Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Busy Bee

Even though things have been topsy-turvy around here lately, Anna June has managed to stay busy. Here are some highlights of the past few days:

Easter Egg Hunt -
On Saturday morning, we went to our church as planned for the annual Easter egg hunt. AJ's friend Sipsey came, too. There were 5 kids altogether, so each child got about 50 eggs! They had so much fun. It was a lovely day, the children shared, the parents were nice, and AJ wasn't the only one who kept stopping after each egg to eat the candy inside.

Church-
Anna June wore the pink and white striped dress she just wore in her portraits. Ms. Dena gave her a white hat with a pink flower, which just happened to match, so she was all ready for Easter a week early.

The Visitation-
Normally, a visitation at a funeral home is not much fun for a two-year-old. But with all of her aunts, uncles, and cousins present, AJ was well-entertained. She spent a lot of time in the lobby with Aunt Liz and Aunt Beth playing with some of her new plastic Easter Eggs. Everyone commented on how beautiful, big and well-behaved she seems to be now.

The Funeral-
Again, not really a highlight. Before the service, Anna June played with my youngest cousins, Ella and Claire, picking dandelions and walking around hand in hand. AJ did well at the service, despite the fact that it was right during her regularly scheduled lunch/nap time. She was quiet in the chapel, thanks to Aunt Kristy breaking out her day planner and a pen for AJ to color. She sang along to "Because He Lives" and blew her nose quietly as all the rest of us were trying to do. She had to get changed right before the procession started. We went up to the graveside and she did well there, too. Except when the soloist was singing "Amazing Grace", an airplane passed by overhead. AJ thought we should all be aware of this fact and announced, "There airplane, everybody!" Then, after we were dismissed, she had a total exhausted meltdown over not being allowed to go play "up on the hill" and we left in a big hurry.

Lunch-
We zipped through a drive-through and got AJ some chicken and fries. We were at the drive through box and AJ declared, "Anna June want kid's meal." Yes, I am embarrassed that she knows what that means. But a kid's meal she received. She got a chocolate chunk cookie, which was warmed by the heat of the other food. When I say the melted chocolate got all over her, it is not an exaggeration. The problem was that she fell asleep in the car. I made the decision to leave her sleeping, and moved my chocolate covered baby to her crib, where she slept just fine. The sheets and new dress, of course, may never be the same.

Shopping-
After nap, we went to visit my grandmother and see everyone we didn't get to talk to much at the funeral. AJ entertained them all by running in circles, dancing and singing. I am told this is just what everyone needed. Then, we went for some retail therapy at the Riverchase Galleria. Actually, I have been trying for over a month to find a weekday to take Anna June shoe shopping, but had not found one where we weren't sick, I didn't have to work or something else more important was going on. We hit Stride Rite, thinking a Tuesday evening would be less crowded than a dreaded Sunday like we did last time. It was not. Eventually, a salesperson helped us figure out that Anna June now wears a 7.5. The last time we bought shoes, it was a 6. So, AJ, I'm sorry for cramming your feet in small shoes! We got some white patent-leather Mary Janes that were on sale and will go great with her Easter dress. I have started purging her shoe drawer - there are some pairs that have to go. We're still keeping the ladybug rain boots even if they're a tad too small - we can't bear to part with them just yet. We rode the carousel and got some food to-go from the food court. AJ was happy when we returned.

Other tidbits -
When passing Ben's work on Highway 31, Anna June called out "There Daddy's work!" I realize we had been there a few hours before, but I think that is really, really good for her age.

Bedtime stalling has gotten worse. Last night she was, according to her, hungry, thirsty, in need of a baby doll (who then needed her diaper changed), in need of Mommy, etc. She woke up twice: once was normal, the second one she woke up hollering: "There's a hair in my mouth!!!" I tried to remove said hair in the dimly lit room, blurry-eyed with no glasses on. I went to get her some water to perhaps wash it out with. I came back and offered it to her, and she said, "No, Anna June need MILK!" I told her she was fine and she went back to sleep.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Goodbye, Granddaddy

Early this morning, Anna June lost her great granddaddy, Elwyn. He was 81 years old. He was hospitalized on Valentine's Day of this year, and despite some improvements, contracted pneumonia and could not get well. Ben and I had the opportunity to go to say goodbye to him yesterday. The end, we hear, came peacefully.

