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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I fail at timeliness, part 2

Jessa ~

Tuesday, May 28

Ok, here's part two of what you've missed since I was procrastinative enough to make you miss the last letter.  Again, I apologize.

While Damian and Lexi were still here I took the girls swimming at the Lehi Rec Center.  BJ decided he needed to work.  Damian was going to go with us, but he got some extra work at one of his jobs, so we decided to meet him there.  I was too nervous to go with all three girls by myself, but I figured I could do it for a little bit until he got there.  By the time he finally got there, it was pointless to get in, so I ended up doing it by myself anyway.  And honestly, it wasn't too bad!  The deepest the water gets is maybe 4'-4.5', so Lexi was able to play independently.

At first it was hard because Abby kept trying to run to the pool while I got ready to get in the pool.  Oh, first, the pool has this giant play thing in it which has a slide and waterfalls, etc.  It also has a giant bucket at the top that constantly fills up and when it gets full it tips over and splashes everywhere. So Abby was toddling towards the pool when it suddenly fell and splashed and scared her to death.  She stood there, crying, completely immobile.  I had to pick her up and hold her for several minutes before she'd calm down.  So then we got in the water (where it didn't splash) and I just held her on my lap.  Every time the bucket splashed (about every 3-4 minutes) she stared at it wide-eyed, though she never cried over it again.  But for the first 15 mins or so, she refused to let go of me.  I had to hold her.  If I tried to let her stand in the water, she screamed.  If I tried to hold her away from me a little, she shook violently, like she was ridiculously cold.  I wonder if she was in shock a little.

I didn't want to take Kessa out where it would be more comfortable for me to be mobile, so we stayed in the shallow end where I held Abby and Kessa just played around us.  But eventually Abby warmed up and I took Kessa by the wall where she could pull herself along it.  Eventually I held Abby in one arm and Kessa in the other (thank goodness for water which makes everything so much lighter and made this acrobatics as easy as could be) and we went around the lazy river a couple of times.  By then Damian was there and just stood around the edge of the pool.  We talked Lexi into going down the big slide, which terrified her at first, but after she did it, she thought it was the greatest thing ever and just did it over and over again.  It ended up being quite fun!  (And Kessa was able to go several days accident-free in anticipation of the event!  Hooray!  Though, that bribery has worn out its welcome.  We're looking for new options now.)

Kessa graduated from preschool!  I took a video of all of it, but of course you can't watch it.  You can watch it when you get home if you really, really want.  It wasn't a "real" graduation, though, considering she still has another year of preschool.  But, I suppose, she did graduate from that preschool and is moving on to another.  But semantics aside, it was cute and fun.  They made graduation caps out of card stock for the top, and a plastic bowl for the cap.  With a yarn tassel.  Adorable.  She won the award for "Tortise [sic] and the Hare".  Which cracks me up because it's so true!  That girl can do things ridiculously fast if she wants, but she can also take her sweet little time about everything.  We've been focusing on being "quick to obey" lately.  It's a work in progress.  I'm glad (and horrified) to know that she doesn't just act that way with me.

Abby adores the panda hat you gave Kessa for Christmas.  When she sees it, she'll put it on and wear it around.  The other day she went to the store with the panda hat and a pink cloak that Bonnie crocheted Kessa on.  It's hilarious.  She's such a diva.  She adores dressing up.  She'll wear any hat she finds.  Or yesterday she walked around with a pink headband on.  Except it wasn't on top of her head, it was around her forehead, just above her eyes.  She is obsessed with shoes.  She signs shoes much like the sign for "more".  When she gets out of bed, she immediately starts looking for her shoes.  As soon as she spots them she starts signing and saying, "Shoes?  Shoes?"  She'll run and grab them and take them to the closest adult, whimpering and look sadly into your eyes.  "Shoes?" Then as soon as you put them on her she is the happiest girl around.  Which is funny considering that when I first bought her shoes she wanted nothing to do with them and would rip them off pronto.  She's almost outgrown the shoes I bought her.  And I still have to buy more because Kessa wasn't even walking this young, so I didn't have shoes for her for several more sizes!  She also loves sunglasses.  Kessa got a pair of star sunglasses from a birthday party and she loves putting them on and grinning while she makes sure everyone sees her in them.  Diva, I'm telling you.

We went camping the Friday before Memorial Day.  It was just at a nearby park.  I decided that's the way to go.  About a mile from home (which made it easy to grab everything I forgot), and with people who are experienced campers, so I'm not responsible for food.  But even if we do go again (which we really want to) and need to provide our own food, if camp-cooking doesn't work out for us, there's a Subway close by.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner!  Haha.  We got a new tent and sleeping bags.  That's been fun.  The tent is super easy to set up and take down.  We set it up in less than 3 minutes.  The longest part was staking it.   We took a pack and play for Abby, but I'm wondering if next time we should put her in our sleeping bag, between us.  She was just so cold in the morning (we did give her blankets; they're just not the same as a sleeping bag)!  She didn't seem to mind, though, which helped ease my mommy-guilt.  Kessa loved it and wants to do it again.  We've already started to ask around to see if anyone else wants to camp with us another time.  By the time we came home, though, Kessa was exhausted.  She slept half the afternoon away on the couch.

In totally random, yet delicious news, Honey Maid now makes graham crackers without high fructose corn syrup!  This makes me so happy, because I haven't been able to buy graham crackers for ages since  I discovered that there weren't any without it.  What kind of children grow up in a house without graham crackers, I ask you?  It was a very sad existence for my poor girls.  But now the problem has been rectified and Kessa ate her first s'more while we were camping!  Well, a few bites.  Until she decided it was just too sticky.  Then she threw the rest in the fire.

I got set apart, along with my presidency, last Tuesday.  It was good, because it gave us an opportunity to pester the stake presidency with questions.  They laughed because apparently when they set apart male presidencies and ask if they have any questions, no one ever does.  But when they set apart female presidencies, they get bombarded with questions.  They couldn't decide if it was because men were too manly to ask questions, or if it was because they simply hadn't thought about the calling enough to realize they had questions.  Women, on the other hand, are always so on top of things and fearless that they come armed with them.  :D

Teresa has been staying with us for a little over a week now.  It's not much different than normal life, though.  We rarely see her.  She leaves early in the morning, usually before I even wake up, and then after school has to go home and do chores, then half the time goes to work, and the other half of the time has concerts, school activities, and is a prank war with friends.  She comes home about the time I go to bed, or after some days (I'm trying to go to bed early so I can wake up earlier).  So I pretty much only ever see her on Sundays or breakfast on weekends and late-start Fridays.  Mostly all it's changed is that I stalk her on Find My Friends a lot more and am always pestering her to know when she'll be home and what she's doing and reminding her of curfew.  I'm the nagging step-mother, I'm sure.  Haha.  I'll bet she'll be glad when she's back to her nice own mother.  :D

As your parents were out of town, I decided to host 4th Sunday dinner this month.  Teresa was already here, so we just had to get the boys out, which wasn't hard.  Oh my gosh, Jessa. Do you know what they did this weekend?  It's Nick, so don't think camping in Moab or something normal.  Oh no.  Not Nick.  He hired a company from Orem to go down to Goblin Valley and set up laser tag.  … Yup, you heard me right.  50 people playing laser tag, professionally, in Goblin Valley.  Hah!

After we ate dinner we headed up to Riverton for Grandpa Goddard's 94th birthday party.  There were lots of people there, so that was nice.  And lots of yummy treats.  I made a chocolate bundt cake that I found on Pinterest (which was rich and delicious) and took it up, along with some cherries (which made me sad that your dad wasn't there).  I'm not sure whose idea it was, but Nick and Shawn became the instigators to get a full 94 candles on Grandpa's cake.  So they took some white duct tape and placed candles along a strip (the duct tape was cut in half horizontally in order to leave room for the candles' height) with small spaces in between, then rolled it up into a giant roll of candles.  It happened to fit perfectly into the hole of the bundt cake.

