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Sunday, September 29, 2013

A week of fun and churchiness

Jessa ~

This feels like a busy and a calm week, all at the same time.  At the very least, I don't feel like I have too much to write about.

Diva Abby with a hat and purse
My visiting teachers came on Wednesday and spent the first 5 minutes telling me how awesome my talk was (awww) and then gave me an awesome lesson.  It wasn't really the lesson in the Ensign, as written, but rather one of the questions at the bottom the lady teaching didn't understand.  So we spent the whole lesson discussing the question and what sacrament and service had to do with spiritual self-reliance.  It was a great lesson.  I loved it.  Afterwards I thanked her for being willing to ask the question, because it did lead to such a wonderful conversation.  She replied, "Well, we were taught somewhere recently… Relief Society?  Yes.  I'm sure that was it… that we should talk about the gospel more in our everyday conversation, and I thought that was a great idea."  My other VTer agreed that yes, she was sure it was RS.  It just made me giggle inside, because it was totally my talk in Stake Conference that they were remembering.  I didn't feel bad, I'm just glad they remembered the idea and were incorporating it, but it was really funny to me after they raved about my talk.  Hah!

Heather and Kessa measuring up to apes
Thursday my old roommate, Jessica, and her almost-2 year old daughter, Heather, came to visit us.  Her husband, Kyle, was recruiting at BYU, so she spent her time with me.  Yay!  After Joy School, naps, and making a cake, we made an impromptu trip to the zoo.  It was a slightly insane decision, as it had been raining off and on all day and was quite chilly and windy.  But we did it anyway.  Because Heather had never been to the zoo.  And because I could get us all in free with our pass.  It turned out great.  It was a little chilly, but we went prepared with jackets and no one complained.  We ate right before we went (Chick-fil-A, which is Jess' restaurant obsession.  haha) so the girls were happy.  It didn't rain at all while we were there.  Some of the animals were more active because of the weather (like the seals and sea otters).  Abby spent the day barking like a sea otter that we heard.  All three girls played well together and overall just had a great time.  I'm really glad we did it.

Abby and Kessa looking at a meercat (I think?)
We came home, at dinner (Auj Jus sandwiches), then Jess left and I went to the church for a blood drive, but was too late to do that and get back to the stake center for my baptism orientation, so instead I just chatted with a couple high councilmen that happened to be there that would be helping with Saturday's baptisms, did an impromptu grocery shopping trip, then went to orientation.  It was a busy baptism month.  12 baptisms!  So orientations were busy, as well.  I really love baptism orientations.  We measure them for their baptismal suits, we have them fill out a spotlight, then give them a tour of the font, while explaining the things they need to know (when to be there, wear white underwear "We don't want Spiderman staring at everyone as you walk up the stairs", take your underwear home; don't leave it in the hamper with your wet jumpsuit (you wouldn't believe the collection of underwear we've gathered), etc.  It's just so great seeing the excitement of all these 8-year olds.  I love it!

Jess' "birthday" cake
Friday morning I worked on decorating the cake we made the day before.  Jessica's birthday was the week before, so we decided to celebrate it with her here.  Jess, Kyle and Heather came back around 4ish and we went to the swimming pool.  It was so much fun!  The girls loved it, obviously.  It was a nice surprise for Kessa.  And Abby did pretty well, too.

Jess with her birthday cake.
With Kessa intentionally photo-bombing. :)
We came back, ate dinner (navajo tacos), then ate cake!  Mmmm…  Kessa really had hoped we could write "Happy Birthday Friend Jessica" but there was really only room to write "Jess".  She was very sad about that, but eventually got over it.  (There's a girl in her Sunbeams class named Franchesca and Kessa always calls her FranJessica, so I think "Friend Jessica" morphed from that.  Either that or it was because I introduced her with, "This is my friend, Jessica."  Who knows.  But she called her Friend Jessica all day.)  I was pretty proud of this cake.  It was a white cake I made from scratch with frosting I also made from scratch, but with pressed palm oil instead of shortening.  I've been wanting to try it for ages, since shortening is hydrogenated, and I don't like that, but I've been too chicken.  It wasn't perfect, but I think that had more to do with me beating it too long and getting too many air bubbles, but I'm not sure.  I guess I'll have to try again.  Oh darn.  :)

Like I said, we had a big month for baptisms.  We originally had 17 baptisms, but for various reasons, it went down to 12.  That usually happens.  But 12 is still big.  The stake we split from still uses our stake center and do baptisms at 11, so we had to schedule everything to make sure we were done by then.  So we had to start at 8:30.  Which meant I had to be there by 7.  Yipes!  But everything went smoothly in the set up.  Hooray!  We had some hiccups and problems along the way, but overall, it went pretty well.  We got out in time, which was the most important.  I did kind of feel like we were doing fast-food baptisms, so I'm requesting that next month we have two sessions (and do one at 1:00).  (Of course, it just occurred to me that my secretary and 2nd counselor will be out of town and my 1st counselor will quite likely be out of town… so that'll be fun… doing two sessions by myself.  Haha.  But actually talking it out, it won't be too bad.)

Jess reading Abby a book.

Abby is really into books lately.
After baptisms I came home and helped a neighbor cut some things out of my Silhouette, then crashed on the couch.  I was so tired.  BJ took the girls for a walk to the park while I slept.  Isn't he just the best husband ever?  Not only had he spent the entire morning with them alone, and knew he'd have them all evening  (RS Broadcast), he willingly took them to the park so I could sleep.  Awwww.  I love that man.

Diva Abby with three! hats
And then that night was the RS Broadcast.  Thanks to my nap I was able to stay awake for the whole thing.  :)  Have you had a chance to watch it yet?  It was super short.  Only about 1:15, which surprised me.  But it was really good.  To me it seemed like the main themes were: baptismal covenants, missionary work, and God loves you.  Then we had a dessert bar afterwards.  While in line, my RS president asked me an interesting question, "When do 8-year olds make the baptismal covenant?"  It prompted a really good discussion that I don't believe ever quite answered the question.  But it is interesting.  Because the person being baptized never actually says anything.  It's like the covenant is being done to them.  BJ pointed out that in early church history the one being baptized actually held their arm to the square and made a covenant.  Apparently a friend of his asked a Board question about it.  I haven't read the answer though.  Maybe I should.  :)

Did I tell you that BJ bought Sim City and that I got into playing it?  Well, Kessa likes to watch me play.  I think all of our Kessaisms this week come from her watching me play that.

  • Kessa: What are they saying? Me: That they're sick. Kessa: Mom! They're eating too much sugar, right?
  • Looking at a guy on Sim City with a brown beard, Kessa: Is that God? Me: No, but he has a beard like that, huh? Kessa: And gods must have beards, huh.
Hope you have a great week!

~ Tianna and Co.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dear Jessa ~

I feel like this week was packed full, but my list of what to talk about isn't very long.  So we'll see.

