Friday, January 29, 2010

Membership Has its Privileges

We're enjoying our memberships to both the Birmingham Zoo and the McWane Science Center. When we went to the McWane Center on a rainy Sunday afternoon recently, we got a few minutes of video on Ben's phone. Here, we're looking at the Shark and Ray touch tank. Of course, we didn't get where I actually touched a shark. It was neat to see these guys swimming around. And the other marine life exhibits were cool, too. There's actually not a lot of AJ in this video, just a lot of fish and other kids excitedly chattering. Anna June was pretty fascinated, actually.

Worth It


Most nights, especially weeknights, we try to stay at home so as to keep Anna June on her bedtime schedule. However, some nights are exceptions.

Last night we went to Rusty's BBQ to eat and visit with my grandparents, aunt and great aunt. We were still finishing dinner when we should have been well on our way to bed. Instead, Anna June was entertaining her adoring fans with her own little variety show.

First, she had brought some artwork to send back to each of their respective households. Then, she sang "Jesus Loves Me" for them. She ate dinner, quietly in her own chair, sharing some fries with Aunt Vicki. When she was finished, I asked if she would sing a song. I was expecting to have to prod her with a song choice, or singing along with her, but she sang the ABCs (almost) perfectly. She counted to 10 - skipping 7, of course. She danced, ran and trotted around like a horse - we have no idea where that came from! Everyone had good food and a good time! It was totally worth deviating from the normal routine.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Waffles Again

This morning, it was time for breakfast. Anna June did not want toast, cereal, bananas or peaches. I asked, "What do you want?" She said, "Waffles!"

So we had waffles. Anna June, with her mouth full, started making up a song and singing (very softly). It sounded like "Doo doo doo Waffles!" I called for Ben to come to the kitchen right away to hear her song.

Of course, when he got in there, she quit singing. I felt like I had Michigan J. Frog in a box. But she did continue being cheerful and silly. This video shows her eating her waffles (some by herself and some with assistance). She also is singing part of the Alphabet song, and then, inexplicably, counting.




The part you don't see is that she had started counting "1, 2, 3, 4..." and then was asked to please quit talking with her mouth full. She swallowed and started back, "4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10!" If we can only get a hold of that seven...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Father of the Year


Anna June woke up last night sometime after 11:30, screaming. Her daddy and I took turns shushing her and I even tried picking her up, which I never do because it wakes her up further. We tried letting her cry it out but it got louder and louder. It turns out she had a very wet diaper and couldn't sleep. (Well, could you have slept with a very wet diaper?) Changing her just woke her up more. She couldn't get back to sleep, and was very upset that I was leaving the room.

So, Ben, my hero, went and laid down beside her crib with his pillow and quilt. It worked like a charm. She cried a couple more times while getting to sleep, but knowing Daddy was right there was reassuring enough to where she fell asleep. It allowed me to sleep, which I needed desperately.

Aside from the very short nap she had at daycare, the likely candidates of her discomfort and insomnia were: too much juice, milk and water after coming home from school; too much candy; not enough dinner; too many dolls in the bed; loss of blankets; teething; or coming down with something (which I really hope it is not)! We'll try to do what we can for her tonight.

In other news, AJ finally got her first H1N1 shot this morning. In my (poor) defense, she was just sick enough all winter to keep us from getting it for her. She was very good, both with the waiting and the shot itself. She got a huge sticker from the nurse. When we got to daycare, it was like a celebrity had arrived. Apparently, after all the children were in the classroom, the school secretary got my message that we'd be late this morning, and called over the intercom to tell the teachers. Ever since that, the kids kept asking, "Anna June coming?" They were on the indoor playground when we got there. Several of the girls ran up to her and gathered around to hear her tell about her boo-boo (she patted her leg and said "boo-boo") and see her enormous pink My Little Pony sticker.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 1 Official Potty Training

Anna June did well staying dry at school and even produced in the potty! She did not do so well at home. Right in the middle of eating, I looked at her and asked what she was doing, and sure enough, she had been having so much fun with her yogurt she just forgot to use the potty! Oh, well.

I promise the next several days will not be all about potty training. It could take all year! But I did want you to know that she did OK on day one.

