Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sleepy Saturday

It's raining here in Birmingham today. After an OK but not great night, AJ slept in until about 8. She took an hour-long morning nap and is napping again. We ran some errands together this afternoon. It actually was pretty fun! We stopped by the antique shop and saw some friends plus two of her grandparents, an uncle and a great aunt all at once. We ran into a lady from church at the drugstore - so now we'll really have to show up tomorrow, unless it snows, which they're predicting.
Even though it is raining, I pulled out her sunglasses because she is OBSESSED with my glasses. I thought they'd keep her quiet for a while. I had them on her in the car and she was awfully colorful and cute! But I tried to capture them on her face on film and I was completely unsuccessful. This is the best shot.
Her shades are still too big for her but they already fit much better than they did when we went to the beach in October. Maybe by summer they'll be perfect.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad, then Worse

So, Anna June has been fighting a really runny nose and bad-sounding cough for a couple of weeks now. When she threw up on Sunday morning, I knew it had to be from all the yucky stuff she'd been coughing up. But when she threw up yesterday morning, I had to go into full-on sick kid mode. Changed our clothes, put her to sleep in the Pack-n-Play and changed her sheets. When she woke up, she acted fine, so I tried to give her some breakfast. I should have known something was wrong when I reached for the box of zwieback toast and she shook her head no. (AJ not eating? That's a bad sign!) I did get her to take some of a bottle, but I regretted that very soon as she threw up several more times after that. Poor thing! A few more wardrobe changes later, we were fine. I sent my grandmother to get Pedialyte and juice. By the afternoon she was playing and almost back to normal. She seems to be keeping everything down.

It seems that AJ likes popsicles, but didn't know what to make of the first bite. She liked the Pedialyte (thank goodness!) and chugged it like a pro. She did not like Jell-o, but I guess that's because she can't pick it up by herself.

She did run a slight fever last night, but that could be from the cold, or teething, or something related to fighting this virus.

Ben is at home with AJ this morning and I'm taking the afternoon shift.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Better to Bite You With

Anna June's 7th tooth has erupted. It is barely visible, but it has made quite the ruckus getting here. It's on the bottom, on the left. I think #8 will be behind shortly to match. I hope I can get a good picture of it soon.

AJ slept pretty well (all through the night, with the aid of a bit of cough medicine, in her own bed). Last night, we went to see kid's singer Roger Day at Avondale Library. We saw lots of folks from the neighborhood. Anna June had a good time, although she was pretty dazed at first, having just woken up from a nap. She drank her bottle and listened along as everyone sang. She got more animated at the end when I put her down to walk around by herself. She played with a nice lady's bracelet, walked up to other kids and parents, and barely kept from getting knocked down by all the kids singing and dancing. I expected AJ to dance, but there were too many people. It was fun and free!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stuff It.

While feeding AJ her dinner last night, I noticed that she was taking pieces of food and stuffing them in the seat of her high chair next to her. Later in the meal she was pulling them out and eating them. I guess she's preparing for hard times.

Monday, February 23, 2009


At work, someone from the office called to ask me where the courthouse in Alabaster is. "There is no courthouse in Alabaster. It's in Columbiana," I told her. I don't have the best sense of direction, but it seems that people, especially in the office, are always coming by or calling to ask directions from Mrs. Answer Person, whether is is on or off campus. Once, one of my faculty members was lost in Mountain Brook and I talked to her on her cell phone until she got out.

A few weeks ago, my friend Pam from Shelby County was leaving lunch with me and going to shop for her grandson. I gave her directions to Babies R Us from Southside. I hung up and my office mate said, "Some people have GPS, some people have LTG!"

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Sunday morning as I was playing in AJ's room while Ben slept and Radar barked, I thought, hey, right now in Hollywood someone is making a surprise last minute change about what gown they will wear to the Oscars, sending people scrambling to change things. That's just not as important as that AJ coughed so hard and so much that she threw up her bottle at 4 am, leaving us to scramble around and change our Sunday plans, as well as the sheets.