I canned some peaches this week.  Because clearly my life isn't hectic enough and I thought that surely canning peaches would remedy that problem.  [rolls eyes]  I ended up doing them on two separate evenings (because half of them weren't ripe the first night).  I ended up with a total of, I think 28 quarts, but I let Travis have 6 for his help.  And because he bought some of the jars.

And like I said, my life isn't hectic enough.  So during daytime of the first of the two canning days I sliced 2 pounds of carrots (8 cups sliced), sliced 1 celery head (4 cups sliced), and roasted and shredded, I think, 14 chicken breasts (something like 12 cups).  I didn't measure.  The next day I mixed that with chicken broth and spices in freezer bags.  Then took it to my freezer dinner group as chicken noodle soup!  (Noodles on the side to put in at the end.)  And I brought back 6 other really yummy dinners.  Mmmm.  Yay for freezer meals!

Tuesday we met with your family to do the September birthday week family dinner.  Jessa, I just like your family.  I hope you know that.  Because it's true.  Papa played chess with Kessa.  Shawn showed her this new fad video made by Norwegian talk show hosts that tried to make a crap song that, of course, got on the Internet and went big.  It's ridiculously stupid and catchy.  It's called, "What Does the Fox Say." With lyrics like, "frog goes croak, and the elephant goes toot."  Yeah.  That great.  :)  Well, now Kessa sings it!  Thanks, Shawn.  Thanks.  :D  Someday I'm sure you'll get in on the … pleasure?

Saturday I took my friend Melanie and went down to Provo (by the Riverwoods) for an Empowering Birth Conference.  I loved it!  I'm sure you're surprised.  :)  So many great sessions and yummy food.  I learned about how chiropractors can turn breech babies and how posture can affect pain levels during/after pregnancy (and in regular life).  All sorts of great things.  I won't bore you with details though.  Just know that I had a very enlightening, relaxing mom day with no kids and a friend.  While I was gone BJ had the girls.  For breakfast he made pancakes (Kessa's request.  And without a mix!) and for lunch he took some leftover corn tortillas and made double decker cheese pizzas.  Then when I got home we had leftovers for dinner.  I guess cooking two meals was just too much.  ;)  (That and we had TONS of leftovers.  We had them for lunch today, too.  And still have some.)

The girls absolutely adore car-carts
That night we got a babysitter and went to the adult session of stake conference.  Between being nervous about my talk the next day and having been sitting All Day Long, I was super antsy and just wanted to move!  I told BJ, "This is why I will never have a general calling.  They have to sit still.  For two hours!  Twice in one day!  FOR TWO DAYS IN A ROW!"  He assured me they have comfy chairs and it's not a problem.  I'm not sure I believe him about the "not a problem" part.  But we were sitting on folding chairs at the time, so… maybe he has somewhat of a point.

Abby is still very into hats
Today was the big day.  And thank heavens, sing praises, they put me first.  Very first.  I didn't have two hours to fret and stew and be nervous.  Just the opening song, prayer, and sustainings.  Perfect.  I had practiced my talk probably 8 times.  The last 2-3 without looking at my notes.  I did a really great job of following my outline and knowing what was coming next, but every time I did that I got at least 17.5  minutes.  Argh!  I was supposed to have 15!  So I said a prayer beforehand basically saying, "If you want this to be 15 minutes, either help me talk a little faster (I was purposely being slow and deliberate in my speech as I tend to talk fast), or tell me what part to skip, because I think they're all important."
Kessa and Abby have Resa blankets now.
Kessa likes both of them

As I started giving my talk it went well at first.  And then I said something that just fit with what I was saying that I suddenly realized I wasn't supposed to say for like 3 or 4 more paragraphs!  So I had to do some quick thinking and make it still flow all together while rearranging my talk on the fly.  In so doing I completely skipped one of the more meaningful stories and didn't realize it until it was almost too late. So then I had to reroute again and put that in later and make it flow well.  By the end my talk was all rearranged (you got the non-rearranged version, as I don't think I could replicate the real thing), but when I sat down, I was at 14.5 minutes!  (Yes, I did set the stopwatch on my phone.  Hah!)  So apparently I still left some things out, but clearly God answered my prayers and helped me to leave out the things that got me down to 15 minutes.

"Mommy, I stuck!"
BJ, your mom and Resa all said that they had no idea that I had been rearranging.  Everything just flowed smoothly.  Hooray!  More confirmation that it was all inspired.  I've had several people say some very nice and sweet things about my talk.  It makes me feel really good.  I need to do better about complimenting people on talks I really like.  Because I could tell that most of the compliments were sincere, and it really means a lot, especially after all the work I spent on it.  But even our neighbor girl, who is 7, paid attention through the whole thing and told her mom about it afterwards!  Talk about a compliment if I've ever heard one!  What 7-year old pays attention in Stake Conference?!  Hah!  Love it.

Sometimes, you just have to let your
kids dress themselves. Even on
school days.
And then we had 4th Sunday dinner afterwards, which was swell, because I didn't have to cook or stress over what to cook/buy when I was trying to plan a talk.  And, of course, dinner was delicious.  (But your mom forgot a salad!  Jessa, your mom is human!  I know, right?  ;)  )

I was going to wait until October to talk about this, but Travis spilled the beans on Facebook (he was bragging about me, so how could I be mad?  Plus, he had no idea that I hadn't told anyone yet) (and no, I'm not pregnant) so I might as well tell you now and give you more details in October when there's more to show and tell.

So, for Halloween, I decided to be ridiculously awesome and turn my house into Hogwarts!  Well, not exactly as I don't have 7 floors, nor a lake, nor a forest, nor a whomping willow.  But to  incorporate Hogwartiness into our house.  I am so stinking excited, I can't even tell you!  I crocheted a sorting hat the other day, which is what Travis bragged about on Facebook.  I also plan on having a broomstick, snitches (one going through my window), wand, potions ingredients, candles, house scarves laying about, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quiddich Through the Ages, and a Slytherin journal that Travis got me laying out.  I got a semi-realistic looking owl that I'll use to set up an owelry, complete with quill, ink bottle and a scroll.  And I'm hoping to use my old iPod or maybe the iPad to make a framed family picture with us moving in it.  JESSA!  IT IS GOING TO BE AMAZING!  Don't worry, Travis has promised to document the whole thing.  And next year I'll add more to it, and you'll be around to have our 2nd annual Harry Potter Halloween party with us!

Kessa is loving math problems.  Here's a sample from the other day:

BJ: How many legs does a bird have?
Kessa: 2!
BJ: If two birds were on the playhouse, how many legs are on the playhouse?
Kessa: Hmm… 4!
Me: Good job! What if there are three birds?
Kessa: [thinks very hard for a few minutes] Six!!!

