Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tessa's Belated Birthday Party

I know what you are thinking...didn't Tessa have her birthday a few weeks ago? And you are right, her birthday was June 5. On the even years, we let the kids have a birthday party with friends and the odd years we have family parties, so this was Tessa's year to have a friend birthday party. But, Tessa really wanted to wait until Divia (her good friend from our neighborhood) got back from India and her grandparents could come. So, we had her birthday party a bit late.

It was kind of unfortunate too in a way because she had a list of 8 kids she wanted to invite, but since school has been out for awhile, she had lost their phone numbers and the girls aren't going to the same school next year--6 out of the 8 kids we didn't have contact information for. But, Tessa being the easy-going child that she is, didn't have a problem with only inviting her two good friends and having her grandparents and family, so that is what we did.

I thought the tree frog cake turned out pretty good. Jesikah was my good helper in making the cake. Tessa couldn't decide between a tree frog cake and a DQ oreo cake on her birthday. In the end, she lucked out and got both. One on her real birthday and one for her party.

Divia, Hannah, and Tessa

They had a lot of fun playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey". Jesikah drew the donkey and made everything for the game. This game was Tessa's one request for a game.

Grandma and Grandpa Ricks and Collette (Eric's step-mom) enjoying a good conversation during the party

We set up the pinata in the storm shelter downstairs because it can't be hurt and it had good bars across the top for hanging. Tessa wanted a littlest pet shop party, but we couldn't find the party stuff at any local stores, so we put some pet shops in the pinata along with candy and prizes.

Pramika (Divia's sister) giving the pinata a whack.

Tessa's turn

Jesikah's "fly" cupcakes to go along with the frog cake.

The party guests

Eric scooping ice cream

Tessa opening her present from Divia and Pramika. She got a really nice art canvas and paint pallette and set. From Hannah, she got an awesome Hello Kitty stuffed kitty which she sleeps with every night. I missed the picture of that...I must have been talking. She also got a nice scrapbook kit from Collette and Grandpa Bass as well as an assortment of fun things from Grandpa and Grandma Ricks.

A Visit from Grandma and Grandpa Ricks

This past week, I haven't gotten much posted because we had my parents come into town for a visit. We were all so excited to have them here for the first time since we moved here last summer. They timed their visit so they could be here for Tessa's baptism.

They arrived on Tuesday, June 23. I had quite the day that day since I accidentally went to the airport twice. I didn't look at their itinerary carefully enough. I quickly scanned it over and looked for the arrival time. Dumb me...I showed up in Nashville at 6:08pm (the time they arrived in Denver). After waiting 45 minutes and trying to figure out where they were, I made some phone calls and realized that 6:08pm was their arrival time in Denver,(where they changed planes) and they weren't arriving in Nashville until around 11pm. So, I went back home, ate, relaxed for a little while and headed back to the airport. Poor Jarem was with me the first time and was so excited to see them. He was pretty disappointed when we had to go back home without them and I didn't let him go the second time because it was so late. Jesikah went with me the second time, and it probably wasn't the best idea since she was very ornery the following day. But, we had no trouble finding them the second time and got back safely.

We tried to take them a few places each day, but didn't want to give them heat stroke or anything. We showed them around Clarksville, went to the riverwalk and saw a free movie. It seemed that we had to find ice cream everyday because it was so hot. The kids kept begging to go swimming, but Grandpa forgot his swimming suit. :)

On Friday, Eric was off work and we were planning to go to Nashville and see the Opryland Hotel and Museum, but the day started off cloudy, so it seemed like it was going to be a cooler day. After much discussion and deliberation, we decided to head to Fort Donelson instead since we'd never been there and heard good things about it.

On our way there, the sun had come out, by the time we got there, it was VERY hot and humid. It turned out to be the 2nd hottest day of the month getting up to 93. (probably not the best day to be outside afterall). Oh well! We checked out the visitor's center and watched a video and then took the driving tour. Everytime we got out to look at something, the kids complained of the heat. I have to admit though, it really was hot.

Just before leaving to Fort Donelson. Alex is in a good spot between Grandma and Grandpa...he was very well behaved. However, those three little munchkins in the back did their share of fighting in the car on the way.

Alex and Jarem next to one of the cannons

Our family next to a cannon in the museum

The kids with Grandma and Grandpa Ricks

A memorial for the confederate soldiers that fought and died here. The confederate soldiers were not allowed to be buried in the National Cemetery because they were fighting against the United States.

Alex, Tessa, and Jesikah inside a little log cabin that was used to house the soldiers while they were building the fort over the winter.

My mom fit in the doorway of the little cabin perfectly.

