Google Analytics (invisible)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Tulip Festival and first basement inspection

Jessa ~

So, let's see.  When I left you last, my parents were still in town, and Damian had gone home for the Easter weekend. Monday we took my parents, Trav, and his friend, Brenda to the Tulip Festival. It had just opened, and where we now have passes, we could get them all in half price. So we did. The girls loved it. Every new flowerbed Abby saw, she'd run to it as excited as can be, yelling, "Flowers!" And then she'd bend down and smell them. We were there for probably 2 hours. I can't figure out how she remained so excited the whole time, but she did. As we were making our way back to the main building, but still had at least a half hour to go, Kessa started being sad, because she didn't want to go home yet. She was having so much fun! So it's probably a really good thing we have these passes. Now I just need to find time and energy to take them more often.

And more pictures from Travis:

Abby smelling tulips that matched the flower in her hair!

My parents stayed till Tuesday, when they took Damian's old carpet cleaning truck back to Idaho. (Did I mention Damian bought a new truck and that's why my parents came down—to drive the old one home for him?) My mom helped a lot with the kids, despite her recent knee surgery. My dad helped a lot with the basement, and also my garden. We got onions planted, which was exciting. And then he went with me to buy more early-spring plants, but then left before I got them planted. So they're still sitting on my counter, awaiting me.  Oops. In my defense, it rained all weekend.  I hope to report the rest of them planted in my next email.

One day while they were still here Abby walked into the family room, pulled off her "skirt dress" and pants and declared "Potty!" We've had the little potty chair in the downstairs bathroom for months to help her get used to it being there, but I really had no intention of potty training. So my mom took her into the bathroom, took off her diaper, and sat with her for probably 10-15 minutes. Nothing came out, but she left the bathroom refusing to put a diaper back on. So I went and found the 2T panties and bravely put them on her. I realized we only had 4 panties, and those we went through quickly (in part because of accidents and part because she thinks she has to change them every 30 mins or so). So we went shopping and let her pick out a bunch of new panties. Yipes. All week we've been dealing with this. She wants panties, not diapers. She likes to change them often. I've started making her sit on the potty before she puts new ones on, just to get her on there. But to no avail. She still has yet to have a single success.

I haven't put my whole heart into it, though. I just don't have the energy for it. I should try to find said energy, though. It'd really be nice to not have two kids in diapers. But I put her back into diapers for naps and night and whenever we leave the house.  This whole weekend has been back to diapers and she doesn't seem to have minded much. (Though she did once try to put a pair of Kessa's dirty panties on over her diaper... Yuck.) My favorite, though, is when she does have an accident and comes running to me, "Panties dry! Uh oh! Panties dry!" I... do not think that word means what you think it means, Abby. I try to tell her, "No, those panties are wet. Not dry." And then when we put dry panties back on I try to tell her that they're dry. But then she just gets mad and says, "No dry! All clean!" She's very insistent upon her vocabulary. I think it's probably less of a fight to just adapt to her vocab. lol. The real question now is... do I just put my heart into it and do it? Or do I go through with my earlier threat of making her wait till 2nd grade and she's begging? Or some middle ground?  [sigh] Pray for me.  :D

Damian came down late Monday night and worked as hard as he could until Thursday. Wednesday afternoon he had our first inspection. It covers framing, plumbing, electrical, air ducts, etc. Everything went well except he wasn't aware of something called a firestop that was made a problem due to the way Richmond built our basement. It's something that would have been easy to put in while framing, but would be a pain to put in now that it was done. But he was determined to get this inspection passed before he had to leave. So scheduled a follow up the next day, enlisted BJ's help, borrowed a different kind of saw, and the two of them worked in the basement until midnight. I asked BJ the next day if his arms hurt from reaching up high all evening. He told me it wasn't bad and he got to climb all over the walls, so it was actually kind of fun. Lol. My big monkey husband. :D

The next morning he had to go oversee some things happening with his new truck, but got back early enough that it would still be a few hours before the inspection was to happen again. So he called to see if he could get it moved up. The guy was like, "Sure. I'll come right now." Which was funny because Damian wasn't actually ready. Really close, but not quite there. So he and BJ frantically finished up, putting in the last block when the inspector showed up. He passed the re-inspection and the inspector told him, "You should be a professional framer; you do better work than most of our contractors." Damian had a grin like a kid on Christmas morning for the rest of the morning. It was hilarious.

So next up we've got sheetrock, another inspection, mudding, taping, painting, carpet, cabinets/shelving, etc. And then we're done! But we're taking a break. This week Damian is in Oregon at Jalin's doing his semi-annual cleaning trip there, then next week they're moving to Idaho Falls. So it'll be a couple of weeks before he makes it back down this way. In the meantime I've made it my goal to clean all the debris out of the garage and make room for all the storage, then I'll have BJ move it all down to the garage, so that my house can look somewhat clean and uncluttered again. And since we now have a door from our garage to the storage room, when it's all finished, we can just pass it through the door and not have to bother with stairs at all. Hooray! Sounds like a great way to break in the door. :D I'll also clean up the basement debris to make it nicer for Damian to work in. Assuming energy and time, of course.