Other aspects of AJ's day:
Helped Mommy make veggie pizza at home, although she likes to talk about "pepperoni"
Read books with Daddy
Screamed and cried when I didn't let her wash her hands the exact way she wished
Had a not-so-great night, even with the footed pajamas to keep her warm
Slept with "Toto" from her Halloween ensemble

Lately, AJ and I have been putting away all the toys/loveys/blankets in her crib as we get her up each day. "Good Morning, Helen," I'll say to her doll, and give her a kiss. "Good morning lovey!" and when I'm all done greeting the toys, Anna June will say (as if I forgot), "Good morning Anna June!"

Off to wake her up!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Daily Report


Anna June's daycare teachers send home reports each day to say how she's doing. Recently, they've taken the time to write some specific notes rather than just checking the boxes to let me know more about her day. On the report from Friday, her teacher wrote, "Anna June had a good day! She told all her friends what color they had on during circle time!!" This makes me really proud. She now knows the difference between her black shoes and her white shoes. She can say most of the colors, most of the time.

As far as counting goes, she's been counting up to thirteen, but skipping seven. After 13 she says 18 about 3 times, and then says 30. We're working on it.

Today she went to school in her very first Pull-up. I was hoping to get training pants with plastic covers but they are nowhere to be found. I looked 2 places on Saturday and 3 places on Sunday and they were nonexistent. I will have to look online. We shopped so much yesterday, though, that we didn't get around to actually practicing wearing the Pull-up. In a way, I wanted to get as much shopping done as we could while she was still wearing diapers. I think it will go OK. She seemed pretty excited about it.

Last week, they studied the circus. The week before, it was arctic animals. I bet you can tell which weeks these pictures are from! This week is all about Health, with one exception...on Friday (as I just learned) they're going to have their clown dress up day, with mismatched clothes, shoes, and hats. I can't wait for that photo opportunity! One of their teachers had to be out so they postponed it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sound the Alarm

On Saturday, we got a lot accomplished. In the afternoon, Anna June and I went to the library and by the antique shop to say hello. We also went back by the grocery store to pick up the things the bag boy left out of my bag when I went the first time. We went shopping with Daddy and bought some more big girl panties (we're being optimistic about the potty training beginning tomorrow at school)! We had a lot of fun running our errands. But the most fun we had all day was way back in the morning.

When Anna June woke up, she asked if she could go to school that day. I told her, no, it was Saturday. But I offered to take her to her school's outdoor playground to play before lunch. It was cold and wet, which explained why we were the only ones there. We only stayed about 10-15 minutes, but it was enough for her to run around and get some fresh air and exercise. Her parents both wanted to leave before she did. We saw our opportunity when our neighborhood fire fighters pulled up. We guess they were going to use the gym, as there were no sirens or apparent hurry to their entrance to the building. But we asked Anna June if we could go look at the fire truck. She got so excited! So we walked over to examine the gauges and knobs. I took the opportunity to get this picture of AJ and her dad. I think her expression is so sour because she just figured out we were about to leave.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sticking to My Guns

This picture is from Tuesday night. I did not stick to my guns and allowed a Chick-fil-A visit on their Family Night. They had a professional face painter. I told Anna June I would get my face painted if she would. I asked her later, and it turns out she wanted Mommy's face to be painted but not her own. So we left. She was very disappointed. Remembering my lipstick she had recently ruined, I told her I could paint her face with that at home. So I did. Maybe next time she sees a face painter she will like it. Those are supposed to be hearts, by the way. Best I could do.



Anna June's sleep troubles are still ongoing. I explained to her teacher yesterday that AJ is healthy, smart, tall, growing, and perfectly excellent in every way except for the fact that, since she came into this world, she does not like to sleep. So, I was not surprised when her bad dreams/sleep problems/whatever it is made her whiny at school yesterday and unable to nap her usual length of time. Her teacher ended up having to cuddle her a while until she decided she was OK and got down from her lap.

Last night was slightly better. She cried out a few times not needing our help, but at 5:15 this morning woke up. I tried shushing her, re-tucking her in, etc. but she wasn't asleep. I decided to let her cry it out until 6...The Book says not to let her out of her crib until 6 because the next day it will be 5:50, then 5:45, and so on. So Ben asked me at 5:56, "How long are you going to let her cry?" She sounded so pathetic. "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" I said, "Until my alarm clock goes off at 6." And in about 2 minutes, the poor thing had cried herself to sleep. Now I'm on the other end of the spectrum, wanting to wake her up so as not to be late. I have a lot of work to do today and I am really looking forward to the weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Radar's Adventure




I'm dragging out these old pictures of Radar to remind myself how much Anna June loves him. She really, really does. Every night before she goes to bed, she gives Daddy a kiss and then Radar a kiss (whether he wants one or not). She also says goodbye to him every time we leave the house, usually with a hug and a kiss. She loves taking care of him. This morning she put his dog food in his bowl, telling me "I be careful, Mommy." And she didn't spill one piece.

