Cherry Blossoms

We checked the kids out of school a little early on Wednesday afternoon so we could go see the incredible cherry blossoms in D.C. What an amazing sight!


Conversations with the Peanut Gallery

Jacob has been busy learning his letters and sounding out words.  Doug asked him what sound "T" makes.  Jacob replied, "t...t...t....".  Doug said, "If "oo" says "ooh", then what does T-O-O spell?"  Jacob thought about it for a second and said, "Chainsaw."  A few days later Anna asked him if he knew what P-A-R-K spelled.  He said, "Yes, it means I love you."

Out of the blue Jacob said, "He's a pooper party.  That means he's someone who doesn't like parties."

I'm on day 3 of a 10-day detox.  The idea is to cut out all processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, meat, dairy, gluten....you get the idea.  The only way for me to do this was to bring the family along.  Anna is not pleased.  On the first night we had bean-pebbled paella and a spinach salad.  When Anna came in from school and saw me at the stove she said, "Mommy, what is that?"  I told her and she immediately said, "Is there meat in it?"  When I said no, I thought she was going to have a conniption, and in an almost screaming voice, she yelled, "We're NOT going vegetarian, are we??!!!"  On the second night, we had Baja-style veggie fajitas with a tropical kale salad.  Lauren originally decided she was going to boycott dinner like she had breakfast that morning.  Once she tried the meal she liked it.  Jacob loved it all and drank the smoothies, ate his bowl and Lauren's bowl of fruit and cream, and at dinner said, "Daddy, this is the best food you've ever made."  I said, "Why, thank you, buddy."  He said, "I talking to Da-da."  Anna told him that I had made the food, and he said, "Oh, then I talking to you, Mommy."  The night before, there was a treat after dinner that Jake wanted.  When he asked if he had eaten enough to get a treat, I told him to eat a few more bites.  In a very indignant voice, he said, "But I already ate ALL of my leaves!!" Leaves=spinach

Our all time favorite musical is "Les Miserables".  Doug and I saw it in London on one of our first official dates and have loved it ever since.  We've seen it multiple times and often have the music playing, which means the kids have learned some of the words to the songs.  The other day in the car, Jacob started to sing, "Look down, look down, you'll always be a string..."  He was kind of close!

The kids and I have been learning the periodic table of the elements song.  Anna and I are up to "Zirconium" and are working on the next section.  Just by listening to the video and to us singing the words Jacob has picked up quite a bit of the song.  There are, however, parts that he is still a little unsure of, and so in those sections he just fills in as necessary.  My favorite line of his so far is, "Magnesium, aluminum, and leprechauns."

Lauren made up a new joke after learning part of the song. 
What is a pirate's favorite element?

Sometimes if Jacob is disturbed during a nap when we're travelling in the car, he gets very upset.  Anna used to do the same thing when she was little.  It's almost as if they can't wake up fully.  Their eyes are closed and they're screaming, and there isn't much you can do to soothe them.  They just have to work it out on their own.  It's a strange thing and I dread those times when it happens.  A few months ago, Jacob had an episode when we were a few miles from home.  By the time, we arrived at the house, he was in quite a state.  Doug unstrapped him and tried to carry him inside.  He was kicking and screaming the whole time.  When Doug set him down, Jacob came tearing out of the house, still upset and screaming and went running out of the garage toward the grass.  It had snowed a few days prior and the ground was still wet and muddy.  As he stormed out of the garage, Anna said, "Release the baby!"  Now, if you've seen the movie "The Croods", you can appreciate how perfect this line was at that moment.  We all burst into laughter, which was a great release because as you can imagine these episodes are stressful for everyone.  I went out after Jacob and found him laying face down in the mud.  I picked him up, brought him inside, and cleaned him off.  He let me hold him and cuddle him, and when I finally got him to talk about what was wrong, it was something crazy from a dream he had had.

Anna bought a knock-off Origami Owl necklace and put two birthstones inside.  It led the Peanut Gallery to discuss birthstones and the Zodiac.  This was the part of the conversation I heard:
Jacob:  Poop!  I don't want to be a Capricorn.
Lauren:  It says my birthstone is a garnet.  That sounds like Garrett.  I don't like that name.
Anna:  One place I looked said I'm an emerald.  The other place said I'm an aquamarine.  I don't care what anyone says because I am an emerald.
Lauren:  But if you're an aquamarine, that means you'll marry Aquaman.
Anna:  I don't want to marry Aquaman.
Lauren:  Well, at least you would be related to him.  Guess what!  It says I rule Saturn.
Me:  You don't rule Saturn, it says you're ruled by Saturn.
Lauren:  What!!??!  Well, that's just stupid.