Yes, my 4-year old just did multiplication. And loved it. #proudmama

  • Kessa's bedtime prayer: “Please help daddy get a new car, because he keeps driving the old one and it's falling apart.”
  • Me: Please make sure you put the bookmark back in.
    Kessa: I already knowed that. Because God told me. Because he hear-ed!
  • Kessa: I'll bet Papa is going to say, “Are you here for my birthday?”
    Me: He might. And if he does, what will you say?“
    Kessa: Thank you!
  • Kessa: Do you know, if we get in a crash and our car gets to be in all pieces, there's a truck that will come pick them all up.
    BJ: Do you know what that truck is called?
    Kessa: Nobody has telled me yet.
    BJ: It's called a tow truck.
    Kessa: Why isn't it called something else? Like a pick up truck?

Oh, and maybe I should answer some of your questions you've asked.  Rowling is very involved.  She actually suggested the idea, since she knows so much about about Newt Scamander.  So it'll really be awesome!  Plus, I don't have Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them memorized like I do the other books, so I don't think I'll be disappointed if they change anything.  It's a win-win!

And you asked something about sack cloth and ashes once.  I'm not finding it right away, so I hope I answer the question correctly.  Feel free to clarify if I totally miss the point.  During periods of mourning, the Israelites would show their grief by replacing their clothing with sackcloth and smearing ashes on their faces.  (An ancient version of our wearing black.  And far less comfortable.)  It's a very visible sign of grief and misery.  It was pretty much required when there was a death, etc.  I don't recall what scripture story exactly you were talking about, though, so I can't specifically address it.  If you want more clarification, let me know.  

Happy Sabbath!
~ Tianna and Co.

Hastening the Work of Salvation

Today I spoke at my stake's first ever stake conference.  Sunday session.  Every speaker had the exact same topic: Hastening the Work of Salvation.  No pressure, right?  :)  I thought I'd share my talk with you.  In reality I ended up skipping around some, and I'm pretty positive I left some things out.  But this is the talk I intended to give.  :)


I'm sure you will all be surprised to find out that my topic is Hastening the Work of Salvation.  Growing up, I lived in a Mormon bubble in Idaho.  My little town, Ririe, had 596 people.  I graduated in a class of 63.  I didn’t know a single person who wasn’t LDS.  Well, that wasn’t entirely true.  I had a step aunt and her kids that weren’t LDS, but they came to all the family baptisms, mission farewells and homecomings and baby blessings.  My aunt grew up for the last part of her youth in an LDS home with my mom.  I figured that they must know enough about the gospel that I couldn’t possibly add any more, so they didn’t really count as non-members in my head.  It wasn’t until the summer after 8th grade that I befriended a nonmember (several actually) at a camp several hours from my home.  I remember being shocked when for breakfast one morning, one of my friends poured herself a cup of coffee.  I thought, “This must be what it’s like to be out in The World”.  I felt so far out of my element, having never had a gospel conversation with anyone who didn’t share my beliefs, that I let the opportunity pass.

Then in high school a non-member moved in.  He was on the Scholastic Bowl team with me, and we became friends.  At the end of my senior year, he told me that he was interested in attending seminary, to see what all the fuss was about.  But he didn’t want to seriously commit to it, in case he didn’t like it.  So the next school year, before I left for college, I went to early morning seminary with him every day for two weeks, but then I never saw him again after that. I then went to BYU-Idaho, another Mormon bubble, for 2.5 years, with a 4-month break in the middle to teach English in China, where I wasn’t allowed to talk about the gospel, even if I was asked.  Then I transferred to BYU, where I found myself, yet again, surrounded by fellow members.  I spent one more summer abroad before I graduated, to Israel.  Where again I was forbidden to discuss the gospel with anyone, even if asked.  Since then I’ve branched out to Orem, Riverton and now Lehi.

It would be very easy to say that I haven’t had much opportunity to do missionary work, as I’ve lived my entire life surrounded by members of the church.  Here in Utah we sometimes zone the world into two parts: Mormonville and The Mission Field.  The only times I’ve really left Mormonville to go into The Mission Field for any substantial amount of time, I’ve been forbidden to discuss it.  It would be easy to comfort myself by saying, “Well, I’ve been a good example all this time.  Hopefully any non-member I’ve met without realizing it has seen the light in my eyes.”

The truth, however, isn’t so comfortable.  With Facebook I can now see a glimpse into the lives of many of my peers from grade school and high school. When I see one of them write about a lifestyle that I know is not in line with the gospel, I can’t help but remember my relationship with them.  While I have always considered myself a nice person, and I can only remember a very few times when I was outright mean, I also see a major gap in actively befriending them.  There was one boy, a neighbor, who was one of the school outcasts.  He could be mean and was just weird.  Every time I had a lesson at church or seminary about being kind to everyone, and to befriend the friendless, I thought of him.  But I never could quite bring myself to do more than say hi, to smile, and then to walk past and forget about him until I next happened upon him in the hall.

When he didn’t come to church, I made no effort to invite him.  To be honest, I didn’t really want him there.  It was so much more fun with just my friends and the people I got along with.  I made the mistake of believing that church and activities were about me.  That I should be comfortable there all the time.  What I failed to realize was that the gospel was not about just me.  The purpose of the gospel is to bring every single person on this earth back to Christ. Every. Single. Person.  They are not about having fun, though that can be a great side effect.  They are about returning to our Heavenly Father.  Not just you and I returning to His presence, but everyone returning to his presence.

I have had missionary opportunities my entire life.  But they were disguised because I wasn’t out in The Mission Field.  I didn’t realize that The Mission Field is, in fact, the entire world.  Including Mormonville, Idaho and Utah.  My missionary opportunities were disguised as people I already knew. They were disguised as people I thought already knew enough about the church. In many cases they were disguised as people I didn’t like, or people who were too cool or popular to care about me.  Then I moved away from my small town to a university where I could be on campus all day long and not see a single soul that I knew.  My missionary opportunities there were disguised as well.  They were disguised as roommates I didn’t know well.  They were disguised as neighbors I only recognized by chance meetings to and from the apartment complex.  They were disguised as obnoxious classmates and coworkers who seemed to have it all together.

Now I live in a neighborhood surrounded by all of you wonderful people.  We have so many active neighbors that we’ve had to split two wards and our stake since I moved here less than two years ago.  And yet, I still have missionary opportunities.  They are disguised as person around the corner that someone else told me wanted nothing to do with the church.  They are the family down the street that I haven’t seen at church for awhile, but I have dismissed because it’s summertime and surely we’ve just missed each other with summer vacations and all.  They’re disguised as the neighbor I’ve never met because I’ve allowed the church building to define who my friends are instead of taking the time to meet my neighbors and enjoy them for who they are.

The Work of Salvation is bringing every soul to Christ.  Every soul.  Not just those faceless people out in The Mission Field, but every soul.  It is our responsibility to see The Mission Field right here.  The Work of Salvation should have us focusing on bringing every person in the Jordan Willows Stake boundaries to Christ.

If you’re like me, the thought of missionary work can be, quite frankly, terrifying.  I grew up my whole life believing that the only missionary work I was in the position to do was to be an example to those around me.  That is an important work, but it is not the only work.  It is a foundation.  But who wants to live in a building with only a foundation?

