Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mini Me

Anna June has picked up several of the phrases I use, and it is both hilarious and horrifying to hear my words coming out of her mouth. At least she uses them correctly! Here are some that have struck me lately:

- Speaking of which...
- As far as I know...
- Character (as in, Spiderman is a character)
- So, as I was saying...
- This is what I want you to do:
- I'm telling you...
- Appropriate (although she says it "appopiate")

Ben says when he hears her use "Parenthetically" he will just die. 

This morning she asked me what "P.S." means, because she heard it in one of her books, several days ago.

Comments welcome on things you've heard her say you can't believe, especially from Ben, because he's told me about several that I can't even remember.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

McWane Your Brain

Anna June loves being a member of the McWane Science Center, although we don't go nearly as often as she'd like. She likes exploring the exhibits, and, as she gets older, she's more interested in different things. We spent three hours there on Monday and we didn't even make it to all the floors. One day, she may even let me read the placards next to the exhibits to her. I usually get as far as the first sentence and she's asking me how to "do" the activity. I know that sooner or later, a teacher will point out a scientific phenomenon, and AJ will be able to picture something in her mind that she did there, and "get" it. If not, at least she's been having a good time.

A few months ago, we received our McWane newsletter in the mail. AJ saw a picture of her old television pals Dora and Diego. I told her about the "Night Out with Dora and Diego" they're hosting in conjunction with this traveling exhibit. There will be folks in character costume and a bring your own backpack scavenger hunt. She was immediately "in". We bought tickets and made a date with Maxwell and his mommy to come along with us. So her plans for this Saturday are all set, in case you were wondering.

But luckily, we didn't wait to see the exhibit itself. When we went with William on Monday, they were both entranced - I think we spent the bulk of our visit in this area, specifically aimed at kids their age. The pirate ship was their particular favorite - the vests to dress up in were a big hit!

She also got to experience some of her favorites, including the Pulley Chair Lift, Just Mice Size, and the Dig Pit.

AJ is still talking about her excursion. This morning on the way to school, she mentioned that she wished the slide (between the third and second floors) had been open! Obviously, she's been thinking about what a good time she had, and when she can go back.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Update

Anna June planned our stay-cation this weekend. She revised her earlier plan to go to the zoo on Monday with going to the zoo on Saturday.

I had not told AJ ahead of time, but it just so happened that on Saturday, the Birmingham Zoo held a birthday party for its 5 lion cubs. We enjoyed free ice cream sandwiches and face painting. There was quite the crowd, but it was worth it to see the (now) huge cubs lick their ice sculpture cake.

Also at the zoo, we saw our friends Jesanna and Michael, and their kids William and Elizabeth, and Jesanna's parents, Pam and Bob. AJ was in the splash pad, and William preferred riding the carousel.

I was bragging about how AJ had planned the whole weekend: zoo, movies, and McWane. But then, I realized it wasn't very nice to brag, and I asked if they'd like to come along to the McWane Center as well. Jesanna had to work, but her mom volunteered to bring William, and, just like that, a super-awesome play date was born.

On Sunday, we went to the budget theater to see Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Ben and I were less than thrilled, but knowing it was only 87 minutes long kept us in it. It was funny in parts. It would have been better if we had seen the second one, I think, when the Chipettes are introduced. We saw the first one on Christmas Day, but I wasn't really paying much attention. The biggest shock of the movie was that they actually got real celebrities to do the voices of the chipmunks, something we had not realized before. We can't believe they paid for talent like Justin Long and Christina Applegate when the voices were only to be distorted.

Monday had us with our play date. AJ and William ran all over that museum, searching for dinosaur bones, dressing up like pirates and astronauts, playing on the playground, and blowing gigantic bubbles. Ben opted to stay behind, as the prospect of a crowded space with screaming children did not appeal to him. He did get to go shopping, though, and he snagged some holiday deals.

Lest you think that AJ planned our entire weekend, we did have some say in our other activities.

Saturday morning, we visited Krispy Kreme and the East Lake Farmer's Market. We came home with donuts, blueberries, and the biggest blackberries we've ever eaten. On Sunday, AJ spent some time with her grandparents and we had our holiday family gathering including homemade pizza. (In case you were wondering, if you sell BBQ for a living, you have pizza on Memorial Day.) Actually, AJ's Granddaddy asked her what her favorite meal was, and she said pizza. I can't blame her. So that's what we had - and it was extremely good. My grandfather made the dough himself. On Monday, we went to Rusty's for dinner.

