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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Harry Potter and Family Farms

Jessa ~

I think this will be another split effort between BJ and I.  It was 4th Sunday dinner, and we didn't get home until almost 9, so I don't have as much time as normal.  I could have done it before we went to Riverton, but I took a nap instead.  :D  So I'll do as much as I can, then hand it over.

Our Harry Potter Party was Thursday this week.  I was really nervous.  I knew I wasn't up to doing a lot of cooking or anything.  Or cleaning.  So I knew it'd mostly be put on BJ and Travis' heads.  But they agreed, so we went for it.  My friend, Melanie, was sad that she'd miss the party, so agreed to do a pre-party and help me cook for it.  BLESS HER BEAUTIFUL HEART.  We ended up making more than I could have hoped for.  And by "we" I mean, "she and her sister, Eileen".  Because I was super lame and was like, "Man, crimping these pasties shut with a fork is so hard.  I'd better go lie down."  And then they made us dinner.  Even though they were leaving the next morning at 5 to drive to California.  Seriously.  She is amazing.  I owe her big time.

But even that wimpy effort on my part overdid it for me and I spent Thursday all day laying on the couch, looking at my messy, messy house, knowing I still l had to make the filling for the custard creams ... and doing nothing about any of it.  Even knowing that an unknown amount of people were coming to my house for a party gave me no motivation to clean or do anything.  So once again, Superman BJ came to the rescue. He spent his lunch break doing some cleanup.  Then when he got home from work he said, "You go buy dinner.  I'm going to clean up."  And he did!  I love him.  And getting out helped me feel a little better, so by the time I got home, I was able to help Travis finish cooking and do a little cleanup.  (After eating, of course.)  It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough.  We had a small, but eclectic turnout.  We had 3 board friends, Kristy who I knew from the Board and the COB and her friend, Heather, two people from my first BYU ward who I haven't seen or heard from outside of Facebook since probably 2005 or 2006, and a handful of neighbors.  It was actually a good turnout, for the way I was feeling, though.  So I feel good about it.  Except we made WAY too much food.  I need to figure out how to get rid of it...  I don't have pictures of all my decor, but I did give you what Travis took.  If I get motivated or get Trav back over here, I'll get pictures of the rest.  And the food pictures are thanks to Kristy.  Thanks, Kristy!

Saturday I was feeling much better after sleeping the morning away, so after Abby's nap, we went to Evan's Family Farm.  Which is kind of like Cornbelly's, but smaller, and way closer to me.  Like, around the corner.  We could have walked there had we wanted.  But we didn't.  Kessa LOVED it.  There was a pony ride and a little train barrel ride and a hay ride.  There was a straw bale maze for kids and a corn maze (which we did twice, letting Kessa lead the way).  There was a hay stack they could climb on with a slide on it and two tunnels through the middle.  There was a corn box (like a sand box, but with dried corn instead) which Abby particularly loved.  There were animals!  A donkey, bunnies, goats, a small pig, turkey, ducks, dogs, a cat.  It was way fun.  Kessa has asked several times today if we could go again tomorrow.  But I told her it was $20 (largely because we paid extra for the pony ride) and it was too much money to do again tomorrow.  "But we could just not take Daddy.  Then it would be cheaper."  "True, but it'd still be about $15."  "Then we could leave Abby home!"  Clearly she just really wants to go and doesn't care about who goes with her...  haha.

(Passing off to BJ.)

On Friday, we decided to do something fun as a family. We talked about going to the farm, but then it was getting too late (hence why we went on Saturday). So instead, we told Kessa that after Abby went to bed, we would play a game of Ticket to Ride as a family. Kessa was really excited. She learned the basics of the game up at the cabin this summer, but hasn't really ever played a full game. She did great! We helped her pick some routes that seemed reasonable, and we let her use double routes when we couldn't, but other than that she did everything by herself. She figured out which routes to claim, and figured out how to go around when we occasionally blocked her. She completed all her tickets and actually ended the game. I had a pretty terrible game; I took one route that I didn't have enough trains for and then didn't have enough time to complete a couple others. Tianna did better, but Kessa actually beat us both! I got 53, Tianna got 81, and Kessa got 121! She loved it, and we had a great time playing together.

