Sunday, April 26, 2020


I've actually been improving some of my skills during this period of quarantine. I say "actually" because I'm pretty well known for having 3 billion goals at any given time and accomplishing none of them. Or even acquiring additional bad habits, making my number of accomplished goals in the negative. But some magical things have happened the past few weeks (and no I'm not saying I want to be in isolation forever--can things please return to normal??), and it has been a pleasant experience for me.

First off, the not-so-important:

I don't know if this counts as my own progress since Dan had to enforce it for me, but I have become better about not interrupting Dan at work. You may notice in the photo above a not-so-subtle sign he has put up because I could never tell when he was in a meeting or not. On the flip side of the sign, it says "Meeting". I didn't know, so I would talk to him, or like last week, yell while laughing uproariously, "I JUST ACCIDENTALLY GAVE JUNE A REGULAR EGG FOR BREAKFAST INSTEAD OF A HARD BOILED EGG!!!!" and then he would have to yell-whisper-mouth the words "I'm! In! A! Meeting!" and then I would run away. Or another time, I was practicing the piano (another goal I'm actually progressing on) and during a small break I heard Dan explain, "Yeah sorry about the background noise. Someone is playing the piano" after which I slinked off the piano and upstairs into my room, changed into all black clothes and mourned the fact that no one appreciates my musical genius.

Sometimes I think I actually understand what the Phantom of the Opera was going through.

Another not important goal: blowing bubblegum bubbles.

Little known fact about little ol' me: I am really good at blowing bubbles with my gum. It drives Dan insane. So we have been competing these past couple of weeks, and I will say he is improving. But I'm still the best. This is a picture I sent to him of an amazing bubble. I couldn't just run into his office and show him because of the aforementioned "meeting" sign being posted, but I did send him this obnoxious photo so he wouldn't miss a second of my amazingness.

Dan sent me this in response:


Increasing in importance:

Riding a bike. You may recall that Dan has been teaching me how to ride a bike. I have come a long way. But there has been something holding me back (besides my extremely sore bum). I couldn't stand up on the bike. Every time I would try, I would wobble like crazy and sit back down. It didn't help that whenever I practice, I am also pulling one or two kids in a trailer behind me because Dan was working. But yesterday when Dan was off, he went outside with me and talked me through it. Riding the bike without pulling the kids was very helpful, and Dan was very helpful.

And wouldn't you know it! I did it!


I am pretty sure our neighbors think I'm a weirdo needing bike lessons as a grown woman but I just own it. I yelled out to them, "Yes, my husband is teaching me to ride a bike, and I'm 35!" Because you know what? Riding the bike feels so much better than not riding the bike. I learned as a kid and then never really rode again. I was too anxious to do many physical things. I hope my kids learn from me to do things they think are scary or hard. I also hope my kids marry spouses like my Dan. He has never made me feel stupid when I don't know how to do something. I can tell him I don't know how to do something but want to learn, and he respects my vulnerability and helps me.

And now, I take the kids around the block whenever I can, and it feels incredible every time.

Now yesterday, Dan started off as a really nice coach but then all of that power went to his head and he kept demanding more and more of me. Is he entering me in the Olympics? Probably! I mean, I can stand up while I ride now and everything. Finally, I told him I wanted to go get some water and then he got on the bike and showed me all of his sweet straight-from-middle-school moves.

Church today:

I told the girls to wear pink and that I would wear pink too. And then I wore all black. Because nobody tells me what to do, not even me.

Trying our first pyramid.

This is going well.

After church, the kids asked for a snack and before I knew it, this was going on. Smart! Resourceful! Doesn't involve me! I approve.

School this week:

Making "junk sculptures" for art class.

And I happened to notice that for this class meeting, Gwen had found her crush and enlarged his screen on the ipad so she could watch him the whole time, while ignoring those other fellow kindergartners.

What we read: The girls and I are working our way through Begin, which is the first of the Growly Bear series. We've been reading it off and on for months and now we are finally committed to reading it every day, and it's getting good!

What we watched: The new Dora movie. It was enjoyable to all.

What I read: I'm working on Emma for a book club, and I am working on Saints Vol. 2 as well.

Gwen and I have been going through Teach Your Kid to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and this week her reading passages ended with "This is the end" instead of just "The End." I guess that means she's progressing too.

This is the end.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

April Birthday.

Our family has one birthday a month from March until July, and then me in November. Which is great because everyone has had time to recover from the previous birthdays and are ready to go alllll outtttt for my birthday again. Plus it's before the holiday rush.

