Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cell Phone

Anna June loves to play with the phone. Any phone: the house phones, our cell phones, her toy Elmo phone...she loves them all. But she does not like to actually say too much or listen too long when there's actually someone on the phone. She pretends great: she picks up the phone and says "Hello!" and puts it down and says "Bye." But in real life, forget it.

A couple of times recently we've gotten her to actually say a couple of things while talking to her grandparents, so maybe we've turned the corner.

Ben has a new cell phone and it has a much fancier ring tone selection than anything we've ever had. He has some polyphonic funky song on there now. Every time Ben gets a call, Anna June starts dancing. It is even cuter than her trying to talk on the phone. It is as if she, in the middle of doing whatever, hears the music and must drop everything to dance. It is another thing that I hope to capture on video...she has a habit of making a liar out of me. If I tell someone, "Watch this...she'll do (blank)," she absolutely won't. But I promise we've seen it. Ben was contemplating changing the ring tone last night and I told him he had to keep that one because AJ likes it! He agreed it was too funny to stop doing it for now.

So, keep those calls coming in!

Monday, June 29, 2009

AJ's Noggin

Anna June has a beautiful head full of blond curls. But sometimes I wonder what is going on in that pretty little head.

A couple of nights ago, she woke up saying "No No!" When I went in to check on her, she was sound asleep. It is perfectly normal for her to have a nightmare, but for her to be able to verbalize her displeasure freaks me out a little.

Speaking of AJ's head, she has a minor boo boo on it right now. On Saturday morning, we were outside sitting in our plastic lawn chairs (she has a small one, I have a grownup one) and blowing bubbles. She loves bubbles. She had her pink sunglasses on. So cute. But she moved her chair away from me a little and started trying to dismantle her sunglasses. I reached for them, she pulled back, and her chair tipped over right onto the gravel part of our driveway. Blood from the head is not something a mom wants to see, ever, especially since I had a hand in it. But she was fine. She doesn't yet understand the healing properties of a band-aid, so she ended up going without one after she took it right off. It looks bad, but she's OK.

I was possibly more upset that Radar, later that same day, was being too quiet and he had gotten the same sunglasses and chewed them up. I yelled at him, and tried to throw away the sunglasses, but Anna June, recognizing they were hers, had a meltdown. This is the first time Radar has eaten her stuff that she's understood what happened. She was mad, and I was madder. You can mess with me, but don't mess with my baby. I pulled them out of the garbage and yelled at Radar some more. At nap time, they had to go back in the garbage though. Absolutely destroyed.

I'll spend the next several days answering the question, "What happened to her head?"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

While You Were Out

Necklace as a tiara Friday night

Milo's for dinner: ketchup and honey mustard goatee Thursday night


It's for you! Friday before school

Ben will return from Milwaukee tomorrow. In his absence, I've been trying to take more pictures and video than usual. He's only been gone a few days but it feels like much longer for both of us.

I really appreciate my family members stepping up to help as much as they could while Ben was gone. It occurred to us both as he hastily planned this trip that this is by far the longest we've been apart since long before we were married. We are very, very lucky that neither of us has to travel for a living at this point in our careers.

The saddest and sweetest thing Anna June has been doing is pointing out the window and saying "home" like she does every night when Ben is pulling in the driveway, or she hears a noise that she thinks is his car. I had to keep telling her he's with Granny and he'll be home soon, but not tonight. And it sort of killed me when she was getting my shoes and picked up his, and wouldn't move on.

Luckily, though, AJ is an easy going kid and doesn't really understand what's going on. I think this would have been much worse on her at age 2 or 3.

Anyway, I have posted some of our recent pictures on Picasa. Here is the link. The first ones are the same but keep going...there are some more recent ones too. There are lots from the zoo and more from home.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bonus Post: Video from this Morning

Anna June wants a banana from Ben Gallitz on Vimeo.



With Ben in Milwaukee, I've been trying to document more of our daily life than usual. This morning, AJ wanted her banana before we left the house. I usually take it to daycare and let her eat with her teacher and friends - it distracts her from me as I walk out the door. Yesterday morning after we got to school, she even said "Buh na na" instead of "nana".

But she was too hungry this morning. I ended up handing it to her to carry herself. She then bit through the peel in the car. I wondered why she said, "Ew!" She had me laughing! That's why we usually put it in the bag, folks!

Father's Day: Part 2. The Zoo




On Father's Day, we celebrated by taking Anna June on her very first visit to the zoo.

By the time we got to the zoo, it was already really hot. We went to visit a lot of different animals, but we enjoyed the ones who were inside the most. In the first animal house, the primates, we ran into Anna June's classmate, Emmaline, and her mom Allison. We had a great time visiting. We took the girls out of their strollers for a picture and the girls did not want to get back in. I think it took graham crackers to persuade Emmaline. AJ went back in OK at that moment, but later she nearly had a fit. I had to keep taking her out to see the animals. All those cages weren't built for little girls in strollers.

After being denied access to the sea lion show for being late, we went through the lorikeet exhibit. Ben got a cup of nectar and the birds flocked to him. AJ didn't really know what to make of it. They have really loud calls and up close they were a little too noisy not to be scary.