I visited him on Sunday, and through the oxygen mask, I could tell that he knew me and was trying to say my name. Holding his hand was all I could do.

I didn't have the privilege of knowing him when he was a young athlete in the western part of the county, called "Shine" after a famous Birmingham Barons baseball player. I've only seen pictures of him so young and handsome. But he was a lifelong sports fan, loving baseball, basketball, football and golf. Luckily, we never got to discuss the Tiger Woods scandal, but we did get to bask in the glory of the Crimson Tide's national championship this past year. Granddaddy was one of those Alabama fans who took credit for each win and the blame for each loss. He had complicated insights into each play - he remembered games from years ago and strategical points from every one.

I was pretty young when he retired, but I remember knowing that my grandfather sold insurance for Liberty National in Ensley. Later, when I went to work for UAB, I worked in the same building as that company's headquarters. I got a kick out of that - the building was much, much cooler with the replica of the Statue of Liberty on top when I was a kid, but I remembered riding past it and associating it with him.

When he was young, he raised my Aunt Vicki on his own for a while, until he married my grandmother, a young widow with three kids. Later, they had my Uncle Scott. He raised them all strictly, and made sure that all of them had opportunities for education, religious and secular. Of course, by the time I came along, he was a veteran granddaddy. The Granddaddy I knew ALWAYS made sure to have ice cream for me when I came over.

He and my grandmother were able to travel frequently, as they were both retired. Mostly, they took short trips to visit their many family members. But they also went on cruises, to football games, to the mountains, to the beach, to Maine, to Washington. As he told me frequently whenever he'd talk about his trips, "I'm spending your mother's inheritance." Actually, he told me this whenever he'd make a big purchase: a television, a recliner. He grew up with very little, and he worked hard for what he had. When I was little and complained that we didn't have something, he told me we'd have to "do like they do across the river - do without."

Not too long ago, Granddaddy split up his coin collection amongst his heirs, as his eyes were getting weak. This upset Ben and me greatly. We (mostly Ben) had spent a lot of time listening to him talk about his coins - they were a fun hobby for him, especially when he was too frail to pick up his golf clubs anymore. It broke our heart then to think of a time when he would be gone. But this, he said, was how he wanted it. Fortunately, when our house was burglarized, they didn't find our coins. Their sentimental value outweighs their monetary one by far.

Granddaddy told me many, many times that he was worth millions - the way he saw it, he was worth at least a million dollars for every child and grandchild he had...so now he was up to $24 million! Not a bad haul.

Granddaddy loved Anna June. He had a couple of other great-grandchildren, but AJ was the only one to live in the area, and the only girl. He loved to play a little "ham bone" hand-clapping game with her, which delighted her from the youngest age. He loved calling her June Bug and liked seeing her pictures.

I learned so many things from him - he was a bargain shopper, and he'd give me tips about deals at Bruno's and other places. From him I learned to appreciate all that we had. He was active in his church, which taught me about Christian service. He supported the Big Oak Ranch, and believed in the work that they did.

He and my grandmother took me on one of their trips to visit Aunt Heidi when I was young - I got to go to Epcot Center and I had my first time in a hot tub. It was a joke with us for many, many years that he could not say the word "jacuzzi". He also, I learned, could not (or would not) pronounce "Ponte Vedra", "Sacajawea" and other words to my amusement and consternation.

He wasn't a perfect person - for one thing, he was stubborn. He gave the family and the hospital staff quite a fight through the month he was there. The last time I visited, looking at him in his hospital bed, I could hear his voice in my head saying, "I don't want y'all to make a fuss," and "I don't want to be a burden." In the end, the family had to give in to what we knew were his wishes. It was that stubbornness, in part, though, who made him who he was.

My grandfather and I may have not shared any genetic material, but as with all blended families, what binds us together is love, not blood. He was certainly my granddaddy. I will miss him every day.

As when anyone I love dies, I find myself regretting that we did not spend more time together, but I am thankful for every second that we did. When we would come visit him, we'd anxiously run up to their front porch and ring the doorbell. Granddaddy would pretend they weren't home. "They's not here!" he'd call out in a funny, country accent. "They's gone to Pratt City!" Of course we never fell for it once, but it was his joke that I'm sure he played on each of us at every visit.