They lit it, and Jessa, I really wish you could watch videos.  Oh my goodness.  The look on Grandpa's face when they brought it from the kitchen and around his recliner to where he could see was absolutely priceless.  His eyes bulged.  His mouth dropped open as wide as it could possibly go.  And I can't blame him!  Can you fathom what 94 candles all lit together looks like?  I'm not kidding when I say the very, very thick flame was at least a foot, if not a foot and a half tall.

Nick carried it and when Grandpa blew out the flames I sincerely feared for the health and well being of Nick's tie.  And all of Nick.  He had to kind of jump back out of the way, while still holding the cake plate in front of Grandpa.  Finally one of the aunts (Jan? I think?) put it out with a pan lid.  It was the Best. Thing. Ever.  I got the best screen shots I could manage to send you and will post the video on the blog.  You have to watch it when you get back.


Monday Nick came out in the morning and won the Best Brother of the Day award.  He installed a pressure reducer for us!  And there was just enough black magic (read: parts I have no clue what they are) that I'm glad we asked him instead of trying to do it ourselves or waiting for someone else.  And honestly, I'm embarrassed I didn't think to ask him sooner.  Really?  PVC problems and I didn't think of Nick?  The only thing worse would be if it had been made of legos.  Alas.  But he got it installed and we turned it on and there were no geysers!  Jessa, I'm so happy I could cry!

So, of course, something had to go wrong.  Let me teach you something about drip emitters, Jessa.  When you are installing them on drip lines, it is very, very important that you don't allow any dirt to get inside them, because there is no way to open them to get the dirt out.  It just gets clogged up and won't let the water drip out.  In other words, it would be a very bad idea when you install drip emitters to open a package, drop them in the garden bed, and proceed to install from there.  Because weeks later when you finally are able to turn on your drip system, half of them won't work because they got clogged with dirt.  [sigh]  So I had to go buy a bunch more (which means I have three different drip emitters installed.  They're all the same, just different brands) and reinstall.  But the way the emitters hook into the tubing is by having a dull barbed end.  So you push it into the tube and the tube stretches around it, making it nigh impossible to pull out.  Which is good in general, because you don't want the pressure of the water to push the head out.  So we ended up having to cut them off, then put new ones on.  [sigh]  What I expected to be an hour project (putting on all the heads for the tender plants that I just planted) turned into an all-day project.  In good news, it was a holiday, so BJ was home to help me.  But it was an all-day project with BJ's help.  Glad I didn't have to do that alone.

The end story, though, is that the pressure is reduced, the drip emitters are all dripping, and my plants are all getting water regularly.  Naturally, it's been raining all day.

And now, for Kessa.
  • Kessa: Don't look until I say to look. I won't be in trouble.
    BJ: But will you be in trouble if we do look?
    Kessa: Yes, but just don't look and then there won't be trouble.
  • Kessa: Daddy, do you know what a swimming pool is?
  • Kessa ate 3 bites of quesadilla then left. When I asked if she was going to eat it or if Mommy could eat it. “Can I eat three more bites because I'm 3?” 
  • Kessa, talking about the water draining out of the bathtub: “It's saying, 'Go into my brelly! Go into my brelly!'”
    Me: What's a brelly?
    Kessa: It's a tower with a clock and letters and numbers and [something I forgot]. And a bicycle.
    Me: A brelly is a [repeat description]?
    Kessa: No, that's a rockie!
  • Kessa: Daddy, you're a cutie because everyone loves you.
  • Kessa, discussing a craft: Don't do ants. I don't like ants. Because sometimes they eat us. [She then looked at me very seriously and continued with a piercing gaze.] And our clothes. And our eyes and ears and eyebrows.
  • Kessa held up the numbers 145 in her foam toys in the bathroom today and insisted I guess what they spelled. When I was wrong (I guessed "one hundred forty-five") she informed me that it spelled “lightbulb”.
  • Kessa, eating fried chicken: Daddy, if you forget there's a bone, good news! When you feel it, that's the bone!

Bonus quotes:

  • Shawn: You're just jealous that you don't have a Peter Pan Down syndrome.
  • Resa: It makes sense if you don't think about it.
  • Me to Resa: But you told me to take you literally.
    BJ: But that was figurative.
    Resa: Exactly!

I fail at timeliness, part 1

Jessa ~

This is last week's email, which I had written before you even left the MTC, but just needed to add pictures to.  I had every intention on sending it Monday, just in case you got internet at the airport or before you left the MTC.  Clearly I failed.  And sadly that means you had p-day without an email from me.  Forgive me?  I'll send another one soon for the week that has lapsed since then, and then I'll send another one next week, before your p-day.  Which means that you will have THREE emails from me when next you open your email.  Scary, huh?  I hope you have time to read them all.  :S

Mon, May 20

I'm not entirely sure when to email you this week.  I'm guessing you won't have the same p-day.  And I'm not sure when you get to Cambodia.  So I'm still going to send this and figure I can always send little updates.  Or, I suppose, your next email can just be longer.

I got the drip line set up to the blueberries!  They are much happier now.  Or maybe it's because they have names now… hmmm.  Cross your fingers that they continue to live.  If they don't survive this year, I doubt I'll ever try again.  At least not in Utah.  I don't know what else I could do.  But one of them is already growing blueberries!  That would be Merriweather.  But she was starting to do that before I even bought her, so I can't take any of the credit.  Except that I've kept her alive, producing blueberries, for a whole week. Impressive, I know.  ;)

Nothing much else has happened in the garden this week.  It's been rainy for much of the week.  Which is happy in that I haven't had to water by hand as much.  :D  Still no pressure reducer, but I'm hoping to bribe my brother into doing that for me tomorrow.  [crosses fingers]  So maybe by the time I send this I'll actually have them!

And I will be happy to teach you to garden!  Absolutely!  I told BJ the other day that when the kids are in school, maybe I'll work part-time at a nursery or something.  Not for the money, but because I want to learn everything about plants.  It seems a good way to do it.  Then I realized that if I'm not doing it for the money I could totally take my paycheck and use it to buy plants for everyone!  Talk about fantastic philanthropy.  "Hi friend!  I saw you eyeing that weeping cherry over there longingly.  Well, guess what I happened to bring home for you today!  Hooray!"  Haha.  I'm such a nerd.  Speaking of awesome philanthropy though, BJ showed me a picture from the Internet today of a restaurant receipt for $60.something.  I guess the waitress was talking to the people at the table about how she wants to go to Italy someday when she can afford it.  They left her a $1000 tip with a note, "For your ticket to Italy.  Enjoy!"  Holy cow, Jessa!  I mean, seriously.  These people are awesome.  I want to be awesome like that someday.  Could you even imagine?!  I think I would go outside, then peek back in the window, just so I could see their reaction.  Or perhaps post someone inside with a camera to catch it on film without being suspected.  haha.

I'm slowly getting used to the idea of not being in YW anymore.  I still see them at church and in the neighborhood.  I still have them babysit.  So it's not like they're completely out of my life.  And I'm still going to do my personal progress, so the program isn't completely out of my life.  I'm still sad, but I'm getting more and more excited about Primary.  We had our first meeting on Friday.  There was a lot to talk about.  And there's still a lot yet to do.  I've spent several hours on my computer at least twice this week going through my to do list.  But I'm slowly narrowing it down and I think once everything is set up, it'll run smoothly.  But holy cow, Jessa.  Cub Scouts is so intensive.  I feel like I'm learning a new language.  And culture.  It's just so vast and foreign and I feel so lost.  I'm sure you can relate.  :)  So of course, they put me in a leadership position where I'm supposed to be in charge of people and train them and answer their questions when they're far more experienced than I am.  It's so intimidating!  I'll be honest.  Cub Scouts scares me.  Hopefully before you get home I'll be a pro and be totally comfortable.  Pray for me.  :S

BJ started his first day at Day One today.  We had a good laugh this morning that this is his day one at Day One.  So, of course, my brain kicked into high gear and I immediately set out to make him a Day One cake.  Pictures attached.  Aren't I basically the best wife ever?  Perhaps I should take a cake decorating class for the sake of future birthday cakes…

I love reading your stories about your "investigators".  I can't imagine how you must have to trick your brain into thinking it's a real investigator instead of a teacher who is already a member.  But it sounds like you were doing a great job!  I love how you listened to the Spirit and switched topics and just went on the fly.  And in a foreign language!  You are amazing!  Do you know what I love about the gospel?  That the Spirit can inspire you, even in situations like that.  It wasn't really about the investigator's eternal salvation.  And while hearing your testimony of the atonement probably helped him feel the Spirit, it didn't actually convert him.  Yet he still gave you inspiration!  Because God cares about you learning to teach!  Isn't the gospel so fantastic!?  I love how much God really cares about the little details of our lives.

