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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Drama, debates, and spilled cheese.

Jessa ~

Monday was St. Patrick's.  There are now Mommy Wars about holidays.  Part of me is amused by it. In the rolling-of-my-eyes sort of way. Seriously?  Why do mommies keep warring about things like this?  It gets to the point that people are afraid both to make holidays special and also to not make holidays special and really, no one wins.  Someone wrote a blog that was basically like, "Dude!  Moms!  Tone down the holidays a little!" and it went viral.  It spurred other people to write counter posts of, "I like to make big deals out of holidays because I like to make things special for my kids."  Which spurred counter-counter attacks of, "But you make the rest of us look bad and our kids think they're hated!"  Which was counter-counter-counter attacked with, "Just because my kids do it doesn't mean your kids have to do it.  Don't try to make me feel bad because I do something you don't."  It was ridiculous.

So basically, what it boils down to, is that now there is this trending idea of The Leprechaun that comes to people's houses the night before St. Patricks Day and plays tricks.  Leprechaun footprints in the bathroom.  Milk turned green.  That sort of thing.   Except, I believe, he might also leave treats?  At least at some houses. Kids make leprechaun traps with candy and such, trying to trap the leprechaun so they can get his gold.  I blame Facebook and Pinterest for this very sudden and very widespread trend.  I can see both sides.  On the one hand, it's super fun and magical and kids lap it up.  On the other hand, if you don't do it, then your kids come home from school upset because all their friends had really cool mornings, and they didn't.  I had neighbors post on Facebook about how their kids came home from school grumpy because The Leprechaun doesn't like them as much as he does their friends.

This is one time when our policy of telling the truth comes in handy.  We did some fun things, but with Kessa.  She watched us turn some milk green to put in our cereal.  (And bonus: we didn't have to drink the rest of the gallon of milk while green.  It was really trippy putting on our cereal.)  She didn't come home from school wondering about The Leprechaun, which was nice, but I am a little curious to know if some other kid mentioned The Leprechaun turning his milk green and Kessa was like, "Yeah!   My mom turned our milk green, too!"  And then this poor kid is like, "What?!  Your mom?!  Wait... did my mom do it, too?"  I've decided that I'll try to convince my kids to keep "the Santa secret" but I'm not going to fight the other ones.  And I'm not going to feel guilty if my kids spill the beans on them.  Because, let's be honest here.  I put a lot of work into doing fun, special things with my kids and so help me, I want the credit!  Not some imaginary mythical creature.  So if my kids end up telling their friends that their parents are more fun, no guilt here.  :D  Haha.

I also did Kessa's hair into shamrocks.  (She needs longer, thicker hair.  But it was good enough.)  And for dinner we had a mashed/grated potato pancake, which is apparently a traditional Irish dish (and was gobbled up) and a pistachio pudding (thus, green) dessert that my grandma used to make.  Simple, but fun.  Oh, and everyone wore green, of course.

Tuesday Frozen came out on DVD.  I knew this, but had forgotten.  But then Abby and I happened to be at CostCo during Joy School and saw it, so we bought it.  We bribed Kessa into being happy and quick to obey with a promise of watching it after dinner if she did.  I had dinner ready to go just after 5, which BJ usually gets home, just to find out that he had had a huge project thrust upon him at 4:40.  And it had to be done by 9:00 am.  So he was a little late for dinner, but then that night I went to bed at 10 and he started programming with his coworker and didn't come to bed until 3 am!  In general, deadlines like this are supposedly common in the programming world, but thankfully we don't deal with them very often.  But he was a good daddy and chose to stay up late instead of working all evening so that he could watch Frozen with us.  Kessa, of course, loved it.  (Though she's still not entirely used to full length movies and about halfway through started commenting on how long it is.) Abby didn't care at all and mostly self entertained throughout.  She did dance through the songs, though, which was adorable.  She did have a tantrum halfway through, but I took her into her room and read her a book, which calmed her down, and all was well after that.

