Thursday, May 30, 2013

Riley's First Boyfriend

Today Riley's class had music.  As they walked into class, Riley said "Mom!  I need to tell you something!"  I asked her to wait in line, but she said "I just have to tell you real quick" and walked over to me to whisper.

She whispers in my ear, "I have a boyfriend and his name is Deven."  Considering that Deven was walking behind her in line, I just smiled and said "Oh well, thank you for telling me!"

Riley skipped back to sit next to Deven.  Deven asks her "What did you tell her?"  Riley said "I told her that you were my boyfriend.  It's ok!"  Deven just smiled.

Deven is a very, very sweet kid.  Very quiet.  Very studious.  A great catch... for when she is 25.

During class, they were in the same group and sat next to each other at the computers.  They both just smiled.  As we lined up, Riley and Deven held hands.  I quickly broke that up.  Deven turned to say something to Riley and pushed her hair back off her shoulder.  Oh.  My.  Word.  Ummm.... kindergarten?!

Not quite sure how to handle this as I realize this is a little kid romance and her first 'love.'

When we got home, Riley was explaining to Madi and I that Deven asked her out.  And that she told him she would be his girlfriend if he wouldn't bully Kade.  Deven agreed.  And in Riley's words "So now we are in love!"

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Breakfast Options

Me:  what do you want for breakfast?

Julia:  Candy!  I want candy!

Me:  You have to have breakfast.

Julia:  I could eat candy with my breakfast!  (picks up our popcorn containers) Popcorn!  I like popcorn!!!

Me:  Oh honey.  Popcorn is a snack; not for breakfast.  You could have cereal, eggos, poptarts, toast...

Julia:  I could have these!!!  (holding a small bag of Fritos)

Me:  You're not having chips for breakfast.

Julia:  But I want to!

Me:  Honey, chips aren't breakfast food.

Julia:  Stop it Mommy!

Me:  You can have cereal, poptarts, eggos,... (I pick her up to look in the pantry)

Julia:  Oooooh... I want those!  (points to a big bag of marshmallows)

Me:  Those aren't for breakfast honey.

Julia:  But I want to!!!

Me:  You could have Eggos, poptarts, cereal...

Julia:  I want these (holding Lorna Doone cookies).  You should try some of these, Mommy!

Me:  Oh Jules.  We're not having cookies for breakfast.

Julia:  But I want to!  You should try some of these.

Me:  Here are your choices: eggos, toast, poptarts, cereal...

Julia:  Goldfish are cereal!!!

We finally settled on watching a tv show and waiting until her full hunger hit.  And then she chose poptarts.  Conversation above was within 3-5 minutes tops.  She sure loves her snack foods!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


We all watched an episode of "Good Luck Charlie" together.  When the episode ended, Riley turned to look at Jeremy and said "Dad, can we please, please watch another one?  Please?? With sugar and donuts on top?"

I smiled and looked at Jeremy.

Jeremy said "She said with donuts!"

So they got another episode!

Car Rides

Riley:  (sung to the tune of 'Bingo')  "There is a state that we all know and Texas is its name oh T-E-X-A-S, T-E-X-A-S, T-E-X-A-S, and Texas is its name oh....  there is ... "

Riley continues on with the song while Julia is saying "Wait!  Wait!  I want to sing it!  I want to tell Mom something.  I want to sing it!"

Jeremy is driving and laughing/smiling and I am laughing/smiling and tell Riley to sing one more verse and then Julia can sing a verse.

Riley sings another verse of it and the girls both clap together where the letter T was.  "Ok Jules - your turn"

Jules sings "There is a.... there is a... uh.... there is a (I tell her the word 'state' to keep it going)... there is a state dat we ah know and (random word inserted here) is its name oh
T-R-C-C-N, T-R-C-C-N, T-R-C-C-N and (random word) is its name oh"

Riley:  Jules!  uh  Jules... that doesn't spell anything!  Those letters don't make a word.

Insert Jeremy and I laughing as silently as possible.  Julia had sung this version to me the other day and it is a song that they use at school to spell the word "green."  Thinking that the T's and C's are actually supposed to be G's and E's.