Grandma and the girls

Some of the water batteries that protected from water invasion

More water batteries on the opposite up on the ledge there

The hotel where the negotiations and surrender was made between General Buckner and General Ulysses S. Grant. Buckner surrendered to Grant which surrender was a key turning point for the Union and instrumental in Grant later becoming the 18th president of the United States.
We had a little quiz on the way home to see what everyone learned and to keep them from fighting. I admit it was better than the way there, but still not perfect. Nonetheless, I think everyone learned something.
On the way back to Clarksville, we stopped at a great southern authentic BBQ place called Rick's BBQ (thanks for the recommendation Loren). The food was great and the chocolate chess pie too. I'd never tasted chess pie before. We also had to stop at the coin shop as well. Eric and my Dad like looking at collector coins. We were going to head out to Nashville that evening with just the adults, but the heat had really worn us out, so we just stayed home.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

I think Eric has had a good Father's Day today. He started out the day with breakfast in bed even though he'd already showered and gotten ready for church.

Jesikah loves to make breakfast in bed for people on special days. Usually Eric or I help her, but last night, she talked to me about it and she really wanted to do it on her own this time. She found a recipe in her Better Homes and Gardens For Kids cookbook (by the way, all the recipes we've tried in there have been excellent...I'd highly recommend it) for french toast and she decided that's what she would do. She was a little nervous, so I told her that she could come and get me at anytime if she needed anything. She got everything ready and set her alarm and did it 100% herself this morning! I didn't even go down. I was SO proud of her...and even more...they turned out PERFECT and were very yummy!! (I think I might start using her recipe). :)

Jesikah and Eric with her gift and breakfast

It looked very appetizing...french toast with bananas and syrup on the side

She also made him a gift. It is a stuffed gator that she made herself out of felt, batting, and hot glue. She knows that Eric loves the Florida Gators, so it's orange on the back for the Gators.

Close-up of the Gator...she was pretty excited about her gift. Alex and Tessa made him cards too. Jarem gave him his card last week. The kids sang some Father's day songs for him at church. I think it was more meaningful to them this time because I practiced with them all week at home so they would know them really well. Even Jarem knew the words and they were so excited to sing it for him.

Father's Day dinner...steak, lobster tail, homemade rice-a-roni and veggies...(Eric was the only one who got the lobster tail but the rest of us had everything else.) We had homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert with chocolate and bananas which ended up a bit soft, but was delicious anyway. (we ran out of ice) Eric said it was the best Father's Day dinner he's had.

Everyone enjoying their dinner.

Eric with Jesikah and Jarem

I'm so thankful today for the good dad that Eric is to our children. He has been there for each of them since the day they were born. He started reading stories to Alex the day after he came home from the hospital. He has loved, cuddled, changed diapers, comforted and helped them every day since. He has built things for them and spent time with them each individually on special outings. He teaches them the gospel and about life. He is a hard worker and he always tries to be a good example to them. He shows them how to treat their mother by always respecting and loving me. He brings a good sense of humor to our home as well. Thank you Eric, for so many things you do for our children. It makes me love you even more when I see tender moments between you and them. I love you...thanks for being a great husband and father.

I'm also thankful for the good dad that I have. He taught me so many things that I use everyday. I appreciate him teaching me the value of hard work. He was a very hard worker and we always knew that we might feel like we had a lot to do, but he was always working harder. I also appreciate the fact that he didn't always make my decisions for me, but quite often let me decide for myself and learn things the hard way. Sometimes, it takes that for me to learn something. :) I know I could be very stubborn at times, so I appreciate him hanging in there.

I feel very blessed today to have a good father and to have a husband who is a good father to our children! I certainly wouldn't be grateful if I didn't thank the Lord for the good men in my life today.

More Nasty Storms

I've blogged a lot about storms since we've lived here, and I guess it's because I'm still just not used to the type of thunderstorms they have around here. We have had a few this past week with the worst one on Wednesday night. I arrived at the church with Tessa for an interview with the bishop during Alex's youth activity when the storm really hit. It's amazing how quickly it comes on. It's like everything is calm and then within a matter of seconds it is blowing and raining like crazy with the lightning and thunder everywhere. Crazy stuff. So we had to hang out at the church until almost 10 when the tornado threats were over. Eric was home with Jesikah and Jarem and the videoed two forming funnel clouds that went over our house.

Jesikah has been wanting to get some good pictures of lightning. I'm not sure how I feel about that. :) Anyway, she got a few pictures of the storm before she had to come in. I'm so glad that we decided to get a basement!

Rain coming down hard!

Trees blowing...several were uprooted across town

Another of the wind and rain

This flash on the side of this photo must have been lightning...I'm wondering how close it was...

