Friday, August 28, 2015


Poor Anna June - no one has blogged about her in almost three weeks.

Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned. It has been seventeen days since my last post.

It's probably not a record or anything.

I still have 17 posts in draft mode. I thought my laptop would cure my slacking, but it has not. Shockingly, I've been doing a lot of reading, thinking, and other things in the past couple of weeks, but not blogging.

Working, yes.
Freelancing, yes.
Mothering, occasionally.
Volunteering, all day every day.
Eating, definitely yes.
Cooking, definitely no.
Sleeping, mostly.
Blogging, no.

I have drafts about relatives who have died and who are newly born. Drafts of experiences and product reviews. Drafts of fun things we've done and seen.

And I have a bunch of running commentary in my head on things that, if I wait a day or two, usually blow over. I could have had some great posts about some very important topics of the day, but I talked myself out of them, because having my opinions online would do no good. The people who care already know them and if they don't, they can ask.

I'm giving myself the gift of forgiveness. It's not that it doesn't matter that I haven't been writing, because it does. But it doesn't matter THAT much.

Back to our kid, though. She's doing great. She got A's on her first tests of the year and is bringing home excellent marks in conduct as well.

As if you expected anything else.

Among all the other things we've been doing, we've been reading, snuggling, watching movies, cleaning, kissing, hugging, learning, talking, singing, doing homework, playing and more.

We evidently haven't been taking many pictures on my phone, though. All I have is this from our trip a few weeks back:
I promise she doesn't look that different.

I hope to post again before another seventeen days pass. But if not, I will forgive myself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trip Taken

Anna June is getting to be a seasoned traveler. Although our last trip was to the beach in May, when we drove, we traveled to Wisconsin by air and she handled it like a pro.

We were up in Milwaukee for Ben's Grandma Kraker's memorial service. She passed away on July 29th at the age of 92. I should have a full post soon.

This is our perpetual packing list. I update it periodically so that when we have to go out of town, I don't have to think.

Except this time, I did not consult my list. I was just winging it.

Then I found this printed version from, um, May, still hanging out in our room.

Anyway, I forgot to bring hats for AJ and me, and we got sunburned. I didn't bring much jewelry. We skipped AJ's tablet (so she used mine). She has decided she's too old for a lovey (special blanket or stuffed animal).

Besides that, we were fine. Annie, Nonny and Susie were perfect hostesses, letting us eat all their food, use all their beauty products and create loads of laundry. We had a good time seeing everyone, despite the circumstances, and we will be jolted back to reality and routine momentarily.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

First Day of Second Grade!

Anna June is off to a great start! I left her sitting with her class in the gym, friends at her side.

We also got a couple of pictures at home.

We shouldn't be allowed to try self-portraits before 8:00 AM.

For comparison, here she is on her first day of Pre-K in 2012:

And Kindergarten in 2013:

And First Grade in 2014:

Second Grade in 2015:


Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Anna June is ready for school to start tomorrow.

School supplies - with the exception of the elusive 12 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer (can't find anywhere)
Backpack - clear with personalization (Thanks Granny!)
Registered - had all the required documents
Teacher assigned - a brand-new teacher full of optimism and enthusiasm
Eyes checked - perfect vision
Teeth checked - earlier this summer

New shoes and socks - bought
Uniforms - bought some, able to reuse some

Hair cut - done (this picture is from our shoe shopping trip the day prior to the haircut - she did this herself!)

Still pending:
Lunch bag - should arrive tomorrow even though I ordered in plenty of time...
Annual doctor visit - coming later this month. It has to be a whole year since the last one...
Summer reading - there was a suggested (not required) list of books, and she read almost all of them...

We're as ready as we can be.

Second grade here we come!

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Swim Report

Anna June has taken swim lessons all summer. She is at the high end of the "yellow" group in Starfish Stroke School.

