Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Question Everything

Although we only spent an hour together this morning from the time she woke up until I dropped her off, Anna June was full of questions. Here's a sample:

Why is it called paper?
Why do we have knees?
Are you going to have lunch with Dad?
Why are there flags out?
Are we still in Alabama?

I have to say I was glad to get to work.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time Out

Anna June got three time outs at school yesterday. I am going to blame it on her being tired, but here's the rundown:

1. For going up the slide (instead of down) in the indoor playground. We tell her all the time not to do this.
2. For covering her ears when her teacher was trying to tell her to do something. This is worse than the previous time outs she's gotten for rolling her eyes and saying "whatever" to the teacher.
3. For licking a classmate.

Yes, licking. I have no idea which kid, or why, but she licked somebody. She's been doing this to me, too, recently, and I cannot understand it. She's been properly reprimanded each time. I know she's not teething - we're done with that. She can't possibly be hungry. She is just in to licking right now. Gross. At least it is not biting.

We had a lot of conversations with AJ last night and this morning about how she must respect her teachers and listen to them, even if she doesn't like what they have to say. If she's good today, we're letting her go to the puppet show at the library tonight, but if she's not, we're staying home. I hope that is incentive enough for her.

One of the times I tried to talk to her, I started out with, "So, you had three timeouts today." She said, "Well, I still had a good day!" You gotta love her positive attitude.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend vs. Weekday

As much as Anna June likes school, she likes weekends more. She has finally discovered that there are patterns to our days, and while on the weekday mornings, things are rushed, on the weekends, I will (almost) never wake her up early or request that she hurry up. This is a big relief to an over-booked child. On Saturday morning, though, she woke me up and said, "We don't have no school or work or church today!" She was so happy. So was I!

Parents through the ages wonder why kids cannot sleep in on a weekend day, but I know without a doubt it is because there is such possibility in freedom - it is too exciting to sleep through!

Saturday morning, AJ had her mind on her money and her money on her mind. I've blogged before about how I'm trying to teach AJ the value of a dollar and how she is asked to do "chores" - just like Cinderella! - in order to earn quarters for her various activities. There's an upcoming in-school field trip to Puppet Palooza. AJ will get to make a puppet and be in a puppet show, as well as get to watch a real puppet show, too. The whole thing is $12. The director had a teacher call to remind me to send the money. It is going to be a very big deal. Since I didn't want to come up with 48 different things for AJ to do, I decided on a 75% matching program. She'd do 12 chores and earn 12 quarters, and I'd contribute the rest.

First thing, AJ made her bed and retrieved her quarter from our change jar. Next, we picked up toys in her room. After breakfast, we did dishes and swept the kitchen. Then, she needed a break, so she watched some Dora the Explorer. We went to the library, and then lunch as a family at Rally's, since AJ had earned a free milkshake through the summer reading program. After quiet time, we did our grocery shopping. By then, AJ had no interest in doing any more chores. She wanted to color. While we were in the middle of art time, my mom called and asked if she could "kidnap" AJ to visit my grandmother and aunt, uncle, and cousins who happened to be in town. I saw my opportunity for a date night, and, even though AJ was exhausted already, she agreed to go.

It took AJ a minute to agree, because we'd made plans to have a family "slumber party" with her baby dolls that night. We were to eat popcorn and watch movies in our "sleeping bags" (really just blankets) on the living room floor. Knowing she wanted to see Claire and Ella, I told her we'd do the slumber party another time, and convinced her to go.