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few years pondering on how I can be a missionary when the thought of sharing my religious beliefs with someone else flat out terrifies me. When you live your whole life believing one thing, only to find out you were wrong, it’s hard to change.

Testimony and Conversion

Elder Bednar taught us in general conference last fall that “knowing the gospel is true is the essence of a testimony.  Consistently being true to the gospel is the essence of conversion.”  Most of us would say that we have a testimony of the work of salvation.  We know that it needs to happen.  We are excited about the implications of lowering the missionary age.  We are moved by stories of conversion and reactivation.  You may have a testimony of the work of salvation, but are you also converted to it?  Are you consistently true to the work of salvation?  Are you consistently trying to hasten the work as our leaders have asked us to do over and over again?

We gain a testimony in passive ways.  We ask, we ponder, we search.  But we gain conversion in active ways.  We become converted by doing.  Let me be clear.  You do not have to wait to be converted to share the gospel.  You must share the gospel to become converted. Today I challenge you to gain a testimony of the work of salvation if you do not already have one.  And then I challenge you to become converted to hastening the work.  If you do not know how, go home and ask.  Specifically ask your Father in Heaven what you must do to take that first step towards conversion.  If you ask with a sincere heart, truly desiring to take that step, He will show you.

As we become converted to the gospel and to hastening the work of salvation, we will want to bring souls to Christ.

Let the gospel permeate your life

Why is it scary?  What about sharing the gospel makes us uncomfortable?  I think it’s because we feel like we need to make a production of it.  That we have to find that perfect moment and bear a strong testimony of a gospel principle.  We have to do it so perfectly that the Spirit will move them into wanting to learn more.  Well, of course that is scary!  That’s a lot of pressure!  And it’s not at all the approach we should take.

The gospel is a major part of our lives.  Why shouldn’t it be a major part of our conversations?  When I read a new novel that I really like, I find myself living in that world for a few days.  I find myself wanting to talk about it, even when I’m with people who have never read it.  I find myself recommending it to everyone I think might even remotely enjoy it.  Even when I’ve read a favorite book for the 10th time, I still find myself caught in that pull to share it.  What about the scriptures?  Have you ever been reading your scriptures and you find something new and exciting and you just want to share it with someone?  What would happen if we read our scriptures more often?  What if we re-read Conference talks on a regular basis?  What if instead of reading, we studied and pondered?

I have found that when I actually studied the scriptures, gospel topics were just naturally a part of my normal conversation.  How can we talk about the gospel with our non-member or less-active friends if we don’t talk about it to our active friends?  If we let the gospel permeate every part of our lives, and not just the religious part of our lives, then it will be natural to talk about it to anyone we talk to.

Talk about it your everyday interactions.  Not just when you talk face to face.  The church is making a definite online presence.  Describe something you’ve learned on your blog.  Tweet quotes from general conference.  Ask gospel questions you have on Facebook.  Start discussions.

When we learn to let the gospel permeate every part of our lives, it will be easy to discuss the gospel with everyone.


Another reason we might fear sharing the gospel is the fear we might offend the person.  Most people, however, won’t be offended if you share something that is important to you with them.

My brother-in-law, Nick, is an avid mountain biker.  I am not.  In fact, I stay away from most things that require a lot of physical exertion and I especially avoid anything that comes with even a semblance of danger.  Mountain biking includes heaps and mounds of both.  The idea of riding down a mountain path full of roots and rocks and other people is absolutely terrifying to me.  I don’t mind that other people mountain bike.  In fact, I am genuinely happy for the joy they find in it.

The first time I met Nick, I was dating my husband.  We were at his apartment when Nick came bursting in the door, carrying a new mountain bike he had just bought on KSL.  He spent the next half hour in what I can best describe as an in-person telemarketing campaign, describing all of the features of the bike.  He compared it to other bikes.  He discussed the pros and cons.  He told us how much the bike was worth and how much he paid for it.  He was very animated and his face lit up every time he thought of something new to tell us.  By the end, despite having absolutely zero desire to ever ride a bike down a mountain, I found myself completely caught up and wanting to buy that bike.

I was a far cry from being offended that he would take up my time talking to me about something I wasn’t interested in.  I still have no desire to ever mountain bike, but there is no doubt in my mind that I am much more likely to gain a desire now, because of Nick.  And if I ever do decide to try it out, I am absolutely going to turn to him for help and advice.

What is something you’re passionate about?  What gets you excited?  When we are passionate or excited about something, we want to tell everyone.  We invite everyone to come to a concert for our favorite singer.  We tell everyone we see about the fantastic book we just read.  We share our political views with anyone who will listen.  We find a way to fit in the adorable things our kids do into every conversation we can.

Why is it then, that something so important to us as the gospel doesn’t generate the passion and excitement in us that a newly discovered restaurant can?  When someone asks you what you did this weekend, do you skip the part about attending church?  Do you tell them about the Primary class you taught? Why is it so much more common to get nervous and scared when an opportunity presents itself than to get excited?

We cannot let our pride, our shyness, our fear stand in the way of us and the eternal salvation of one of our brothers and sisters.  We cannot let those opportunities pass. We must become passionate about the gospel now.


The Work of Salvation is far more than abstract missionary work.  It’s more than the focus of stake conference.  We need Christ-like love.  We need to become converted to the gospel and become passionate about it.  We need to bring souls to Christ.  It is the most important work you can do.  This I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My kids are, quite frankly, adorable.

Jessa ~


One night this week our evening was free and I felt no pressing need to do anything.  That is rare.  So we went to Trafalga!  We've all got the Pass of all Passes (including Kessa!) but we never use them.  So we decided to remedy that.  We initially went only to do mini golfing. But when we pulled in, Megan and Tyler showed up with their boys who immediately went to a ride with airplanes.  Of course Kessa wanted to do it.  I was skeptical.  My Kessa?  That ride looks … scary for her.  But we already had our clubs and balls, so we went golfing instead.  It was hilarious.  Abby wanted to hold a golf ball 75% of the time, which made it hard to, y'know, golf.  Often BJ and I just took turns using one ball.  A couple of times she even tried golfing herself.  Which was A.Dor.Able.  No kidding.

Kessa absolutely loved golfing.  She had a hard time with the initial hit, especially if it had to go up a hill, so I'd often help her with those, but then she'd get it the rest of the way in herself.  Even if that meant (which it usually did), pushing the ball along with her club instead of hitting the ball.  Hah! I think she was a little put off by hitting it when I hit my ball a little too hard and happened to be at the one spot where the fence didn't have the netting over it … and hit my ball out of the park.  Which would have been good had we been playing baseball, like Kessa keeps calling it.  But alas.  Luckily we just happened to find an abandoned ball right there, so I got to keep going.  Later I hit it into a pond of water, but we were right at the end and BJ was holding Abby, so he let me hit his ball into the last hole, which I got a hole in one.  On both mine and Kessa's (it was uphill, so I had to do it).  Awesome.