So here are the awards for this weekend:

Set Design (Painting): Wes Daniel, our painter. He's efficient and reasonable - I have his number if anyone needs it. He painted our ceiling and our new window on Saturday morning.

Lighting: Ben. After the paint dried, he rehung the track lighting and rehung our light fixtures. It was a chore, but it is done!

Cinematography: Ben. He installed a second security camera at our house. It works great.

Wardrobe: Nonny. She sent AJ some silver glitter shoes that have been getting rave reviews. But she sent two pairs, so we exchanged the second one for some more reasonable white Mary Janes.

Soundtrack: Ben. I got him a USB turntable for Valentine's Day, and he can now transfer our vinyl records to MP3s. AJ and I have been dancing to The Eagles all weekend.

Supporting Actress: Tara, who helped me on the Target shoe exchanging excursion. Also nominated: Sylvia for help via telephone for the sick baby yesterday, as well as my mom and Ben's mom and sister.

Supporting Actor: Patrick, who not only cooked dinner for us on Saturday, but he and Liz babysat Anna June while Ben and I ran an errand near their apartment. It may have been the fastest date night we've had in a while, but it was much appreciated. Patrick also gave technical instruction on track lighting to me over the phone, and looked for my keys.

Leading Actor: Ben, who clinched it for his performance taking Radar for a walk.

Leading Actress: Anna June, of course.

We enjoyed seeing everyone on Saturday, and we're sorry we had to stay home and recover on Sunday. Maybe next weekend will be better.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Finally, New Pictures

Here are some pictures of AJ around 11 months old. She is so busy and so fast I apologize for not getting anything but blurs in some.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thought for the Day

I would have traded AJ walking at 10 months to have her sleeping through the night consistently.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mt. Baby Gate

Last night, Ben was standing in the hallway and AJ and I were in her room with the baby gate up. I haven't decided if I put it up to keep Radar out or her in. Anyway, Ben stopped to talk to AJ, and instead of just reaching up to him, she grasped the top of the baby gate and climbed halfway up. We looked at each other. "Did you see that?" Then she tried again and got a big "No!" in unison from her parents.

Her teachers are right - she is fearless. I predict lots of boo boos in our future.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Boo Boo

Anna June got her first boo-boo requiring a band-aid last night. She was reaching for her daddy's Dr. Pepper can just as I was reaching to take it away. She got her middle finger caught on the rim of the can just as I snatched it from her. Blood and screaming ensued. I felt so bad - if I had just let her turn it over it would have only gotten the table, carpet, and various other things sticky and she wouldn't have been bleeding! Ben helped me get a tiny band-aid on her...which later she tried to eat. So I guess she's all right now.

Maybe we need some of those cocktail tables to put our drinks on until she grows out of the toddler phase. Or just switch to plastic.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday and Monday Rundown

Damion fixed ceiling and beams in attic
Nap (for AJ - not her parents)
Stroll through the park with Ben, AJ and Radar

AJ Nap/Ben fixed TV/Laura filed some stuff

One of my friends at work said that when you have kids, every day is like the movie "Groundhog Day". It is the exact same thing every day, but of course you get the opportunity to make it better each time.

I disagree. As you can see from the lists above, we don't do EXACTLY the same thing every day. For example, on Sunday, I didn't mention that while Ben was working on the TV/computer setup, AJ and I listened to a new CD that Nonny sent us called Tunes for Tots. The last song was "The Bunny Hop". So, I picked AJ up and did the bunny hop with her. She had so much fun when I was jumping up and down with her in my arms. Then I went to wash the dishes while Ben watched her, and she spit up all over the floor. Perhaps I shouldn't have jostled her after giving her a bottle.

And the schedule doesn't really reflect how last night, she was squealing with delight walking around our room taking laundry out of the basket and putting it back in, as well as climbing in and out of her old car seat which was on the floor.

While Ben was working on the TV, he transferred some files over and there were some videos of AJ when she was first born. It has been quite a transformation. AJ woke up from her nap and we were trying to show her how big she's gotten. She's gone from this little baby with straight brown hair and blue eyes with no teeth to a walking (sometimes talking) dark-eyed, curly-haired blond. But she still has some of the same expressions she did on that first day. What a year it has been.