If Anna June didn't love him so much, I can assure you, offers to adopt him from friends and family members who think he is so adorable would have been accepted by now.

This morning, after AJ so lovingly fed him and bid him adieu, Ben came back in the house to ask me for a wet rag to get up the red mud AJ tracked into his car. Seeing an opportunity, Radar ran straight out the door. He not only did not come when he was called, but he ran faster and farther every time we approached him. I told Ben to go ahead and take Anna June to daycare and then come back to help me.

I am very grateful he did. After at least twenty minutes of climbing the hills of Southcrest and Sumar in my pajamas, Radar ran right towards Ben when he pulled back up. But he still didn't want to be caught. It took us several more minutes, but we finally cornered him by someone's backyard fence.

Last night, after I was so nice and gave him some of the "legal" treats on his food trial (bananas and apples), I tried to be good natured when he woke me up twice to take him out in the rain, even while AJ slept through the night (with one instance of crying out, but not needing assistance). I lived with it when Radar heard my alarm clock at 6 am this morning and started crying to go outside in the pouring rain! But the running away pushed me over the edge!

I thought about letting him run and seeing if he would make it back home on his own. But the thought of having to tell Anna June that something had happened to her sweet doggy kept me climbing the hills, stumbling on hickory nuts, leaving muddy footprints in otherwise pristine yards, and hollering for him to come back to me. It was wet, and rush hour, and I kept visualizing someone on their cell phone pulling out of their driveway and not seeing our little canine terrorist. Results would have been devastating.

I did think about letting him just run away, but the fact that he has a tag and a microchip linking him back to us meant that we'd probably get him back. I decided to save everyone else the trouble and reluctantly kept trying to get him myself.

This is not the first time I've had to call in late because of my little black-and-white escape artist. It is getting to be a joke around my office.

The worst part was that Radar left a "present" in someone's front yard. Because we were taking an unplanned walk, I did not have a bag with me. So after I finally got ready for work (more or less), being the excellent neighbor that I am, I drove back down the hill to retrieve it. It was just my luck that the lady of the house was walking out the front door and saw me, so I had to explain what I was doing. Then, I drove back around the block with the bag of poop hanging out the window of my car. I must have been quite the sight, with my wet hair flapping in the breeze.

At least I got a workout in.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not Necessarily News


Last night, when we were taking Radar outside, out of nowhere, Anna June asked to go to the "teek chop" (antique shop). I told her we didn't have time to go last night, but we'd go another time. She had been there only the day before, but didn't get to stay and try on necklaces or hats. Which reminds me...

Anna June's grandparents would like to announce that after eight years, Crestwood Antiques is closing its doors. It was supposed to be at the end of this month, but the enormous amounts of stuff in the building will make it impossible to clear out by January 31. So now, they're shooting for February 28.

The auction, which has been having its sales at the Crestwood location, is moving to Leeds. The last sale in Crestwood will be Saturday, January 23. The first sale in Leeds will be Saturday, February 13. ( I THINK! - Don't quote me on that. Please call Renee or Jerry at (205) 595-0095 if you need real dates and times - or keep checking the websites for details.)

Anyway, if you haven't been by since the "going out of business sale" started, you really should. They are selling everything at rock bottom prices. Even if you think you don't need anything, please stop by to take a look...you may just find a one-of-a-kind treasure. There are books, unique pieces of jewelry, original artwork, lamps and chandeliers, furniture of all sorts, lots and lots of picture frames, and many decorative and collectible items throughout the store. Dirt cheap!

Mentioning that you read Anna June's blog will not get you any additional discounts, most likely, but if you ask nicely you may be invited to see her Nana's brag book. But seriously, folks, go, and tell them Anna June sent you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Long Weekend Over

If AJ could type, this would be her analysis of this weekend:

Friday - got picked up early, went home and made brownies with Mommy. Skipped bath time (my idea).

Saturday - ran an errand with Mommy and Daddy, got shown off at Daddy's work, ate at a new restaurant in Vestavia, napped, went to the library, got ready and went to Nana's house for a while while Mommy and Daddy went on a date. While they were out they exchanged a couple of things Granny sent that were too big and bought me some big girl panties and new jammies. I slept ALL NIGHT!