Evidently, on the way back from Grandmother's house, AJ did not stop talking about the slumber party, and how we'd go to the zoo the next day. We absolutely could not convince her to go to bed any other way. We watched a Thomas the Tank Engine episode, "Percy and the Chocolate Crunch". We skipped the popcorn - I think AJ was too tired to eat. She'd only had chocolate pie for dinner. AJ dragged one of her dolls, complete with her own blanket and pillow, to the den, while Ben and I got in our pajamas and pillows and piled in, too. (Although I got the sofa - it is good to be the mom!) We thought she'd fall right asleep - I did! But she stayed awake the whole time (33 minutes). Then, I told her she could continue to sleep in the floor if she would be completely asleep by the time I returned from taking Radar outside. Sure enough, she was asleep, or at least reasonably faking, when I got back, so she stayed on the floor. For 10 minutes. Then, she was crying, although it was in her sleep. Ben carried her to bed. The next morning, she was very angry we hadn't let her stay in the floor.

On Sunday, we did church and lunch, and then, after quiet time, we were to head to the zoo. Thunder postponed our trip, although we did get about an hour in before threatening storms chased us home again.

AJ is already asking when she can have another slumber party or when she can go back to the zoo. "Not today," I told her. "Maybe this weekend," she said.

Friday, June 24, 2011

E is for Elephant

This week, Anna June was to bring an item for Show and Tell that began with a D, E, or F. Originally, she had planned to bring Duke the Dog, her Pillow Pet, but after the comment was made that her friends had seen it already, she decided to bring her pink elephant.

I've talked before about how I named all AJ's stuffed animals she got before she was born and when she was smaller after the people that gave them to her. Thus, this is Brenda the elephant, named for a very sweet lady who used to work with me at UAB.

I hope Brenda and AJ have a good day at school today!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Viewing Party

On Wednesday, Anna June discovered a change in our normal plans - she would have to go to school, as usual, but Ben and I were taking the day off to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. She was sad. We told her she could help us celebrate when she got home from school.

Anna June was full of questions. Recently, she became interested in our framed wedding photo on our dresser, and I broke out the really nice album she wasn't allowed to touch. She was amazed that her uncles looked so different, although she was able to spot "Olivia's Mommy" right away. She said that we looked different, too.

After a day of celebrating (out to breakfast, nap, out to lunch) Ben picked AJ up early, and when they returned I was cooking dinner. There were ironed place mats on the table. A different candle holder. Wildflowers AJ picked that morning. The place was different. "Why?" AJ asked. I told her it was a special occasion. "Why is it a special in-casion?"

After a dinner of fruit, baked chicken, rice, and carrots, I served chocolate mousse from a mix...AJ loved licking the bowl. She could not wait for dessert, but ultimately ate only 3 bites of it - enough to give her a chocolate mustache (or would that be a mousse-stache?). Then, we went to the feature presentation: the wedding video.

On June 22, 2002, we got married. It was a great event, but, let's just say that mistakes were made. Ben and I did not hire a professional videographer, but my uncle held his camcorder at a pretty good angle for the ceremony. Looking back now, it was very sweet - we sure did promise each other a lot of things! The taping of the ceremony wasn't too bad, but the taping of the reception was left to my (then) young cousin David. There's lots of footage of my cousin Collin, who was clearly the cutest person there.

Anna June, of course, was not dwelling on the things that make us cringe now: the lack of lighting at the reception hall, the obnoxious DJ who didn't even announce the cake cutting, the fact that the flowers obscured the view of my friend Jess who sang, etc.

AJ was SO excited. You would have thought that all the Disney princesses were on screen simultaneously! She kept hugging and kissing me. She kept asking questions about who everyone was. She didn't stop talking, which was kind of OK with us. She asked why she wasn't in my tummy yet - we told her it wasn't time yet. She asked if I had worn white panties to go with my white dress. I told her that yes, I believe I did! She applauded when the pastor presented the happy couple. I told her that, if she gets married, and she wants to, she can wear the same exact dress I wore. But a talented seamstress, I am certain, will have to let out the hem about a foot.