We also went through the predator house. We got a great view of our tiger, who must not be very old. He was pacing around right by the glass, affording us a good view. Anna June was mesmerized, as were all the other kids watching.

We're considering becoming zoo members next year, so that we can drop by for visits when the weather is cooler and stay for a short amount of time and not feel like we didn't get our money's worth. I wanted to make sure we ate before we left, knowing Anna June would fall asleep in the car, so we spent a lot of our visit eating. Plus, AJ gets in free until she turns 2 next year.

Very quickly after we ate, we strolled through the children's zoo part. Anna June was too tired to make all of the animal noises that she's learned. She can sing along to "Old McDonald" pretty well now. I hope to get good video of that soon.

I have more pictures of the animals, but these are the best ones of AJ, including a couple where she actually had her hat on!

"Thanks, Y'all"


Here I am back to reviewing our weekend. Last Friday night, I attended what we now know was the last City Stages ever. Alone.

As I explained to my friends who asked where Ben was, "I love my husband. I love City Stages. But they do not love each other." Over the years, Ben has attended with me, but now cannot bear the crowds. The heat, the drunken rednecks, the often poor sound quality, and the weather have time and time again been against us.

Once, back in 1999 or so, I decided that the way I wanted to go to the three-day festival was alone with a VIP pass. It sounds selfish, but I wanted to see the bands I wanted to see without having to compromise with a date or friend. I wanted to stay and talk to whomever I saw that I wanted to speak to for as long as I wanted. I was also finally of age, and I wanted to be able to drink what I wanted and how I wanted, with whom I wanted. My mom has also tried this model, and it works for her. I think we're the only people we know who like to go in a crowd of thousands of people only to get some "me" time. And I did. It was fantastic.

I was trying to recapture the same free experience 10 years later, so I again ventured out on my own. This time, it was not for the whole weekend but for one night. I figured after missing it last year with a tiny baby that I was due at least a night to myself. The headliner I wanted to see was one of my all-time favorites, the Indigo Girls.

I have to tell you, I had an absolute blast. I was text messaging friends to meet up with. I had a great time catching up with friends from high school. I saw two excellent Allman Brothers covers by two extremely different bands. Styx rocked. I got to watch Plain White Ts entrance young girls while my journalist friends were in the "restricted access" area. I got to see fantastic dancers, great musicians, drink overpriced beer and eat chicken on a stick. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for the festival, it was not that crowded. Yes, it was hot. So hot that my friends and I were comparing notes as to which of our body parts were currently dripping the most sweat. But I loved every minute of it.

Isn't this blog about Anna June? Yes, it is. Anna June spent Friday night with her father, the perfect beginning for Father's Day weekend. They played outside, digging in the dirt with her new pail and shovel. Anna June said the word "dirt". They watched part of a Barney video, AJ had a bath, they read stories, and she went to sleep just fine. This would not be newsworthy except for the fact that this 7-to-midnight stretch was the longest Ben has ever taken care of Anna June alone. Even though technically she was asleep most of the time, I am proud of his willingness to give me a night to myself and take care of her on his own. I know I couldn't have paid him to go to City Stages. But the truth is, I'm pretty sure that deep down he wanted to spend time with his little girl, and I was so happy.

The Indigo Girls were amazing. They played a lot of songs from their new album, but they also played a lot of old favorites. It was a good balance. I was able to get right up close to the stage, until I got tired and walked to the back to sit on a curb for a few minutes. Then they started in with "Get Out the Map", one of my favorites. I found myself walking back into the crowd and singing along, which is encouraged in this crowd. An older gentleman walking toward the stage stopped and noticed how I was enjoying myself. He said to his date, "She's singing and knows all the lyrics" and I said, "Well, I just want to be able to help them out if they forget the words." Apparently, that was the best joke he'd heard all night.

Seriously, though, at some points in the performance they were so good, I cried. I cried because I wasn't 21 anymore. I cried because I wasn't with some of my friends I have seen them with over the years, including Ben. I last went to see them 2 months before Anna June was born in a much different venue. I remembered seeing them in college at Emory, their alma mater. I remembered going with my roommates to see them at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta at a free concert. I remembered the best time, when Kate and I both lived in Atlanta, and we took a gas station cooler of Icehouse to Chastain Park and watched them in one of the greatest, most fun performances I have ever seen in front of their home crowd. I also cried because I knew this may be the last City Stages. And I was right.

Besides their close harmonies, outstanding musicianship and consistently good songwriting, one thing you can count on from the Indigo Girls is their appreciative nature. After every single song, at least one of them will come back to the microphone and say, "Thanks, y'all!" They mean it. And I want to say "Thanks, y'all" to Ben and AJ for making it so easy for me to go, to my parents for letting me go to concerts even when I was too young, to Mom and Rusty for sharing my weekend pass and bringing me a t-shirt, and to City Stages for letting me have fun being there (or wishing I was there) for the past 21 years.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Get Well Granny!


Ben traveled yesterday to be with Anna June's Granny. She had surgery on her spine last night and came through it fine. She is in intensive care recovering. I would still appreciate everyone's prayers, as she will have to be in the hospital for at least another week, doing physical therapy and recovering.

