Friday, December 30, 2011

Incoming!

While it's hard to see in the picture, Anna June's teacher made this cute bulletin board - which had a critical misspelling. When Ben pointed it out, "Onto us a child is born," I could not get images out of my head of the Virgin Mary going ot the top of the stable and launching the baby into the world on top of us.

The next day, of course, I told Ms. Kaye (pretty tactfully - how dare you think otherwise!) that the word is supposed to be "unto" and Ms. Andrea stepped in and apologized. It turns out that Kaye asked her how to spell it, and, preoccupied and not guessing the context, she told her it was an "o". So they're both to blame. Either way, we may want to get AJ into a better program before she starts learning spelling herself.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Work/Life Balance

Anna June is both fortunate and unfortunate that she has a mother who works outside the home. I try my best to give her lots of fun and experiences, but the reality of the situation is that she is with someone other than me for most waking hours of most days.

That being said, I couldn't have a better job, where the folks I work for mostly have kids, and they understand things like the daycare closing early or unforseen illnesses. Besides that, I get to volunteer with the UAB Benevolent Fund (on company time, with blessings from our division director and my supervisor) and be on the Employee Activities Committee. Our division has over 200 people working here, and unless things are assigned to someone, they do not get done. Therefore, part of my job on the committee has been to throw monthly birthday parties for our group. I have a team to help. At first I balked at the idea of scheduled and assigned fun, but really, it has helped interpersonal relations in our office tremendously.

Part of my job this month was to help plan and our Holiday party, which, if I do say so, went over very well. In one room, we had Winter Bingo, and I was in charge of that game. We used peppermints as the bingo markers. Since I had asked for a really huge bag, I got them. Then, we had to decide what to do with the hundreds of leftovers.

One person in our group suggested that we pack them up and deliver them to the various suites in the building for all to share. Another person went to Dollar Tree and got festive bags, and brought up some other candy that had been donated for the party but not set out. One day last week, my office was converted into a mini Santa's workshop, and I carefully set out candies for each group. Then, my committee friends served as elves and delivered them all. Photo above of the cute result. I like the frou-frou, but I actually like it better when someone else does it for me. Times like this when it was my job by default (i.e., the candy was in my office and the bags magically appeared at my door), I realize that I can do an acceptable job.

Because counting out candy had gone so well at work, the next day AJ and I did the same thing for her classmates. Instead of plastic bags we used tissue paper and ribbon. It worked well. AJ helped me peel off the tags with the kids' names on them. She did great at recognizing the letters - she had specific packages she wanted to give based on whether their character-themed candy cane was for Diego or Dora...she figured the boys would not love Dora.

I do find that work and the rest of my life bleed into one another. I blog at work; I check email at home. I apply work principles and skills at home: I make a spreadsheet for our personal Christmas card delivery. I schedule our family game nights. I apply home principles and skills at work: I hang up pictures AJ has drawn on the break room fridge. I make sure there's both a white cake and a chocolate cake for the birthday party, in case someone doesn't like the other kind.

Sometimes I'm pretty hard on myself for not being more focused at either place. But upon reflection, I find I'm doing mostly OK. I will probably get off work early tomorrow, and I asked AJ if there was anything she wanted to do just the two of us. I expected she'd ask to go to the park to ride her scooter or have me paint her nails, but she asked if we could have an indoor picnic with her dolls, and some snacks and drinks. I think I can even put down my smart phone long enough for that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thankful

Anna June enjoyed Christmas, but we're sort of thankful to be getting back to normal. Last night we went to Target to hit the after-Christmas clearances, but they were a disappointment. Also a disappointment: trying to return things to Target. Just because they were on clearance forever ago and I hadn't gotten around to returning them yet they didn't want to take them back! Imagine that! (I'm kidding - I realized the folly of my errand...there are just some things that AJ simply won't wear and I don't have the fight in me to make her wear them, so, some of our hand-me-down recipients will just be getting things new with tags. Bonus for them!)

Anyway, the best part of our night was our visit to Red Robin. Grandpa and Grammy sent a gift card and, since it's right by Target, we thought it'd be the perfect accompaniment to our trek to Trussville. We opened the menu and AJ saw a picture of an avocado. She pointed to it and said, "They have guacamole here!" I'm not sure how many little kids like guacamole, but I'm pretty sure a lot of them are not aware of its origin! So, I ordered the quesadillas that came with guacamole for an appetizer. She took one bite, and declared that they were "yuck" since they had vegetables in them. She likes her quesadillas like she likes her pizza: cheese only. Trying to sneak veggies to her, even with lots of dipping options (salsa, sour cream, guac, black beans) she refused.

Also, at first, she was going to split a salad with me...she pointed to the crispy chicken salad and I thought that was fine. But she balked at the last minute and ended up with a kid's meal of macaroni and cheese and apple slices, with a strawberry smoothie. I was a little disappointed...we could have made that at home! But she was delighted and, later, complained that she must have eaten too much and the smoothie made her cold. A successful dinner indeed. Ben ordered the Hunk of Burning Love burger, which (I think) has fried jalapenos on it.

This is a picture from the other day, just before she gave up (once again) wearing footie pajamas - that's another return I'll have to make, but to Wal-Mart, possibly worse than Target! Nevertheless, she loves her stuffed animals and dolls, and you can tell from this sweet picture.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why We Like Staying Home

Anna June's favorite thing to do is to stay home. It's pretty high on my list, too. So having to go back to work and daycare this morning was even more painful than usual.

To ease the transition, here's a mobile phone photo of AJ, Radar (mid-yawn) and me, on the morning of Christmas Eve. She was tickled that it was the weekend. She loves to hang out in her pajamas. I like "sleeping in" until AJ wakes up. This usually means that I wake up and stay in bed reading until she gets up, so as not to wake her. Again, doing this three days in a row made it very tough this morning to want to get up and go. Next week will be just as tough, I'm sure.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Baby On the Go!