Sunday - went to church with Mommy and saw my friends Ana Michele, Michael and Wim, and Grandma Annette. Grabbed lunch with Mommy and Daddy then took a nap. Went to the McWane Center to play indoors because it was raining. There were lots of people there! I liked playing in the water the best. There were lots of fun things to look at. I had my first big pretzel in their cafe. I rode the elevators (which I say a lot like "alligators"). Then we went to Nana's house for dinner and played with Uncle Drew, Uncle Patrick and Aunt Liz. I almost slept ALL NIGHT again.

Monday - Daddy went to work. Mommy and I read books at home and watched Elmo on the computer. Then we got ready and went to Uncle Rusty's BBQ for lunch. I like lots of ketchup on my French fries. Granddaddy came to eat with us. Aunt Beth and Uncle Rusty got to sit with us, too. We were about to leave when Jackson and Isabel came with their Nana and Grandpa! I had so much fun playing with them for a few minutes. Then, we went home and took a nap. We ran another errand to get a boo-boo in my jammies sewn up (bor-ring!) and said hi to Nana. Then we went to Olivia's house and took a walk with her and her mommy. We got to ride in strollers! It was a great day. Then I came home and played with Radar. I also helped Mommy reorganize some drawers and fix supper. I did not sleep all night (which Mommy says is because she has to go back to work today).

Got to get ready for school!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Brownies



I finally found myself with a couple of free minutes on Friday afternoon, so Anna June and I baked brownies from a mix we got for Christmas. We also got matching mother-daughter aprons, which we were wearing for the occasion.

More on this great weekend later.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Breakfast with AJ



AJ has been refusing to sit in her high chair. This is a clip from our breakfast this morning, with Princess AJ in her shades. Banana Granola cereal, if you must know.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Juice and Genius



Anna June has been working hard on her coloring skills, as you can see above. This week in school they've been studying "Arctic Animals". The snake doesn't fit with the theme (maybe he was from last week), but I have seen a polar bear and a snowman hanging at the school to go with the penguin and the reindeer.

Last night, even before we got home, Anna June asked for some milk. After wrangling the dog, AJ settled in to watch Barney and I got the milk for. Later, we cooked breakfast for dinner, and she saw her dad get some orange juice and asked for some juice, as well. Since she wasn't done with her milk, I poured her another cup with the juice. Then I got thirsty and got myself some apple juice. I have a habit of telling Anna June everything that I am doing - and when she heard that Mommy was having apple juice, she had an absolute fit until she got some. I shouldn't have given in, but being that both parents were occupied cooking, I dragged out yet another cup for a small bit of AJ for AJ. Then, she got to playing in the cabinet and pulled out my plastic water bottle, insisting that I put water in it. When it was time to eat, the girl had 4 beverages in front of her at the table.

After I filled her further requests for more bacon and butter for her biscuit, AJ ate her dinner and was starting to play. She got out of the chair and was messing around with her beverage cups. She didn't count them out loud, but she said, "Two pair!" I made Ben stop mid-sentence to listen to her say it again. "Do you have two pairs of cups, Anna June?" "Uh-huh! Two pair!"

You heard it first - we think she's a genius.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Everybody Loves Elmo

Besides her classmates, relatives, stuffed animals, and dolls, Anna June's best friends are Elmo and Barney. Unfortunately, like her parents, Anna June loves to watch television. We are trying to keep it limited to Sesame Street and Barney and Friends, but there are other programs she likes as well. Over the weekend, I was showing Anna June some clips on YouTube of Ray Charles singing her new favorite song, "Hit the Road, Jack". Then, I showed her some other things, and we got to searching for clips of Elmo. This was fun for me, as there were several celebrity appearances that I enjoyed as much, or more, than she did.

Here is what I learned:

Anna June did not like Hootie and the Blowfish. I fail to comprehend this.
She tolerated the Goo Goo Dolls.
She did not like Billy Joel, but that is perhaps because he appeared with Oscar and not Elmo. (When Billy Joel introduces himself to Oscar, Oscar asks, "Billy Joel what? Cat got your last name?" I loved it. AJ said, "I don't like that.")
She liked Andrea Bocelli, Denyce Graves, and India Arie.
She did not like Julia Roberts.
She liked Martina McBride.
She didn't like Ricky Gervais, but I think that was because his song was obnoxious.
She loved Natalie Portman.
Best of all, she liked Elmo and the other Sesame Street characters with no outside actors. So maybe we should just stick to those.