These pictures are from Saturday. I made her this sign and started coloring it, hoping Anna June would join in. She did, eventually, after she figured out that you're not supposed to eat the crayons. I sent this with Ben, along with the latest Anna June Show video. Hopefully, Annie will be awake enough sometime today or tomorrow to watch it on our laptop.

AJ and I are sending all of our hugs to Wisconsin!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day: Part 1. Hot Doughnuts Now





Before Father's Day arrived, I worked with Ben to try to plan a memorable, fun day. I think our efforts paid off. We were exhausted by the end, but we had a nice time. We started the morning off by going to Ben's favorite breakfast place in Birmingham, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. I told Anna June we were going to take Daddy to eat donuts, just like Homer Simpson. AJ had already eaten her banana and Cheerios, so I felt OK about giving her some fried sugary fatty goodness as a snack.

The cashier thought it was so cute that we'd pick doughnuts for a special occasion. She gave AJ a special hat, which we tried to photograph. AJ still doesn't like hats, although she will put things on her head that aren't supposed to be, like buckets.

Another good thing about Krispy Kreme is that they serve whole milk, unlike most places. So AJ's Melmo (Elmo) sippy cup got filled up with cold milk for our journey.

I'm sure that we'll be back, but their dining area is quite small. And there were no high chairs that we saw, so Anna June sat on the stool. I could tell she felt like such a big girl. I sat next to her to keep her from falling, but not before I took these pictures.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Usually, Ben and I get dressed up and do something special for our anniversary. On our first anniversary, we visited New Orleans (and that was before Hurricane Katrina). The next year we visited Milwaukee. The years after that we have been here, but have gone out to special dinners. This year, we went to the best restaurant ever, Rusty's BBQ! Anna June got to come with us, and we had a nice time.

Also, Ben and I got to have lunch together, which almost never happens anymore. I will also tell you that the main reason we ate together was that he felt sorry for me for leaving my wallet in the diaper bag at home, and I was going to have to spend my lunch break with Radar and a peanut butter sandwich when I got there. Instead we had a nice lunch at Panera, eating without having to feed anyone else and without a furry pointy eared dog underneath the table begging for scraps. Sometimes, we almost forget what that is like.

My sweet husband also came home with an adorable card and a dozen pink roses, which are my favorite. They are beautiful and smell nice. AJ was begging for them, but I have put them (hopefully) out of her reach.

The card features a bunny on the front. Anna June saw the card, and, although she hasn't mastered saying "bunny" yet, she took her two fingers and made bunny ears and "bounced" them up and down and said "hop hop hop." Don't ask me why the video camera wasn't running then. It would have been the cutest thing ever.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bonus Post: Elizabeth's Pictures








Here are the rest of Elizabeth's pictures from earlier this month that I haven't posted yet. I have some of my own from this weekend I hope to put up very soon.

Too Much Information

We had a very busy and good weekend. I will break it up over the next several days because one post would be too long. AJ had a great first visit to the zoo among many other fun things.

We celebrated Father's Day and my parents' 35th anniversary this weekend. But our spirits were dampened by the fact that my mother-in-law, AJ's Granny Annie, has been hospitalized with MRSA, a super bug. She's in isolation, and there's nothing we can actually do for her from here, so we feel pretty helpless. Even if we were there, there probably wouldn't be anything we could do. So I'm asking for your prayers.

But what I want to talk about now is this blog itself. I've been told by many people that I put things on here that shouldn't be. Ben can't stand that I post the details of our life almost every day, but we have a lot of relatives (mostly his) who live far away and read every day. They want to know Anna June and feel close to her by knowing her latest triumphs and struggles. Saying that, though, I know I am a security risk to myself and my family. I have occasionally removed or edited posts based on protests from my kin. Please feel free to let me know if there is something posted that I shouldn't be saying (either in a blog comment, an email, or a phone call). I don't want anyone to be offended or have any further damage done to the family because of stuff I post just trying to keep everyone informed from my perpetually sleep-deprived state. I can, of course, choose to ignore your suggestions, but they are really and truly welcome.

At this point in time, I have no idea who reads this blog, except for a couple of other moms who publicly link to or follow it, and our parents and siblings. If you're not in these groups, I'd love you to comment or email to let me know you're here. Perhaps if I know the audience a little better I'll be more mindful about what I write.

Obviously, the reasons for this blog are purely selfish. I do not have time to make several phone calls to report the same information of Anna June's daily life to different people. Also, I once read a job posting for a web writer here at UAB, and required web writing experience, of which I had very little...I hope this can count as some. Besides conveying information about my favorite subject of all time, my sweet little girl, I wanted to know if I had the discipline to write every day. Before beginning the blog, all I had written regularly were grocery lists, and I didn't even follow through with those! So, while I know this blog will never get picked up for a book deal or anything, I would like to know that it is of value.

And one more thing: Happy 7th Anniversary to my wonderful husband, who may or may not ever read this, as it is probably too long and too embarrassing for his taste.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ewww!

