Thursday, October 28, 2010

Up Before the Sun

Anna June woke up at 5 am today. First, Ben woke up, then I was up and our conversation woke up AJ and then Radar. From 5-6, we all tried sleeping in one bed. None of us slept. In retrospect, I should have just told AJ she had to go back to sleep. But because AJ was up so much earlier than usual, getting her ready for school was a breeze. Here are some notes on the current phases she's in:

She will still do most anything for a piece of candy. Also, she loves to have "surprises" in the car when we pick her up.

I told her that her hair would be less tangled if she wore it in a ponytail, and she was in favor of the change for about 30 seconds, until she saw a tiara she'd rather wear. Luckily, that plan ended before time to go to school.

I have told her I will not allow her to have gum until she is 3, although a goody bag from a birthday party at school almost broke me last night.

She loves to eat while sitting on my lap. This results in much food spilled on me and on the floor (to Radar's delight).

At school, they are learning about personal belongings and personal space. Last night she wanted every single bath toy she owned in the tub with her, which I allowed. When she tried to get in the crowded tub, she was moving toys out of her way and remarked, "I need some personal space!"

She wanted to sleep with both of her Raggedy Ann dolls last night - I had quite the time finding the small one, which was in my room. Maybe she had previously thought I wanted to sleep with the doll instead.

School picture day is next week. I have no idea how to narrow down our choices of outfits. I will not let her choose, except maybe between two equally acceptable ideas. It is going to be hard enough to get it down to two. She asked to wear blue overalls yesterday, but when I pulled them out she didn't like them and had a total meltdown.

Allowing her to select her own Halloween costume is a mistake, at least this year. We have a Dora outfit purchased, but since then, she has wanted to be a princess, ballerina, bear and Minnie Mouse. We'll come up with something, and it will be cute. And she will go trick-or-treating, and we will take pictures.

She is confusing Halloween with Christmas. She asked for something she didn't have last night, and said, "Maybe Halloween will bring me one!"

This will probably be my last blog post until Monday or Tuesday, so have a Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Color on the Pews


Sometimes at church, Anna June likes to get a "children's bulletin" and color during the first part of the service. Usually, this results in AJ dumping out all 24 crayons onto the pew to play with them. If she'd been born a couple of years sooner, this would be OK, but seeing as how we just re-covered our pews in a more modern, lighter color fabric (as opposed to the previous bright red), I am horrified when she does this. Does crayon wash out of things that don't get washed?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the Paper

When we saw photographer Tamika Moore from The Birmingham News following us around at Oak Hill Cemetery on Saturday, we thought that surely she'd get our names, or at least Anna June's. There were lots of shots taken of the Fall History Tour. She didn't get our names, but she did post some of the photos of us on their website. Enjoy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nana!

Happy Birthday, Nana! Although some of the family got together last night to celebrate, I'm not sure that anyone took pictures. So this one will have to do - it is from our beach trip two years ago, when Anna June was still tiny. Back then, Liz and Patrick weren't married yet, Beth and Rusty were still newlyweds with no restaurant, and Dad had to stay home to mind the antique store. How quickly some things change!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cemetery



Since I've been blogging, I can tell you for a fact that this is the fourth cemetery Anna June has visited, and the third at which she's been photographed. If that's not a little strange, I don't know what is. But today, Anna June came with me and her dad and met Aunt Connie at Oak Hill Cemetery in downtown Birmingham for a Historical Tour. The photos are Aunt Connie's - thanks so much for sending them! You can also see pictures on her blog, Finding a View, which is on the blogroll to the left.

There were several volunteers dressed as famous Birmingham historical figures, including the infamous madam, Louise Wooster (played by my Aunt Vicki's former classmate, Beth) who helped save Birmingham from a cholera epidemic, as well as Emma Hawes (a famous murder victim, played by Ben's classmate, Terri) and Captain Linn, whom you can see someone dressed as in the top photo. It was an interesting alternative Halloween activity, and we didn't have to drive way out in the country to experience it.

