Monday, May 31, 2010

Creative Play

We rush Anna June to and fro all during the week, and on the weekends, too. This keeps her from getting bored, but it also keeps us pretty tired. We've taken this long weekend to rest in some respects. I've napped all three days while AJ napped, for instance.

We found ourselves with a little bit of time this afternoon between going to the zoo this morning with friends and eating at Rusty's tonight with family. She's already had a snack and watched a couple of episodes of The Backyardigans. With no immediate deadlines or pressing matters, I let AJ play. By herself. In her room. With her toys. I was folding laundry in my room across the hall. Ben was napping.

She has come up with the most hilarious things. Basically, she wants to take her doll, Helen, to school, while she, playing the mommy, goes to work. She comes to me to put on one of my necklaces so she can go "to work". Then, she gathers up "everything we need" to take Helen to school: AJ's backpack, the nap mat, and, for some reason, the hobby horse. Then, she takes Helen in the kitchen where she drops her off at school. Then, she comes to me asking for me to remove the necklace because she "stopped working." She comes back reporting that Helen had a good day at school, where she "learned things" like her colors. She then puts her to bed.

Who knows what she'll think of next?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Jelly Bean Kid

Anna June gets what she wants, within reason, most of the time. This keeps her a happy kid. The other morning, she wanted to put on her doll's cowboy hat and ride her rocking horse, which she has now named Chiefy after the stubborn pony in a book we read over and over called Popsicle Pony by Jill Stover. No problem! She got to do it, and she was happy.

Like Chiefy in the story, Anna June is always looking for a special treat. Sometimes, though, she asks for things we don't have. I'll be looking in the refrigerator, wondering out loud what we should have for supper, and Anna June will pipe up with something like "bacon!" Well, as good of an idea as that is, we will inevitably be out of bacon. So I will write it on my grocery list. Some weeks my grocery list reads like the candy aisle. Recently, it included such things as jelly beans, waffles, and a yellow sucker. Let me just say that it took 3 different stores over the course of the week to get a bag of Dum Dum suckers. They've been invaluable for bribes - I mean, external motivation.

So since jelly beans were on the list, when Ben and I went to the Dollar Tree without Anna June, we picked up a small bag of Jelly Belly beans. They've been in the pantry a couple of weeks now. I figured if she wasn't asking for jelly beans, I could save them for a later date. She was happy with suckers.

This morning, she asked for a sucker. I told her that if she was cooperative and did the morning getting ready stuff without whining, I would give her a sucker before school. She instantly perked up, and didn't really whine - although she did complain that I didn't allow her to take her panties out of her drawer (despite that she selected them -- we had a different understanding of what it meant to "pick out" one's clothes). She was doing great. I asked her to play in my room so she could be supervised by her father while I dried my hair.

It doesn't take me long to do my hair, but it was too long for AJ. She wanted her sucker. Then. She went into the kitchen, opened the pantry, climbed on Radar's food box to reach the bottom shelf, and discovered the jelly beans. As I was pulling my hair around my brush, I heard a "Mama!" right behind me. I asked her who gave her those jelly beans! She was proud of having discovered them herself. I made her sit down and I gave her a scant handful to entertain her while I finished getting ready.

She asked "Does Daddy want any jelly beans?" She knows he likes them. So I went to him and asked, and relayed the events of the morning so far. He said no, so I reported back to AJ. She said, "Oh. Radar wants some jelly beans, but he's a doggie." I laughed, and she said, "That was a funny joke!"

So, later, she went in to say goodbye to Ben. He asked her what she had for breakfast, and she said, "JELLY BEANS!" He said, "Please don't tell anyone else that!"

For the record, Anna June took her real breakfast, a nutritious and healthy Pop-Tart to school, which she will have with milk!

When we visit the dentist later this year, I am going to regret this.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Breakfast Time

On Sunday morning, Anna June and I baked blueberry muffins from a mix. As you can see from the photos, her teddy bear Ding Ding had to help. She has discovered that the best part of baking is licking the batter from the bowl. Except she didn't call it batter - she called it "muffin goo."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This Just In...

