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Sunday, December 8, 2013

A much better, happier, reduced-stress, Christmasy week.

Dear Jessa ~

This week was much more chill.  Which was wonderful.  Far less stress.  (Minus one night of ranting about primary budget issues, but that's neither here nor there.  And it'll work out anyway.)  I really think it might be due to our Christmas tree.  Weird?  Maybe.  But seriously, Jessa.  There is something magical about white lights on a Christmas tree.  And when the sun isn't hiding behind clouds, it is shining blindingly through our family room/kitchen windows.  Literally blindingly.  We walk around squinting.  So half the week we've closed them and left the lights off, so it's rather dim.  And then night and day we have magical white lights in the main part of the house just soothing my soul.  Plus, we got the perfect Christmas tree.  It is perfectly shaped.  I've had several friends ask if it's a fake tree and act surprised when I say it's real.  Seriously.  So happy.  I put your mom's teddy bears up again this year (though left out all the breakable glass) and Abby adores them.  We put the pearls up again which I thought would be a problem because Abby kept thinking they were a necklace/bracelet and kept trying to pull them off the tree, but after a few "no no"s, she has decided to leave them alone.  We've also had to train her to "Be soft.  Only touch.  Don't grab," with some other ornaments and the Christmas village.  In general she's pretty good about it.  Unless she's overly tired. But usually she'll go up to say, a rocking horse ornament and while softly touching it say, "Horsie!  Neigh!  Soft.  Rocking."  It's really cute.

Our ward Christmas party was Saturday.  It was set in Whoville and the Grinch showed up and tried to steal the Christmas presents and decorations from the tree.  But Santa caught him and taught him the true meaning of Christmas by putting more decorations on the tree and explaining their Christmas spiritual significance.  After every one or two, there would be a musical number.  BJ sang Away in a Manger in a quartet.  Our neighbor, Riley, who is 7, did a karaoke solo of a song from The Polar Express and was amazing.  Seriously.  I had no idea she could sing.  The night ended with the Primary kids singing Silent Night.  We forgot to prep Kessa for it, so I was expecting the worst, but BJ talked to her about it maybe 3 minutes beforehand, and she ran up, sang loudly, and did an awesome job.

During dinner BJ did a duet with one of the YW on the piano.  The Sleigh Bells song that the two of you played last year.  This girl is really talented for her age and had been wanting to do a duet with BJ for awhile, so it seemed a good opportunity.  She's come over almost every night for the last week and a half-ish.  BJ was so great with her.  She's only 12, and struggled a little with timing, but BJ was great about working with her, taking things slowly, counting things out, and even I could see a major difference from the beginning to end.  But maybe that's because Sleigh Ride is my favorite Christmas song.  So I listened more than normal.  :D  BJ has decided that while he's not sure he'd be a great piano teacher (as he'd have to decide what songs to assign, etc.) he'd love to be a piano tutor.  If only there were such a thing...

One time Kessa and I were listening to them practice.  She turned to me and asked, "Mommy, when could I learn to play that song?"  Awww.  Well, she does have Mary Had a Little Lamb down pretty well now.  I told her that she could learn to play it if she wanted, but it would take a lot of practicing and a long time.  Probably a few years if she worked hard.  :D

Sorry this doesn't show her face, but it does show them talking.  And it also shows her braids.  This is my second time attempting to french braid her hair, and though far from perfect, I'm still proud of myself!

At the end of the Christmas party Santa had a seat and the kids could all go sit on his lap.  Kessa wasn't sure what to ask him for for Christmas, and debated between new pajamas and not-dry skin. (She had some painful dry skin while we were in line and spent half the time whining that it hurt, so I went and found someone with lotion, then the other half whining that the lotion burned.  Poor girl.)  But the pain went away before we got to Santa, so she ended up asking for new pajamas.  Luckily for her, there are already two pairs waiting for her in my bedroom.  One of which is a matching pair with Abby.  Awwww.  Abby was interested until we got up there.  When I asked if she wanted to sit on Santa's lap, she cuddled into my shoulder and said, "Iohwantto."  (Translation: I don't want to.)  I decided I didn't want to be the mom who forced her kids and got the hilariously sad photo of the crying child on Santa's lap, reaching for mommy, so I didn't make her.  Mostly she was just interested in the bowl of candy next to Santa anyway.  She's got a sweet tooth, that girl.  Goodness.  "Cannee?  Cannee?"

