Saturday, December 15, 2012

Landscape Pretty Hawaii Don't Let George Get It...

This is a painting that I have been working on for my sister for years. It's really embarrassing how long I have taken to finish this painting, but I have never been satisfied with it enough to let someone else take it.

But a few days ago it looked like this below. Before this last week, I couldn't get the pine trees the way I wanted them. Not a huge change, but it makes me hate it less! I just need to fix the trees in the foreground to my liking still.

Anyway, the reason for that background information is that I had this painting out in the open to work on it this last week...and also so Erin knows that I haven't completely forgotten about this even though I am ridiculous.

Apart from leaving the painting out in front of a 4 year old, I also made the mistake of leaving a paintbrush and some wet paints sitting near it. So, Friday when I was in the shower, this knock came on the door and there was a small voice trying to get my attention. I couldn't tell what she wanted because the shower was on and the fan. I could tell she said something about a painting and wanting to paint. But I just told her that I would have to finish my shower and then I would come out to talk.

Then I went back to my shower, and it quickly donned on me that the painting was out in the open with paints and a brush nearby. And I remembered that Jaime was reading the internets, so the painting was completely unprotected. Jaime is dead to the world when there is internet to be read. So, I quickly finished my shower and came out to find I was too late. She had made some additions to the painting. On the brown path, she had decided there should be grass. Well, I was able to erase her finishing touches, but she was still feeling the painting bug.

So, I found another old painting of a picture of a Hawaiian coast that I had started to paint years ago when I was in college. I didn't care for that painting either and had no plans of ever finishing it, so I brought it out for Tess and I to use.

When we finished, we needed to give it a title:

Me: What should we name it?

Tess: Landscape Pretty. That will be it's first name, what will be it's middle name?

Me: How about Hawaii? So is its last name Alley?

Tess: Um, no...It's last name is Don't Let George Get It.

Me: Landscape Pretty Hawaii Don't Let George Get It. I like it.

Then yesterday, I was asking her about the painting again:

Me: So, do you think our painting is beautiful?

Tess: I think it is pretty. I think it would be more pretty if you hadn't covered up my brown.

To make the painting, I had her try and match colors from the palette with colors on the painting. And then I added a bunch of other colors to brighten up the greens and browns that she used. Big mistake apparently.

And so I present to you Landscape Pretty Hawaii Don't Let George Get It:

I've never been to Hawaii, but I'm pretty sure this captures it pretty well. Jaime, who has been to Hawaii, doesn't agree, but everyone knows she only likes sensual art.

And one of Tess after her artistic triumph:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Old draft I found...

I found this old draft of a post I started and never finished. It made me laugh. My mom is awesome:

I probably don't talk enough on this blog about how amazing my parents are..mainly because I'm too lazy for blogging. But I wanted to share 2 stories about them that show why I think they are great. [Editor's note: I have no idea what the 2nd story was]

I had a conversation with my mom a while ago when she was here visiting that was pretty amazing. When I was growing up, my Mom liked to tell us that she used to date Larry Bird. That's right! My mom dated THE Larry Bird, the pastey hall of famer from the Boston Celtics. I'm pretty sure I even went to school and bragged to some classmates about it. Later as I got older and realized that Indiana and Boston (where Larry played his basketball) were no where near Montana or Utah (where my mom grew up), I figured out some things just weren't adding up. So for probably 20 years of my life, I had assumed that she was just telling a half truth to be funny and that in reality she had dated some cowboy from Montana who had also been named Larry Bird.

Nope! It was all a complete lie! When she said she dated Larry Bird, she did, in fact, mean THE Larry Bird. Except, she never met Larry Bird the basketball player, and she never even knew a Larry Bird growing up. When asked why she had started the lie, she had no real answer for it either. She just thought it was funny!

My dad said it was really fun for him because whenever he would do something wrong, my mom would remind him that Larry had never treated her that way!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

117 Reasons Why I Love My Daughter...Or Rather, the Longest Blog Post You Will Start to Read...

I mentioned on Facebook my #117th reason for loving Tess:

Reason #117 why I love my daughter...she used the word "eczema'd" in a sentence.

"Did you put on socks because your toes are eczema'd?"

and Maribeth said she wanted to hear the other 116, so here they are as they come to my head. I don't know for sure if I haven't repeated something since I wrote this over many days. And it's possible that I haven't counted correctly. But here they are:

1. I love that she thinks she is really fast (as I think most kids do). And I love that she is so oblivious to how slow she really is! One day we were outside playing with some other kids and she was challenged to a race. She ran her little heart out with an intensity in her eyes and a beaming smile on her face...again oblivious to the fact the other kid was walking so that Tess could keep up.

2. I love that she has imaginary friends and calls them her "made-up" friends.

3. I love that her imagination is so wild that we had to ban one of her made-up friends from visiting her anymore because of the things she was suggesting Tess should do.

4. I love she once told me that God visited her in a dream to give her a burrito! She is my daugher.

5. I love that she loves burritos. Or at least that she used to. Her love for them has started to wane. She used to have one with beans and cheese most days. Then she started asking for them without the melted cheese--weird, right?! And now we don't have them as much, but she still does eat them.

6. I love that she says things like: "When I was a little girl..." And then will reminisce about the good ole days.

7. I love that she asks, how old will I be when I'm this tall and holds her hand a few inches above her head. Then moves her hand higher, "And how old will I be when I'm this tall?" And so on.

8. I love how she makes her brother laugh. Family prayer is now 10% praying, 90% telling kids to stop laughing so much. Jaime and I can get the kid to smile and squeal a little. But Tess is the only one that can get a deep belly laugh out of him.

9. I love that she practices sneaking up on people...and needs so, so much more practice at it. She thinks sneaking is just walking really slow around somebody. One time she and I locked eyes and I noticed she was walking slow, so I asked her what she was doing. She whispered, "I'm sneaking up on you." And then I watched her sneak the whole way up to me.

