Friday, January 29, 2010

Cool people who aren’t chicken like me


There’s this little idea about a home dessert business that’s been bouncing around in my head.  I’m a little scared about the whole thing, but have realized how many of my friends and relatives have done their own thing and done it well. 

Here are a few:

Ryan’s mom, Karen, has a website ( )where she sells home-crafted pieces of decor, apparel, and these cute cute dolls:

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If you go there, you’ll notice that there is an Emma doll and a Jane doll, that look a little bit like them!  My mother was here at Christmas when they opened their dolls and was commenting on how well made and darling they were.  Go check them out for a sweet present for a little girl you know.


Randi is my friend and photographer extraordinaire.  Here are a few of my own family and here is her website where you can see more of her work:  (It was actually on a walk with her that we started discussing what I could do with my love of cooking.)

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Jessica A. (pictured in almost every picture of my last post) did the amazing—at least to me:  SHE WROTE AND PUBLISHED HER OWN BOOK.  I’m a little in awe of her all the time, but this one just proves her determination and talent. 


Go here to learn about the book:

My aunt Stacy (one of those funny Mormon your-mom-was-pregnant-when-your-Grandma-was stories) make most of the pretty flowers and ribbons that Faith wore her first year of life. 

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They are great baby gifts (and they aren’t all that big).  Check out :

So, with all those good examples of women using their creativity and diligence to express themselves…should I go for it, or what?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Self-Centered Summary

So I keep thinking I need to do a summary post.  I went back to look at my pictures to see what I’d missed and I basically realized that what I needed to summarize had little to do with my family/kids and pretty much A LOT to do with me.  (To quote Paige: “me me me me, sung in an ascending scale”.  She’s so funny, I wish she had a blog, still.)

So here we go.

I basically go out to dinner and lunch a lot with my friends for their birthdays.  I like couching it in a “we have to go to celebrate Randi/Ilene/Cynthia/Amy.  I’m just doing it to make them feel special” type of way, but really I love having an excuse to spend the hard earned budget money on restaurant food for myself.

Cynthia’s birthday lunch:


Ilene’s Christmas visit:


Then, even though I so kindly celebrated Cynthia’s birthday…she up and moves.  So we all met up at her house to “clean” (again, sneaky way to get out of the house and eat MORE food by myself) after moving day.  This crying looks fake, but it’s not.  We are missing those Jenkins SO much.

Cynthia moving

We had a bishopric post-holiday/tithing settlement party at the Yosts’ house.  Not only is Stacey an extremely good cook (where is the roll recipe, Stacey?!), but they introduced us to a new, fun group game.  (Ryan and Jessica A. almost came to blows over Ryan’s fake score, but they kissed and made up via email a few hours later).


And, of course, since it’s January, we attended the Albrecht’s First Friday party.  (Please go here for more pictures and an explanation on the “Yacht Rock” theme).  And don’t even think about going to Value Village and copying my awesome purple culotte outfit.  Ryan’s mustache can be copied by growing facial hair for a week and coloring it in with eyeliner.  Super sexy.

Just us:


The men:


The hosts:


And last the best of all the game:

After years of trying, and waiting, and lawsuits, and prayers, and venting phone calls…the Albrechts finally finalized their adoption and we got to witness it.  Seth was very involved in the process (notice him in background swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth):


Here we are the court steps:


The icing on the cake was, of course the temple sealing


It was a sweet, simple reminder that Heavenly Father always answers our prayers.  Sometimes He asks us to wait and struggle a little, but He always does what He says He will do.  It was a blessing for us to watch the whole process and have our testimonies strengthened.  We love Camden and the Albrechts.  (Go here and here, for more pretty pictures and sweet words.)


See.  I’m not entirely self-absorbed.  I even ended the post with a picture of an entirely different family!

Thanks for indulging me!  =)

Friday, January 22, 2010

How Ryan sees it:


47Are you sure no one’s missing? 