Our April birthday is Harris. The sweet boy turned 3 this week. On Tuesday, actually. But we did not tell him it was his birthday until Saturday because we ordered his presents via Amazon and they didn't come on time.

That is the beauty of a 3 year old. They don't know!

Oh Amazon. You beautiful thing you. BUT. Here's the downside--these toys were cheap plastic junk that will not take the Jolley beating well. I would have known that had I actually shopped at a store. Next time.

Dinosaur book

and Toy Story puzzle from Grandma Sandy!

We tried to sneak this in as a gift when it's really a request. His own potty! A race car potty, even. We want him to use it! He does not want to use it! He does not want to be a big boy. He wants to wear a diaper. I know this because he has told me. Many times.

Gwen demonstrates. "See Harris? Look how fun!!!!"

Not happening.

Dan asked Harris what he wanted to do all day long, and Dan made a list and made sure the list happened. They played hide and go seek. Our version involves the kids taking my phone so that Dan can send them hints as to where he is. Because he's really good at hiding, and they are especially terrible at finding.

And they played Zingo.

And June also made and gave Harris a present. A panda made out of paper and stuffed with cotton.

And I made him a totally ugly cake. He loves The Hungry Caterpillar, and I found a cute and "easy" caterpillar cake to make for him in the shape of a 3. It's like I forgot who I am once again and was fooled by a craft I thought I could pull off.

The Goal:

The Reality:

The kids helped. So I will blame them.

Backing up to the other parts of the week. More school.

Take my temperature because I feel like I'm actually enjoying this process now. And I feel like we are making progress. I don't know what's happening, but I have an eerie feeling that since I just typed that, this week will end in riots and violence.

Gwen was asked to bring her favorite stuffed animal to a class meeting. June joined and brought that panda she made for Harris.
 I just now noticed that they are both wearing black and white and holding black and white pandas.

What can I say--I'm just one of those moms who wants everything matching and coordinated. Tomorrow we are all wearing the colors of a wildebeest.

And June in a class meeting:

I was listening to her and her classmates discuss Charlotte's Web and had to remind myself not to hover. Because June is 8 now and really can handle stuff.

My kids don't need me anymore!

Yeah right. That's exactly why I spend half of the day hiding in closets.

And church today:

"Everybody jump!"

"Mom, take pictures of us twirling!"

And Dan taught a fabulous lesson from the Come Follow Me curriculum today. We watched King Benjamin's speech from our own tent.


For our family movie this week, Dan and I watched the 6 hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. Man that's a good one. The girls and I finished the book Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus, which is the third in the series. For those of you who don't know, Anna Hibiscus is a girl who lives in Africa. Amazing Africa. You will love it.

The End.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter 2020

Easter is my favorite holiday. 

And this was a great week leading up to it.

One of my favorite children's authors is Barbara Cooney. If you want to read books to your kids (or yourself--they're that good) that aren't dumb tv-knock off stories but actually tender and heart-swelling stories with beautiful art, read Barbara Cooney.

We especially like Roxaboxen. We were reading it last Sunday, and the girls wanted to form their own Roxaboxen in our own backyard. They formed rocks in a circle and made a little town, and Dan and I started wondering how long our muddy yard will be a muddy yard. We bought the house with the understanding that grass and landscaping would be put in as soon as the ground thawed enough, but now with COVID 19 craziness, we were pretty convinced we would be grass-less for several more months.

Imagine our surprise when the landscapers showed up the next day. No phone call, no nothing, but this outside our blinds-less windows. (We have also ordered blinds but they can't be installed until COVID 19 is taken care of.)

Harris. Was. Thrilled. Live TV! He ran from window to window, watching the workers till the ground and plant the grass seed and then lay hay over everything. I'm sure it was startling for the workers to see his face right next to them every time they looked up, but they were very kind.

Monday night, we had our annual "Last Supper" with the kiddos and talked about the last week of Christ's life, pre-Resurrection.

We added a special treat this year--real honeycomb.

The honeycomb bombed. It was soooo sweet and made everyone sick. Dan wants to do Bit-O-Honey next year.

This week's randomness:

June loves the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, and Grandma sent her some more for her birthday. She read this much in one afternoon. I loved them at her age too, and it's nice she likes something I like.

Where is this baby's curly hair coming from?

We spent a good portion of Thursday and an even larger portion of Friday reading the Great Illustrated Classics version of Heidi before watching the movie for Friday Fun Night. I have never read it either so it was fun. Confession: I really love that Swiss Alps/German/Austrian country fashion. I love what they wear in Sound of Music, and I loved the dresses in Heidi. I always want to do my hair in a crown of braids, but I always look like a sixth grader at a slumber party. Thick hair, I have not. 

