you in all things, and honor these commitments as long as we both shall live.
[podcast]/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/jamesvows.mp3[/podcast]

Thursday and Friday before the Wedding!!!

After cramming the car with everything we’d need for the wedding, checking and rechecking our list of things we needed to take, we finally headed for Kewanee only to get about 1 mile away before I realized I had forgotten ALL my hang up clothes (AKA everything I’m wearing this weekend except the wedding dress!).  So, after turning around and grabbing my clothes, remembering something else we had forgotten, we finally (once again) got back on the road.  After a side trip to Cold Stone in Peoria (Does anyone see a theme here from the previous blog?? And, for the record, I said I did NOT want Cold Stone because my grandma Davis had made PeachDessert… Yet, I am weak and did have some once we got there.), we spent the rest of our trip to Kewanee going back and forth memorizing our wedding vows. We had a LOT of laughs and manage to get our own memorized as well as the other person’s (purely due to the fact that we heard the other person say it again and again and again!)

The next morning (Friday) started rainy and cold, and really put us in a lethargic mood we had to fight to keep away.  Around 8am, my brother Ty called and told us he and Austin would be there around 8:30 (they drove straight through from Cheyenne, WY), so mom and I ran to Wal-Mart to grab a few things for breakfast.  As we charged through the entrance to Wal-Mart, there was water right inside the door and mom happened to step on it just right and did the splits while falling on her side.  I was scared she had hurt herself pretty bad and the Wal-Mart lady who came running up yelling Code White*, Code White… we’ve got a Code White at the front door didn’t help things at all!! After a couple of minutes mom was able to stand up and walk a little bit, but was really sore.  Wal-Mart was great about it and the lady who came to take the report looked like she was going to cry when we told her about the wedding and needing to get things ready (i.e., mom didn’t need to be injured!).  We finally made it out of Wal-Mart, got breakfast made, and were able to greet Ty and Austin with a pretty enertaining story.

The rest of the day was spent trying (rather unsuccessfully) to keep mom from doing too much and trying to work around all the rain.  We were able to get a lot of things done, but the majority of the work really needed to be done outside! *Sigh* Yet, we managed to stay positive and focus on what could get done and luckily by mid afternoon the rain stopped and we were able get back on track.  Dinner was an interesting affair, with a number of Davis family members and a couple friends sharing in some “stories” and a lot of laughs.  We finished off the evening trying to get the detail stuff done and… with James going to Dairy Queen… didn’t I tell you there was a theme going on here! 🙂

* Code White: After hearing the lady yelling “Code White” so many times, my mom finally asked her, “What’s a ‘code white’?”.  To which she answered… “We need an ice pack”… 🙂

Weekend before the Wedding – Six Flags

The weekend before the wedding (i.e., 4th of July weekend) started with James & I traveling to Cambridge, IL (the county seat of Henry County, where we’re getting married) to get our marriage license.  After trying a new route that we “thought” would be quicker and getting stuck in way too much road construction (if you can avoid 74 around Bloomington or Peoria, I strongly suggest it!), we finally made it to the courthouse and got our license.  **Interestingly, we never had to show any form of identification and only had to verbally tell her all of our information.**

We spent the next morning and early afternoon at my mom & dad’s helping to get things ready for the wedding.  They have been extremely busy and have managed to get a lot done in a relatively short period of time, but with our help they were able to finish up a number of projects.

We left my parents around 3pm and headed towards our hotel outside Gurnee, IL. We had a great time meandering to the hotel, making stops at Ryan’s Red Barn as well as an impromptu dinner with some of James’ Rockford cousins.

Ryan's Red Barn

Outside the barn… unfortunately it wasn’t open for tours 🙁

I had never met these family members, so it was a great opportunity to sit down and talk, as well as eat some amazing food!!!  We ate at BD’s Mongolian Grill and I strongly suggest it to anyone who gets a chance to eat there!! Yet, as wonderful as the food was, the company was even better!  It was so fun to see James interact with his cousins and to share stories back and forth.  I look forward to seeing them again at the wedding and at the Jones Family Reunion in September!

The next day (the 4th) started rather dreary and we thought our Six Flags Great America trip was going to get rained out, but it only slightly drizzled on and off in the morning and completely cleared up for the afternoon! We had a great time and rode all of the roller coasters and even a few of the “moderate” and “mild” rides ;-).  We spent a little over eight hours at Six Flags and after a big meal at Olive Garden, we opted out of going back for the fireworks. James took a video of use enjoying the Ragin’ Cajun rollercoaster.

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On Sunday we planned on heading back to Six Flags to try the water park, but James suggested we do something else… keeping that “something else” a surprise of course!

So where did we end up?  The Jelly Belly factory just over the Wisconsin border!

James at the Jelly Belly tour

They had a free tour of their warehouse and free samples of their delicious jelly beans (which we graciously partook).

Kona Jelly Belly tour

All together, it was a really interesting tour that highlighted the history behind the jelly bean and the Jelly Belly Company.  In addition, I do have to admit that their jelly beans are adictingly good (and this is from someone who doesn’t even like them that much!).  After sampling a number of different flavors, we picked up five bags (yes FIVE bags) of their Belly Flops (Jelly Belly’s that size/shape wise didn’t meet their standards, but tasted fine) and were on our way!

James at The Rootbeer Stand

James at The Rootbeer Stand

After a meandering trip home that took us through Wisconsin… stopping at Cold Stone in Kenoshia, Rockford, IL… where the main road was closed and yet every road seemed to lead straight that way, Ogelsby, IL… for some dinner at The Root Beer Stand, and Bloomington, IL… to eat some fresh donuts at Krispy Kreme, we finally made it home!