AJ did not nap on Saturday or Sunday, but blessedly, she did yesterday. As soon as her nap was over, she came running into our room asking if we could get her swimming pool out. We got it out, but it needed to be cleaned, and it was getting late, so all the water she got to see was from the hose in our cleaning endeavor. Don't worry - the summer is long and hot, and she'll be out in that alligator pool in no time. She will insist.

In other news, the Birmingham Board of Education is considering proposed changes to the uniform policy. Unfortunately, they will not vote until June 12, so we will not know anything before then. If they approve this, Anna June will be able to wear boots to school. Considering that is currently her favorite footwear, this is good news. The proposed policy is located here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Some Pictures

A lot has been going on in Anna June's life since January of this year. Mostly, she's been busy growing and learning numbers and letters. She's very much the pre-literate child, wanting to practice writing letters everywhere and any time, including writing "AJ" on her shoes. She constantly asks how to spell things. Of course, we're very excited about this process, although it can be exhausting.

Maybe I will use that as an excuse - we've had a lot going on in our lives, too. In January, my purse was stolen from my office and I had to rebuild everything. Our beloved memory card for our camera was damaged, so if there were any pictures taken on it in February, they're lost to the ages. We ordered a new one in time for AJ's big birthday party, but failed to take very many pictures since we were busy hosting.

Speaking of parties, we've been to a lot of them this year! This is of AJ at her cousin Teygan's birthday party. I haven't shared these pictures yet, so they're making their debut in the April album.

So here are the links to the pictures I do have. These are only the ones from my camera. There are more on each of our phones, and if I update those albums I will repost the links.

January
March
April

Friday, May 25, 2012

Words of Wisdom

It is a good thing that Anna June likes Chinese food, because if she didn't, she'd just have to go hungry on the days when we really need egg rolls. For Mother's Day, we went out for a Chinese lunch, and this was my fortune.

I've taken it to heart and started planning our 10th anniversary trip. AJ is fine with the fact that she will be without us for two nights. In fact, she's very excited. She wants us to go. Now.

We're in the process of planning, which is very exciting all by itself. I think my ideal trip would be somewhere that is quiet, on the water, where we can just sit and relax. And I don't really want to cook or go anywhere. Like the Dragonfly Inn on Gilmore Girls, but at the beach, with a spa, and only an hour away. Since that doesn't exist, we're shopping.

And, in other news, we recently got this reminder of the drop-off/pick-up procedure at daycare. Just like at work, if a reminder of a policy shows up, I have to wonder whose infraction brought this to the mind of the administration. But the last sentence - sorry if it is hard to see - says what I've learned to be true: "Children who do not get their nap often have trouble sleeping at night." See - if a handbook says it, it must be for real.

Luckily, AJ has been napping well at school, but we can't buy a nap on the weekends.

This weekend will probably be no different. AJ has planned our Memorial Day stay-cation, including the zoo to see the baby lions (who are turning 1), the movies, and the McWane Center. I just hope she'll sleep enough to let us all enjoy ourselves on our adventures.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gone to the Dogs

Anna June woke up in the midst of a dilemma I was having: what to do about Radar this morning. Our neighbor's dog, Moby, had broken his harness and was hanging out in our yard, beginning about 3 AM. He still wasn't back where he belonged when I took Radar out at 6:30.

This shouldn't have been a problem. If it were any other dog, they'd probably have said hi in dog language, and then gone on about their business.

But Radar is a little dog. The best professional guess is that he's a Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix. He is very unusual looking, and people stop to talk about him constantly. That's why AJ knows to say he's a "Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix" when someone asks. Also, sometimes she elaborates that she thinks his mom was a Boston Terrier and his dad was a Chihuahua. Of course, we have no way of knowing, as we rescued him from this place.

Radar is little, and Moby is big. Moby is a boxer. He's white, but since he rolls around in the red dirt, he kinda looks pink.

So imagine my little black and white dog being sniffed by a giant, scary pink dog. With a spiked collar.