She asked me why I was crying when it came to the part when I was dancing with my Granddaddy Elwyn to the Monkees' version of "I'm a Believer." I didn't answer her - but I am sure she went on to the next question without missing a beat. Honestly, I had forgotten about that. My granddaddy was a pretty good dancer. The tape now is so much more precious to me, knowing that is there. I was also especially struck by how lovely my Grandma Annette looked that day - the photos really don't do it justice like the live action shot of my brother escorting her down the aisle. On the other hand, there wasn't any footage of Ben's Aunt Louise dancing with the late Matt Stutts, although I do have a photograph.

The rest of the viewing party continued as a sort of "Where are they now?" The pastor and his wife have divorced, as have the DJ and his wife. Dates of friends have come and gone. Each of my bridesmaids has two children a piece, so including AJ there are 7 kids: 6 girls and a boy. My aunt Jean was pregnant with my cousin Claire, who is now a gymnastics-meet-winning big girl. A baby cried in the background, who was most likely Will Cvacho, although AJ pointed out that it could have been Wim Vandiver - both of them are big boys, now, too. My cousins Mary and Morgan are college women now, and David is a grownup with a job.

Lots of things have changed in 9 years, but lots of things haven't. The main thing that hasn't changed is that we still love each other very much, and we're still committed to sticking it out through good times and bad, no matter what.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Adventure

Last night, Anna June asked if Daddy and I would take her on an adventure this afternoon. After discussing it for a while, she decided that we should take her to the playground. Of course, after being in a severe drought, it looks like it might rain tonight. Maybe she'll settle for an indoor "adventure" instead.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Look Back at Father's Day Weekend

This weekend was fun, as planned, for Anna June. On Friday night, we went shopping. Anna June had a list of things in mind that she wanted to get for Father's Day gifts: an oven mitt for Granddaddy, a set of glasses for Granddaddy Jerome, and a watch for Daddy. I have no idea what made her think of these things, but that worked for me...these guys can be pretty hard to shop for.

Saturday morning found us taking Ben for an early Father's Day breakfast at Chick-fil-A. We stopped off to pick up Radar and headed to Railroad Park, which AJ says is her favorite park (at least for now). Unfortunately, now that the park has had time to mature a little, there is maintenance that needs to be done on the playground and exercise equipment, and there is still not really any shade. Trees have been planted, though, and in a few years, it will be alright. But for now, AJ still fits on the "baby" swings they have there and loves to climb on the other pieces. Radar and I enjoyed our walk, although I discovered that he does not like to go down the wooden stairs. We didn't stay too long, though, since temperatures were already well into the 90s by 10 am.

After that trek, AJ was too tired to come with me to the grocery store, and Ben had a migraine, so I decided that I would take the opportunity to let Caillou entertain AJ and head to Publix. When her show was over, she asked Ben to put on another episode, which he did. I still wasn't back when the second show finished, so AJ was bored. She didn't want to wake her dad, but she was feeling creative, so she got her art supplies box out. Now, the reason I keep it where she can reach it is for moments like this - I sincerely hope that occasionally she'll choose her coloring books over the television. Well, she was going to color, but she discovered her Hello Kitty stamp. I have no idea why I put this in there. When I returned from the store, AJ greeted me at the door in nothing but her underwear, covered head to toe in blue Hello Kitties. I could not really be mad, as it was my fault for a) leaving her there with a sick dad and b) leaving the stamps within reach. After lunch, AJ got a bath, basically in cold cream - when she did this before I did not have any but you can bet on my next trip to the drug store I got some. I was so glad I did.

After a short nap time, I woke AJ so we could attend our friend Nathan's 4th birthday party. It was a swimming party at his grandparents' house. We've been to their pool before, and I was excited. AJ was pretty excited, too. She did not let me take any pictures, though. I got this one of the back of her head after we'd changed out of her wet suit. It had started raining anyway, so it was easier to want to leave. It was a Spiderman-themed event, and AJ was the most excited about the Spiderman temporary tattoo.

On Saturday night, I went to dinner with a friend of mine from middle school who was in town. We enjoyed catching up. Ben had AJ all fed and ready for bed when I returned. They watched Curious George 2, which AJ totally enjoyed.

