Friday, July 3, 2015

Fruits of My Labor

Anna June has had her whole life documented in digital photography.

This is good, because we can see how she has grown and share with those we love who are far away.

This is also ridiculous, because we are almost never without a phone on our person. I mean, my smart phone is often left behind, but when I have it, I snap some of the best, worst, silliest, craziest, and most honest moments.

Unfortunately, when I switched phones more than a year ago, I didn't really have the same backup procedure and photos just sat on my phone.

This week while we've been on "Staycation," I have been putting these on the laptop, into our photo program (Picasa), and sorting them into uploaded albums. I have more than 500 pictures.

So this is our life for the past year.

July 2014
August 2014
September 2014
October 2014
November 2014
December 2014
January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015

I have captioned almost all the photos, basically so I will remember what they were of, but also because I've not been a very faithful chronicler for the past year and I am sure I haven't blogged about some of these events. I am sure I will get to some of them. I am also sure I won't get to some of them, and that's OK.

These are basically from my cell phone, with some from Ben in March and April. I hope to add more from his phone(s) and our camera later. The links should stay the same.

These should keep you busy for a while.
- Laura, posting as "SRG" because I'm signed in to his account where all of our other pictures live.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Digging in the Drafts - Umbrella

Evidently, some time years ago, I was going to tell a story about Anna June and her umbrella. 

"Anna June got a new umbrella not too long ago, featuring the Disney Princesses. This was courtesy of a Disney store gift card from her grandparents, and it went well spent: a raincoat and an umbrella."

She still has both of these things. But I have no idea what the story was. So never mind.

Speaking of umbrellas, though, and speaking of things I meant to do a long time ago, Anna June and I finally painted her "create your own umbrella" kit, which was a gift from Granny.

I know we've had it at least a year, since last summer I sent it to my mom's house for an activity for AJ to do, but between hanging out with my grandma and playing with the dogs, she just didn't have time.

I'm totally glad she spent time with them instead of painting, as Grandma and Maggie are both gone now.

Plus, she had another year for her hand-eye coordination to evolve.

I thought she could handle the painting project on her own, so I got her set up and left for an event. When I came back to find one panel painted with polka dots and the rest bare. She had abandoned the paint, brush, and water dish to go watch baseball with her dad.

So the next night, we left the umbrella on the table and, after dinner elsewhere, we came home and painted that thing, making use of many of the included stencils.

I think it looks great.

Of course, the directions insist that your paint jobs may not hold up to heavy rain, so it may not be particularly useful in, you know, a situation where an umbrella may typically be useful. 

So maybe she can use the princess umbrella when it is raining and this can be her parasol.

One Fun Thing: Swimming

Anna June has been taking swimming lessons again, and this time she's making tremendous progress.

Our fun thing for the weekend of June 20 was to go swimming. It just so happened that one of the faculty members I support, Dr. Singh, had invited us and a bunch of other people from work to his house in Mount Olive, Alabama. We went up there for a lovely pool party.

Except the drive up was not lovely at all. It poured the whole time. Ben drove through the driving rain, wondering aloud if anyone would show up in this kind of weather. But by the time we reached the exit, the car was mostly dry again.

AJ was very excited to get in the beautiful pool first thing. After we got our sunscreen properly applied and spoke to all the guests, then we joined her. It was so much fun to see her showing off her new skills.

After a while, we needed a break and got out. She decided to hop back in the pool without us. A bunch of adults were on the porch watching her, but none of us felt the need to be in the water with her. It was the strangest sensation. This little baby that we once had to hold in the water has suddenly become a competent fish. Obviously, we take water safety very seriously, but for now, she didn't need us to be right there with her. Just watching from the sidelines was fine.

She came in for us to reapply her sunscreen, but found it too painful - her cheeks were a little pink and didn't want me to rub anything in to her face. So we went inside and visited, and ate. She was ready to leave but I heard a wonderful, familiar sound on the porch.

"Is that an ice cream maker?" I asked. It was.

"We can't leave yet. Because homemade ice cream," I said.

There was a fantastic dinner of grilled chicken, fish, and brats, with a ton of side dishes. The star was definitely the homemade ice cream with blackberry cobbler made with wild blackberries grown in their backyard.

Don't ask me why I didn't take pictures. We were having too much fun, I guess.

It truly was a fun day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

It's a Sin...

Anna June loves to read, and there are so very many books in the world I want her to read one day.

Of course, since we live in Alabama, To Kill a Mockingbird is near the top of the list.

Ben pointed out a cat (or other predator) got to a bird in our yard.

Here is the evidence.

Which made me think of this:

                                                                                        (Quote source is here)

But I guess that cats can't read.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day 2015

Anna June sure does love her daddy. She even chose to dress like him on this particular day. They have now watched all 6 Star Wars films together and now hard bread sticks are light saber duels.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

One Fun Thing: Roller Skating

Anna June has been roller skating several times now, and each time she gets better.