We got some pretty good snow this week.  We got a bunch Monday night and Tuesday.  I managed to shovel half of our driveway Tuesday morning before BJ went to work, but it took 20+ minutes, I was freezing, and BJ had to go to work.  And I didn't trust the girls unsupervised.  And my back hurt.  So I came inside.  And then the temperatures dropped.  So cold.  Like 1º one morning.  It warmed up to 14º by the time Kessa got done with Joy School.  Ridiculous.  So that combined with sore muscles and just being tired (and one day just unexplainably grumpy) meant I didn't ever finish shoveling.  Instead when people came over, I opened the garage and told them to come up that way, lest they kill themselves on my front stairs.  It was that bad.  So when we got another snow storm Saturday, and someone posted on our neighborhood Facebook group a reminder that we had to have our sidewalks shoveled within 12 hours of the storm... I decided to stop being lazy.  I had a sudden burst of energy when we got home from the Christmas party, so I sent BJ and the girls upstairs to do bedtime, and I bundled up and started shoveling.  To do my long driveway, 13+ stairs and part of my front porch, and the sidewalk that wraps around my property, I spent an hour out there.  In the freezing Lehi wind that was blowing the very powdery snow in my face.  But I got it done!  And I actually do like shoveling snow.  It's cathartic.  Weird, I know.  I guess I just need workouts that are productive in order to enjoy them.  Working out for the sake of working out just isn't my thing.   The resulting sore muscles aren't even that bad.  Yet.  Ask me again tomorrow.

And then we woke up this morning to find the wind blew snow all over everything.  Luckily just a little.  But enough it could be shoveled again. It probably won't be.  *grumble*  haha.

We had tithing settlement today.  It was cute to watch the bishop talking to Kessa about tithing.  And her being too shy to answer without prompting from us.  All Abby cared about was trying to get "More cannee?" from the bishop.  Apparently she likes Starbursts.

Kessa has been growing a lot spiritually lately.  She's taken a lot of interest in scripture stories.  We have her look at the Gospel Art book during the sacrament, and we'll whisper stories in her ear when she asks.  She'll sometimes pick a random person in the picture and tell me that they're her favorite and what is their story?  And I have to tell her I don't know.  But they remain her favorite.  Or in sacrament meeting today a neighbor was speaking and he was talking about some of the evils of the world today.  He mentioned that there are more and more atheists that don't believe in God.  I didn't think Kessa was listening when suddenly she jerked up, wide eyed and said, "Don't believe in GOD?!"  So I explained that there are some people who don't believe there is a God.  And then I asked her what she believed.  Is there a God or isn't there?  She thought a moment, then suddenly got a huge smile and said, "There is a God."  I love seeing her testimony blossoming.

Tonight was the Christmas Devotional.  (No longer the First Presidency Christmas Devotional.  Only Pres. Monson spoke from the 1st Pres and *gasp* a woman said the opening prayer!  And another gave a talk!  Signs of the last days, surely.)  We streamed it through our Apple TV upstairs.  The girls mostly just played while BJ and I watched.  But when Sis. Wixom (the General Primary President) got on, both girls stopped what they were doing and just watched her for probably 2-3 full minutes.  Eventually they both lost interest, but Kessa would still look up occasionally and watch for another minute or two here and there.  I loved it.

Oh, Saturday morning we cleaned the church.  Kessa was all about doing service, so we took the girls with us.  They would go back and forth between BJ and I, and generally loved it.  And did help a little bit at times. :)  I finished before BJ did, so we sat on the stand in the chapel while BJ vacuumed it.  A guy came in to practice the organ.  Every time he finished a song Abby would clap her hands and yell, "Hooray!!!" or "Good Job!"  I was dying at how adorable she was.  She would also climb up on one of the ... risers?  Where the choir seats raise up? then step off while yelling, "Mommy!  Watch this!"  Over and over again.  It's become a thing with her.  She did it during the devotional tonight on the Wii Fit balance board.  Or she'll do it on couch cushions.  She also calls all such objects "trampolines" even though she doesn't jump.  And for what it's worth, she's really good at jumping on trampolines.  Haha.  She also calls them "jumpolines" most of the time.