For Christmas this morning, Anna June saw that Santa had fulfilled her greatest Christmas wish: he delivered the Baby on the Go! set. Before Thanksgiving, AJ noticed it at the Leeds Dollar General. She talked about it nearly non-stop on the way home. Santa gave me his word he'd get it for her if she'd remain on the nice list. Later, he even mentioned it in his email to her. It was, quite literally, at the top of her list. Over a month went by, and any time someone asked what she wanted for Christmas, AJ replied "Baby on the Go!" When she was asked what was so neat about the baby, she said something like, "It's a baby and it goes." This prompted Ben to imitate her by saying, "Baby on the go has baby on the go!" This repeated phrase in our house led him to learn the word tautology. Anyway, AJ has talked about it so much, she was pretty much convinced she was going to get it. We kept asking her why this (in our opinion) cheap doll had captivated her attention so much. Once, she gave a multi-part argument containing the phrase "it is awesome to me." More recently, it was, "When I saw it, I was like, 'Wow. That is so cool.'" Luckily, the big guy delivered. When she saw it this morning, she wasn't really surprised, but she was excited and very pleased. She said, "This is just what I most wanted." She likes her other toys, too, but none of them had the build up to this special little doll. Honestly, we'll be surprised if the doll makes it to her birthday in March, but for now, it is the absolute perfect Christmas gift. Baby on the Go, or BOG as my dad nicknamed her, was named Lisa this morning. (Lisa Tucker, to be exact.) But as of bedtime, her name was Matilda. The doll makes "baby sounds" and came with a walker with a string attached so the child can pull her along. There was also a trove of plastic accessories, including a bowl, spoon, fork, a jar of baby food, and a bottle. There's also a carrier involved, and AJ carried the baby with us to church before going with us to our big family celebration at her Nana's house. At Mom and Dad's house, BOG was the life of the party, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks with AJ, and way too late, taking a nap with her. She was then featured in a parade where AJ rode her tricycle down the hall and pulled her along behind. At one point, BOG was facing the floor, and when someone commented that she had kind of slumped down, AJ replied that no, she was just looking at the ground. Because of the late nap, AJ is still not asleep, calling out repeatedly to tell us that she's scared in spite of her really cool new night light. She asked if we could "go over the list" which is a list of about half a dozen things that people do when they're scared. We collected this list (mostly via Facebook) earlier this year. I don't know if it helps - it does tend to drag bedtime out quite a bit - but since they're all harmless, I decided they're worth a shot. At the top of our list is saying a prayer. I do believe in the power of prayer, even from the littlest children, and I haven't been consistent with praying with AJ, even though they do this at her school quite frequently. Tonight, I let her say the prayer, and she asked for God to watch over "me, my mommy, my daddy, my dog, and Baby on the Go." Amen.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

Last night we went to my parents' 23rd Annual Christmas Eve Eve party. For many of our friends, the party is an annual tradition. For too many, we only see them this time of year. Kids have always been a big part of this party, and last night proved no exception. Anna June, as designated kid hostess, did a pretty good job, letting the kids play with all the stuff in "her" room. She instigated a "show" including her version of tightrope walking, and a "parade" complete with riding a tricycle through the living room and den. Here are a couple of iPhone videos featuring AJ and her friends Jackson and Isabel (both 5) and her cousin Teygan (1). There were a few others there, but these are the ones we got. In the first film clip, AJ and Isabel have made up a song called "O Pussy Cat" similar to "O Christmas Tree." The pussy cat thing started because we were trying to get AJ to lead them back to the toys, including her FurReal Friend, LuLu, who stays at Nana's house. Shortly afterwards, Ben heard AJ telling the kids, "No, it's ONE HORSE OPEN SLEIGH!"* and Isabel said, "No, it's one horse open PUSSY CAT!" In the second one, it looks like Granny got her wish. It just so happens we'd been playing "Little Drummer Boy" and AJ, after only a few times through it, caught on. This is her bouncing rendition. Of course, right after Ben stopped the camera, she sang, "I have no gift to bring!" It was a nice party, attended by over 70 people. Each year it wears us out to the point where it takes all year to want to recover. But it's definitely a good time. * - We're glad AJ finally got the lyrics to "Jingle Bells". As of Thanksgiving, she was still singing "One Hose Orphan Sleigh."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Go Tell it on the Mountain

Anna June did well in her school program back on her dad's birthday. Since I'm the self-appointed music instigator (not director) in our small congregation, I declared that AJ could sing one of the songs she was already learning from her school show to sing at our church. The plan was in action for us to sing together on December 11. I dared not think she could sing alone, but I thought she'd be OK if we sang together, especially since she'd watched me sing the week before. The plan was foiled, though, because AJ was running a fever on the set day. I told everyone we'd have to have a doubleheader on the next week, as my ad hoc choir was scheduled to perform that day as well. So, on Sunday (my birthday, coincidentally), AJ and I sang our song. The plan was chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus: AJ would sing the choruses with me and I'd sing the two verses. That's why AJ, in the video, kind of starts hiding behind me when she accidentally starts singing with me. It would have been totally fine - she learned them really fast. Ben, of course, said he had no idea there were actually verses to this song, anyway. Speaking of being shy, AJ is extremely shy at the beginning. I told her she could bring baby Leigh, her doll, up with us, if it would make her feel better, so she did. I took it away from her, and, sure enough, I ended up doing the hand motions to the song with the baby tagging along, until I stuck her on the altar. Also, just to let you know, I realize I need a girdle. I also know that I have a hard enough time singing, and if I'm wearing one, I can't get enough air. So, anyone commenting on my fat will be blocked. A special thanks to Wim Marchant for being our camera man. He was going to film the "choir" as well, but the camera's memory card got full. I didn't realize I looked so dorky starting the singing with nodding my head emphatically to make sure the choir and the piano started at the same time. Thank goodness for film. Without further ado, here is the video.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nice List



Anna June got an email from Santa Claus this week, and he claims she was on the nice list. I guess if you don't count things like going to bed on time, cooperating in the mornings, and minding your parents, she'll probably make it. Her teachers not only think she's a genius, but she's an angel, especially compared to some.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birthday Fun



A while back, Anna June asked if we could have a fiesta party. She wanted to make sure we could have a pinata. Since Ben's birthday (and then mine, 10 days later) came next on the calendar, I declared we could have a joint party to celebrate our big days.

It was fun to plan - AJ and I made lists and discussed ideas. She's actually very helpful. I guess since she's been to so many parties she knows what is involved.

Wednesday night we shopped for supplies. Thursday night we went to Zumba. Friday night AJ went to her grandparents' house to decorate their tree and give us time for a quick quiet dinner and buy the groceries.

We spent Saturday cleaning our house, until it was finally in an acceptable shape for company. AJ played quietly and napped appropriately. Luckily we only invited our closest friends who wouldn't freak out if there was still dust lingering.

We had a great time, with 18 people in attendance including us. It is a very busy time of year, and difficult to get people all in one place. But it was just the right size gathering for our tiny house.

Then, on Sunday, my actual birthday, we had a good time again! First thing, I wanted to eat a lot of food for breakfast, but I did not want to cook. We headed to IHOP. On the way, Ben asked if I would like for him to tell the waitress it was my birthday. I agreed emphatically, since I thought I'ld get everything to which I was entitled!

We had a good breakfast. AJ ordered the create-a-face pancake, pictured above. She put the yogurt "hair" on it. I ate until I was stuffed. AJ, of course, needed to go potty. As soon as we were in there, the wait staff assembled and were about to bring out my birthday treat. Ben signalled that they'd have to wait. They were disappointed. I should have sensed them glaring through the bathroom door! We made it back to our table, and the staff then serenaded me. It was great, and they brought an ice cream sundae! At 8:00 AM!

The rest of the day also went well. Hopefully more pictures and video are forthcoming - this week is going to be crazy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Twins



In the winter box Granny sent to Anna June, there was a nightgown set for her and her doll. As soon as we tried the gown on her beloved (but recently kind of neglected) Baby Leigh, it was all over. I haven't seen her so excited by anything in a very, very long time. She instantly made up a song about them being dressed as twins and ran around the house singing, "Oh yeah, we're twins! Oh yeah! We're twins!"