Anna June is learning every day about the world through her senses. Whenever Radar starts barking, she puts her finger to her lips and says, "Sssshhh!" Sometimes, when she eats something too hot or that she just doesn't like, she will not only spit it out but also wipe off her tongue. My favorite thing, though, is when she touches something slimy or wet and says, "Eww!" Actually, it is more like "Oooh!" but it is certainly not something she likes. The other night, she stuck her hand in some ketchup and said "Ew!" and then held her hand out for me to wipe. This happens all the time. The problem right now is, though, that just because she touched something gross doesn't mean she won't do it again!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Better and Better


Photo by Elizabeth Otwell, Saturday June 13.

Before talking about bedtime, I wanted to mention that AJ got an awesome gift box from her Granny last night. Thank you, Granny! So far, Anna June's favorite thing was a plastic lawn chair that is just her size. This fits perfectly with her new hobby, climbing into and out of chairs. She is taking the new chair all over the house. This morning she brought it into the bathroom to sit in while she brushed her teeth. She brought it in the kitchen to play with while I fixed her milk. It is going everywhere with her. Last night she even tried to put it in her rocking chair and sit in both of them at the same time. Crazy girl! But she is learning.

Ben and I have decided, per the book's suggestion, to take turns being the primary caregiver each night at bedtime during Anna June's sleep training. Last night, he volunteered. Partly, it was because he knew he'd be up anyway, working on a cellphone related project. But mostly, it was because he witnessed my breakdown the night before and knew that what I needed more than anything was sleep.

After a bit of fussing, he got AJ to bed around 8:45. (I mean AJ was fussing, not Ben.) He remained remarkably calm and steadfast in not picking her up, rocking her, etc. I washed dishes so I wouldn't be tempted to run in after them. Even though she still woke up 3 times, the longest she was up was 30 minutes, and she didn't cry most of that time. She's starting to learn that it is OK, she can go back to sleep. She got up at 7:15 or so. A good night, all in all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Save

Last night, Ben and I read more of our sleep training book after getting AJ to bed at a very reasonable 8 pm. This morning she woke up for the day at a very reasonable 6:45 am. But what happened in between was a nightmare.

At 11:30 she woke up crying. I could not get her back to sleep. I called Ben in while I took a break. I resumed rocking and singing, which the book advises against doing too much of - it shouldn't be a crutch to get her to sleep. She must, eventually, learn to fall asleep on her own. But Anna June wasn't responding at all to the "Shh. Go night-night."

It wouldn't have been so bad if the same thing hadn't happened the night before, between 4:30 and 6:00 am. At 6, I had to give in and get her up for the day. That couldn't happen at 1:00. I was at my wit's end. I couldn't face another day of almost falling asleep at work.

Inadvertently, I started crying from the exhaustion and despair. I desperately wanted to bring Anna June to bed with us just to get rest, but I am determined not to do that ever again. So I cried. Sobbed, actually. Anna June thought the strange noises were funny and laughed for a second, until I said, "It's not funny!" and she cried more, too.

Since I was crying louder than AJ, it woke Ben up, and he came to our rescue. I went to bed and, in less than 30 minutes, he got her to sleep. When he came back to bed I said something like, "Thanks for being my relief pitcher. You get the Save." And he said, "Shh."

She lost her pacifier once more at 4:30 but went quickly back to sleep without having to be picked up. Ben took care of her then, too. I am so thankful to have his help.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Zero Days Since Our Last Accident

On Sunday, after watching Anna June slip and slide all over my mom's kitchen floor in her adorable floral patterned shoes, my brother Drew demanded that I throw them out. I planned to, but after I dressed her yesterday morning, I thought that the blue of the shoes just exactly matched the blue flowers on her outfit, and surely she could wear them one more day before I got rid of them.

I was wrong. She busted her lip at school, again. Shoes in garbage. Lesson learned.

Ben suggested I take Anna June shopping for shoes. Not yet! We have 4 pairs I can think of right now in size 5. The size 4s were a bit snug, and she was developing a callous on her big toe. Since we've moved up a size, all seems to be well.

If you want to know more about baby shoes, here's an article explaining she needs "nonskid rubber soles with good traction" rather than the fabric covered foam of the cute shoes. I guess if I still wear shoes that hurt or are inappropriate because they go with my outfit, that's my problem, but I can't force that on my baby.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Picture Link, and the Report on the Weekend


First of all, I'll give you the link to the last few pictures I've managed to take of Anna June. These are from the night of Mother's Day until June 8. Not very many, but you can see how much more hair she's getting and how she's growing.

On Saturday, we had a FULL day. My friend Elizabeth came to visit us from Atlanta. She wanted to meet Anna June and visit Rusty's BBQ. We had tried to pick a day where we had no plans, but, unfortunately, there is no such thing. She agreed to come with us to our friend Nathan's birthday party, since I really wanted to take AJ to play with some other kids mostly her age (or a bit older) and meet Nathan's baby sister, Allison. Elizabeth said she'd be the photographer and I thought, whew, I won't have to lug my camera!