Now - I like my neighbor. But I don't like that he keeps his dog mostly chained up outside. He has the same problem with not being able to have a fence that we do. Drilling through solid rock to put up fences would be prohibitively expensive, and then there's the problem of our driveways that pull to the back of our houses. In this case, good fences would make better neighbors. While I think that keeping a dog chained outside is kind of cruel, he does have shade, food and water available to him at all times. If it were my house he were tearing up, I may think differently. Their house was also broken into in 2008. We got surveillance cameras, but my neighbor eventually got a huge dog. Probably equally effective, except our cameras don't get loose and run out in the street.

Everywhere that Radar went, Moby literally blocked him. It was like watching a giant basketball center guard a elementary school player. Eventually, I convinced Radar to at least pee. It was funny: Moby laid down to wait patiently while he did. But Radar could not get to his favorite poo spots in the woods, because he was being blocked.

I began to hatch a plan of getting dressed for work, plus tennis shoes, so I could take Radar for a short walk to get him some relief. Ben pointed out that Moby would just follow us. So I asked about a park. AJ asked which one, and I hit upon the idea that I'd just walk him (and her) around the track at her school. She got so excited about this idea, she got dressed in a jiffy. We were out the door by 7:05.

Radar, AJ and I were all happy. I was getting a teeny bit of exercise, Radar got to run and get in the wet grass, and AJ got to school early as she had hoped. I discovered that AJ can skip. This is a recent development.. She said she learned it by herself at church. I have no idea about the veracity of that statement, but I did see her skipping. She can also snap her fingers now. She's really a big kid!

But we had left the house in a hurry. So we forgot to do things.

I was literally so focused on my dog's, um, bathroom habits that I totally forgot to ask my own child if she had actually gone to the potty. Nope. Good thing she's pretty self-sufficient. We walked 2 laps, and then I said we were done. I put wet and slightly muddy Radar back in the car, and then checked AJ in at her class, only to turn around and take her to the restroom.

This sounds like a simple endeavor. It was not.

I also had to brush her hair. I had to wash her face to remove the rest of the protein bar she'd eaten in the car. Then, there was the matter of her shoes, which were wet. Her socks were also wet. Luckily, in her school backpack she had a change of both. She changed her socks without incident, but her shoes were a no go. She had to dry her boots with a paper towel, inside and out, and then, put them back on. But somehow, for some reason, she'd also removed her panties and shorts in the process of going to the bathroom. So we had to take off her recently-made-acceptable boots and put back on her underthings and then replace the boots.

By the time I got back to the car, Radar had his little head sticking up, watching all the mommies and daddies go by, on foot and in cars, and wondering where in the heck I was.

When I got back to the house, Ben said, "That took longer than I thought it would!"

Yep. Me, too.

While I didn't take any pictures of Radar, here are a couple from Do Dah Day. The Birmingham Boston Terrier Rescue group had the winning float in this year's parade. Their theme was KISS, and they did a great job. They had a live band in the truck performing "I Wanna Rock N Roll All Night" as they drove by our vantage point.




And I didn't get any pictures of AJ on Do Dah Day or today, but here's a picture I took of her not too long ago in the dress she wore today.


That's pretty much how we feel right now. I'm looking forward to our three-day weekend.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stats

Anna June's been busy with appointments this week. Yesterday - the pediatrician. Today - the dentist. My granddaddy asked me if I would make an appointment for her with the optometrist, because you never know. I will, before she starts school.

Before I go any further, I want to thank Ben again for taking AJ to the two appointments. I had planned to do them both, but with being out sick on Thursday (with AJ - we had sore throats), I didn't want to further deplete my sick time reserves. I want to spend as much time as I can accumulating paid time off, as the revised Birmingham City Schools calendar has been released, showing that we'll have many breaks to schedule, in addition to various illnesses that tend to crop up in us all.

From the doctor: AJ is doing great. Since last year's checkup, she has grown three and a half inches. We could tell that from her shorts! She's very tall - greater than 97th percentile- and I'm glad she decided to go to basketball camp this year. She's also doing great on weight: 39 pounds, which is 95th percentile. She doesn't look it, though. She is tall and thin! She technically isn't sleeping the average amount for her age, by about an hour, but we knew that. Obviously, it is not stunting her growth.

She got 4 vaccinations yesterday. DTaP, IPV, MMR, and VAR. She's sore now, but if she can skip getting tetanus, polio, chicken pox, measles, and more, it is totally worth it to me.

