Conversations with the Peanut Gallery

Did you know that the Pledge of Allegiance has additional verses? They’re probably not as well known as the original pledge but I still think they’re quite catchy. This is what Anna recited after returning home from school the other day:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
And to the republic for which it stands,
One nation under God, in-vi-dis-ible,
On Earth as it is in Heaven,
The End.
Two days later she had the correct version down pat but I must admit her first attempt was probably my favorite.

I get such a kick out of the girls' sense of time or should I say lack thereof. Anna will see something she wants at a toy store. If I tell her we won't be getting it today, she says, "Okay, how about for my next birthday or when I'm 18?" She also asks if we'll let her walk to school by herself when she's 30. Yesterday she told me she really liked going to church. She said we should go all the time and asked, "How 'bout we go again next spring?"
While living in Nebraska we had a hail storm come through that shattered our outdoor glass table. Anna has seen photos of it and we've talked about it once or twice since then. We recently started recording episodes of "Magic School Bus" for the girls to watch. After one cartoon about space and the planets, Anna asked, "Mommy, why did a meteor fall from the sky and break our table?"

I had a parents' orientation at Anna's school the other day and so the girls stayed with a babysitter. When I returned I asked them what they had for dinner. Anna responded, "Basagna and green beans."

This was the first time the girls have really been old enough to appreciate the olympics. I explained how athletes come from all over the world to compete. I pointed out the Chinese, the Americans, Russians and Ukrainians among others. I was quite surprised by how “into it” the girls were. I heard Anna telling Lauren about Michael Phelps. “Lauren”, she said, “there’s this one athlete who has more gold medals than anyone in history EVER. He’s a champion.” This was followed by Lauren calling us over to the television to watch men’s synchronized diving. “Hurry guys”, she said, “It’s the Krussians!”


Storytime with the Peanut Gallery

I've been toying around with the idea of video on the blog for a while now. I had to wait for Doug to get home to clue me in on how it should work. So, I think we'll give this a shot at least once a week and see how it goes. Today's "Video Wednesday" will be "Storytime with the Peanut Gallery". We read a lot around our house and the girls can "read" a few books from memory. :) Anna actually can read quite a bit already but in the video below she has this story pretty much memorized. These videos may seem a bit long but I'll try to keep the ones in the future a bit shorter.

Note: To be able to hear the video scroll down to the bottom of the page and click "stop" on the project playlist gadget. Otherwise you'll have competing music and video and as the girls would say, "That's not good". :)



Lost in Translation

Walking to the park the other day, Lauren began to say, "I want the ploodle! I want to feel the ploodle." I asked her to repeat herself and she said the exact same thing again.

Have you ever been there? I mean, you can understand the words that are coming out of their mouths but have no idea what they're saying??? I’ve backpacked alone through Europe. I’ve visited China solo. I’ve been to 5 of the 7 continents and traveled to over 20 different countries. I’ve managed to get where I’m going via train, taxi, boat or on foot; procured food and found a room; and I’ve seen the sights. I also spent four years as a linguist for the Air Force. Why then is it that I have so much trouble understanding my three year old? Usually she's just overly excited about what she’s saying or ocassionally she’s overly upset. Either way, it can make for a difficult conversation.

Lauren: Mommy, How did the sqwireel bloh ahwaa?
Me: Honey, can you say that again? I didn’t understand.
Lauren: How did the sqwireel bloh ahwaa?

This is when I usually bring in the big guns. “Annnnnaaaa”, I call. “Please come tell me what your sister is saying.” Anna listens one time and then says, “Mommy, she just wants to know ‘how did the squirrel blow away’?” She must realize from my glazed over eyes and blank stare that Mommy is still in the dark. “You know, Mommy, from that movie “Ice Age”, at the very end??” The light finally dawns and I’m able to deliver a satisfactory answer to my wee one. Anna understands her most of the time and I’m usually right there with her 90% of the time but every once in a while she throws me for a loop.

In case you're wondering about the park phrase....she wanted to pet a poodle.


School Days, School Days...