The cemetery itself is amazing. It has kept meticulous records through so many generations, and you can find a lot of information at its website, here. Burials are still conducted here, although mostly to families with plots purchased long ago.

As for her visit to the cemetery as a tourist, Anna June was pretty well behaved. This time of year in Alabama, one runs the heater in the morning and the air conditioning in the afternoon. She was perfectly dressed in a long sleeved t-shirt at the outset of the tour, but by the end was complaining of being hot and sweaty. She also complained of being thirsty, and since this wasn't our usual outdoor event to attend, there were no concession stands, although the Alabama Celtic Society was offering free Halloween candy. So a Tootsie Roll pop was all it took before AJ forgot about her thirst long enough to quit whining on the way to the car. We should have gotten it a half hour before we did.

Aside from that, AJ was fairly well behaved. But the two port-o-potties that were onsite were of endless fascination to her. Before our tour began, AJ begged to go pee, so I let her, explaining that it was pretty strange and there wasn't anything to flush. She did fine. (And thanks again to Aunt Connie for the hand sanitizer!) Then, over the course of the next hour and a half, she asked to go back no less than THREE times! She was, apparently, fascinated with the disgusting blue chemical water in the bottom, and that was it. Those extra three times, she didn't actually go, but she did want to try. I did want to stay and hear what the historical actors were all saying, but you don't argue with a recently-potty-trained two year old!

And the adorable pumpkin outfit is from Granny Annie, arrived just yesterday, in time for our spooky field trip. Thanks!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Old News


As you can tell from these pictures Ben took on Saturday at Railroad Park, Anna June has been enjoying our Fall weather. It has been cool enough and dry enough to play outdoors almost every day. On Wednesday, though, it was a little overcast. While eating dinner on Wednesday night, Anna June reported, "My teacher said it's Wednesday, but it's not."
"Well, Anna June, it is still Wednesday."
"No it is not."
"OK. If it isn't Wednesday, what day is it?"
"It's Cloudy Day!"

I tried to explain that it was still Wednesday, whether or not it was "Winds-day" but I was laughing too hard to do a good job.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Exercise

Untitled from Ben Gallitz on Vimeo.

At Railroad Park, there's a little playground of exercise equipment that Anna June wanted to try out. These leg things were a great workout. I tried them and it felt like I was still on them when I got down. AJ had a good time, as you can see in the video.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Smoothies

Last week we had a quick dinner at home with Anna June, and, for dessert, we made smoothies. Anna June, to my knowledge, had never had one, although she's quite familiar with milkshakes. So I made Lemon Berry Crush Smoothies and we were all very happy with the results. The picture here does not do justice to the mess that ensued.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Railroad Park


After getting her first flu mist vaccine Saturday morning, Anna June had something to look forward to: a visit to Birmingham's brand new Railroad Park. Thanks to a lot of hype by the news media and first-hand accounts from friends, I knew that this would be a great place for AJ to play. She wanted to just go to the dog park, but instead we took Radar downtown to this lovely, four-block park. You can read more about the park here.

We ran into friends also checking it out for the first time, and we also met up with Patrick and Liz. Anna June had a good time showing them the playground, where she could climb, slide and swing until her heart was content.

We thought AJ would be more interested in the trains going by, due to her recent obsession with Thomas the train, but, alas, animated trains are more interesting than real, scary, loud ones. The grownups thought they were pretty cool, though.

We'll definitely be going back, although since our visit Anna June has asked to return to the dog park and also to Crestwood Park - we drove past and it jogged her memory. I hope the City of Birmingham can keep Railroad Park as nice as it is and take some of that momentum and revitalize Crestwood Park, and Avondale Park, and the list goes on and on!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lasagna


(Photo courtesy of Liz and Patrick Tucker)

Anna June had an exhausting weekend, as planned. On Sunday, we went to church very dressed up in fancy dresses, and it took all of my negotiating power to convince Anna June to wear a bib at lunch. She doesn't do bibs anymore, apparently, but she also doesn't normally do "dry clean only" dresses. Seriously, why would one even design a dry clean only dress for someone who is two years old? I digress.

