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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas and other catchup

Jessa ~

Ok.  Big catch up session.  Here we go.  First...

Pre-Christmas break
It was a long time ago.  So here's the brief rundown:

  • We went to Resa's madrigal's concert.  She did a great job.  The girls, especially Abby, spent the majority of the time running around and laughing.  So that was fun.
  • The next night we did our sibling ornament night.  I think we only showed you yours, though... or did we show you all of them?  The boys did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (green ornament balls with a colored ribbon around and googly eyes glued on).  I printed something on my Silhouette—a snowflake in a ball.  Teresa did a snowflake on foam.  Kessa and Abby made candy canes out of those triangle beads on pipe cleaner.  Kessa did a pattern (red, white, red, white, etc.) while Abby grabbed one randomly out of a pile and I strung it on for her.  Hers was remarkably shorter.  Because it was turning into a game of grab a handful of beads and throw them.  I decided she was done.  I didn't want you to get left out just because you weren't home, though, so I painted a missionary peg doll!  With freckles!  And your skirt was purple!  (And then I hung you by the neck... sorry about that.  I at least did it with fishing line so it was less visible.)
  • Saturday, Kessa had a Primary party where she got to meet her new teachers. Meanwhile BJ donated blood, and I frantically packed.  The Goddard Christmas party was that night, but there was a storm predicted and we decided it would be better to not drive Malad Pass in the dark, so we left significantly earlier and got to my parents' house around the time that we would have been leaving the Goddard party.  The roads were clear, but I think we still made the right decision, though we were really sad to miss the party.
Christmas break

Most of Christmas break was actually rather quiet and uneventful.  Most of it was spent at my parents' house with just them and us.  It was really nice.  It gave the girls a great opportunity to really get to know Grandma and Papa Lovell.  It gave me a chance to take lots of long naps.  :)  And to stay in my pjs a lot.  Hah!  BJ got involved with a project that will blog something about every hymn every day this year.  I'm sure he'll tell you more about that.  But that kept him occupied.  

Christmas Eve we went over to my brother, Damian's, house for dinner.  Then all the kids (and BJ and I) got to open our Christmas Eve presents.  We all got pajamas except BJ, who didn't want any new ones.  He got Steelheart, one of the new Brandon Sanderson YA novels.  We've been wanting it (and have read the Kindle version), but our Barnes and Noble doesn't seem to carry it.  I've looked twice.  So I saw it in Idaho Falls and got it for him so he wasn't left out.  :)

We got home, got the girls to bed (relatively easily), then played elves all night.  Which was fun.

The next morning I kept waking up early, and it was bugging me, so I kept hoping the girls would wake up early, but no.  They decided to sleep in.  Go figure.  And by sleep in, I mean I think they were awake by 7:30 or 8:00... We made them sit on the stairs and get my traditional stairs-before-presents photo.  (It's a split level, so they still couldn't see the presents.)  Then we went down and pretty much let the girls take turns opening their presents, interrupted only by one of the adults opening one of our family gifts in between.  After they were done the adults started opening their gifts, but turns out that was a bad idea to save them, because Kessa was upset that we were still opening presents and she was done.  Greedy little girl wanted more!  And then we opened our traditional cereals and all of us got a sugar cereal to start our day on.  Mmm.  

The day was spent packing up again, playing with toys, and a bit of playing with cousins (Damian's kids).  And then playing Mario Kart with Travis (he stayed home because he flew out to Samoa the next day on a humanitarian trip).  We taught my mom how to play and it was the most hysterical thing ever.  It was so great that before we left we bought her the game so we could play online with her later.  And so she could practice.  ;)