So, the next day, when Ruth came and asked what other shots I wanted - to be honest, I had not thought about it. But since AJ had spent half of Saturday with her twin baby, I had to get some pictures of that.

To be honest, I wasn't very good at being a kid. I liked some of my toys, but I don't remember playing with them too much. I was more of a listen to music/watch tv/read books kind of kid (which carried over into adult life). But seeing her with her doll really shows how important toys are, especially those that open up her imagination. We have a whole box of doll clothes, but as soon as the new gowns arrived Baby Leigh has been at her side, with AJ pretending to take her to "a meeting," "a show," and "Nana's house."

Thanks, Granny, for making her a twin! And if anyone else hasn't bought AJ's Christmas present yet, know that this one was a big hit!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Best One



Of the photo session we had on Saturday, I believe this is the best one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting Older

Anna June was in a bad mood last night when it was time to take a bath. We've gotten on an every-other-day schedule for bathing, which, I'm OK with.

It may have had something to do with her mood, or how my glasses were tilted and I was looking at her, but she told me, "You look like an old lady."
I told her, well, I am, sort of. "I'll be 34 on Sunday," I told her.
"You'll probably die before then," she said.

Living with a three (ANDAHALF) year old ages you.

I'm not planning on going anywhere. But ever since she said that, I've had this song in my head. While the notions are romantic enough, they are not at all my wishes regarding an untimely demise. Wait - if I know that these instructions are impractical, then perhaps I AM already an old lady, and thus would not qualify for the dying young part, thereby invalidating the instructions. Also, Ben thinks that, given their recent success, The Band Perry needs to find a barber.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Winner


Anna June's photo session on Saturday went so well that I had a hard time picking a favorite shot. I ended up picking four for our Christmas card, which should be going out in the mail today. I really wanted a full family pose, but that wasn't happening, so Ruth took some great pictures of just Anna June.

At the beginning of the session, though, AJ was taking a few minutes to warm up to the camera and the situation. While we were waiting, she got this great shot of Radar. To me, it looks like he's waiting for Santa!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Catching Up

Since Ben and I had Thursday and Friday off work, we had a chance to catch up on some things that we needed to do, like Christmas shopping for Anna June. I didn't get much done in the blogging/archiving world, though.

Here are the only pictures I don't think I've shown you yet from 2011.

October photos are here.

November photos are here.

AJ's real, really for real, made by a professional photographer holiday photos are coming soon. We had the session on Saturday. My friend Ruth is fantastic, and I wouldn't trade her for anything. (Her pictures are pretty good, too.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

When it Gets Quiet

Anna June is a pretty outstanding kid, but in some ways, she is not exceptional. If the parents are eating dinner in one room and the child is entertaining herself in another room - well, if it gets too quiet, you should know that something is up. That goes for AJ and every other kid in the entire world.

This is how we found her.

She claims that the Baby Leigh (her doll) was visiting her Nana (Anna June) and the baby wanted more books for bedtime. Being a good Nana, she obliged.

When I declared that, since the bookshelf was clear, it would be a good time to dust, AJ agreed. She then claimed that was why she decided to empty the shelf. She went on to the closet, got the "duster" and wiped off the empty shelf, and returned it to its spot. Afterwards, she decided that all Sesame Street and Muppets-themed books needed to be on the upper shelf. Given that bit of encouragement, I went a little OCD on her books. She's not the only one in the family who is a frustrated librarian.

I'm just glad she likes books. Especially after I read this article again this weekend. She's adorable, and very stylish, but I am glad that her imagination is in full bloom, and she's got a lot going for her in the brains department.

In fact, she's so smart she freaks me out. Before the full-on cough set in, AJ and I took a trip to Kohl's on Saturday night to do a little Christmas shopping. We travelled from Birmingham to Hoover - our neighboring city so large it needs two separate counties. I never told AJ anything about what city we were going to or anything like that...we'd just been talking about what we should get Daddy for Christmas and singing along to the seasonal songs on the radio. When we got out of the car, she said, "We're in Shelby County." Well, we were. But I hadn't told her that. Either she remembered it from the last time we went there (which I can't even remember) or she read the sign several miles back and chose to wait until then to mention it. Another possible explanation is that the day before I'd been listening to the Christmas station on the radio and they'd given a traffic report. I almost never listen to the radio in the car with AJ, because I have to be able to drive and converse with her, and I find that hard to do, especially when there's talking instead of music. But for some reason I had let it play. Either way, whether she remembered someone saying "Shelby County" the day before or six months before, or if her reading really is taking place already (which I don't really believe) - still freaky.

Currently, AJ is sleeping. She cannot possibly be resting, as she coughs every minute or so. We've given her Children's Multi-symptom Mucinex, 2 teaspoons of honey before bed, a honey/lemon juice/decaf Chai tea concoction, turned on her vaporizer, and slathered her with VapoRub. We were pushing honey and fluids on her today, and she was delighted by the obscene amount of television we allowed her to watch. She wore pajamas nearly all day, and was in good spirits, declaring she was NOT SICK even though she has a fever.

We're willing to try almost anything at this point. AJ thinks that strawberry PEZ is the best thing for her cough. Can't hurt.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Program

Anna June's school Christmas program went great last night. When she walked out and sat down, I sort of panicked. But she and her friends sang all the words to all the songs. Everyone behaved well and, of course, they were adorable. We took video and we hope to post it soon.

Yesterday was Ben's birthday, too. He wanted a low key day, so he got one.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

900!

This is my 900th post about the life of my only child, Anna June.

I am not exaggerating. 900.

900 is a big number. It sounds prolific! I realize that most of these posts are quite mundane. Many of them contain information I should probably have kept to myself. Many of them make sweeping declarations about what I plan to do, and then, of course, I immediately fail to do those things. (I swear, it is almost as if thinking about it, and then writing about it was all the energy I had.)

I don't plan to stop blogging. I will probably scale back as soon as AJ learns to read and realizes how much I've documented. She will be embarrassed to death. She embarrasses easily. She acts shy for about 4 or 5 minutes when we get to a new place, but after that, she's OK.

But I do find that, without this kind of documentation, I forget stuff. So here's some documentation about life at this very moment.

Right now, it is the Christmas season, and Anna June is a very mature three AND A HALF year old.

She has an amazing vocabulary. She loves to dress up, although she went to school in a red top and pink pants. Why? Because she could. It is a typical day.

She likes to be read to, and she likes to watch TV and movies, but she cannot stand conflict. If there's a dramatic point in a story, she freaks out. (It is not a secret - she gets this from me.) She doesn't even like dramatic music. I find this hilarious, in some ways, because she can be SO dramatic herself.

She likes the idea of playing games, but is still pretty much a sore loser. We're working on this by having weekly family game nights. Last night, we played our new XBox 360 Kinect. It was just as much fun as they show on TV.

She is very critical of others (It's not a secret - she gets this from her dad AND me). Just yesterday I asked her how rehearsals had gone for her Christmas program and she told me that the boys did "horrible" and the girls did "not as bad as the boys but not as good as me." Note: bring video camera tomorrow night.