We got to the party a bit late, because Elizabeth got stuck in awful traffic/weather on the way over. Then, I got lost. I went straight to the wrong place - I knew it was at a church right off the interstate but I picked the wrong one. To be fair, I had turned around and gone to Grantswood Baptist even though I was headed to Brookview Wesleyan in the first place. I called my GPS (my brother Drew) and got back on the right road. We were very close. We did get there eventually.

Anna June got up close to the small bounce house they had set up in the gym, but wouldn't go inside. I think that she's still too little for that, because she doesn't really know how to jump yet. She bounces, but I think it would scare her when she fell down and couldn't easily get back up.

Elizabeth's camera batteries were dead. She had more, in her other purse. Oh, well! I think Nathan's mom, Mary Hassell, ended up with lots of pictures, and I hope she will share them.

After the party, I was sure that AJ would nap. But she was too wound up, so we went ahead and went to eat at Rusty's. It was delicious, as always. AJ was adorable, as always. Rusty had a big staff on Saturday because of a big event, so all the guys had fun seeing Anna June eat barbecue and make funny faces at them. So cute. Elizabeth DID get pictures of that.

Then, since AJ had slept briefly in the car on the way to the birthday party and to Leeds, she wasn't tired, so we went by the antique shop to visit the auction in progress. We didn't stay long, but because we timed it so Patrick was still there, Elizabeth had the rare treat of seeing all three of my brothers and both of my parents in the same day.

After Elizabeth left, and the rain had left, we played outside with bubbles. AJ loves to blow them, but she's a little to young to handle the actual bubble container and want simultaneously. Eventually, her frustration gets the better of her and we have to end that activity due to the screaming. But it is fun while it lasts.

With her naps being off, we were uncertain about how we would proceed the rest of the night. In the end, my wishes won out and, after AJ fell asleep in the car while we ran an errand, we drove to my grandmother's house to visit my uncle and his family who were passing through town. Their kids, my cousins, are ages 9, almost 7 and almost 6. They had a lot of fun playing with Anna June and the games on Ben's iPod Touch. I enjoyed eating a great dinner and visiting. AJ, of course, fell asleep on the way home. There are also pictures on my grandmother's camera of this event, but who knows if I'll ever get them. To see the three blond-headed girls all squished in a rocking chair was really cute. I probably won't need a picture to remember that.

On Sunday, things were much quieter. We went to church, AJ napped, she ate, we went to the library, we played, and then we went to my parents' house for dinner. She is eating well, and being very talkative. She also knows when she wants to have her diaper changed or leave. At Grandma's on Saturday night, she brought me her diaper bag. I went and changed her, and wasn't surprised she was wet. A little later, Grandma called to me from the other room and said "Anna June is pulling her diaper and her wipes out. I think she wants to be changed again." I said, "Again? Seriously? There's no way she's wet again." But AJ persisted, I checked, and by golly, she was wet! I told my grandmother that it is good that God gave me a smart child because He knew I have no idea what I am doing.

On that note, I will say that the sleep training seems to be going very well. After issuing our edict last week, we have not brought AJ into our bed. She seems OK with this and the other "soothing techniques" we've been learning from our book. In fact, last night we didn't even hear a peep out of her. She went to bed at 9:30 and didn't get up until 7. I don't want to jinx it, but we are hoping this lasts. Now if we can just get Radar to sleep all night...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Aargh, Matey!

In getting ready for Vacation Bible School, our church showed a free film of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" on Friday night. Anna June lasted longer than I thought she would. We stayed almost 45 minutes, but that included a diaper change, running up and down the aisle, drinking milk, and a pacifier to keep her quiet. She finally was pulling at me to get up and I said, "Do you want to go home?" She nodded, said, "Home" and then ran to the back of the church and beat on the doors to be let out. So, she had enough! Got out just in time, too. The power went out in our bad storm and everyone had to try to watch the ending on a laptop.

After that, we've been having a great weekend. More updates later. Just trying to get something online before the power blinks again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unspoiling

Photo: Anna June with her Daddy's iPod. Spoiled? Not Anna June!

To steal an expression I read somewhere, I was the perfect mother before I actually had a child. I had all sorts of disdainful looks for moms who let their kids eat junk, watch TV and sleep in beds with parents. About the time AJ was born, I needed to start apologizing to the moms I criticized, either out loud or in my heart. To heck with the rules...it is just so hard to get by from one day to another, you have to do whatever works for you and your family.

That being said, our sleeping arrangement is clearly not working. We finally began reading Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West, "The Sleep Lady". She is a pediatric sleep counselor, and we're trying to buy into her theories which are somewhere between attachment parenting and crying it out. Of course, someone gave us this book a long time ago, but I was too tired to read it.

One major theme so far is that you have to cut negative associations, which means that if we bring AJ into our bed when she cries, she will always expect it, even if we haven't done it consistently. So we (this means I) will have to undo all the damage that I have done. Last night, after twice getting her back to sleep quickly without even picking her up, Anna June woke up at 1:15 am. Since we haven't started the actual sleep training yet (we're still in the introductory chapters) I picked her up to soothe her - she was past the not-really-awake stage. I tried it seems a hundred times to put her in the crib but every time she hit the mattress she woke herself up and screamed. For at least 90 minutes, we went on this way, with rocking, singing, lullaby CD, and sound machine. But victory was mine in the end, she did not sleep in my bed. She did wake up at 5:30 am with a really wet diaper and damp onesie, so I changed her and dressed her, hoping she'd go back to sleep until time to go do daycare. WRONG! After several attempts, she wouldn't go back in her crib, and I wouldn't let her in our bed, so she had to wake up for the day at 6. She was quite tired and fussy, but maybe tonight will go better.