Dear old golden rule days.
Yes, it finally happened...our Anna started Kindergarten. I knew it was coming and as any parent would be I was thrilled and horrified all at the same time. It seems like she was just learning to crawl and talk and eat solid foods. When in the world did she turn into a little lady ready to venture into the world all on her own? We've been preparing for several days now...practicing our nighttime and morning routines. We even walked the route to school yesterday morning just to see how long it would take us. Over breakfast this morning, I asked her how she was feeling. She replied, "My tummy is in a bit of a knot but I'm also very excited." It was a beautiful morning and the four of us enjoyed the "journey" (Anna's choice of word) to school. Lauren must have been feeling the excitement as well for once we arrived she told Doug not to put her down because she was a little nervous too. All the kindergarten rookies including our baby lined up outside Mrs. Warren's classroom waiting to enter for the first time. Once inside, we all partook in a scavenger hunt designed to help the children find their name tags, cubbies, play areas, and restrooms. At the end of the hunt the children were instructed to take a book and sit on the carpet waiting for the other students to finish. By this time, Anna was already angry at a male classmate who had refused to share a coffeepot in the play area. As I headed her toward the rainbow rug and book rack, she made several comments regarding some people's failure to play nicely! She was still complaining a few seconds later, so I walked over and reminded her that we wanted to start the day on a good note, happy and not sad. So, she took a deep breath and counted to ten. By this time, Mrs. Warren came over and led the children in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the story of "The Kissing Hand". Everyone then blew a kiss to their parents and siblings and we were sent on our way....just the three of us...somehow empty and full all at the same time. It seems like the end of her babyhood but I'm trying to remind myself that it's also the beginning. She has so many exciting times ahead of her. I keep thinking of the saying that goes, "You can give your children but two things, one is roots, the other is wings." So, we walked home, knowing our sweetheart would be well taken care of...she is well prepared, well loved and "well-rooted". At lunchtime, we made the trek back to the school, where she flew back into our arms with a huge smile on her face, excited, happy, talking non-stop, and no longer nervous at all. Once we got home, we surprised her with homemade "Back to school" cupcakes and a balloon bouquet in her new school colors. Her response was, "This is the best back to school party ever."


Bountiful Blessings

On Sunday, I turned 37. I didn’t jet off to Paris nor was I showered in diamonds…in fact, this birthday was even better than all of that. My husband came home four days early. As I’m sure other military spouses can attest, even four days early after a 70-day trip feels like you’ve hit the jackpot. I mean that’s an extra 96 hours you get to spend with the one you love. We drove to San Francisco on Saturday to meet him at the airport. The girls made “Welcome Home Daddy” signs and I got them each a small bouquet of red, white, and blue balloons to carry. Of course, by the time we actually made it there, the sweet little bouquets had turned into one massive, knotted bunch but in the girls’ eyes balloons are balloons no matter the condition. There was a ton of traffic that day and I was so worried that we would be late. I wanted to be there waiting to greet him once he exited those doors. We parked and pretty much walked/ran to the arrivals lobby. The girls had to work together to carry the mass of balloons and I got the biggest kick out of them running through the airport with balloons in tow. They had already made sure to tell everyone at the carwash, the party store and now the airport that “Daddy was coming home today and we were making him a party in the airport.” Remember what I said about balloons? If there are balloons...it’s a party. We rounded the corner from one direction as Doug was rounding a corner from the other. I pointed him out to the girls and they kicked their run up from super-sonic to light speed. I think the main phrasing of their excitement consisted of “Daddy, my Daddy, my Daddy.” Well, I, of course, had to bawl a bit. He looked so good and I was so thankful that he had made it back safely. A few days before his return, I had exchanged an e-mail or two with a good friend of mine from high school. She and her husband and children are currently residing in Texas. She has said repeatedly that she’s an Alabama girl through and through and Alabama is where she would prefer to be. However, she wrote that not long ago her husband went away for a week with work. As she put it, God soooo reminded me why our family made this move. I need a husband and my kids need their Daddy!” I can’t agree more. The mood in our house is so much more “joyful” when Doug is home. I can just see “it” in all of our faces and I hear it in the girls’ voices and in their laughter. Life is just better when we’re all together. Before I joined the military, I’m pretty sure I took my family for granted. All of those holiday meals together, birthdays and anniversaries celebrated as a family...to a teenager it was just another boring family obligation. Well, many years down the road, with a family of my own, and separated by thousands of miles from those that we love, those moments have taken on a new perspective. We should always try and appreciate any time we have together as a family. Every second of it is important and precious. I’m so looking forward to a time in the near future where I’ll once again get to share those special moments with family. For now, I’m just thrilled, elated, ecstatic, joyful, and grateful that I have my little family all under one roof again. I actually have the cutest picture of Doug and the girls taking a nap the day after he came home. It was after my birthday “party”. Doug grilled for us and he and the girls made some special cupcakes for me. I began straightening up the kitchen while Doug took the girls upstairs for a story prior to naptime. I could hear him reading and also hear the girls’ corresponding giggles (I’ve been told that Daddy just makes the stories funnier...perhaps it’s the Scottish accent he puts on while reading). A few seconds later there was just silence. Surely they couldn’t have gone to sleep so quickly, I thought. I went upstairs and in fact, they were all passed out, exhausted I’m sure from the birthday festivities. The girls were in their bathing suits (dry, of course, since they were attempting to convince us to go to the pool). Anna was upside down in the bed while Lauren was perched on top of two pillows. It was so sweet and I had to grab a picture. Doug won’t let me post it...I’m going to start referring to him as the Blog Regulatory Committee or BRG. Still, it just reinforced all of those warm fuzzies I was already overcome with...there’s nothing like being with the ones you love...