...Anna June's favorite color is truly, officially, orange. If there's one color in the rainbow that Ben and I could do without, it would be orange. But there's nothing we can do to change or influence her further at this time. If her orange cup is dirty, she has a meltdown. Given the opportunity to wear orange ponytail holders, she said, "I will be so excited!" Her first words to her father upon arriving home last night (after we'd been talking about colors) were, "Daddy! I LOVE ORANGE!!!!"

So I sent her to school in her orange shorts and just hoped she doesn't start singing the Auburn fight song too soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Peer Pressure

Anna June is a TV addict. I've admitted it. I am not proud of it, but it's out there. If you read this blog often, you know that she loves Sesame Street and Barney. We tried to turn her on to Mister Rogers but she wasn't that interested - she may be a tad too young. Recently, for some variety, we let her watch Curious George, since she was a fan of the books. She loves that show. Until I saw a PBS station promo, I wasn't aware that each episode teaches math and science concepts. Maybe that's why she likes it - she's very curious, and, I think, quite scientific. Perhaps she'll be a doctor after all.

We do not have cable, but we do have a Netflix subscription that allows us unlimited access to their streaming video. One of the reasons we got it was that we knew that one day, Anna June would want more than just Barney to watch. They have a huge selection of children's programming on Netflix. We've been through the first two seasons of Blue's Clues, and started on a third. We have our media center computer hooked right up to our TV, so TV and Internet can be easily merged. There's even an app for Netflix on our current media center version. We like that we can be more choosy about what AJ watches, rather than just turning on the TV and flipping through the channels. Also - no commercials.

After attending Maxwell's party on Saturday, Anna June, during dinner, asked if she could watch The Backyardigans. I said OK. I haven't been too excited about the show, from the clips I saw passing by the TV at Maxwell's. I did feel bad for her, though, when all the other moms and dads could name all the characters and I had never even seen the thing. I thought that maybe since we were just talking about the show near her and not to her that she'd be immune to it, and stick to the PBS favorites that we record each day on our DVR. Not a chance. I am afraid that Uniqua, Tyrone, Austin, Tasha, and Pablo have become part of our lives now. After watching the first episode, Ben and I concluded that it is like Veggie Tales, but not as clever or useful.

Luckily for us, Netflix streaming has The Backyardigans and we were able to watch the first episode right when she wanted to watch it. I had this moment of gratitude for technology - it was going to be a lot easier to mash a button and have it play exactly what she asked for rather than explain that we made a conscious decision to eliminate dealings with cable and satellite companies in our lives.

Later that night, AJ asked us if she could watch Ariel (as in Disney's The Little Mermaid, for those of you not in the know). This one I could trace back to school - they watched it as part of their unit on oceans. Also, it was brought to my attention by AJ that her friend Maddie was wearing an Ariel shirt. AJ has an Ariel robe and Ariel pajamas, thank you very much. Ben found a clip online, which satisfied her for the moment.

Then, in the bathtub, out of nowhere, she asked me "Do you like Dora?"

Thank God for Netflix.

And another note: Just because AJ likes all these shows at this very moment does not mean that we need every toy, t-shirt, DVD, CD, sticker, coloring book or hair bow with these characters on them. Please. Our house looks like a television commercial already. It also looks like a toy store exploded in it. We're good. We promise. We are not accepting gifts at this time. Thank you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Like the French

Anna June had a great time this weekend. On Saturday she attended her school friend Maxwell's birthday party. We were a little late, due to her nap and my losing the directions to the party, but we made it and had a blast. It was a backyard "fun in the sun" themed party.

On Sunday, we went to Olivia's first birthday party, which happened to have a similar theme. I was so glad AJ has three bathing suits. I let her wear her brand new bikini to Maxwell's, and then she was going to wear her Hawaiian patterned one-piece to Olivia's. On Sunday morning, I pulled it out of the closet, including the adorable grass skirt, and AJ was excited. She put both pieces in her Wal-Mart buggy and was walking around the house with them.

I loaded up the bag and was totally ready to go: we had done our sunscreen, packed our towels and a couple of swim diapers, and I even packed my swimsuit in case the other parents decided to get wet. We even remembered the gift and the homemade card.