My primary secretary was stolen to be in her ward's YW presidency. Not cool. She said, "But I was just getting comfortable in this calling!" So I now blame her for getting moved, because as we all know, we're only in callings until we feel comfortable. Then they move us. ;) But she'll do fantastic in YW. Today I got a new secretary! Hooray! There were several awkward weeks in there of my former secretary trying to do both callings as we tried to get a new secretary, and then they didn't sustain her last week because it was Easter and people were out of town or something. But today she's officially mine.  Bwahahaha. ;)  And I think she'll be fantastic. So that's exciting.

Yesterday BJ and I went to Hale and saw "Arsenic and Old Lace". Have you ever seen it? It's a comedy based on two old women who kill old men and bury them in their basement. Yes. I promise. That kind of story can be made funny. Don't judge me for laughing. Nick and Chelsea babysat while we were gone. The girls sure love them. Which is always nice.

Today was 4th Sunday dinner. Your mom kindly decided to carry through with it since we didn't get to go up for Easter dinner last week. It was, as always, delicious. Nick and Chelsea mostly watched the girls while Resa, BJ and I played Settlers. Kessa complained the entire time we got ready to leave, all the way home, and half the time getting ready for bed, "But I just want to stay at Grandma's!" "I know, honey. We all do." The power of Grandma's house has a really strong pull, y'know?

  • Abby: Mommy, sit down!
    Me: No, I need to keep cleaning to relieve some stress.
    Abby: Abby want stress!
  • Kessa: Ab, what does amazing mean? Going potty is amazing!

Random pictures:

BJ took the girls out to fly a kite.

Kessa making a wish while blowing dandelion seeds.

Kessa painting Grandma Lovell's toenails

Kessa attached a wipe to the end of a pool noodle with a rubber band, then insisted on mopping the entire deck and stairs.

I have a bunch of family name temple cards and wanted a way to organize them by what ordinances were needed. This was the result. (Ok, the first try was on bright pink plastic canvas and has one less pocket and the temple isn't nearly so cool. But my mom wanted one, too, so I made her this one, improved upon the original, and will at some point make me another one that looks more like this.)

<3 Tianna and Co

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter and the rest of our busy week

Dear Jessa ~

Went to the midwife this week.  I'm 33 weeks now, and baby is about the weight of a pineapple! He's also head down (hooray!) and everything is good!

I taught Joy School this week. I finished up the unit on the Joy of Individuality and Confidence. They've been making an About Me book and I got to help them finish it up and bind it so they could take it home. I was the favorite teacher, I think because I'm the one who finally let them take it home and they loved it. It's got things like their silhouette, handprint, footprint, an info page, their favorite foods, favorite color, etc. Instant hit.
We had a rest time while we listened to a song

Kessa showed her friends where her hideout is.

Freezer meals were this week.  Have I mentioned how much I love this? I did sloppy joes. We added another person this month, but another dropped out, so we still had 9. Turns out, I still had about 5 or so from last month in my freezer, so by the time I got home, I had 15 meals in my freezer!  (I made extra of mine for myself.) I figure it's good to let them build up a little, to help out after the baby is born. We'll probably end up with freezer meals every night for a month! I'm sure BJ will love that as he'll be in charge of cooking.  :D

There was a total eclipse of the moon this week! Unfortunately it was reeeeeaaaaally  late at night. I had a stressful week and there was no way I was going to lose sleep to see a red moon, so I went to bed. And then had dreams about the eclipse until I finally woke up and got up to peek at it and found BJ not home. At almost 1 am. I was so confused. But turns out he went to a friend's house that owns a telescope, so he got some fun pictures. He came home a little before the peak and woke up Kessa to look at it. She was awake for about 5 minutes then said she was ready to sleep again.  :D But she's been excited about it since then.

Damian was going to come down Monday night, but ended up selling his house and couldn't come until Tuesday night.  (They're moving by May 9 to a rental, so we'll see how much of my basement actually gets done before that! Especially has he's making a trip to Oregon really soon!) He filled in the graves he dug with new concrete and finished up 99% of the framing (all that's left is the ceiling in the game closet). He put in electrical wires to most of the outlets and light switches. He put in all the can lights, so suddenly our basement is super bright. He put in most (? All? I'm not sure) of the heating ductwork.  (And man, that was LOUD! And during nap time. He woke up at least 4 of us. His son slept through it, though.)  Oh, that reminds me, this time he brought his youngest son, Kolter with him.  Kolter is about 5 months older than Abby. I was really nervous at first. I was teaching Joy School and had to make my freezer meal and had a bunch to do. And Kolter is a little Damian (read: mischievous) but I got a bunch done before they came and BJ helped out during Joy School, and all in all, it went really well! Abby and Kolter got along great. Kessa did a great job being a big helper with him. And he really wasn't all that mischievous. And took some really long naps. So overall, it was great and I was glad to have a chance to give Kim a break where I've stolen her husband for the majority of the last 3 weeks.