After we got home and ready to nap, I gave AJ the option of getting out of her fancy clothes and into some pajamas for nap time. She changed, and so did I. We were very comfy!

When she finally woke up from her nap, she didn't want to get out of her pajamas. To tell the truth, I didn't either, so we stayed in them while she played a little and I cleaned a little. We stayed in them when we called Grandpa and Grammy on the computer. And then, since the only place AJ had left to go for the day was Nana and Granddaddy's house, she stayed in them for the rest of the night! (I, on the other hand, still had errands to run, so I had to get dressed.)

While she was at Nana's house, she helped Granddaddy fix lasagna. My dad uses cottage cheese in his recipe and because of its clumpy nature, he doesn't use a spoon to spread it around - he just uses his hands. AJ decided to imitate him. The result was an adorable mess - and delicious lasagna. I think EVERYONE had second helpings, including Anna June. I got there when everyone was finished, and AJ was still eating from my plate.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Team Spirit

Anna June still will not wear the Alabama shirt that Judy sent us, not even for a picture. But today she wouldn't wear her UAB shirt, either. I asked her what she did want to wear, then, and she said she wanted to wear a red shirt. I did not remind her that red is for Alabama. I'm sure someone will tell her.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Baby's First Mud Mask



On a recent family trip to the grocery store, Anna June's daddy thought it would be funny to toss a random item into the cart: a blue sea salt mud mask. He thought it was funny - the lady on the package had her face covered in blue goo. I thought, "Hey! I've never tried a mud mask!" It was one of those things I'd never have gotten around to buying for myself.

So it has been sitting in our bathroom for a month, being that I've not gotten around to trying it for myself, either. Too busy! But AJ, in her infinite curiosity, asked, "What's that, Mommy?" about once a day the entire time it was in my bathroom. Finally, Tuesday night I said that it was going to be the night to try it, and I would let her join in.

Anna June's skin didn't need any help (as seen in the "before" picture at the bottom), but maybe it did make a tiny difference in mine. Either way, we thought it was fun to let it dry while we read her stories. It was difficult to wash off of AJ, because she wouldn't be still. I was glad it did come off, though, because I didn't want to explain why my child looked like a Smurf.

(PS - I don't know if the photos show it, but we had just had blue popsicles, so please excuse the blue teeth to go with the blue mud.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gossip Girl

Anna June has become quite the reporter. She comes up with random bits of information for me that help me know what is going on in her head.

Here are some tidbits she has offered me lately from school:

"Miss Kaye's snake died."
"Amber was not at school today."
"Drew's dad had some candy in his mouth."
"Miss Susan was singing about apples and bananas. She had a banana and part of it dropped onto the table."
"Miss Susan's dog Happy chased a chipmunk and it ran into the ground."
"Sipsey has a new house."
"Miss Cathy puts a pencil behind her ear."

She is so articulate that I really don't doubt anything she says. Sometimes, though, she'll tell me a child is sick and I find myself emailing their moms to make sure they're OK, and they're fine - they were just out of school for a different reason.

Last night, when AJ was up unexpectedly from 2:30 - 3:30 am, I was trying to convince her to go back to sleep. I told her she has a big day ahead, because she is spending the night tonight with Nana. She perked her head up, smiled really big, and said, "Granddaddy can't wait!" That, I know, is a fact.

Speaking of Granddaddy, he told me a story (from her teacher, Miss Susan) that I had not heard. Since it is third-hand information, I can't vouch for its veracity, but since we're on the subject of things AJ says, here goes:

One of the things the kids get to do in Pre-K is to go to the cafeteria for lunch. I believe Miss Barbara is the lunch lady that cooks and serves them the food. The children were in the cafeteria and the teachers detected that someone had had an accident in their pants. The teachers asked who had poo-pooed. No one said anything. So the teacher emphasized again, "We're not mad, we just want whoever it is to get cleaned up." Again, there was silence. Anna June, demonstrating her outstanding leadership qualities, spoke up for the group, "We think Miss Barbara poo pooed!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Salesperson of the Year


Anna June does like to shop, but hasn't quite gotten the concept of selling things yet. The parents have been asked to sell things for a school fundraiser for AJ's daycare, so I thought I would post the link.