Sunday was the big day. AJ and I woke Ben up with his card and gift, and then we let him sleep a bit while we got ready to go. We'd planned to eat our traditional Father's Day Brunch at Rusty's BBQ, choosing a time where we could all go to church afterwards. Unfortunately, things were running a little behind schedule, and we had to stay at Rusty's longer than planned. That was OK - we had more time to visit with the family and friends who came. We enjoyed fried green tomatoes, eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes. And some chocolate mini-donuts Ben and AJ selected as appetizers.

It was Ben's day, so I let him pick the next activity: Nap time. AJ knows that she must stay in her room and be quiet if she is not going to nap, so she did. When I got to her room to let her know it was time to get up, I discovered several of her dolls taking their own naps: AJ had neatly laid out a bunch of her blankets and given her dolls pillows and let them take naps. She told me she had been playing "Mother" and "Teacher" with them.

After nap/quiet time, we got back up AJ helped me clean out Ben's car. We even vacuumed it! It was too hot to spend any more time outdoors, so we went inside and watched Curious George. Later, we went out for lunch. AJ and I let Ben rest while we went to the library. Then, we Skyped with Grandpa, although AJ was tired and not participating like she should have been.

Then, AJ got to have more grandfather time when we took her to visit my dad while Ben and I had our date night, which included sushi and a less-than-stellar trip to Best Buy. AJ had a great time eating pizza and blueberries. We returned home for dessert, which was also blueberries, but this time, with Cool Whip. I think AJ had a culinary revelation.

Overall, we got to do what we wanted for Father's Day weekend: salute those fathers in our lives who have given so much love to their kids. We love you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Show and Tell

At Anna June's daycare, they stay busy thinking of fun things for the children to do. There's the office, that thinks up things to do for the entire center, and the Sonshine Station, whose teacher Ms. Donna thinks up things for all the kids to do such as making a hand print flag for Flag Day, and then the classroom teachers, who think of things for their class to do. Ms. Crystal and Ms. Beverly have deemed Fridays Show and Tell days until further notice. This week, the children were to bring something that began with an A, B, or C. The alphabetical component was an afterthought. AJ had already decided to bring Princess Bear, so it was good that the letter B was included! Friday is also movie day, so we'll see what compelling piece of cinema will give her nightmares this weekend. Also, they were having Daddy Donut Day in honor of Father's Day, providing coffee and donuts for the dads. This, of course, was really a treat for me, as it was incentive for Ben to take AJ to school this morning!

AJ could also show and tell herself today in her butterfly dress! Thank you, Granny! We got lots of butterfly things in the box and AJ loves every one of them. I will have to get more pictures later. Although AJ is a little sensitive to having me take her picture, I assured her I would send these to Granny to show her how well the butterfly dress fit and how pretty she looked with her giant flower headband to match. Hopefully, the dress looks OK. AJ criticized my ironing this morning, telling me that it was still "too wrinkled" when I got done with the first pass. She was right, of course, so I made a second attempt. Nothing gets past that girl.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cupcake Face

<p>Anna June and I went down the mall while Ben visited Radio Shack. We saw lots of things to save up for. We read stories and browsed around the magazines and games. We went in the cafe, Joe Muggs for dessert. AJ selected a chocolate cupcake for us to share. I noticed that it was not the freshest thing ever, but I wasn't going to let that stop us. AJ knew it, too, because she said, "This icing is crunchy!" We enjoyed our time together anyway.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

We try to make our mornings go more smoothly by having Anna June select her clothes the night before. Yesterday, I wore a denim jumper with a red t-shirt underneath. I admit it isn't the most au courant item in my wardrobe, but it felt right for Flag Day. In fact, I tried to get AJ to change her mind to wear one of her several red-white-and-blue ensembles, but she refused. The night before, after all, she had selected her black and white striped dress, which was what she wanted to wear.