We are really having fun. But she does wear us out.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine Recap

We had a great time on Valentine's Day. Ben had thought he would have to work, but he didn't, which made it nice.

Best moment of the day: When Ben said, "Anna June, will you be my Valentine?"

AJ and I went to Kate's baby shower. Anna June upstaged the mom-to-be a little, but Kate's mother pointed out that "The next generation is what this is all about!" AJ showed off her walking, and she kept playing with the new baby's toys, but at least she was entertained. We had a great time visiting with all our friends. There were 2 other new mommies and 4 pregnant women at the shower. We'll have quite the playgroup.

Despite the fact that my parents are exhausted from helping at Rusty's BBQ in addition to all they have to do, they kept their promise to keep AJ overnight for first time in honor of the holiday. She did great. She slept a lot, although not through the night. When things settle down, we'll do it again - Dad missed out on most of the night either sleeping or cooking and wants a do-over.

We all know that marriages flourish when there are goals and interests in common. We spent our Valentine's night working on cleaning our washing machine, which had taken on a horrible smell that permeated the house. I am proud to say that Ben has cleaned it well, and for the time being, it smells good! And we went to bed early. I almost slept through the night, but I dreamed my cell phone was ringing and something was wrong with AJ. Of course, I knew that nothing was wrong (or Mom would have called the house!) but it took me a while to get back to sleep. I "slept in" until 6:30, when Radar told me it was time to get up! It was still very nice and very appreciated.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Not the Cool Mom

Things have changed in the world of children's valentines. The stakes are much higher than they were when I was a kid. When I was little, there was nothing cooler than picking out a box of classroom valentines featuring your favorite character (or at least the best of what they had at the store your mom took you to) and addressing them carefully. You had to make sure that you didn't give the boys anything too mushy, and you saved the big ones for the teacher. Easy enough.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I had asked AJ's teacher if the children exchanged valentines. She said, yes, they'd fix a bag for them. Silly me, I thought this meant they might decorate a bag for the babies to put the little valentines in them. I prepared some valentines I figured AJ would think were cool. I learned a new word - lenticular. This is the kind of card that has the lines down it, and if you turn it another way, you see a different picture. It just so happened that these are also stickers. I picked out the Disney Princesses, and I carefully addressed them, making sure that the only boy in her class of 7, Charlie, got one with a handsome prince on it, too.

Per the memo she sent home, I saw they were fixing "goody bags". So I guessed this meant the teachers or school would contribute some kind of healthy snack for the kids.

I was so wrong. I picked AJ up on Friday only to find a Wal-Mart plastic bag filled with stuff. One mother sent an adorable stuffed dog, another mom sent a wind up "love bug", another mom re-labeled the finger food puffs AJ loves so much as "Passion Puffs", and one sent homemade cookies. There was also candy and cookies from her teachers, and some other candy in the bag. Ben, who never celebrated holidays as a kid, said, "I guess we dropped the ball on this one!" I should have listened to my friend at work, who sent Fun-Dip valentines with her 7 year old. I thought, well, that makes sense, because 2nd graders eat candy. Babies can't eat candy!

The classroom valentines were still there - they just had a hole punched in them and were tied with curly ribbon around the sweet little gifts. I don't even own a hole puncher! They should hand those things out at baby showers - I didn't know it was a requirement of motherhood! I was so upset I ate all the cookies.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Rusty's BBQ is now officially open in Leeds, Alabama. There's a good writeup in today's Birmingham News, according to my sources, but I can't find it online yet. I did find a thread in the Leeds forum on asking if they were open yet, so I was proud to contribute a yes! My mom is worried because the article states they're open 7 days/week, but they were discussing last night being closed a day to rest. Maybe not for a while, then.

We did eat there last night, and Anna June enjoyed her grilled cheese sandwich. It is, of course, a very family friendly place, so the young man (Alex) wiping off tables was prepared for having to sweep up and clean the highchair area left a mess by our toddler, who thinks it is sort of funny to throw food on the floor.