Kim ran a marathon in SLC on Saturday, so Friday she brought the rest of her kids down and we watched them.  The oldest, Lexi and Parker, were super big helpers, which was nice. I may have had more kids here than normal, but probably less work, too.  Then Friday night my parents came into town.  Damian is getting a new carpet cleaning truck and needs help driving the old one home, so they came down with my aunt on Friday and will drive the old truck back on Tuesday. I'm impressed with my mom. She had knee surgery last week on one knee and on the other a couple of months ago. So she's pretty much a cripple. Yet she's tough and is willing to climb all my stairs for several days in order to be here. And she's a champ, even with her grandkids climbing all over her.  :)

Saturday was Easter Saturday and it was busy. I got up that morning and made pancakes. It seemed the simplest way to feed so many people. (We had a total of 11 people here!) Around 10 am, Kessa and Lexi invited us all to a tea party, so we went upstairs to the loft and ate m&ms, pretzels, wheat thins and a half a banana. Then for entertainment Lexi jump roped and Kessa and Taegen played with stuffed animals or something. (I never was quite sure what they were doing...)

Then my mom and I went shopping and came back to find that BJ had turned on the silly sprinkler that Kessa got for her birthday last year for the kids.  After that we put the toddlers down for a nap while BJ played Lego Star Wars with the kids and my mom and I napped as well. Then I helped Kessa, Taegen and Abby dye Easter eggs.

When they were done I took the eggs out front (the back yard was still wet from the sprinkler) and "hid" them.  (Or rather, set them on the grass.) Then we took the kids out, gave them baskets, and had them find them. It was a fun, simple hunt for little kids. (The two oldest kids helped the two youngest.) And since all the eggs just got put back into the carton, there wasn't any fighting about who got more than who.

With a bonus belly shot of me! Ignore my funny face, though.

After the hunt, Damian and the kids went home. My dad, suddenly bored without being able to help Damian with the basement, came in and asked if he could mow my lawn.  Um... yes! While he was doing the back yard I found myself out on the deck, watching him and thinking how nice a day it was. I also remembered my midwife telling me that now was a good time to do gardening on my hands and knees to make sure the baby doesn't become posterior, and saw all the weeds in my garden.  So BJ and I and Abby went out to the garden and got to work.  I started weeding around the garden beds while BJ started testing out the sprinklers in the garden. Abby took it upon herself to play in the garden drip lines and get incredibly wet and muddy.  Not wanting to be left out, Grandma brought Kessa outside on the high chair and gave her her first hair cut. Nothing drastic, just a trim to straighten it out and hopefully give it a jump start to grow faster. Kessa loved it and thanked Grandma profusely.

BJ took the girls upstairs to take a bath (they both needed it after that outdoor excursion) while the Easter Bunny came and hid our baskets. BJ and I shared a basket, as did my parents. So we made the boys search for theirs. My dad's was hidden in the massive pile of storage boxes, under my China hat, and BJ's was in the dishwasher.  Dad found his long before BJ did. It was entertaining watching him climb up on counters and looking everywhere high. Until we reminded him that the two easter bunnies were a cripple and a pregnant woman. Hah!

Kessa got some addition and subtraction flash cards, which she has loved. Abby got some toy cars. I got an Easter Lily and BJ got a Lego Star Wars kit. (Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon.) Kessa helped him put it together after dinner today. She pretty much did all of it, except Daddy helped push some together when it was too hard. But still, she did a pretty great job!  (Plus we all got some candy, of course.)

Today, Easter Sunday, I got up and made granola for breakfast, and then we all leisurely got ready for church. Church was nice.  I even learned some things about Jewish history in my Sunday School class! That doesn't happen often. I liked it. After church BJ had tithing, so the rest of us came back, ate lunch, then napped until it was time to make dinner.  I was torn on Easter dinner. It seems silly to eat ham to celebrate a Jewish man. I like the idea of doing lamb, but I did it last year, and didn't have great results. Plus there would only be four adults, and a whole lamb roast seemed like a lot. We ended up deciding that it didn't have to be meaningful or symbolic, just a nice dinner. So I made steak and roasted veggies (with garlic and rosemary) and artisan bread with rosemary and parmesan cheese on top! It was all yummy. And then I spent the rest of the evening doing Primary stuff until I realized I had to hurry and write you if I was going to get all of this written before you got online!

Whew!  What a busy week!

Hope you had a lovely Easter, too!


I am So. Tired. of this stuffy/runny nose. It has plagued me this entire pregnancy. My upper lip is so raw today.