She is learning how to read and write. She is very easily frustrated (that's me, too). She wants things to be just perfect. Erasing something on her "homework" last night, she said, "I wouldn't want Ms. Kaye to see this!" That was discouraging to hear, but it was better to hear her say, "Hey, I can draw an 8!"

She is extremely beautiful and unique looking, and where ever we go, people cannot help but comment, and they often touch her hair. Her sense of style makes this stand out even more. She's going to be so disappointed when I make her shop for dress shoes tonight. Y'all pray for me - I had a serious talk with her this morning about how her flower shoes would not be appropriate for the program tomorrow (or her pictures and church this weekend, for that matter).

She likes everything in every store or catalog, every website and every commercial (although she rarely sees them). She also has everything she could ever want or need. Santa will be challenged.

But what she really loves is spending time with other people. Aunts and uncles (and anyone else sending gifts this year), please note that she'd rather have time to play with you - pick a day on your calendar to come over and just play. That would be a much better gift than another doll or toy or game.

She loves our dog, Radar. She loves to play with other kids. She's always giving her school friends hugs and it is just about the sweetest thing ever.

Once I tried to give away a framed picture of AJ with a milestone post. I think Nonny won, and I think I never sent it to her. (See above about not following-through!)

But now, I say to you, my 51 readers, thanks for reading. Your comments and your encouragement are part of why I still do this. Knowing someone will be sad if I don't post anything makes me do it. And if we did learn anything in our creative writing course work, it is that daily practice makes you a better writer.

Thanks for reading, even the bad posts. Even the dumb ones. Even the ones where I say the same things over and over, like AJ hates to sleep and hates her shoes. And, evidently, since just last night, she hates mustard, just like her dad.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blur

Here is Anna June riding the mini carousel at the movie theater. You can almost see that she got awfully dressed up to go out. The latest thing she wants to ask Santa for is "fabulous dress up clothes."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Thoughts















As usual, Anna June had a good weekend. As usual, I am now majorly behind on everything and trying to shake off the guilt that comes with having a good time.







So here are some happy thoughts from the weekend to help.



1. We didn't let our Groupon expire. We've bought lots of these one-day only deals, especially through Living Social. We've especially bought several to local restaurants we've been meaning to try. We went to Big Blue Bagel, across the street from our church. AJ had a blueberry bagel with blueberry cream cheese. By the end, her shirt looked like she'd been painting with purple paint! The food was actually pretty good, despite some mediocre reviews I'd read. The service was quick and the staff was quite patient with me when I couldn't figure out their self-serve hot tea. We still have a couple more of these deals to use around town before too long. We may buy fewer in 2012, but it gives us an excuse to try new things.







2. At the happy late-breakfast outing (we'd each had a donut at home in the early morning), we ran into our acquaintance Laura Kate Whitney, who is one of our city's best advocates. She told us about a meeting that we're going to go attend tonight about Avondale Elementary's new Pre-K program. Our public schools have a terrible reputation, but the revitalization that is in progress will never gain any traction without community support. We would like AJ to go to Pre-K where she's going to go to elementary school, and we haven't decided anything yet.









3. We dropped off a few books we'd sold over on Amazon. For those of you who don't know, Ben and I used to have an online bookstore. We've gotten out of the game, but it was kind of nice to get rid of a few titles we're willing to part with. And, with our handy scale making it possible to accurately print our postage at home, and the very, very cheap padded envelopes we scored at Office Depot a while back, it was a snap to just walk into the post office, drop them off, and leave.









4. We went to Crestwood Park for AJ to ride. Ben's co-worker recently gave Anna June her very first big-girl bike. It has taken us a while: we bought some blue training wheels and had to get the tires inflated. In the meantime, my co-worker gave Anna June her very first scooter. It is pink. At first, I didn't think she was big enough, but sure enough, she is. She rode it on Thanksgiving weekend and, while she hasn't gotten the hang of gliding, she can surely scoot. When it came time to go out for her bike riding lesson on Saturday, she freaked out slightly because she'd rather ride her scooter. (I am pretty sure that's because she already "knows how".) She even went so far as to ask if we could get rid of her bike! I told her no, and that we could bring both. The plan was to ride the bike for 10 minutes, and then she could ride the scooter. She did great at her lesson, which ended up being about one lap of the track (1/3 mile, according to the sign, which I'm not sure I believe). Then she rode her scooter for a lap and a quarter, at which time she decided to get off her scooter and just run. She and her dad raced and I dragged the scooter. We had a couple of minutes of watching her run free and just wondering how in the heck we had anything to do with this free spirit, beautiful, happy kid.







5. The weather was beautiful! It was warm and mild. We weren't expecting to have days near 70 again for the rest of the year, but we decided we'd take advantage. Honestly, I was surprised that there weren't more folks at the park. It is free entertainment! Later, we figured out where they all were: the mall!







6. After going home, we decided to let Radar out to play with us in the back yard. Actually, Ben played with Radar and AJ and I raked leaves. As soon as I got a pile together, AJ kept jumping in them and yelling "Yahoo!" It was truly adorable. A good time was had by all, until Radar decided he'd go exploring the neighborhood. He only got 2 doors down. Our next door neighbor had her grandkids (teenagers) over to help her put up her Christmas tree, which is why they were in the front window. She called to them, "Y'all come look at this curly-haired little girl!" She hadn't seen us in so long she didn't realize that it was us. Her grandson helped an already-tired Radar get captured again.







7. Lunch at Moe's. AJ always gets the mini masterpiece, and she ate the whole thing. And, because of their cool new drink machine, she got a strawberry Sprite.







8. Naps, both days, for both AJ and her parents.



9. Dinners. Saturday night, we cooked together. AJ didn't like tomatoes or mushrooms, but she did like chicken and corn. Sunday night, she ate with her grandparents and we went out.



10. Christmas Tree! We got our Christmas boxes down from the attic and we put together, lit, and decorated the tree while listening to Christmas music and singing along. Ben put the star on top and AJ lit up as much as the tree. She's so proud of all her hard work of ornament hanging.






11. Singing. After I sang my solo (this song, but not this well), AJ perked up in practice after church. She sang her song and did the hand motions. It's going to be a big hit next week in worship service.



12. The Scrapbook. Radar alerted us when the FedEx guy pulled up on Saturday, and we watched out the window for what seemed a very long time. A package from Granny Annie! Anna June waited patiently while I opened the box. We were delighted to find that it contained a scrapbook made by Granny called "When My Daddy Was Little". It contains the most adorable pictures! Ben had very blonde hair, even blonder than AJ's. He also had pretty curls when he was young, but you can tell it was just the ends that were curly, and not AJ's deep down curl.






There were lots more happy moments, including a birthday celebration, visiting relatives, one night with no nightmares, and of course, the library. But I'll have to save those for other posts.














Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Uncle Rusty





Last night, we went out to Rusty's so Anna June could deliver his birthday present in person. For his birthday, Rusty is taking the day off.

AJ picked out a book about cupcakes for Rusty. He suggested they spend some time together baking one of the recipes at a later date. She is very excited about this possibility.