I know what you mean about the letters being distinct now.  When I first was learning the Hebrew alphabet, so many letters looked so similar.  I distinctly remember coming into class one day after doing homework to learn the alphabet and asking my teacher to show me the difference between several letters.  Because try as I might, I honestly couldn't see a single difference.  And then she taught me the differences and now I look back and laugh at my ignorant self and wonder how I never saw the differences.

I wonder if Cambodians see a difference between blue and green.  I remember watching part of a documentary with Nick about this tribe somewhere that *sees* color differently.  I don't remember the details, but I think they could see different shades of one color very distinctly, shades that we couldn't have differentiated between, and yet two main colors (maybe blue and green?) they couldn't tell a difference between at all.  Maybe Cambodians are the same.  You'll have to make friends with some and ask them.

Hahaha!  I love that you have been saying "yes" incorrectly for 8 weeks and no one thought to correct you.  Any of you.  That is the best thing ever.  You are so going to have a major american accent.  Bwahahahaha.  Sorry.  I shouldn't laugh at you.  But it's so funny!

Oh, Jessa, you will appreciate this. Pinterest (at least the iPhone app) now warns you when you're about to pin something you've already pinned! THIS IS SUCH A HAPPY DAY!  I was getting super excited about it when I was telling BJ and Kessa immediately piped up.  "Good job, Mommy! You did the right thing and you got what you wanted! Good job!"  I love little moments like that when you can see that she internalizes what we teach.  Though, I'll admit, at the time I thought she meant it as if I were playing a game on my phone.  I did something right in my game and unlocked it.  But now that I read it it seems to have a more gospel-oriented message. :)

Kessa has been having accidents like crazy lately.  She had three stinky accidents in two days this week.  The last one in the bathtub.  I was about to pull my hair out in frustration.  Luckily the last one was on Saturday, so BJ was home, and it was in the morning so my patience was still somewhat high.  We had been planning on going swimming, because Kessa has been begging to do that for weeks now.  But after that we decided that she couldn't go swimming until she could prove to us that she can stay dry and not have accidents, because we really don't want an accident in the pool.  Then we made her clean all of her toys and the tub with a Clorox wipe.  She actually kept a pretty good attitude through the whole thing.

We had promised her a fun activity, though, for going to bed quickly the night before, so we felt like we still had to keep good on that promise, so we just changed the activity and went to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point instead.  Have you been there?  It's actually really cool!  There's a room that is a completely dark cylinder with stars all around you.  So you walk on a bridge through it and there are stars above you and below you and to your sides.  And it's hard to see the bridge.  And I swear it moves just tiny amounts because it was seriously triply.  THE GIRLS LOVED IT.  Like ridiculous amounts.  I'm not kidding when I say I walked through it dozens of times.  We probably spent 20-30  minutes just going around and around and around.  Abby was hilarious.  She'd walk through on her own, get to the end, then immediately turn around to go back in.  But it's one way.  And since you can't see other people well, going backwards is a bad idea.  Especially when you're lucky to hit most people's knees.  So I would pick her up and walk back around to the beginning.  At first it made her MAD.  She would kick and scream until she saw the entrance again, then she'd squirm to get down and run through again.  Eventually she realized that I was taking her back to the beginning and she stopped getting mad.  She even started walking back herself.  Eventually she even started learning the word and sign for again.  Sort of.  She'd mostly say, "guh! gun!" while hitting her hands together.  Out of context I would have had no idea what she was saying.

Halfway through the exhibit, though, Kessa had a wet accident!  Ugh!  Her pants were all wet, too.  So we made her sit in her stroller as we walked quickly through the rest of the exhibit (with one stop to watch them feed some live fish a dinner of goldfish).  She didn't even get to do the fun fossil digging at the end.  So we've had several discussions about the consequences of accidents.  And we keep reminding her that she can't go to the swimming pool until she gets this under control.  We're planning on going tomorrow because Damian and his daughter, Lexi are here, so she's been good since Saturday.  Here's to hoping she can make it another 15 hours!  haha.  And then beyond that.  We have swimming lessons to look forward to (we're hoping to get her in the lake at Lake Powell this year!) so we're still holding this over her head as motivation.

But seriously.  Museum of Ancient Life.  Awesome.  I hope to go there again soon!  (If only it weren't so blasted expensive…)

Kessa insists that there is an order in which we pray. Great idea. The problem is that whenever it is her turn, she insists that it goes the other direction and that it's not her turn.  So the other night I spent far too much time on my Silhouette designing a prayer chart to avoid such … discussions. Hopefully this will solve the problem. So far it seems to be working and she even gets excited when it's her turn.  [crosses fingers it holds.]

Kessa is getting better about doing her chores before playing.  It might still take her until 3 pm before she's finally motivated to do it, but once she's motivated she can do it fast.  We even timed her the other day and got it all done in 4 minutes!  (With some help from Mommy that time.)  The other day when she made her bed, she was putting her stuffed animals on.  Right now a polar bear and giant Hello Kitty are the animals of choice.  (As well as the huge dog Resa gave her for Christmas, but that usually counts as the pillow, not an animal.)  But then she climbed up next to them and exclaimed that she was the third animal.  Haha.  Love that girl.

Like I said earlier, Damian and Lexi are in town for a few days.  Lexi has been fantastic with Kessa.  Seriously fantastic.  I haven't had to pay close attention to them for most of the day.  They play games, they play outside, they imagine things.  And I know that Lexi will be responsible outside so I don't have to worry at all.  She's great with Abby, too, when Abby is awake.  She carries her around, finds her binkie, and even helped her jump on the neighbor's trampoline today.  (Which Abby adored.)  This morning I got an invitation to join them for a royal snack.  It was upstairs on her play table.  Initially it consisted of a banana and a bunch of play food, but the longer it took before I could go up, the more real food got added in.  By the end it was a banana, mini m&ms, pretzels (two different shapes), and raisins.  I took up a surprise dessert of mini chocolate chips.

Abby is getting quite the attitude.  Holy cow.  If she doesn't get what she wants immediately she has got this squeal/yell/scream that is loud and obnoxious.  And very insistent.  But when she does get what she wants she is the cutest most adorable girl ever.  She has a smile that lights up the whole room.  And watching her sign banana is hilarious.  If you don't remember the sign, it looks like you're using the index finger of one hand to show peeling your other index finger, pretending it's the banana.  Except she gets so excited that instead of peeling her finger, she gets her whole arm.  I think she'd eat 5 bananas a day if I let her.  I haven't had a banana go bad in months.  I probably go shopping for bananas 3+ times every week, because she (and Kessa) eat them so fast!


  • Kessa clogged the toilet so I plunged it. “Mommy, are you magic to unclog the toilet?”
  • Kessa, singing, while she's supposedly putting on get shoes and socks, “Sometimes I get distracted when I do things, but sometimes I don't. But I do sometimes, too.”
  • Kessa was playing outside and had a pretty big accident. I was bringing her inside and she tried to run away to go climb up the neighbor's play set. I wouldn't let her and carried her upstairs, much to her dismay. “But mommy! I want to climb the ladder and go down the slide!” “Kessa, your pants are all wet, you are not going down the slide.” “But we can make it a water slide!”
  • This morning BJ was spoon feeding Abby yogurt. He got the spoon up in front of her mouth and instead of opening up for it, she blew on. As if it were hot.
  • Kessa, coming out of the bathroom: Daddy, I didn't have an accident.
    Daddy, after checking: Yes you did.
    Kessa: Do there need to be consequences?
  • Kessa: What in the holy cow did I do?!  [editor's note: This is becoming a common phrase.  She says it all the time.  It still cracks me up.]
  • Kessa: Mommy, are you possible?
    Me: Uhh… Yeah, I suppose I'm possible.
    Kessa, yelling: Then I'm going to squeeze your possible out of juice!
  • Kessa: I'm pretending to be God and this (referring to a pretzel in her hand with a raisin on the end) is my stick.
  • BJ looked at our tree out front and pointed out a little fruit.
    Me: Yeah, it's a flowering plum, but I don't think it'll grow into a real plum.
    Kessa: What's a flowering bum?
    (I speculated that it's probably bathroom air freshener.)
  • Kessa: I love coconut so much! It's just white strips with sugar and, uh, a little bit of egg mix. And it's so yummy!  [editor's note: this did not convince her cousin of the deliciousness that is coconut.  Alas.]
  • Kessa: How do you stop water? By turning it into ice!
    [editor's note: Her second joke, perhaps?]