Is it funny that that's the main pregnancy complaint I have that is making me wish for the end of pregnancy? Everything else I'm happy to continue dealing with in order to prolong the time until I lose all sleep and have to adjust to three kids.
Sometimes I open my fridge and there is no sour cream. That's when I realize my priorities have been out of line recently.
While I still believe that essential oils aren't miracle cures, but are instead tools, Breathe has almost changed my mind the last couple of days. #icanbreatheagainatlast
Everyone. It is a spring miracle. I just found a box full of EVERYTHING I have been searching for... Probably since we moved here 2.5 years ago. My scriptures (which have long since been replaced), my ring box with the olive wood ring BJ proposed to me with, the key to my mom's house, and all of my medallions from YW! (Back when we got 5 of them.) Plus many others.

It's Christmas in April! (Thank you everyone who got snow today that made this Christmas miracle possible.)
Damian turned off my power while doing electrical work in my basement today. In a random turn of events, my contacts disappeared on my phone. When he turned the power back on, half of my contacts showed back up. I'm still missing half. They are not in my iCloud. The only backup I seem to have was from after the loss. I am very, VERY, sad. And fascinated at how a power outage could affect my iPhone contacts. I know correlation does not equal causation, but that was really, really coincidental if they weren't related.

Even BJ hasn't been able to fix it. Yet. I'm counting on yet being temporary. Please? [sigh]
I often wonder how people survive without nerdy people like BJ in their lives. Seriously.

Then again, those people probably wonder how people like me survive without a handyman in my house. To them I say, "touché"
[editor's note: This means BJ fixed my contacts on my phone.  Wooo!!!!]

  • Kessa: Another way of saying sick is throw up.
    BJ: Sometimes when you're sick you throw up. But not always. Sometimes you just feel yucky. Or sometimes you need to go to the bathroom a lot.
    Kessa: Like mommy! Mommy is sick with the baby! [lots of laughter from everyone] And she throws up sometimes, too!
  • We were telling Kessa she had to eat more spaghetti before she could have more cheese.
    Kessa: Why?
    BJ: Because we know your body is growing strong, but to do that, we need to eat food.
    Kessa: Cheese is food!
  • Grandpa Lovell was playing with Kessa. She let him use her “magic wand” for a while. Then she took it from him and said “Now I'm going to change the password so you can't use it.”

Random pictures:

BJ discovered that raspberry seeds look remarkably like pomegranate seeds. Check it out next time you have a raspberry.

"Look! I made a star! Just like the one when Jesus was born!"

She had a really hard time waking up the morning after the eclipse.  This is how she waited for her breakfast.

She's kind of obsessed with magic. Here are all her magics lined up, ready for her to use at any moment.

<3 Tianna and Co.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A very unusual post: short

Jessa ~

I'm not sure if it's because I legitimately had little going on last week or if it's because I'm tired and stressed about my busy week next week, but I foresee this being a very short post.

Last week was mostly all about the basement. Damian came down late Tuesday and left early this morning (Sunday). Poor guy had a cold, though, and felt rotten, so it went slower than he hoped.  He finished framing everything except the furnace and game closets.  And not those because he had to move a drain and change the plumbing and isn't sure if the plumbing needs to be inspected before he pours new concrete or not, and he can't frame until he's got the new concrete down, so he'll call them tomorrow to figure that out.  So he had to move two drains and fix the plumbing on them, which required him digging out large portions of concrete and shoveling (one with a real shovel and one with a hand shovel) out the gravel underneath.  It took a long time. Poor guy! But he did it and that's done! Hooray! He also cut a hole in our garage wall and installed a door, which turned out to be handy when he had to go buy more wood and could just pass it into the basement through the garage. He's coming back Monday night or Tuesday morning and is planning on staying until Friday or Saturday, to get as much done as possible. He's bought the stuff for the electrical, and I'm pretty sure running that is next on his list. I'll let you know next week what he got done! For now, pictures!

Digging what he calls a grave. This is to move the furnace drain closer the actual furnace.
Fixing the bathroom drain. That entire pile had to be dug with a tiny hand shovel. It was a lot.
BJ and Abby peeking through the hole in our garage wall.
Utilizing the hole in the wall.
Damian carrying Abby around Lowe's.

Other exciting news: my trees out front flowered this week!  (And then just when they were full and beautiful, we got a wind storm that blew most of the flowers off. Rackafrackamurmurmurmur.) And then my tree out back flowered! And they survived the wind. Maybe because there's a house blocking the wind?  Or because they were newer flowers and tougher? I don't know.

And random pictures:

In sorting through storage boxes, I found my autograph collection. I was quite surprised to find that I had a personalized autograph of Satan!  (Note for anyone who hasn't gone through the LDS temple: Michael Ballam is an actor in one of the the temple movies that depicts the creation. He plays Satan.)

Random Facebook posts:

Reason to love Mondays: our daily chore for Mondays is cleaning the toilets. It's the one job Kessa gets excited to do and can and will do by herself. It's the only day I don't have to beg, bribe, or threaten her to do chores.

It is unexpectedly awesome.
I don't understand how pregnant women nest. Who has the energy for that?! Today I had energy and it was gorgeous outside, so I opened the sliding door to get fresh air and cleaned my kitchen. It took the morning, with breaks to help my kids, and I am completely exhausted. How do pregnant women have any energy to nest?! I just don't understand...
It just occurred to me that the kids I taught in China were Kessa's age.