I wish you were just gone to Pratt City, Granddaddy. But I know you are in a much, much finer place. Please save me a seat. I love you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last night while trying to put AJ to sleep I started singing her Donovan's "Epistle to Derroll" (aka the Starfish Song). She stood straight up in bed and said "No, Daddy, that Granny Annie song." She's right -- my mom sang me to sleep at AJ's age with the same song, and her granny had performed it for her several times on her last visit. I explained to her that Granny Annie taught me the song, and sang the song for me, and now I can sing it for her.

Also, got a magazine in the mail today with this blurb:
"A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport and when we want her, we just go get her.... Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."

Slept

Anna June's teacher told me yesterday that the children should sleep well - she had them out on the track and the playground, running around, playing on the swings, and walking for a big part of the beautiful day. When we got home, AJ played in her sandbox for a while, until she announced she was finished.

Sure enough, after the usual bedtime song-and-dance ("Anna June thirsty!" "Anna June need go tee-tee one more time.") AJ slept. The whole night. Not a peep out of her. I do believe that the fresh air helps her sleep better, for some reason.

I'm not going to go back through almost 450 posts to count, but I am pretty sure that this has happened less than a dozen times in two years. I am so thankful. I really, really needed her to sleep.

Now, if it will just stop raining they can go outside to play some more today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shopping


Anna June loves to go shopping, and she went with Granny to Wal-Mart on her trip, and came back with her very own shopping cart (or buggy, as we say here in Birmingham). Knowing our objections to the world's largest retailer, Granny thoughtfully purchased stickers to cover up their logo. Anna June applied some of them all by herself last night.

This morning, once again, breakfast was a struggle. I got her to agree to eat Cheerios, only to have her freak out. So she got a Pop-Tart in addition to the Cheerios. She freaked out over my having a bowl of Cheerios, too, and -this is what got to her- I used HER MILK! (I usually keep some lower-fat milk for myself, but I was out.) She was mad.

So I got my grocery list and wrote "skim milk" on the list. This seemed to please her. She asked for the pen and wrote some more "words" on the list. It was very cute. I added cinnamon rolls (her first breakfast request) and Pop-Tarts, too. Then, suddenly, she told me she didn't want Cheerios - she wanted berries. "Blueberries," she told me, to clarify.

I didn't have those either. I added them to the list.

I told her I would get all those things at the grocery store. She told me "Anna June not go grocery store."

She usually likes to shop, but I told her she doesn't have to come to the grocery store with me if she doesn't want to.

But I bet she'd like to come if I tell her she gets to bring her own buggy.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fun and Funny



Anna June's daycare celebrated Dr. Seuss week a while back, and here is one of her depictions of his most famous character, The Cat in the Hat. Although I pretty much love any of Dr. Seuss' work, Ben really doesn't like him. We'll have to see how Anna June comes down on this issue - she's not really old enough yet to have an opinion. Sometimes she asks for Dr. Seuss books, but usually, she likes other ones better.

Like Curious George, for example. She's also started watching the cartoon of Curious George on TV. She is just like George - very curious and gets in lots of trouble. Last night, Ben got a phone call and wandered away from the dinner table. Anna June wandered off as well. I demanded she come back so that she could get some more food, as I wasn't going to feed her again if she decided she was "hun-gee" at bedtime. After much debate, she decided she would eat some yogurt. She selected the flavor (one I had specifically bought for myself) a chocolate raspberry Yoplait Whip. I love these - and they were on sale - so I bought every flavor. AJ decided she likes them, too. But last night, she decided to eat and run at the same time.

I put her back in her chair - she got back down, with the yogurt in her hand. Up and down, up and down. She would be "shimished" (finished) and then she would decide on one more bite. She kept spilling it, I kept wiping it up. She dropped the container with a loud flourish a couple of times. I noticed Radar licking his fur, but only several minutes later did I realize he was wearing a substantial amount of Chocolate Raspberry yogurt! So I cleaned him up, and made AJ "help" me. I put away the food, then rushed to give her a bath as she'd already gotten her nails full of soap and was running around the house with it.

I got her bathed, dried, and dressed, and Ben took over to do story time. I went back to the kitchen to wash dishes, sure that the chocolate raspberry yogurt I smelled was on the floor. I promised myself I would mop later. After AJ was in bed I returned to the kitchen and happened to look up.

"Oh no!"I said.
Ben asked, "What?" with a look of utter dread.
"There is yogurt. On the ceiling."