Jesikah was excited to finally get one with lightning...she took lots and lots from our front porch

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Simply Marvelous

I've been waiting since my roses grew their first leaves in spring for the purple rose called, "Simply Marvelous" to bloom. It's a purple floribunda rose. Purple roses are some of my favorite, and fairly uncommon. I loved the purple Neptune I had in my old yard, but it only had few blooms since it was a tea rose (one per cane). This one has many more because it's a florabunda. Finally, the past few days, it is blooming and so beautiful! Here's some pictures of the rose in the stages of bloom. It is such a pretty color.

Bud stage

Opening bud

And, fully open

Here's another picture of my hot cocoa rose

And, last, one picture of my blushing knockout rose. I had the red knockout rose at my old house and loved it, but decided to try a different variety this time around. The pink is pretty, although the red was a bit more vibrant.
I hope I'm not boring ya'll with my flower pictures...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Calling

Shortly after we moved to Tennessee (almost a year ago), I got called to be a primary teacher for the 10 year old class at church. I had a very active group of 10-year olds that kept me on my toes, but I did love them (one of which was my daughter, Jesikah)!! It was fun that SHE loved the fact that I was her teacher (kids don't always want their mom as a teacher).

When the new year came and the older group moved up the the 11-year old class, I had an easier time though and just when things were going great, I was asked to be primary pianist. My class had a hard transition at first, and I missed teaching them too. It's only been a couple of months since I've been the pianist and I do love it. It takes next to no preparation and it gives me a chance to just relax and play the piano. I wouldn't have minded doing it for awhile longer but...

Today, I was called as Primary 1st counselor. Although, I would have been very complacent and happy playing the piano, this will be a new experience and more of a challenge for me. I'm very excited about my new calling and I know I'll love it just as much. I'm sure I'll learn and grow a lot through the process. I'll be working under a great president too. I really love working with the Primary and I'm glad that I got to stay in there since that is where 3 of my 4 kids are, and Eric is with Alex in Young Men's.

Tessa's Baptism Date

A few years ago, Jesikah was given a really cute little invitation to one of her friend's baptisms. I put it in a special place so that I could use the idea when my next child got baptized. Well, the time has come. Tessa has decided to be baptized, and will be baptized in two weeks. Amazingly enough (and it really is amazing), I managed to find that little invitation in the first place I looked. I took Tessa out and took lots of pictures of her on Friday for the invite. Well, I'm not that creative on my own, but I'm very good at copying other people's ideas, so this is what I came up with which is a variation on hers. :)

I'm going to have a few of these printed at Sam's Club for her to give out to her friends. She is so excited for her baptism, and it will be fun for her share her baptism with some of her friends.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Roses

Two of my best friends from Washington (Marti and Susan) sent me a surprise in April for my birthday. I got 5 bareroot roses in the mail!! I was thrilled! They both know how much I love flowers and gardening, and they picked colors and varieties that they knew were my favorites including some that I had in my Washington yard. I was thrilled!. So, Eric and I planted them in the spring and since then I've been waiting for them to bloom.

The first one bloomed(Honey Perfume) while I was in Washington so I mostly missed it, but it's going to bloom again soon. However, two of my favorites are blooming now. The hot cocoa rose which I had in my Washington yard and LOVED and the Disneyland rose which was a new one that Marti picked out for me. I wanted them to see the roses blooming that they gave me. They are so beautiful. Thank you Marti and Susan!

Hot cocoa rose bud

Hot cocoa rose still beautiful even completely open...see the smoky edges. That's one of the things I love about this rose.

Disneyland rose close-up cluster. It's such a pretty color with pinks, oranges, and yellows all in one.

Disneyland rose bush...can you believe all those blossoms? It is so pretty right now.

What IS it?

Yesterday when I was cleaning out the car, I found this mysterious congealed substance... On questioning the kids, Tessa finally admitted that she knew what it was, but she DIDN'T make it. She said that Jesikah made it and it was a combination of honey and grape jelly. I guess she must have combined the only two sweet things she could find and figured that would have to do. :) Are my kids really that sugar deprived?
UPDATE: On further investigation and after talking to Jesikah, we found out the complete truth. It was a huge mass of gummy bear vitamins that being in the heat of the car had completely melted together into a huge gummy mass. I guess Jesikah took them on our trip because she wanted to be sure to have her vitamins everyday and must have forgotten about them. I told her she just might have to cut off a piece of the vitamin mass everyday for her vitamins until it's gone. :) I have to admit that I'm very glad that it wasn't the honey and grape jelly, although I think it was a pretty good guess by Tessa since Jesikah would definitely be capable of such a sweet concoction and it really worked with the colors and texture too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Meet B.O.B.