From the dentist: AJ is doing great! No cavities! Still keeping an eye on that little fleshy thing between her two front teeth, but all seems to be OK.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Up and At 'Em

Anna June was in a helpful mood last night, so I asked if she would please get herself up and dressed on her own this morning. She can do this, but has been slacking lately. We picked out her clothes last night, and this morning, as promised, she got up, got herself totally dressed and went to the bathroom, then appeared in our room fresh as a daisy. BEFORE 6:00. That wouldn't have been so bad if Radar hadn't gotten us up twice in the night - before and after the terrible thunderstorm. Like the Care Bear above, I'll be cruisin' for some snoozin' early tonight. And look - he has roller skates!

I've asked that she revise this early wake-up time and try tomorrow to wait until her alarm clock actually goes off before she gets out of bed.

As a result of her industry, we were able to have a (somewhat) leisurely breakfast (mostly) together and then, after she got completely ready to go, she got to watch a couple of episodes of Caillou, breaking my rule of no TV in the morning. Honestly, I didn't know what else to do with her...we still hadn't gotten ready for work yet and she was all done. Maybe this will spark other compliant mornings in the future.

Now, if she can just be as good at her check-up at the doctor's as she was at home. Ben graciously agreed to take her to this well visit. It is just as well - she'll have to have a shot. I warned her ahead of time, but I also assigned her jobs like toting the change to get out of the parking deck in her purse. She seemed to be all set when I left.

I predict the doctor will tell us that she is tall. Stats to follow.

Monday, May 21, 2012

24 Hour Party People

Anna June had another action-packed, fun-filled weekend.

On Saturday, we went to Do Dah Day, which she's been asking about since the last Do Dah Day. We took Radar, and Nana came with us. We met up with some friends and Uncle Drew, who was extremely helpful in watching Radar while we ate.

On Sunday, we went to Maxwell's 4th Birthday party at Trussville Play Station. It was a joint party with his best friend, Kail, whom we had met a few times before. They went roller skating and played video games. It was a lot of fun, including cupcakes and make your own ice cream sundaes. It was AJ's first time on skates, and it was our first time on skates in many years.

Sunday night, we went to Nana and Granddaddy's for chili and baseball.

There may or may not be pictures from this weekend. We will post them if we uncover them.

At 5:36 AM this morning, AJ woke up and came in our room. I asked her to go get back in bed, but she refused, citing that she was scared. Since it was almost time to get up, I let her get in the bed with us, if she promised not to kick. She promptly went back to sleep, though she totally kicked.

When she eventually got up, she paused a moment and said, "I apologize for coming in your bed." It was so sweet and unexpected. But she's such a big girl now - she knows when she's either broken a rule or irritated me (in this case, both) and wanted to make it right. I know she is worn out - we are, too.


Friday, May 18, 2012

In a Little House

Anna June got to play at the Tot Lot on Saturday for Olivia's birthday party. There's a play house there. Our friend John Clarke, age 2, enjoyed playing in it as much as AJ did. After the party, AJ reported that John Clarke said he was going to throw rocks at her, and she told him that there was no way he could throw them through that window. I'm sure she was right. I'm proud of her for not coming to tattle!

I asked AJ what she would do if that playhouse were her house. She said, "I would clean it up!" because the floor was littered with leaves and sticks.

She often tells me that she doesn't like our house, and that she'd rather live at Nana and Granddaddy's house. Evidently, they have all the features she's looking for in real estate: a basement, and a fenced-in yard. I have explained to her that we have a smaller house because it is less expensive to maintain (i.e., for heating and cooling). And besides, with just three of us, isn't it easier to just get less stuff than it is to move? For someone who doesn't like our house, she sure does like staying home.

The best thing about this picture is that she asked me to take it. Maybe the camera-shy phase is over.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This Just In

For the upcoming school year, Anna June will have to wear white or light blue polo shirts and navy or black pants with navy, brown, black or white shoes. For the code of conduct for the Birmingham City Schools, see pages 41-42 of this document.