10. I love that she is my daughter, but is so different from me. I don't think she will ever deal with the social anxiety issues or fear of talking on a phone. And as I mentioned in another post, will start a conversation with complete strangers like maintenance workers as if they were old friends.

11. Along those lines, I love how confident she is in public. At the primary program, all of the other sunbeams had the primary leader help them with their line. But Tess made sure to lean over and tell the primary leader before she started her line that she didn't need help. Then confidently said her line.

12. I love how friendly she is. She says hi to everyone. EVERYONE.

13. I love that she loves to dance. And thinks she is trained in all forms of dance from ballet to hip hop.

14. I love that she misprounces things and refuses to accept the real pronunciation. To this day, she refuses to believe that in Peter Pan, they sing: "We're following the leader." She thinks it is: "We're following buh-leader."

15. Similarly, I love that she thinks Adele sings: "Uma has it." Instead of "Rumor has it." That's not to say that Uma doesn't have it.

16. I love that she is so well-behaved. I'm not a patient person and lose my temper with her a lot, but then I look at other people's kids and feel ridiculous about ever scolding Tess. And the best part is when we go out in public and some kids start misbehaving and I look over at Tess who has a face on that basically says, "What is going on with these heathens?!"

17. I love how girly she is. I would be just as happy if she were a tomboy, but she is just so committed to what she loves.

18. I love that she thinks the mascot for the Louisville Cardinals is the same bird from Angry Birds. She thinks I cheer for the Louisville Angry Birds.

19. I love that she doesn't wake up at 6 or 7 or 8 in the morning. Granted she stays up way too late, but she does let us sleep in. Unlike her no good brother.

20. I love her crazy hair that I have no idea how to control.

21. I love that she always wants to check the mail with me. It's our special daddy-daughter time. We always have to decide if we'll walk through the woods or take the paved path where she can walk on the elevated cement like it was a balance beam. The balance beam usually wins out.

22. I love that after we get the mail, she always needs to carry some of it. And she has to pick what she carries. It's usually the junk mail with bright colors and pictures.

23. I love that after we put her to sleep, she will sneak back out of bed to read books.

24. I love watching her eat ice cream and oreos and any dessert. I get her a sundae every time we go to the mall. They're cheap and I don't think you've really seen pure happiness until you've seen Tess eat dessert.

25. I love how good her memory is. She recalls so many things from her short life that it's just mind-boggling.

26. I love that she has a good memory and makes me laugh with some of the things she repeats that Jaime and I say. Like after someone says something interesting saying an over-dramaticized and long "Whaaaaat?!"

27. I love that she has a good memory but has never repeated the things that I have said while driving in traffic.

28. I love that if you ask her what her job is, she will tell you that she has a Hi-yah job. As in like a karate Hi-yah.

29. I love that when she prays for me to get a new job, she doesn't say: "Please bless Daddy with a new job." She says: "We thank you for Daddy to get a new job." She's a very positive child!

30. I love that her favorite restaurant is Moe's. For Christmas last year, her Grammy and Gramps even gave her a Moe's gift certificate.

31. I love that when I play soccer on the xbox, she'll come sit with me and ask which team I am, and then she roots for the other team...or the ref (who she thinks is on a 3rd team).

32. I love that she has really dark eyes and tells us that they allow her to see in the dark. When we drive at night, she will often tell me not to worry because she can see the road fine with her dark eyes.

33. I love that she is smart as can be, but still hasn't figured out how to count to 20. She can't get the teens down.

34. I love that she will just come give me a hug and tell me she loves me out of the blue, and not just when she wants dessert.

35. I love that she is very attached to her baby blanket. And that when I joke with her that I'm going to throw it out, she says that won't be allowed because she has to take it to college with her. As a side note, I had a security blanket that I was very attached to, so I wouldn't ever think of actually throwing out her blanket.

36. I love that she is a chicken. I do wish that she would go down the big slides, but her fear of heights and doing brave things should save us a lot in medical bills.

37. I love that she will often turn down another, tastier beverage for water. That's not to say that she will always do that. But she does like her water.

38. I love how much she loves her uncles. I don't know what she has against women, but she thinks uncles are the greatest.

39. I love that when she plays on my computer, she calls it "Computer School."

40. I love that she is artsy. Or that she loves to draw, color and paint.

41. I love that she thinks she can speak spanish. Or rather she speaks her own version of spanish. That's what she has told us she speaks...her own version of spanish. I think only she and her made-up friends understand it.

42. I love that when she talks about me in the past, she refers to me as: "When you were fat daddy..." It is both a slap in the face and a reminder that I don't weigh as much as I used to!

43. I love that she will often pick up directions to electronics or will read in our "How-to-not-kill-a-baby Books", and then say things like, "It says here that..." And then give some life advice.

44. I love how excited she gets about stickers and doesn't ever let the cashier at Kroger forget to give her those "I've been Krogering" stickers.

45. I love that when we go on roadtrips she will keep herself entertained with DVDs and books or sleep the whole way.

46. I love that she loves He-man. Thank you Netflix. I'm sure Jaime loves this about her too.

47. I love that she already knows who she is going to marry. And says things like, "When Peter and I are married..."

48. I love that she always wants to help around the house. One time I tried to punish her by making her wash the floor, and it really turned into a treat for her.

49. I love that she always wants to cook. anytime we make anything in the kitchen, she's not far behind pushing a chair up to the counter so she can join in. Usually to snitch some cheese.

50. I love that she snitches cheese!

51. I love how forgiving she is. She really is a happy child, and when you offend her, she will immediately forgive you and give you a hug if you apologize.

52. I love her laugh and how much she uses it.

53. I love that she offends her mother by passing gas more than I do. Sometimes it's unbearable what comes out of her, but I love that she understands a good fart joke!

