Another week with nieces is over. They leave on Thursday and honestly, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, there will be far less whining and errands will be faster and I'll have about a billion fewer questions to answer every day (turns out, questions don't end when the "why" phase passes. They just become more complex!) But on the other hand, I will have to be the one helping Kessa do everything and I won't have anyone to ask to help me with pretty much anything. Chores will take a lot longer to do and I'll have to be far more involved. I'm very scared about how well Kessa will react when she doesn't have cousins taking her potty and sharing her room with her. Life will be far less busy (we've been trying to do fun things while the girls are here), but we won't be doing nearly as many big, fun events. I've just accepted them as two more daughters and it's both made me excited for more kids and more frightened. Haha. I guess that's just how kids go, right? They cause far more work and sacrifice, and yet they somehow make up for it with helping and being overall adorable.
This week has been made even more crazy because Kessa has swimming lessons. Yeah. We're insane, I know. But by the time we decided not to go to Lake Powell it was too late to do it earlier in the summer and it was the only option left. My choice was either to do it with the nieces here or make her wait till Fall. And since she has been asking about when she gets to do it for the last forever, I couldn't bear to make her wait months and months more. Especially as that will just start interfering with school. So every day at 11:30 I pack up Kessa and go to swimming lessons, spend a half hour at the pool reading on my Kindle (reading Wielder's Awakening by T.B. Christensen who is in my ward!), then I pack her up and head home. Thank goodness for BJ working from home. He's just been taking an extra long lunch break and coming up and feeding the other three girls while I'm gone. What an awesome guy, right?
She's been learning to float as flat as a pancake on her back and belly (still with support), do various kicking strokes (?) while her teacher pulls her along on her back, walk across the pool while doing ice cream scoops with her arms, kick her feet and make big splashes in the shallow end, and chase rings and bring them back like a good dog playing fetch. She's in a class with two other boys who are far less, uh, slow, so their rings get thrown really far while Kessa's go maybe 5 feet away. And the boys usually beat her back. Seriously. That girl can be so ridiculously slow. She's also learned how to put her head under the water all by herself.
The other day we forgot her towel (oops!) but luckily had an extra pair of pants in the car. So I wrung her out the best I could until she declared, "Mommy, stop! There's no more water in me!" Then I put on her extra pants and my undershirt (which I had removed during lessons) and laughed heartily at the result. She thought it was great, so we were all happy. And now we make a special effort to remember her towel. We have one more week of that and she's loving every minute of it.
Sometimes when we're gone, BJ sets up a sprinkler a neighbor gave Kessa for her birthday. It wiggles everywhere while spraying water. He put it up on our climbing dome last time and the girls loved it. (Kessa still doesn't really play *in* it, though.) Other times the girls have put on their swimming suits and gone "swimming" in the bath tub. We're taking them swimming in a real pool next week to thank them for being so patient with Kessa going to swimming lessons without them. Other times they just play the Wii with BJ, which is one of the best treats of all.
Speaking of BJ with the girls, he's pretty great. (Which, I'm sure, comes as a great surprise. [rolls eyes]) All of the girls have been very clingy to me lately. For example, in sacrament today I had Kessa to my left, leaning against my arm, Kristen on my right doing the same, Abby on my lap, after climbing over everyone from Daddy, and Tamra trying desperately to wedge herself between Kristen and I and mostly managing to half sit on my leg and lean her body up against my chest. None of them would consent to go to BJ, so he had to look on helplessly. At that point I busted up laughing. In the middle of sacrament. It was really hard to keep quiet and not disturb everyone. I had tears in my eyes.
But despite their clinginess, BJ has managed to wiggle into their hearts as well. He almost always does bedtime and reads stories. The other night while we were camping (more on that below) he took a page from your mom's book and started telling them a story about Twinkie (for those not in the know, Twinkie is a tiny little girl who is about the size of a kids' thumb who gets lost a lot). I was on my phone reading something, so I was only partially paying attention, when I heard Kristen ask, "But how does Twinkie ride in a car?" "In a car seat." "Where did they get a car seat that small?" "They had it specially made. … in Taiwan." At which point I busted out laughing. I couldn't help it. He told another one last night that I recorded on my phone, but I don't know how to attach a voice memo on here, so you don't get to hear it. Sorry. But the girls are fully enraptured by him and his stories.