There's more drama surrounding Frozen, but it seems silly to write about it, seeing as how you've never seen it and I don't want to spoil it for you.  But I will say that for the most part, I disagree with the nay sayers and still love it.  (Not as much as I love Tangled, though.)  I think the majority of my love from it comes from Kessa.  In part, it's hard to not like something that she loves so much.  It's magical to see things through children's eyes.  There are a couple of songs that are duets and one in particular ("Love is an Open Door") Kessa and I will sing together and it amazes me how much of the duet she's picked up.  Apparently her brains are rubbing off into the musical realm, too.  No surprise there...  But mostly it's because of how many good teaching moments we've had because of the music.  Kessa has most of the lyrics memorized.  And she thinks about them.  And asks questions about them.  "Why does she say X?  Is that true?"  And then we talk about what's happening at that point in the movie, why she would think that, and how the character learns it's not true, and how that can apply to our lives.  I often find moments when I can use the story to teach Kessa a real-life lesson.  Something happens and I'll say, "Kessa, remember when Elsa does X?  Was that right?  Well, that's kind of what you're doing right now.  How can we learn from her mistake right now?"  I'm excited for her to learn more scripture stories so we can apply those stories the same way.

Thursday was our local caucus meeting.  If you're like me, your eyes just glazed over and you have no idea what I just said.  I knew it was something political.  I knew there was voting. And I knew that it was something the Church has asked us to attend.  I knew Democrats and Republicans both have one.  In fact, no Church meetings were allowed to be held on either night.  (The church is politically neutral, but the members shouldn't be.)  And I knew that the stake president specifically asked me to go.  So I went.  We got a neighbor girl to babysit and BJ and I went together.  I really had no idea what to expect.

So, assuming you're like me, I'll explain a little more.  Basically, the state is divided into little precincts.  In my case, it covers about 4-5 wards in size.  Ish.  Maybe 4 miles in length and my street length in width.  Each precinct gets to vote leaders to represent our neighborhood.  Then those leaders go to county or state meetings where they represent us to vote for leaders the next level up.  It started at 7 and lasted till midnight.  (Though BJ and I left at 11 for the babysitter's sake.)  It was interesting.  We'd start with a position (like Precinct Chair) and then people would nominate other people or themselves and then those nominated (you could decline if you didn't want to do it) would have to give up and say in 2 minutes or less why they'd do a good job.  Then we'd vote on paper and they'd go back and count up all the votes, declare a winner, and we'd move on to the next position.

My bishop nominated me for Precinct Chair!  I was like, "Whaaaa-aaat?!?!  No ways!" and declined. I'm sure I was beet red.  He turned to look at me and was like, "Tianna, you'd do an excellent job!  You're dedicated and passionate and blah blah blah (I don't remember it all.)"  To which I retorted, "And I'm having a baby in like 3 months and have a busy calling already!"  "You would do great!  I'm not letting you get out of this!  I'll just nominate you for something else."  "[splutter]  But Bishop!"  Then I turned to Melanie, who was sitting next to me, and said, "And now you see why I blame Bishop for my calling!"  Thankfully he didn't live up to his threat.  And then when he was nominated for another position, the punk declined, saying he was too busy.  Psh.  :D  It's a good thing I really like our bishop!

Maybe in future if I become more politically aware I might enjoy participating in something like this, but honestly, I think someone should at least know what a caucus is before serving as the president.  :D  Unfortunately, the whole thing left me feeling like I really should learn more about the issues.  I've already been feeling like I should learn more about Common Core (the government-driven educational standards that are also a highly-charged topic), seeing as how Kessa will be directly affected by it this fall.  And then other topics were brought up that I started feeling like I should be at least somewhat knowledgable in.  I keep thinking about the quote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."  And makes me feel like I'm being prompted to do more things.  And be more aware.

Unfortunately, I'm feeling prompted to start doing lots of things lately.  Family History and temple work is one that I've been acting on.  I feel like I need to index more, even though I really don't like doing it.  I need to research Common Core more.  I need to be more politically involved.  I told BJ the other night that we should go on more dates, even if it's just, "Kids, go play at a friends' house for an hour so Mommy and Daddy can go on a walk."  He laughed and pointed out that, while a very good idea, it was one more thing I'm trying to add into my life.  Let's not mention that gardening and yard work season is drawing nigh really quickly.  Put it all together and it's almost overwhelming.  But to top it off, I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy!  Which not only makes physical things harder, but I'm also going to have a newborn soon and will be lucky to keep up on laundry!  How in the world am I going to fit all this in!?  Why am I feeling prompted to do all of this now?!  A friend pointed out that maybe it's my version of nesting.  I know I won't be able to do it all in 3 months, so I feel the need to do it all now.  Yipes.  Can't I just have the overwhelming urge to clean and organize like normal women?  :D

Ok, enough of the drama stuff.