The girls like the iPad
Then we went and picked up Chelsea and headed up to Island Park.  We ate dinner, talked to you, (then Resa cried for like the next hour.  It was so adorably sweet.  Though, I liked to tease her that she couldn't decide if it was because she missed you or because she realized this is her last Christmas with you gone and her time was running out.  Haha... sisters...)  After that we opened all our family homemade gifts.  We made Shawn a full-sized guitar out of cardboard, push pins and rubber bands.  Then stuffed the inside with a CostCo-sized box of fruit snacks.  80 bags.  That's right.  We win.  Your dad had us again (poor guy.  I think that's 3/5 years now).  He gave us the life history that he gave Resa last year.  And also a children's book about Russell King Homer that the Russell King Homer Foundation just put out (I had no idea that even existed.  And apparently your dad has been president of until just recently. Huh).  It's adorable.   Stories of him, written in children's vocal.  With cartoon drawings.  Love.  And then the best part, he had someone put home movies, starting when BJ was 8 months old (his first Christmas), onto DVD!  We got 5 DVDs of home movies!  It's great.  We've watched two of the DVDs so far.  They're fun to just pop in for a little bit here and there... whenever there's a little bit of downtime.  BJ is adorable, but totally doesn't look like himself.  There's a shot of him and Nick in the bathtub and I can only tell which is BJ because Nick is so distinctive.  Hah!  I'm a great wife.  :D

We played up in Island Park for two days.  Wednesday night to Friday night.  Kessa went snowmobiling twice and loved it.  So much.  Abby went the second time and thought it was great, too.  No surprise there.  Hers was shorter due to lack of helmet, though.  She wanted to spend half her time outside.  When we walked from our condo to your parents' she would cry upon entering because she wanted to walk outside!  Nick and Chelsea usually saved the day and would take her out on a walk, though.  They (mostly Nick) liked to joke about needing to adopt her so she can get the outdoor time she needs.

We got three new games for Christmas: Mindtrap (which ended up mostly being played by Chelsea, Nick and Shawn), Evo (which we've played lots before, but didn't own yet), and Kingdom Builder.  It was BJ's gift to me.  It was kind of a risk, because neither of us had ever played it before, but BJ got lots of recommendations and it ended up being a hit.  It's really simple to learn, the board and scoring rules change every time, and you can still do pretty well without thinking too hard about strategy.  I love it.  Oh, and it's just as great to play with 2 players as it is 3 or 4.  Which is always a bonus when you only have small kids.

Between games and food and snowmobiling, there wasn't much time left for anything else. Except Resa getting addicted to my Kindle and trying desperately to claim it for herself.  TOO  BAD, SISTAH!  We took it back.  But let her borrow the physical copy of Steelheart (which is what she had been reading on the Kindle) instead.  So Friday night we left to come back home.  It was my parents' 45th anniversary!  Happy anniversary!

The next day I went and had lunch with three of my high school girl friends who still live in the area. We went to a place called Rusio's, which is totally a Zupas ripoff.  Right down to the names of some of their food.  It's great.  :)  The rest of that day was pretty chill.  Sunday was my nephew, Parker's birthday, so we had them over for dinner.  Kessa learned what a spanking machine was and told me she wanted to do that for her birthday.  Uh huh.  

Monday afternoon BJ and I went on a spur-of-the-moment date.  We left the girls with Grandma and we went to lunch at Johnny Carino's, then went craft shopping (for my mom) and grocery shopping.  BJ's idea of the best date ever, I'm sure.  ;)  But it was really nice to get out by ourselves for awhile.

Monday evening we did our traditional "Christmas Eve" dinner with international foods.  This year instead of a theme we did a potluck.  We ended up with Swedish meatballs, funeral potatoes, green salad, fruit salad, latkes (which ended up being a hit, so I'm glad we decided to do those), pulgogi , and Norwegian Rice Pudding. (Darn, that just reminded me that I was gonna make that tonight.  Alas.)  It was So Good.  All of it.

Abby was on a "give everyone hugs" kick. It was adorable.
Then Tuesday was New Year's Eve.  We put the girls down and BJ caught up on dishes while I sort of cleaned out/rearranged the fridge to fit all our leftovers.  Then BJ and I played Kingdom Builder while my mom sewed the girls' pajamas (her Christmas present to them) and my dad indexed.  Then we made red velvet hot cocoa and got everyone together to drink it.  My dad started reminiscing, so I pulled out my phone, opened Voice Memos, then started recording.  We ended up talking the rest of the night.  I got about an hour worth of recording in, everything from his childhood to his mission with my mom.  But I was So Tired by the end.  The last 15 minutes before midnight I lay in a recliner with my eyes closed.  I opened them just in time to see it hit midnight and announced, "It's time!"  So BJ and I kissed ... and we went to bed.  No way was I staying up any later.  (I am so getting old, Jessa.  It's true.)