Last night, though, wasn't a good time for us to be in the way. Rusty had a big catering gig, and when he got back, he was greeted with "We just got a huge order from the auction house and we ran out of pork!"

You may think it is odd that I posted pictures of AJ with family members other than Rusty. Well, being a small business owner means you work 24/7. These photos are from AJ's Nana and Uncle Drew's birthday party back in October, and, when they were taken, Rusty and Beth were at the restaurant, working. Pretty much that's why we have a lot of our family events there - so they can be included!

We hope Rusty has a great birthday, and we hope that baking session does happen this year - so maybe we can get some pictures of the chef and his youngest niece.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Screened.

A local business came to Anna June's school to screen the children for speech, hearing and vision. We discussed whether or not to pay to have AJ checked out, but in the end, we decided to do it.

As we suspected, she is perfectly fine. Her vision and hearing are outstanding.

We were a little concerned about her speech, as she still has that babyish way of talking. Sometimes her Rs and Ls become Ws. But the screener wrote on AJ's report "Great Job!" on the speech section. I knew her communication was not really impeded, and she'll probably grow out of it, but I think it is good to have had it officially checked.

Now I'll just go back to worrying about the content of what she says, and not the quality. She's gotten quite bossy lately. This morning when I was blow-drying my hair, she was telling me "That's enough, Mama!" There's not a screening test for brattiness, is there?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful



Since I'm not sure Anna June's Indian headdress willl survive until next Thanksgiving, I thought I'd scan it so you can see. She is thankful for her "family and house." Me, too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Friends

Anna June can act shy when she's around new people, but after she warms up, she makes friends pretty easily. On Thursday night, after our Thanksgiving celebration, we got together with some friends for a reunion of the Feast of the Five Frogs.*

AJ got to play with a fellow baby tadpole, Carter. Carter was visiting from Michigan. They had a great time playing together. I caught this shot of them right before the end of the party.

*If you want to know what this is, you'll have to ask my dad.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Case of Mistaken Identity

A couple of weeks ago, Anna June's cousin Colin got the privilege of not only going to a University of Alabama football game, but also meeting their quarterback, A.J. McCarron.

When Colin got home and told his sisters, Claire and Ella, that he'd gotten to get his picture made with A.J., they were "very jealous" (according to their dad) because they thought he meant Anna June!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Where's My Tape Recorder?

On just the ride to school this morning, Anna June and I got in an argument of sorts.

First off, AJ had a nightmare and ended up sleeping on the floor next to our bed with the light on at 4:45 am. This meant that we would not possibly be on time today. My first sentence to my husband this morning was, "We've got to get these damn monsters out of our house so our kid can sleep."

Getting ready for work/school had not gone well. So we were both cranky.

AJ was busy eating a box of raisins in the car, so I thought we'd escape it, but she still found time to be a backseat driver.

"Mommy, you passed a red light."

"No, I didn't. The light was green. I turned left, and what you saw was a red light for people who were stopped so I could turn."

"It was red. You aren't as good of a rememberer as me. You forget stuff. It was red. And Number three..."

I cut her off there. "Anna June, please be quiet right now."

I waited about thirty seconds, feeling guilty for cutting off my child and making her shut up. At least I didn't say "shut up," but I was too tired to be in the mood for a multi-point argument when I was clearly, actually right.

I said, "OK, AJ, you can talk now."

"And Number Three," she said, picking up where she left off.

I was too busy laughing to hear what Number Three was on her list of grievances. After that I tried to explain traffic lights to her again, without screaming, "You're three years old! I've been driving for more than 17 years!" but I think she went back to her raisins.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's Go to the Movies


On Tuesday, Anna June's daddy and I had lunch and discussed our internet service provider (romantic, right?). We decided to switch, and around the time AJ and I got home from her appointment to get her flu mist vaccination, there was a truck outside to get it switched over.

After supper, Ben wanted to further test our connection by streaming a movie over Netflix. He chose Annie, at the top of our queue. Besides it being one of my favorite movies of all time, AJ regularly gets called "Annie" or "Little Orphan Annie" by complete strangers.

Now, AJ was in another room, and when she wandered into the den, the film was just beginning. Ben did not mention what he was watching, and I wasn't even in there. She looked up at the screen and saw Annie in the orphanage with her curly hair mostly a mess, and said, "Hey! That girl looks like me!"

From that point on, we were sucked in to watching the whole thing. Actually, we let her watch the first hour Tuesday night, and the second hour on Wednesday night.

I had my reservations about letting AJ watch it, since there are so many scary* or tense moments, but she was able to make it by sitting in my lap and not minding that I spoiled the climax of the film by whispering to her, "It's OK! Punjab saves her!"

The stopping point for Tuesday night was right after they got home from the movies. In fact, the number "Let's Go to the Movies" is probably my favorite number in the whole thing. It is so over-the-top and outrageous. But it was what was in my head on Saturday night, when we took our real live Anna June to the actual movies in our neighborhood.

AJ has been to the movies once before, for a birthday party. I have to say, if we had paid attention to our neighborhood theater's policy of ages three and under not paying for tickets, we might have gone sooner! We were going to use up the last of the bargain basement tickets we had bought from Sharing Spree (for $1.75 each!) that were about to expire. So the three of us went for a total of $3.50, which we paid months ago. Of course, we chowed down on popcorn, so there was that expense, but it was still quite a deal!

We went to spend it on The Muppets. I had been looking forward to it since I heard about the project. I liked it much more than AJ or Ben, but I think we all had a good time. The plot was nearly identical to The Country Bears, which we had already seen! But it had Jason Segel, and he's just one of my favorites.

AJ says she didn't like it, but she's been singing Muppet songs, wearing her Kermit the Frog socks, and talking about parts from the movie all day. There's a scene where Gonzo is about to knock a bowling pin off Jack Black's head, and AJ thought that was so funny she came straight home and grabbed her bowling pin and put it on her head and hollered, "head bowling!" And when I misquoted the film, she totally called me on it. She is such a sponge, which is why I try (and frequently fail!) to keep her away from movies that aren't good for her. But I couldn't resist this. It makes me feel better to know her friend Olivia, a year younger, also went this weekend. Her dad thought it was hilarious, too. It may be a generational thing.

*Lots of things are scary to Anna June. We spend at least half an hour every night trying to make her un-scared enough to go to bed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Roll Tide, I Guess




Anna June is having a hard time choosing sides in the Alabama vs. Auburn rivalry. While she has an uncle who attended Alabama, she also has one who attended Auburn. Since her parents both attended UAB, we're having a hard time instructing her. Fans from both sides are terrible to one another, and it would actually be OK with us if she didn't pick one. In fact, although I am an Alabama fan when pressed, I'm actually a UAB fan, and as such, I'm pretty mad at our shared Board of Trustees and their lack of support for our football program.

However, our cousin Judy sent AJ an Alabama shirt last year, and I have not been able to get her to wear it at all. Last Friday, they had Alabama/Auburn day at AJ's school, and, the night before when we were selecting her outfit for the day, I got her to JUST THIS ONCE try on this shirt for a picture. She ripped it off right afterwards, assured that I'd never "make" her wear it again.