54. I love that she has always made travelling so easy. Unlike her no good brother. She's always slept or entertained herself most of the way on our trips.

55. I love how she sees an adventure, where I see a disaster. Like when our car broke down driving home from Kentucky. I was not happy--mainly because I was stuck in a truck with a stranger for hours while he towed our car. Tess thought it was the best adventure, and a year later asked me when we were going to do it again.

56. I love that she comes to sleep in our bed a lot of the time in the early morning. And then I carry her back to her bed, but she's back in ours after a few minutes.

57. I love her voice. I've always thought she has the cutest voice. When she first started talking, I wished she'd never grow up and keep that same voice.

58. I love how interested she is in our faith. When we visited my sister's ward for Thanksgiving, she asked me: "Do they teach ALL the Lord's commandments here?"

59. I love how fun her super heroes are that she makes up. There is Punch Girl, Punch Boy, Super Hears, Mist, Quiet and Talking Quiet.

60. I love that her stories defy logic. For example, I am Super Hears. And she told me that Quiet is a baby that is older than me. He is 22 years old. She knows I'm 31.

61. I love that she has become obsessed with zombies lately--mainly because she talks about how they aren't from this earth. I'm a little afraid that she its scared of them, but I've tried telling her that they don't exist. Which she tells people, but then explains that they are from another earth.

62. I love that she asks me questions like: "How come you don't go to choir?" It's like living with my parents again!

63. I love that she puts us in awkward situations by repeating some of the lyrics on the radio that we wish her brain wouldn't remember. Like when she would sing: "There's a stranger in my bed." Or "Stripping down to dirty socks."

64. Along those lines, I love that she still mispronounces the letter k--she says it like a t. So that hilarity ensues when she asks if anyone wants to pet her kitty.

65. I love that when we try to correct her pronunciation, we will say things like: "say guh-guh-guh game. And she will respond with: "guh-guh-guh dame." Or "kuh-kuh-kuh titty."

66. I love when she plays by herself. And you can hear her chattering away to her different toys. I like to hide by the door sometimes and watch. When I was a kid, I can remember catching my mom doing the same thing, and I thought she was the worst person in the world for it. Not so much anymore.

67. I love that she tries so hard to keep me from leaving her room at night so she can stay up a little longer. Her best trick is asking for a hug and then putting me in a death hold so that I can't get away.

68. I love how she has an imaginary calendar on her wall and when I ask what song she's like to sing that night, she will often consult her calendar to make a decision.

69. I love that she asks what time it is like she really understands that concept.

70. I love how much she loves birthdays and holidays. So like the day after her birthday she was already asking when her next birthday is. It driving home from Thanksgiving celebrations on Sunday, she asks when Christmas is and had herself convinced it was the next day because it's the next holiday.

71. I love how her alter ego, Punch Girl, had a really sassy personality. And if you ask what Punch Girl looks like, Tess will make an annoyed face.

72. I love that I've caught her a number of times measuring her heighth using toilet paper from the bathroom. She prefers the standard length of a toilet paper square as a form of measurement over feet and inches. And I don't blame her. (As a sidenote--I also really get annoyed that she wastes toilet paper).

73. I love that she used to watch MythBusters with me and knew the names of all of the regulars on the show.

74. I love that we have our shows that we watch together. These are not the edunocational (that's how she says educational) shows that her mom wants her to watch. They include He-man, Phineas and Ferb, Farily Odd Parents, etc.

75. I love that she will play video games with me. She hasn't really figured out how to use a controller yet. But she does alright with the Kinect. I won't admit to having being beaten by her in bowling, but that may have happened once. She loves to play a dancing game--although it usually gets her frustrated. Most recently, she's been playing Kinect Adventures and doing really well.

76. I love that when she dances, some of the moves she uses are the Finishing Moves from our Xbox dance game. And she really likes a move called Head Rush. It's the one move she gets right.

77. I love that she really likes fruit. When Jaime buys pears, she does the normal thing of getting them unripe and waiting for them to ripen a bit. Tess is as impatient as me, so she continually asks if the pears are ready to eat yet.

78. I love that she says the word "mind" instead of "mine". And so we always have to respond with: "Yes, it's yourd." Because that's how we are.

79. I love how excited she gets to do simple tasks with me, like take the trash and recycling down to the compactor. We drive in the car and since it is in the apartment complex, I let her sit in the front seat. She loves that.

80. I love that one time I let her sit in my lap and help steer the wheel--really I just let her have her hands on the wheel, and when we got done, she said: "Well, that was easy."

81. I love the games she invents for us to play. Yesterday she and I played My Little Ponies. We each got 6 ponies and the ponies were in pairs. Each pair of ponies took a turn throwing themselves at the other team to try and knock them all over.

82. I love how good she is about asking to do things before just doing them. There are times when we find her eating a cookie that she didn't ask for. But usually she will ask to be excused from the table or to have dessert or to play a game. Or even to go to the bathroom--that will be good in school, but we've tried to stress that if she needs to go, she should just run to the bathroom!

83. I love how much she likes to play with Legos. It's something we can both share in. More than that, I love the things she creates on her own. Usually she will make cakes out of her Legos to share with the family.

84. I love that she will brush her teeth on her own. She told me a few minutes ago that her teeth were rotted and really needed to be cleaned. So, she went and brushed her teeth on her own. She makes huge messes with the toothpaste, but that's okay with me as long as she's brushing!

85. I love that as we're driving in the car, a voice will often come from the back seat: "Turn that song up!"

86. I really love that she hasn't figured out what the radio is. So when we hear a song riding in our Honda that she heard riding in our Ford, she will say: "This car has this song too!!!"

87. I love that she thinks that Netflix is the internet. There is nothing else on the internet in her mind because Netflix IS the internet.