Now AJ knows she can get Elmo on the computer, too. Now he is in every room of our house, from our cabinets on bowls and cups to her drawers on her pajamas and nightgown to her closet on her jacket to our rooms in the form of stuffed animals, books and toys.

I know we're not alone. Elmo-mania is everywhere. We just have so much invested in the little furry red guy that I hope she doesn't lose interest too quickly.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Accentuate the Positive

I am not going to post about the sleeping problems at our house, which have been bad lately. I am going to focus today on a few cute things AJ did recently.

Yesterday, after coming home, it was time to take her coat off. As I hung my coat up, I asked her to take her coat in her room. She agreed, but as she ran off, she said, "Dirty clothes." Since she thought her coat was dirty, we put it in the hamper, which was full. I said, "Oh, AJ, your dirty clothes hamper is full. Can we go put the clothes in the washing machine?" She helped me drag it to the washing machine, and she proceeded to put every single piece of clothing in there into the machine all by herself. She closed the detergent drawer and pressed the start button without help. I'm starting her early!

Last night, between daycare and dinner, Anna June wanted some yogurt. I pulled out a kid-sized container of brightly colored Trix yogurt (Anna June actually picked this out in the store.) I read it was "Triple Cherry." I said, "Oh, look, AJ, this yogurt is supposed to be cherry flavored. That's your daddy's favorite flavor."

"Me, too!" she cried! She said it so clearly and emphatically. I loved how she was taking part in the conversation.

One more story and I will stop: AJ has loved her baths more and more lately. She never wants to leave them. After I determine she is clean (and so we won't further delay bedtime) I set a timer for 4 minutes. When it beeps, I say, "OK, Anna June, it is time to get out of the tub!" She says, "Timer says!" and gets out. It is nice not to have to be the bad guy in this situation. I had read this tip before, but thanks to my sister-in-law Beth, I had the courage to try it and for now, it is working.

Have a great day, you well-rested people, you!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Princess AJ

Let's face it: Anna June is a princess. We all knew she would be, even before she was born. But now, she knows it.

A while back, Ben and I were watching an old Saturday Night Live clip of Jimmy Fallon and Mick Jagger. Ben then decided to imitate Mick's "rooster" dancing, and saying "Cock-a-doodle-do!" which Anna June imitated. On Sunday, she was rooster dancing again. Then, it morphed into being a monkey. She took off her shirt and ran around saying "ooh ooh eee eee ahhh ahh!" It was adorable, but of course, we didn't get that on film.

Getting into the car Sunday afternoon, we asked Anna June if she was a monkey. Or a rooster. She said, "No. I princess!" "Are you Princess AJ?" "Uh-huh! Princess AJ!"

Even though the tiara in this video is now history, she can still be a princess. We've now designated a "dress-up trunk" in her room, which is full. I am pretty sure this video was taken on Christmas Eve, before she received her princess shoes the next day, or else they would have been included in her ensemble.

Princess AJ Spinning Around from Ben Gallitz on Vimeo.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Church

We skipped church yesterday. But we usually go. And Anna June usually has a great time. Some recent highlights (some of which I may have told before) include:

We have arrived - When we get to the driveway of the church, Anna June says, "We church!" She also says, when it is appropriate, "We home!" "We school," and "We Nana's house."

Potty time - I don't know why, but Anna June loves to use the bathroom at our church. I will take her to change her diaper, but then she has to try the potty (and she's usually successful). Maybe it is divine intervention.

Offering enforcer - When it is time for the offering plate to be passed around, she holds out her hand for my check. Now, she also holds out her hand for my grandmother's check, too, even if she is sitting on a different pew. Recently, she wore a dress with pockets and was carrying around some change. After I talked to her about it, she put her very own quarter in the plate. I was so proud.

Can I get an AMEN? - When the prayers are over, and the pastor says "Amen," most of us Presbyterian folks say nothing, or mutter an "Amen" under our breaths. Not Anna June. She hollers out, "AMEN!" She's learning a lot from her Baptist daycare.

Moo-sick - Anna June loves music (or "moo-sick" as she calls it). At the end of a song, even the offertory performed by our fantastic pianist Jan Humphrey, she will clap and say "Yay!"