I think this makes me feel really old. Especially as that was almost 12 years ago.
Sometimes I romanticize homesteading and fantasize about living off the land.

And then I find myself laying on my bed, exhausted, after having only cleaned off kitchen counters (not even sweeping the floor), cleaning out the hamster cage, and folding one load of laundry.

And then I'm suddenly ok with modern technology and grocery stores.
I think I've decided that my motivation is much more strongly awakened by projects than every day things. Which is why I found the energy tonight to mow most of my lawn (until the sun went down), and this past week to reorganize my entire storage, but haven't found the energy in weeks to clean the clutter out of my house or put laundry away.
Happy Palm Sunday, everyone! A friend of mine is writing a chronology of the events at the end of Christ's life on his blog, starting today.

My favorite part of today's post was learning that today is the day that Jews choose a Passover lamb and bring it home to live with them for 5 days before they slaughter it for the Passover feast, giving the family a chance to grow fond of it before they have to then kill it for a remembrance of their salvation.

That very day Christ, the Lamb of God, entered Jerusalem and was chosen by the people as their king and Savior. He would spend the next 5 days in the temple, the house of God, teaching them of His gospel and their salvation. He brings the people to him, knowing that in 5 days he will be sacrificed for their salvation.

The symbolism is beautiful and touching. Please remember these powerful events this week and teach them to your children. Help them learn of this wonderful week instead of just focusing on the candy and fun.
Actual quote from my lips in church today: "Today is Palm Sunday, so over breakfast I taught Kessa the story of the Triumphal Entry and explained the symbolism between the paschal lamb and Christ."

I then heard the words that had just come from my lips and followed it up with, "Yes, she's four. I kind of go overboard sometimes."

In my defense, I don't remember using the term "paschal lamb" when I explained it to Kessa.  :) BJ's response when I told him was, "Yeah, we're pretty awesome parents." :D


  • Kessa: I'm done with my ballet class.
    Me: Oh? What'd you learn?
    Kessa: How bodies stay alive.
    Me: Oh? And how do they stay alive?
    Kessa: Well, one way is to move around and stretch. And another way is to breathe in and out.
    (Note: We have since discovered that her "ballet class" is really watching Potty Time (the Baby Signing Time show dedicated to potty training), which is one of Abby's new favorite shows. No, we are not potty training Abby.)
  • Me: I know something you're really good at. You're a really good big sister to Abby.
    Kessa: Oh yes, definitely.
  • Me: What color is the flower?
    Abby: 26
  • Kessa: Sleeping with sisters is hard! (Abby can be really hyper at night and take a long time to go to sleep. This is hard on Kessa sometimes. :( Poor girl.)
  • Kessa found an old post-it pad and asked what it was. I told her it was some old paper I had found in a box. “Daddy, do you want to try it out and see if it works?” She then grabbed the paper and a pencil, ran over and told BJ, “Write down how we follow God's plan.”

And... that's all I can think of! Have a great week!
~ Tianna and Co.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Just another incredibly insane week.

Jessa ~

Ok, so I'm basically doing two weeks here, I guess.  We'll see how that goes.  :)

General Women's Meeting
Last Saturday was the General Women's meeting. You've probably watched it by now, so you're already aware that it's now for females ages 8 and up.  I was interested to see what they'd do to appeal to all the audience and I think they did well. I totally teared up several times, especially when they had the Primary girls stand up and sing "Teach Me to Walk in the Light." And then afterwards I stayed and helped the RS pass out Costco cookies to everyone as they left. Which meant I got to bring a whole bunch home. Which means I ate way too many cookies.

Freezer meals
We had our freezer meals group again.  This time everyone came (which is rare) and we added two new people.  So we had a total of 9!  (We've since added one more, so the total is at 10!) Which means I ended up with 10 freezer meals this month.  (Because I made two of mine.  Bahahaha.) Which is super nice, because I haven't been much in a cooking mood this week.  :S It was hard to make 10 meals, I'll be honest. I'm already planning a *much* easier meal next month, when I'll be nearing my due date. Or maybe I should save that one for June so I can still get freezer meals that month, even though I'll have a newborn and won't be in the mood to make anything big.  :D

I made it to the temple again! This time I did it during Joy School, so I only had to find a babysitter for Abby, and then BJ could just walk to pick up both girls. That was handy. It also meant I could go later in the morning, which was also very nice. It was a really full session and I ended up sitting on the men's side. That was strange, but interesting. I also never felt overheated or suffocated, which was also very nice. I need to try to make that happen again.