Excerpt from an email between Ryan and his former missionary companions, regarding wives/pregnancies/more kids:

My wife thinks we are done.  It is the weirdest feeling.  It must be how someone with a stalker feels when their pursuer is finally safe behind bars.  No more wondering when she is going to start feeling like "it is time."  No more of the nervous enjoyment you get realizing that your youngest has finally learned something that makes your life a little more sane, while at the same time wondering when someone is going to hit the reset button.  It is just so placid and nice.  I love every one of my kids like crazy, and maybe ... maybe might want another one someday, but it seems like I now have the luxury of deciding that for myself.

So sorry, honey, for stalking you all these years with these extra kids.  Hopefully you and Dave Letterman can breathe a little easier now.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Justice and Mercy

Probably the hardest part of parenting is deciding how best to dispense just consequences, while mercifully sparing them when it’s wise to do so.  I’m waaay better at the justice part and am often glad for the mercy of others to soften life’s edges for my kids. 

Last week’s example:

Emma wanted to try out for the school talent show.  We decided on the song (“Popular” a la Wicked), filled out the form and she took it to her backpack.  Except it never actually made it into her backpack.  When I saw it on the floor on Monday, I picked it up and gave it to her again and said “Is it too late to turn this in?”  Emma wasn’t concerned and took it to school on Tuesday, where she talked to someone who told her that she could just bring to tryouts on Wednesday.  On Wednesday I went to a lot of work lining up an accompanist, bringing her home at lunch for extra practice, copying all the pages and words, waking kids from naps to have everything ready on Wednesday afternoon. 

The Justice:

She greeted me at the school door, teary and upset:  “I can’t tryout because I didn’t get my paper in on Monday!”  (It turns out the someone who told her it would be okay, was another uninformed 5th grader).  I was frustrated due to all the effort I’d put in that day and because this is a common problem Emma exhibits.  Plus, I knew she’d lost her chance to perform and she was really looking forward to it (and she’s really good).  I knew I could go in there and make a stink and see if I could get them to change their minds, but Emma won’t always have her mom around to make up for her organizational lapses, right?  Better to learn at 9, than 19 or 39, right?  I tried not to lecture (only a small one) and just hugged her and told her to call her accompanist and let him know she wouldn’t need him anymore. 

The accompanist was the (AWESOME) 17 year old son of the (AWESOME) Primary President.  When Emma went to their house to return the music and let them know they wouldn’t be needed.  Shelley hugged her and commiserated and asked if we could change their minds.  Emma said no and returned to the car feeling better.

The Mercy:

Imagine our surprise, when, at 6:15 Brayden and Shelley showed up at our door.   They came in the house, with popcorn and an audience member and announced "We’re here for the Emma Romney Talent Show.”  Brayden (shown below with Emma) began to play and Emma sung her little Popular heart out.  There was applause and encore requests.  It was a sweet night and an incredible thing for this busy mother and son to do for Emma.

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I wish I could be as perfectly just and as perfectly merciful as Heavenly Father, but when I can’t I’m grateful for real life and real friends to make up the difference.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Right now…


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Seth’s in the bathroom, yelling “not done…not done…aaaannnd…still not done.  Man!  I thought I was gonna be done.”

(It’s tricky to know, sometimes.)

Only Seth narrates his bathroom progress.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

For your Friday Family Movie Night

(if you have one.  We don’t.)


Ryan and I rented this movie and watched it on the plane ride home from the East Coast.  We had earbuds in our ears (we were using our travel DVD player) and something surprised me and I yelled out really loud and everyone turned around and the stewardesses glared at me. 

But it’s not really a suspenseful movie.  (Just that one part.) It’s inspirational and interesting and well-acted and faith-filled.  I won’t give you a synopsis, because I HATE knowing anything about a book or a movie before I start it (I won’t even read the back cover), but, trust me, you will love it and your kids older than 5 will, too.  I highly recommend it.