Then Wednesday we packed up and came home.  Your parents had one of our gifts at their house, so we stopped by and they ended up having Butter Yaki that night instead of New Years' Eve.  Convenient, that.  So we stayed.  Free food!  Family time!  Hooray!  And we played a few games while we were there.  (Probably the one bad thing about staying at my parents' house for the majority of the time was I didn't get nearly the amount of game time in that I wanted.  There just aren't as many people available for games at any given moment.  Nor as many babysitters.  Alas.)  So I had to sneak in a few more.  And the next night we had neighbors over for games, too.  I'm feeling a little better about my game quota, but I wouldn't mind a few more game nights...

Utah Christmas Break
So BJ told work that he was going to be gone for 2 weeks.  As we were packing to go to Idaho he realized we would only be gone a week and a half.  So he decided to still take the 2 weeks off and stay at home for Thursday and Friday.  Best. Decision. Ever.  (Next to marrying me, of course.)  I was so, so, so tired.  I spent most of the day on the couch, honestly.  But with his help we took down Christmas, unpacked most of our stuff, did some laundry, rearranged the office (we're turning it into the play room), and rearranged Kessa's room (to get ready for Abby moving in at some point.)  Plus time to take the girls to the park, play Mario Kart, and just otherwise relax.  It was wonderful.

Thursday night and Saturday morning were taken up, for me, with baptisms.  We had 12 baptisms this month!  It was great.  Saturday night Resa babysat and BJ and I went on our first date of the year.  Hale Center Theater!  Remember how we got season tickets this year?  Huzzay!  They were doing The Foreigner which your mom thought was weird, but both BJ and I thought it was great.  Maybe it just depends on your sense of humor?  I know there were other people there the night we went who didn't love it.  But I laughed through the majority of it.  We went with Jared and Megan Moench, so we went and got dinner afterwards at Applebees.  I got a Philly Cheeseburger and it was so good.  Seriously.  Try it sometime when you get home.

And then there's today!  Church started at 11, which was nice and relaxing.  Slept in, had ample time to do hair, and we even considered walking.  But then I remembered that I had to bring the kids home by myself and if Abby was cranky, I didn't want to carry her all the way home.  So we drove instead.  Kessa did great in CTR 4.  Abby did great in nursery.  And during the sacrament Kessa and I had a great lesson about the atonement and resurrection using the pictures in the Gospel Art Book.  And talking about why the sacrament is important and why we should be reverent.  Later tonight the girls were watching Bible Movies from the church and Kessa picked the Crucifixion.  When they put him in the tomb she excitedly told us that he was in there for three days and then he was resurrected!  I was so proud of her!  She listened and remembered!

Sunday School was PACKED by the time we got the girls dropped off.  Which made me sad because it's Old Testament this year!  I love Old Testament!  But our best options for seats were in the front... facing the class.  So we opted to go to the family history center instead (which is in the same building and is a legit Sunday School option).  Usually BJ does stuff on his line, but he thought it was time I got into it, so he made me do it.  The internet/Family Search was slow, so I had enough time to find a big problem and start to fix it, but then Sunday School was over.  We had a combined meeting and we learned about... Family History!  So I was guilted enough to come home, put Abby down for a nap, give Kessa the iPad, then do family history.  Where I sat for the next 4.5 hours (interrupted only to eat dinner, of which BJ cooked the majority of it).  Fixing duplicates.  It was Ridiculous.  And the worst part?  I'm not done yet!  Every time I finally fix one little section, I find more people linked to them with duplicate issues.  I WANT TO SCREAM!  Why do people like doing this?  And yet, I can't just stop.  Because someone is wrong on the Internet!  They must be corrected!

But I did stop.  Why?  Because I knew I needed to write this novel to you.  :)  Thanks for being my reason for ending the insanity.  :)

Ok... what else... 

There's lots of little things I could tell you.  Like how I forgot to pack Abby any pants.  Or how we ate roasted chestnuts for the first time.  Or how Kessa is working on eating her fruits/veggies more.  Or how Kessa is earning "Peach coins" (that she designed!  And wrote "Lost Princess" on... because she's obsessed with Tangled) by staying dry all day so she can earn time playing Mario Galaxy with Daddy because Bowser stole Peach and locked her up! And now Kessa is all invested in playing the game and saving Peach.  Yessssss.  But... I feel like this is plenty long already.  So I'll just leave you with kiddisms instead.