The end of the course was right by the airplanes, and a neighbor girl was on it.  So we watched her to make sure Kessa really wanted to do it.  She did.  So we got in line.  But when the line ended, the worker said she had to move over to a different ride.  Alas.  So we followed her to the pirate ship that swings back and forth.  At least, we were going to.  But got distracted by the bumper boats.  BJ and Kessa went out while poor Abby had to watch through the fence because she's not tall enough.  (I find it ironic that our more adventuresome child will have to wait longer to ride rides because she's so much shorter than the cautious child who is super tall.  Go figure.)  Then we went to the pirate ship.  Again BJ and Kessa rode (just the idea of it made me a little motion sick) while Abby and I were out on the side.  Kessa loved it!  (I think having Daddy by her side helped).  Next up was a lighthouse ride where it lifts you up, then drops you a little, then lifts you, then drops you.  She acted a little nervous at first, but then BJ distracted her by having her count the number of times it went down.  Then she loved it and wanted to go again.  But by then it was getting late, so we went home, promising her that next time we'd have better shoes so she could rock climb.  What has happened to my cautious child!?

Joy School

The letter "S"
My first week teaching Joy School was this week.  I'm not in love with the prep work (just one more thing for me to have to do), but the actual teaching was fantastic.  Oh my goodness, Jessa, they are so cute.  For example, at one point we had a puppet point to their body parts and they had to tell me what it was and what it did.  "That's my eye."  "What does it do?" "It helps me blink."   Umm, well yes. That it does.  Totally was expecting something along the lines of helping us see.  But it does blink, too!  So then we talked about why we blink, and then we had a staring contest.  Totally impromptu.  We made gingerbread men and made letters out of our bodies.  In case you didn't guess, the topic right now is the Joy of the Body.  :)

From my journal that day, two entries:

- First day of teaching Joy School! Who knew that teaching the Joy of the Body would leave me so hot and sweaty? In hindsight, it makes sense. But man, I should have worn different clothes.
- Also, free time play is glorious. They're even playing quietly and kindly. Abby just went down for a nap and so far, the noise in the loft hasn't seemed to affect her.

But now I don't teach for the next 4 weeks.  Which is also great.  :)

Joy School Class
Simon Says

Kessa still loves preschool.  Hooray!  We went to a Back-to-School night on Wednesday (sans kids, per request) where we learned how the teacher teaches and what we as parents can do to help.  Turns out, a lot (but not all) of the method is what we're already doing with the book "Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons."  So Kessa should ease right in without any problems.

She came back from school Friday with her first book.  They've learned the letters M, A, and P and how to blend sounds together instead of putting pauses between each sound.  The book consists of four words, one per page with a picture: Pam, hat, bag, Sam.  It came with a paper with 5 pictures on it.  Every time she reads the book with us, she colors a picture.  Once all 5 pictures are colored, she takes the paper back to school (she gets to keep the book), read it again with her teacher, and if Mrs. Smart is satisfied, she gets to bring home a new book.  She read it 4 times that night, then the next morning read it again so excited that she gets a new book!  Unfortunately, I don't know if she'll get another one until Friday.  That's her read-with-the-teacher day.  We'll see.  If she gets through all of the books we bought, she'll be at a 2nd-grade reading level!  Mrs. Smart says that most kids don't, but some do.  So we'll see how much she wants to learn it.

We also came home with a CD and flashcards that help teach letters and sounds.  The first song is the alphabet song.  But not the one you and I know.  No, it goes something like, "I know the letter A says "ay" and "aaa".  I know the letter B says buh, buh, buh" and so forth.  It's really … exciting.  And not insanity-driving at all.  ;)  So we listen to the song in the car while she goes through the corresponding flashcards.  She loves it.

Misc. Other

Saturday was Kellie Johnson's bridal shower, which I'm sure you heard from your mom.  The house was gorgeous.  The landscaping was gorgeous.  With much attention paid to the detail.  The food was delicious.  But most importantly, the bride-to-be was radiating.  Awww.

In a random turn of events, that evening we went up to our friend, Kelly (and Neil) Johnson's house.  It just made me a laugh a little.  We did dinner and were going to do games, but they just bought a new house, so we toured it instead.  Kessa is right between their two oldest kids, age-wise.  Zachary is 5 1/2 and Daphne is 3 1/2.  They all loved each other and had a great time playing, outside on the toys and inside on the Nintendo.  Also, check out the picture for more proof that caution is starting to be thrown to the wind for this girl.

Kessa gave a talk in Primary today.  The topic was, "When I serve others, I serve God."  BJ helped her give it.  It was cute.  Except she was talking in her not-quite-baby-and-not-quite-big-girl voice.  So it was a little hard to understand.  I think she was feeling a little shy.  But it was adorable.  That was her third talk!  She's only 4!

One benefit of my calling is that I get to go to primary programs!  Our first one was today and it was adorable.  Only 7 more to go… (except I only go to 3 more.  We split them up.)

A new SimCity just came out.  I watched BJ play for a couple of hours one night and kept thinking about it.  So I downloaded it onto my computer and started a new city and have been playing it.  I'm a little addicted.  The current quest is to figure out how to turn off the game when there are no levels or stopping points.

It's been raining like crazy around here this past week or two.  Which is good in that we've been in a severe drought (and now my dead grass is starting to grow back!), but bad in the fact that there are burn scars on the mountains, so we've been having flash floods.  But it's clearing up this week, so maybe we'll find a happy medium?  Anyway, one morning Jenna (my neighbor) and I went running.  We hadn't gone in weeks (my last time was Labor Day) because of vacation, her husband being out of town, and her getting a massive headache that lasted for a week or so.  We finally got together and went running.  It was lightly sprinkling when we started, so we figured we'd just go around the block so that we would always be semi-close to home in case of a downpour.  4 minutes, and almost exactly halfway around the block, the heavens opened and it poured.  Like, instant drenching.  I'm sure you understand.  :)  I don't think I've ever run so fast in my life.  And I know I've never laughed so hard while running.  As Jenna said, "I felt like a little kid, laughing & running home to get out of the rain. "  It was hilarious.  So, maybe a 6 minute workout?  I was winded for twice that long, though.

Flies are AWFUL here right now.  Stupid mink farm.  BJ and I are getting really good at our fly swatter aim.  Abby knows the word "fly" and knows to look up whenever anyone says it.  She also likes to play with the fly swatter.

There's going to be a new Harry Potter movie!  Not during Harry's life, though.  It's going to take place about 70 years prior to Harry and is about Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  Awesome.  I'm excited.  :D

Random fact about Kessa: she says sprinkles as sprinklers and ceiling as singling.