Last night, seeming to be influenced by my fashion choice of the day, AJ selected this Old Navy jumper and top from Children's Place. I have finally gotten through to her that she cannot wear jumpers without something underneath. Of course, this usually results in refusal to wear jumpers.

I was excited she made the adorable selection, and as I hung it on the special hook we use for "tomorrow's clothes," I asked her if she was sure. She was. We proceeded as normal.

This morning, though, as soon as I put it on her, she wanted it right back off.

I did not cave. I held her while she cried with disappointment, but I did not let her change clothes. The point, after all, is to get me to work on time, and further waffling on her outfit would not accomplish this. I talked to her about decisions, and seeing them through. I told her that sometimes people make decisions they are happy with, like when she decided on Berry Cheerios for breakfast, and sometimes, people make decisions they are not happy with, like when I chose leftover tacos last night only to remember after heating up my plate that we were out of cheese. She laughed at that. But I told her that I ate those tacos just because I had already made the decision and I needed to see it through.

She seemed to listen to what I was saying, but was still upset. I distracted her by saying that if she'd finish getting ready, I would let her watch TV while I showered and got dressed. This is unprecedented - we almost NEVER let her watch TV on a weekday morning, because if she did, we'd never get out the door.

I also had a different agenda for making her wear this outfit: I think it is ADORABLE and I wanted to get a picture of her in it, because it may not ever happen again! I love denim, especially on kids. It seems to be able to take what they can throw at it. It doesn't snag or require that it be dry cleaned or line dried. I'm pretty sure that AJ doesn't like this dress due to insufficient twirl-age, but that's just too bad. She's wearing it for now.

Also, I apologize for the quality of the photo. I feared, when I got a smart phone, that I would be one of those parents who only takes mobile pictures of their kids - and I am quickly living up to that. It is so easy to upload and share pictures from there. I've updated our mobile album on Picasa a little bit. Here is the link to those photos. Enjoy them in all their grainy goodness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Anna June has started using the phrase "you promised me!"

Over the weekend, I promised her a deluxe at-home manicure and pedicure. Since she fell asleep before we could do it on Sunday night, last night the child who never forgets reminded me of my promise.

The reason this one was going to be special was that it included getting her feet soaked in my fabulous, but seldom-used foot spa. AJ could not understand why she'd never seen this contraption anywhere but the closet. She had so much fun soaking her feet in the bubbles. Her poor little piggies actually needed some pampering, as she's been wearing sandals and, how ever comfortable they are, they are not good for the feet! Her toenails were not in good shape.

Luckily, I did not take any pictures of this endeavor. She and I now both have red fingers and toes. AJ, I believe, selected red because her teacher Ms. Beverly was sporting red nails, as well.

I am certain that AJ herself could have done a better job. I am not cut out for painting anything, much less tiny surfaces that wiggle. Her nails are messed up, so, if you see her, don't look too closely. My nails are messed up, of course, since I had to go chasing after her before mine were completely dry. On the other hand, I am not willing to take her to the salon to have them done - in fact, my nail salon doesn't even allow kids, which is possibly why I haven't been in so long! The fumes would knock her out. And since AJ loves nail polish so much, we have quite enough at home to accommodate all my mistakes. Maybe with practice, I will get better.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Simple Girl

(Photo by Patrick Tucker, Memorial Day weekend)

Anna June gets dragged all over town for activities that she does and does not want to do in the interest of entertaining, enriching, and educating her. But really and truly, all she wants to do is stay at home.

Friday night, we went to the Birmingham Barons game. It was a successful outing, with most of my family in attendance. We planned months in advance and proved that it is possibly for us to get together outside of one of our homes or Rusty's BBQ. AJ enjoyed the bouncy house and playground in the kid's area and the fireworks after the game. She danced in the aisles and stayed up way past her bedtime. She ate a hot dog, pizza, and bits of everyone else's nachos and funnel cake. She fell asleep in the car on the way home as predicted, but, unexpectedly, the combo of whatever she ate/drank/bounced in made her sick. Incidentally, my new parenting tip is that you should get a steam cleaner the moment you find out you're having kids.