My sweet, tall husband got on a chair and wiped it up, noting with chagrin that it was taking the paint off the ceiling to rub it so hard. At least we discovered it before it completely dried. His other comment was that managing to get yogurt on the ceiling sounded like something that would happen to Curious George.

That's our little monkey!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Playing with Granny

Anna June has really enjoyed Granny Annie's visit. I'm not sure she grasps that she's going home today. We told her we'd go visit Granny's house soon, but we didn't tell her when - I hope she doesn't think we're leaving today, too.

Granny got Anna June her new favorite thing, which is a sandbox. This super deluxe model has a picnic table and umbrella attached. We have loaded it up with 300 pounds of sand, which should keep us situated for a while. AJ loves it, although with the yucky weather we've had for the past couple of days, we haven't been able to enjoy it as much as we would have liked.

Granny also brought things for AJ's beloved dolls. Heather, Helen, Leigh, and the others got gifts like glasses, a watch, a blanket, shoes, a hair brush, and more. They have had more fun with these things!

On Friday, Granny Annie got to see AJ play on the playground with some other children at Chick-fil-A. It was pretty much like all our other visits there, except AJ was sporting the green tutu that Granny brought her. I hear that everyone thought it was adorable!

Our visit to the zoo was good, and we went to Rusty's BBQ for dinner. I am fairly certain Annie doesn't have access to ribs anywhere near as good as Rusty's in Wisconsin.

On Sunday, we went and had AJ's studio portraits done. We think this is going to be an annual tradition. As soon as I have full access to the electronic files, I am sure I will post all the pictures here. She looked adorable and was fairly well behaved, considering it was so close to nap time.

AJ also got to show Granny Annie "her" library, which is known to the rest of us as Avondale. They had a fun time picking out books and playing with all the neat toys there.

It was great having an extra person to help with Radar, and change AJ's pull-up in the middle of the night, and bathe her, and feed her! We will really miss her!!!

I will post the pictures when I can.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Surprise!




Anna June seems all recovered from her little illnesses, so we took off for the zoo early this morning. At Anna June's request, we saw the monkeys. I voted for the sea lion show, which was great but AJ's attention span wasn't up for it. Granny Annie wanted to see the alligator, and we did. We made our way towards the children's area, and who did we see but AJ's good friend, Sipsey! I had just gotten through telling Anna June that the next time we went to the zoo, we'd invite someone to ride along in her wagon, and, lo and behold, there was her sweet friend to ride along with us to see the lions and tigers.

Unfortunately, it was close to their nap time and lunch time, but we had as much fun as we could in that short of a time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Big Girl!


Anna June hasn't actually seen her Granny Annie in person in about 11 months, I think. It has been way too long, for various reasons. But we're tickled that she's here now. AJ has been able to show off in so many ways that she's a big girl. She can do so many things that just a few months ago were impossible, such as:
speaking more clearly, and in whole sentences
using a fork better each day
putting things away
saying, "please" "thank you" and "you're welcome"
knowing where things go
using the potty and flushing it!
drinking from a big girl cup (with varying levels of success)
asking to help do things like make the bed, sweep the floor, put away dishes
asking to watch her favorite shows
declaring, with specificity, when she doesn't feel well
voicing her opinions such as "I don't like that" instead of just screaming
sleeping better (but still not perfectly) through the night

When Annie asked her "Is this your toaster where you put the waffles?" Anna June responded, "It sure is!" I was more proud of that one than when Ben dropped some tater tots in the bottom of the oven last night and AJ declared, "Oh my gosh!"

I have also heard AJ use abstract phrases like "of course" and "because". It is amazing to me to see what delights her and what upsets her. It has also been fun to let someone else who volunteered to dress her, bathe her and feed her for a few days. So this is my "stay-cation". I will try not to beg Annie to move in.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Uh-oh!

Yesterday, Anna June was sent home from school for vomiting. Whoever made up the phrase "it's always something" was definitely a parent. I can't tell if this is an extension of the same illness or if it is a new one, but she had fever and vomiting in addition to her cough and runny nose. We think the vomiting is all over. (Can I say vomit any more in this post? Sorry.)