Conversations with the Peanut Gallery

My grandmother often stated she wished she would have written down the things that my brother and I said while growing up. The girls come out with some of the funniest phrases and stories and I’ve been trying to remember and jot them down in a notebook when I can. How important it is to keep track of these little gems was made even more apparent to me the other day when life seemed to come full circle. In one of my previous posts I mentioned that Anna told me my face looked old but she still loved me anyway. One of the stories I do remember my grandmother telling me was of the time I asked her how old she was when they bought their home. She gave me an age and I apparently responded, "No, Grandma, I mean was your face old and wrinkled like it is now or was it young and smooth like mine?"

Here are some of the funnies from the past two weeks.

“Lauren, remember Santa??” This is one of the newest phrases being used constantly around our house. The song says that Santa knows if you’ve been bad or good. So, Anna has been reminding Lauren of her potential lack of gifts from the jolly old elf if she refuses to cooperate. Cooperation usually entails Lauren playing the role of the prince at a wedding or having tea whenever Anna decides it’s tea time. Apparently, it seems to work. Lauren says "Oh yeah, okay Anna." Hmm...maybe I should give it a try the next time I'm looking for some help straightening the playroom.

The girls have really made some huge advances in their swimming this summer. At the pool the other day, they jumped in and immediately started sticking their heads under. They were a little overly excited though because every time they came up they would cough their little heads off. I told them they needed a break and to sit on the side of the pool for a moment to catch their breaths. They did as I asked and then Lauren looked at me and said, “We’re okay, Mommy. We just need some oxygens.”

Yesterday the three of us headed to the mall to shop for some back-to-school clothes for Anna. We didn’t have much luck although we traipsed back and forth through the mall several times. The girls were such little troopers and really hung in there with me. Lauren finally decided she’d had enough and was ready for lunch. She took my hand, looked up at me and said, ”Mommy, I’m empty.”

I recently got a pedicure. I’m ashamed to say that the girls don’t often see my toenails painted. My hands just aren't steady enough to do it myself and so I treat myself to a spa pedicure every once in a while. Afterwards, when I went to pick them up from the babysitters, Anna gave me a big hug and then gasped when she saw my feet. “Mommy”, she said, “I like your toenails! Who bought them for you??”

On one of our drives to base Anna looked out the window and saw a field with round hay bales. She got so excited and said, “Hey everybody, look...hay balls!”

With a new baby on the way we’ve been having a lot of discussions about where babies come from and how they end up in mommy’s tummies. Anna woke up the other morning and her first question of the day was,

Anna: Where did God get all those bones?
Me: What bones?
Anna: The bones to make all those people.
Me: Well, uh….
Anna: Maybe he got them from the dinosaurs.
Me: Well, uh….
Anna: How many people are there anyway...about a dozen?
Me: More like billions.
Anna: Wow, a dozen billion, that’s a lot.
Anna: Does God ever sleep?
Me: Well….
Anna: I bet he rests in a chair.

The girls have started saying a nightly prayer for their new baby brother or sister. They also like to kiss my tummy and say, “Night, night” to the baby. Two nights ago Anna decided she would also sing the baby to sleep with a lullaby. It went something like this:

Lullaby and good night,
Sleep tight little baby.
It’s warm and cozy in mommy’s tummy
And you don’t need a blanket.
There’s lots of good food
That Mommy ate for you.
I love you little baby
I can’t wait ‘til you’re born.

After the song ended another discussion of potential baby names ensued. Anna decided we should go with Violet for a girl. While Lauren thought Peanut would be a great name for a little boy.
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