Wednesday your mom watched the girls in the morning so I could go to the temple.  Teresa did some baptisms for me, so I went and did the initatories.  So all that's left, for the girls anyway, are endowments and sealings.  My nephews are going to do the remainder of the male baptisms and then BJ will need to do those initatories (and some that we currently have for him).  But we're making marked progress on the girls!  Too bad it's the endowments that take the most time, so progress won't go nearly as fast from here on out.  But seriously, hooray for your mom!  Abby especially has been incredibly drawn to her lately and at least once a day will ask for her.  "Mama Homer?  Shoes?  Car?  Jacket?"  And when I tell her we're not going to Mama Homer's right then, she'll throw a huge tantrum.  One day she wouldn't be deterred, so we called Mama Homer and let Abby talk to her on the phone.  Then got mad when we hung up without talking to Papa.

Thursday was also my mom's birthday!  Happy birthday, mom!  We got to video chat with her, which was really fun.  Abby had just woken up from a nap and was cranky and shy, but they got her to come out of her shell and be adorable.  Kessa was fun for the first half, but really wanted to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates and was cranky because I wouldn't let her while we were on the phone, then somehow managed to get on the iPad and watch it during the latter part of the conversation.  Sorry about that, mom!  But in good news, the pajamas she made them for Christmas are still the favorites by far (why did I spend money to buy them new pajamas for Christmas?) and Kessa is starting to get worried about what will happen when she outgrows hers.  (So Mom, be ready to make her a new one!  Or 3.  So that she'll switch them out every once in awhile.)

BJ's been teaching Kessa about space.  I think she's got a decent grasp on the fact that the sun is a star and is ginormous.  She knows that the earth orbits the sun and the moon orbits the earth.  Tonight we were walking home from a friends' house and she noticed there was no moon.  But on the way to church today we had noticed the moon in the sky during the day.  So we talked about how when we see the moon during the day, that means you (Jessa) don't get it at night.  So when we didn't have it here tonight, you must be seeing it during the day there.  So we decided that when we see the moon during the day, we'll ask it to tell you that Kessa loves you.  So if you see the moon during the day today, make sure you listen for it to deliver the message, ok?

You have asked a few times about how BJ and I don't seem to ever fight.  And we don't.  But that doesn't mean we're without conflict.  We had a disagreement the other day over grilled cheese sandwiches.  Specifically, what the term "grilled cheese sandwich" included.  The climax hit when BJ jokingly and dramatically exclaimed, "I can't believe I married a woman who doesn't know what a grilled cheese sandwich is!"  Now, dem's fightin' words.  So I took it to Facebook to get a large number of opinions.  This was the conclusion:

Official results of the Great Grilled Cheese Debate of 2014:
- A grilled cheese sandwich must have two pieces of bread and end up toasted on the outside. (1 point to Tianna. Not that BJ disagrees with this definition, but because, as is stated in the following result, believes the definition to be larger than it really is.)
- If it only has one slice of bread and is broiled in the oven, it is no longer a grilled cheese sandwich, but rather "cheese toast" or "a melt". (No points awarded. Though if one *must* be awarded, it would also go to Tianna as "cheese on toast" is much closer to "grilled cheese".)
Final verdict: Tianna wins and BJ's cooking vocabulary has been expanded and has learned something new today. All is well in Zion, once again.
Thank you, Facebook friends, for your input.
The results were almost unanimous.  That is until I posted the results.  Then suddenly several people commented and declared that the one slice of bread option they called, "open faced grilled cheese sandwiches" which backed up BJ's point of view.  But seeing as how I had already closed the polls, I conveniently ignored them.  ;)   So there you go.  Proof that BJ and I don't agree on everything.

Friday, after a tantrum about wanting Mama Homer, Abby switched tactics on me and started crying for "Trabis!  I want Trabis!"  So I texted him and told him so.  I then took a video of her tantrum to send him, but she was sitting up by me, so I had to hold the camera so she could see it.  Which had positive and negative effects.  She saw herself and immediately stopped crying.  She curled up on my shoulder so she could watch her self.  Pro: it calmed her down.  (And she stayed calmed down!  After watching the video about 12 times.)  Con: I didn't get to capture the magnitude of the tantrum.  Only the sadness of really wanting "Trabis".  But the final outcome was that Travis agreed to come out Saturday for dinner and then watched the girls so BJ and I could go to the adult session of stake conference.