  • Kessa: you yelled at me!
    Me: And you whined at me. We're both guilty.
    Kessa: no I'm not because I don't know what that means!
  • Abby wanted Baby Signing Time or Jesus. I told her she’d had enough screen time for now so she needed to take a break. Of course that made her mad, so she started scratching my neck. I warned her to stop or she’d get a time out. She did not stop. So I took her up to her crib. The entire way she was leaning back, arm outstretched, crying, “Jesus! Jesus!”
  • Kessa, as we were trying to get her to get ready for bed: No, you have to tell me something that I can't do that I really can.

    I guess we use the whole, “Kessa doesn't know how X. Nope. No way she'll ever get it done” routine a lot. And apparently it works.
  • Kessa: “Daddy, I just want to remind you: It's Christmas. Don't ask questions.”
  • Kessa in the breakfast prayer: Help us be safe when we drive to Mama Lovell's for Christmas and help us to have a good time there. And help us to not whine when it's time to leave because we had so much fun.
  • Kessa, showing me a ring on her (right) ring finger: Look! I'm already married to you guys!
  • Often when Kessa writes her name, she finishes it with "…?" I don't think she knows what that means. I think she got the "..." from when someone is typing to you in Messages, maybe.

  • Abby has learned the word “sorry.” But not it's meaning. She will say it, full of emotion in her voice, at seemingly random times. I'm starting to think she says it at situations similar to when she's heard us say it. Like when I change her stinky diaper. I open it up and start to wipe (which she hates) and she very sadly says, “Sorry!”
  • Abby thinks if she hides something behind her back then we can't see it. Even if her back is towards us. No, Abby, you still can't take that food with you out of the kitchen, even it is still behind your back.
  • I was singing Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains. When I finished Kessa asked, “So is that good for man?” “That Jesus was born? Yes. That's very good for man.” [pause] “Like Travis!”

    And then she started singing, “Peace on Earth, good manners to men.”
  • Kessa, with a big grin on her face: I'm very grumpy and I'm not getting my jammies on.
    Me: You're… grumpy and not getting jammies on?
    Kessa: I'm definitely not getting my jammies on.

    (And then she went and got her jammies on.) All this helped on by BJ. I think I'm getting reverse physiology worked against me.
  • Kessa was being grumpy at the condo, so I cuddled her on my lap for a bit, then asked her if she was sad or tired. She pondered a moment, then said, “Foxy!” [blink] “You feel foxy?” “No! I want Foxy!” And then pointed to the stuffed wolf Resa gave her for Christmas, which she apparently forgot that she had named Wolfie.
  • BJ, about the girls who are up an hour late, running in circles and giggling like crazy: All it will take is one of them to bonk and then they'll be crying and then they'll go to bed. I'm almost tempted to trip them. 
  • Mom Lovell: I wouldn't consider myself technologically savage.
  • Kessa: Oh my goodness. Oh my son.
  • Kessa: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Help us to drive home safely tomorrow and help us to love snow even though it is cold.
  • Kessa, wanting to go get her water while in bed:
  • I promise I'll come right back 
  • I promise I won't get distracted at all
  • I promise I won't even do anything else, I'll hold your hand the whole time
  • I really, really want to, daddy
  • Daddy, if you let me go get the water, I'll be really obedient all day tomorrow.
  • I'll be really obedient all day tomorrow and I won't eat any candy all day.
  • Daddy, if you don't let me go, I'll be won't be obedient at all tomorrow, and I'll eat lots and lots of candy.
  • (after daddy gets the water)  <crying> Daddy, now I have to be disobedient all day tomorrow
  • A girl in our ward was being recognized on the stand for being baptized, so to get Kessa to pay attention, I told her to look at the pretty dress. Kessa, “Is she getting the priesthood?”
  • Kessa: Mommy, I'm keeping my eye on you.
  • Kessa is mad at me because I won’t leave the office to take her a pen and want her to do it herself. Some great responses she’s given me so far:
  • But Mommy, I can’t because I’m stuck. Doggy is on my lap.
  • Mommy, you’re adorable. Just go get me a pen.
  • Mommy, you’re a big girl!
  • Mommy, you’re freaking me out.

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