88. I love that because she gets all of her TV watching from Netflix and DVDs, the first time she really watched some regular TV with commercials she was just furious. Every time a commercial came on, she was convinced someone had changed the channel, and she would yell: "No, I don't want THIS movie!"

89. I love that she thinks the geese down in the pond near our place are her pets. She's even given them very clever names: Goosey and the Boy. The Boy could quite possibly be a girl actually, but in Tessa's mind, her geese are a couple.

90. I love that she has favorite underwear--the Dora ones. Before that, it was the unicorn ones.

91. I love how much she loves to read stories. On her own and with us. Usually that is the punishment for not doing something she's been asked to do--No Stories. It's devastating.

92. I love the stories that she makes up. I plan to turn these into comics like I did one before. This is one she told me one night before bed: "Once upon a time there was Pacha and Sleeping Beauty. They didn't have any kids and they were married and went to see the emperor. He said, "Who is your wife?"

And Pacha said, "Sleeping Beauty."

And the emperor said, "Oh."

Then Sleeping Beauty had too many kids. Too many. And there was a little baby. And it couldn't talk. And then a giant bug came! Ach! And then...there was a witch! And the witch was very bad. And they flushed her down the toilet. The end."

93. I also love that she came up with this story:

Once upon a time there were lots of princesses. There was Sleeping Beauty and Ariel and Rapunzel...and...Flynn Ryder...and Snow White.

And then there were claws and a sorceress. And the princesses went to the sorceress and she got them. And *mumble, *mumble, *mumble [I wasn't able to pick up what she was saying in this part].

And the princes had to come. They found her and the claws scratched them and then they were saved. And they all lived happily ever after.

Oh, and Belle and Cinderella were there too.

94. I love that she can sit through an entire movie. I should be ashamed of myself for letting her watch as much TV as she does, but I feel for parents that have kids with short attention spans and ADD. And even though she watches too much TV, she can and will keep herself entertained with one game for hours.

95. I love that she has favorite songs/music videos. Right now her favorite is "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers. She calls it the Cowboy song because she thinks they are dressed as cowboys in the video.

96. I love that she will stop what she is doing if she hears her favorite songs and will run to another to find the source of the music. At Thanksgiving, my sister Kellie kept experimenting with this. She would wait until Tess would go into another room and then she would turn on a music video on youtube on her phone. And sure enough--usually after like the first 4 notes, Tess would come running in, "The Cowboy Song!"

97. I love that she is the only granddaughter on my side of the family. I'm sure she'd love some girl cousins, but it's fun for her to be the only princess amongst all the stinky boys.

98. I love that she already has a sense of justice. The other day, I needed a place to sit on the couch. Tessa's mom can't stand for junk to be on the floor, but is more than okay with all of that junk being on the couch. Just as long as it's not on the floor. I'm the exact opposite. So, when I went to lay on the couch, there was no room because of all the stuff. So, I threw a minor hissy fit (I was sick too) and threw everything into a huge pile on the floor. Later that day, I wanted to clean up the living room with Tess. So, I asked her to help me with that junk pile. She very quickly reminded me that I had made the mess, and it simply wouldn't be right for her to clean up my mess.

99. I love that she is easy to please most of the time. A quick walk around the apartment complex or a quick trip to the mall usually goes a long way for her.

100. I love that she gets so excited to go to see her grandparents. That's the way it should be.

101. I love that she is such a smart girl and gets smarter every day. Jaime took her to Target the other day to waste her last little bit of money on Ponies. The pony she decided to get cost $9. Tess had $10, and Jaime asked her if she spent the $9, then how much would she have left. And Tess was able to figure out that she would have $1. I was really impressed by that because we haven't really done any sort of math with her up to this point.

102. I love that she loves me now. Apparently she hasn't always. Once I showed her a picture of her and me and Jaime. And she said:"That was when I didn't love you. But I love you now." What a weirdo.

103. I love that when we asked her the other day what Christmas is all about, she didn't say presents. Her Papa will be very proud to know that she said Jesus.

104. I love that she will go a whole day wearing an item of clothing inside out or backwards. And when someone calls her on it, she will adamantly claim they are in the wrong. Then look at her tag and sheepishly change it. If she were completely my daughter, though, she wouldn't switch it.

105. I love that she will tell you she is a real princess because she curtsies. Or other things like that.

106. I love that she is a multi-tasker. She is currently playing Xbox Kinect with most of her body while stuffing her mouth full of preztels with one hand.

107. I love all the little things about her. Like that she finds so much enjoyment from playing with a flashlight. I just wish she would turn them off.

108. I love that one of her most favorite activities is pretending to be characters from the scriptures. And I love that George is usually given the role of being the bad guy. But sometimes she decided to be the bad guy...who has seen the errors of his ways and is now good.

109. I love how much she likes to take photos. I like to just hand her the camera and let her go crazy. And it's been fun to see what pictures she takes with the kid camera that she got for Christmas last year from my parents.

110. I love that she will play with anything. One time I got home from work and she had been playing with all of the cans and jars on our shelves. I don't just mean like organizing them. I mean that she will pretend like they are people and they talk and interact with each other. She does the same some times with her crayons and other objects that you wouldn't expect to be played with in that way.

111. I love that when we play on the Xbox, her character has to be a girl. In Kinect Sports Bowling, it doesn't always let you pick genders when you set up a game for 3 people quickly. So Jaime often has to bowl as a man because there is no way Tess is going to do that.

112. I love that when I say to her, "Aw, come on, man!" She quickly responds with: "I'm not a man."

113. Similarly, I love that she defines herself depending on the situation. If she wants to do something that I don't think she's old enough to do, she will explain to me that she is a "Big girl" and can handle it. But if she wants to do something that I don't think she should do anymore at her age, she suddenly becomes a "Little Girl" again.

