Our darling Jessica is growing up way too fast! Luckily for us, though she is mature, responsible, and definitely having fun with the newfound privileges associated with being 12, she has retained so much of her innocent, girly self. I adore that she still enjoys barbies and American girl dolls and playing dress up and make believe. Her childlike nature makes her such a fun sister, and I will often have several sweet girls playing dress up and theater and fun made-up games on Jesi's initiative.
Jessica is very creative. I don't know how many of you know this, but we actually have an 11th child living with us. Her name is "Messy" or "Messy Jesi." We don't see her very often, but every once in awhile she comes out and makes a short appearance, always at completely random times. Messy has an abundance of crazy hairdos and outfits that we all find very humorous. We love having Messy in our family. (:
Jessica was able to go to Girls Camp this summer for the first time. In fact, she turned 12 during the camp! I have never had such a hard time letting one of my children go away. I think I feel extra protective of Jessica precisely because of that innocence I spoke of. She is so special. I was so grateful for a sweet Beehive leader who told me as they were leaving that she was going to especially watch out for Jesi and take extra good care of her. (: As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. The girls in our ward are wonderful and took Jessica right in. I was especially grateful for Cali's friend, Kaytlin, who went the extra mile to make Jesi feel important and loved.
If I thought sending her off to Girls Camp was hard, I was in for a treat (ha!) when just a couple of weeks afterward it was time for Jesi to begin jr. high. I went to back-to-school night with her and found that of her 8 classes, she only had three with friends. Pretty sure I was more upset about that than she was! It about killed me to say goodbye to her that first morning, but she came home happy and content and has done great ever since. One thing that many people don't know about Jessica is that she has Ehler's Danlos Syndrome and another genetic abnormality which affects her in many ways. When Jes was little, she had early intervention services for speech, physical and occupational therapy. When she began school, she was on an IEP. Since then, she has come so far! She works so hard in school and is likely one of the most organized kids there! Her grades are fantastic and we just couldn't be more happy at the way she is succeeding in school. I'm also so proud that she has reached out and made some new friends this year-- I know that can be hard to do!
Jessica Anne, you have our heart! You've had Dad wrapped around your little finger since you were tiny and he is still tightly holding on. We adore your big, bright smile and unique personality. We love the sweet, innocent way your amazing brain works. We smile at the way you have to lay out your next day's outfit (down to the earrings!) and be tucked in before you are able to sleep at night. We appreciate how you are almost always the first one to get your chores done. We think you are gorgeous and smart and driven and talented and courageous and absolutely perfect. We know you have faced hard challenges in your life and we are so proud of the grace with which you handle them. We love you, sweet Jesi!
|Playing one of their creative games|
|Awww! Just came across this. She has always been a Daddy's girl.|
|Not Jesi's best picture but I loved it of my mom, so I had to add it!|
|So much fun camping in a teepee|
|Have you ever tried curling hair with socks? I tie Jesi's hair in Jeremy's socks the night before and this is what it looks like! It's so beautiful and only takes a couple of minutes!!|
|A tea party Jesi made for all the girls|
|Jesi's best friend Rylie moved from Utah a few years ago but they have always stayed in touch. This summer, she came to visit and Jessica had SO much fun with her!|
|First day of jr. high and does the "Mom, PLEASE don't take a picture of me here!" look perfectly.|
|At her 12th birthday party. P.J.'s., pizza, games and the new Cinderella movie with 14 adorable 11 and 12 year-olds. |