Me:  Riley, just let it go.  Good singing Jules!

Riley:  there is a state that we all know... Julia!  Stop clapping with me.  I want to do it by myself like you did.

Julia:  But my clapping be singing to the song and they go clap clap!  My clapping be singing!

Riley:  Let me do it by myself.

Me:  Would you like it if Riley clapped while you sang the song?

Julia:  Sure!

Me:  Let Riley do it one time by herself and then you can do it by yourself, okay?

Riley:  Ok Julia.  Let me do it once by myself ok.  Don't interrupt me.  (starts singing) There is a state that we all know...

Julia starts to clap

Riley:  Julia!  I said don't interrupt me and you are clapping.  And that is interrupting!

Riley finishes verse one.  Then continues to verse two.  The girls sing it together and clap.  Over and over and over and over.

Jeremy and I are in tears from laughing so hard.  He never even said a word to them because he was laughing so hard the entire time.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Ten years ago this weekend, Jeremy flew from Dallas to Detroit to meet me in person for the first time.  Hard to believe it has been TEN years!!  I remember being extremely nervous because we seemed to relate to one another and really liked each other.  A lot.  Though email and online chats helped with that.

Mark and Darlene Jebson had moved from MI to TX.  Their first weekend at Dallas First Assembly of God Church, they saw Jeremy and met his family.  Darlene called me to tell me "Jess, we just met your future husband!"  I, of course, laughed it off figuring that since I was 26, people were just trying to set me up.  They told Jeremy that they knew his future wife and that he had to email me!  It took a few months and lots of prompting, but finally he wrote.  His first email was one of the best moments of my life.  I loved that he organized it by subject with headings like "My family," "My job" and "What I like to do."

I showed the email to my mom and dad.  Then wrote back a very similar email with headings and such and information about me that he would want to know if we were to ever become friends.  Or more.  Then started a few months of chats, online dates (where we'd make our own dinners in our houses and then eat them while writing each other back and forth).  Had we met now, we could actually have done FaceTime.  Funny to think we had never seen each other in person, never heard each other's voices or had contact with anyone who knew us except Mark and Darlene.

I remember Jeremy's dad writing a few times and writing him back.

One of our friends had told us that there was no way that we couldn't talk on the phone.  Being the people we are, we took the bet and made it for several months without talking on the phone.  Having only seen pictures that were mailed and having internet talks and checking with Mark and Darlene to find out more information and validate if he/she was really who they said they were, the time came to meet.

Jeremy flew into Dallas.  I remember that we were fairly, if not completely sure, we'd found 'The One.'  We talked about what we would do when we met.  Could we hold hands?  Was it ok to hug?  What we would be wearing so we'd know who the other person was.  Should we kiss?  No, that was too intimate for our first time meeting.  Hugging would be ok.

I remember seeing him in the airport that first time and thinking "Yup, I could totally marry him."  We were both soooo extremely nervous.  Holding hands felt really strange.  Being next to him felt really weird.  We knew so much about each other and yet, there was so much distance because we hadn't had a 'normal' relationship to build off of.

Jeremy tried to make it through dinner with my family.  And having loads of onions in the meal didn't help.  His least favorite food and first dinner with people he didn't even know.  No pressure!!

He asked my dad's permission to marry me at the end of the weekend.  I flew to Dallas in June and after only seven days of having seen each other in person, we were engaged in front of all of Dallas First Assembly!  I found an apartment in Dallas, got a job in Richardson and chose to move to TX in August after going on a missions trip to Thailand.  Had never been to Dallas before and was now going to live there.  HUGE change!!

After moving down, starting a totally new life and leaving all of my family and friends behind, we were married in December of 2003.  It was a really difficult transition.  But I'm so glad I did it and I'm glad he married me!!!  Mark and Darlene stayed in Dallas for only a year.  Just long enough to introduce us.  Then left in October of 2003 just two months after I moved.  God had a plan.  What a change this weekend made in both of our lives ten years ago!