  • Me: You know what you can get me for my birthday? A time machine. I wonder how many of those I can go through.  (To be fair I meant a Time Machine hard drive for my mac because I keep killing them somehow. But the idea of using up dozens of real time machines is great.)
  • BJ: Rain is just like a big cup of water being dumped out of the sky.

Have a great flight!  I'll talk to you tomorrow, but I don't know when you'll get my email. I'm sending it tonight, just in case you do get to check your email before you leave.  Hooray for a new stage of your mission!

~ Tianna

Videos I couldn't send to Jessa:
1) Kessa and Abby playing Ring Around the Rosie with Lexi and the neighbor girls, Riley and Gracie.

2) Kessa swinging all by herself.  BJ taught her how to pump the other day, and while she's sporadic about being able/willing to do it, when she really wants to, she can get up pretty high.

Monday, May 20, 2013

With pictures and videos this time!

Jessa ~

"I feel like discouragement is not from God, but humility is."  I do believe you're absolutely correct there.  There's actually a line from my patriarchal blessing that tells me to be wary of discouragement as it's one of Satan's main tools.  So if you're discouraged, it's time to mentally kick Satan in the shins and change your reaction to humility.

I need to remember this, too.  haha.

This gets long, so we're going to break this into sections.

Yard/garden update:

  • I finished planting everything!  Hooray for last frost to be past!  Not so much hooray for 90º weather.  What the heck is up with that?  Ok, I haven't actually planted everything.  I still need to get one more tomato that wasn't ready yet, and two more bell peppers because I accidentally got a 2-pack instead of a 4-pack which put me two under.  And then outside of my garden area I have stuff to plant.  I want to put a pumpkin under my deck again, and then around the deck I want asparagus and raspberries.  But I think it might be too late for asparagus (plus I'll need to amend the soil and maybe build a box and I'm running out of money and energy for such projects).  And I'm not sure if I'll do raspberries this year or next. Hopefully this year so they can get better established.
  • I planted blueberries again!  I worked a lot harder on getting a good spot for them to begin with.  I'm sure you care a lot, so I'll give you the details of the hard work that went into them. First I dug a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the plant.  Then I put vermiculite on the bottom.  (For drainage.  Blueberries like lots of water, but they don't like to sit in lots of water.)  Then I took all the dirt I dug up and mixed it approx. half peat moss (to hold in water so the blueberries can have more to drink) and half dirt.  Then I mixed in some soil sulfur, which helps acidify the soil, because blueberries are acid-lovers and our soil and water is very alkaline.  Then I buried the bushes in the amended soil.  Whew!  Most time-intensive planting I've done!

    I got two different varieties (because they need two to pollenate).  I don't remember the name of the one… (but I can look it up) but it tolerates less acidic conditions, so it's much better for this area.  And it's already got dozens and dozens of blossoms, so maybe I'll get lucky and get blueberries this year!  And the other one I got for funness.  It's called pink lemonade and the berries are a bright pink!  I'll definitely send pictures when they grow.  (When.  Not if.  I'm being positive here.)  Do you think naming them would help?  As one is pink and one is blue, I'm considering naming them after the fairies in Sleeping Beauty.  Let's find out their names.  [googling]  Flora and Merriweather it is!

    At first I was a little disappointed.  The three fairies are named Flora, Fauna and Merriweather.  And I thought, "How funny would it be if I named my blueberries Flora and Fauna!"  So when it wasn't Fauna, but Merriweather, I was sad.  But then BJ pointed out that Fauna means animals, so now I'm fine with keeping Fauna out of my blueberries.  No animals in my blueberries, please!  So it all works out well in the end.  Flora is pink and Merriweather is blue.  Hooray!  They have names!  Now they have more will to live!

    I also planted them right next to an established drip line.  I need to actually set up the lines to come out to the blueberries, though.  That was one reason I believe they died last year.  No consistent water.  I think I'll put two drips to each bush.  Because they loooooove water.  My dad told me that I pretty much need to drown them daily.  So that's the plan.  I'll just let my sprinkler system take care of it.  :)
  • We got the climbing dome set up late last night!  Hooray!
  • We got our climbing dome put in!  It took all evening Tuesday, and half of it with both Abby and Kessa running around out back.  (And when Abby doesn't have the road to taunt her, we're in the back yard where our neighbor is in process of burying their trampoline and thus has a giant hole in their backyard.  It's like an Abby-magnet.  [sigh])  But we had to finish tightening all 130 nuts and bolts, and putting on 130 covers to keep kids from bonking on nuts and bolts, after the girls went to bed.  So no one has played on it yet.  At least, no one except BJ.  I get the feeling this new toy is going to get BJ outside playing with the kids more than any other.  It's bringing out his inner-child-climber.
  • The neighbors got their play set all put together.  The last two days Kessa has spent every spare minute outside playing on it.  She adores it.  But after watching all the work they put into it to set it up… I'm glad they got it instead of me.  :D  I'm pretty sure Abby will go down the slide by herself before Kessa does.  lol.  Ok, maybe not really.  But Abby is definitely far less cautious than Kessa ever has been.  Kessa is even coming out of her shell and being more daring.  But she still doesn't hold a candle to Abby when it comes to No Fear.
  • We still don't have a pressure reducer, but I'm happy to report that we also have no new explosions to report!  Hooray!  Theoretically the guy is coming out to do it this week, but if it doesn't happen soon, I'm going to start begging neighbors to come help and bribe them with apple pies.
  • I think we're going to put a hammock under our deck, if I can figure out how to do it.  A stand?  Hooks in the deck?  Just not sure…  But it's the only place that receives consistent shade.  Or really, any shade.  Except the sides of the house.  So, in the back yard anyway.  It's just the perfect place.  And then I can lay there and read a book while the girls play on all the toys.  Perfect!
  • My African Daisies and Asiatic Lilies!  [squeal!]
  • I also planted a bunch of flowers out front.  On the bottom of the rock garden I put in Asiatic Lilies and African Daisies.  They're gonna be so pretty!  (I'm pretty sure African Daisies are currently my favorite flower.)  I also planted a clematis at the top.  It's a vining flower, so it's going to cascade down the rock garden, right on the corner.  It's thick green foliage with vibrant purple flowers.  It's going to be amazingly gorgeous.  I can't wait until it's mature so I can send you pictures.  Right now it's just a little weakling.  :D

Family updates: Non-kids

I finally got sustained on Sunday!  I have one counselor (who was the secretary for the stake primary in the stake we split off from) and a secretary (whom I've never met, but apparently my 1st counselor used to visit teach her and assures me that she'll be great.  Seriously? Small world!)  My choice for second counselor was interviewed tonight, so hopefully that goes well.  I hope to find out tomorrow if she accepted or not.  But I've officially been released from YW (and I had to try SO HARD not to cry while I was standing up in sacrament to be sustained.  I even had one friend find me after and comment on how she thought I was going to lose it.  I'm just going to miss the young women so much.  I'm so glad I got to be part of it, if only for a little while.  I'll long for that calling again someday).  No more mutual.  No more meetings.  Time to go back to Relief Society.  Though, I'm still going to work on my Personal Progress and try to earn a second medallion.  Especially as I have no idea where mine is…

BJ's coworkers finally found out about him leaving, so hooray!  Neither of us are living lies anymore!  He starts working from home on Monday.  We've already brought a spare desk down from your dad's office to put in the basement.  It's a large corner desk, so that'll be nice.  I think we're going to hang BJ's Star Wars mosaics down there, to make him feel nice and nerdy.  He thinks I'm putting the hammock just outside his window in order to taunt him.  "Haha!  You're working while I'm out in a hammock in the shade reading a book!"  He then suggested that we get blinds for downstairs.  Party pooper.