I'm sure I've mentioned that our stake has made a goal to index 1 million names this year, among other goals. Stake conference talked about those goals and our stake president challenged each family to have an FHE teaching our families what indexing was in the next two weeks. So Monday BJ decided to comply. He pulled up a family tree on his computer and pushed it to the TV so we could all see. And then he showed Kessa how a family tree works, and how this person has a mommy and daddy and we know who they are. And this person too! Until he got far enough back that *gasp!* we didn't know this person's mommy and daddy! How sad is that? And we talked a little about baptisms for the dead (which we've talked about before) and asked how we could do baptism for them if we didn't know who they were? So then we went and looked at someone we did know who had sources attached and showed her how we knew that person was the mommy/daddy. But sometimes it's hard to find that information because the computer doesn't know how to read those documents, so we have to help it. Indexing is how we teach the computer to read birth records, etc. So then when someone wants to find a mommy or daddy, they can ask the computer to help find records for that name! Then we found a typed obituary that needed to be indexed and BJ indexed it, with Kessa's help. Where it was typed, she could read it, so he'd point out a name or date and she'd tell him what to type.

It was actually more simplistic than I just made it sound, and Abby mostly ran around, and Kessa only half paid attention, but she did half pay attention and we followed the council of our stake president. And BJ indexed one record! And that's all important, right? :D

Craft night
We had our second monthly craft night. Is it bad that I got a little burned out on hosting it and it's only the second month? I think it was largely because I wasn't getting any feedback. On anything. Which was frustrating. And then someone else posted an idea for a craft and everyone was like, "Oh! I love that! I want to do it!" and then right afterwards we decided to finish our basement and I realized hosting here would be hard because it would be loud and messy, so I asked the girl who posted that craft idea if she would host, and suddenly everything became less stressful. Hooray! What I learned: I need to delegate more. :D Now the question is if anyone would be willing to volunteer this month... haha.

April Fools
We didn't do much in the way of April Fools. Kessa had preschool the day before and came home with a card she made. On the front was a flower, but when you open it (the top of the front flap was only 2/3 the height of the card) you discover that the top two petals are really ears of a bunny. And then it said April Fools. Kessa showed it to me, excited to show me her surprise, and I made a big deal about how she tricked me and she thought it was great. So then she had to trick everyone else.

On April Fools day she had Joy School. Her teacher asked me to stay for a little bit and we told the kids that they got to teach us that day. At first they were excited, but we started asking if they had brought treats. One girl said, "Uhhh... no. I forgot." Hah! Another went downstairs to the toys and brought us back toy food. Kessa said, "No, but it's ok! We'll just eat some food from here!" We asked if they made a puppet show for us, so Kessa ran behind a chair and used her hands as puppets. But it was too loud for me to hear what she had to say. We asked if they were going to teach us a song, so one girl loudly sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and I tried to sing it after and made a horrible mess of the words. I guess I'm not a good learner. She had to keep singing lines over and over again. And finally one girl (who showed up late) turned to me and was like, "Uhhh... why are you here?" So then we told them April Fools and that we were tricking them. They thought it funny.

That's about all we did that day. But the best prank was discovered Friday night. There was an LDS prank going around the internet that basically announced a new Sunday evening session of conference. If you actually read the article it was easy to tell it was total bunk. But apparently my uncle did not read the article and somehow still heard about it and took it as truth. So he told my parents about it. And he's the kind of guy who doesn't really do April Fools pranks and is a Patriarch, so He Knows Things. So my parents believed him. (Later I questioned my mom, "But wasn't it suspicious that they didn't announce it, y'know, over the pulpit?!") It wasn't until I was talking to her Friday night that it came up in conversation, just in passing. I treated it like a joke and she was treating it seriously, so we were both confused until I finally said, "You know that was an April Fool's Day joke, right?" Oh my goodness. I laughed for probably 10 full minutes. I turned heads in the Walmart parking lot, I was laughing so hard. Maybe it was a "you had to be there moment" but it was one of the best pranks I've ever had the pleasure to be a part of. Even if quite by accident.

So, as BJ mentioned last week, my brother, Damian, is finishing our basement! Hooray! We had gotten some bids and there was no way, financially, we'd ever be able to even start until fall. And that was with the cheapest bid. With Damian we talked to him about it on Thursday and he showed up on Saturday. It was a very spur-of-the-moment decision. But because he's doing it for a lot closer to cost (but we're still paying him, too), he's able to put in more frills and making it look nicer for a lot cheaper.  So we're getting things we never even considered putting in with another contractor. It's actually been kind of fun being part of the process, as we end up thinking of ideas along the way. I wish I had better ways to describe things, but I'll definitely send pictures when it's done.  Even the framing pictures are hard to tell. We'll end up with two columns separating our family room and game room. And a built in bookshelf in the family room that wraps around a corner. And another in the office/bedroom (though it's a small one). Also in the office/bedroom will be a little nook where we can put a desk. He's going to put a light above it on its own light switch, even. I can just picture Kessa as a teenager sleeping down there and staying up, studying at that desk. Awww.