If you can't tell from the picture, the shirt says "Start 'em young, raise 'em right." She didn't wear the shirt, but she did end up wearing all red on that day. She said that most of the kids in her class also wore Alabama colors. This does not surprise me, as Alabama is likely to go to the National Championship this year.

But when we were getting ready to watch the Iron Bowl yesterday, she said that she wanted "the Auburns" to win.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Toe Shark

At the end of September, we visited Panama City Beach, along with Anna June's Granny and Aunt Nonny. Granny gave us a beautiful beach-themed picture frame that said "family vacation." I was immediately chagrined, because I spent so much time relaxing and focusing on enjoying our time in Florida, I did not take any pictures. Well, I took one getting in the car on the way to take them to the airport, but besides that, none. Shame on me.

I begged Nonny to send me her pictures, and she did.

Of course, since I didn't know about the frame, we didn't make a conscious effort to have the three of us, or the five of us, for that matter, photographed together.

I was having a hard time figuring out which photo we would frame. There are a couple of the three of us in the same shot, but one has me buried in the sand and one is a very unflattering picture.

I called in the expert, Anna June. I showed her all the pictures on Nonny's CD, and she made her selection.

Here is what she chose:


That is my husband, with his freakishly opposable toes. He was making them into "toe sharks" to torment AJ, which she actually found hilarious. She laughed at this picture, and hand-picked it to go in our special frame. So if you come to the house and see framed toes, you'll know that the mere mention of "toe shark" makes her crack up.

Here is our revised album from September, featuring Nonny's pictures.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful


Anna June with Ms. Kaye

We are thankful today for our bountiful and many blessings.

Anna June is thankful that Ms. Kaye didn't make her stay in her Indian costume. That's right: Ms. Kaye let her change after she was "uncomfortable". She wore a tank top, and decided she'd rather be a Pilgrim instead.

I'm thankful for sweet teachers whose head does not explode because of the whims of preschoolers.

Amen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One Little, Two Little



Anna June's school, as I have mentioned before, is having problems with communication and organization.

Last week, they were to have Pilgrim and Indian Day, but for the big kids, it was postponed until today.

Last week, I had run out to the Salvation Army's local thrift store to see what I could find in the way of costuming my little Indian girl. I found a gathered tunic top, in beige, and I thought pairing it with AJ's brown leggings would be fine. The shirt met AJ's requirements of not having any fasteners, so I went ahead and bought it.

Today, when it was time to get dressed in her Indian garb, Anna June did not like the shirt. It was UNCOMFORTABLE. She started screaming.

Ben and I went out of the room to confer. While he was sympathetic to her sensory issues, I declared that she always gets her way when she throws a fit because we can't stand the screaming, and we cannot let her "win" in this manner.

She screamed and screamed. Finally, I told her, very calmly, that it didn't matter whether she screamed or not, she was going to have to wear it. Then I distracted her with a peanut butter and banana bagel sandwich, and she seemed a little better.

I had mentioned the paper sack vest I planned to make last weekend. It did not happen, partly due to the errands we had to run, a birthday party we had to attend, and a fancy dinner out with my brothers. But mentioning stopping by the grocery store on the way to school sort of appeased AJ.

Then, I "forgot" about it. Actually, I decided to skip it, because AJ had moved on. When we got to school, however, she acted genuinely sad that we didn't have paper sack vests. So I asked the teacher how many they'd need to get all the little Indians dressed. She said since 2 kids would be out today, that left 9.

I went to Publix* and asked the cashier for 9 paper sacks, and she graciously obliged. I hurried back to the school and the teachers said they'd be glad to have one extra craft today. Ms. Kaye was already taking scissors to the first bag when I left. I was only a little late - light traffic today! It was totally worth it, though. I can't wait to see their creations...having a professional do the job, the results will almost certainly be better.

These pictures are from the cell phone, and I hope the one I got on the "real" camera is better. The giant water spot on AJ's shirt is from brushing her teeth. After she was done, she mournfully declared how she was "all wet." I saw this as a ploy for her to change clothes, but she was not getting me to cave that easily. I told her it would dry.

*Beth works at Publix, and I did pop over to the bakery to holler "hey" at her, but she was engrossed in a task and didn't hear me. Also, there was quite a line of folks at the counter. The day before Thanksgiving at a bakery has to be as bad as anywhere else in retail the day after.

Monday, November 21, 2011

No Cavities Again!

Anna June had a dental check-up this morning. I know it is weird, but she actually loves going to the dentist. She talked about it for days beforehand. On Saturday night, she told my dad that she was going to go to the dentist and she has 20 teeth, which was accurate. Of course, on Sunday, when we saw my friend Holt who is actually a dentist, I asked her how many teeth she had, and she said "40." Thank goodness, no.

This morning, she jumped up as soon as she finished breakfast and brushed her teeth in anticipation.

She has no cavities. Her X-rays look good.

We found her hand print on the ceiling and her picture on the bulletin board. How much she's changed in just a year!

She got a princess toothbrush and a bouncy ball as a prize. I can't tell if she's more excited to get home and play with the little ball or get home and brush her teeth.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Just Like Mommy

When Anna June spotted my glasses on the sink while I was washing my face, she grabbed them to try them on. Ben got a good shot of her. Don't you think she looks just like Mommy? Or else, just like Jonathan Lipnicki?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mosquito

Back when we went to Tennessee on vacation, Anna June had fun playing with the other kids. Here are two brief clips of her, taken just before we came home.

The first one is AJ performing her Wiggle Dance.


The second one is AJ and Jada playing "Mosquito" - which is essentially tag but with buzzing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Elephant Dance

Back in the summer, Anna June, her dad and I went to the zoo for a very short visit before it rained.

I haven't posted videos in a while, so I thought I'd go back find something funny on a not-so-funny day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pilgrims and Indians


So, it started when I was taking Anna June to school on Monday. The sheet sent home said, "Children can dress as Pilgrims or Indians." I found this to be somewhat ambivalent. Does it mean they can dress up if they want to? Or does it mean that they should dress up, and their choices are Pilgrim or Indian?

I asked AJ if she'd rather dress up as a Pilgrim or an Indian.

"Indian," she said. We talked about how she already had brown leggings and maybe I could find/use a brown dress or tunic. She was only interested in a headband, and we discussed how she could use what she had to accomplish that part. The note home said they'd also be making head gear, so I told her she could wear one of her own until they made one. She was OK with it.

She told me that Indians carried books all the time. I asked her where she got that information and she told me that she just knew. I told her I wasn't sure that was true, and it would probably be better to carry a bow and arrow for hunting food, or maybe a basket for gathering berries.

"Hunting food?" she asked.

"Yeah," I said. "They killed animals for food."

"We don't eat animals. We just eat our food."

"Sweetie, we eat animals all the time. We eat chickens, and cows, and pigs."

"Our food comes from animals? You have GOT to be kidding me."

"I'm afraid not," I said. "I know it is kind of mean, but that's how it is."