It gets really confusing when I want her to do things that I think she is old enough to do, but she doesn't feel the same way. Like go down the big slides. In that case, she becomes a "Little Big Girl." While still being in the big girl classification, she is still too little to go down the slides. Conversely, she is sometimes a "Big Little Girl." There are very subtle differences but they matter!

114. I love that when I'm driving, she will often ask me if I'm going the right way. Even if I haven't given any indication of being lost. Even if we're leaving the apartment complex going the one and only way to exit. And then a few minutes later, she will usually ask again if I'm still going the right way.

115. I love that she has little dimples in her cheeks near her mouth. And after dinner, she will go wash her face and come back excitedly saying: "I cleaned my face and my dimples are back!"

116. I love that every day I love her more and more.

Total cop out on that last one, right?

That's it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


So I was just teasing her about her money and asked, "Since you got that money today, you're paying for dinner, right?"

She says: "No, I'm not. I'm saving my money."


My choice is not to save...

I need to send Tess to live with our friends the Baughs for a little while! Apparently we have instilled in her no sense of saving money whatsoever. She got a card today from my grandparents, and got so excited about it because it was a My Little Pony card and had money.

Earlier, she spent all of her birthday money almost right away on My Little Ponies. So when we got this new card today with some money, she was ecstatic:

"My birthday wish was to have more money to buy more ponies. And it came true!!!"

So then she started harassing us to go to Target immediately to buy more ponies. We suggested that she save her money this time, and of course, this was her response:

"I don't know how to save. My choice is not to save."

Same here, Tess. Same here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


George has been pulling himself up to a stand for a little over a week now. He's crying while I type this. I think because he's stuck and can't figure out how to get back down. Good luck with that, Champ! I'm busy blogging.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sometimes this girl makes me laugh...

She's really into My Little Ponies lately. So here she is with her My Little Ponies watching My Little Ponies. That's all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Lord is in Charge...

Continuing our discussion of renovations...We were homeless today for about 9 hours. So, Tess, George and I went to the mall to pass the time. It's one of Tessa's favorite places, and she has a hard time agreeing to leaving when I say it is time to go.

Today was no different. So, when I informed Tess that it was time to go, she shuffled her feet and then dragged them. Then had to stop and look at all of the products in those stands in mall corridors. I hate that she does that because I think it gets the hopes up of the people working those kiosks. I also hate that she makes me go in the Disney store. We've never bought anything there, but the people basically know us by name.

Anyhow, I was dragging her out of the mall, and we were halfway through Macy's (the last store we had to get through before the parking lot), when Tessa mumbled something. I can't hear her half the time she talks and the other half I don't understand what she says. So, I asked her to repeat herself, and she said more forcefully: "The Lord is in charge!"

So, at first I thought to myself, "Good job Jaime and Josh! You've raised this girl right! She's going to be a woman of faith!"

Then I remembered the context of the whole situation. I had basically told her before we got into Macy's that I was done with the mall and had decided that we weren't going back to the Disney store and it was time to go. So, I'm pretty sure this was her last gasp effort to sway me into not making the horrible decision of leaving. The Lord is in charge and he wanted us to go back to the Disney store!

So, I did what any sensible parent would do in that situation. We knelt down right then and there in front of everyone and asked the Lord what he wanted us to do. I know what I'll be talking about in the next fast and testimony meeting! Squeal!!! I just realized I have no idea how to spell squeel. squeal. skweelz. That's it. skweelz.

Just kidding. I did what any sensible parent would do and told her she was adopted.

Or maybe I just pretended to still be deaf. Whichever one of those situations it was, I think it was a really great bonding experience for us both that she'll remember for a long time.

Chatty Cathy strikes again...

Our apartment complex is doing renovations. And after a while of being here this morning, I heard one of the maintenance workers say to the other: "Ella es muy platicadora."

That translates roughly to: "Sweet mercy that girl just doesn't stop talking does she?" And of course, they were talking about Tess.

The workers were pretty patient with her actually. Especially, considering that after only 10 minutes, Tess had relayed her entire life story to them and all of her hopes and dreams for the future, accosted them over and over again as to what their intentions were in our apartment this morning, showed and explained all of the minute symbolism in each of her birthday cards, recited Shakespeare's Hamlet and that's not even the half of it. She is somehow my child according to Jaime.

I think most parents think to themselves, "I shouldn't leave my daughter alone out there in the living room with those strangers." But my thought this morning was, "I shouldn't leave those strangers alone with my daughter." She really doesn't stop talking.

However, after what our apartment looks like tonight, she might not be so kind to them tomorrow. They've got a lot of explaining to do to her.

Like the damp floor in her room. The lack of ceiling in every room. The dust on EVERYTHING. Well part of that is just because we never dust. But if we're around tomorrow, I suspect those workers are going to get an earful from Tess, who also has no tact. And I don't see myself protecting them from her then. This place is a mess.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last day of threedom

It's Tessa's birthday tomorrow. And for her present she'll be getting a new president! While her father is a soulless socialist who will be voting once again for Barack Obama, Tess told me today that she supports Mitt Romdee. She was also thrilled to learn that he is mormon (I told her he goes to our church), but she doesn't really understand that we won't be seeing him at church on Sunday.

The big news around here is her birthday...elections be damned! Can you believe this was 4 years ago:

She's been planning her 4th birthday for months now. All she wants is cake with sprinkles and a piñata. The piñata being completely separate from the cake. So, tonight, I decided to make the cake for tomorrow--the actual birthday. Jaime will probably do something much more elaborate and time-consuming Friday night/Saturday morning for the party with her friends.

So here is the awesome cake we made. I asked her if she wanted chocolate or vanilla icing. She thought about it a second and said: "Um, maybe I want both of them." So she got both of them. You only turn 4 once! Or as Tess says, YOLO.