We're also getting a walk-in game closet! [squeal!] It's gonna be awesome! Also, he's going to build us shelves for our storage room. I can't wait for that part, because currently all my storage is stacked in my family room, which is no fun, sir. I can't believe how many things I've needed to try to dig out of there this past week. The worst, though, was discovering my toilet paper is buried somewhere near the bottom and out of sight... after two of our bathrooms ran out of TP. I ended up just buying more, figuring I'd use the stuff in the storage pile eventually anyway. Oh! And speaking of storage, Damian is also putting in a half door from the garage to the storage room! So when I come home from Costco and have a bunch of stuff for the storage room, I don't have to walk up the stairs in the garage, then back down the stairs to the basement. I can just open the door in the garage and push it straight through to the storage room! So excited! And the part Kessa is most excited for... we're turning under the stairs into a play house! We're even going to paint it to look like a house. It'll be so cool! And then all her friends will want to play here.  Haha.

This week he got most of the framing done, but ended up having to go home early, due to his carpet cleaning business unexpectedly picking up while he was out of town. Go figure, right?  :) He'll come back sometime mid-week, though, and hopefully finish framing and get started on other stuff (electrical, plumbing, heating/air, internet, etc.) so we can get our first inspection done soon. After that he'll put up sheetrock and get another inspection, and then it's mudding and taping (to get the texture on the walls/ceiling) and painting and doors. And bathroom stuff. But then I think it's probably done at that point! So exciting!

So I know you're super sad right now because you want to be our interior designer and you're like, "Wait! I'm supposed to be making these decisions!" so I'll get your input now. I'm thinking for the house under the stairs I want to paint it a darker medium blue, with white trim around windows and door. There're a few houses around here like that and I'm in love with the look of it. What color do you think I should paint the living area? (We're going to have to figure out what to call that room...) Keep in mind that downstairs is going to be the fun room. We're going to move the TV, Wii, etc. downstairs. The toys and games will all go downstairs. I plan on decorating with fun things. Rubix cubes and blacksmith puzzles on shelves. HOMER written in large scrabble tiles. That kind of thing. So what color do I do for the wall?  The living area and game room are largely the same room. At least, there is no door between them.  But they are definitively separate. There are half walls and a column on either side, leaving a walkway between them. Do I paint them the same? Or two different colors? Damian is trying to convince me to do wainscoting on the bottom half, but I told him to wait to convince until we're closer to that point and I can see better what it'll look like. I just don't have a designer eye.

So he came down rather swiftly, right? That meant I had to get everything out of the basement swiftly. Thankfully where most of it is storage, it's in boxes. But over two years you collect a lot of random stuff that's simply, "Oh, go put it in the basement." So not everything was in boxes. So I spent almost a full day just boxing and stacking everything. Then I posted on my neighborhood Facebook group, asking for help  moving the boxes upstairs. 30 minutes later the stake RS president and her 5 girls showed up and had 90% of my basement stacked in my family room in about 20 minutes. It was insanity. I feel so blessed to know them. I hope I teach my kids to be charitable and serving like that. It meant so much to me.

I feel like there was something else I was going to tell you about the basement, but I can't think of it. So... sorry.

The Board Alumni Week
So my life was crazy this week, with the basement and craft night and everything. So of course that would be the week they did our second annual 100 Hour Board alumni week. I still found time to do a lot of writing for it, though. I managed to write 62 answers! Holy cow! No wonder I was so ready to go back to retirement when I was done. To be fair, there were a lot more questions asked than normal, since the readers knew that it was alumni week. It was fun, but I'll be happy to wait till next year to come out of retirement again. :D

General Conference
So, conference was this weekend!  Hooray! Saturday we stayed at home. Your mom was at Grandma Goddard's all day, and Resa was at Disneyland, so we just stayed home. We downloaded a Conference Bingo app that was anxiously anticipated (like, Kessa wouldn't go to sleep she was so excited, and then woke up WAY too early to see it) but didn't hold her attention long. We also had 4 bowls of treats (M&Ms, Jelly Bellies, white cheddar popcorn, and pretzels) labeled with topics (family, scriptures, prophet, Jesus). Every time the topic was mentioned, they could eat one of the treats. It was... a half success. We mostly told Kessa when we heard one of the topics and she soon learned that every talk ended mentioning Jesus, so she'd catch those. But Abby was mad that she couldn't just eat all of it Right Now and ended up going down for an early nap. Kessa ended up putting beads on string and making a bracelet for her friend. But that was probably the best part, because she was sitting still and not having to think about her craft too much. So she'd catch parts of the talk and pipe up with, "Mommy! He just said X!" Which made my heart proud.

