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Sunday, October 5, 2014

The basement!

Jessa ~

This blog feels weird. It's the last letter of your mission. That alone is weird. But... I still have two more Sundays before I see you. So it's not really the last letter. I feel kind of like I'm in limbo here. Which, I'm sure, is nothing compared to what you're dealing with. So for your sake, let's just forget we even talked about this and just go on as if it's just another normal week, shall we?

So, Mondays are pretty rough. BJ has a meeting at the office on Mondays, which means I can't take advantage of the normal work-from-home perks, like leaving sleeping kids while I take Kessa to and from school. On a normal day, that would mean I take Kessa to school at 12:30, come home and put Abby down for a nap, then wake her up around 3:15 to pick up Kessa from school. That's not horrible. Though she often sleeps till 4 or 5, so waking her up does make me cringe. Especially as she's a royal grump when she doesn't get enough sleep. But Mondays are early out, which means I'd have to wake her up at 2:15, giving Abby only an hour and a half nap. I have dreaded this many times, but have always managed to work around it somehow. This Monday I didn't have a way around it.

Then realized that because I am brilliant, I scheduled Visiting Teaching during nap time on Monday. Brilliant, I say. [sigh] I normally schedule during nap time so I don't have to drag all my kids to the visits and keep them happy and quiet for an hour and a half or so. Normally it works great. Not when BJ isn't home, though. I frantically thought through all of my neighbors, trying to figure out who could come to my house during all of nap time. The one person I thought of already had plans. And then it hit me. Chelsea! She wasn't a neighbor, but she's often told me that she's willing to help however I need her. So I asked her, and she agreed! Not only did I get to VT without kids, but I also got to pick up Kessa without waking up Abby. Awesome.

To top it off, we decided to make this a regular thing. She'll come watch the kids every Monday so I can pick up Kessa and maybe run some errands, and then I'll teach her how to cook some of my recipes. Win-win! Plus, then I'll get time to get to know Chelsea better, which makes this a win-win-win. Mondays suddenly just went from awful to awesome.

At stake council recently I suggested we make a Stake Facebook group. On Sunday our stake president asked me to come in on Tuesday "to counsel [them] on a Facebook group." The whole time I was getting ready, putting on a dress, makeup, doing my hair, etc., I just kept laughing to myself that I was getting all dressed up ... to talk about Facebook.

So I told you that BJ's been tutoring Resa on math, right? Well on Wednesday one of my counselors brought her 9th grade son over and BJ spent almost 2 hours tutoring him on math. (He's going to start tutoring him weekly, even!) Then that evening Resa brought her roommate over for dinner, and then BJ tutored them on their math. He seriously spent well over 3 hours teaching math that day. When I asked him how he felt about it that night he said something like, "Honestly, it doesn't feel like a big deal at all. Just another day." I'm telling you. If we ever do end up homeschooling (which I doubt we will), he would make a much better homeschooling parent than I would. :)

Wednesday night Damian and family showed up. Late Thursday morning Kim left for a girls weekend with her sisters and mom, so we had the kids all weekend while Damian worked hard. (Except when he watched the BYU game. But that led to him staying up late to mourn their loss (both the game and the quarterback broke his leg) so he got lots more done that night. It may have evened out, time-wise.) He worked hard while I tried to balance 7 kids. The thing is, overall, the kids were all really good. Sure, there were times that I had to remind them to clean up their messes or tell them to stop fighting, but overall, they were great. But just having so many kids needing me was exhausting. My days often went something like this: Feed Peter. Walk out of his room to Kessa yelling, "Mommy! Help!" Help Kessa. Hear fighting. Go break up the fight. See Abby waddling and saying, "I made a mess." Clean up her potty accident. Realize I only had 45 mins to get Kessa ready for school and make lunch. Make lunch. Do Kessa's hair while she eats lunch. Tell her to go get her shoes on while I scarf down my lunch. Tell Lexi to put Kolter to bed. Go with Kessa to find her shoes. Calm Abby down because she's crying that she wants to come to. Rush both girls to the car. Drop Kessa off at school. Come home and put Abby to bed. Ask Lexi, Parker and Taegen to clean up the toys. Take a 10 minute break. Field questions about dinner. Etc. etc. Each thing on its own is easy enough. But just one right after another is... exhausting.

But it was all worth it! Because the basement is 99% finished! Damian is having ankle surgery next week and will be out for a few months, so he had to get as much done as possible this week. All that's left is the built-in shelving, so he's going to build those at home and bring them down another time and install them. For now, I'm not too worried about it. I just won't decorate those or bring down BJ's nerdy books just yet.

Walk-in game closet!!!

General Conference was this weekend. Normally I refuse to do any projects on Conference Saturday. I want to focus on Conference and figure I can sacrifice two Saturdays a year to building up my spirituality. But... the ox was in the proverbial mire this year with the basement. I was already stressing about focusing with 7 kids, when the apples I wanted to can came on and Travis declared Friday and Saturday his best days to can them. So we turned on conference and BJ and the kids went upstairs to watch it.

Cute story: We made bowls with candy in them and labeled them with common General Conference topics. As the kids hear those words, they get to eat a piece of candy. It helps them want to listen.
Before the first talk was over, the "Jesus" bowl was empty.

Just in case anyone doubted that we are Christian.

Meanwhile Travis, Brenda, and I canned and Damian worked on the basement. Thank goodness for live streaming and smartphones so we could all watch/listen. I definitely missed much of it though. Sunday afternoon was the only session I got fully, and that only because we went up to your parents' (Kessa got beads instead of candy there and made a conference necklace). So I'm making a goal to watch/listen/read all of them very soon. Hold me to that, k?

But we did can 47 pints of applesauce and 26 quarts of apple pie filling! Mmmm.

As an update, Kessa is doing better about fire. Still not great, but better. Damian promised her he'd install the smoke alarm while she was at school if she would promise to stay calm about them. She's done pretty well. Having her cousins distracting her all the time was a *huge* blessing. Of course, their last night here the smoke detector in her room ran low on batteries and started chirping in the middle of the night. rackafrackamurmurmurmur. But... hopefully we're on the downhill stretch.

And totally random, did you ever do the Pizza Hut Book It! program? Make a reading goal, if you make it, get a coupon for a free personal pan pizza every month. Well, apparently they just opened it up for adult alumni! AWESOME! But BJ says he didn't do it, so maybe you didn't either?

  • BJ: Abby, if there is a fire, where should you go?
    Abby: Ummm… to the moon.
  • Kessa, as I played games on my phone: Mommy! You shouldn't play screen time in the morning!

  • Kessa: Taegen, let's play Duck, Duck, Goose. You touch my head until you say frog or goose.
  • BJ read Kessa a book tonight that included a grandpa fixing a kite.
    BJ: Some grandpas are good at fixing kites. What are your grandpas good at?
    Kessa: Well, I have two grandpas. Grandpa Homer is like a farmer because he knows how to ride horses and stuff. Grandpa Lovell, well, he doesn’t really have a job. He just likes to sit around and eat apples.”
Random pics:

Building domino "temples" was high on the list of Fun Things this weekend.

As was the Saturday between-sessions picnic at the park.

Peter has almost figured out rolling over. But he still gets his arm stuck underneath him. So he just sucks on his fingers when he gets to that point. 

Also, Peter is definitely our first thumb sucker.

One cold day, Kessa requested hot chocolate and toast for lunch. It was so reminiscent of my childhood that I couldn't say no. So I had some, too. They were just so cute and having fun together.

<3 Tianna and Co.

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