She sat silently for a few seconds, and then changed the subject. Ah, that's my girl, I thought. Let's just deal with the unpleasantness by ignoring it, shall we?

This was the first time the connection has been explicitly stated from the chicken she eats in various forms of nuggets, fingers, strips, or drumsticks and the chicken that goes "bock bock bock," in the farmyard. And by the way, the American preschool curriculum dwells far too much on animals and their noise-making characteristics. I blame them for part of this shock. Of course, if we lived on a farm, this wouldn't be a surprise to her at her age, but, thank goodness, we do not.

Meanwhile, I'll be searching for books on how to raise a vegetarian child. I doubt there are any that specifically cover how to raise a vegetarian child when your brother makes a living by selling meat from animals.

Also, for the "big kids" at school, Pilgrim and Indian day has been postponed to the day before Thanksgiving, since they need to rehearse their Christmas program. If I had known that, I wouldn't have spent yesterday's lunch hour chasing down an appropriate top and remembering how to make an Indian vest out of a paper bag - which I haven't done yet, but I will still do this weekend, time permitting.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Haul


On Halloween, Anna June didn't do so much trick-or-treating. We hit up enough houses to say we did it, but I know that by my own standards as a kid, this was just a drop in the orange bucket.

These are pictures of AJ with her stash from Halloween day. This does not include what she got at Boo at the Zoo, or what came from the McWane event we attended. This is just from school and the door-to-door treat seeking we did. Not a bad haul. Her dad and I have thoroughly enjoyed pilfering it - AJ doesn't mind. We had to empty a bunch of candy from her special candy box, some of which could have been from this time last year.

Also, one of her teachers at school has been telling her that sugar isn't necessarily so good for her. When I asked her what she wanted for breakfast and she responded "something without sugar," I knew she'd been brainwashed - I mean, instructed. I am thankful for this. But if she's not going to eat that Snickers due to this new information, I bet I know someone who will.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Routine

With my recent resolution to be less scheduled, Anna June has found herself with a lot of opportunities to make decisions. Almost every week after church I ask her what she wants for lunch, knowing I'd be content with whatever she chose. Almost every week, she picks Arbys.

So basically, Sundays go like this:
Breakfast, usually something from a tube -biscuits or cinnamon rolls.*
AJ watches TV while I get ready.
Church
Arbys
nap
Phone calls to various relatives
Library
Grocery store
Dinner at Rusty's
Bed

Not a bad routine!

*"I can cook anything from a tube!" - Rory Gilmore


Friday, November 11, 2011

One Horse Open

The minute Halloween was over, Anna June's school started rehearsing for the Christmas Program. Before I forget: the Christmas Program will be on Thursday, December 8th, at 6:30. Write it down.

Honestly, I'm a little surprised they didn't start sooner. I remember starting in September back when I was in a choir, but then again, the three-year-olds are not going for vocal perfection.

When AJ started singing Christmas songs around the house again, I could tell they've been practicing. She started by singing "Feliz Navidad."

"Oh no," I said. Not that song again! I asked if they were doing a repeat of last year's program. She couldn't give me a straight answer, but my guess is - mostly yes. Our daycare is currently in-between directors, and I have no clue what kind of leadership they'll be able to provide in the area of seasonal entertainment. I am hoping for a real musician in place of a backing track (with vocals!) but I know that's one item on my wish list Santa probably can't bring.

In addition to "Feliz Navidad", AJ's been singing "Jingle Bells" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain". After a dessert run to this place the other night, AJ started rehearsing "Jingle Bells". We couldn't help but notice that she's doing fine on the singing, but is sort of iffy on the pronunciation. She, for example, could not get "one horse open sleigh." I have no idea what she was saying, but it was not "one horse open sleigh." Not that I blame her - she has no frame of reference. We live in the city, and there are no horses, and since we live in the Deep South, there are no sleighs, either, open or closed. I kept saying "horse, like you ride on!" and "open, like, not closed." She is just tongue-tied over that whole phrase. Luckily, though, we have lots more car rides between now and 12/8 to work on this.

When I first asked her, though, what she was singing, since she couldn't seem to get out the dreaded horse phrase, our conversation went about like this.

Me: AJ, what are you singing?
AJ: It's Jingle Bells. If you don't remember it from last year, it's OK. We're singing it again this year.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jack O' Lantern

The pumpkin Anna June selected at the pumpkin patch sat in our kitchen for a while. I had decided that, this year, we were going to carve a jack o'lantern. I ordered a pumpkin carving kit from Amazon. I didn't do my homework, and I overpaid for a kit made by Greenbrier International, which means it was made to be sold at Dollar Tree. Let's just say I paid more than a dollar for it, so I got ripped off.

We got down our Halloween box from the attic. Lo and behold, I had planned ahead for this year, and I bought a pumpkin carving kit on clearance at K-Mart last year- but I had totally forgotten about it.

So, armed with two cheap carving kits and all the stencils that came with them, we settled on a face. Basically, I did the scooping and Ben did the carving. AJ supervised.



Now that we've done this, I don't know if we'll do it again. It sat on our porch for a few weeks. We only lit it once, for this picture.



As we weren't home on Halloween, we didn't light it up then. I saved the tea lights and the cheap plastic carving equipment just in case we get in the spirit again next year.



We also saved some seeds - at AJ's insistence. They're drying in our kitchen for planting in the spring, just like in a book we read. If my planting track record is any indication, though, we'll be back at the pumpkin patch or, better yet, the grocery store, buying another pumpkin next year.

The pumpkin is gone, the decorations are back in the attic, but I thought you'd like to see our little girl and her first jack o'lantern, even if it's a bit late.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Keep Moving Forward


Anna June had a busy week last week. Monday was Halloween, which included her first real trick-or-treating and a party at school. Tuesday night she had a special night with her dad while I went to book club. Wednesday night we went to church together for a meeting and Family Night Supper. Thursday night, we went to Zumba. By Friday, AJ was exhausted.

All during Friday afternoon, her refrain was "I want my mommy!"

Her afternoon teacher, Miss Wimberly, tried her best to come up with a solution .

When AJ got home on Friday, she brought the invitation above to me.

I had to read it a few times, because the incorrect grammar and spelling threw me off.* Finally, I asked AJ if it meant that I was supposed to watch a movie with her. She said yes.

By Saturday, she wasn't feeling well, so I knew that the theater option was out.

Sometime over the weekend, we sat down and watched Meet the Robinsons, which we hadn't seen yet. It was pretty good.

Without spoiling the whole film, I can tell you the theme - it is OK to try and fail. The important thing is to "keep moving forward." I've been thinking a lot about forward motion lately, especially since I've been reading this blog, which is all about two moms who are trying to incorporate developing their mind, body, and spirit in their current crazy lives.

Anyway, the theme was not lost on me. So, instead of dwelling on the guilt that instantly popped up with this purple piece of construction paper for having a life that is too busy, I decided to keep moving forward, and embrace the 90 minutes of AJ sitting next to me or on my lap at the "scary" parts. That whole week's activities - and I'd like to point out that is not a completely typical week - were very important to my mind, body and spirit. And I felt I needed to do them to keep moving forward, myself.

