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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

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.

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