Click here to see what Anna June is selling. The link should take you to a page that says: You are supporting Anna June Gallitz: McElwain Baptist Church Daycare at the top. Friday 10/15 is the day we have to turn everything in, so I'd appreciate your orders by 10/14.

The shipping is sort of expensive, so, if you are local to Birmingham, please just let me know what you want to order and we'll put it in with the group - you won't have to pay shipping then.

There's a big assortment of wrapping paper, candy, cookie dough mixes, magazine subscriptions, gifts and other stuff.

After church on Sunday, we stopped several folks coming out of the service and they were all so generous to place their orders with us. I even got AJ to do the asking a couple of times. How could anyone say no to her?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Beth!

I asked Anna June what we should get her Aunt Beth for her birthday. She replied, "A cake." Well, I thought, since Beth has a degree in pastry arts, it would sort of be like giving shoes to a cobbler, but, I decided to give it a try. On Sunday, after her nap, Anna June helped me bake a cake (from scratch) with icing. AJ requested that the icing be green, since that was her favorite color at the time. At first, she asked for blue. But then she changed her mind. We ended up with a nice mint shade of green. Ben, of course, was amazed that it turned out so well. He claims he had never seen anyone make icing - he thought it came from a can.

AJ really did help. She washed her hands, she got up in her chair and asked, "So, what do we need to do first?" She helped me count out the eggs. She helped me trace wax paper to line the cake pans. She helped me count out cups and tablespoons of the various ingredients. She returned the milk (half gallon) to the fridge. She also, in licking the bowl, managed to get a lot of cake batter in her hair. By the way, a huge thanks to Ben for being the one to wash her hair afterward! I was busy removing pale green icing from every surface in my kitchen!

We took the cake to Rusty's BBQ, where we ended up celebrating Beth's big day with Patrick and Liz, and friends Cora and Philip. A good time (and good cake, if I do say so) was had by all.

On the way home, Anna June told her favorite colors. "Blue. Green. Orange. Pink. Black."

"Anna June, is every color your favorite color?"

"Yeah!"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Comedy and Manners

Anna June sometimes needs prompting at saying "please" and "thank you". Last night, we were eating dinner, and she asked, "Can I sit on your lap?"
"Can you sit on my lap what?" I asked.
"Can I sit on your lap....Bazinga!" she replied.

Crazy kid.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

D-lighted!

Anna June's class is learning letters. They're not really trying to write them, just trying to recognize them and their sounds. It is interesting to see how she's progressing with this.

Yesterday morning, I asked if she wanted a banana or a bagel. I said, "buh-buh-banana and buh-buh-bagel! They both start with the same sound! What letter makes the "buh" sound?" "B!" she said!

This morning at daycare we did the same thing with "duh-duh-dog" and she said "D!" I am so proud! I think she probably knows A and C as well, since we're going in order. She has a hard time recognizing A, but can get B, C, and D, as well as a few others like O and Y. We've been working a little with her alphabet puzzle at home. Maybe if we're ever home we'll work on it more.

Also interesting, if you look closely in this picture, Anna June has chosen her two apparent favorite colors, orange and blue. Maybe we'll give this letter D to Uncle Drew to hang in his room.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Outfits

Despite Anna June's excitement over dressing up as a ballerina-princess-fairy when Aunt Nonny and Granny were in town, she just can't get excited about actually getting dressed for school. I pulled out some brand new blue jeans and a new Dora the Explorer t-shirt for AJ this morning. She would not get dressed. I asked if there was another outfit she'd rather wear instead, and I was shot down. If I had brand new jeans and a new shirt, I'd probably be excited about getting dressed! But, no. We tried eating breakfast first, which didn't help.

We basically have to just ignore her screams and wrestle her into whatever she's supposed to wear, including shoes. We tried again with the brand new Dora shoes, thinking if we could show her they matched her shirt and that they helped make the ensemble a proper outfit that she'd go with it. Just more screaming.