On Tuesday night, AJ came home saying her tummy hurt, and said it again Wednesday morning. It wasn't that we didn't believe her, but we didn't know if we were able to do anything about it. Sure enough, when she got to daycare, she was sitting at the table, not eating - very unusual for her - when she told her teacher, "Anna June sick," and patted her stomach. Then, it was evident that she was. Her teacher was impressed that a child as young as AJ could verbalize this distress so well.

Anyway, she seems better now and is staying home with her dad anxiously awaiting the arrival of Granny Annie from Wisconsin. We are all so very excited - we just hope that she doesn't catch whatever Anna June has/had. We promise to Lysol everything down as well as we can!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nah Nah Na Boo Boo

With each passing day, Anna June asserts a little more of her independence. It is wonderful to watch, but intensely aggravating. I try to be patient, and I try to go with the flow. I try to let her have her way, if her way is reasonable. But Ben often has to remind me that I'm the parent, and my way goes.

And, as long as she's still light enough for me to carry (29.5 pounds as of Friday at the doctor), I can still pick her up and "make" her do whatever I want.

This morning, she didn't want to:
get up
wear any kind of "big girl panties" (I caved on this one, though)
wear the outfit I picked out for her, even though it was specially bought for today, St. Patrick's Day!
wear the socks or shoes I selected
wear the cardigan I picked out for her
go to school
carry an extra shirt in case her t-shirt made her too cold

She did want to get in my bed, use the potty, brush her teeth and eat breakfast, which were all reasonable requests. I asked her what she would like for breakfast.
"Cheerios."
"OK. That sounds good, Anna June. I'll get you some Cheerios."
"And grapes."
"I'm sorry, but we're out of grapes. I will get some when I go to the grocery store tonight."
"WHAHHHHHH!! GRAPES! Anna June want grapes!!!"
"I know you do, AJ, and I'm sorry you're disappointed, but we just don't have any grapes right now. We ate them all. I'll be sure to get more today. I haven't been to the store in a while..."
"WHHHHAAAAHHHHAAAHHHAAAHHHAAAHH!"

So, there you have it. That was our morning.

By the way, I do know better. I usually say something like, "Would you like Cheerios or waffles?" but I've been met with a lot of "No" to everything lately.

And, I will get some grapes tonight.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

For The Record



Anna June, on one of her sick days, decided that she would rather wear a different outfit. I've divided her closet into two sections at present: the top bar with her current size, 2T/24 months, and the bottom bar with future sizes. She grabbed this outfit from what was supposed to be the size 3 section, but I was surprised to find that it was actually a size 2. I wish I would have thought to look there, since she didn't really have the best outfit on Valentine's Day and this would have been absolutely perfect. It is red with hearts!

As it turns out, it is now too small. I am sorry for waiting! She decided almost immediately that she could not possibly wear this - it was a bit too tight around the arms and chest. I tried to snap a picture to capture her in this adorable outfit, but by the time I got the camera out, it was too late. She had already freaked out and was trying to rip it off. "Send to babies! Send to babies!" she said. So, I unbuttoned it and she ran straight to the giveaway bag and stuffed the top inside. She kept wearing the skirt, so I tried to put her turtleneck on to coordinate. No such luck. She wanted that off, too.

We ended up back in jammies for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting Back on the Horse

Anna June is back at school today. We kept her at home almost all day yesterday, venturing out only to visit Uncle Drew and Granddaddy while her mom and dad went on a quick dinner date. I have to admit, I was starting to get cabin fever. We have a lot going on right now and I really wanted to get out of the house. I know that the people at church, Rusty's and the library all wondered what happened to us - if we don't go each week they start to wonder!

So, after 4-5 days of fever, she's back in action, albeit with a cough and a runny nose. Possibly the most frequently heard phrase from AJ this weekend has been, "I got boogers!" We've gone through so much Kleenex it isn't even funny.

These pictures were taken on her actual birthday. When I put this dress on her for the first time, she said, "I ballerina!" She asked to wear it again on Saturday. Luckily, the pink Children's Tylenol she spilled on it blends right in!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spoke Too Soon

So now we're on day four of this fever virus. This morning, AJ was fine, but this afternoon, the fever had returned. We're staying home tomorrow so that maybe she can go back to daycare on Monday.