Here is a link to her reports for this summer.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

30 Things I Love Right Now

Anna June is getting to where she doesn't love to be blogged about. I still have more than 15 posts in draft mode, though, and many more stories to tell, so right now she is out of luck. But See Jane Write's Javacia Bowser put forth a challenge for all in the group to use a list of "30 Things I Love Right Now" as a blogging prompt. Challenge accepted.

This may give AJ somewhat of a break.

(Listed not necessarily in the order of how much I love them.)

1. That new school supply smell
2. AJ's personalized clear backpack from Granny
3. A re-discovered unopened box of stationery
4. Purple
5. Polka dots
6. Ice cream
7. Ben's new shirt from Jos. A. Bank
8. New outdoor light fixture on the back of our house
9. Being involved in AJ's school
10. Big family dinners
11. This picture of AJ and our nephews

12. Holding our nephews
13. Stitch Fix
14. The end of camp = the end of wet towels and bathing suits every day
15. Both of our electric cars
16. The baseball AT&T commercial
17. Our neighborhood
18. Finishing my last 3 games of Words With Friends (Goal #22 achieved)
19. Fitbit challenges
20. Hearing AJ read.
21. Josh Ritter's new single
22. Making plans
23. Making lists
24. Decaf tea
25. The "Ain't No Magic Here" video about Birmingham's renaissance
26. Taking showers
27. Libraries
28. Petting Radar
29. Ben
30. Anna June

Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Summary: Part 4

Anna June got used to camp at the UAB Rec Center, although she is excited to be going back to school next week.

Week 9: Time Travel Week

This was a fun week, as each day brought the kids to a different decade. The children were supposed to dress appropriately for a costume contest each day, but there was such limited participation that they decided not to do it.

With trips to the thrift store and Dollar Tree, AJ and I planned her outfits for the week.

Monday: 1950s day

Over the weekend, when we went to the thrift store, there were so many other things we needed to do, and it was so hot, we pretty much just browsed and then grabbed stuff. We didn't try it on.

I really liked the shape of this skirt for the '50s, so we got it. I should have realized it was a size 8 in women's instead of a size 8 in kids (it was really small - easy to see how the employees would keep it with the kids. It was huge on AJ, so we ran and got her school belt. She pointed out that pictures she had seen in our research included belts, so she was fine. The sunglasses came from the dollar store. The shoes, socks, and scarf were hers already, and the shirt was from her school uniform stash. A high ponytail completed the look.

At camp, they had a little sock hop, where she was partnered with a boy (whose name she still doesn't know). They learned a box step and she had to tell the boy each step: front, side, back when she was going back, side, front.

The crafts were plates made to look as records and a coloring page of a cowboy.

Tuesday: 1960s day

For this look, we didn't have to have anything new. AJ has had the tie-dye since Pre-K. We also had the vest, beads, headband, and bell bottom jeans. We were sort of stumped when it came to shoes, though. We pretty much thought hippies went barefoot but that would be frowned upon at camp, so we came up with her black boots to give it a neutral appearance. Her long flowing hair added to the look.

At craft time, they made friendship bracelets. They also colored this decade-appropriate page.

Wednesday: 1970s day

The halter top was a thrift store find. The jeans and boots with turquoise detail were hers. (Thanks Granny!) I flat-ironed her hair, but it was so humid out, that did not last long.

For craft time, the kids painted pet rocks.

Thursday: 1980s day

The top was a thrift store deal that I also wish we had tried on before leaving. But the bracelets and the rest of her outfit were all things she had on hand. She also had some blue eye shadow, which I applied but it hard to see in the picture. The side ponytail seemed very '80s to me. This was AJ's favorite outfit of the bunch, and our least favorite. (My favorite was the 60's, because everything fit!)

At craft time, she colored a Mario Brothers coloring page.

Friday: The Future

Neither AJ nor I can predict how people will dress in the future. But we decided to take a look at it a little differently. Whether it is her immediate future (as in September) or her future far off, like in this commercial, she has baseball in her future! I wouldn't let her wear cleats to the gym, though.

Last day of camp for the summer! Hooray!