I've tried letting AJ pick out her own clothes (the night before), I've tried letting her pick between two choices (the day of), and finally, I've tried just ignoring her screams and wrestling with her, which is the only solution that got us to work on time - although just barely. Basically, I'm going to need some effective wrestling training to get through the remainder of the terrible twos. Is Hulk Hogan available?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun



When Granny and Aunt Nonny visited, they had a ballerina princess party with Anna June. As you can see, a good time was had by all.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Be Careful What You Say...

On Thursday, as I was talking on the phone to Anna June's teacher, I said something like, "She has just been so out of sorts lately I feel like something is going on. I expect her to just puke or something and I'll know what was wrong."

On Friday night, she did just that. All night. Bless her sweet little heart.

I felt so terrible at first. I had just put her to bed and she called out "Mama!" in her pitiful voice. I was certain it was just a stalling tactic. Most nights she calls out for me, and I run back to her repeatedly. I was doing something and I said, "Just a minute!" which I never do. I was on my way when I heard the terrible (but telltale) sound.

Here is where I will stop describing the disgusting part and say that Ben was a true hero this weekend. He cleaned like a madman. I got to hold the sick baby, and he had to do the dirty work. He did a great job and kept negative comments to himself.

After changing clothes, etc., I sat down to hold AJ in the rocking chair in my room. She asked me quietly, "please don't rock me!"

AJ ended up using her nap mat to sleep on the floor beside my bed. Even though she was well by Saturday, she asked to do it again Saturday night, and I agreed. Both days this weekend she napped in our bed beside me. We needed the rest!

This week at daycare the theme is "Health and Hygiene." Maybe it will help going forward.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bonus Post: It's Gotta Be the Shoes

While Anna June can go from zero to hysterical in about two seconds, there seem to be two things that routinely send her over the edge:

1. Being wet
2. Footwear

Being wet is pretty easy to figure out. She doesn't like it when things spill on her. She also, apparently, doesn't like being sweaty. At daycare on Wednesday (which was a bad day all the way around), she cried because she claimed to have wet underwear. Her teacher said that, no, she was not wet, but then relented when AJ cried and cried and cried. She let her change her panties, and she went back to being fine. The following day at school, AJ spilled a tiny drop of water on her shirt and freaked out in similar fashion.

Also on Wednesday (better known as the Day of Breakdowns), AJ had her first major time out at school because of sweaty footwear. (See above. Items in both categories = major catastrophe.) She had taken off her socks and shoes, and then refused to put them back on because they were "too sweaty!" So then, the poor teacher went to get a clean pair for her and AJ DID NOT like them! She had the rest of her meltdown. Sigh.

In hopes of a remedy, Thursday night, I took AJ shopping for shoes that were not too little and socks that were not "too crooked". We had no luck. We looked at two different stores, which was one too many. To her credit, she did not dismiss them on sight. She tried each pair on, only to declare them too big, too small, too crooked, or, simply, "I don't like them". Ben even went to a different store, bought a pair of Dora the Explorer shoes, and AJ refused to wear them, too.

I've talked to a few moms, and all of them say this is just a phase. I have had a couple of people tell me that their child/relative went through the same thing with socks and shoes. One said that if the seam didn't line up exactly right on her sister's shoes, major tears would fall. At least AJ hasn't been pulling out chunks of her own hair in frustration, as a friend's granddaughter has. Welcome to the terrible twos, ladies and gentlemen. I'm trying to enjoy the sweet moments, but this week they're few and far between.

Bring on the Rain

Anna June got another box of clothes from Granny Annie yesterday - THANKS GRANNY! In it was an adorable lady bug raincoat, to match her ladybug umbrella and ladybug boots! She wanted to try on the ensemble all together, but I didn't really get a good picture. This gives you some idea of how she looks in it. Unfortunately, our area is in a drought right now and wildfires are cropping up all over the state. Maybe Anna June's new slicker will help bring on the rain.