Here is a terrible picture of her way out in the center of the rink. She is in yellow.

Last time, I did not get out on the rink but on Saturday, June 6, I did.

I fell twice and that was the end of my experiment.

AJ and I were there - just the two of us - and all I could think about was how I was going to be able to drive home if I fell and broke my wrist, so I stopped.
We were going to try to go early enough for the free lessons at 11:00, but we didn't make it. We could both use them. I wish I had gone to lessons when I was AJ's age. 

Instead, AJ offered me some advice, in retrospect. "I just look at what the good skaters are doing and try to do that."

So I hope you learn from the masters at something.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Rundown - Throwback Edition

Anna June is enjoying her summer, and we are too. I knew I had a bunch of blog posts in draft mode but I had no idea I had more than 20. I may share them and I may not.

Evidently, this is the kind of stuff I was wanting to write about in 2012. That's right - 3 years ago. AJ was 4. I actually do miss those times, just like everyone said I would. She has grown into such a big girl - it's hard to get over what it was like when she was so LITTLE!

Here's my 2012 draft in red, with 2015 comments in black.

Anna June had another fabulous weekend, and, well, we're a little run down. So here's the rundown on what all we did to get so tired:

- AJ and her dad had a breakfast date at Big Blue Bagel on Saturday morning. They've decided it should be called Little Blue Bagel, because their bagels really aren't that big. They had the place to themselves, and AJ had her usual, a blueberry bagel with blueberry cream cheese. That place is closed now. So closed. It has been at least 2 other restaurants since then. We miss it, but not enough to go to a different bagel place.
- They also fit in a trip to Home Depot to get a new dryer vent, because ours did not survive Ben's repairing our dryer. However, the amazing part is that Ben diagnosed the problem (thanks to an internet search), ordered the part, installed it correctly, and it all works fine now. Have you ever seen a whole dryer taken apart? It looks scarily simple. But our dryer is stacked on top of our washer, giving the challenge a whole new level. I'm bursting with pride at my husband's repair skills, but, no, I won't hire him out. We bought our washer and dryer in 2008, right before AJ was born. It's almost time for a new one. Ben took apart the lint area and cleaned it out recently. It was truly disgusting and I am so grateful for his help - now the lint trap will sit correctly in the machine.
- AJ watched Song of the South, which was the first movie I ever saw in the theater. Needless to say, I am not surprised this film is no longer available. There are lots of issues that I won't discuss now, but there are some endearing qualities, such as family transcending race and class, and, most of all, the power of story itself as transformative. I took a break from watching it with her to work on laundry, and I heard the dramatic music coming and I knew the scene I didn't really want to watch was on. I rushed in and asked AJ if she was ok - she's easily scared. I asked her if Johnny got hurt by the bull and she said no. I don't know how she missed that major plot point. But she was pretty excited by the fact that his dad came home. AJ now misses nothing. She likes to dispute the minor details of what happened if she thinks I am exaggerating or off-topic.
- We went to Southside for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. We went early for lunch at Chick-fil-A (a different location than the Gallitz formal dining room) and ended up seeing AJ's Uncle Drew, who hung out with us to eat. Then, we went up the hill to meet AJ's friend Mallory and her 3-month-old baby brother, Silas. We all went to the parade. The girls had a good time, and ended up with a lot of loot. It was unseasonably warm, though. I think the highlight of it was getting some vanilla milk at Starbucks. Incidentally, that was the strongest thing any of us drank that whole day. We totally skipped the parade this year. We had more important things to focus on, like baseball.
- Nap time didn't happen. Can I just say that my life is so much happier now that my kid doesn't take naps? The fighting was worse than the napping vs. not napping. AJ did take a nap when she was coming down with a cold about a week or two ago, but other that that, we nap way more than she does. We like giving her free time and the rest. She's not ready to stay home alone, but she can be unsupervised with us (sleeping) in the house sometimes.
- AJ asked if we could have a picnic in our yard, and, since the weather was so nice, we decided to give it a try. She had a complete meltdown over the placement of the picnic blanket, but she recovered. We ended by playing ball with Radar in the yard. Dear Lord, thank you for the letup of the incessant meltdowns over almost nothing. Even if she lost her curls, this was a good tradeoff to growing up.
- Sunday morning had AJ up before we were out of bed, completely dressed to her shoes. I didn't have the heart to tell her that with temps in the 80s, she was going to fry in that velvet dress. I have made a temperature/appropriate dress chart that has saved us from these conversations, although we are not perfect.
- Church, and ad hoc choir rehearsal. AJ decided to color and play hide-and-seek while we practiced. Thank goodness, she can entertain herself.
- Lunch at Wendy's, where AJ ate every single bite of her cheeseburger and apple slices, and drank all of her milk. She is still not the best eater in the house. At least she can fix her own sandwich if she gets hungry now.
- Nap time, once again, didn't happen. See above on going with the flow.

This is how she looks in 2015 - like she actually needs a nap.