Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear Sisters,

To my sisters, Jaime and Jessi, this is about your children. No, it's not bad―well, your children have not been bad. But this serves as a notice you that I will gladly take your children at any time. They have been a blessing to me. I have loved watching them when you needed me to. I enjoy their vocabulary―words made up and those mispronounced. I love watching their faces for those unique expressions that make them individuals.
Sometimes things get a little gross and frustrating having to clean up peep and poop from the floor. But I know that one day I will be telling Aislynn all about the times where I had to clean up after her because she couldn't make it to the potty in time. She will be embarrassed because her aunt once saw her at a weak time in her life and will be revisiting those days. Aislynn will then duck her head as she blushes and wishes that I―once called "Bipper"―would just shut my mouth. But that is when I get my revenge. That is when I will be able to forgive her for making my hands dry from washing them so many times a day.

Sometimes they don't like to share with each other. But that's okay. For every cry, every tear, every tugging match where poor Princess Rapunzel bears the brunt, I can hear the echoes of their mothers and I screaming and pining for the toys to be ours. I don't cringe when I hear the whining, screaming, crying. I smile. I think back to when we were little girls (and our brothers were there, too), and though we did have our screaming matches and tugs of hairs on our heads, I do remember when we had fun and enjoyed playing with each other (or maybe that was just my imagination creating those memories because there were none). I know that one day your children will look back fondly to these days where playing with their cousins or sister is something they wish they could do more often.

Sometimes I get tired of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But if it makes them happy, I'll do it. And it's simple enough that I can make it! The last thing I want to happen to your children is food poisoning from me experimenting with food creations. I wouldn't mind a failed creation as long as it tasted/looked/smelled/[insert other form of description for food here] good or as long as they were happy eating it. If they liked it, it would be one failure I was actually good at...if that makes sense. But what am I talking about? Failure? What is that? I'm the perfect one, remember? That's right, born ON my due date. It was destiny from the start.

What I hope to see in the future from my nieces and nephew:

  1. Kenleigh performing on stage. Center stage because she is going to be a fabulous dancer with that creative imagination, no-guidance-yet-naturally-talented moves, and she has fun dancing and moving around. Not to mention wearing those costumes!
  2. Cameron in an all-star game. Whether it is soccer or baseball, I don't care with an arm and a leg that that boy has already. But who can blame him when he's been running with a ball at his feet since he could recognize what a round thing was. Weren't his first two words when he'd come into the house were "Josh" and "ball"?
  3. Aislynn will be an innovator. She is constantly observing, irritating imitating others to the point where she knows what's going to happen next. She is smart, cunning, sly, and knows what's going on. I expect her to ask lots of questions beyond the normal whowhatwherewhenwhy, and how!
But please know that they do learn from you. I see you in each of them every time I see them. It's "tchüß" pronounced "choose" not "chooses." And when he picks up a marker with his index and middle finger, brings it to his mouth, then removes it, and pretends to blow out like he's smoking a cigarette, remember that he's 3. He emulates and idolizes you. How am I supposed to tell him that what mommy and daddy do is bad for his health and he shouldn't do that? Do I make you out to be the bad guy? No, you are the parent, but I don't want to see him being taught that being a victim of an addiction is okay. Biting is not okay, from anyone. I've seen 'em all do it, even to themselves. I don't really know if this reflects on anybody, unless you count tattoos as inflicting self-harm. (But then, again, so is joining the military...It's a catch 22)

I love your children. It has been a pleasure watching them during the summer and on the weekends. Unfortunately, this time is coming to an end. You do have wonderful children. I'm going to miss those BIG greetings I get from Cameron whenever he sees me. I'm going to miss being called "Jiffer." I'm going to miss those personal requests to be held. But I did have my camera with me for most of the time whenever we left the house, so I have those digital memories so long as the internet still works. Another note, your children are all photogenic and I've very much enjoyed looking at them through a 2 in screen while pushing a button when I think they are doing something cute.