I worked on crafts, too. I just do better when my hands are moving. I also am much better at staying awake that way. In the morning session I took a bunch of shabby flowers I bought, trimmed off the mesh they were sewn to, glued on felt circles I cut out, and glued on alligator clips, and BAM! The girls now have 18 new flower clips. (Or rather, 9 sets of two.) Afternoon session I figured out how to crochet with tulle and made BJ a new scrubber for dishes. He really likes those, but so far all of ours have been given to us. But they get gunky after awhile (even when we wash them in the dishwasher regularly to disinfect), so it's nice that I know I can whip one out in an hour or less. Hooray! Then for the rest of the sessions I worked on a baby blanket for baby boy! I like the way it's turning out, but at about a half hour per row, it's going to take me a looooooong time to finish. Hopefully before he's old enough to care. :D

Saturday night BJ was going to go up with the boys to do the priesthood thing, but I was going to take the girls out to have fun. And then it occurred to us that we only have one car. So last minute we made the decision to sleep at your parents' overnight. So we frantically packed, then I dropped him off at the church and drove to your parents' house. We chatted for awhile with your mom and Grandma Goddard, then went to leave to go to Arctic Circle for dinner, where the girls could play on the play place. But... my car battery was dead. So your mom jumped it for me. Then we drove to Arctic Circle, but I seriously considered turning back and ordering pizza in, because all my lights were flickering and it was acting like it was on its last breath of battery. I got there, parked, then couldn't even open the doors automatically because the battery was so dead. Yipes. But we ate and played and had fun and I prayed that the car would start and run long enough for us to get home. No dice. Luckily your mom was at grandma's, which is just around the corner, so she came over to jump me again. Except the parking is diagonal and the only space I could get next to me was on the wrong side and put my battery WAY to far away. So we tried to put it in neutral and have your mom push, but my van was just too big. Priesthood had just gotten out, so we had the boys stop by. Meanwhile the people in the car on the other side of me came out and offered to help, so she backed up her car and we started to jump it. Before we even finished getting it connected, one of the Bro. Van Den Burghe's (sp?) showed up and helped. And then another guy. And then our boys showed up. It was quite the affair. Hah! We realized quickly, though, that the battery was definitely on its last leg. So I drove back home, and everyone went on their merry way. But when the boys got home, Nick and BJ went to AutoZone (who knew they were open until 11 pm on a Saturday night?!) and bought a new battery. So now my car works again!  Hooray!

Today we watched conference at your parents' place, which was fun as always. Hard to concentrate with kids, but we also probably got more out of it because there were more people to distract the kids. :D So much I could say about the various talks and messages, but I'm running out of time! So just go watch it and learn for yourself. :D


  • Overheard via monitor when Abby was supposed to be napping: "I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry you bonked your head." Imagination already!
  • Me: Kessa, we need to hurry!
    Kessa: Okaaaay motherrrr.
  • Kessa pretended to go to ballet today. She came back and told me that she learned to make kisses out of love. First, you give them a big. Then you kiss them. Then she demonstrated on me. 
  • Among the things I shouldn't have to say, but do on a regular basis:
    “No, Abby. Yogurt is not soap! Let's go wash your hands and change clothes…”
  • Abby: What does a binkie say?
    BJ: I don't know; what does a binkie say?
    Abby: Rah, rrrah, rrrrrrraaaaaah. Woof, woof.
  • And on a similar vein, "What does Abby say?" "I wuv you!"
  • I made a strawberry banana smoothie today. In requesting seconds Abby declared it to be “as good as Smokies!” (Specifically, Lil Smokies which we've had for breakfast a few times lately and she seems quite fond of.)
  • Kessa: “Daddy, you already have your phone. It’s right there. This is my phone. It reminds me of you, even though it’s old and doesn’t have any batteries.”
  • Kessa: Mommy, did you know this is Real. Life?
  • Kessa: look at all those birds in the ski. Maybe they're going to a meeting together. Oh dear. That's weird.
  • Kessa took the wrong bag at school so we had to turn around and go back.
    Kessa: This is so weird! First, we drove home. Second, we came home. Third, we drove our car home. Fourth, we turned around. Fifth, we're going to drive home! This is so weird! This is not a true story. Like, in a book. This is not a story in a book.

Pictures—not inserted into the text, and in a rather random order, because you're online and I'm in a hurry.  :)

Kessa thought the noise was REALLY loud downstairs. To be fair, it was.

Framing looking from the living area back to the bedroom/office

10 spaghetti casseroles, halfway through!

Kessa likes me doing her hair fun ways lately. Here she requested a butterfly. I have ideas to improve it next time.

This was based on something I saw on Pinterest. A way to keep the headband in place.

Storage in my family room! We had to move the small sofa so all this would fit.

My contractor, hard at work.

Abby with her boyfriends (while I was at the temple)

Damian was dropping goldfish into Abby's mouth

A lot of wood. Damian carried it all himself to this point. BJ and I helped haul it in through the window when it started to rain that evening.

Abby trying to lick food off her elbow. Hilarious.

Kessa learning about indexing.

Abby, too!

Google+ told me I had a new auto-awesome photo uploaded. Or something like that. I opened it to find this. Cracked Me Up.  Thanks google, for being totally random!

All but two of the flower clips I put together! (Note: I didn't make the flowers.) Missing: mint green

The dish scrubby

What I got done on the baby blanket. The pattern will repeat itself. Thoughts?

Jax tried to go home with us tonight, but Kessa needed her seat back.
Hope you have an excellent week!
<3 Tianna and Co.