My dad had some tests done.  He hasn't been feeling well lately.  They were afraid he had bleeding ulcers again (that's why he had half his stomach removed long ago).  But turns out that since his triple bypass he's been producing too much alkaline bile and not enough acid to counteract it.  So it just sits in his stomach and has been eating the lining away, so apparently his stomach looks like ground hamburger.  Ewww.  So they're deciding on if they should do surgery to have the bile just bypass his stomach or if they should try to heal it with more natural means.  Keep him and us in your prayers, if you will.  I think God pays special attention to missionaries' prayers.

Ellie turned 7 on Saturday.  We (my family, Mom and Resa) all went down to the party.  It was fun and it was really good to see Bonnie again.  She's hanging in there.  She's got the picture of you with their family hanging up on the fridge, as promised.  It's super cute.  :)

Field Trip: The Zoo!

Kessa riding the carousel.
I'm pretty sure that's her favorite part of the zoo.  :)
I got another annual zoo pass, but this time I got it with a neighbor instead of with BJ.  We realized it just says two named adults.  Not two parents or two married people or two people in the same household.  Just two named adults and their dependent children.  So we upgraded our pass some then split the cost.  So we can get in two guests for free (so that if we go together we can take our husbands) now.  But if I want to go without her, I can still get BJ in, plus one guest.  She can do the same, too.  It's great!  And if we go during the day, she can bring her sister that lives with her (which is good as there are 5 kids under 4 between the two of us) and we can even bring another mom if we want.  Or maybe come summer, Resa can come with us.  Or Travis.

Anyway, so we went to the zoo on Friday and stayed there for, I think, 3 hours.  We were exhausted by the end. But it was so much fun!  Were there in the morning and the animals were so active!  We were in the primate house and the gorilla apparently felt threatened, so while we were standing by the window he grabbed a PVC pipe he had in there and ran at the window with it.  It was a little scary!  I wouldn't want to meet a threatened gorilla in the wild.  Poor Audrey, Kessa's friend who is almost 3, jumped back and ended up tangled in someone else's stroller.  Then the gorilla just sat there and stared at us for a long, long time.  We also had a leopard pacing as close as he could get and snow leopards sleeping really close.  The polar bear put on a great show for us.  (I got a video, but can't send those to you.  Sorry!)  A brown bear came right up next to the window when were there, too!  Seriously.  Morning is the time to go.  It was awesome.  It'll be even more awesome when our babies stop taking morning naps.  They were all quite grumpy by the end.  :D  But they really did very well for most of it.  Abby took her morning nap on the way up there, so that helped a lot.  And she was content to stay in her stroller for the first couple of hours!  It was great.  And then when she got fussy I just put her shoes on and let her walk around, which she thought was the greatest thing ever.

And Kessa, being like her daddy, at one point was way too interested in a little waterfall to look at the monkeys!  It reminded me of BJ when he was a kid and went to the zoo and was too interested in sprinklers to pay attention to animals.  Haha.

Speaking of animals, we were at a neighbor's house the other day and there was a very friendly cat walking around.  All three of us girls loved it.  And it was such a nice cat, too.  It didn't mind when Abby pet it and pulled its tail.  And it cuddled.  Now I want it.  :)

Family updates: The kids!

Speaking of Abby, she just loves her shoes now.  She used to hate them and would cry when we put them on, or wait for us to turn our heads then rip them off.  I don't know what changed, but now she'll go find her shoes and bring them to us so we can put them on for her.  Today she tried to wear Kessa's shoes for awhile, but got frustrated when she couldn't go from sitting to standing with them on, or when she couldn't walk well with them on.  So she went and got hers instead and was content to leave Kessa's alone.  She's also really good about saying doggy.  And her hair is now long enough that I can do one ponytail on the top of her head!  So cute!  Kessa couldn't do that until she was over 2 and Abby got it at 15 months!   Maybe she's focusing on growing hair instead of height?  She's still picky in what she eats.  She has to have a specific sippy cup to drink her water.  She won't try new things most of the time.  Except at dinner.  She's really good about eating whatever we put in front of her at dinner.  So I guess I need to work on introducing new foods to her then.  I wonder if she'd try milk at dinnertime..

Abby wearing Kessa's shoes
Abby adores grabbing Kessa's sun hat
and wearing it around everywhere.  It's adorable.
Kessa likes to turn in circles and dance around while sing-songing the word "Ballerina!"  I'm not sure where she learned that, but she's very insistent about it.  It almost makes me want to put her in ballet.  I'm just nervous about it since she's so tall.  I had a roommate who was tall and loved ballet and ended up destroying her knees.  It's worrying.

She loves, loves, loves to play with friends.  Especially Izzy next door.  I think she would classify Izzy as her best friend.  She'll be playing with anyone else and if she gets bored at all she'll ask if she can play with Izzy.  She begs to play with her All. Day. Long.  It'll be nice to be able to just let them go out back and play whenever.  Lately the neighborhood kids have been playing Bad Guy.  But Kessa doesn't really love it.  Like the other day when she was the bad guy and the good guys tied her up and she cried because it hurt her wrists.  Or yesterday when she came up to me and said, "Mommy, they want me to be the monster.  But I don't want to be the monster."  So we had an empowering conversation where I taught her that if her friends want her to play something that she doesn't want to play, she can just tell them no.  So she did.  "Sorry guys, but I don't want to be the monster!"  And they seemed to be fine with it.  Then an hour or two later she came back up.  "Mommy, they want to play Bad Guy, but I don't want to play Bad Guy."  So I told her that she had choices.  She could tell them she didn't want to play, then recommend a different game, or play by herself, or to play Bad Guy with them.  So she ran back over and told them, "Sorry guys, but I don't want to play Bad Guy.  I just want to play by myself."  And then she did.  I was very proud of her.  But I have to admit, it's really hard being a mom and not stepping in to solve all her problems with her friends.  It's hard to see her get pushed around sometimes.  It's hard to watch her be mean or push others around.  I guess it's just hard to let her grow up.  It's hard to not be the main influence in her life all the time.  I'm learning, but it's still hard.

Kessa had her Mother's Day program with preschool.  Your mom came down for it, too.  It was really cute and fun.  She was so excited about it all week long.  "Mommy, are you so excited to come to my school and listen to me sing?"  Awww.  I'll put the video on my blog (all but the last 30 seconds because my phone ran out of space) and you can watch it when you get home.  (Mama Lovell, Happy Mother's Day to you, too!  Sorry I missed the last little bit.  We still love you!)

Kessaisms (with a little bit of Abby):

  • Abby was playing with a cowbell we have for a game.
    Me: Do you have a cowbell?
    Kessa: What cow does it go on?
  • Abby likes to pretend to pick up something from the floor with her thumb and forefinger, then hand it to me. I pretend to take it. She giggles. Then I hand it back. She giggles. Sometimes it repeats several times. Sometimes she really does find something on the floor. She rarely gets that back. :)
  • Kessa: Do you know Mama Homer? … She's my favorite aunt. Mama Lovell is my favorite aunt, too.
  • Kessa: Mommy, did you check to see if there were lots of ladybugs to eat the bad bugs?
    Me: I didn't see any.
    Kessa: That's bad news.
  • We got in our hot car and Kessa put her fingers in her nostrils. We asked what she was doing. “I don't want the hot to get in there.”
  • Flowers like to climb on trees. (Kessa looking at her fluffy spring dress.)
  • Kessa: “unglis” means no in Spanish.
  • Kessa, picking up my journal, “Ok, you go do that. I'm going to read this.” Then she plopped herself down into a chair to read.
  • BJ was supposed to go get Abby up from her nap, but I kept holding his hands and wouldn't let him go.
    BJ: Mommy doesn't really want me to go get Abby up.
    Me: [pulled BJ over and kissed him.]
    Kessa: Mommy, you're just jealous! You need to let Daddy get Abby.