Because of that experience between 1-2 am, we decided we should stay home all day on Saturday. Early in the morning, before we even made breakfast, AJ re-purposed an empty paper towel roll and decided to make a pirate ship out of cushions in the den, since she had a perfect spyglass. Then, she "made donuts" with it. She watched some Clifford, did some sponge painting, ate leftovers, and entertained Radar. She napped well, played dress up in her princess high heels, and enjoyed listening to many stories read to her. She likes being helpful around the house and asked if she could help me do the "hard stuff" of cleaning, laundry, and dishes. Basically, she made her own fun. I asked her what she had liked best about the day and she said, "staying home!"

On Sunday, she decided to play Rapunzel (with her dad cast as Flynn) and she used her winter scarf tucked in her hat as her "hair". Rapunzel and Flynn relaxed on the couch and watched Sponge Bob. Later, we went to church and lunch. Then we had quiet time (no nap). Afterwards, we made "Magic Monkey Bananas" from a recipe featured in a book we'd read, No More Cookies by Paeony Lewis. While they were chilling in the freezer, we popped in for a quick visit with Granddaddy Jerome and Uncle Tim, then to the library to sign up for the summer reading program. Then we went home to eat our snacks: AJ ate the chocolate and sprinkles off her frozen banana, and left the rest for Radar. We did Skype with Grandpa and went to Rusty's for dinner. Again, she fell asleep in the car. What a peaceful ending to the weekend!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Anna June is, like just about every girl we know, spellbound by all Disney movies, especially when they involve a princess. Well, actually, she doesn't love Jasmine from Aladdin so much, because she wears pants instead of a dress.

I was reading her stories from her Disney Princess story book. I was secretly thinking to myself that maybe she is ready to see Snow White. She has seen many of the movies featured in the book: Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin (although the DVD from the library skipped so I am not sure we've seen it in its entirety). She's also seen The Little Mermaid about a hundred times at school. Snow White, it seems is the next princess on the list.

But as soon as we put AJ to sleep last night, not 30 minutes later she started crying and announcing that she was having a bad dream about witches. It is our opinion that she hadn't had time to reach a dreaming sleep yet, but the crying was real, and wouldn't stop. We discussed the fact that witches are not real - whatever your opinion is on this matter, as far as AJ is concerned, what Mom says goes - witches are NOT real. They are just in stories for dramatic effect.

I find it interesting that she and her friends at school have been pretending to be witches lately. AJ and her friend Brooke pretended to be "bad witches," according to AJ. When they wanted to play witches again, the teacher redirected them and said they could be good witches and do nice things rather than be mean ones - again according to AJ. I have no idea what the school's official position is on this. I am glad that they have times of unstructured play where they can pretend to be whatever they want. I am not so sure that the movies informing their play have been so appropriate, though, but I'm not sure what I can do about it. It seems that Disney owns marketing rights to everything related to kids.

Nonetheless, since Snow White has a scary witch in it, we will not be watching that movie for a while yet.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fun with Fungus

(Note: After working in medical research and becoming a parent, I have totally lost my filters about what people find disgusting. If you are grossed out by fungus, skip this post)

Anna June had a sick day yesterday, due to a diagnosis of ringworm. We did exactly what the doctor said (topical OTG antifungal remedy, keep it covered), and she seems to be improving and is no longer contagious.

We have learned the following things: Ringworm is not caused by a worm, but it is a fungus. It can be caught from other humans, cats, or dogs. Radar does not have it, so it is our veterinarian's opinion AJ caught it at daycare - we've notified the director so other parents can be on the lookout.

AJ was pretty bummed out that we'd be missing school on Wednesday, since they were scheduled to do sponge painting then. So we went and bought some paint, paint-worthy paper, and some foam shapes, because AJ couldn't visualize cutting the sponges accordingly. The shapes were a bust, but she had fun painting. Also, I now know why you see pictures of artists in berets - AJ had red paint in her hair! Next time, we'll get a hat and a smock on.