And some more about Abby.  She doesn't really do yes and no much lately. “Abby, do you want to go to bed?” her answer is invariably, “I don't want to (sounds like: I oh want to)” or “k”.  And her "i oh want to" is adorable.  She usually says it happily and matter-of-factly.  It's great.  She's also taken up a fondness for cats.  She's taken possession of Kessa's stuffed cat and will wander around holding it and saying, "meow.  meow."  See?  She loves you!  One time I was driving and Abby had been silent for awhile.  Suddenly, out of the blue, she started meowing.  It was great.  She's also obsessed with "yucky."  She does not like to touch anything she deems as yucky.  Usually it's when she sticks her finger up her nose, then pulls out out, points her finger at us, then declares it to be yucky.  She'll say it very concerned, and almost a question.  Even if there's nothing on her finger, she'll start freaking out unless you wipe off her finger for her.  (Even if only with your own finger.)  She'll say it after she touches her finger to her tongue, too.  Or just when we change her diaper.  Or with random foods.

Abby's dentist said her binkie is starting to push her teeth out, so we've limited her binkie to sleep times.  So far it's worked pretty well.  So long as we keep her binkies out of sight.  We need to take them away in the crib, though, and I'm not looking forward to that.  But ever since we've taken them away, she's turned into a biter!  It's kind of hilarious, and not cool at the same time.  Hilarious when she tries to bite the wall or something, not cool when she goes for people.  Though, she rarely ever gets people.  Just bites at them.

And now, Kessaisms:

  • Kessa: Mommy, when are we going to go baseballing [golfing] again so you can practice hitting the ball over the fence?
  • Kessa: It's not a week because it's not raining!
  • Kessa: I remember we went to some place and I don't remember the name, but we've been there before. And it had a food court. And it had circles and holes. Do you remember that?
<3 Tianna and Co.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

3 weeks in one

Jessa ~

Wow. It's been awhile since you've gotten a real letter from me, huh?  You're luckier than my other blog readers, though.  You've at least gotten short emails from my phone as I lay in bed and realize, "Oh crap.  It's Sunday night.  Jessa is writing in an hour or two and I'm in bed and WAY too tired to go blog."  So… lucky you!

Now we're going to attempt to remedy that.  And hopefully not too wordily.  [crosses fingers]  But all the Kessaisms will be at the very bottom.  I'm not going to try to spread those out.

Week 1

Not much went on the first of the week.  Kessa started preschool, so we didn't have many things planned.  She really, really, really wanted to learn to read, so we enrolled her at Learning Dynamics Preschool.  She loved her first day, the next two days she struggled with.  She realized that none of her friends were attending this school and suddenly she really wanted to go back to Miss Kim's school.  Well, sis, it's too late for that.  So we had lots of conversations about blooming where you're planted.  You just need to be happy where you are and not wish you were somewhere else.  That seemed to help.

Thursday we had a stake council meeting which was interpreted as "anyone serving in any auxiliary should come."  The chapel was full.  But it was a really good meeting about missionary work and incorporating it into our callings.

Friday morning I took the girls to the pediatrician for their well-child checkups.  They told me Kessa could get her kindergarten vaccines now that she's four. I told them no thanks.  We'll have another visit before she starts kindergarten and we were going straight from there to preschool.  When they went out to get Abby's shots ready, I told Kessa what vaccines are and why we get them. "Vaccines?  Vaccines?!  I want my vaccines!!!"  Uhhh… really?  I even explained that they hurt when you first get them, but she was determined.  When the nurse came back in I told her that Kessa really wanted hers, too.  Then Kessa chickened out a little and asked if she could watch Abby get hers first.  I agreed.  And Abby cried.  A lot.  Not only did she get shots, but it was during nap time.  Then we asked Kessa what she wanted to do.  She was shy with the nurse in the room, but I finally got her to whisper in my ear, "I want to be like Abby."  So they gave her 3 shots in her arms.  And man, she cried.  The whole way to preschool she cried, "My arms hurt!" I felt so sad for her.  But on the other hand, she knew what was coming and still made the choice.  I'm so proud of my little cautious girl coming out of her shell.  By the time preschool was over, though, she was fine and was just happy to have cool bandaids on her arms.

I dropped her off at preschool and Abby off at a neighbor's house, and I drove up to Idaho to can for the weekend.  It was a very spur-of-the moment trip.  We realized on Thursday that that weekend might be my only chance to go up, so we made it happen.  Thank goodness for BJ working at home so he could pick up Kessa from school and thank goodness to my friend, Melanie, for watching the girls all afternoon so BJ could work.  And thank goodness to BJ for being willing to be home with the girls all weekend so I could go play with my mommy.  Err… work hard to bring home food storage, I mean.  :)

We ended up freezing, if I remember right, 55 pints of corn, and canning something like 23 pints of beans, and 30-something pints of beets.  Plus we picked a big apple box full of apricots.  Which I brought home, dehydrated one batch, over-dried them, then gave the rest away.  Though, I did end up getting two things of jam from one person who got some.  An apricot blueberry and an apricot nectarine.  Both were delicious.  We even saved some of the beet juice and used it to make a red velvet cake.
I stopped at your parents on my way back for an unofficial 4th Sunday dinner.  As they just spent a week together at Lake Powell, they didn't really need one, but your mom graciously offered to let us eat there for dinner, as I wouldn't really have time to come home and make something.  It was sad to miss Lake Powell this year, but I'm glad Kessa didn't miss school and we did keep ourselves busy.  So the pain was lessened, as I'm sure you understand.

Abby wanted to help make German pancakes

Awww.  They love each other.
Also, BJ did their hair, bows and all.

Playing with Daddy on the swing set

Week 2

Travis' birthday was Wednesday, so we had him over for dinner and games.  We made a spaghetti from all the veggies in the garden.  It was delish.  Jessa, the garden is doing so great!

Thursday was the Primary Appreciation Dinner that we had been working so hard to put on.  I have to admit, I'm very glad it's over.  It probably wouldn't have been too bad on its own, but my 2nd counselor's mom died that morning and she spent a week or two beforehand with her day and night.  Then Tuesday was my secretary's father-in-law's funeral.  I prayed hard that it wouldn't spread through more of my presidency.  It didn't.  Thank heavens.  So the prep work was just a little more stressful for everyone all around.  But it also wasn't horrible.  And it went really well.  We had a pretty good turnout, delicious food (Cafe Rio pork salads), and I think our presentation went over well.  I talked for 30 mins about making your burden lighter by giving it to the Lord.  I'll try to send you that one.  Then my secretary, Cali, sang "Come Unto Him" (hymn 114) with BJ accompanying.  It's my favorite hymn of them all.  Then my 1st counselor, Julie, talked about the power of music.  Then our high councilor, Bro. Olsen, wrapped it all up.  Then we just walked around, answering questions, then cleaned up.

Saturday was stake baptisms.  Because it was Labor Day weekend, we only had 3 kids get baptized!  We average closer to 9-10/month.  So 3 was insane.  I just kept feeling like we couldn't possibly be done.  We left about an hour earlier than usual.  (Don't worry, they all just rescheduled for next month where we'll have 17!  Yipes!)

