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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:

1 comment:

Madison said...

What is Joy School? I'm intrigued.