Another conversation in the truck:
Jacob singing:  I love my family.  I love them all.  I love my Mommy, Daddy, sisters, and Deucie, and my grandparents.  (The song went on a long, long, long time but was lovely and wonderful.)
Upon finishing, he asked, "Mommy, what's my number?"  "10!" I replied.  He was indignant because when he gives numbers, it's "28-10, 2 billion, 51 thousand".  So, I said, "You were amazing.  28-10, 15 billion trillion, 85 million, gazillion, infinity, wahoo-much!"  Anna said, "Wahoo-much??  What is that?"  "A lot." I replied.  Lauren said, "It sounds like an Indian name."  I laughed and agreed with her.  Doug spoke up and said, "It sounds like it's the brother of Bigfoot from the great rainforests of the Northwest.  You know...Wahoo-Much, brother of the Sasquatch."

Jacob says boys are better than girls because God made it so boys can chomp with their top teeth but girls can only chomp with their bottom teeth.  In addition to this nugget of wisdom, he also imparted that he has a ghost friend named Ping.  Unfortunately Ping can't talk to me because he has a mouth full of cherries.  Only Jacob can understand him.  Also, parts of our brains are yellow.  I love our conversations.

Jacob got a bubble machine at Wal-Mart today and we had fun blowing bubbles and then taking pictures of ourselves in them.  Check out the rest of our "bubble shots".


I'm a soccer monster!

I guess we've watched too many "Backyardigans" episodes over the years, because I can't hear the word soccer without singing, "I'm a soccer monster, I love a soccer ball!  I would rather play soccer than do anything at all. Soccer!  Yeah, 1,2,3,4.  Soccer!  Put the ball on the floor!"  I can't help it.  The "Backyardigans" are just addictive like that.  All of their songs are so catchy. 

All three of the kids are now involved in extracurricular activities. Lauren is playing lacrosse and is a member of her school's Green Team. Anna is going to be Belle in "Beauty and the Beast, Jr.", and is also a part of MESA. Now, little Jakie has joined the fray. He had his very first soccer practice last week and will have his first two games this coming weekend. We're all very excited.

 There are 6 boys on his team.
 He seems so fast to us at home, so we're anxious to see what he can do on the field.
 In the line-up waiting for his turn to kick, he was more interested in kicking the other kids' balls away than in paying attention and learning from the guy that was kicking.
 Check out that expression.  I would just let him keep the ball.  If I were on the other team, I would just step aside.

 I feel like he should be screaming a battle cry or yelling "hi-ya!!"

 His soon to be famous jumping side-kick.

I can't wait for the first game.  It should be a ton of fun!

gif maker at gickr.com


So, in other news...

Lauren is playing lacrosse for the very first time. We're all totally new to this sport but are having a great time with it. Lauren played her second game ever today and scored her first goal. Here are some shots from the games she's played so far.  She's #17 in the aqua jersey.

To see more pictures, click "Read More."

Oh, Say Can You See...

Anna was asked to sing the National Anthem at her school's basketball game between the teachers and the students.  We were so honored and so proud.  We think she did an amazing job.

The Big Apple

 This year Doug and I will be celebrating our 15-year anniversary.  Since we're within driving distance of New York, we decided we would spend a weekend there in honor of our decade and a half of marriage.  Doug and I have both traveled quite a bit over the years but I had never been to New York.  I was there once almost 6 years ago, but only long enough to get off the plane and take a car to Long Island for my brother's wedding.  Doug was there when he was 5 years old and remembers visiting the Statue of Liberty.  When we looked at hotel prices on our anniversary, they were a bit exorbitant.  Instead we decided to stay where we wanted in Manhattan but do it in February instead and save a little money at the same time.  My mom flew out to stay with the peanut gallery and we drove out on a Friday.  First stop was Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  Somehow we managed to do this on the coldest day New York has experienced since 1840.  Brrr!