That last one is probably my favorite.  "Mommy, you're just jealous!"  Hahaha.  I don't know where she comes up with half these things.  But they're great.

And now that I'm about to fall asleep at the keyboard… I'm going to bed.

<3 Tianna and Co.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Frantic writing to get this in time… forgive any typos. :)

Dear readers ~

I've put off posting this blog for a couple of reasons.  1) I'm lazy.  :D  2) Last week I had to cut something out because it was still secret to the general public (No, I'm not pregnant.)  I talked about it again in this letter and I didn't want to have to cut it out again.  But it's not secret anymore, so now I can blog!  (And there will be a little more the next few weeks, I'm sure.)  This is what I cut out last week (small parts made it in; I left them.  You can read those parts twice):

BJ decided to take a job at Day One.  So he'll be working from home in a couple of weeks.  (About the same time that Teresa comes and "lives" with us for 3 weeks while your parents are taking a cruise of Norway and making me hate them out of jealousy and envy.  Perhaps you could do your scripture study on those topics this week and send me a sermon on how to overcome them next week?)  
I got my new calling.  Stake Primary president.  What???  [sigh]  But I haven't been sustained yet because they haven't called my counselors yet, so this is still hush hush.  I'm sure you were planning on telling everyone in the world that.  Personalized letters to everyone in my stake.  So I just wanted to save you the trouble.  Because I'm hoping it will be announced over the pulpit to everyone next week.  It'll save you plenty of stamps and give you time to write that sermon for me anyhow.  The hardest part is going to YW activities.  I still just love them.  And it reminds me that I won't be in there long.  So I'm trying to love every part of it.  And I have to keep pretending that I'm in there for the long haul.  Because they don't know I've got a new calling yet.  [sigh]
Now we'll return to the letter I sent Jessa.  More information on both are included.

Sis. Homer ~

Last night you starred in one of my dreams.  It was so weird.  In one part you came home because you realized how expensive it was to be on your mission and you couldn't put your parents through that.  And I had to convince you that it wasn't that much of a hardship on them.  And how they've already done it thrice.  And how it's actually cheaper, in a way, to pay for you than for BJ, because they only have one child at home now.  [rolls eyes]  Then in another part I somehow was talking to you (you were still in the MTC) and discovered that your P-Day was only moved to Wednesday for last week.  Which made me frantic because I didn't write you yesterday because I wanted to be able to catch you up on today as well.  So I had to write you an email in the time it took you to write your family email lest you wouldn't get an email from me AT ALL this week.  Which would be highly tragic.  But I couldn't find my computer ANYWHERE.  Which made no sense because it's a desktop computer.  But turns out my mom put it in storage for me, laying on it's side.  I woke up in a state of panic.  Hah!  Clearly my subconscious is highly invested in your mission.

Kessa is getting into the habit of praying for you every prayer she says.  It's adorable.  Usually it's just "please bless Jessa on her mission" but every once in awhile she'll add to it.  Backstory: when we left Jalin's house a few weeks ago, our car wouldn't start.  Everyone else was still at church (we only stayed for sacrament) so we couldn't get ahold of anyone for help.  We had no clue what was wrong.  So we said a prayer.  A few minutes later our car started and has been fine ever since.  We said a prayer of gratitude right after and prayed that our car would drive the rest of the way safely.  Which it did.  So back to you.  Sometimes Kessa will pray, "please bless Jessa on her mission and please help that her airplane will start and that it will fly safely when she goes to Cambodia."  Awwwwwww.  Whenever we mention missionaries, like yesterday during FHE when I told her the conversion story of Alma the younger and how he became a missionary to the Lamanites, her eyes get big and happy and she'll yell, "Jesssssssssaaaaaaa!"  And the way she says Cambodia is adorable.  Something like cam-BO-d'ya.  Travis went to Europe to head up a study abroad on Sunday.  When we told Kessa that Travis was going far away on an airplane to England she said, "Like Jessa!  Is he going by Cambodia?"  So don't worry, m'dear.  I don't think Kessa will forget you any time soon.

I think a good scripture study topic for you would be Grace.  Can you access  If you can, go to the new Come Follow Me youth lessons.  Or if you can't use a direct URL, it's in the new Come Follow Me curriculum, in March, lesson titled "What is Grace?"  I taught that this year.  You probably remember all my questions about grace up at your house.  But the more I learn about it, the more I realize how important it is.  When you talked about being discouraged and how it's good because it caused you to be humble and really turn to Heavenly Father, I realized, "That's grace!"

I read the book The Holy Secret a couple of years ago down at Lake Powell.  Did you ever read that?  Anyway, there's a part that talks about how when you see your flaws or your sins and get discouraged, there are two pathways you can take.  1) You get depressed.  You think, "I can't do this.  I'm no good.  Look at all my flaws."  You start thinking poorly of yourself and it spreads to different aspects of life, too.  This path is selfish and denies the power of the Atonement.  It says, "I'm sorry, Christ.  I know you worked hard on that Atonement, but clearly it wasn't good enough for me."  2) You see how flawed you are and realize that you can't be perfect on your own.  So you humble yourself before God and you turn yourself over to him.  You become broken so that you can turn the pieces to God and allow him to refashion you in a way pleasing to him.  That refashioning is Grace.

It goes with the scripture, Ether 12:27. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."  When I read that scripture with my grace lesson in mind, it took on a whole new light. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble.  God can't make us strong until we recognize our weaknesses, until they are so clear to us that we become humble.

May 8, 2013

Dah!  Dream partially come true!  Here it is Wednesday morning and I haven't finished your letter!  Note to self: take dreams as warning!  If I happen to get your email before I finish this, I just going to hit send.  Better you get something unfinished than nothing at all.

Let's see.  Exciting things in our lives.

Garden update:
Two main things:
1) Remember the geysers from too much pressure?  Turns out, we really do have high water pressure.  The irrigation guarantees a minimum of 120 psi.  Up in the hills.  And we're right down by the lake.  So ours has to be high in order for theirs to have the minimum.  So we have about 180 to 210 psi.  No wonder things keep exploding!  We definitely need to make getting a pressure reducer installed a priority.  Anyway, when we put in the curbing we extended one of our flowerbeds and one of our lawn sprinklers ended up inside.  We were aware of this when we did it.  But then it got covered in dirt, so when we wanted to turn on the sprinklers, we had to go unbury it.  We couldn't find it right away, so we dug where we thought it was, then BJ turned on the line in the sprinkler box to turn it on.  Problem was, we didn't know which knob was for that zone in the lawn and which was for my garden boxes.  Of course he got the wrong one.  And exploded our drip pipe this time.  [sigh]

2) We got bricks for the edges of our garden to keep our neighbor's grass out!  Hooray!  Right now we've just got them sitting there.  We need to dig it out a big and get them level and straight.  But we still have them!

And a bonus item: We decided not to get the playhouse.  The one at CostCo sold out and the ones I found online were full of reviews of how great it is, but, btw, the wood is thin and breaks, and the craftsmanship is shoddy, and it takes 20 billion hours to put together.  So instead we decided to buy one of those climbing domes.  The ones that are a half a sphere sitting on the ground and are basically a jungle gym.  I even ordered it, so this is the final one!  Hopefully next week I'll have a picture of it all set up.  Assuming it gets delivered in time.

Life updates:

Still haven't been sustained as the stake primary president.  I'm crossing my fingers for this week.  I'm torn.  Because, honestly, I don't want to be stake primary president. {editor's note: it's not so much that I'm dreading this calling.  It's that I've spent a lot of time in Primary and I was super excited to be in Young Women.  I'm not quite ready to leave yet.  Also, I'm still a little dumbfounded about it being in the stake!  I'm not even 30 yet!  I'm not supposed to have a stake calling, let alone a president! It's just… overwhelming.  The more I think about it and get used to it, though, the less dread and more excitement I feel.}  And I don't want to leave Young Women.  But I feel like I'm living a lie.  I have to act to everyone (except the president, who knows) that I'm going to be there indefinitely.  Yesterday I set up a Beehive presidency meeting at my house for a date I won't be around.  I participated in a conversation on if our YW presidency meetings should be on Tuesday or Sunday.  The church is forcing me to live a lie, Jessa!  I don't like it!  Hahaha.  (I'm not as stressed as it sounds.  Promise.  Mutual was just a little over the top for me last night.)