But when we got to Olivia's house, Anna June's bathing suit was still in her buggy, at home. We live close, and I wanted to just turn around and leave. But AJ had already seen the pool, and to take her away from the inflatable beach ball and all that cool water would have caused a major tantrum. I was thinking class 4 or 5, at least. I thought of sending Ben a text message to stop by the house on his way (he was joining us later) to get it, but it was too late.

Luckily, Kate, our gracious hostess, her sisters and mother all encouraged me by saying that nothing is cuter than a baby in a swim diaper in a pool on a hot day. "Who cares?" they said. "She's two!" So, I took off AJ's sundress and let her splash away. She happened to be wearing one of those pairs of training pants that's "waterproof" on the outside. She had on her hat and sunglasses, so it's not like she was naked or anything.

Many of the guests commented that this was not only perfectly normal here in the states, but de rigeur in Europe, especially France. I was happy to lend this sophisticated air to the one-year-old's party.

Anna June had a fantastic time. She splashed, threw the ball, and impressed all the other moms by knowing what a flamingo and an octopus were. She LOVED Kate's homemade cupcakes and was tickled that Goldfish crackers and Capri Suns were served. I didn't get any pictures, but there were lots of them snapped. If I get a hold of any of them, I will post, of course.

Friday, May 21, 2010


After I picked Anna June up from school last night, she wanted to play in the sandbox. Her request was denied due to an impending thunderstorm. I could feel the storm coming, along with the fact that it was getting dark and starting to thunder. Interrupting her whining, I asked her if she heard the thunder. She agreed she did.

A minute or so later, it thundered again.

"Did you hear that thunder, Mommy?"
"Yes, I heard it. Did you?"
"Yep. It sounds like Daddy!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time, Love...

Auntie Nonny sent a wonderful care package to us the other day. AJ has been playing with her toy binoculars almost the whole time she has been awake at home. The shoes in this picture are also from Nonny.

Nonny was thoughtful in sending me Josh Ritter's new CD, So Runs the World Away.

There's a song (#2) there that I've been (playing over and over, which I learned how to do from my mom)... It's called "Change of Time" and it's fabulous. The chorus repeats --- "Time, Love.... Time, Love... Time... Love, it's only a change of time." Anna June likes it, she sang it over and over with me in the car, in sync with the recording. She's getting very good at singing.

Incidentally, if you want to hear the song and/or the album, you can stream it on Josh Ritter's web site here

The whole album is great and quirky; it's built around a song "about a mummy and his malign love affair with an archaeologist", and it also subject-checks "orbital decay, the Martian canals of Percival Lowell, the apocryphal hibernation of birds, polar exploration, the golden ratio," and more.

So, thanks for everything, Nonny!

PS Laura wanted to point out that AJ selected her own hairstyle and shoes in this picture, for our fashion-conscious readership.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Anna June the Explorer

Anna June has an amazing mind, and I can never anticipate what is going to come out of her mouth next. Behind her serious expression, her neurons must be firing at top speed. Last night, in the sandbox, we added a pail of water at her request to help her build things. When she poured the water onto the sand, it clumped up. She said, "It looks like mashed potatoes!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I call you...

On the way to school today, Anna June said this over and over:

"I call you Ben Ben Ben." "I call you Ben Ben Ben."

She knows my given name is Shenandoah, and she's learned to sort of say that in the past. She's also picked up on the fact that most people don't call me by that name.

I said, I'm glad you know both names, but why don't you call me "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy?"

She said, "No, I call you Ben Ben Ben" and looked at me like, discussion is over.

