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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.  :)

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