I am not requesting back-to-school clothes for AJ from you, dear readers. The stores, thrift stores, and yard sales in our area are full of inexpensive clothes that fit this description.  But if you are going to buy them anyway, I thought I would let you know what the rules are so we're not wasting effort.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Studio Portraits: Year 4



On Anna June's first birthday, we started a tradition, at her Granny's good idea, of having her pictures made in a photography studio. When she was one, we went to Sears in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, the entire mall closed before AJ's second birthday, where we went to JCPenney. We were aiming to go back for her third birthday, but things got crazy, she got sick, and, well, we ended up not going until July. So this year, since we were planning to be in Milwaukee, I thought we'd take the opportunity to use the photographer in our own family: Erika of Erika's Photography. Erika is Ben's cousin, and her studio is in her living room. She and her husband, Ryan, are a great team...it seems they've got the technical know-how and impressive equipment to pull off shots that are as good or better as the ones we got from the national chains. So, first of all, if you're in Wisconsin, please visit them at their website and make an appointment - you will be glad you did. Second of all, she gave us a great deal on our package and the prints were so, so reasonable. We finally ordered them last night. If you're a photographer, you may need to check out the service they use.

I was pretty excited to get this item checked off my list (productivity while on vacation! Unheard of!) I also liked sharing this with Granny Annie - she wasn't able to be at the three-year-old session, but she was a big part of getting AJ, and her hair and wardrobe ready for the other two. I think she did a great job of accessorizing the dress we brought up, don't you?

These are just a few of the pictures they took. You can see from our outfits that, although we planned to have AJ's picture made, we weren't really planning to do family portraits - we got talked into it at the last minute. Also, Milwaukee is much less humid than Birmingham (also, Nonny and Annie have better hair care products that I like to borrow when I visit) - so my hair looks better than usual.

You can also see here that AJ is doing her favorite funny face, the "nose trumpet". It's one of the things I hope we remember about her being four.

If you would like to own any of these photos in the hard copy version, please let me know and I will email you the link and password to the photo album. Since I don't want to risk photos being shipped twice (i.e. to us, and then to you, where ever you are), I am just going to let everyone order his/her own.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Card


Here's the lovely card Anna June made me for Mother's Day. As I described yesterday, she's not so great at writing in a straight line. She tells me she did it all by herself. So, in case you need a word find puzzle for today, the words are
ANNA
JUNE
GALLI (somehow, she left off the last letters - I am not sure why)
XXX
OOO
ILU (honestly, I have no idea where she got that text speak from. Ben and I almost NEVER use it, which is why I almost never text)
I <3 U
MOM (also OMM)

Obviously, the flowers are tulips - a fine choice.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cheese!

Anna June had a great weekend, and so did we.

This picture is from Thursday night, so you can see the top half of what she wore for Western Day. It matches the blue pasta, a gift from Granny. Because Ben was out at my grandmother's house buying and installing her Mother's Day gift (a new phone - hers died days after we went out to fix it!), we decided to give the pasta, dyed with squid ink, a try. It tasted like pasta. I used a jarred cheesy sauce, since I thought it would look better than a marinara. AJ ate some of it - she actually sat down at the larger helping I had fixed for myself, but I didn't argue. It matched her shirt!

On Friday night, AJ stayed with her Granddaddy while we went out to dinner and completed our Mother's Day shopping. On Saturday morning, AJ and I went to Olivia's 3rd Birthday Party at the Crestline Tot Lot. It was fun, but AJ is on the cusp of being too big for the equipment there. The party continued at lunch when Olivia's cousin Mary Alton happened to also be eating at the Gallitz Formal Dining Room. (For some reason, AJ keeps calling Mary Alton "Oneonta".) Then, there was quiet time and movie watching, shopping, dinner at Rusty's and a stop at the auction. After a quick game of Buckaroo, she finally went to bed, and we could catch up on some TV watching. As predicted, Howard and Bernadette's wedding on The Big Bang Theory made me cry.

Sunday was the main event: Mother's Day. AJ had it all planned out. She hid my gift in the hall closet on Friday evening, and gave me strict instructions NOT to look in there until Sunday. It turns out the gift, which she acquired at school, was a calla lily plant, although AJ and her teacher pronounce it "callie lily." It also had a laminated hand-print plant with AJ's photo and a poem. My favorite part was the card. It had all the letters of "Anna June Gallitz. I <3 U Mom"  She's not really big on linear words right now, so even though it read "OWW", I could tell that it was just MOM upside down. Come to think of it, "Oww" is pretty appropriate. Ben gave me an exercise watch, with an accelerometer, pedometer, calorie counter, and more. I will have to work on calibrating it - it will be my new favorite thing.