I told our pediatrician this week that I planned to try to put a stop to the co-sleeping before I worried about training her to sleep through the night on her own. I think this system can work simultaneously. But we have to DO it. It's like a diet or exercise system. Any of them can work, it is just about sticking to it.

Currently, As the Sleep Lady put it, "it's all co and no sleeping." I can't keep waking up with an elbow, knee, butt, head or other body part in my face. And Ben hates waking up on about 1/2" of bed with no blankets. So we're hoping it will get better soon, but for right now it is worse.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wardrobe!

Recently, it has become apparent that Anna June cannot possibly get away with her 12 month old clothes anymore. She is just too tall. In fact, on Sunday, I put her in her Brewers cheer leading outfit because the Braves and the Brewers were playing, but it was too little. I let her wear it anyway, but her belly was showing. Sigh.

I opened her closet and asked AJ to help me pick a dress for church. She picked this adorable black and white gingham dress with matching headband. It appears that Granny found the white shirt to go underneath it at a separate shop, and it went very well together. However, once I got it on her, I realized there were no bloomers to be found, and it was definitely too short to get away with just tights. So I found her black pants (well they used to be pants, now they're more like capris) and created an ensemble. It got rave reviews at church. This is the best picture I got.

I am really bad at creating outfits, as is evident from my own wardrobe. But for Anna June I may need some help. I've sorted her closet by size, but I keep running into tops with no bottoms, etc. If anyone wants to help me try to make sense of her stuff (or entertain her while I do) please let me know. The whole 18 month collection awaits.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Radar's Birthday

Photo - Radar as a puppy

On Monday, we celebrated Radar's 3rd Birthday. By now you understand that I am crazy, so I do not need to justify having a birthday party for my dog. When we adopted him, we were told his estimated age, so we counted backwards and selected June 8 as his birthday. Incidentally, this was the date that Ben and I were going to get married but could not, because it would have interfered with an auction.

So in honor of this birthday, I got my good friend Ruth and her dog Marly to meet us after dinner at the park for a walk. Radar and Marly love each other's company. Anna June loves to watch dogs, so this was a great idea. It was good exercise for the pups and the humans. AJ fell asleep in her stroller.

I was a bit disappointed in her going to sleep so early, not only because I knew it meant she would wake up during the night (which she did) but that she would also miss out on Radar's birthday "cake". I had bought a can of dog food, which is special for Radar because I only allow him to eat dry food under normal circumstances.

I arranged the dog food in an artistic way and put a big "3" on his plate in Easy Cheese. He didn't eat the whole thing right away. "Good boy" I thought, "Save it for later. I probably shouldn't have given you so much anyway." He did eat it later on during the night.

So yesterday, he had a tummy ache. Last night, we thought he was feeling better. While AJ woke up several times at night, I ignored Radar's plea to go outside. One of them, I thought, should sleep through the night. Boy, were we sorry about that decision. I should have let AJ cry and taken care of Radar. The phrase sick as a dog has taken on new meaning for us. Poor thing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Report from the Doctor

Anna June had her 15 month check-up yesterday. She is doing great in every category.

She is now 33 inches tall, which is "off the charts", > 97th percentile. She weighs 22 pounds and 7 ounces, which is somewhere between the 50th and 75th percentile. The doctor was very pleased at how well she is walking and talking (although she was acting shy and didn't talk for him).

We made it through the appointment even though I made it for the worst possible time in the day: 10:30. This is when she has lunch at school, followed by nap time. But her teachers are wonderful, and they saved her lunch for her. She fell asleep on the way back to daycare, and they had her cot all set up for her. To see the three little girls all sleeping on their cots was just about the cutest thing I'd ever seen.

Another dumb move on my part: we did all this with no pacifier, not enough snacks, and apparently boring toys. I will have to repack the diaper bag with new stuff. She was interested in her Lego car for a few minutes, until we lost a piece. I brought only one book which after reading it a couple of times, bored her. At least the people at the pediatrician's office are used to screaming children!

Anna June got 2 shots, one in each leg, from our favorite nurse, Sylvia. It was good to see her, but AJ hopes that when they meet again it is under less painful circumstances.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bonus Post: Vacation Bible School invitation

Anna June is a smidgen too young to attend this year, but our church is putting on Vacation Bible School. It will run June 15-19, from 8:30 to 11:00 am each day. There's also a free movie night kickoff, running the Veggie Tales movie The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, which is going to be the theme for VBS. I hope to bring AJ to the movie, though as I have mentioned in previous posts, television doesn't hold her attention much.

I am posting the info and link here because I am not sure who all reads my blog now. I'd love for all of you parents to send your kids to have fun. Our new children's minister, Melanie, would love to meet you. It is FREE and fun and, of course, educational. Please go on the website to register.