Now.  We have kind of exhausted our Blockbuster queue.  I need you to return the favor:

What are some lesser known movies that you would recommend to us?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Awesome babysitting incentive plan

I wish I could say this was my idea.  In fact, I wish I had one original idea in my whole life.  But it’s not.  It’s from my friend Whitney, who is about 10 years ahead of me in the child rearing game and is, thus, an awesome friend to have.  (I highly recommend becoming friends with a parent with kids 5-10 years older than you.  I swear all of my best parenting ideas come from watching and chatting with them.)

So my kids have entered the oh-so-thrilling stage on Self-Babysitting.  For about a year we’ve been able to leave them and go out to dinner, friend’s houses, etc. (after we put Faith to bed…lucky thing she goes down at 6:45pm).  After years of calling ahead, praying we get “the good babysitter” and shelling out all that extra cash, we don’t have to do it anymore.

I don’t remember getting paid when I watched my younger siblings and I don’t remember that it bothered me.  The reason I decided to pay was because of the incentive it creates for my kids to do a decent job.

Here it is:

I pay The Babysitter (usually Emma, sometimes Gabe if we are in town)

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$1 (for the whole night NOT per hour) if the house is TOTALLY clean when we get home

$1 if no one calls us on our phone to resolve a fight

$1 if the kids are in bed when we get home

$1 if they do something (read books, play games, go on a walk) with the younger kids besides TV

Then, I pay The BabySAT (Gabe, Jane, Seth)

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$1 if The Babysitter says they were good, so they have incentive to be pliable and obedient


$7 out of pocket for me, but a clean, quiet, happy house when I get home.

**I pay them only for date night/social events.  Church meetings, grocery store runs, doctor appointments are services that come with being a sibling in a large family.

It works wonderfully.  I realize this won’t work as well as they start getting older and can make more money babysitting or working elsewhere, but for these (9-13 year old) years, it has been perfect.

There.  If you want, you can just pretend that I am your older, wiser parenting friend and reap all the benefits.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Quick Quote #37



Seth: "Mom. Do you know this is the look Miles' makes at me, when I'm late for preschool?"

And speaking of Seth’s faces…I could never do this kid’s looks justice, but here’s a sampling of the looks he gave me within a fifteen minute period one afternoon:

 Sethface1 Sethface2 Sethface3 Sethface4

If you are not looking at him when he’s talking to you, so are SO missing out.  Eyebrows raised, scrunched cheeks, vigorous nodding or shaking, pursed lips.  I would so love to have 4 hours of video of him just talking, because it is about my favorite thing EVER.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I’m not scared…

Inspired by great posts here and here.

I like to think I’m pretty darn honest.  I’ve never been one to cover up my faults or failings.  I don’t want people to know a Fake Jessica.  I really want people to know the Real Jessica.  I think it comes from a belief (hopefully not arrogant, hopefully just healthy) that when you know all my good stuff and all my bad stuff, you’ll like me anyway. 

I go to the grocery store or to clean the church without makeup.

I write posts like this:

I (over?)share in most conversations I’m involved in.

I really hope I don’t appear all shiny and perfect.  That you, and my kids/grandkids when they read this years from now, will know I do a lot fun/right stuff and a lot of lame/wrong stuff.

So when Christie (one of the links above) asked people to be real on their blogs, I thought there wasn’t too much I needed to come clean about.   However, as I thought, I realized there were a few things that I wouldn’t love sharing.  And I thought maybe I should anyway.  Just to challenge myself.

The first part of the assignment is to show a picture of yourself au natural.  I took it to the next level by showing you one of the clutteriest parts of my house.  Just cause I’m that brave:

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Now, here’s some real things you should know:

1.  I really, truly do yell at my kids too much.  When I say I yell, I really yell in a way that I would be humiliated to have you hear.  It’s the very worst thing I do as a parent.

2.  I’m kind of self-centered.  I really have to try to NOT arrange my whole life in the way that best suits my needs.  No “Your the Mom who never thought about herself” around here.

3.  When Emma says.”You are always on the computer,” my defense is a little too defensive, if you know what I mean.

4.  I have a pretty hygenic house (except the kids bathroom, ew)  and it looks straightened a lot of the time, but my cupboards, basement, drawers only get cleaned when Ryan gets too fed up with the COMPLETE disorganization and does it himself.