I frosted it with part chocolate and part vanilla, which ended up being an homage to her heritage. I also tried to put a T in it, but that got covered up by the SPRINKLES!!! In the end, I think it has come to represent the racial dividing lines in our country. To fix those problems, maybe all we need are SPRINKLES!!! Metaphorical sprinkles that is.

Jaime gave me a hard time for giving Tess 2 kinds of sprinkles to put on the cake. I can understand her concern about it messing up the aesthetics of what was a beautiful half brown, half white cake with an ill-formed T in the middle. But we went for it anyway.

Probably the best part of this birthday event has been Tessa's reaction to turning 4. The party will be rockin! The cake will be Sprinklicious! But when we tell her she won't be 3 anymore, and she will instead be 4, her reaction is basically: "Aw, hell no!" But with much stronger language.

This little girl is adamant that she will not be 4 years old. In earnest she has been asking us what she can do to stay 3 years old. It's her favorite age and her favorite number. Will her friends still like her when she turns 4? It's all made me really excited for her teenage birthdays. I don't think Jaime has ever had a good birthday and she has somehow passed that melancholy off to her daughter. To try and make it worse for her, I introduced her to School House Rock's "3 is a Magic Number" today.

Happy Birthday, Tess, on your last day of threedom.

Oh yeah, Halloween happened. I'll have to do another post about that. But not now. I hate blogging.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Yesterday she went through a few transformations. Started off as this crazy-haired lady:

Then Jaime turned her into this school marm:

But by the end of the day and a cup of chocolate milk, she was back to Crazyville with an homage to Salvador Dali:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

He don't need no stinkin help...

I made him put his hands on his afternoon bottle while I was holding him, and he decided to take over from there. He's progressing pretty quickly. he's really close to crawling. He's close to looking over every time we call his name. And he's close to not spending 60% of his day crying/yelling. One of those things was a complete lie, and it's the only one I wish were true.

I think the flash startled him a bit.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

We're still alive...

Here are the kids enjoying some park time together. They both love the swings and Tess was super excited to push someone:

Here's a video. She decides to do an underdog. She loves those:

Monday, August 20, 2012

I need to be grading papers...

But doing this instead:
Jaime gave me the idea, and I can't make myself be productive when there is photoshopping to be had!

Friday, July 20, 2012

In my next life...

In my next life, I'm going to make sure I don't have any flaws before having kids.

We were having a conversation about skin color with Tess the other night...because racism should start in the home, right? I have her convinced that if white people like me are in the sun for more than 3 seconds, we get sunburned and die. And that's not entirely untrue.

A couple of weeks ago I went swimming with Tess in the evening, only stayed in the shaded part of the pool, and had on sunscreen. But still managed to get a little pink. Same thing happened at 7pm a week later, but that time I deserved it because I didn't put on sunscreen. 7pm! Blarf you, the sun! And my viking heritage! How weirded out would people be if I started swimming in 3-piece suits to cover my skin?

Anyway, so we're working on a social experiment where the white kids in our family are on my team and the brown kids are Jaime's. Or at least that is what Tessa seems to think is going on. She's also convinced that only boys are white and get sunburns since I've told her that her brother can't get in the sun because he has my skin. So back to not having flaws and kids at the same time. The following was part of our discussion of skin color:

Jaime: See daddy has light skin and freckles.

Tess: One time I saw a picture of him when he was fat and he had freckles...I called it eczema.

What does being fat have to do with any of this? I don't get the eczema part either. I think she just wanted to throw in one more of my flaws before she stopped talking.

Monday, July 16, 2012


This us how I entertain myself. A week and a half ago we had George on the bed on his stomach and he started to act like he was going to roll over, and then did. So we tried to record a second attempt:

We only got a cheat on camera. But it's a good video because you can't tell if he's more upset about not rolling or not being able to bite off that one arm. and we didn't count the first roll because he was on a bed with our weight helping gravity. But then Jaime started putting him on his stomach over the next few days and walking away. Then returning to find him on his back. I assumed she was lying and just couldn't remember putting him on his back. But there is evidence now below. He really loves tummy time and having heartless parents. Cries for help:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Postmodern Fairytale by Tess...

I had the following conversation with Tessa yesterday and decided to convert it into a comic. It's not the strangest conversation I've had with her while pretending, but for some reason it made me want to comicize it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


We blessed George in church today and then took family pictures afterwards at our apartment. Look at the mirror behind us. Creepy dad. The creepiest part is my dad wasn't even here this weekend.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow...

I like this guy a lot more when he's asleep.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

No wonder he's always mad...

He has rabies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A smile!

What a difference a day makes. Not so much in his clothing, but his attitude!

These are rare, so I'm glad I got one on camera.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

He does not approve...

This was our afternoon with the baby.

Hi George! You woke up. Can you smile for the camera?

Do you want to play with your big sister?

George, how about a hug?    

Okay. Never mind, grump.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

You probably say that to all the girls...

Tess is obsessed with pretending. One part of me thinks it's awesome that she is so creative and imaginative, but then the other part of me is really tired of having this conversation:

Me: Tess go pick up your toys.

Tess: You mean Peter Pan.

Me: I don't care who you are! Go clean up.

I would describe her as a method actor. She really gets in to the part. Some times it's okay, except that she doesn't do a great job assigning us the characters we want to play. Jaime often is hideous Isma from Emperor's New Groove. And I'm usually stuck as Wendy from Peter Pan. Although that did just lead to this conversation:

Me (I mean Wendy): oh Peter, you're my favorite lost boy.

Tess (I mean Peter Pan): oh wendy, you're my favorite girl.

Me: You probably say that to all the girls.

Tess: Yep. I do say that to all the girls.

The pretending also might be better if it weren't so confusing.

Me: Peter Pan you still haven't picked up your toys.

Tess (to Jaime): Why did he call me that?

Me: Aren't you Peter?

Tess (condescendingly): Oh, Michael. I'm Wendy. We switched.