So, go eat BBQ this weekend! Bring your sweetheart for Valentine's. Nothing says I love you like a rack of ribs, right?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


As Aunt Connie was reminded this weekend, it is hard to photograph Anna June because she never stops moving. It was like that before she was born, too. I'm so glad she's happy and active.

Recently, a lady I work with told me that she thought I was saying that my baby's name was "Energy". Apparently she doesn't speak redneck, or else I have to do MUCH better on my enunciating. Maybe I should get my adenoids removed or something to be less nasal. I do say it fast but even "Annajune" shouldn't be interpreted as "Energy" in my opinion.

I would never have the guts to name my kid something cool like "Energy". But it would have been fitting if that were her name.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


When I brought Valentines to daycare on Tuesday after getting a memo on Monday, the teacher said, "You're early!" and I said, "Write it down. It may never happen again." When I was little, I always wondered how my mother was late to everything. Now I know. And I only have one kid compared to her four!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


As with everything in my life, there is a long explanation about why we chose to call a little girl A.J. The main reason is that we loved the name Anna June (all together, not just Anna) and we also liked A.J. Sometimes my brother Drew is called A.J. (for Andrew Jerome) and she's sort of named after him. Apparently, this thought has been in my head for a long time. Recently, Beth brought me some notebooks of mine from high school and college. I was looking through my journal from Creative Writing in 11th grade, and I wrote a one-act play, a story of a family, with the daughter being a girl named A.J. (short for Andrea Jean). Isn't that strange?

Also, when we adopted Radar, the main contact person at the Birmingham-Jefferson Animal Control was a woman named A.J. And there's a female blues DJ I used to listen to in Atlanta called A.J. - which I totally forgot about until I was looking at their website yesterday for a completely random reason. And, C.J. Craig is my favorite character on The West Wing. I guess I thought it was cool for a girl to go by initials, if boys can do it.

The picture is from Saturday's family visit to the BBQ place - Aunt Connie is the photographer. Isn't she a happy baby?

Monday, February 9, 2009


Sunday was great, despite our perpetual colds. The weather was in the 70s. That's right. We almost turned on the AIR CONDITIONING!

AJ and I went to church, then picked up Ben and went to eat lunch. After a AJ's nap, we went down to the antique store to say hi to those at the auction. Then, we went back to the house where Ben's stepbrother Damion had come over to help us with our kitchen ceiling. This was the first time Damion had met Anna June. I had to get a picture for the record.

AJ is walking more and more each day. It is fun and scary to watch. She has bumps and bruises everywhere, but she's getting better and better.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Rusty's Barbecue

Rusty's Bar-B-Q is opening on Wednesday. Anna June and I went by Saturday evening to check it out. I predict that they will be very busy, especially on Sundays when First Baptist Church of Leeds across the street lets out. We had a nice time. Aunt Connie took pictures. I'm sure we'll get them eventually.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kid's Meal

To celebrate her 11 mos. birthday, Ben and I took Anna June to Moe's Southwest Grill for lunch. She had her very first kid's meal: a cheese quesadilla and an oatmeal cookie. (Her mother ate all the raisins out of the cookie.) We tried giving her water mixed with a bit of lemonade through a straw in the kid's meal cup, but that wasn't working that great. So next time, I'll bring the sippy cup along! We had a nice time until AJ started climbing out of the highchair. Now that she can walk, that girl does NOT want to sit still!

Friday, February 6, 2009


Today is AJ's last day as a 10 month old. Every day it amazes us that we have this wonderful little girl living in our house, and somehow, we had something to do with it.

Here are some quick thoughts not long enough for individual posts:

Anna June's hair is getting longer. It even tangles now. I brush it, and she begs for the brush. She then "brushes" her hair, usually with the back side of the brush. Cute! The sad part is that after she gets done with it, it doesn't look any better or worse than when I brushed it.

I don't know why Santa got her that Leapfrog drum when all she wants to bang on are the garbage cans.