Cheerios - It is my fault for trying to bring AJ to church right when she'd normally eat lunch, but she is often hungry during the service, no matter how much I feed her beforehand. She can't make it the 30 minutes until they get in the nursery, so she asks for the Cheerios that I keep in her bag. I would have never been allowed to eat in the sanctuary when I was little. I feel terrible about it, but it is either give them to her or hear her say "Cheerios" louder and louder. I always try to make sure I pick them up off the floor after the service. Luckily, our congregation is really laid back, and thinks everything AJ does is adorable.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Morning: The Video

Driving through the neighborhood this weekend, I've seen several homes with their Christmas decorations still up. I don't blame them...they're so pretty, I don't want them to come down, either. I guess this year with various illnesses and events, we didn't really fully get into the Christmas spirit until it was here. So, that's my excuse for waiting until now to post Anna June's Christmas video. It is 3 and a half minutes of her looking at and enjoying the gifts Santa and others brought. While we did spend some time talking about baby Jesus this Christmas season, this video does not show any of that. This is just sheer excitement of a little girl getting everything she wanted for Christmas, including some surprises, like Mickey Mouse fruit snacks.

Christmas Morning 2009 from Ben Gallitz on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Video of AJ and her Baby Doll


AJ and Baby Leigh, the doll from Ben Gallitz on Vimeo.



AJ loves her baby dolls. In this video clip, Anna June discusses her baby doll, Leigh, and her desire to change her clothes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Can't Keep a Secret!

Anna June's Granddaddy's birthday was yesterday, and they celebrated all day. About 2 weeks ago, when my birthday balloons were still floating around the house, Anna June said, "Happy Birthday, Mommy." I told her it wasn't my birthday but Granddaddy's birthday was next Thursday. I asked her what we should get him for a present. She didn't have any ideas. I told her my one and only idea: UAB Basketball tickets. I said, "I think we should get Granddaddy some tickets to take him to a basketball game." She said, "Anna June basketball game?" I said we would see. But we decided on the tickets, nonetheless.

Later, on New Year's Day, we were at the auction, and, somehow, the subject of birthdays came up again. We said Granddaddy's birthday was coming up and she said "Basketball!" Luckily, Dad was on the other side of the store, but I said, "Shh! Don't tell him!"

Then, later, in our kitchen, AJ brought up birthdays again. I said, yes, Granddaddy's birthday was getting closer. She said "Don't tell him!"

She was very happy to help him open the present and blow out his candle, which was set in a bowl of ice cream (he doesn't care for cake that much). I guess she is practicing. She turned 22 months yesterday, so her birthday is in exactly 2 more months! I can't wait, and I know she can't, either.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Day?

Here in Alabama there are two things on everyone's minds: snow and the NCAA National Championship.

As for the snow, so far, it is a no-show. Some school systems shut down today and tomorrow as a precaution. Some have decided to close today and play it by ear for tomorrow. Some decided to close early today, so as not to have to make up the missed school day. The one our daycare follows is closing at 11:30, which means our daycare would close before then. So, in an another heroic grandparent act, my parents called to ask if we'd like Anna June to stay with them while we had to work. Oddly enough, our employers do not follow the school systems' whims and remain open until absolutely necessary to close. We decided this was a great idea, and I took AJ over to see her Nana and Granddaddy this morning.

Since AJ began her new class, she has not cried once at drop off. I don't know if she is just maturing or if she just likes school better. I think it is both. When I get there in the afternoons, she does not want to leave. She sees me enter the room but keeps right on playing with her friends. This morning, though, in the car she said "Stay here?" which usually means "Stay with me?" I said, "No, Mommy has to go to work. You get to stay with Nana and Granddaddy." When I got ready to leave, she said, "Mommy, go work!" as if she was telling me to go. Luckily, not a tear was shed.

I do not know if my dad is staying home the whole day with Anna June or not, but I do know that today is his birthday, and his office schedule was clear. So, he may spend his day with AJ having a tea party with her, my mom, and AJ's doll, Heather. She was already pouring him "coppee" (coffee) from her tea pot this morning before I left.

As for the football, Alabama plans to win the national championship against Texas tonight. The game starts around 7. If we are all iced in at home, then Ben and I will try to listen to the game on the radio, as for some reason, we cannot get ABC on our television rabbit ears. But if the roads are clear, we may spend more time with Granddaddy and Nana watching it on their TV. I do see some snowflakes falling now. It is expected to accumulate less than one inch, but that is enough to keep us Southerners at home. Anna June is wearing a crimson colored turtleneck, Ben is wearing a red sweater, and I am wearing my Bama sweatshirt. I explained to Anna June that today is "Roll Tide day". She seemed OK with that.