As for BJ, he officially starts working from home on May 20.  He is also living a lie, because they don't want him to announce it publicly to his team until May 13 {editors note: they announced it on Friday.  We're good.}  So he has to act like he'll be working there indefinitely, too.  It's funny how similar our circumstances are.  You asked what he'll be doing.  Well, he'll be working for Day One, which is a journaling app.  He'll be working with one main other guy (and maybe a part time guy?) on their Mac and iOS apps.  That's… about all the detail I know.  Or, frankly, care about.  I don't need more nerdy details.  :D

Abby fell down the stairs again a week or two ago.  It's scared her enough that now she refuses to go down the stairs by herself.  Upstairs, sure.  Down?  No way.  So instead she crawls upstairs, plays, then when she's ready to come back down, she stands at the top and cries and cries until I go get her.  [sigh]  I get comments all the time about how happy she is and does she ever cry?  I want to invite them over for a day.  haha.  But really, in general she is totally happy and adorable.  The other day she woke up from her nap.  Usually I let her play for awhile before I get her, but this time I happened to be right there, so I went in to get her.  When I reached out my hands to pick her up, she grinned and ran to the other corner of her crib!  I had just finished her laundry, so I brought it in, folded it, put it away, all while she played happily in her crib and ran away laughing if I tried to get her up.  It was adorable.

Less adorable (in the moment) was yesterday when we and two neighbor families were out front playing.  The girls were riding bikes and scooters while we moms talked.  Abby, however, would sit by me for a minute, then take off walking.  Straight to the street.  Then she'd turn and look at me to make sure I was chasing her.  Then she'd grin.  She knew exactly what she was doing!  So I'd run and get her, lest she be squished by a car, and bring her back.  Repeat ad nauseum.  Luckily she eventually started walking across the driveway and then across the lawn before she reached the cul de sac, which gave me more time to sit and talk and watch her before I had to get up and run after her.  Though, not much.  Even on grass this girl is fast!  I definitely got my exercise out of it!

Kessa's school went to Thanksgiving Point Farm Country for a field trip this week.  She got to ride a pony!  I worried she might be too scared, but our little cautious one is definitely expanding her bubble and she had a great time.  We also rode on a hay ride (except there was no hay… and it was through all the parking lots…)  And we walked around and saw cows, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, etc.  She had a great time.  Abby just wanted to be held (it was nap time) and fell asleep for 5 minutes in the car, then refused to nap when she got home.  Funtimes.  :D

Did you know that you shouldn't feed bread to ducks?  It's not nutritious at all, but it fills them up.  So areas where duck-feeding is popular, the ducks end up being malnourished!  Plus, bread floating in water creates an atmosphere for bacteria to grow and increases disease in the water.  I didn't know!  I feel health-guilt for all those loaves of bread I've fed to ducks.  They (Tracy Aviary) suggests that instead you feed them corn or lettuce.  Both as cheap (or cheaper) than bread, just as fun, and healthier!

We've been playing Stone Age on our phones.  I was playing against my sister and put 5 people on gold and rolled… five 1's.  Really?!  What are the chances?!  (BJ informs me that the chances are 1/7776)  It was ridiculous.  Luckily I had one tool so I could at least get 1 gold with 5 guys!!!  And that only by the skin of my teeth.  [shakes head sadly]  Speaking of games, we had a game night with the Harris' on Sunday (the ones with the twin boys that are bigger than Abby) and his brother and her sister were also there, so we played 7 Wonders.  Twice.  The second game the brother won with 89 points! BJ is still talking about it.  When I asked what updates we had this week, this was his second choice, after the garden.  Haha.  But still.  Insane.

Smiths got a bulk section!  This makes me happy, because I rarely make it out to WinCo anymore.  (I now get Einstein bagels at CostCo which eliminates my other reason for going to WinCo, though Einstein doesn't have my favorite flavors (they don't even have blueberry!) so I may still get WinCo bagels from time to time.)  They don't have a huge section, though. Mostly granolas, grains, and snacks (like banana chips).  At least in Saratoga Springs they completely changed up the inside of the store, so now there is an entire health aisle instead of little sections throughout the store.  And the bulk section is part of that.  All of the stuff in there is full of organic and such.  No hydrogenation or high fructose corn syrup.  Hooray!  (Am I lame that this brings me such joy?)

Book you would love to read when you get home, though I think maybe you've already read?  Maybe?  Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  So good!  I adore it.  I'm also almost done with Percy Jackson. Just one more book.  And I just started listening to Eragon on audiobook.


  • Kessa: Daddy, ask Mommy what a shirt country is.
    BJ: Mommy, what is a shirt country?
    Mommy: hmmm… Texas?
    Kessa: See! She doesn't know!
  • Kessa held up two fists: Mommy, which hand is the wrapper in?
    Me: That one.
    Kessa looked in, saw the wrapper in that fist, then quickly shoved the wrapper in her mouth.
  • Kessa woke up around 2:30 this morning with a bad dream. I'm proud of her; she didn't cry—just came into our room. When asked what it was about she told me that there were spiders making webs everywhere on balls and she went around picking up the balls.

    Sounds scary enough to me.

    On our way back to her room she asked, “'member when we were at Audrey's house and you saw a spider and you went 'eeee!'? Member that?” I didn't remember that so I asked if that happened in her dream. It did.
  • Kessa: Mommy, we can start being a family again.
    Me: Did we stop being a family?
    Kessa: Yes. But it's ok. We can start again.
  • While talking about when she gets her next tic tac, Kessa said, “Until I run out of breath.”
  • Kessa, when learning the word, “am” and coming up with example sentences.
    I am a happy, cute sister.
    I am a letter person.
  • Kessa: Do you know what it means when I'm quiet? It means you need to check if I'm watering something.
  • Kessa, playing with a nesting doll: [gasp!] She's growing a new baby! Are you growing a new baby, mommy?
    Me: No, I'm not.
    Kessa: Is that the truth?
    {editor's note: it is the truth}
  • Kessa: It hurted my hair bones!
  • Me: What do you want for a snack?
    Kessa: I'll eat anything you give me as long as it's not yucky.
    Me: How about a bowl of yogurt?
    Kessa: Anything you give me is fine.


  • BJ: Daddy's kind of tired right now because I've been taking care of kids all day, and I'm not used to that.
  • I just came upstairs to wake Kessa up and found her already awake and making her bed. I'm one proud mama.
  • Me: I just don't see God as the desk type.
    BJ: So, what you're saying is that when we talk about "all that the Father hath", that doesn't include treadmill desks?

Have a lovely day!  I think I got this done in time!  Hooray!
<3 Tianna and Co.

Other randomness I didn't send to Jessa:

Abby adores light sabers. She likes to fight Daddy with them.

Kessa came up to me at Grandma Homer's the other day and asked me to take a video of her dancing while Daddy played the piano (and he was just making it up!)  So I did.  I love the interpretive dance style.  :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sleep deprivation at your service

Sis. Homer ~

Goodness.  Why do I always forget to write until it's late?  Maybe that's why I get so rambly… I've no self-control this late.  More laughs for you.  Maybe it works out?  Though, looking at pictures, I don't know how much there is to say.  I'm sure I'll surprise myself.

So, first let's reply to your email.  I will tell BJ to send you an email about imaginary numbers.  He taught Teresa last night at 4th Sunday dinner.  :)  And you're right!  I forgot to send you that letter from Kessa.  I mailed it Saturday, so hopefully you get it soon.

Teresa is going to come and "live" with us for 3 weeks while your parents are taking a cruise of Norway and making me hate them out of jealousy and envy.  (Perhaps you could do your scripture study on those topics this week and send me a sermon on how to overcome them next week?)