Those are the main things that came to mind over the past few days.  Let me know if you can think of anything else.  Or don’t.

(Man, I’m kind of scared to push the publish button.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Boring Holiday Summary


First, close-ups of the all-important holiday shirts:

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Second, Uncle Sam came a little early to visit us and then left early because he’s got a girlfriend(please say in a sing-song voice):

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Third, Grandma and Bekah drove late into the night to get here for Christmas Eve:

Bekah & Mom

Fourth, on Christmas Eve we ate lunch at our local mongolian grill-type restaurant, Seth barfed and had to be eliminated from further festivities, and we went to The Frog Princess

 Christmas Eve Lunch

Fifth, we had our traditional Bethlehem dinner at the Daines

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Sixth, we went home to open presents (in order to include Sick Seth) and Ryan couldn’t believe I actually woke Faith up so she could be in the cute New Jammies Picture.  As you can tell, she was happy to part of it all:

Pajama Romneys 2

Seventh, Christmas morning.  Here’s Jane with her scooter…which she rode to her cousins’ house, in 20 degree weather.


Eighth, Jane lost her second front tooth WHILE ON THE WAY to get her ears “a-pierced”.  It was quite an eventful half hour.

Jane's Lost ToothJane's Ear Piercing 8


Ninth,  we wore our Christmas garb a week late, because we wanted Grandma to see it, duh.  (what is Seth’s problem with pictures??  Seriously go back and peruse him in all the pictures.  He’s got a problem.)

 Romney Children 2Jessica & Co. 2


Tenth, Bekah taught Faith how to do kissy lips on the way to see the worst children’s movie ever:  “Where the Wild Things Are”.  Kiss that one good-bye.

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And last, on New Years Eve we went to First Night where we met up with the Albrechts, ran into Andrea and listened to the lamest children’s singer ever.  After we went home and put kids to bed, we went and hung out with Brunts, Seligers, Daines and Koppelsons and I don’t know why we don’t have a picture because it was the most fun New Years Ever party I’ve attended in a looong time.



And that’s all.  Happy 2010!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Slip-sliding, or, what happens when a bunch of native Californians contemplate a frozen lake

Both Ryan and I grew up in Northern California.  It snowed my freshman year of high school and that was the only time in my growing up years it was cold enough for water to freeze. 

Here in our town, we have a lake.  Ryan and I were running by it on Christmas Day and noticed a ton of people WALKING ON THE LAKE.  We talked to some different people about it and they told us that “Oh yeah, we took our kids down there.  Even without ice skates, it’s fun to run and slip around on the ice.”  Everyone acted like WE were the weird ones because we were nervous about it, so we decided to take the whole family down.

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My mom and sister were with us and I’m sure we would have appeared comical to any born-and-raised Northerners, because we were all a little terrified.

Me:  “Wait, wait!  Don’t go out that far!”

Emma:  “Mom!  There are kids playing ice hockey, farther out than us!”

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Grandma:  “Why are there all these little fissures in the ice, if it’s so safe?”

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Asking every skater, dog walker and sledder that we passed: “You’ve been doing this for a while and you’re sure it’s okay?”

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We went to take a group shot and we seriously heard the ice crack.  You should have seen us (the adults) scurry off of that spot, like we were being shot at.  I was, truly, preparing myself for the plunge into the icy depths and imagining how I’d keep Faith above water. 

We were fine.  (And aren’t these pictures cool?)

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The kids ran and played.  Seth was our first casualty—I think he was a bad combination of limited coordination but not enough padding.

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Faith had plenty of padding and was thrilled with the frozen lake. 

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And tried to lick the ice constantly.

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Emma, after being our most intrepid, fell and had a nasty bruise. 

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Grandma and Bekah got cold and, ignoring complaints from Gabe, we headed for home.

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So we’re getting out our hockey gear and ice skates; we’re true Northerners now, eh?