Me: Please just put this rice crispy treat in your mouth and stop talking.

The mind games have to end!  It's liked playing make believe with someone who suffers from multiple personalities and schizophrenia.

Plus I'm on to her elaborate ruse to keep from ever having to clean up toys.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cute kid...

Too bad he's just not very photogenic :

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

German is offensive to her...and Jesus...

Me (reading a song title): Jesus bleibet meine freude.

Tess: Don't say that to Jesus!


Her protective nature for Jesus should come as no surprise if you read the conversation Jaime posted yesterday on Facebook:

This conversation with Tess was too crazy not to share. Disclaimer: She gets pretty creative with her theology (borderline blasphemous perhaps) and I can't take credit for any of her doctrinal innovations.

Tess: "Do you want to play Lord?"

Me: "Uh...what?"

Tess: "I am the Lord. Jesus is the Lord too. He is my son! And his mother is Mary. She is the Lord too! I am just a little Lord, for kids. We all live waaay up high in the clouds! Except Mary, she lives way even more up higher in the clouds than me."

Me: *speechless*

Tess: "Me and my son Jesus, we...we go to school together."

Me: "Oh really?"

Tess: "Yes. We do. I want everybody to be kind. That's why I comed on Earth to help people. But sometimes I still like to do naughty things."

Me: "Oh no...what naughty things do you like to do?"

Tess: "Oh...just...on Saturdays. On Saturdays I like to naughty things. And Tuesdays."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bubbles are awesome...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

But she does actually like him...

Here she is getting to feed him. She was so excited for this and had to wait hours for the guy to wake up.

Selling him to the gypsies...

Me (after lots of unreasonable crying from the baby): Alright Tess, say goodbye to your brother. We're selling him to the gypsies.

Tess: We are!? Can we keep me and sell George to the gypsies?

Me: Of course. You've proven your worth. How much do you think we'll get for him?

Tess: Maybe 1?

Me: I sure hope we get at least 1.

Tess (heading to the door): Okay. I just need to get my shoes on.

Me (thinking she liked her brother): Well, maybe we should give him one more chance.

Tess: I don't want to give him one more chance.

Me: Why not?

Tess: Cause gypsies need kids too.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This one might get me in trouble...

I do think my kid is pretty cute, but sometimes he just looks too much like the love child of W.C. Fields...

and Mr. Magoo:

That is to say, the cutest little love child of W.C. Fields and Mr. Magoo.

Roaring Ticklish Spider Monster...

Tess: This is a Roaring Ticklish Spider Monster [holds up claw hands]. Do you
         know what a Roaring Ticklish Spider Monster is?
Jaime: No. What?
Tess: It's just Spider-man.
Jaime: Who told you what Spider-man is? Where did you learn about Spider-
Tess: I don't know. I don't know what Spider-man is. I don't think he is a
         monster. I think he is just a super hero. I don't think he saves people. He
         just spiders up all the world.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Playing hospital...

Tess has been playing hospital since we got home from one. But she seems to think you mainly go to the hospital to get your hair fixed. This is how she "fixed" Jaime's hair today at her hospital:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tess meets her brother...

Here are some videos from the last few days. Some are from my camera and some from my mom's phone. So, none of terribly good quality. But they are movies and sometimes people like these. That's it. Just videos. Baby videos are really boring, so at the bottom are a couple of Tess:

A couple of the poor little guy being tortured after entering this world. The theme for these videos is crying:

Here we are at the hospital still. This is Tess, Jaime and the boy. Tess was a little weird around him at first, not knowing what to think:

From my mom's phone. Tess meeting the little one. "Don't cry little baby. I'm here." Talking louder helps calm babies. We also had to explain to her that we don't pat his entire face with our entire hand.

This is when we got him home yesterday:

And finally, Tess wanted me to share a video of her. So, here are a couple of her latest greatness:

Dancing in her princess skirt. It's a denim skirt. She wears it most days. My favorite part is when the songs end, she tries to do finishing moves from Dance Central. And her ballet moves are pretty good.

Stream of conscious singing at first and then singing baby song to George (before he got here)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We have kids...

We finally have kids! Our little boy finally decided to not be a horrible person and was born this morning at 10:56. We had an ultrasound last week and it showed a baby with chunky cheeks. And he came out weighing 8 lbs 7 oz. But really all his weight was in his nose. Jaime keeps getting upset with me for saying it, but he's about 80% nose. 10% arms/legs. 10% poop. He's pooped 5 times already since coming out. But we still think he's cute.

Jaime made it through labor like a champ. She really was absolutely amazing. I can't stress how nervous I was about the natural birth, and I am just amazed at the wife I have. I really do believe she was meant for me. I am so terribly unsympathetic, and yet she is the most pleasant woman I know. So, I don't know why I was so nervous. She didn't seem to know this morning that she was going through labor and was supposed to be grumpy, swearing and monstrous. If I were going through labor, I would view it as a free pass at saying all the worst swear words as many times as I could before it ended. But not Jaime. She just breathed and "meditated" and even cracked a smile after doing some pushing. She's not right in the head. The doctor and nurse actually congratulated us on being the best at birthing they've ever seen. We agreed with them that we are the best.

Enough of that. Here are pictures...

Right after coming out and still with nastiness all over him. I actually watched him come out, cut the cord and saw the placenta. I had vowed not to do any of those things. I really don't know why I did. They'll haunt me forever.

Here he is cleaned up but looking beat up:

And finally after it all, looking content:

I'll put up more pictures and videos later.