Today (Sunday), as I was starting to type this up, Kristen crawled up on his lap and somehow got him telling her bible stories. She's so full of questions that one story kept leading to another. As he was telling about the Jews and Philistines in David and Goliath, she asked if we were Jews. How do you answer that for an 8-year old? I had to deliver something for my calling so I missed the actual story, but it took him probably 15 minutes and she seemed satisfied by the answer at the end.
BJ also has found some fun games to get them to do things. One is Obedient Dog, which has been a favorite for years. I got a text from him a few days ago while I was at the store exclaiming that it's the Best Game Ever. "They're currently rolling the purple ball around with their noses." Hah! The other is when they don't want to do something (like start brushing their teeth), he has them all line up and they have to stay perfectly still. When a person moves, they have to go do whatever it is. It's amazing how long they can stay quiet and still. I don't know that I'd believe it if I didn't see it.
I had another week with my cake decorating class. I'm so glad I decided to take it with people I know. It's so much more fun when I can comfortably make fun of my skillz and lack of memory with people I know. :) This week I made a chocolate cake and decorated it as a butterfly. I used an outline that I found online and just kind of made up how to decorate it based on methods I've learned in class. This week I'm taking cupcakes and am learning flowers. I'll be honest, this is the one that scares me the most. So… we'll see how that goes.
We discovered squash bugs on our yellow squash. :S They're gross. And in the words of my friend, Sanna, "They come with an owner's manual right in their name. Squash them!" So we have been. BJ and I go out weekly and find all the eggs (which, of course, are under the leaves, so we have to really search for them) and squash them. As well as any adults we find. It's gross. But despite those, our plants are thriving. We picked a dozen gigantic yellow squash and zucchini the other day. My freezer is (still) broken, so I didn't want to shred them to freeze, so I offered them up in my neighborhood Facebook group with the threat that if no one took them I was going to ditch them in people's cars at church. Hahaha. I got lots of takers. So we took a walk and delivered them to 5 different families around the neighborhood (with about 5 more takers lined up for next time).
We camped in our back yard on Friday night. The girls loved it. We set up the tent, filled it with sleeping bags and pillows, then even made tin foil dinners on the grill. It was great. And delicious. For dessert we made s'mores by putting all the ingredients together then wrapping them in tin foil and putting them on the grill. So the marshmallows weren't browned, but they were still gooey and delicious. As far as camping goes, it was fun, but my womanly hips make it far less comfortable to sleep on the ground. I need to invest in a cot or a thick mat. Haha.
|“I'm pretending I'm a little otter!”|
I've now taught all the girls (and two neighbor girls) how to finger crochet. Kristen, I think, has now made probably 5 necklaces, 3 belts, and a handful of bracelets. Tamra and Kessa have each made some as well. Abby adores wearing them. It's not uncommon to see her wearing 3 or so of them at a time.
Abby has finally gotten into books. It's great, because they now entertain her for more than 30 seconds at church. (And next week she gets to go to Nursery! Hooray!) This week she's discovered that she likes to "read" the books. It's adorable. She'll sit there and flip the pages back and for and babble on and on. I got a video of it, which ended with her repeating several words and then me dropping the phone. She can now say Daddy (which sounds more like doggie, which the girls think is funnier than anything) and Mommy (which sounds like "Nah-nee"). But she only ever says Mommy when I ask her to. And even then she usually just says, "No!" or laughs at me. She's really developing an attitude early. She can also find noses and sometimes eyes and ears. And is super proud of herself. She also ate a bowl of Cheerios (with milk!) this morning for breakfast. I think she was jealous of all the other girls eating cereal while she was stuck with a banana and yogurt. So hopefully we can get more dairy/fat in her that way. She's also learning how to kiss. SO CUTE! We got a video of her kissing my stuffed raccoon, Racky. And it's so cute.
- Tonight I said a longer-than-normal prayer with BJ. And finished to find he was holding in a bloody nose. Oops!
And then as he was cleaning it up he said: Of course you would pick tonight to say a longer prayer. [pause] At least it was a slow one. Me: What? BJ: At least it wasn't a bad one. Me: My prayer? BJ: No! My bloody nose!
- BJ: Wanna hear a funny story? Abby just washed her own mouth out with soap.
- Tamra: Everyone is good except Satan and robbers.
- BJ to me: You're wonderful, even when you're mediocre.
- Kessa: Why not more oatmeal?!
BJ: We want to save some for another day.
Kessa: But we can go to the store on another day!
- Tamra: Does Kessa knowed anyone who died in the 80s?
- Kessa: You don't know everything, Daddy. Jesus does!