We saw the doctor on Friday afternoon. I had to get AJ up from her nap, and she was not too happy about it. Her eyes were only halfway open on the way there, but when we turned into the St.Vincent's complex, she said very clearly, "Gam-ma 'Net in hospital." I said that yes, Grandma Annette is still in the hospital, but we came there to take her to see the doctor. Then she started screaming, and pretty much didn't stop the whole time we were there. I got her calm in the waiting room, but as soon as the nurse said, "Anna?" she started screaming again.

If I don't get to go back to work on Monday, I'll be screaming, too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting Back to Normal


(Photos courtesy of Liz)

AJ is getting her appetite this morning, as her fever has disappeared. All she wants to eat is candy, which lets me know she's getting back to normal. We're staying home again today as a precaution.

I'm hoping she'll get out of her pajamas today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"I Peel Better Now" - Not for the Weak of Stomach





I think these are the last of the birthday party pictures that I have. I've asked my relatives to send more if they have them. If they do, I will post them.

Around 3 am, Anna June did what I'd been expecting her to do all day Wednesday: she puked. Technically, it was probably my fault: she asked for a sip of juice and I gave her the same room-temperature grape juice that had been sitting out all night instead of the "cold liquids" recommended by the doctor's office. A couple minutes later after I left her room I heard the awful sound and rushed in. She was a little scared, but fine. Ben came in to do clean up duty while she puked some more on me en route to the bathroom. A minute or so later, she declared, "I peel better now!" and started asking to play. She wanted to go "check on Daddy" who was changing her sheets. She talked to us and Radar more than she had talked the whole day before.

Speaking of Radar, the poor guy had to be in the house with us for the whole sick day, because it was raining buckets outside. During the clean-up, he decided he couldn't take it anymore and had a little accident on the carpet, which I stepped in on the way to get AJ some water. I started cleaning it and a minute or two later, Anna June asked me for help in her room. She needed assistance extracting her vacuum cleaner - she wanted to "help" me clean up! I know she's feeling better because she's back to her sweet self. She was even asking for breakfast but I told her we'd better hold off until at least 6 am!

I left for work this morning before she woke up but I think she should be fine - her classmates who have had this fever virus are back to normal as far as we know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

101.4 Ain't a Radio Station

(Photo courtesy of Patrick)

Well, at least around here it isn't. Anna June had a fussy and restless night. We took her temperature this morning and sure enough, she had a fever. Other than a bit of congestion and coughing, she has no other symptoms so far.

Anna June seems OK, now that she's had some waffles for breakfast and hung out with her good friends on Barney and Blue's Clues. I've actually heard her laugh out loud at the antics of the characters on Barney and sort of sing along with Steve on Blue's Clues. She was a little disappointed that we don't have any orange juice, but we have apple, grape, Gatorade, lemonade, and two kinds of milk. She'll be fine.

We may both stay in our pajamas all day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Go AJ! Go AJ!

Enjoying some Fun Dip before dinner on Friday night.

Anna June had a great birthday weekend, which ended with a trip to Nana's for some pizza. After dinner, Anna June was dancing in the middle of the floor, and she started shouting, "Go AJ! Go AJ!" So I started saying, "Go AJ Go AJ Go!" over and over. When I would stop, she'd come over to me and say, "Mommy, sing it again!" So we all ended up saying "Go AJ Go AJ Go! Go AJ Go AJ Go!" She totally understood the concept of the spotlight dancer - I don't know where she learned it, either.

But it took me until we got home to realize that what I should have been saying is "Go AJ! It's your birthday!" Because, for one day out of the year, it actually was.

Monday, March 8, 2010

More from the birthday party

There will be more pictures later, but here are a few of the ones we snapped at Anna June's birthday party on Saturday.

Kym and Ken

The birthday girl hanging out in the party room.

Contemplating what her presents might be.

Ready to eat

Giving hugs to her guests


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Birthday




There are more pictures to come, but since my computer is moving slowly and my time is short, here are a few, showing of the beautiful cake and the even more beautiful birthday girl.

We went to IHOP for breakfast this morning. The crew came out and sang, "Happy Happy Birthday, from all the IHOP crew. We wish it was our birthday, so we could party, too!" Anna June didn't know what to think, but she enjoyed the ice cream sundae at 8:30 am!!!! More later.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Magic!

Thanks to our incredible family, Anna June's second birthday party was magical for her. She loved every minute of it - she played with everyone and was sociable and fun. She ate her lunch (and everyone else's) and she enjoyed the beautiful cake that Beth made.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, AJ's Grandma Annette was able to "be" at the party from her hospital room. She's doing much better, by the way. She enjoyed seeing us via Skype. I never knew we'd have such a fun use for our laptop and web cam.