We named him George Kells, which hasn't been too popular with a lot of people we've told. But you all didn't get to choose, suckers! AHAHahahahahaaaack! Anyhow, we've done a good job going with family names with our kids. Tess isn't a family name, but Tailua (her middle name) is Jaime's grandma. This is George's name's history/genealogy:

George Kells Alley (2012)
Josh Alley (1981)
George LeGrand Alley (1955)
John Richard Alley (1920)
George Alley (1878)
Stephen Webb Alley (1832)
George Alley (1792)

I highlighted the name George there in case you didn't pick up on the trend. 220 years of George's. We couldn't break the trend! And his Aunt Kellie won this year's NCAA bracket tourney, so giving him her name only seemed fair! Tess was named by her Grammy who won the tournament in 2008.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Roswell Mill...

The little guy and his lovely host are having such a good time together that we still haven't had any indication of his coming to financially cripple us. So, yesterday we went for a walk to try and get gravity to force the parasite out:
It didn't work.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sleep disturbances...

This was written by Jaime a month or more ago, but she never posted it for some reason. Things our daughter will wake up (and then wake us up) for in the middle of the night:

-To get her a drink of water
-To help find her My Little Pony that fell out of the bed
-To take her rubber band out of her hair
-To put her rubber band back in her hair
-To tell us she actually wants to get back in her own bed
-To put her blankets back on her in anal-retentive order
-To help her go pee in the potty (she actually makes it about 50% of the time!)

Things she apparently will NOT wake up for:

-POOP!!! Coming out of her body!!! The heck???

So weird, right? At least she's never been one to smear it on the walls. *shudder* Almighty Heaven please let this next one also not be a smearer.

All quiet on the baby front...

Well this lovely lady was supposed to have a baby today, but she's blowing it so far:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

There is something in there...

The kid is alive. I feel bad because I've become what I didn't want to be...the parent that was super excited about their firstborn and took an insane amount of pictures/videos throughout the whole process and now ignores the second one because blogging is the biggest pain...ever. But, here is a video that shows there is some movement. Fetuses are probably the most stubbornly uncooperative people I've been around, so the video is over 2 minutes long. I think there is a total of 4 seconds of movement in that, so watch it, but skip ahead to like the 35 second mark and then the 1:45. Enjoy those 4 seconds of fetus-moving bliss. Otherwise you'll just be watching Jaime's stomach for 1 minute 54 seconds. I know I could watch that big beautiful belly all day. Awww...I'm such a charmer.

On another note. Everyone within the sound of my digital voice...convince Jaime that she is already the strongest woman you know and she doesn't need to prove that by having a natural childbirth! I fear for our relationship. I am not a compassionate person. As I write this, she keeps coughing from some phlegm she's had stuck in her throat for a week, and it is DRIVING ME CRAZY! Don't worry. She already knows. I've given her plenty of dirty looks.

We went and saw a Doula this week who is a friend of ours. She was asking me what I fear about the labor. She asked if it might be the blood and fluids flying all over the room which would make me pass out (she didn't say it like that at all). But that's not the case. I've seen all that before. I did watch Tess coming out, even though I promised I wouldn't. I wish all I feared was the nastiness. For me, it's seeing the one person I love more than anything going through the most unimaginable pain, and I have to just sit there and watch and say things like: "You're almost there!"..."That was a good push, you can do this!"..."Oh the humanity! It has tentacles!"

I have full confidence in Jaime being able to do a natural birth. I want her to feel that sense of accomplishment. I'm the one that has me worried. I feel like I can handle my own pain pretty well, but not hers. I'm a lot scared about seeing Jaime in that much pain and just being the one she leans on. Plus when I try to console someone, I sound like a condescending little league coach who is coaching as a form of community service: "You can do this slugger! Walk it off!"

I'm really not a good coach or cheering section. When I go to sporting events--even to see my favorite teams--I basically just sit there the entire time and clap now and again. No yelling. No motivational chants. Jaime definitely trumps my favorite teams, but at Tessa's birth, it was the same story. I was just the moron standing next to the bed clapping with an idiotic, horrified glare in his eyes. The only time I get excited and yell seems to be at little league basketball events--thanks for that awesomely embarrassing gene, Dad! So, Jaime, I'll probably be yelling at the doctor a lot more than helping you! It's gonna be such a mess, but I think that's the only way for me to get through it. "What are you blind, Doc! That was a travel!" He/she is going to be confused for the rest of his/her life why this one moron of a father kept calling double dribble on him/her. Anyone else freaked out about this birth? It's only like 7 weeks away people! Get your heads in the game! Anyone know what hospital we're going to? Jaime is keeping it a secret from me for some reason. Treasure hunts and adventures always make for the best births.

Anyhow, it looks like we're going to do a natural birth. Jaime told me a few weeks ago something like: "I'm never gonna climb Mt. Everest. I'm never gonna run a marathon. But this could be my Everest or marathon." I love this lady! So, Jaime, I'll do my best to be the Tenzing Norgay to your Edmund Hillary (or vice versa depending on which culture is telling the story). Awwww...I'm such a charmer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We've been learning Spanish...

Here is our little genius speaking espanich:

Can you believe we have barely taught here any spanish at all? Some of us here (and by that I mean all of us) don't wake up in time to make it to church at 9am. We are always a little late (and by a little, I mean a lot). So, after our regular church, we've been attending the Spanish branch to partake of the sacrament. It's been nice seeing if I can still spanish. But alas I'm not very spanishy.

After church each week, I ask Tess if she knows spanish, and she usually says yes and mumbles something like: "luhluhluh lohl lohl luh." Recently she has started what you saw in the video. If you ask her how to say something in spanish, she'll repeat what you said, but with a scrunched up face while speaking in a lower voice. And that is spanish.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This little charmer...

Tess is starting off the Valentine's charm early this year:

"Dad, I just love you because I thought I was going to get money."

she often strings together words that make sentences but don't mean what she is trying to say. I'm going to assume this is one if those cases. Sorry, Tess, I don't have any money!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wedding Pictures...

Not all of the pictures Jaime took at the wedding were blurry. So, if you care to see them, I uploaded them into a Picasa album:

Click on the picture or the link:Dec 2012--Wedding