Riley will often come and whisper things into our ears at dinner.  Julia will watch and then walk around to one of us and mouth something while not saying a word.  She'll nod her head and make extremely soft sounds and then walk away.  Love her little whispers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

First Swim of the Summer

This past weekend we were able to go swimming at my parents' pool.  Soo cold!!!!  My dad got in, Riley got in, Julia got in, and I got in.  Jeremy and my mom got it all on tape/camera.  It felt much better after being in for several minutes, but brrrr... it was cold!

Riley is swimming without any water wings or anything.  She's loving swimming from the steps to the ledge and back.  She likes to challenge herself to swim to certain things in the pool and one of us has to be near her at all times.  Though she doesn't really want us to touch her or help her.

Julia is a little fish!!!!  Her smile was enormous the entire time.  This is really the first year we've been able to let her swim 'on her own' with water wings and a tube around her waist.  When she got the tube on and we set her in the water and let go of her hands, she got the largest smile on her face and was SO thrilled!!  She kept paddling her arms and saying "I swimming all by myself!"  She was extremely proud!  It was adorable!

At one point, Riley was swimming to catch onto me and Julia was standing on the ledge.  As Riley came to me, Julia just decided to jump into the water.  She went under the water and right back up.  The look on her face was priceless afterwards.  We will have to keep our eyes on her for sure!!!  She has no fear and absolutely loves the water!!

It was priceless getting to watch her in the water!

Gymnastics Intensive Class

Riley has had two weeks of two hour Saturday classes.  Her coach is impressed so far and told us that after this one finishes, she will have another six week course that she'd like Riley to do.  And after that class, she feels that by the end of summer, she'll be ready to be evaluated and should be ready for the Team!  Riley is excited about this and it's been amazing to watch her progress.  She is building upper body strength and doing things I wouldn't have thought she'd be able to do after only four weeks of gymnastics!  She works so incredibly hard and loves it at the same time.

Asking Jesus Into Her Heart

Tonight was a very tender and sweet time.  Jeremy was reading with Julia and I was reading with Riley.  We finished reading a few Disney stories and then opened the Bible.  Every night we read a story from the Bible and talk about it.  She really likes the comic strip Bible on Jeremy's iPad and they read that each night.  I like to read the Jesus Storybook Bible and we were reading from that tonight.  Riley chose the story of John writing Revelations.

Before we started to read, we got to talking about Heaven and how what the Bible says is true.  It's not made up.  Riley said "It's real!"  And we talked shortly about Jesus.  Riley said that she loves Jesus.  So I asked her if she wanted to follow Him and if she wanted Him to be her God.  She said that she did and that she wanted to do what God tells her to do and to live like God wants her to live.  She said something about how she wanted to be just like Jesus.  So I talked with her about what it means when you ask Jesus to live in your heart and to be your God.  I told her that it means that you do your best to follow Him and to live like He showed us to live.  And it means that you trust Him and live by faith.  Which means you don't always see Him.  I asked if she could see Him now.

She smiled and said "No. Wait Mom!  I do see Jesus in this room!"

I said "Where is He? Look and show me where He is."

She pointed at her heart and looked down and said "He is in my heart, Mom!"

I asked her if she truly wanted to follow Him and live like Jesus.  She said "Yes."  So I prayed and she repeated the words after me.  As we were praying, Jeremy and Julia walked in.  Jeremy recognized what we were doing (of course) and said "ahhhhhh...."  We had actually thought that she was going to pray this several nights ago, but when Jeremy and Julia came in so that all of us could be a part of it, everything went crazy and Julia was hard to contain and the right moment passed by.  So we went with it knowing it would be the right time when Riley initiated it and was ready.

After we prayed, Riley said "Mom, I want to go to heaven right now!!  But I also don't want to go to heaven right now.  There are two things.  One is that if I go to heaven, I could see Jesus right now!  But you see, the other thing is that I really want to stay here and be with my Mom and Dad."  As she said this, she got extremely teary eyed and then lay her head on my shoulder.

I told her that I understood and that one day Jesus would come back.  Riley then said "Oooohhh!!!  I want to be here and see Him come back to Earth!"  I told her I did too, but that if we had already died on earth, that God would raise our bodies up to live with Him.  That we would get to live with Him forever no matter how it all happens.  And that one day, she would be with us in heaven and we'd all be together there.  She laughed her uncomfortable/nervous/happy laugh and hugged me.