In addition to that, AJ and I did an exercise video, took Radar to the vet, watched TV, and went to get my car washed. I also managed to run by the post office and get the air conditioner and dishwasher serviced by my friend Chris the handyman. It was such a busy day, we didn't have time to celebrate Radar's birthday. We are planning a party at the dog park for later in the month, when, hopefully it will be cooler.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No Rain

Anna June has a bumblebee bathing suit, sent by Granny Annie. Somewhere, there are more pictures of her in the suit - when she first tried it on, and when she played in the sprinkler this weekend. This picture is of AJ and Marcella, courtesy Liz and Patrick.

We all agree, though, that the instant she put on this suit, she reminded us of the little girl on the cover of Blind Melon's 1992 self-titled album. In the video for their song "No Rain," seen here, the little girl is just trying to find a place to fit in, which she finally does.

AJ decided last night to put on the suit again and pretend that she was at the beach. My room was the beach. The laundry I was folding, was, unfortunately, "in the water". She also tried to give Radar swimming lessons. I, too, was imagining we were at the beach, but really, with it so hot, it would just be more miserable there - we'd just get to swim more.

There has been no rain here for days. It is so hot chickens are laying fried eggs. I hope everyone is staying cool in their own ways.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's a Pillow, It's a Pet

Anna June leads a life sheltered, if we can help it, from television commercials. She gets plenty of TV, but it is mostly from things we've recorded with our DVR-capable media center, or DVDs or VHS tapes (I know - we're so retro)! Occasionally, she'll be stuck watching regular TV at her Nana's and will be confused by the commercials. We usually tape ad-free PBS shows for her.

The power of advertising, however, has not passed her by. Even though I doubt that she's actually seen the commercial for Pillow Pets, she's heard of them. I guess other children have been singing the jingle at school, because she's sung it, too. I had to look up the commercial myself:

Anyway, when we went shopping on Memorial Day at Ross, AJ discovered they had Pillow Pets for sale. I had no idea if the $14.99 price tag was a good deal (not bad, it turns out!) but I did know one thing: I was going to say no. I've been telling Anna June that she has to buy things "with her own money." Naturally, most of the money that ends up in her piggy bank (or in this case, her whale bank) is from us. But some is not. And while we haven't quite gotten around to lessons about saving for the future or giving to charity, but we're working on the following concepts: things cost money; you can't always get what you want; you have plenty of things to wear/play with, and if you buy a new one, you must get rid of an old one; and, finally, you have to save to get enough money to buy what you want.

So Tuesday night, we opened up her whale bank and counted out enough coins to equal the price of the Pillow Pet. Friday, I took the coins to the bank to ease the retail transaction by converting them to dollars, and Friday night, after dinner, we went to Ross and got Anna June her very own Pillow Pet. She had originally wanted the ladybug, but ended up getting the dog, as the ladybug was sold out.

On the way home, she named the dog Zoe, but later when she referred to it as "him" I reminded her that Zoe was a girl's name. So she named him Duke, which is her friend Drew's bulldog's name.

She played with Duke all weekend. She slept with him Friday night, and when she woke up before 6 am, I told her she could sleep on the floor beside our bed - Duke came along. She told me when she got up for the day that he gave her sweet dreams. She pretended that another one of her stuffed dogs was his little brother, Little Radar, and they went to "the park" together (which was the kitchen) and then "back home" (which was her room). She asked if Duke could sit in our extra chair last night at dinner and asked if I could watch him while she went to the bathroom this morning. She gave him stickers for being a good dog. She watched a zillion hours of classic cartoons with him - we checked out a 3-disc set from the library and now she has seen Popeye and Betty Boop. It was possibly $15 worth of entertainment so far just to watch her have so much fun!