She also wore bunny ears to school. I told her if she wore them she'd have to hop to school. She at least hopped as far as the car.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not Dressed

This morning as I was wrangling Anna June to get up and get dressed (neither of which she wanted to do), I had to laugh. I had on her panties, shirt, pants, socks, and shoes, but she stopped and said, "I'm not dressed yet," and reached for her bracelets. She put on all fourteen of her plastic bangles, got her sunglasses, and then decided she was ready.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just a Quick Pic

Here's one of Anna June, Teygan, and Pam. Teygan is so tiny! AJ is pictured in her tutu, pearls and pigtails. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Anna June got a certificate for potty training the other day at school. Unfortunately, no sooner was the ink dry than she went through some major regression. The teacher says she's not handing out any more certificates...that seems to jinx every child. She says she's just going to hand out treats instead. AJ will like that - the paper hasn't gotten out of my bag and she hasn't missed it, but she's always asking for candy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Anna June is getting funnier every day. If she finds something funny, she'll say "that was a funny joke!" pretty reliably.

There is a group of ladies who work out at AJ's daycare. We see them every afternoon on the way out of the complex. We like to talk about what the ladies are doing. She said, "Some of the ladies are walking." I said, "Yes, some of the ladies are walking."

"Some of the ladies are running!"
"Yes, some of the ladies are running around the track."
"Some of the ladies are turning a somersault," Anna June said.
"They're turning somersaults?" I asked.
"No, I was only joking! That was a funny joke!"

Since she has been so interested in saying funny things, we're working on her very first knock-knock joke. We're coming along. I will try to post video when we've got it down. Right now, when I say "knock-knock" she says "knock-knock" back.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not A Morning Person

Anna June has been tired lately - we've been wearing her out. She got in bed pretty much on time, and despite a few setbacks, fell asleep pretty quickly. I finally went in to get her up a few minutes later than I should have, but I feel sorry for her when she's so tired. She had her eyes open, but said, "Don't get me up. Go away."

I told her I would go do something and come back in a minute. I came back and her head was under her blanket. She said, "I'm hiding." After she didn't really want to be "found" I said I'd come back in another minute.

When I returned, I sang her the "Good Morning To You" song like I do every day. She said, "Don't sing!"

Eventually I got her up, but she had issues with the outfit I picked out for her, her shoes, the color of her ponytail holders for her pigtails, what to eat for breakfast, the cup I gave her apple juice in, and, here's the kicker: which toilet to use. That's right. She prefers to use one for #1 and the other one for #2. No wonder I can't get to work on time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

On Mother's Day, Anna June had a lot to do. We went to church, then met for lunch. After lunch, AJ rode with Ben to complete my Mother's Day shopping. After we FINALLY got her to take a nap (at least an hour after we started trying), we got in some nap time of our own. Then we went to visit Grandma Annette, who is home after a long hospital stay. Also visiting were Grandma's sister and brother-in-law, and her niece Andrea and her s.o. Brian, down from Missouri. Brian and Andrea had never met AJ in person, so we had to stay and visit a while. Ben stayed home to cut shrubbery for my big gift. I was thrilled!

After that, we went to my parents' house, where my dad cooked us a big steak dinner. While we were waiting for Dad to finish grilling, AJ played with their dogs in the backyard. Jesse, especially, loves to play fetch. Anna June would throw the tennis ball and he and Maggie would run after it. We got AJ to throw it down hill and the two big black dogs ran past her at top speed to go fetch. She thought this was hilarious! She said, "That was a funny joke!" We did it several times, and Ben got 5 seconds of video on here.

Friday, May 7, 2010


We have finally posted the pictures from the last month or so at this link. Anna June, as you can see, has been having plenty of fun.

The foot picture above is from the first time she had her toenails painted. After discovering her friends had had this done already, I decided that with sandal-wearing season upon us, I would give it a shot. If you know me at all, you know that anything artsy, crafty, or involving any sort of physical skill is pretty much doomed to be a giant failure, which is why I rarely do my own nails. Basically, it looked like AJ painted her toenails herself.

The color was called "crushed velvet". I called it burgundy. Uncle Drew thought it looked suspiciously crimson, so he influenced AJ to demand that next time, her toenails should be painted orange. So we got some orange polish to replace the old burgundy and she wore that for a week. This week she wanted purple, and the closest thing I still had was "Purple dream" which could pass for a dark plum but is more on the burgundy side. I'm hoping she will pick pink next time. We've done this three Saturdays in a row, so maybe with all the practice I'm getting, I will get better.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Landmark Day

Yesterday was a landmark day for Anna June: she stayed dry all day. I mean all day. From the time she woke up until the time she went to sleep. (And come to think of it, she's still on the dry streak as far as I know.) You may not think this is a big deal, but when you think about the fact that I've changed diapers for the past 790 days in a row, it is a big deal. Huge, in fact. I attribute this small success to the hard work of her teachers, my parents, my husband, and Anna June herself for really wanting to get trained.