I do not know the original source of this (most likely altered) photo, but it was forwarded to me by my next-door neighbor. Roll Tide, Roll!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thank You!

Anna June learns so much at school, but she also learns a lot from watching her parents. We work so hard to not say the wrong things in front of her, but sometimes, we forget to say the right things in front of her.

In the past few days, though, I have noticed a genuinely sweet thing that Anna June does that she has learned from us: she says "thank you". And not just when prompted by a "What do you say?" from me.

For example, I most often do not vacuum. Mostly because I have a toddler attached to my leg at all times, and this one happens to be terrified of vacuum cleaners (except hers). After we took down the Christmas tree, Ben ran the vacuum over the den to pick up the stray plastic needles. As soon as the switch was turned off, Anna June said, "Thank you, Daddy!" I didn't even have a chance to thank him yet, but I did after I heard her do it so enthusiastically.

And this morning, when it had warmed up slightly from 19 degrees, we were loading in the car while Ben scraped the ice off the windshield. After scraping, he leaned in the car to kiss us goodbye. Anna June called, "Thank you, Daddy!" And then she kept saying it as we drove off. We were both really, really grateful, but she was the one who said it first, again.

I would like to think she learned it from me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Class

Anna June started her new class yesterday, and so far, everything is going fine. She had a good first day. She got a "proud of you" sticker on her daily report for sorting the colors orange and yellow from five colors. In Arts and Crafts time, she practiced cutting paper with safety scissors for the first time. I asked her if she cut the paper. She said "No." But I told her she'd get the hang of it with practice. She seemed OK with that.

After school, we ran home to let the dog out. After bribing AJ with fruit snacks, we were able to run a quick errand at K-Mart before heading to Rusty's BBQ to meet up with our cousins Mac and Deb, in town and visiting the restaurant for the first time.

AJ provided the entertainment for the evening. After deciding she was finished with her supper, she proceeded to run around the table in circles. Over and over. Sometimes while eating. I at least told our guests that Anna June isn't allowed to do this at other restaurants, just Rusty's. If Ben had been along, I am sure she would have behaved more civilly. But it was getting close to her bedtime and she was getting maniacal. It was an hour past her bedtime when she got to sleep. She had a decent night, but at 5:45 am she started calling "Mommy, wake up! Mommy, wake up!" She was ready to get up for the day.

I did not believe it when I read the sleep training book, but if the baby is late going to sleep, she will wake up either at her normal time or even earlier. I'm about to have to put my foot down and say that we can't have any more special occasions on weeknights. Or else I am just going to have to start drinking coffee.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weekend Headlines

For not having much of a schedule this long weekend, Anna June had a lot of adventures.

New Year's Eve - Anna June stayed with her Nana and Granddaddy all day while her parents had to work. AJ and her mommy went to the zoo for a short but great visit. That night, we all stayed home and went to bed early, which was much needed, since Anna June didn't have the longest nap ever.

New Year's Day - Anna June had fun at home, watching her shows and playing with her toys. We went by the auction at the antique shop. Anna June reported as we circled the parking lot to find a space that there were "lots peoples." There were! We had supper at home, including traditional black eyed peas, which were cooked too long and mushy (not quite burned)!

Saturday - Anna June had her weekly excursion to the library after nap time. She was glad that they were open (which they were NOT the day after Christmas). She stayed a long time and got stickers and a picture from the adoring librarians. On the spur of the moment, we asked Nana and Granddaddy if they could watch AJ while the grownups went out to dinner. They agreed. We were discussing where to go, mistakenly in front of Anna June. "Do you want to go to PF Changs?" "Anna June PF CHANG'S!!!" "Or what about Shangri-La?" "Anna June Shangri-la!" We went neither place, and neither did she. She ate more black eyed peas at Nana's. And ice cream. This was followed by a terrible night, where she cried out "Mommy, Mommy!" at least a dozen times.

Sunday - Anna June went to church. After a challenging morning at home, the report from the nursery was that she was such an obedient, intelligent and pleasant child. She proceeded to be contrary the rest of the day, but had an outstanding night, with barely a whimper at bedtime and not a peep all night.