I am so very thankful for such a tender-hearted and amazing little girl!  I can't wait to see what God does in her life!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

La Lobe

The one present that Riley asked for was to get her ears pierced.  Jeremy and I looked into quite a few sites to figure out the best way to do it.  Lots of people go to the mall and pay $10 at Claire's to have it done.  Have read a ton of bad reviews about doing this as well as reasons why it is not the way to have it done.  So that was a definite no.

Tattoo parlors are inspected by the Health Department and are a 'clean' place to go, but who knows what the environment would be like so another no.

Jeremy's coworker recommended a place at Preston Center and it was also on tons of Google Searches.  La Lobe.  The lady that works there has been around since 1966 and has owned the place since 1988.  She has the reddest dyed hair ever and is very particular.  Perfect!!

I called this morning on my way home from my haircut and they actually had openings so we jumped at the chance to do it!  Having never had my ears pierced either, I had talked with Riley and told her that I would have mine pierced when she got hers done.  Julia was exhausted so Jeremy stayed home with her so she could nap.  We went down to Preston Center in Dallas to have it done and were home before she woke up!

We prepped Riley by talking to her about what they would do and that it would hurt a little. She was okay with that.

When we got to "La Lobe," they showed us the cabinet of earrings that you choose from for your first set.  Riley knew immediately which earrings she wanted.  Never wavered.  Love that!!  The only question she had was what the difference between two of the earrings were.  The answer was that one set was larger.  She went with the smaller set.  I went with the same set, but mine was white gold while hers is yellow gold.  Both have diamonds in the center.

They asked who wanted to go first and Riley immediately said she wanted to go!  They marked her ears with a blue marker.  Checked it several ways to make sure they were both even.  Then they had her sit on my lap and I helped hold her head and held her.  They sprayed some numbing spray on her finger, but she didn't like it so they did it without it the first ear.  Riley said a few times "Oh - it hurts!  It hurts a little!"  Then they got it in and she was all good.  No tears!

She turned around and this time they did the numbing spray and she didn't even wince!  She kept looking in the mirror and turning her head.

Then it was my turn and they used the numbing spray on both my ears.  Hardly a prick and they are done!

I told Riley that the earrings make her look so much older.  She replied that my earrings make me look older too!

After we got finished, we decided to stop by the American Girl Doll Store to do some window shopping and just look around at the new items.  We spent some time just wandering around and didn't buy anything, but it was definitely really fun time with her.

Happy Birthday again Riley!!!

Julia Sleepover

My parents had Julia spend the night with them last night!  She couldn't wait!  We got all of her things together in her backpack and took them to school.  She kept telling me that she was going to tell her teacher Ms. Christian that her Grandma and Grandpa would be picking her up.

In the morning, I noticed that my mom was on Facebook very early in the morning.  So I wrote her a text asking if she got any sleep.  She replied "Sleep at a sleepover?  Silly girl!"  I knew that she had hardly gotten any!!  Turns out that Julia and Grandma slept in the playroom upstairs on the daybed and trundle.  Only Julia wanted to sleep in the same bed, but then she moves around constantly and you can't sleep.  Have had this happen many times.

Grandma would move down, Julia would follow.  Grandma would move up, Julia would follow.  All night they moved beds back and forth.  Julia fell asleep after 9pm and then woke up around 5:15am!!  Brutal!!!

Thankfully she is such an amazingly sweet girl.  Especially in the mornings.  She had a great time with them and was happy all morning until they met Jeremy at Sky High.  She was so very sad to have to leave them and was also sad that she didn't get to do gymnastics too.

She had a three hour nap this afternoon and we woke her up at 5pm.  Had a fun afternoon and I just finished putting her down to sleep tonight.  She kept playing with her friends:  "This one is Victor.  This one is Eddie.  He a great guy.  This one is Skjkojfsk.  Say that Mommy.  Skjkojfsk.  Good job!  This one is boy-e-boy.  And this one is girlie girl!"