Since we don't have any real pets in our family, our kids have lots of fun with their "stuffed" pets. They especially like their Webkinz pets because they can play with the stuffed version and also log them in online and feel like they can interact with them by creating them a room, feeding them, and playing with them in the virtual reality. The kids each have some, but Jesikah and Tessa enjoy them the most. Jarem enjoys them a lot too, but mostly the stuffed animals.
So, we got a webkinz dinosaur for Tessa for her birthday and it was on a buy one, get one free special. However, the only one available to get free was the hedgehog. I thought he was pretty cute. As we were discussing who should get the free one, Eric spoke up and told the kids that he thought he should get the hedgehog since he doesn't have any pets. Well, the kids reluctantly agreed, so everyone put their heads together to come up with a name for him, and the name Eric settled on was Byron Oscar Burt also know as BOB (his initials). I thought it was a pretty clever name for the cute little guy, so I wanted to share. We'll see who actually gets the web code for Byron Oscar Burt.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tessa turns 8!

Friday, June 5th, was Tessa's birthday. It's so hard to believe that my little girl is 8!

Tessa 3 weeks old

I still remember vividly the day that she was born. We were living in Missouri, Eric was in med school and he had his step 2 boards on June 5 and 6. My mom came into town. I was due June 3rd and I knew I had to have the baby before boards, so I begged the doctor to induce me on June 4th, and she agreed to do it so I wouldn't have the baby during boards. Well, I was induced on the morning of the 4th, but I had a very slow labor and at one point they took me completely off Pitosin because Tessa was in distress at which point my contractions mostly stopped(I was dialated to 7 at the time).

Anyway, poor Eric was up all night with me and 7am rolls around on June 5th and still no baby. He was so anxious, but he knew he couldn't miss boards(they were held in the basement of the hospital), so he calls my mom to come be with me, my mom comes and he heads down. Well, in the meantime, things start happening fast, and it looks like the Tessa is going to be born before 8am. The doctor delivering me (who was also one of Eric's med school teachers) calls down to the location where the boards are being held(boards don't actually begin until 8am but they had to check-in at 7) and says Eric Bass needs to get up here, his baby is going to be born before 8am and he's going to deliver her. So, he comes running up just in time for the last few pushes and the doctor lets him deliver a beautiful baby girl at 7:57am. He cuts the cord and then rushes out to make it for boards at 8am. They waited for him before they started boards. When he announced that he had a baby girl, everyone cheered. I felt lucky that I had both my mom and my husband there for the birth and Eric was so grateful that he ended up seeing her born afterall. He came back during his lunch break to hold her and find out how much she weighed and all.
Tessa 1 month old

The 8 year old birthday girl

Tessa wanted pancakes for breakfast that spelled her name just like Jarem had for his birthday a few months back.

Wow, look at those presents!

She still loves littlest pet shops

While in NY, I bought a couple of American Girl outfits and tucked them away for her birthday. She was surprised.

Jesikah wanted to spend her own money on a gift for Tessa. She bought magnetic earrings for Tessa and a grass skirt for her American Girl doll. Jesikah is helping her put them on. Tessa loved them, but I wouldn't recommend them since one of the magnets is already lost.

Look at Jarem checking out the earrings.

Tessa opening the present from Dad. Eric didn't know that I'd tucked a few little jewelry items in from Claire's along the the Kirby and Super Mario gameboy advance games she wanted. He was a little surprised when she opened it.

Jarem is interested in the jewelry too

Another webkinz! When she first opened it, she thought it was called the bubblegum dinosaur, but it's just called the spotted dinosaur. She named it "Smoothie".

Tessa's American Girl-type doll named "Katie" in her new pajamas and slippers.

Jesikah's American Girl doll ready for bed too

Tessa's 3 new littlest pet shop pets. My favorite was the whale...pretty cool!

Tessa in one of her new birthday outfits! I can't believe how tall she looks.

She wanted an ice cream oreo cake from DQ. YUMMY!

I love how Jesikah and Jarem are unintentionally forming their mouth to blow the candles too.
We went out to dinner at Tessa's choice: Golden Corral. We saved the cake for the next day since we were all SO full. The next day she also got a funny cow card from Alex about making her a pie instead of a cake but inside he gave her some money and wrote a very heartfelt note. Later in the month she is going to have a party when her grandma and grandpa come and she is also looking forward to being baptized on June 27th.

We certainly enjoy Tessa in our family. She is usually always happy and optimistic. She is the one that everyone in our family wants to play with because she likes everything and she is easy-going. We're thankful to have such a sweet and loving peacemaker in our family.