When baptisms were done, we went down to Huntington State Park for Labor Day camping.  I already sent you the details, but for our other readers' sake, I'm going to post the letter I sent you here:


Abby spent several minutes working hard to get a dandelion in her ear.
Not over her ear.  In it.  One in each ear.
I'm at Huntington State Park right now as I write this. I'm sitting on the grass outside my tent, hoping and praying Abby will go to sleep soon. This is her first sleep outside a crib or pack 'n play since she was a newborn. I keep thinking about taking away her crib and putting her mattress on the floor, then once she gets used to sleeping on that, moving her into Kessa's room. Part of me is super excited about it. Part of me wonders if nap time is over forever if I try something insane like this. But then she'll be able to get out of bed! Whenever she wants! At least she can't open doors yet, so she'd at least be confined to her room.

This seems like a good trial of this insane idea. At least in the tent she'll be with us. I'm not entirely sure that's a good thing. :)

Abby's life jacket is getting a little small.
"Dad, I don't like this straight jacket."
We drove down this afternoon. She didn't take a morning nap. Then she finally fell asleep in the cat about 20 mins before we got here. Then promptly woke up upon arrival. She's been cranky. So around 7:15 we decided it was bedtime for her. I finally got her ready and in the crib probably around 7:20. She was happy at first, then as she realized I was leaving, she cried. So I sang outside the tent. At first she cried more. I heard her wandering around inside the tent, looking for me or a way out. I stopped singing. She cried some more, but with longer and longer gaps. She was just so tired. She's been asleep for most of this email. I think she must have fallen asleep. I should have left a window zipped open so I could peek. I don't dare unzip. Cross your fingers for me. But not really, because by the time you read this the story will be over. :) But you can wish us luck for future insanity.

Speaking of insanity, this past week has been insane. Largely because on Thursday we did our annual appreciation dinner for the ward Primaries. That morning my 2nd counselor's mom died. It was expected, though. She had been with her day and night for the past week. I didn't expect for her to be there, and I took her responsibilities for decorations. Then my secretary's father-in-law died of cancer the week before and his funeral was two days before the dinner. I took a few of her responsibilities. Plus I was giving a 20 minute presentation. And I was getting ready for Labor Day camping. And I thought my brother was going to stay at my house while we were gone, so I really wanted to clean. [stress!!!]

Abby saw the folding table in the motor home and
immediately recognized it as the "slide!"
I prayed to God. "Really? This week? Both funerals this week? Not to diminish their grieving by putting my own selfishness in priority, but did it all have to happen this week?"

God answered me. "Your goal for this dinner is to teach them to give their burden to me. To not let their calling stress them out. How can you teach them if you have not yet learned yourself?"


The dinner went great. I lost my 8-page talk. Twice. But found it just in time. I was going to cram during dinner, because I didn't have a lot of time to practice it and I don't like reading talks. I was nervous. A lot. I say down during the opening hymn. I opened my hymn book to #124, Be Still My Soul, and started signing mid-verse. I started to sing at the line, "thy confidence let nothing shake." Very well. I won't stress about it. I will be confident that God will help me through.

I felt great about it. I only referenced my notes when I switched sections to see what was next. My three favorite compliments afterward were 1) "You did amazing! You're a natural!" (My high councilman over primary.) 2) "That is why she is president." (My first counselor.) 3) "That is exactly what our presidency needed to hear. We all went home feeling so uplifted." (A ward counselor.)

I'll send you the talk next week. It isn't perfect, but I'm pleased with it.

I just peeked in on Abby. It's almost 8:00. She fell asleep at the foot of my sleeping bag. Luckily it's still quite warm and she's in fleece footies. I'm not worried about her getting cold. I think I'll go back into the motor home.

This has been a different kind of writing style this far. Guess that's what you get when I'm typing on my phone instead of on my computer with my calendar, Facebook, journal, etc all in front of me.


I was hoping to use my iPhone as a hotspot to Shawn's computer to finish this email, but it hates me. Alas.

Today gave me quite the scare. Well, first, last night was HORRIBLE. I won't go into details, but let's just say we didn't get to sleep until 4:30ish. :S So we were all very tired today.

Selfie of Kessa and I on the boat.
Your family stayed for all 3 hours of church, but mine came home to nap. We put Abby in the tent to nap, then the rest of us came into the motor home. I fell asleep for a little bit, intending to go check on Abby after a half hour to make sure she was still sleeping, but was instead woken violently from sleep by knocking at the door. I knew your family wouldn't have knocked, so I immediately feared for Abby. Sure enough, there was a couple at the door asking if I had a little girl in a tent. She had opened the zipper by herself, then took a walk across the park where she was found by the bathrooms by this couple's mom. YIKES!!!!!!

My heart pounded for 15 minutes.

But she was safe and there are good people in the world and God loves my family. For that, I am grateful and happy.

And now Abby is taking a nap in the motor home. So cross your fingers that she doesn't fall of the bed. Hah!


As a followup, she did nap on the bed, then the next time we tried that, she fell off the bed.  So we did naps and bedtime for her in the tent, but then tied the zippers together so she couldn't open them.  It was successful.

I'll put Monday in here, too, even though it's technically a new week, but part of the same trip.

Trying to take a picture while running of the gorgeous view
Sunday night we went to bed to find Abby sleeping on the ground right inside the tent door.  Instead of trying to move her, which was the start of our problems the night before, we just scooted our sleeping bag over and let her be.  We all slept all night long.  Bliss!  (Except for my lovely birthing hips.  They are so not comfortable on the ground.  I need to get me a big fluffy mat.  Or a cot.)  Monday morning I woke up before everyone else, feeling refreshed, so I went running.  Proud?  You should be.  There's the path that goes all the way around that (tiny) lake, so I went running on that.  For the most part it was great.  Every once in awhile, though, the gravel was sparse and the ground was wet, thus muddy.  (I forgot to mention it rained hard both nights we were there, and all Sunday morning/early afternoon.)  According to my phone I ran for 3.2 miles. So… pretty much a 5k!  In just under 39 minutes.  But that included a fair amount of walking as well.  (I'm doing the couch to 10k program this time.)  When I got back we went out boating. Jessa.  It was 9 am on Labor Day morning, the lake was glass and had been all morning, and no one else was out there!  Well, there were two fishermen.  One other boat was out there at the beginning, but left pretty quickly.  It was insane.