And the Minnie Mouse panties were a good incentive, too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Anna June has a few new pictures, and I went to the computer to upload them this morning, but I got distracted.

So you'll just have to get by on one more story.

Anna June loves her rock collection. She found a new rock in the yard the other day, and I got her rocks down for her to look at. She pulled out a rock to give to me, and one to give to her daddy when he got home. Then, to be fair, she got one for Radar. She said, "Radar, this is a rock for you! I put it on the table. I just let you know."

So, there. She let him know.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Barbie and BBQ

Anna June started asking in the middle of last week to go to McDonald's, so I let her go Saturday with her dad when I was busy. They had a good time, but her Happy Meal came without a toy. Ben notified them, and sure enough, Anna June was given a toy: a miniature Barbie with a surfboard that doubles as a comb.

This is AJ's first Barbie. I didn't really want her to have Barbies, as I think they are ridiculous and have never been too fond of them. But seeing as how she loves dolls, it was inevitable. I just hate that her first one came from Ronald McDonald instead of someone else.

She loves the Barbie. Barbie came with her everywhere, from church to Rusty's BBQ. Anna June got her hair in pigtails, and Barbie had to get a ponytail. She freaked out when she thought the comb was missing. It was pointed out that AJ has the same color hair that Barbie does. Barbie uses the bathroom (or doesn't make it in time, depending).

Barbie wasn't allowed to come to school this morning. AJ will have to wait to see her until tonight.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Home Alone

Anna June is with her Nana. Ben is not home, either. I have the house to myself. So, I'm blogging? Yes, and eating ice cream straight from the carton. (Multitasking, right?)

AJ started screaming before we left the church parking lot because the cushion in her car seat is bothering her. It has been bothering her for a while now. The other day, I got the bottom cushion out in the school parking lot for the same reason - AJ didn't like it, and she screamed. But knowing I couldn't get the top cushion out without removing the whole seat, I let it be. Until today.

I promised AJ, if she would just stop screaming, I would (as soon as we completed the 3 minute drive from church to the house) remove the whole thing and try my best to get the cushion off. It did extract it from the vehicle. But I couldn't get it out. So we went inside with our bags, etc.. I turned around to bring the car seat into the house where I could mess with it further and pull out the manual, but AJ didn't like that I was going back outside without her, and, as you may have guessed, this led Radar to escape.

Now, I was the one who was screaming. So I did what everyone else does when the going gets tough, I called my mama. She dropped what she was doing and came right over, as I explained to her that Ben was unavailable and she had the only other car seat in the family. I couldn't drive around the neighborhood with AJ without reinstalling the thing again. So she and AJ rode behind me while I chased my stupid dog. Eventually, we caught him because he stopped to throw up. (Dear neighbors I don't know, please excuse the dog vomit in your yard. I hope that the rain comes soon and washes it away before you notice. K THX!)

Mom said as she drove up the driveway, "You do realize I'm taking AJ with me as a fee." I said that was fine - I understood. I need the time away from AJ to recover from my stress headache (on a Sunday)! I told her to feed her and see if she'd nap or else bring her home so she could nap here. I haven't heard from them, but I am forcing myself not to call as no news is good news.

I have now managed to remove the cushion that has so vexed my child, but I am still unclear on as to how to put the "rear cover" back on, which took all my strength, two fingernails and a butter knife to get off. I screamed with victorious delight, as if I had made a slam dunk in the NBA - in your FACE piece of PLASTIC!
The main reason Radar has been escaping so much is that we no longer have a storm door on our back door, the main entrance of our house. The wood around the door frame is too rotted to support it. So we have expensive repairs awaiting our attention. But until then, if he keeps escaping, we may lose our minds.