Melmo

With Anna June learning to talk, there are a few hits and a few misses when it comes to word pronunciation. She can get no, bubbles, shoes, juice, mama, da-da, dog, and bird pretty well. Here are some words translated from Anna June to English:
mac=milk
bap-bap or bapple = apple
cacat= kitty cat
Melmo=Elmo

Yes, Anna June knows all about Elmo now. I know that at daycare, there's at least one book read over and over with Elmo as the main character. Deep in my heart, I believe the recommendation that children under two shouldn't watch television, and older kids should have their exposure limited, but in reality, my own first word was spoken while watching Sesame Street. So I can't complain when my own child loves Elmo as so many kids do.

So, to capitalize on this new interest, I began pulling out all of AJ's Elmo toys and books. Please do not send more. She has an Elmo/Cookie Monster giggle ball, a Stretch Elmo, a baby Elmo, an Elmo phone, an Elmo book, a "What Can Babies Do?" book featuring baby Elmo, and an Elmo potty training video which has yet to be opened. She also has Elmo toothpaste.

Baby Elmo seemed the most innocuous of the toys, since he is just a stuffed animal who doesn't make noise, so I tried to get her interested in playing with him this weekend. To my surprise, she was. She hugged him and said "Melmo!" I was pleased.

We went to the library and checked out another Elmo book, and an Elmo DVD called "Elmosize!" I guessed that she'd be interested in kids exercising and dancing, and if not, no big loss. Actually, this video held her attention more than anything so far. I think we watched it together for 15 or 20 minutes before she got bored. She said "Melmo" and danced. Too cute.

But last night when we were reading the new library books, when she saw Melmo, she got down off my lap to go look for the baby Elmo doll. She didn't want the stretch Elmo or any of the other things, she wanted the one she had been playing with. So we searched through the house. I said, "Elmo, where are you?" and she said "Melmo!". We found him under a blanket in my room.

This is really the first time she has looked for a specific toy, and it may just be that she has but I didn't know it because she didn't know the name. But I thought this was another milestone.

I tried putting Melmo in her crib to entice her to go to bed, but she saw right through that.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Daddy Does Yardwork

Cutting weeds with my new trimmer from Ben Gallitz on Vimeo.


Every now and then, I will get out and help him, but mostly, Ben is responsible for the yard work at our house. He hates it. Our climate is hot, our hill is steep, and mostly, our equipment is sub-par. But this past week he bought a new weed trimmer and tried it out.

While he was working in the yard, Anna June and I went from window to window watching his every move. She loves watching him work...it is far better than television for her. I like keeping an eye on him to make sure he doesn't lose a finger or something.

This is film from our security camera, doctored by my favorite yard man.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Worn Out

This is a picture from Ben's new phone of AJ eating dinner last night. It takes much better pictures than the old one, but still not as good as the "regular" camera. When she was almost done eating, she decided that her cup could effectively smash graham crackers in her bowl. See?

It is not news that Anna June wears me out. But she wore herself out yesterday. She was in bed by 7:40! I can't imagine why she was tired. Let's see...
Wake up 5:30
Get her mother to wake up 6:00
Eat breakfast 6:30
Go to daycare 7:30
Play, sing, read, dance, 8:00-10:30
Lunch 10:30
Nap 11:00-1:30
Play 1:30-5:30
Go home 5:30
Eat dinner 6:00
Video conference with Granny 6:30
Play 7:00
Bath 7:15
Read books 7:30
ZZZZZZ 7:40

Of course, then she woke up screaming a little before 9 and had to be held and rocked until 9:30. But she slept mostly after that and woke up ready to do it all again today. She was upset that we were out of bananas, but aside from that, everything went fine.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Model in Training

One day, when Anna June reads these stories about herself as a baby, she will be really embarrassed. She will probably roll her eyes at all the dreams I had for her based on small indications of interest. I hope she will laugh at all my parenting missteps and come to believe in God if only to thank Him for allowing her to turn out well in spite of her mother.

Right now, though, I think AJ will be a model. She has the beautiful, tall and blond part down. Besides spending all her time in cool clothes and having her picture taken, Anna June has discovered my makeup. This morning while I was trying to get dressed she grabbed my makeup bag off the dresser. (Did you hear me? Off my dresser! She's so tall it is ridiculous.)

She then sat in the floor with it, taking out everything. She opened the blush and started putting it on. Here's the part that baffles me - I use a separate "good" brush to put on my blush, not the little one that comes with it. AJ got the correct brush and started brushing her cheeks. Dipping it in the blush and brushing her cheeks over and over. Luckily, it is pressed powder and not very much came out. And THEN she took my "good" eyeshadow brush and rubbed it on her eyelids. She couldn't get the eyeshadow open, but she knew that was the one I use on my eyes.

So the message today is twofold: 1. Anna June is brilliant. And because she's "practicing" now she will probably do much better than I did at this stuff when I was a teenager. 2. She is watching every move I make. Especially this week with all the strange sleeping stuff, I've been running out the door sans makeup, so she probably hasn't even seen me put it on in several days. But she's been watching and she remembers. Scary.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Crying it Out: First Attempt

As you know, Anna June is teething. As you also know, she doesn't sleep well. Ben is very concerned about this situation and we had a talk about it. We decided to give her some Motrin, then let her cry it out. Because teething will not end any time in the foreseeable future.