Also:

Anna June is talking up a storm. She can tell you parts of the car: front seat, back seat, and trunk. She can tell you who is driving and who is riding. She can identify a stop sign. She can say "Whoa" when she thinks you are driving too fast. And that's just the car stuff!

She often says "be careful, Mommy," usually when I'm performing a task that I've told her to be careful while doing, such as drinking a glass of water.

Lots more to come this week. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Picture Time


I have taken some really horrible pictures over the holiday stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year's. I hope to do better in 2010. However, here is the link to our new Picasa web album of Anna June's holiday season. There are a few gems among the rocks. Enjoy! PS - As always, I invite anyone with better pictures of my child to send them to me!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Girl and Her Doll

Chillin' with Baby Leigh


Playing with her doll. Note the boots. She was distressed that Baby Leigh has no socks or shoes.


Cheese!!!


I figure if I ever run out of ideas for posts, I can just feature each of the toys Anna June got for Christmas and, doing one per day, that would take me up to her birthday. But this one wrote itself, about a toy she's had for a long time.

Today, when our TV wasn't doing what I thought it should in order to process AJ's repeated request of "Barney!" I suggested that we play with her baby dolls. When we got to her room, the first one we found was Leigh, or "Baby Wee" as Anna June calls her. She needed attention because her hair bow had fallen off. Immediately after I fixed the problem, AJ picked her up and hugged her. Then, out of nowhere, she said, "picture". Anna June has apparently gathered from my behavior that when one loves a baby, one is supposed to take a lot of pictures of her.

This was a shock to me, as AJ has been camera shy of late. But after I told her I had to get one more because the first one didn't work, she kept asking for "one more" over and over. So I have over a dozen pictures of AJ, in her Christmas jammies, with Baby Leigh from this morning. AJ is also wearing her pink boots, which you can almost see in one of these pictures. AJ came with me to take Radar outside first thing this morning, and I don't know why, but she really wanted to wear her boots instead of her regular shoes. Maybe it was because we let her wear the boots when it snowed (and it was VERY cold for us this morning), or maybe it was because she thought they would look great with her pajamas. But she wore them most of the day.

Anyway, AJ had a ton of fun with Baby Leigh's photo session, saying "cheese" loudly at every opportunity. She also rocked her in her rocking chair, singing "Rock baby treetop!"

After her Daddy woke up, AJ cast Baby Leigh aside once again, although it is sure to be another temporary absence. This afternoon she also played with her dolls Lizzie, Helen, Heather and Bunnie. She even put Heather to bed in the middle of the floor, with her very own blanket. "Good night!" she told Heather. "Mommy loves you!"

Friday, January 1, 2010

All Aboard!

Among my many resolutions for the year is to get organized better than 2009. For example, if I had been organized, I may have noticed that I left my brand new zoo membership card at the zoo during our trip to Zoolight Safari last month. They were nice enough to call me and let me know it was there. I had been planning to run by and get it at lunchtime, but every day this week I had other errands to run.

So, when I managed to sneak out of work 2 hours early on New Year's Eve, I made a quick decision: Anna June and I were going to the zoo, even for a short visit. The weather was relatively mild, it wasn't raining, it wasn't dark, and we could! So, I scooped her up from her Nana's house and we drove to the zoo.

The zoo staff was incredibly nice. They gave me my card and took care of the free stuffed animal they "owed" us, too. We are new to the zoo thing and found out that the train runs only every hour, on the half hour (3:30, 4:30, etc.) Well, since we were asking about it as the last whistle blew for the 3:30 ride, we would have to stick around that side of the zoo for another hour. Anna June really wanted to ride the train - she had enjoyed it so much at Zoolight Safari that I knew she'd enjoy it more during the day.

In the hour of waiting, we were able to see a lot of animals: all sorts of birds including flamingos, macaws, and ducks; the sea lions; lots of primates including monkeys and our gorilla (who is on loan); and kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.

I got a little nervous waiting for the train, as we were the only two people in line. As it was getting late, I was starting to wonder if we were the only two people left in the zoo! I kept checking the time, and I was about to pull out my phone and call the zoo office to ask if there really was going to be a 4:30 train ride or not! But as soon as I reached for it, the conductor came along. He was the nicest fellow! He took our token from Anna June, and did the whole train ride tour, even though we turned out to be the only people on the train. He told a couple of incredible stories, including an incredible one about the family of white European swans. He even backed up the train to show AJ something he thought she had missed!

So, AJ and I were the very last people to ride the train at the zoo in 2009. What a great way to round out the year!