She then laid all her friends face down to show that they are sleeping.  She climbed up in the top bed next to me and finally put her head down after much prodding and is now fast asleep.

Gymnastic Saturdays

This morning Riley had her first two hour class.  She got ready fast and did such a great job.  I thought she'd be tired, but she had no problem keeping up for two hours and worked extremely hard!

Then she came home and continued to practice what she had learned.  Jeremy's now all into it as well.  He said "If they are going to do this, then they might as well be great at it!"  My thinking too!  As long as she is loving it, then by all means, we'll encourage it.

She's building some good upper body strength and with as hard as she works, she'll be able to do a cartwheel and handstand in no time!

Pajamarama 2013

Riley and I were able to do a mom/daughter event at church last night.  We drove to the Mckinney campus.  Was awesome to see the new church plant and to have such an awesome event.  We met up with some friends and had a blast.

The theme this year was "Circus."  There were carnival games, face painting, craft, hairdos, balloons, worship time and skits as well as a short devotional.

Riley was excited because she had seen Madi and I go last year, but she was too young.  We had a 40 minute drive in the car together while we sang lots of worship songs together - Plumb, Natalie Grant, Hillsong.  We sang our hearts out and I kept looking back at her so thankful to be her mom.

My favorite time with her was during the worship.  She knew all the songs since they do them at kids church and she did all the moves.  I did them with her and learned as I went along.  She told me that it is her favorite part of church every week.

I let her decide where we went.  We spent quite a bit of time at the games.  Got some bags of candy from the candy buffet.  She had some cotton candy.  We made a craft and got our pictures done in the photo booths.  Just crazy fun!!

It was a very late night and we finally crashed after 11pm.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


This morning Riley and I went to help an organization called Numana.  The name is taken from when God provided the Israelites with 'new manna' every day.  The organization brings food to the poor all over the world.  Our shipments of food will be going to the country of Malawi to feed children at an orphanage there.  We packaged 125,000 meals in just a few hours.

Riley and I helped out at Station One today.  Our job was to make sure the food was sealed correctly and flatten out the bags.  Then help load them into boxes when we had 36 bags ready.

Riley wrote sweet messages on the boxes and drew cute pictures.  She worked very hard to flatten the bags and was smiling the whole time.  Not one complaint!  The people working with us commented how well behaved she was and how helpful and sweet they found her to be.

Riley grew tired after an hour or so of helping and we had a bag of things ready just in case.  She had a snack and then read her reading books for school.  Then played on her iPod for a short time.

Whenever we reached a goal, the Numana Leader would announce from the pulpit how many meals we had packaged and then someone would use a large mallet to strike a gong.  At first, Riley didn't want to hit the gong, but later she changed her mind.  He had announced that any kid wanting to hit the gong just needed to tell him and he'd have them come up.

So when we got to 70,000 meals packaged, Riley went on stage holding the large mallet.  She was smiling and a little nervous.  He asked her name and she said it into the microphone.  Then he asked how old she was and she said that today was her birthday.  (It was actually two days ago, but trying to tell him that over all the noise and music and everything would have been difficult.)  He asked me if it was true and I just shook my head. She then had a very large "Happy Birthday Song" from the entire 600 workers in the sanctuary!!  Riley then rang the gong when we followed it by saying we had packaged 70,000 meals.  She rang it so soft that he had her bang it harder which she did.  She loved it!!

Later I told her that she got to play a percussion instrument.  We've been talking about those in class.  That made her very happy!

We finished packing the boxes and after three hours, went to pick up her birthday cake and head home for lunch.

Sixth Birthday Party

Riley talked about wanting a birthday party at a gymnastics place since going to a party for her friend last year at one.  So we planned a party at Sky High where she is now taking gymnastics lessons.  She was able to invite her entire class as you can have 20 kids and two instructors.  We had three instructors just in case some siblings wanted to participate.  The kids had a blast!!

They had an hour of free play on the equipment.  Quite a bit of time was spent on the trampolines, foam pit and zipline.  They either swung across on the rope into the foam pit or jumped in.  The girls loved it!!!

Many of the kids jumped and ran all along the trampolines.  It was great!!