It was especially cold on the ferry going to Ellis Island.  I was pretty sure I had frostbite on both hands after taking the picture below.  That's One World Trade Center in the skyline across the river.
 A view of Ellis Island from the ferry.
There were so many amazing stories of the people who arrived here, the decisions they made to leave their homelands, the travel conditions, and  the excitement and fear of arriving in a new country.
 I loved the ceiling of the Great Hall.  Here immigrant families were made to wait for "processing".
There was an area called "the kissing post" where the immigrants were finally reunited with waiting friends and family.  In reference to this spot, there was an interesting quote from an Ellis Island matron in 1910.  She said, "The manner in which the people of different nationalities greet each other after a separation of years is one of the interesting studies at the Island.  The Italian kisses his little children but scarcely speaks  to his wife, never embraces or kisses her in public.  The Hungarian and Slavic people put their arms around one another and weep.  The Jew of all countries kisses his wife and children as though he had all the kisses in the world, and intended to use them all up quick."

 Next stop was the lady herself.  We tried to buy tickets ahead of time to go into the pedestal and the crown.  We got tickets for the pedestal, but the crown was sold out.  I noticed that there were no tickets available until April.  We thought there must have been some mistake, but once we arrived we asked and were told that the crown usually sells out three months in advance.  Good to know for our next visit!
To see the pictures from the rest of our trip, please select "Read More" below.


Conversations with the Peanut Gallery


Kids are so funny. Jacob can memorize his iTunes password which includes uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. He can memorize "Hope is the thing with feathers" by Emily Dickinson, see here. However, when I try to get him to learn his home address, he just can't or won't do it. We go over it again and again, but this is how the conversations usually go...

Me:  Jake, where do you live?
Jake:  Murrica.
Me:  Which part of America?
Jake:  Half.
Me:  Which city?
Jake:  Popperville.  (Apparently, we've been reading too much of Mike Mulligan and His Steam   
Me:  No, you live in... (name of our city).
Jake:  (Name of our city) is our president.
Me:  No, that's where you live.  Sigh.
Another conversation with Jacob about the arrival of his big brother Tyler.
Me:  Tyler is coming.  Are you excited?
Jake:  Yes, I am and I want him and Aunt Amy to sleep with me in my room.
Me:  Your brother Tyler is coming.  Amy is Uncle Wes' wife.
Jake:  Oh, I see.  Uncle Wes is my cousin.
Me:  No, he is your uncle.
Jake:  Like Tyler?
Me:  No, Tyler is your brother.  You have the same daddy but different mommies. Tyler is still my son but he didn't grow in my tummy like you, Anna, and Lauren did.
Jake:  I don't get it.

Jakie one-liners: 
Lauren, you have a bump by your eyebrowtle.
Mommy, strap these boobs on me.
When we decided as a family that it was time for a new puppy, the kids agreed they would do their share to help...i.e. grooming, walks, meals, scooping up the "you know". Anyway, they've been very helpful with meals, walks, and the grooming, but when it comes to the "you know", not so much. I asked Anna today if she wanted to help me scoop, we could do it together. Now, I must say that she has scooped more than the other kids, and in fact, she cried about it the last time because she thinks it is so disgusting. When I asked today, she responded, "Well, Mommy, I really want to spend time with you but how 'bout instead of scooping I just ride my bike up and down the driveway and shout words of encouragement to you??"
Playing with our new set of "Family Table Topics " at dinner tonight, one of the questions was "How did your parents meet and fall in love?" Anna and Lauren were both convinced that Doug was the pilot of a plane and I was a waitress on that plane. We met and he decided he liked me and married me. Huh. Interesting, considering I make a lousy pot of coffee.

We had a couple of inches of snow Tuesday night. Doug had to leave early for work on Wednesday and only had time to clear the sidewalk. He told the girls if they would shovel the driveway he would give them $8 each. They were real troopers and got the job done. When we were almost at the top of the driveway, Lauren made me laugh. She said, "Mommy, Anna and I were talking and we want to renegotiate our deal with Daddy. This is a long driveway. We're thinking $12 instead of $8."


 Jacob couldn't be bothered with shoveling snow and decided to go sledding instead.
 Deuce spent his time stealing everyone's gloves and running away with them.

We've really enjoyed the snow this year but are looking forward to spring.  Anna says she needs to twirl and spin and she can't do that in the snow, she needs grass!  Ha!


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