I was behind a Smart Car on the way to get AJ from daycare the other day. He turned into Winn Dixie's parking lot. I wanted to follow him to see exactly how one puts groceries in that thing!

Ben asked me once if he thought we were spoiling AJ by kissing and hugging her so much. "Impossible," I told him.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dead in the Water

Last night, AJ refused to let go of her talking butterfly toy that Santa brought her when it was time to get in the bathtub. For some reason, I didn't push the issue, intending to take it right out of her hands as soon as she got in. But after repeated pleas of "Sit on your bottom, Anna June!" I got sidetracked. Halfway through the bath I saw the poor thing floating face down. I told Ben that I think I killed it, being that it is battery operated and electronic things don't really like to take baths. He confirmed that the butterfly is indeed no longer able to talk. But she can still be a fun toy for AJ - in fact it may be better for us since it can't say "Peekaboo" and "Pffft" all the time. It will still rattle, spin and be a good teething toy. This time it was Mommy's fault that we can't have nice things.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Don't You Tease Me.

Anna June's teacher was kidding her this morning. AJ grabbed for the banana that I pulled out of her bag before I could even lay it down or hand it off. The grabbing, of course, was accompanied by grunting. "Ehn. Ehn." And kicking. She gets very excited about food. Ms. Lois said, "Oh, can I have this banana? I'm going to eat it myself." Anna June thought she was serious and got SO UPSET! She was making her mad crying face and looked like someone really had just taken all the food in the whole world away from her. Screaming and crying ensued. Luckily, she got her banana in a matter of seconds and was OK. Don't mess with my girl and her food.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Walking the Dog

We love Radar, but he is a spoiled brat. He doesn't like to get on the leash, because he knows after we take him outside we're likely to put him in the kitchen. He'd much rather spend the night on our bed or on the couch. Never mind that he has a well-appointed crate in the kitchen, and plenty of food and water. He wants to be cozy with the humans, and I don't blame him.

When Radar sees us coming at him with the leash, he runs and hides. After a while, we say, "OK. Forget it!" and he either takes us literally and goes about his business, or he thinks about it a second and comes to us to be taken out, deciding his need to go out exceeds his anxiety about being put in the kitchen.

Last night, Ben tried to get him on the leash, but to no avail. He left the leash on the floor and went back to playing with AJ. Anna June saw the leash and decided she would try. She picked up that leash and started walking and crawling towards Radar. It was like she was trying to hook him, or at least hand it to him. At any rate, she knew that thing was for the dog.

This chasing went from the nursery to the hall to our room. Radar let her get surprisingly close to him. He didn't bark or growl at her. She was absolutely delighted. All we could do was marvel at how independent and smart our little girl is. We all laughed and laughed.

The chase must have gone on for ten or fifteen minutes. Hooray for cheap entertainment!

Monday, February 2, 2009


We are ready to officially call it that AJ can walk. Not only did she hold my hand and walk all the way down the aisle at church, but we've seen her take so many steps in a row we lost count. It was so exciting these past few weeks to go from one step, to two, to five, to who knows?

In this picture, she has just cleaned out her changing table cabinet, and crawled inside. You can sort of get a sense of how curly her hair is, too. At times this weekend, I have been reminded of Gene Hackman, John C. Reilly, and Bruce Hornsby. I hope it will get longer soon so she can remind me of females!

Here is a link to her "More 10 Months" photos, where we have posted more pictures of AJ. I've put the new ones at the beginning of the album for now, so you don't have to click past the ones you've already seen.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Taste Test

If you read this blog often, you know that we are perpetually short of pacifiers. Last night, Anna June had the blue pacifier in her mouth. I was rocking her in her room, trying to get the tired baby to sleep. Suddenly, she wanted down. "Fine," I said. "Go play." I watched as she crawled determinedly to the middle of the floor, where she grabbed up the white pacifier. What was she going to do with that? She already had a pacifier in her mouth.

She took the blue one out and put in the white one. I laughed my head off. Apparently the clear silicon must taste different from the brown. She kept playing, switching back and forth at intervals. I told Ben, and when he witnessed it for himself, he just shook his head.