He brought a friend, Brenda, and they were supposed to put the girls to bed.  But Kessa brought out this book of science experiments we have and Trav jumped on the chance to do them.  So they put their fingerprints on tape, took pictures and then enlarged the pictures so they could see how they were different.  He showed them how a bottle full of water turned upside down wouldn't spill until it got air inside (they blew in it with a straw).  And they made an egg stand on its end, using salt.  They had so much fun experimenting that I decided to forgive them for not putting them to bed.  (It helped that BJ took over the job and I didn't have to deal with it.  :D )

So, the adult session of conference was interesting.  For one, it wasn't really an adult session.  Youth 12 and up were invited.  And it sounds like that decision came down from the 1st Presidency.  Second, and I'm not sure about this yet, but from things said last night and today, I think that they are no longer calling it the adult session, but the "Hastening the Work of Salvation" session.  I don't know if that's church-wide or just our stake or if I'm really just making stuff up, but if that's true, that's interesting.  All of the talks were on that theme.  But only for the adult session.  The main session of stake conference today was all about temple work and families.  Which is similar and was tied in many times, but still different.

Our children's choir performed today.  They did such a great job!  We sat up near the front in case I needed to go up and sit next to irreverent children (2 hours is a long time!), but I never had to go up.  I did have to catch the eye of one boy to tell him to sit in his chair properly, but that was it.  (Oh, sure, they wiggled and fidgeted, but they're 8-11 year olds.  No one expects that they'd be perfectly still.)  They learned the songs really well, including parts, harmony, and dynamics.  They learned to enunciate words and even hit ending t's or d's together so it sounded crisp and clear.  They stood up and sat down together.  All in just 3 practices!  It went so smoothly.  I was so impressed by them.  It was also super nice to not be stressed about anything, even though I was in charge of it.  Our choir director is amazing.  He just ran the show and I was just there as backup.

Random things:

  • Apparently Abby knows the entire alphabet song.  I took her to CostCo this week and while we were sitting in the car in the parking lot, she started singing it.  The entire thing.  By herself.  Perfectly.  Without any help.  I pulled out my camera and took a video (don't worry; I was parked), but she only sang the first part, then would exclaim, "Uh oh!" and start again.  So I never got her to sing the whole song on camera.  But she did do it!  I promise!  I'm still a little in shock.
  • We were introduced to Pizzadillas this week.  And have had them twice.  Basically you cook tortillas (nice and crispy) and then top them like a pizza and bake them.  Then cut them up and eat pizza slices.  We had french bread pizza for dinner one night and had leftover toppings, so the next two lunches consisted of Pizzadillas.  Which aren't much harder to make than quesadillas, assuming you have toppings.  So I think this will become a more common thing.
  • The neighbor cat was out and about today.  The girls were enamored.  They played with it for quite awhile.

  • Me: So Abby. Are you going to marry Reid or Redick?
    Abby, without hesitation: Redick. 
  • Me: Redick?
    Abby: Uh-huh

    Melanie's response: Perfect because he seems to be the most enamored with her anyway. :)
    Here's the two of them tonight.

  • BJ was splitting a CostCo sized bag of shredded cheese into Ziplock bags.  He said, "Now let's see if I can do this" then set the giant (open) bag down on the counter.  It promptly tipped over and dumped a bunch out onto the floor.  Because we are excellent parents, instead of cleaning it up we said, "Abby!  Do you want some cheese?"  She did.  So we let her have at it.

  • Kessa's newest Netflix is called Jake and the Neverland Pirates. There is Jake, Izzy, and Cubby and they earn gold deblumes by working together. Their nemesis is Captain Hook and Smee (and it must be made by Disney, because it's the same artistry and voices) who is always trying to steal their treasures or get it first. But they always end up winning and often pull Hook and Co. out of trouble. And try to teach them about teamwork. It never works. Sometimes they work with Peter Pan. And Izzy has pixie dust, which can only be used in emergencies. Which, of course, happens at least once per episode.

    Kessa loves it. So much that she often tells us the story line from it as if it really happened. It's kind of adorable.


  • Abby just told me that she's waiting for Daddy to come out the Daddy door. :)
  • Me: Kessa, what do you need to so with your plate? [after dinner her plate was still on the table while she ran around]
    Kessa: Yes. I know. Sorry about that. But I need to collect all the coins!

    Maybe she's had too many Mario Kart battles tonight?
  • There's a line in a song in Frozen that says, “I don't know if I'm elated or gassy, but I'm somewhere in that zone.” Kessa apparently thinks elated = a lady, but gassy just didn't fit in her vocabulary. So she asked us, “is gassy a boy?”
  • Kessa: I like the olives that aren't cut so I can stick my finger in it and look like Mickey Mouse.
  • Kessa found a broken ball in a trampoline full of ball pit balls.
    “Daddy, this ball cannot be in here. It's broken. Broken like a see-saw.”
And... I think that's all for this week!  Toodles!

~ Tianna

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