She got a lot of very generous gifts and had a good time! Pictures and details to come soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Picture This...


...a low of 28 degrees is predicted, and our furnace goes out? What do we do? Well, when all else fails, go to Nana's house! Anna June and I spent the night with my parents while Ben and Radar braved the cold at our house. Actually, it only got down to about 56 degrees inside but I didn't want Anna June, with her tendency to remove her pajamas and blankets, to be cold unnecessarily. Her Granddaddy was super-excited, and made a special dinner of chicken fingers, French fries, and macaroni and cheese. My father is an excellent cook (as are most men in my family) and it was sort of funny to watch him struggle over following the directions on the box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. When Anna June was eating it, she said, "Mommy's is better." I am not making this up. You can ask my dad - he was humbled by my processed-food making abilities.

Because of the change in venue and AJ's late bedtime, I wasn't able to make cupcakes as planned. Instead, I bought them. I'll have to rush from work to her daycare for afternoon snack time, but by golly, Anna June's birthday party at school today will happen!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hospital


Anna June has six great-grandparents, and at this moment, three of them are hospitalized. I won't go into all the details, but my grandfather had a bad fall on 2/14 and has been in ever since. My grandmother (on the other side of my family) went in on 2/23 and Ben's grandmother went in on Saturday.

I decided at once not to tell Anna June about my grandfather, because I honestly didn't want her to know that people could go to the hospital when they fell down. As a toddler, she falls down all the time, and I couldn't stand the thought of adding requests to go to the hospital to her frequent cries for medicine. Plus, I wasn't even able to face up to seeing him for almost a week, when the swelling had gone down and surgery had been performed. He's much better now, but still not out of ICU. Ben's grandmother also fell, and since AJ doesn't know her very well, I haven't been inclined to mention that, either.

However, when my grandma Annette, a person she sees at least once a week, went in the hospital, I was very upset and I told AJ about it. Something like, "Grandma Annette is sick. She went to the hospital. The doctors will make her better." The next day, we took Anna June to visit her, thinking that would lift her spirits. As soon as we entered the hospital, Anna June started freaking out. Of course, it was dinner time, and she is usually not cheerful when she's hungry. But after a while (and after Grandma removed the oxygen tube from her nose) Anna June warmed up, and sang her ABCs, and had a conversation with her. That was last Wednesday. The next day, in the hospital, Grandma had a heart attack.

Last night, AJ picked out some of her artwork on the fridge and said, "Gam-ma 'Net?" I said, "Sure! We can give that picture to Grandma Annette. But she's still in the hospital. Would you like to call her on the phone and talk to her?" She actually said yes, so I called, and while I was trying to get an update from my grandfather, AJ was in the background saying "I talk to Gam-ma 'Net!" So I put her on the phone. They talked a minute and AJ hung up on her accidentally. I called her back and they talked some more. Then we went to church for Family Night Supper. Before enjoying Rusty's excellent lasagna, I was asked by those gathered to give a report on Grandma's condition. I gave the rundown: that she had a procedure, and was doing better, etc. It got quiet for a second when I was finished. Of course, Anna June has never heard the expression, "as serious as a heart attack," but I know she has picked up on how concerned we all are. In that quiet second, with Anna June being held in my arms and the attention still on us, AJ soberly declared, "Gam-ma in hospital." And I think everyone was a little shocked at the fact that AJ knew a) exactly what we were talking about b) the gravity of the situation c) that everyone was looking at us and she felt compelled to make an announcement and d) that she did it so clearly. Everyone knew exactly what she had said.

Instantly, someone said, "Yes, but she's getting better. She'll come home soon." And then someone else changed the subject, "Anna June, what beautiful panda bear shoes you have!" "Oh yes," someone else said, "those are just adorable!"

This morning, she wanted to call Grandma again, but had to settle for my dad. This all happened while we were on the way out the door. I let her talk to Dad in the car on my cell. I heard her say, "Hey Granddaddy...I going to school. We are not at home now because we are going to school..." I didn't hear much after that except, "I hang up." So I don't know what all he got out of that conversation.