Your Sister,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Reader's Guide to Children's Words

As you may know, I have been watching my nieces during the weekday and occasionally my nephew on the weekend in addition to the girls. What you don't know is the second language that is spoken at my house. These words are based on English, but to the outsider, we are using made up words or even misusing words that have been around for ages. Here you will be able to learn about these words and maybe even use them with a smile on your face because you know some very bright, adorable children helped create the new uses of these words.

fridgenator - noun. No, this is not a superhero to help you eat the healthiest foods. This is Kenleigh's word for the "refrigerator." "Jennifer, I can't open the fridgenator."

empy - adjective. The description of an object that was once full but is now empty. "Jennifer, my juice is empy."

peep - verb. The act of urinating. Past tense: peeped. "Jennifer, Aislynn peeped in the chair!" (We are trying to potty train her and she had a slight accident. You poop, why not peep?)

screwdriver - a cob knob. "Ducky, I can't eat this. I need that screwdriver." (With some context clues, we figured out to give the child something to hold on to.)

Propunzel - Princess Rapunzel.

perprize - interjection. That thing you yell when someone walks through the door to catch them off guard (surprise!). "Perprize!"

pappy - noun. a child's pacifier. "Oh, pappy? Where are you?"

posiple - noun. What Kenleigh calls a popsicle. "Jennifer, I want a posiple."

ogert - noun. A dairy product commonly called "yogurt" by most Americans. "I want a Spongebob ogert, Jennifer!"

color - noun. Any marker, crayon, pen, pencil, paint, etc. Anything that makes a mark and you can color with. "Bipper, I *grunt that sounds like want* color (while pointing to an Expo marker)."

baby - noun. Any small, stuffed animal or doll that can be held on to while either niece goes to sleep. "Here's your pappy, your blanket, and your baby. Now go to sleep."

Ebu - Proper noun. Pronunciation: EH•bu. It's what Aislynn calls Evan. Example: Whenever I am on the phone or Skype, Aislynn says, "I *grunt that sounds like want* talk to Ebu."

Eban - Proper noun. Pronunciation: EH•bin. Cameron's attempt to say Evan's name.

share - verb. Stop playing with something and give it to me. Example: Kenleigh was playing with a tape measure for a solid 20 minutes. Aislynn came into the room and thought that would be fun to play with, so she tries to take it. Kenleigh refuses. I say, "Kenleigh, let Aislynn play with it. You've played with it for a long time, it's time to share." About 30 seconds later, Aislynn is screaming because Kenleigh is trying to take it back. When I go to investigate, Kenleigh explains, "Aislynn won't share!"

That's about as many words as I can recall right now. But this is what I speak either daily or weekly. We add new words whenever a new experience occurs, so you might expect a second edition. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trip to Japan

After I found out I was medically disqualified, Evan and I booked me a plane ticket to visit him in Japan. So after I had my finals, my graduation, my best friend's wedding, I flew on a 22 hour trip over three planes and a train. I left on a Saturday morning and arrived midnight on Sunday, all at local time.

For my 24 day trip, the first two weeks were spent at the Navy Lodge because Evan and I did not have a house. So while we were hunting and figuring out bureaucratic, behind-the-scenes paperwork, we stayed in a hotel room. Evan did have to work some, but his boss was kind enough to let him go at lunch most of the days he had to work. He also got days of leave.

During the first two weeks, we went to three different houses over several days. We did find the house we wanted (and signed the lease on)!

It's quite large but, you'll hear more about that later.

We went on a hike up a mountain to Mt. Yumihari lookout point. We did not know how to best get up there. So we decided to wing it. We looked at the point from the base, and just started walking. As it turned out, we were pretty lucky and our path was exactly wear we were aiming for. It took a total of 5 hours for the trip. We spent close to an hour at the lookout. (Evan's got the pictures of that trip)

We did eat lots of sushi! Since we did not have a place of our own, we did not have a place to really, cook, prepare, or store food. So almost all of our meals were eating out at a restaurant. There were ordinary food choices as well as foreign-to-me food choices.

At the beginning of my trip, I felt like a visitor and like I didn't belong--I shouldn't be there. But as time went on (and we owned a piece of Japanese real estate) I felt more like a resident that I am and less like a foreigner.

Evan and I are both really excited for he and I to both be in Japan together! We'll see when that will be. Until next time...