Friday, December 30, 2011
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
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
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
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
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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
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
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
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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
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.
Monday, December 12, 2011
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
Friday, December 9, 2011
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
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
Monday, December 5, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
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.
Friday, December 2, 2011
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?