Then we had time in the eating room where we had tables set out.  They kids had either water or 7up and nothing bundt cake.  We ordered a chocolate-chocolate chip cake and a white on white cake.  Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Riley.  She had such a blast!!!

When we got home, she was able to open her presents.  Wow - was she ever blessed!!  Everyone was so creative in their gifts and they were all so perfect for her.  Lots of things to paint, color, draw, write and create.  Lots of new things to do.  Her favorite gift was a dog that a friend gave her (the friend's mom helps out at shelters so it totally made sense!).  Many of the parents help out in Riley's class and know her well.  Sure showed in the gifts as they were all incredibly thoughtful!

Riley opened some Barbies that were given to her from her friend Johnny.  She said "He even got me girlie things even though he is a boy!"  She was very excited about that!

It was a fantastic day and it is such a blessing to watch her and her friends have so much fun together.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reading With Bunnies

Mrs. E gave her class the final DRA tests this week.  The DRA is a reading assessment and students are given a reading level assigned to them to help them be able to see where they are.

She asks a series of questions to the students and they answer her.  So she read the following question to Riley:

"Would you rather read by yourself, with a buddy or in a group?"

Riley's eyes got really huge and she got all excited and said:

"With a bunny!!!!"

Mrs. E then had to explain that she meant 'buddy'/a friend.  Riley said "Oh" and I'm not sure what she actually answered after that.  But I know that if she ever has the chance, she'd love to read with a bunny!

Spring Sing

Julia performed on Thursday Night with her Montessori class.  They were adorable!  Cracked me up that they sang "Good Morning Sunshine" from the musical Hair.  They also performed "What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love."  It was so cute.

Julia and her friends had matching visors that had glitter on them that spelled "Love" and a picture of the world with a big red glitter heart on it.

Julia sang almost all of the words, but only pretended to play guitar and did maybe one other motion.  The rest of the time she was looking around.  It was cute when she lit up because she found where Riley was.  Loved seeing her smile when that happened.

She was with her classmates who are ages 3-5 and she is one of the tiniest ones up there.  She looks so little and yet I can't believe how big she is getting.  So proud of our little one!

Riley Turns Six!

Riley is now six!!  She came downstairs to find Buddy the Elf in his favorite spot where he first appears any time that he comes to our home.  Buddy had a present next to him and a note from Santa Clause.  It said that Santa couldn't make it to her birthday so he sent Buddy along with a gift that he knew she'd like.  Riley opened her package to find some zoobles!  She was very very excited about it!  Started her birthday off great!!!

We picked up donuts to bring to her class and then went to school.  Coach sang "Happy Birthday" in the tough guy style (whatever that means?!)  but Riley was so very excited to have Coach so that he could sing it to her.  Her class sang "Happy Birthday" as well and she loved every moment of her day.

After school I had two piano students and then Julia had her performance at school.  My parents stopped by to give Riley their birthday gift.  She was looking forward to it all day long.  My parents came in with an oversized card.  It said:

What is better than a gymnastics class?
_ Cleaning your room
_ Kissing your sister
_ Taking a shower

Riley looked at them a little puzzled and said "Um.  Taking a shower."
They asked her "Taking a shower?!"  She just said "Well, ... no."

The card was turned over and it said "Taking more gymnastics classes!  Riley looked confused for a moment, crossed her arms and then laid down to cry on the couch.  She was so very disappointed because she had really been hoping for a toy or something tangible.

We explained that her gymnastics coach had talked to me during her last lesson and invited her to be part of the Saturday gymnastics lessons.  I then found out that the lessons are by invitation only and are pre-team classes.  It was definitely a huge honor for her to be invited to do it.  Riley warmed up to the idea and started to get more excited.  She'll be more excited when the lessons actually start.

Jeremy and I also told her what we were giving her for her birthday.  She has been wanting her ears pierced so we are doing that.  Another gift that will wait until another day.  Riley smiled huge about it and got very excited.  We also explained that at her party on Saturday, she'd have lots of friends and lots of presents from them so we all tried to get her things that were different than toys, dolls, etc...

She was excited and all ended up great!