Another confession: I want to live whatever life I'm reading about. It drives Dan NUTSO. For example, a book about the city makes the city appealing to me. We could totally teach our kids to get to school on the subway! By themselves! Never mind the fact that they can't locate our trash can.

A book about a farm--this is for us! The open air! The space! The animals! So good for our kids. Never mind the fact that I don't want a dog. Or a cat. Or anything.

So Heidi made me think about living on a mountain somewhere, even though I get sick when I'm in elevation. I'm really fun. 

Anyway, Dan has said we shall be staying here in PA for the time being. 

And today--Easter!

Gwen and I were at TJ Maxx months ago, and she saw a dress she really wanted. I didn't like it. Every cotton candy pastel color under the sun, plus a sparkly overlay? Too much for me.

BUT. I knew going clothes shopping again before Easter would be tough (boy did I have no idea how tough), and there was one in her size and one in June's size, so finally I said yes.

And they actually turned out great.

I curled their hair, but they have my hair and it won't hold any curl. That Beck! I'm so jealous.

The start of the photo shoot is often good:

They wanted to show the heart cut-out in the back, but the hair was still in the way. I didn't have time to get it out of the way because . . .

Harris joined the party! (Beck was taking a nap.)

And Harris has just been mad lately. He kept screaming "NO EASTER!" all morning and finally took out some of that I-don't-want-to-celebrate-the-best-holiday aggression on Gwen during the photo shoot.

And then June wanted to fly. This is the final signal that the photo shoot is over.

For church, Dan administered the Sacrament, then each of the girls gave talks, and Dan put on some great General Conference talks about Easter. After church, we watched the old church video "Easter Dream" and I cried a lot. It's an oldie but a goody.

And then an Easter hunt, using trash bags instead of Easter baskets because all of ours have broken and I don't think I want to spend more money on more baskets that will get broken, pretty as they may be.

Happy Easter, everyone! Easter is my favorite holiday, because I greatly treasure the gift of Jesus Christ. He suffered all for us. And He lives again, as will we.

The End.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A New Room for June

It's General Conference weekend! Today is the last day. If you need something uplifting in your life, please join us. If you don't need something uplifting in your life right now, I don't know what to think.

My main squeeze Dan the Man listened to conference yesterday while painting June's bedroom pink. Our birthday gifts to the girls this year is painting and decorating their new bedrooms. You may recall that June received a new bedspread and some other stuff on her actual birthday. Now we were able to finally put it all together.

The big reveal:

I found these twinkly lights that have plastic clothespins on them for holding pictures. Also, you can see her new bedspread. She was NOT happy with the bedspread when she first opened it. She had begged and begged for a bedspread with a giant horse head on it. I just couldn't do that. Too much Godfather, not enough cute little girl. I knew she wouldn't like it anymore in a year. I also don't think anyone can sleep with a giant horse head looking at them.

So I felt bad disappointing her. But after we actually put it on her bed and it was all sparkly and pretty, she absolutely loved it. Yay me!

Her new horse artwork above her desk:

And her old dresser, new butterfly lamp and a hint of her bookshelf. Dan did a terrific job on the painting! Looks so good.

Side note: You can see me in my apron. I love wearing an apron. I think it's really comfortable. Dan doesn't get it. Do any of you think wearing an apron is comfortable?

Of course, poor Gwen was dying of jealousy. Poor Gwen! I'm the younger sister too; I get it. You get everything second. June went to school first, is getting baptized first, etc. I wish Gwen's birthday came before June's in the calendar year but it doesn't. It's not until July. So anyway, she was very sad. We do have a second bucket of the same color paint, and we may just paint her room sooner rather than later to put a little excitement in her life.

To add insult to injury, right after the big reveal, we discovered that Gwen's new arm braces had come in the mail. These bad boys are supposed to help her break the habit of thumb sucking. She's five and a half, and it's time. But I was cringing at the thought of giving them to her right after she saw June's room.

But we did.

And she was so excited! I guess getting something in the mail just for you you you is pretty exciting. She is such a middle child.

The thumbs won't reach to her mouth. Amazing.

And other happenings this week.

More soccer:

Dan and I made the most amazing gourmet nachos, and you're all jealous.

Gwen had a Zoom meeting with her AM kindergarten class. Her teacher called it a "recess meeting". So cute. I thought Gwen would be all over that thing, but she sat there silently. Then asked if she could sit on my lap. And then was really sad.

I found out her favorite boy wasn't in the meeting, and she misses him. So tragic.

And the cutest baby ever.

The End.