The film ends with a quotation from Walt Disney himself:
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

May your day be filled with forward motion.


*Nothing against Miss W, but when AJ learns how to read, she's going to have to have teachers that use "you're" and "your" correctly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicken Fat

When Anna June first brought home her daily sheet reporting that the song of the day had been "Chicken Fat," I had no idea what the teacher was talking about. After AJ started singing it to me, I was even more confused, as she has a tendency to sing the same line over and over again.

So I did what any modern, responsible parent would do. I looked it up on the internet. Sure enough, President Kennedy, God rest his soul, commissioned this tune to promote physical fitness in the schools in 1961. Recordings were sent to every school, with the idea that each child would perform callisthenics daily while it was played over the PA.

I asked my mother if she was familiar with the tune, and the accompanying exercises, and she said that yes, she was one of the kids that had to do it every single day in grade school. She called me back the next day to, um, thank me for getting it stuck in her head, even though she hadn't thought of it probably in decades.

So here, without further ado, is the Chicken Fat Song.


You're welcome.

Also, changing the subject, here is a link to our pictures from August. Not very exciting, but August isn't a very exciting month.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Change of Time

Anna June has been battling a cold, and, evidently, she has given it to us. She and I stayed home almost all day yesterday. We ventured to Rusty's for dinner, though, because I honestly felt that the only thing that could make me feel better would be his chicken and sausage gumbo...it is just like my dad's gumbo, except not quite as spicy and without shrimp. It is exactly like I like it, and, with all the talk about Louisiana cuisine, due to the epic Alabama-LSU match-up on Saturday, it was all I could think about. It was completely worth getting out of the house.

AJ had a great time staying home yesterday. She painted, colored, and drew. She watched TV, including football. She played with her dolls and cleaned her room. She helped me with some little projects and stayed out of the way for others. Besides the incessant snot, you'd never have known she was sick.

With our sore throats and such, Ben and I were not fans of getting up this morning. But the time change worked to our advantage with Anna June. The daylight was coming in her windows, and as soon as she overheard my alarm clock ring, she got out of her bed and into her clothes, including shoes, without even coming in our room first. That girl was ready to get back to school today. I asked her if she felt bad, and she said, no, she wasn't sick, she just had a cough. So, there you have it. She's fine.

Here are some pictures
I finally uploaded from June. I hope they help you think warm thoughts today.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hot cocoa

Skipping church with a sore throat and a coughing and sneezing Anna June brought hot chocolate. She had some in WI with her Granny this winter, but hasn't since. She chose the big marshmallows instead of the small ones. She was very excited to drink out of one of my mugs. I have to admit this came from the Nesquick bunny, but I did heat up milk in a pot. Worth it for this face.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Something I Did Not Know

Anna June burped this morning, and she said she "burped like a tomato frog." I had never really heard of a tomato frog, so I looked it up. Sure enough, it is a real thing. If she's already telling me things I don't know from preschool, I pretty much will give up when she gets older. Seriously - she'll have to call her granddaddy when she's doing calculus.

Friday, November 4, 2011

School Pictures



Anna June got her school pictures back this morning. I can't decide if I'm more disappointed in the hokey background or the fact that they didn't even bother to wipe her face before picture time. Either way, bleh. Our kid is cute, though.

Let me explain about the net. In the pre-Picture Day paperwork, they mentioned that they could get a shot of the kids with a prop. After we selected this gorgeous handmade dress (which may be one of my favorite things AJ has ever worn), one of us decided she needed to bring her butterfly net to complete the ensemble. If I had realized it would have been against the autumn background, I may have skipped it and gone with something else: a different outfit, a different prop - something. But since we all know how hard it is to get AJ dressed, I have to say that it could have been worse.

And, I'd like to add that all of these photos are copyright Life Touch, and I'm sure I'm not supposed to be posting them. But I have to post them now before the order is due. I need to know from anyone who wants a copy of these gems which shot you want: Fall Background, Fall With Net, or Chair. If you have the first three years of pictures and are going for the complete set, I'd vote for sticking with the wicker chair.

Please let me know which one you want and what size, either in the comments or by email. You can call me on the phone, but I may remember better if it is in writing. Also, a bunch of photo gifts are available. So if you want AJ on a key chain or a mouse pad, let me know. Christmas is just around the corner.

And if you want to see some pictures of something other than Anna June, look here for our May album. Yes, May. When I posted July the other day, I realized I haven't posted May or June yet. Here's May, mostly pictures of Do Dah Day, which AJ has already asked many times when it is again. It is in May - but since it has been on her mind, maybe you'll enjoy seeing my pictures of the parade, which she enjoyed so much.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hat Day

Anna June's school had Hat Day today. Anna June told her teacher that she was going to wear a "fabulous" hat. I am glad that AJ loves this hat, that she wore on Easter 2010, and I am also glad that I bought it for $1 at Dollar Tree.

AJ's sticker chart this week shows a space for selecting clothes the night before, then wearing them the next day without changing her mind. She got one sticker on Tuesday (for the clothes she picked Monday night) but didn't get one yesterday or today. Yesterday it was shirts and today it was shoes. She'll have to do additional chores if she wants to do something else to make up for it, although I'm not sure I like this solution, as it provides a way out of doing the sticker-earning task. She really wants to get more eye shadow. Last week, AJ's treat for filling up her sticker chart was a giant lollipop. The week before, she wanted glittery eyeshadow. Instead, we got loose glitter, suitable for eyeshadow. Of course, she wants the real deal now!

AJ saw a trick on Caillou where they took a flashlight and a straw hat, and shone the light through it in a dark room to make stars. She's been having fun reproducing this at home, and, when it was Hat Day today, she also had to bring the flashlight along to show off her trick, which of course doesn't work in the daytime. We're supposed to have a cloudy day today, so Ms. Kaye said she'd try again at nap time.

I'm so lucky we have accommodating teachers that will allow Hat Day to turn into Flashlight Day!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Growth Spurt


Anna June is hitting a growth spurt, and everyone notices it. The other day, Ben asked her if she grew that day at school. Patrick, seeing her Sunday, had only seen her two weeks prior and commented about how big she's getting all of a sudden. She is so tall naturally, and seems to get taller. Plus she's thin - and, frankly, I'm jealous. She takes her gummy vitamins daily.

She dawdled terrifically this morning, though, and while we didn't have our weekly soccer athletic shoe meltdown today - she wore them with no complaints, as she finally threw the flower shoes away - she had to change her shirt about 4 times. The first one was too big - it was a size 6. The next two were too small. Of course it depends on the shirt, but sizes 4 and 5 are sometimes snug on her. The last one was too ruffly, but I made her wear it anyway, as we were SO late. She kept telling me, "I'm not going to be late." She was right, of course. I was late. Again. I think I'm going for some kind of record.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ahhh


Anna June and Ben are giving me some time off, as he took her to school today and plans to pick her up this evening so I can go to my book club. I haven't been in so long, they may faint.