I asked, "Did you hang up on Granddaddy, Anna June" She said, "That's OK. I just call Judy now." She started pressing buttons and talking. So, if you accidentally heard from AJ this morning, I apologize!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fun with Aunts and Uncles


Over the past week, Anna June has seen all of her aunts and uncles that live in the area, which is no small thing. (Not counting great aunts and uncles - there are too many of them!)

As I mentioned before, Anna June got to see her Aunt Kym and Uncle Ken on Saturday night. They're expecting their first child in May, and we're excited to have another little girl around (sort of) close by for Anna June to play with. They came up to visit and had a blast with AJ. They cooked dinner and AJ ate well. They had a lot of fun playing with her toys and with each other. The house was cleaner than when I left.

Because Kym is so far along, it's getting harder for her to do the "heavy lifting," so to speak, so Anna June got to spend a lot of time with "Uncca Ken!" They had fun with bath time and story time, and even brushing her teeth. Do you know how I know? Anna June told me all about it the next day. She was so excited. I went to read her a book and she told me, "Uncca Ken read me dat book." And "Uncca Ken brush my teef."

Luckily, Kym took these pictures to let us know that they really did have a good time.

Of course, we can't wait to return the favor when their little one arrives.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rain, Rain Don't Go Away!


In Anna June's box of things from Granny Annie were a pair of adorable rain boots and an umbrella, perfect for our little lady (June) bug. AJ instantly loved them. We told her she could only play outside with her umbrella, but as you can see from these pictures, by Sunday we relented. No rain was in the forecast, and she wanted to play!

Last night, however, I got an idea to take AJ to my parents' house while we did a major and much needed grocery run. Actually, Anna June sort of had this idea when she was not in the mood whatsoever to go to the grocery store. "Let's go to the grocery store, AJ." "NO!!! No grocery store." I proposed that Ben go alone - he nixed that idea, as he thinks he doesn't know what to get. I proposed that I go alone - and I was again rejected, as I tend to forget key ingredients to things (like sour cream for taco salad and Parmesan cheese for spaghetti). Dad had been begging me to bring AJ over, so, like magic, everyone was happy.

By the time we got her ready to go, it was raining. I said, "Oh no, it's raining." Anna June had the opposite response. "Umbrella! Umbrella!" When I finally found where her daddy hid it, er, put it away, she was beside herself with excitement.

If you've ever been to our house, you know it is about 3 grown-up steps from the door of our house to the door of our car. But this was not a deterrent for Anna June. She was so excited about her umbrella! "Open it, Mommy!"

We got to Nana's house and she insisted on carrying it again, but halfway up the walk she wanted me to carry it over her. Mind you, holding her hand in one hand and her umbrella in another left me with no hands for my own snazzy umbrella, so I just got wet.

She was delighted to find out this morning that umbrellas work for snow as well as rain.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Drew is 2

Contemplating her pigtails

AJ and Sipsey at Drew's party

The kids at the Pump It Up party, right before AJ ran out of the shot.


This weekend was a lot of fun for Anna June. It started out Friday with a package from Granny Annie and Auntie Nonny. (More pictures of that to come.) Saturday, Anna June woke up excited to go to Drew's birthday party, even though the rest of the world was waking up to news of earthquakes. All AJ cared about was Pump It Up. She had a much better time at this party than she did at Natalie's in December, now that she understood what it was all about and had a couple more months of growing done.

Then, Saturday evening, her Aunt Kym and Uncle Ken came and played with her while Ben and I went to the movies. That's right - you're reading this correctly - we went to the movies. In a theater. With popcorn. It was nice. (There are also a couple of pictures to come with that as well.)

Sunday, we went to church, and then lunch at Rusty's BBQ. We got there just in time, before a HUGE after-church crowd. AJ enjoyed looking at the other children and even introduced herself to one in the booth behind her "I An Joo!"

Unfortunately, she did not want to take a nap, despite being tired. She was quiet, but I knew she wasn't asleep. I heard her say, "Mommy, I wet!" so I went in to change her. I ended up having to change her and the bed, too, because she had taken her Pull-Up and tights off and peed all over the bed. Thank goodness for those plastic mattress pads!

She did finally fall asleep, but she had on nothing but her pajama top at the time. I was so glad she slept I didn't care! When she woke up, she was fussy, so we didn't leave the house again. Instead, we watched TV and ate dinner, then went to bed. Overall, a fun weekend for us.