BJ and I just got called (assigned?) to be on our mini-parade float committee.  It has to be ready in 2 months.  Yipes!  Luckily, the guy in charge is the one that works at Adobe and won the individual Halloween costume competition every year while Nick was winning the group.  So I think we've got a good chance at success.  Teresa is convinced that their float is going to win.  … even though we're not competing against them.  Seeing as how we're in totally different cities and all.  But whatever.  :)

Kessa and some of her neighbor friends eating Otter Pops
next door while the grown ups worked in our back yards.
Yard/garden update:   I finally got the rest of the newspaper laid out so I could shovel dirt up along the curbing.  That was nice.  And I got all my early spring plants planted.  Which, turns out, is more than half of my garden.  And we put all the tubing on the sprinkler heads and the drip emitters on the tubing for the plants we already have in.  And then we turned on the sprinkler system to make sure it was getting the right spots and KABOOM!  One of the heads of the sprinklers popped off and gave us about a 20-foot geyser.  So we shut it off, turned off that head, tried again… and got the same result on a different head.  Turns out, we're pretty sure we need a pressure reducer.  So we'll tack that onto our list of things to do…  So I'm still watering by hand, sadly.

Our new tree is so tall!  Seriously.
That's not a small pickup.  The tree is so tall.  I'm pleased.
Today we bought a Bradford Pear tree (it doesn't produce pears, it just flowers like a pear tree.  It's one of the most common flowering trees around these parts) to replace our maple that we're pretty certain is dead.  [sigh]

We also bought a pallet of flagstones!  Did you know a pallet of flagstones weigh 1500-2000 pounds?  That's a ton right there.  Literally.  And I actually used the word "literally" correctly there.  Hooray for grammar nazis everywhere!  Turns out, they didn't think it a good idea to transport in my minivan :D so I had to enlist the help of a neighbor.  Bless this neighborhood.  Seriously.  They're great.  We didn't have a place to keep them until I was ready to place them, so we just stuck them around the garden beds, figuring it would be easier to just rearrange anyway.  In good news, they look really cool!  In bad news, I definitely need to buy more compost to cover up the gaps between them lest I walk out barefoot and stub my toe something awful.  Things left to do: rearrange stone. Get and spread more compost.  Plant ground cover of some sort around the stones.  Get the sprinkler system pressurized better and get it turned on.  Wait for last frost and plant the rest of my garden.  Oh, and plant flowers in all my flowerbeds, weed the flowerbeds, and get the drip system fully functional there (though that should be decently easy).  Act modest with a tinge of giddiness whenever someone tells me how great it is.  … perhaps you should tack vanity onto that sermon.

Our garden as of this afternoon!  Isn't it so pretty?  Ignore the strip of green that's still tied to the tree.  It was too tall for BJ to finish untying and we weren't smart enough to untie it while it was still laying on the ground.  Go figure.

And now I'm thinking that instead of getting a play set, I might get a play house.  Much cheaper, provides its own shade, a smaller footprint, different from the neighbor's, and way fun. Yes?  Thoughts?

Abby had her 15-month checkup at the pediatrician today.  I asked her what I should do about Abby's refusal to eat milk and her more picky-eating nature than Kessa.  Her first advice was to get the word picky out of my vocab and to not discount any food as a dislike.  Continuously offer her the same foods in different ways.  Studies show that sometimes a child needs to be offered the same food dozens of times before she will even acknowledge it on her plate.  Then she also gave me tips on getting more dairy and veggies in her food.  So I've got my work cut out for me there.  But she wasn't actually too concerned, because apparently I've been getting plenty of calories in her.  She's now in the 15.33%ile for weight (18.74 lbs)!  Up from 5.6% 3 months ago.  And our little midget is getting taller!  She's 28 inches in length, which is the (ready for this?) drumroll… .91%ile!  (Note the decimal before the 91.  She's still under 1%)  Hahaha.  Up from .44.  And for fun, Head Circumference: 17.24 in; 8.91% (up from 4.19).  So she's growing.  Which is good news.  And she didn't have to get shots today!  Woohoo!

And Abby's random milestone… she's sleeping without her blanket sack now!  I took too long to do laundry and all three of hers were dirty (don't judge me.  Laundry is overwhelming sometimes.  It gets procrastinated.) so I thought, "Well, she's getting to small anyway.  Maybe I should just put a real blanket on her.  So I did.  One of my baby blankets.  Awwww.  And she's done great!  Hooray!  She can also say cheese.  It's one of her favorite foods.  I was slicing some for her yesterday and her eyes got big and her smile bigger and she said, "Sheeze!  Sheeze!"  I had no idea she could say that until just then.  She can also say doggy (which sounds like dock'ee (where the ' is a glottal stop.  For Jessa. :D)), though she doesn't perform on command, so it's been several days since I've heard it.  She adores Teresa's dog she gave her for Christmas.  She always sleeps with it.  And when she sees it after an absence she gets super happy and cuddles it like there's no tomorrow.  She's loved one of it's ears off.  I really need to sew it back on.

And now… Kessa-isms!

  • In a sing-song voice, “Now that I have my fi-irst kiss, now give me a ki-i-iss.”
  • Kessa: Mommy, after we have a baby, I want a baby sister.
    Me: I thought you wanted a baby brother.
    Kessa: Brother! Yessss! [pause] Or maybe I want a boy.
    (editor's note: we're not pregnant)
  • Kessa: Ok. Here's the deal. We have to make a slide.
  • A) Kessa tells me she has headaches. She means hiccups.
    B) I had her drink water upside down to get rid of them. It worked. I asked her if they went away and she said no. I asked if she was still hiccuping and she looked confused, then said, "No, it just takes awhile to hiccup again."
  • BJ, talking about family members: And who is Grandma Homer?
    Kessa: I don't remember her name.
    BJ: She is daddy's mommy!
    Kessa, very serious faced, looking Daddy right in the eye: I love your mommy. [getting suddenly happy] When I see her I yell, “Mama! Mama!”
  • Kessa: I'm Santa! When you go to sleep I bring you presents. Easter Eggs!
  • Kessa wanted to play in the playground behind that big house that was remodeled by your parents' house. We told her that she couldn't because we didn't know the people who live there. To which she replied, “We could go up to them and say he-ey.”
  • Kessa: I'm hungry.
    Me: I'm sorry.
    Kessa: Why?
    Me: Because I don't have any food in the car.
    Kessa: Yes you do.
    Me: I do? What?
    Kessa: Fruit.
    Me: Fruit leather? You ate the last one in the diaper bag last night on the way home from Mama Homer's house, remember?
    Kessa: Oh. I want your phone.
    Me: You're going to eat my phone?
    Kessa: No! I want to play games on it. Not eat it.
    Me: Oh. Well, you were asking for food.
    Kessa: No I wasn't. I'm not hungry.
    Me: But you just said you were hungry.
    Kessa: But you don't have any food, so I'm not hungry anymore.
  • Kessa: I've got loose teeth under my pillow. You be Santa, ok?
  • Me: Kessa, did you break that crayon?
    Kessa: Yes! It's for sharing!

And a bonus conversation between BJ and I about Kessa:

Me: What kind of child are we raising that as soon as I say we're having pizza she asks “Where's the cheese sticks?”
BJ: Your child.

And a really random thing that has nothing to do with anything, but I posted on Facebook this week:

My bank is touting, "No more standing in line at the post office. Pay that bill with [their bill pay system]." … does anyone really stand in line at the post office to pay their utility bill? Anyone? I mean, even if you still pay it with a real check, can't you just drop it in the box without standing in line?

Lastly, I want you to know that in order to write you a proper letter [remember, this blog is simply a modified version of my letters to Jessa on her mission], I consult your emails, my pictures from the week, my journal (where I keep all the cute things Kessa says), and Facebook.  It's hard work writing you.  So thank you for appreciating it.  It also gets me to blog. You're amazing, basically.

And... now I'm WAY tired and definitely need sleep.  Since this took at least 45 minutes to write… and my eyes are falling asleep here.

I'm excited for yours tomorrow!
~ Tianna and Co.