On Thursday, Kessa's Joy School class had a Halloween party. They all dressed up in their Halloween costumes, and for the last half-hour, then did a little Halloween program for parents. They had a parade with Halloween music (mostly just going back and forth between the kitchen and family room; really, it was more like a catwalk.) Then they sang a Halloween song and brought out some Halloween-shaped cookies. It was cute. Kessa's loved serving cookies to people, and did a great job of playing with the other kids, not competing against them. It's fun to see her grow up.

Abby's been getting very picky lately. Not about food so much, but about songs. She used to love music; she'd calm down as soon as we started singing. Then she started saying "no song! no song!" So we'd just shush her or something. Lately, though, she'll have a preference about which song to sing. I'll start singing I Love to See the Temple, and she'll say "No song! Twinkle star!" So then I'll start singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and she'll be happy for a couple lines, and then say "No, doggy song!" (How Much is that Doggy in the Window?) It's a bit exhausting getting her ready for bed. In good news, she can recognize songs and name them! She's even able to sing part of Twinkle Twinkle all by herself.

Our kids are starting to play together, not just along side each other. Abby's figured out Hide and Seek, so Kessa will hide in the other room and say "Abby! Come find me!" Then Abby will march down the hall and look all around. She's only starting to figure out identifying sounds by direction, so sometimes she looks all over. But when she finds Kessa, she beams and says "Yay!!!" Then Kessa hides again, and we start all over. It's adorable. I love watching Kessa take on the role of big sister, and I love seeing Abby learn to play along. Being a parent is fun.

Kessa is getting really good at reading. She can figure out most three-letter words now, even the ones with letters she hasn't learned at school yet. Watching kids learn to read, though, you realize just how messed up English is. S says "ssss", except when it says "zzzz". Th is often voiced (as in "this" or "that"), but is sometimes unvoiced (as in "thank" or "with"). E is usually silent at the end of words, but sometimes K is silent at the beginning of words ("know"). She's got an alphabet song that says "I know the letter A says 'ay' and 'aaa'", but it can also say "ah". O is worse. Check out the different sounds it makes in box, cow, come, or, lone. Seriously. And that's ignoring diphthongs like ow and ou. It's kinda tragic that we teach kids this language. But Kessa's figuring it out, and starting to gain the intuition for how to pronounce some of these things.

Kessa's also having trouble deciding what she wants to be for Halloween. Ever few hours, she switches between wanting to be a princess and wanting to be a witch. (She's been picking up on Tianna's love for Harry Potter.) I think we should just send her as a pretty pink princess with a black witch hat. :)

Answering your questions:

  • It's just habit to say that BJ comes home from work.  I really mean he comes up from work.  Kessa calls me on this All. The. Time.
  • Good!  I'll help you become a gardner!  Hooray!
  • BJ is technically still on the Board.  He's been doing more programming stuff lately, trying to update it to the latest stuff.  He's still technically a writer, but he goes in spurts.  Usually he doesn't write.  The Board is doing pretty well.  They're mostly all writers I've never met, which is weird.  But I guess just the nature of the Board.  If we could ever find a volunteer programmer that's at BYU, BJ would pass the buck and move on.  But... we just never seem to.  Alas.
  • Audible is a subscription service for audiobooks.  So like, you can pay a certain amount every month to get 1 credit that you can exchange for an audiobook.  (And it's yours to keep.)  Or you could pay more and get two credits.  We payed a lot once, then got 24 credits for the year.  That's how I got all of the Wheel of Time audiobooks to listen to.  But there are other ways to get books.  You can just buy them (at a discounted price for members).  Or sometimes they'll run a deal where they say, "Spend 4 credits in this period of time and we'll give you a $10 credit."  So I'll often do that and get the credit.  THEN I maximize that $10.  Audible is owned by Amazon, so they run deals together.  There's a whole big list of Kindle books (also owned by Amazon) that are in the public domain (like Pride and Prejudice).  So they're free.  But if you buy them, then you can buy the Audible version for only $1.  So I'll buy 10 of those and end up with 10 audiobooks and 10 Kindle books for free.  It's kind of awesome.  Which is how I've bumped my stats up so high.  And why I've been reading/listening to more books like Heidi and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  Because I got them for free.  And why my stats are so high.  haha.  (I haven't even listened to probably half of what I've gotten, either!)


  • Kessa, while sucking on a lime, exclaimed, “It's not burning me up all gone!”
  • (Tianna coughs really hard). Abby: Bless you!
  • Kessa: Mom, because you're not feeling well, may I sit on the table?
(Sorry, Tianna's been taking lots of naps this week, so we didn't record as many of these.)

Have a great week!

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