Saturday, August 25, 2007

Guests and Getaways

My brother, Troy and his wife were so nice to make the long trek down here from Utah so that we could see their adorable 3 week old baby boy, Brenton. He is so dang cute, although we have no idea where all that dark hair came from. Every one of the Jolley offspring babies are not only bald as can be, but also very light haired. I thought for sure I would be the first to break the mold since lots of dark hair should be reserved for half Chinese babies, but obviously that was not the case (although I've still got my fingers crossed!) I was absolutely loving having a newborn around (especially since I wasn't the one waking up for the 2am feedings) and yes, he made me very baby hungry, I was just hoping some of that baby love would rub off on Jason! The kids were really sweet with him, also, and I was surprised at how interested Jayden was with him (usually only trains can hold his attention for that long). Of course we loved seeing Brenton, but we also had fun with Troy (aka "Tush" or "Tom", which ever name Jayden feels is appropriate for the moment) and Sam. We were very limited on the activities for the agenda considering it's 115 degrees outside, we have a newborn, Sam is still recovering from her delivery and Troy is still on crutches recovering from his ankle surgery (speaking of crutches, the 5 yr old boy that Jennifer baby-sits was over and the first thing that he said when he saw Troy using the crutches was "man, those are some pretty big chopsticks!" Love it.). With all that in mind, the only activity we could really do was swim and lots of it. Jennifer spoiled us and watched the kids not one, but TWO whole nights so that we could go out (don't feel bad, she had Ivan, or should I say Eeevooon, over to keep her company :). We went and saw one of the most awesomest movies ever, "The Bourne Ultimatum" (Yes Sheba and Chelsea, Jason was a good husband to take me even though he already saw it with his friends). When we got back the boys were feeling a little inspired by the movie and tried to pull off a Bournish-like stint by parking in the driveway at a vacant house 3 doors down, then sneaking around to turn off the power and then ever so slyly entering the house through the side door and surprising Jennifer and Ivan. I'm not even going to tell you how long they planned this for, but they did manage a decent scare factor. We also went and saw Ocean's 13 and they spent the whole trip home trying to come up with a Danny Oceanish stunt, but to no avail. Jason and Troy scored some sweet tickets 20 rows up for the Cardinals pre-season opener game. They loved being so close to the players, but personally I think they were just as excited to be that close to the cheerleaders :) We had a fun and relaxing time with them, thanks guys for coming down!

Last week Jason had to go to Tucson for work and so once again Jennifer spoiled us by watching the kids for a couple of nights while I went down and stayed with him. It was AWESOME. Jason had to work the whole day and I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I seriously don't remember the last time that I had a whole day to myself. Jason was worried that I was going to get bored staying in the hotel all day and kept suggesting that I go out, but I was not about to pass up the opportunity to stay in bed all day long. I did shower, give me some credit, but other than that I just laid in bed and read, watched tv and worked on that blog book that I'm making (which by the way is turning out great). The first morning I had to force myself to sleep in until 8:30, but the second morning I had no problem whatsover sleeping in until 10:30, yikes! In the evenings it was so nice to go out and spend time with Jason, I sure love that guy! I must admit that it was great having some guilt-free lazy time and even being able to watch Regis and Kelly while getting ready instead of "Dora the Exporer", but I did miss my kids and was excited to get back to them, (just not excited to get back to the dr. appointments, carpools, school functions, meetings, grocery shopping, house cleaning....) Thanks so much, Jenz!!

For our enrichment night coming up they are doing a play and asked if Kylie could do a little part in it. I was worried that she would be too shy, but apparently that is not the case and she has taken this play business very serious. After their first practice today, she spent the majority of the day compiling this folder dedicated to the play. She has written and then illustrated every aspect of her little 5 minute part and then has written down the first line of each song that they're doing. She got too tired of writing all the words, so she filled the rest of the page with music notes. She plans on taking this to all the rehearsals incase she forgets her part (which I should probably include that her part doesn't even have any lines, it's just walking different directions across the stage and then down the stairs as she is descending from heaven). It is so cute to watch her get so excited and I can't wait to watch her big debut.
Kylie and Jayden have really been into creating their own recipes lately. They get so excited when I let them do it and they have managed to come up with some very interesting concoctions. The base of every recipe is always milk and water (in no particular order). That gives you some idea of the deliciousness of these delicacies. The other ingredients often include PB, jelly, cool whip, syrup, or anything sweet to balance out the watered down milk. I think my love as a mother has been tested multiple times as they excitedly present me with a cup to take the first drink. The funny thing is that the kids actually really do like the recipes (either that or they're really good at faking it so that I will keep letting them carry on with their experiments). At one point Jayden was even crying because it was all gone. They've also discovered that they can freeze them in plastic cups for an extra delightful popsicle the next day.
We're excited to have Jason's sister, Jessica and her boyfriend down here for a visit before she takes off to her semester abroad in China. Right now Jason's playing 5th wheel with them and Jennifer and Ivan while they're at another Cardinal's game tonight. We're looking forward to a fun week with them!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Baby Bus!

Don't laugh. My brothers are always making cracks about the short bus, but those jokes are no longer allowed since my little Jayden is now a proud rider of the short bus, or "baby bus" as he calls it. With his speech delay he qualified for the priority preschool at an elementary school. He has been soooo excited to go to school and I have to admit that I am really enjoying having some quality "me" time three days a week. It's lonely and liberating at the same time. I do miss my kids, but I feel like I can be a better mom since I have time to rejuvinate. It's been nice to have the time to volunteer in Kylie's school I'm now an official "assistant TO the regional librarian" (for all you "Office" fans out there). Okay, so maybe it's not that fancy, but it has been fun helping out in the library one day a week. I'm also going to teach preschool 2 days a week with my friend who does it out of her home. It's kind of nice experiencing a different life outside of motherhood.

Jayden did so great on his first day of preschool. He was dead set on having a Thomas back pack and once that was taken care of he was good to go. I don't know if it's just a boy/girl thing or a second child thing, or maybe it was just because Jayden was so excited to go, but it wasn't hard at all to drop him off for the first day of preschool (unfortunately for him, he couldn't start riding the bus until the second week). He gave me a hug and kiss, put his back pack in his cubby, marched over to the train table and told me goodbye. He had no issues having me leave him, maybe because for weeks before he left he kept telling me that no one was allowed to go to preschool with him or ride the bus, only Gi-Gi, because he's a big boy. I'm so glad he's loving it. Today he fell asleep on his bus ride home, it was sweet. The teacher's assistant rides on the bus with him and told me that he was having a hard time carrying his back pack around because it was so heavy. I didn't know what she was talking about until I looked in there and he had stuffed every train he owns inside his back pack.

So with both my kids in school there is a lot that I am learning. First of all, school has changed so much since I was in elementary school such as....

-they no longer have just fire drills, but they have required lock down drills. It makes sense considering that I am always hearing about schools going into lock down (like another school down the street here last week), but have yet to hear of a school burning down in the middle of the day. I just wonder what they tell the kids so that they don't tramatize them during these drills. According to Kylie, they "all hide in the corner of the room with the lights off (but they have a smiley face flashlight so that they're not scared) with paper over the window so that nobody can see in. The principal then walks around and makes sure that everyone is safe, but she hides too if she has to."

-Each classroom now has its own version of a corporate room mom. When I signed up to be a room mom, I had visions of baking cupcakes for holiday parties. What I didn't envision was hours of room parent coallition meetings, reading through stacks of room parent handbooks, planning and carrying out professional quality fund raising events, and things of that nature. It should be fun, though...I hope.

-Safety issues. It is so scary having kids in the school system these days, where so many things can happen that are beyond my control. Last week they sent a letter home with Jayden (he is at a different elementary school than Kylie) saying that there was a man living near the school who was exposing himself to children through his window while they were walking home from school. It made me sick that somebody like that lives so close to a school! I decided to have another safety talk with Kylie after reading that letter (I think Jayden is too young to understand), we talked about alot of different issues and I even touched a little on the drugs topic (Mandy, I borrowed some of your ideas for this one!). After telling her that sometimes kids might try to give her something to eat that's not good for her body she chimed in, "oh, like coffee." We also talked about what to do if she saw a stranger on campus and she said, "oh, like if I saw some strangers playing sword fights at school". If only that was all I had to worry about. I just miss those days (oh so long ago) when kids could actually walk to and from school and even home for lunch, the doors to the school didn't have to remain locked when school was in session and the playgrounds didn't have to be completely fenced in. I'm glad that they take those precautions but it's just sad (and scary) that it's come to that point.

-There are so many meetings, papers and people asking for your money! I thought I would have so much extra time with the kids in school, but it seems like my time is getting quickly filled with meetings and such! They bring so many papers home and I never know what to save and what to get rid of. I think I need to invest in a massive filing cabinet. Every day we get flyers asking for more money for one thing or another. They've also been having these fundraiser nights at different restraunts where a portion of the money goes back to the school. Those are fine, it's just funny how they drill it into the kids that they need to go. Kylie was practically in tears because we couldn't make it to the one last night. I wasn't sure why she was so upset until I found out that she was under the impression that they would give money to her for going, not the school.

So school has been an eye opening experience for all of us, but both kids seem to really be enjoying it. Despite a rough start, Kylie is now having a blast and has made some cute friends. One of her friends was over playing the other day when I overheard Kylie telling her that she was Chinese. The girl asked her what "Chinese" was and Kylie told her that it meant that you had dark brown hair. After pausing for a moment, the little blonde-haired girl responded "when I get out of the bathtub and my hair is wet then it looks dark, so I guess I'm Chinese when I take a bath". Gotta love kids!
PS-that smile he has in the top middle picture is the one that I was referring to in the last post. It's my absolute favorite and I can't get enough of it!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Birthday, Jayden!

Oh, my little monkey, it's your big day! Three years ago we all went out to dinner for my birthday and while we were at the restraunt I started having contractions. That night we went to the hospital and then TWENTY hours later you were finally born! (the first picture in the video is of the day before you were born) It has been fun having our birthdays only a day apart! Ever since Kylie's birthday in May, you have been so excited for your own birthday. Each party that we go to you think that every present is holding a special Thomas train just for you! As your birthday came closer I forgot to get your presents out from the back of the car and you thought that you hit the jackpot when you found so many Thomas trains! Whenever anyone came over you would take their hand and show them the trains in the car (multiple times). Then I made the mistake of letting you just carry one of the boxes around. You asked for the box every morning when you woke up and you dragged it in the car everywhere we went. Inevitably after a couple of days of this, we found you hiding behind the couch with the box ripped to shreds. You were so excited when your birthday finally came and you told anyone that would listen that it was your birthday and that you were "tee ode" (three years old). When you said your prayers that night, you sang the "Happy Birthday" song to Jesus and then ended with "amen". Sometimes when you say your prayers you pray for Thomas and all his friends by name and then end with your own rendition of the Thomas theme song. It always puts a smile on my face and a warm spot in my heart. I tried making a pirate treasure chest cake for you, but it didn't quite turn out as good as the one that aunt Nessa made, but you were so cute and got so excited about it. It was a fun birthday and I'm proud of you for the big boy that you're becoming! Here are just a few of my favorite things about you....

-I love when you've done something naughty then you come up to me with this sweet little munchkin face where you squint your eyes all up and have a huge closed mouth grin. That's my cue to go check in the other room.

-you are so friendly and loving. It makes me a little nervous around strangers, like the warranty guy who was covered in tattoos and you kept running up to him giving him hugs and taking his hand to show him your trains.....we'll have to have a talk about that, but I love how you are so sweet and have such a big heart!

-I love the way you talk! I am so sad that you are starting to outgrow some of my favorite words. You used to call yourself Gi-Gi, but now when I try to call you that you always correct me and say "no, me 'dayden'". You are just growing up too fast! But I will always love your sweet little words that only I can understand.

-Your obsession with trains and trucks cracks me up! You will sit for hours and push them back and forth, back and forth, back and forth....You could care less if I had to drop you off at someone else's house, as long as they have trains to play with!

-You always wake up happy! I can hear your little feet pitter patter into our room and I hear a cheery "hi mom!" If I'm lucky you'll snuggle in bed with me for a little bit, but usually you like to just go watch Dora.

-My favorite is when you're in the middle of playing and you'll come up to me and say, "mom, mom, mom" until I say "what" and then you say "hi" and run back to what you were doing. It melts my heart!

You are such a sweet boy! Dad, Kylie and I all love you soooo much and love the extra spice that you bring to our lives! Happy birthday!

Party Time!

Thanks everyone for making my b-day special! I feel like I'm getting so old, now that I'm 27 and one year closer to 30! But having a pirate b-day cake and spending the day at Makutu's Island sure is one way to make me feel young again! Jayden's birthday is the day after mine and since it was on a Sunday we celebrated a little bit on Saturday for him too.

That morning I took Kylie for some girl time and pampering, it was so fun. We went and got manicures and pedicures and she was about to burst with excitement. She thought that she was so big sitting up on the chair just like everyone else. They had fingernail polish in every color of the rainbow, but of course she had to pick this putrid green color (it reminded her of Ariel...). It was also funny, because so many times when other Asian people see my kids they always make a big deal about the "halfers" and it seems that every nail salon is employed strictly by Asians, and so as soon as we sit down our lady had to gather all of her friends and even the owner to come and gush over the cute little mixed girl. I'm beyond getting offended, I just think it's funny. We had a great time, though.

We spent the afternoon at Makutu's Island which is this indoor gymnasium thing that has TONS of tunnels, bridges, slides, etc. The kids had a blast and we all left with sore knees from crawling through all those plastic tubes.

Jennifer was so nice to watch the kids while Jason took me out to dinner to Joe's Grill (you get a free dinner on your b-day there, which totally beats a scoop of ice-cream with singing waitresses). We also hit the dollar store because I had to get some stuff for Jayden's b-day and Jason had fun picking out a present for me there (sweet, huh?) He scored when he got this great knife set for a buck, ha! ha! He got it for me because Jennifer and I love staying up until midnight watching this ridiculous infomercial called "The Knife Show". It is run by this hick with the strongest accent and he always says the funniest stuff--it's one of those "you've got to see it for yourself" to really appreciate the quality of such television viewing. We had some good laughs and it was just nice spending time with Jason. Thanks for a wonderful birthday!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Changing Blogging As We Know It

Okay, my friend Mandy just told me about the BEST thing EVER (next to the blog, of course). If you go to, you can turn your blog into a book! After all the work I put into this journal/scrapbook of a blog I can't wait to have it in a book for our family to enjoy for generations to come. And an added bonus is that it's CHEAP (but the quality looks good). It's like 300 pages for around $60! Anyways, thanks Mandy for this awesome site, I thought I'd pass on the good news to you fellow bloggers!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Hey there birthday girl! Surprise – Janessa here! I wanted to take a little trip down memory lane with you for your birthday. It was so fun putting this slide show together and thinking about all the fun we’ve had growing up together. Being only one year and four days apart in age, I don’t remember what life without you is like. You have been a constant companion and friend. I remember as our family would move around when we were growing up and we would be sad to leave friends, mom and dad would always say, “Your family is your best friend. Friends will come and go but you’ll always have your family.” I didn’t fully appreciate what they were saying at the time, but now I see the truth in what they were saying. You have always been there for me and have always been my best friend. I love you so much and hope you have a fabulous birthday! Here are some memories that came to mind as I’ve been looking back at our life together.
- My memories start in Cedar City. Life was simple and the smallest things were so exciting. I remember the occasional lollipop treat and that tragic day when one of our lollipops fell in the ditch and got whisked away. Oh the joy and sorrow a ten cent sucker can bring!
- I have a lot of fun memories of our Orderville years. We spent countless hours playing on the mountain in our backyard making huts and exploring our territory while either playing with or fighting with our neighbors, the Heatons. We loved riding our Big Wheels down to the Seminary to give dad his lunch. We were so big! Once we started elementary school, surviving our walks to school every morning was nothing shy of miraculous. As we approached the cross guard we’d hold hands and say, “If you die, I’ll die too.” Between the second hand smoke we were exposed to from the crossing guard and the two way “major highway” we had to cross, we felt lucky just to be alive each day we made it across.
- American Fork is where we started growing up. Boys became interesting and we worried about our clothes and hair. You were always my fashion icon. Our days were full of making up cheers and dances on the front lawn while trying to impress innocent passer-bys. I think we made up a dance to almost every song from the Osmonds and The Monkeys. Man, we were cool!
- Okay, so we THOUGHT we were cool when we lived in American Fork but somewhere in those early years in Georgia we reached true coolness (or so we thought). Our dances evolved to “the sprinkler” and we spent, I don’t know how many hours, memorizing cool “radio songs”. Doing home school for a year was a fun bonding experience. Many lazy summer days (and nights) were spent at the pool with family and friends. Girl’s camp and church dances were highlights of our exciting life. We cried (and later laughed) together as we both had our turns wrecking different cars. Poor mom and dad! We were always there for each other to talk about our hot dates and latest crushes. When I graduated from high school and left for college I was so sad to leave you. It was so weird to not share a bedroom with you! I loved having you came to visit me at UGA.
- Driving the car out to Utah together is one of my fondest memories of time spent with you. The family was moving out there from Georgia and we somehow convinced mom and dad that we could handle following dad in the car. It was a long drive but so much fun just being together and trying to keep dad sane.
- Once in Utah our paths started to part a little. You went to BYU and I got married. I was so excited when you got married too - EXACTLY six months later. I loved that we both lived in Provo and saw each other a lot still. When I had Taylor, you were right there at the hospital to see him after he was born. You were so nice (and brave) to babysit our one month old Taylor overnight for our one year anniversary. I was SO excited when you announced that you were pregnant with Kylie and we were pregnant together for about a month (I was expecting Abby). I was very impressed with your hard work as I watched a very pregnant Jamie finish and graduate from BYU just before having Kylie. I was overjoyed when she was born and I became an aunt! Eight month old Abby was also excited to have her best cousin friend here too. I was so grateful to have you there for me when Ricky was deployed to Iraq. You and Jason were so generous to always have your door open to us. We loved visiting you and spending so much time at your house that year. You have no idea what a support and strength you were to me during that time. When I had Kambry while Ricky was still in Iraq, I was so grateful to have you and mom there with me when she was born. That was such a bonding experience to have you there with me as I brought my Kambry into the world. I was devastated when you moved to Arizona. I was so glad that you guys were able to visit a bit that first little while. It helped ease the pain. I was so excited when you came up for Christmas and announced that you were pregnant with Jayden. I had a sneaky suspicion you had another one on the way. I was so sad to not be able to see Jayden right when he was born. I was excited to finally see six month old Jayden when we met up with you and him at mom and dad’s house for a visit. Having you visit us in Iowa that following summer was a dream come true. I loved having you there in my little world with me. It was fun to have you there to tell you in person that we had baby number four on the way. Parker was born that next spring and then we were able to visit you that summer and introduce you to three month old Parker. I was thrilled when we found out that we’d get to see you again a few months later at Troy’s wedding! We had a ball visiting you again this summer! You guys are such generous hosts. I savored every minute with you. I love watching our kids play with each other and carry on the best friend bond that we had growing up. That was so funny when, after listening to us talk to each other for a while, Jason asked, “Do you guys ever fight?” We all laughed because we are always so cheesy and sweet to each other.
I cherish all the memories we’ve made together and look forward to the many more we’ll make. You fill so many rolls in their life and do an incredible job with each one. You are an amazing mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I look up to you and love you so much! I wish I could be with you to celebrate your birthday, but I hope it’s a great one! Love you tons!!! You're amazing...