Oh, and afterwards we found the photo booth area set up for the party that night.  So we took pictures of the girls in their pjs with the photo booth props.  I apologize in advance for the adorable overload you're about to witness.

Kessa's half bday was on Friday.  She has been so looking forward to be "4 and a half" for months now that we decided to make it special.  She got to choose our meals (german pancakes for breakfast, she had yogurt for lunch, and mac and cheese for dinner) and while shopping for dinner I bought her a helium balloon.  It's becoming our special treat for all special days.  And it means I can say no for every other grocery shopping trip when we walk by w/o feeling guilt.

The night before she noticed a humidifier in the hall that a neighbor had returned.  She asked what it was, I told her, and she exclaimed, "Oh good!  Now Abby and I can both have humidifiers in our rooms!"  I agreed, but told her that I thought that neither of them needed one right now.  She insisted that she did need one.  "Why?"  "So my cough can go away faster."  "But Kessa, I haven't heard you cough in days.  I think your cough is already gone."  "Oh good!  Now I can pick out my own donut!!!!"  I was very confused for a moment until I recalled a few weeks earlier.  She had just started to get her horrible cough and I was denying her excess sugar.  She went to preschool and of course it was someone's bday, so she came home with a treat.  A donut.  It sat on the counter (wrapped) for a couple of days, but I still didn't want her to eat a full donut with her sore throat.  So we made her a deal.  If we could cut it in fourths and share it with everyone, then when her cough went away, we'd take her to the store and she could pick out her very own donut.  I had planned on honoring the deal (we all love donuts/pastries), but honestly?  I had completely forgotten about it.  She hadn't said a word about it for weeks.  But apparently she hadn't forgotten!  So after school on her half bday we went to a new coffee/donut shop in town and bought donuts.  She got one covered with m&ms.  So, nothing super special, but enough that she felt pretty cool (though sad that we didn't give her any presents) and has proudly announced to anyone who will listen that she is 4 and a half.

From Facebook:
Know what's great about pregnancy? Everyone assumes that the pooch on your belly is a baby. Heck, they might even be right.

One Christmas present almost done. (Which must remain a secret on here.) Baby's mini stocking in progress because our stocking wall looks like it's missing a spot. Family Mario Kart night was a success (read: our team lost miserably every time). Girls are going to bed. It's almost time for Once Upon a Time! Which we are far behind on. And I cleaned my family room. And have even kept it clean all day.

All around, I'll consider today a success!


  • BJ tweeted: Just discovered my 4-yr-old refers to pages in a book as levels. “This level is hard.” #ipadgeneration
  • Kessa in her prayers after the Christmas party, "And please bless Santa to bring me pajamas for Christmas."  Then after her prayer she told daddy, "I said that so Heavenly Father can give them to Santa to give to me."
And... apparently I haven't been writing things down this week.  Soory!  But you got more kid stories, so hopefully that helps.  Oh here, another Abby story.  So she's obsessed with dresses.  Specifically, this one red and white checkered dress with ladybugs and flowers embroidered on it.  She'll wake up, point to the closet and yell, "Dresses!"  She'll dig that dress out of the hamper and insist on putting it on.  After I did laundry it ended up on top, and thus was immediately confiscated.  Unfortunately for her, it's a little too short on her.  Just covering her bum.  It's going to need to disappear soon.  Luckily for her I decided to unpack Kessa's old 2T clothes and found her 11 new dresses.  So hopefully she'll be able to transfer her obsession.

I saw a Black Friday ad with a bunch of purple kitchenware and immediately thought of you. Awww.

And... I think I'm all done.  I had two interrupted naps today.  So I think I'm going to bed early.

~ Tianna and Co.

PS - Here's a video of BJ and Abby dancing while standing in line for Santa.  She loves dancing:

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