This was a horrible idea. She went to sleep at 8:30. We washed the dishes. We talked. We ordered something online. Then, at 9:05 the screaming started. I went and watched her until she started screaming so hard she sat up. So I picked her up, rocked her for 10-15 minutes. During that time, she was in what my mom calls the "twilight" state...she wasn't all the way asleep but she wasn't awake, either.

So I put her in her bed, determined to let her get herself to sleep like she does every day at daycare. The difference is that at daycare, there are lots of other people in the room and she's on a cot, which she could get off of if she so desired. At home, she's alone in her room, in the prison of her crib.

She screamed for less than 5 minutes before I was crying and went in there to get her. She had screamed herself into hysterics and was not only standing up pitching her fit, but was sobbing like something was physically wrong with her. I thought about changing her diaper, or giving her gas drops, but didn't want to wake her up further. So I tried to calm her back down.

45 minutes later, she finally stopped the sob-breaths. She was absolutely inconsolable for a while. Even when I got her to stop crying, she started screaming again. And I do mean screaming. If she were just crying, I could have dealt with it.

Sometime during the night, she woke up again and ended up in our bed. I tried sometime after 4 to put her back in the crib since her dad was complaining about feet in his ribs, but the jostling of that whole endeavor woke her back into twilight, and she was quite aware that I was putting her back in the crib, the couple of times I tried. So back to bed with Mommy.

At 7:15, she woke up the sweetest, happiest little girl in the world. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday Rundown


Anna June had a pretty good day yesterday, all in all, but it wasn't without its rough patches.

We were "late" to daycare. Actually, we were on time to daycare and I was barely on time to work. The daycare did some more promotions, so now she has her friend Maddie in her class and the three older girls are gone. Translation - there are only 3 kids in her class right now. Yay! More attention! Her teacher had anticipated she'd be the first one there and already had her cheerios ready to go.

She got another boo boo form yesterday, this time from busting her lip after sitting down unexpectedly or too hard on the indoor playground. She is fine but it looks kinda bad.

AJ napped and ate as usual at school, but by the time dinner rolled around, she was so tired she couldn't hide it. We haven't had that fussy of an evening in a while. Finally it was so bad I got up and carried her to her room to get her pacifier. She didn't want to get in her bed so I carried her back to the den to watch TV with us. At 7 on the dot, she fell asleep in my arms. Just in time for us to watch a show! Hooray!

A few minutes after our show ended, Radar started barking at something. This woke AJ up. I didn't know whether to be upset or relieved. 7:00 is too early for her to go to bed for the night, usually, and she needed a bath, but it sure was nice having her quiet and not fussy for a bit.

Then I remembered I needed to get my prescription from Publix, and we were out of Dr. Pepper (a crisis in our house) so we loaded up in the car and went shopping at almost 8. That was a little rough, but we made it through with some help from the pacifier. Yes, I let her have it. In fact, I have caved so often I need one of those miner hats with a light on it.

Back from the store, she had her bath and played and played. Ben watched her while I tried to go to sleep, but between Radar stealing her toys and AJ running around it wasn't happening. I finally got her to sleep at 10:30. She had such a good time with her daddy, she didn't really want to go to bed. But she did. Ah.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bonus Post: Video!

Anna June "reading" a book from Ben Gallitz on Vimeo.


Immediately after I took the picture seen in today's blog post, Anna June wanted to stay in the chair and look at a book. She talks/kind of sings in this one, so turn up your speakers.

Growing Up Too Fast

By this picture, you can see Anna June is really growing up too fast. We got on her new outfit to do a little visiting and party-going on Saturday, and I just HAD to photograph it. She looked so adorable and like such a big girl when she climbed in the chair.

I'm glad I took these pictures, because at the housewarming party we went to, nobody seemed to have a camera, and even if I had brought mine, I was too busy chasing AJ all around the house to do anything about it.

On Saturday morning, before the party, we tried out some new bubble equipment outside. It said it was for ages 4 and up. I think that's because the 4 year old would know to read the directions first. Instead of looking at them, I was trying to get everything open because AJ was very anxious to get started. It came with bubble concentrate...you had to make the solution! So it was back to the kitchen to try to mix up something feasible. When I was unable to get good bubbles right away, AJ got bored and dumped the whole bowl of bubble solution down the driveway. We will try this again when her daddy is home to keep her out of trouble.

On Sunday, when the temperatures went up to 90 degrees, we talked about playing in the water. So we set up the Puppy Sprinkler in the yard. It said it was for ages 3 and up. I'm starting to believe that the people who write these things on the packages know what they're talking about. Anna June was interested while Ben was inflating the puppy sprinkler, so I got her in her bathing suit, got her hat on and got her outside. Once we turned the water on, though, she didn't want to have anything to do with it. The puppy "shaking" around scared her. And her bare feet on the wet grass made her cry. So we'll try this again another time, maybe when she's older.

She may be growing up too fast for me, but she's still a baby.