We came back, ate breakfast (little smokies!), then went back out on the lake.  Kessa wanted to tube.  Until we got out there.  Then she panicked.  She did NOT want to go out.  I finally talked her into going with me on the tube for just a little bit, and if she didn't like it, she could get off.  Shawn pulled us slowly, but the problem with pulling slowly is that the rope isn't taut and you don't get a steady motion. So we tipped forward and back far more than she was comfortable with (and to be honest, far more than I was comfortable with with her on my lap), so we went back in before long.  Then I tubed.  I've tubed before with you guys, haven't I?  I swear I have.  But apparently it was a big deal.  Shawn promised to not *try* to knock me off.  (Though I readily agreed that if I did fall off, that was fine.  I just didn't want him to drive like a mad man.)  I went around the lake a couple of times.  Never fell off. Never really did anything of note.  (One time we had to stop because the rope came half off and was just spraying water into my face.)  When I went to get off the tube at the end, my arms were tired and in trying to get up, I fell off the tube.  Go figure.  Haha.  Then as I climbed into the boat your dad told me, "That's the bravest thing I've ever seen you do."  Hah!  Clearly I am pretty much a big, fat chicken, huh?  :) Well, Kessa comes by it honestly.  I later realized I should have said, "That's because you didn't see me give birth!"  :D

BJ doing a reading lesson with Kessa

Abby is a dramatic crier.  Very dramatic.

Week 3

Kessa and Izzy spent one play date filling the crib with toys and blankets.
Kessa had her first week of Joy School this week.  Sing praises to one of the other moms who offered to teach this week, to take one thing off my plate.  Hooray!  I teach next week, but I'm far less stressed this week.  :)  Kessa, so far, has loved it.  I think it's actually a really good combination to have this with preschool.  It's giving her a chance to be with her friends and to learn to have joy as well as to learn to write.  Ever since she started she has loved going to preschool again.  I haven't heard a single negative word about preschool.  I think she just missed being with friends.  But she walks around singing the Joy School songs and telling me about her new best friend, Colleen.  (Whom I've only ever met once for about 30 seconds.  I think we'll have to remedy that.  Well, we will, because I'm teaching this week.)  So that's good.

Wednesday the girls went to the dentist.  We've been reading books about the dentist, so it was all good.  They knew what to expect.  And at the end Kessa got a sticky hand and Abby got a bouncy ball.  So all is well.  The only minor problems is that Kessa has a very minor cavity (so small that they won't even do anything about it yet) to watch, but I knew that at the last visit.  And Abby's binkies are starting to push her front teeth forward.  They'll correct themselves if we take the binkies away, so we're working on that.  I also switched for our next visit to go to their other office, which is in walking distance from Kessa's preschool.  It will be a different dentist, but they say he's amazing, too.  I hope so.  I like our current one.

Then had a picnic in Abby's room.
It also gave me the motivation to switch pediatricians, too.  I like ours, but she is not a home birth advocate.  In her words, "I would never, ever, ever recommend one of my patients do a home birth."  And if I end up doing another home birth, I'd really like a supportive pediatrician.  (I still used my Orem one when Abby was born, and he was great.  But Orem is just a little too far to go, methinks.)  Well, there's another Utah Valley Pediatrics office that shares a parking lot with Kessa's preschool, so I walked over there one day while she was in preschool, and talked to the receptionist to see how that doctor felt about home births.  She said that he doesn't push his opinions on anyone and just tries to be the best doctor he can to whatever patients he gets.  But the selling point was that apparently one of the patients there (or rather, the mom of the patients) is a home birth midwife.  If she'll bring her kids there, done!  But we won't actually have another appointment until January.  So… we'll just cross our fingers there.  And the best part?  They're both WAY closer.  Hooray!

We had a game night with some friends from our Orem ward Friday night.  I was flattered when I got her message saying that for her 30th birthday she wanted to do a game night with the people she has liked spending time with the most.  She invited 6 people.  I was one of them.  Awwww.  We ended up playing Boggle all night.  BJ destroyed us all.  (There ended up being 6 adults there.)  It was nice to get out and play with friends sans kids.

We doggysat Jax this weekend while your parents and Resa went to St. George.  It was kind of fun.  It'll be weird going to bed tonight and being able to sleep straight, though.  He takes up permanent residence at night at the foot of my bed, on my side.  Just like when we lived at your parents'.  Kessa loved to walk him and often asked if she could put his leash on and walk him around.  Inside the house.  He didn't love that.  Abby woke up both mornings saying, "Doggy?  Doggy?"  She liked to run after him and pat him.  (Which reminds me, every once in awhile I'll be holding her and she'll pat me on the back.  Like I do when she's sad and I'm trying to comfort her.  Awwww.)

Your mom and Resa came by tonight and ate dinner with us, then played a game of Dominion.  It was fun to have them.  We don't often do dinners here.  Your dad is off doing something back east, so he didn't get to come.

Jax weekend!  Top: Kessa loved walking him.
Bottom: I never have to mop again! Payment: lose my foot room at night.  :)

Misc. randomness

I found out today that I'm giving a talk in Stake Conference.  Sunday session.  15 minutes.  Yipes!  Topic: Hastening the work of salvation.  Feel free to give me any inspiration you have.  :)  It's in two weeks.

BJ and I bought Hale season tickets for next year.  Hooray!  I'm excited.  The lineup for 2014 is The Foreigner, Les Miserables (which I've never actually seen, so I'm totally stoked about!), Arsenic and Old Lace, Mary Poppins (which I have also never seen, but this doesn't count as watching the movie.  That'll come in the next few years, I'm sure.), She Loves Me, and Catch Me if You Can.  We've got tickets to go with Jared Moench twice, so that should be fun.

And… I think that wraps it up!  Now for Kessaisms.

  • Me: Kessa, I just went on a run and I almost died!
    Kessa: No you didn't. You would have to see a big elephant or something and you didn't!
  • Kessa: Daddy, I forgive you for everything you do wrong!
  • BJ: Now I can go in and tell everyone where they're wrong; I'm good at that.
  • I just walked by Izzy and Kessa playing and heard Izzy say, “Sister! Why can't you just talk like a normal person?!”  (Kessa loves to pretend to be a baby.  And talks like one.  Usually saying, "Gookie!")
  • Me: Maybe her phone is turned off.
    Kessa: Or on fire.
  • Me: Kessa, your daddy is a great daddy.
    Kessa: That's why we buyed him.
  • BJ: I wake up every morning and think, "Man! I'm so glad I'm Shawn's bro-hah!"
  • Kessa: Daddy, I love you.
    BJ: I love you, too.
    Kessa: Everyone loves you, of course! [pause] Everyone loves everyone!
  • Kessa: Let's pretend I'm Jesus.
    Izzy: No, you're not.
    Kessa: But I love to be Jesus!
    Izzy: But you're not.
    Kessa, whining: Yes I am! I love to be Jesus
    Izzy: Kessa. Jesus is a boy.
  • Kessa: I had a dream I could fly in the air! [pause, then very sadly] I want to fly, but I can't. :(
  • Kessa: Are turkey and cheese healthy?
    Me: mm-hmm
    Kessa: Yay! I love beets and cheese and turkey!
  • Me: What're you thinking?
    BJ, singing: No one spits like Gaston...
    Kessa: Hey! Don't spit at anyone! That hurts us. I just learned that, and I'm telling everyone.
<3 Tianna and Co.

PS: Videos!
The girls swinging:

Leading Abby by the binkie strap: