Thursday, April 30, 2009


Potty training is going very slowly.

We started two weeks ago. Most of the time, it feels like we aren't making any progress.

Although I kinda expected this. I'm feeling too lazy to push Blaise very hard. And he still seems so little to me, that I let him get away with quite a bit.

I haven't been very good with the whole making him go every hour. Mostly because I want to take naps, and window shop, and such. And Blaise gets to do those things with me.

Mostly, it's because he just hasn't been able to tell (or at least tell me) that he needs to go before he is already in the process.

Which led to us, wandering through the expanse of IKEA, and Blaise turning to me, and shouting at the top of his lungs, "Mom, I'm peeing!! I'm peeing right now!!"

(And I guess that I'm progressing in my parenting skills, because I didn't find this embarrassing at all. Just funny.)

It felt like things went so much faster with Roman. But of course, that could just be my retrospective rose-colored glasses.

But today, we had a breakthrough!

Blaise told me he needed to go potty, BEFORE he already had!

(Welcome to the world of parenting, where some days the most exciting thing to talk about is your child's bathroom skills or lack thereof. )

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Even more boys

We just got back from visiting Keith's family in Montana.

Okay, we didn't just get back. We got back Sunday night. But things were so busy, it feels like right now is the first moment I have had to sit and relax. So, yes, I just got back into the swing of things.

It was an unbelievably great trip.

Although this is excluding the time our nephew, who came with us, asked "Are we there yet?" less than five minutes after getting into the car. (And he continued to ask every 15-20 minutes for the entire 8 hour trip. Well, except for the time we broke down and put on Bolt.)

Keith never liked living in Montana. And you can't really blame him. He moved up there during his sophomore year of high school. It's a tough time for anyone to move. But every time we drive along the Bitterroot mountains, I have to think what a beautiful place it is. (And if I had had my act together, I would have taken some pictures to share. But I didn't. I was busy trying to calculate how many more hours, minutes, and miles were left in the trip.)

I love Keith's family. He has got fantastic brothers. He also has a fantastic sister, who we missed, since she is away at college. Fantastic brothers lead to fantastic sisters-in-law, which lead to a whole passel of "THE grandchildren."

I love this picture!

Every single on of Keith's mom's grandchildren was there over the weekend. Which made for some darling photos.

All 13 grandchildren!
And amazingly, everyone is looking at the camera and "smiling."

The boys.
Things started to fall apart here, but still,
what a cute bunch of kids

The girls.
This was much easier than the previous picture
And aren't they just beautiful

I got to spend a good part of the afternoon holding the two newest additions to the family, two darling babies I hadn't seen yet. 4 month old Justice and 4 months old Carly, both of whom were born since our last visit over Christmas. (If you are keeping track, Carly makes the second grand-daughter. Out of 13.)

Sunday morning, we went out to breakfast with Keith's best friend from high school. This couple is probably the most awesome couple we know. And they've got three super cute kids. I really wish we could be neighbors without it involving us actually moving to Montana. We had great conversation. And the kids were pretty good too. Blaise only licked the top of the wall once.

We got to spend time with everyone we wanted to. I'm not sure the next time we will be able to go to Montana.

But hopefully, we have good memories to fill in the gap.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Making the Rounds

Tomorrow morning, we are packing up the boys and heading for Montana.

Keith spent his high school years in a small town in Western Montana, and his parents still live there.

And since we are moving in June, we don't know how long it is going to be before we make it up there again. So, we are going to spend the weekend with Keith's parents, meeting up with Keith's high school friends, and in a way saying good-bye.

It's a reminder of how far away we will actually be. No Jessop family camp-out. No alternating holidays. No more high school graduations. I'm going to miss it all.

On a happier note, I finally have a picture of my little karate student. I sure think he looks cute in his white outfit.

Looking strong!

(And Blaise insisted that if I was taking pictures of Roman and putting them on the compute, I had to take of picture of the pine cones we picked up on our walk together. So, here, to appease my little one.)

Bucket o' cones

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catch Up

I can't believe how quickly things change. I feel that things should be slowing down, each day filled with plenty of time to do all the things I want. But each day is so crazy and busy, I'm not sure how anything gets down. And I hate feeling rushed. I just want things to slow down, so I can savor each moment.

Okay, this will be the very last picture of our Easter tree. Because Easter is over. But you can see by the flowers that it really is very beautiful. Once again, I wish that I had started this a week before Easter, so that we could have enjoyed the flowers then.

Roman has been sick for 4 days now. Fever, fatigue, grouchiness. I'm pretty sure that after today, with movies, lots of rest, lots of water, and stories, he will be good to go tomorrow. I hate when my boys are sick. Just because I don't like seeing them go from balls of energy to droopy, sad little things. Although I do like that Roman gets extra cuddly when he is sick.

Blaise's potty training is going slowly. At least it isn't such a fight. But I can't get him to tell me that he needs to go. So we go on a schedule. Every hour (except when we are out and about, or sleeping.) Sometimes he stays dry. Sometimes he doesn't. But he has figured out how to milk the situation.

He realizes that when he is sitting on the potty, he has my undivided attention. So he brings a handful of toys with him, and wants to play all sorts of games while he sits there. When I'm starting to get ready to move on, he says, "No, don't go. I still need to go potty." But really he just wants to play. I think it is very cute. But I would think it was cuter if each trip to the potty didn't take 30-45 minutes.

"Mom, I've got my red hat on. I'm ready to go outside!"

Roman has started karate lessons. I know, I know. Of all things. But he got a "Classroom Leader" award that included two months of free karate lessons. And of course, he couldn't think of anything cooler than taking karate. And since we will move in two months, it works out pretty well. He looks so darling in his little white suit, trying to keep up with the other kids. He is still painfully shy. Any time an instructor comes by and tries to help him, he can't even look at them. I'm hoping he gets a little confidence from this whole things.

Although I am doubtful that we will continue this outside the two months.

I just got my schedule for my intern year. My first rotation is Emergency Medicine, which starts me to death, since the only time I have been in the emergency room is as a patient and to admit people to the floor. But never to work up what ever walks through the door. Hopefully, since it is my first rotation as an intern, everyone will expect me to suck, so anything I do will be above expectations.

I'm on Trauma Service in December, which pretty definitively secures that I will be working over Christmas.

But other than that, my schedule is not that bad. An alternating patterns of easy, hard, and so difficult I'm pretty sure I'll want to die.

As far as the house goes, things are almost done. The seller agreed to fix everything we requested. Even the vent for the microwave. (It kind of makes me wish we had asked for more things to be fixed. ) I agree with Keith. The seller is just ready to get this house off of his hands. No counter offer, no disagreement on the remedy request, nothing. I've sent in all our paperwork for our mortgage. I've found homeowners insurance. I'm ready to book the movie van. We're pretty much ready to go.

Now we just hurry up and wait.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thoughts of Spring

I think that spring is really here. Everything says that it should be. The warm weather, the blue skies, the flowers.

If it snows again, I think I'm going to give up.

(At least I don't have my own garden to worry about. I didn't plan anything this year, because a move in early June makes it pointless.)

Yesterday, we did the perfect thing to welcome and celebrate spring. The Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point.

Not all the flowers were out (owing to the very bad weather of the last couple weeks. Next week would be perfect, I bet.) But the weather was mild. And there were plenty of flowers for everyone to enjoy.

We fed fish, ran through mazes, ate kettle corn and listened to bluegrass music. A perfect day.

Although next time, I need to do better at remembering sunscreen.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Attempt

We had initially started potty-training Blaise earlier this year.

It was much earlier than I had anticipated or wanted. Technically, he was passed the 27 months of age that pediatricians recommend starting potty-training. He showed a huge interest, asking to use the potty, saying he was done with diapers. So, we started.

It went well for, well, a whole two days.

By the third day, he wouldn't go. Every time I mentioned going potty, he would scream and cry. Nothing would calm him down. We couldn't keep him on the potty. He would cry and cry. And we would feel terrible.

After two days of fighting, Keith and I made the decision that it wasn't worth it. If it was that much of a struggle, all potty-training was going to be was a power struggle. He would just become more resistant, which would lead to failure.

So we decided to call a break.

Well, several months later, we are trying again.

We are four days in, and things are going great!

Although Blaise still will fuss when we tell him it's time to go potty, it's just because he doesn't want to stop playing. And we have found ways around it, like letting him bring toys with him.

And yesterday, he stayed dry for 6 hours!!

Honestly, I would prefer to wait until he was closer to three. And I know that with the move to Iowa coming up, he will regress.

But he will most likely be starting preschool near the end of August. And for most good preschools, children need to be potty trained in order to attend.

So I hope that by starting now, even with a set-back after we move, we will have more to work with than if we didn't start until August.

And the thought of entering another diaper-free period of our lives is also quite appealing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Follow Up

We got the results of our home inspection late last night.

I don't think that there was anything that really surprised us. We know that it is an older home and needs some work.

I really like this picture of the house
Funny that the best picture of the home
was taken by the inspector.

However, our real estate agent called this morning and asked if we really still wanted to buy the house.

Um, yes.

Because even if we didn't, the cost of fixing a lot of those things would be less than buying more airline tickets, trying to find time to go back out there and find a different home. And I don't think we would find one in such a great location.

The foundation, the roof, and the heating system were in perfect condition. Those were the things that we were really worried about. So now, we can rest easy knowing that the house won't crumble beneath us, the roof won't cave in on top of us, and we won't freeze to death during a Midwestern winter.

There were a lot of small things, some of which Keith and I had planned on addressing already (doors that were in bad condition, locks that didn't work, siding that needs to be addressed.)

There are a few things we are asking the seller to address. Such as electrical safety issues, toilets that don't work, and the lack of wiring for the washer and dryer. Because we will really need to use the bathroom and do laundry pretty much the second we walk through the door.

It is definitely going to be a project, but totally worth it. Mostly, because it's ours.

I also had some requests to share the progress of our Easter Tree. (I really should have started this a week before Easter, so that it would have bloomed by Easter. But honestly, I just don't have things together enough to think that far ahead.)

But here is what our Easter Tree looked like this morning. You can see the bright pink fat buds just getting ready to burst open. It is really a cheerful thing, and a wonderful reminder that spring really does happen.

ADDENDUM: I guess before I wasn't very clear about what is actually wrong with the house. The siding is rotted in multiple places and will need to be replaced. We were planning on doing this in the next couple of years. There are several windows that don't stay open. We know that the windows will need to be replaced before we sell. There is part of the sub-floor in the dining room that is rotted and needs to be replaced. But as we were planning to replace the flooring in the kitchen and dining room anyway, not too big of deal. The doors don't shut, or the locks don't work, or the knobs are missing. None of the toilets work. Half the lights don't work. One of the garage doors doesn't work. The water heater is almost as old as the house (1976).

So, nothing serious at least, but still a lot of work. And we knew it was going to be. But still, to have a list of everything that is wrong makes the work feel a little overwhelming. But at least I don't have to feel guilty about tearing up the dining room floor anymore.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I never seem to have time to post on holidays. Between activities and family time and clean up afterward, there is just never time to share pictures taken on that day.

We had a beautiful Easter. The weather was finally warm and gentle. We had a fantastic Easter lunch (seriously good food.)

And then we watched the children hunt eggs outside.

Blaise was so cute. As soon as he found his first egg, he was all game. He took on a semi-crouched position and moved about the yard almost on tip-toe saying, "I'm finding eggs."

Just being together as a family, enjoying the sun, was wonderful.

I can't think of a better way to have spent Easter.

And other news, our home inspection is today. We're sure that the inspector will find several things wrong. After all, it is an older home. And a few little things that mean some work for us are fine. But I'm nervous that the inspector will find something so horrible that we won't be able to buy the house. If that happens, I don't know what we will do.

So, here's so hoping that the inspection goes well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Feeling Crafty

Another holiday means more crafts.