Several kids at school, it seems, have these things. She was excited to show it to her teacher this morning. I'm glad I didn't prevent her from being the cool kid, but I'm also glad that she had to buy it herself.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cutting Up

Anna June is learning how to cut with scissors. Each time she makes a cut, she opens and closes her mouth along with the scissors. So cute!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How Hot Is It?

Anna June knows that each night we check the weather on this handy little gadget on our refrigerator. It shows the upcoming day's highs, lows, and a general picture of the weather. This is from Thursday night, showing it hit 100 that day. And the day after that, it did, too. When Spring first began this year, AJ was very excited on days over 80 when I would let her wear Summer clothes, meaning mostly the sleeveless sundresses she adores. Each night, we check the weather and she reports to her dad whether or not summer clothes will be appropriate. Last night, she told him it was going to be hot again. He said, "It's never going to be cool again!" which is, honestly, how it feels. AJ was a little upset by this, until I explained he was just exaggerating, and, in a few months, it will be fall and then winter. She reported back to him that soon it would be winter and we'd be wishing it were summer!

We've had some record breaking days this week. It is always hot in June, but not usually this hot. We're planning as much as we can to stay indoors this weekend. Y'all stay cool!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Too Early!

I just tried to wake Anna June up for the day, and she told me that it is "too early". So I told her I'd give her a couple more minutes while I post, since today at work is going to be busy.

This picture was taken on Memorial Day at the McWane Center. The other child in the photo, besides our princess, is Patrick & Liz's other niece, Marcella, who was visiting from the Washington D.C. area. They had a blast together! On Sunday, they went swimming in Patrick's apartment pool, and then on Monday we did McWane and then our Chick-fil-A, where AJ was able to show Marcella all about the indoor playground.

It just so happens that Uncle Patrick got a fancy new camera for his birthday, so he was able to take a lot of pictures of the visit. Here is a link to his Picasa album. There are a few pictures of Cameron and Megan, Marcella's parents, along with Patrick, Liz, Ben, and me. There are also a few shots of AJ at Rusty's BBQ at the big family gathering after Marcella had to go back home.

We all had a fun weekend, and appreciate Patrick's help in documenting the occasion. He did such a good job that I have already warned him it will probably be his responsibility at future family gatherings.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Free Play

Last night, Anna June and I went to Family Night Supper at our church. We had special guests: other kids. This is a rare occurrence, and even though Will and Francie are older, they were glad to see AJ, too. After dinner, AJ and Francie went outside to play. Francie's grandmother, Birki, and I sat on a nearby bench and let the girls play while we could sort of hear them and see them. As I discussed with a neighbor at the park this weekend, it is too rare when we can let kids be kids and just play.

Afterwards, AJ told me what they had been playing: classroom! Francie's mom, dad, and grandmother are all teachers, so it did not really surprise me that, at Francie's direction, they decided to play "First Grade". Basically, from what I gather, Francie asked AJ to sit at the picnic table, and that was about the extent of it. But she had an absolute ball! There were not really any toys involved (except a giant Minnie Mouse doll), nothing with batteries or a cord, nothing that made noise - just a couple of little girls pretending together. I wish we could have stayed longer, but it was getting late.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Teacher's Pet

At Anna June's school they have a segment of the day they spend in the "Sonshine Station". As far as I can tell, it is not too different from their regular classroom, but it is a change of scenery for the kids. They do art projects, sing songs, play with toys, and pretend. They learn Bible lessons and they focus on different themes. Ms. Donna is the teacher, and Anna June loves her. In fact, around Valentine's Day, the children were asked to describe what love is. Her answer, commemorated on a heart that hung on a tree in the lobby, was "I love Mrs. Donna. I love Mommy and Daddy."

It is no wonder that Mrs. Donna loves her back. She was the mastermind behind the Teddy Bear Tea Party. She took this picture at the big event. Not all the kids had their pictures made, but how could you not take one of this?