Easter involves very messy crafts! (Somewhat nerve-wracking crafts.) Including egg emptying, sugary treats, and containers full of dye (which are potential disasters. None of which occurred this year.)

Egg decorating central

After a run to two (!) stores for vinegar( apparently vinegar is in high demand this time of year), we were able to dye eggs.

Roman doing a fantastic job decorating eggs

Our beautiful empty eggs changed from white to brilliant yellow, orange, pink, green, and blue.

The finished product

After decorating the eggs, they then turn into the most magical of all centerpieces.

The ingredients from something magical:
Eggs, ribbon, hot glue gun, twigs, and a vase

The Easter Tree!!

Over the next couple days the leaves with come out,
and we will have a beautiful Easter Tree.

I also wanted to share some of Roman's artwork. (Roman is a very prolific artist, and I need to do a better job of sharing some of his masterpieces.)

Dragon in a Castle
By Roman

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

We have been taking advantage of the Salt Lake Zoo, Arts, and Parks Program lately.

I love this program. It allows many museums and zoos (or equivalents) to be accessed by the public for free or reduced price once a month.

We've been to the Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Fine Art (which by the way, has an amazing exhibit on Native American work right now. Breath-taking!)

This week, we went to the Living Planet Aquarium. While it obviously doesn't compare to aquariums at Sea World or Monterey Bay, it has the wonderful advantage of being local. And Roman and Blaise love it!

Playing at the aquarium
(Pretending to be a fish, if you couldn't tell.)

The aquarium has expanded to include an exhibit on Amazonian animals. The boys really enjoyed shocking themselves on the electric eel simulation. A little too much.

Blaise, always the more adventurous one, touched a sting ray, pet a horseshoe crab, and let shrimp crawl on him. Although he didn't particularly like any of those experiences.

Petting string rays

For the last month, Roman's class has been practicing an Australian animal play. They've painted backgrounds, made paper-mache animal puppets, and practiced very hard.

Today, they performed.

Getting ready for the play

Roman was a dingo. And he was very cute.

Roman, doing his dingo part

(Although, after school, he told me that having all the people there made him very embarrassed.)

On another note: there was hail and rain and strong winds today. Not a good day for being outside. The boys have been running around and jumping off furniture (and each other.) While I sit and worry about how long before the neighbors complain. Moving day can't come too soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Somewhere to call home

We bought a house!!!

That's right! I matched two and a half weeks ago, and now we have a house.

The speed at which everything is happening is nearly boggling.

Keith and I flew out to Iowa City over the weekends and stayed with a friend from medical school (Thanks so much you guys!).

Knowing that you have a small budget and only two days to find a house is just a little nerve-wracking. I was an emotional basket-case nearly the entire weekend.

At first, it wasn't looking good. What we could afford, we didn't like. Or it was too far away from the university. Or it was in a bad school district. Or it didn't have a yard. Or it needed too much work. I wasn't going to budge on the school district issue. I felt we had to be in a great school area for Roman and Blaise. Keith wasn't going to budge on the amount of work to be done (like, rebuilding half the house.) The first night after house hunting, we almost had our first fight. Almost.

The next day, I was looking at listings in the morning. I wrote several down.

Then we went and re-looked at several of the homes we had liked from the first day. Then I asked the real estate agent if we could look at some from my list.

The very last one on my list, the one I had written down while I was being shoo-ed out the door. That's our house.

Our first house!!

And we got it with our first offer. No counter-offer or anything!!

Okay, the house needs a little work. Think "vision." (Or like Keith says, "Project.")

The front room
(this one and the kitchen need the least work)

The kitchen (with brand new cabinets!)

But seriously, this house is perfect for us. There's enough space, it has a yard, it is right next door to one of the best elementary schools in Iowa City, and it is in a gorgeous neighborhood just two miles from the university.

Our back yard

What we live next to.
Isn't it just gorgeous?

Already, we've starting planning what changes need to happen (immediately: paint, carpet, and lighting; later: siding, windows, basement).

I am so excited!! Let the home-owner adventure begin!