AJ wanted, originally, to serve me breakfast in bed, but we decided to eat at the table instead, since I finally gave away our trays that we never used. We had cinnamon rolls (from a can) and pre-cut fruit salad, with orange juice. Ben admitted that he could have done a better breakfast, but I was proud that this got done with such ease while I stayed in bed and waited for the big reveal.

After church, we ate at Great Wall. AJ has decided she likes egg drop soup and egg rolls. She ate the broccoli and fried rice, but left the chicken, which she claimed was too spicy. At least I will have a good lunch of what she left.

We then went home and I napped while AJ had quiet time. In case you were wondering, quiet time means playing in her room and making a gigantic mess.

We hung out at the house for a little while, doing as little as possible. We Skyped and called family members. I lounged in my PJs. I made a salad for the big family gathering. In anticipation of getting back late, I gave AJ a bath. She then insisted that she was going to go to Grandma's house in her nightgown. Choosing not to fight on Mother's Day, I agreed.

At Grandma Hazel's, Patrick grilled steaks, and we had baked potatoes, rolls, and a pretty good salad. (Two kinds of lettuce! Cucumber ranch dressing! See how exciting my life is?) Grandma made brownies AND peach cobbler for dessert. AJ's new favorite things she discovered at this party: fiesta dip (cream cheese with red pepper jelly topping, served with tortilla chips) and Aunt Vicki and Uncle Dennis' dog, Gucci. Gucci is a yellow lab-pit bull mix. Don't worry - I would say he's definitely more lab than pit. AJ was completely supervised in her interactions with him, but he was every bit as docile and sweet as our Radar is. The only problem is that he's about 10 times his size. He stepped on my foot (and Grandma's, too) and we found out that he's a little heavy to be a lap dog! AJ was sad to go and leave him behind.

As usual, we're exhausted. AJ did not want to get up this morning. I am hoping for an early bedtime tonight to help recover from all the fun.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

For Now

Right now Anna June and I are watching 101 Dalmatians. Again. When I watched this when I was a kid I did not notice how much the characters call each other idiots. She's scared of Cruella and is on my lap. Just thought I'd give the 1-handed update for now.


Friday, May 11, 2012

The Best I Could Do

Anna June is still in a phase of not wanting her picture taken. She had Rainbow Day at school today. After trying on two other tantrum-inducing dresses, she settled on this one, the long striped socks, and, finally, the rainbow colored lei to complete the ensemble.

This was a special "dress-up" day, but could pretty well have been an ensemble AJ picked out. Pretty soon, though, she'll only be able to dress like Punky Brewster on weekends - she'll have to abide by the Birmingham Schools' uniform policy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Instead

At Anna June's school, they're having Teacher Appreciation Day today. Actually, it's supposed to be all week, but we were requested, as the parents of the 3 and 4 year old classes, to bring goodies for the teachers on Thursday. The toddler classes had dibs on Tuesday. I have no idea what happened to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but maybe they were planning on leftovers or participation by the infant classes, which, personally, I'd be against. Mothers of infants should not have to do anything, including wear makeup, attend meetings, drive, or write checks. Anything involving use of an oven when AJ was an infant would have been beyond my abilities.

At any rate, the Toddlers had a Hawaiian theme on their big Teacher Appreciation Day (it just so happened AJ was wearing a floral/butterfly print dress that could have gone along with the theme). For some reason, the 3's and 4's were to have a Western theme today. Food plus costume shouldn't be a tall order for the parent of a 4-year-old, right?

Luckily, Anna June has EVERYTHING, so she was prepared for this. She has a purple felt cowgirl hat. She has brown boots. She has a (somewhat) tiered denim skirt. She picked a rhinestone-studded halter top to go with it, which, she made fit with the theme. Earlier, she had Radar's small red bandana tied around her neck, but she burst into tears and had me take it off. She rode her stick horse.

The reason I am describing this ensemble is that AJ absolutely REFUSED to have her picture taken. Last night, when she tried on her getup, she even wanted me to take a video to post. This morning, though, when it was actually time to do it, she changed her mind. Adamantly.

Part of the tantrum, we suspect, was that she woke with excitement before her alarm went off. She went to bed very, very late (again). The past two nights, she has slept on a nap mat on the floor next to her bed, because she suddenly doesn't like her bed, for reasons unknown to us. The main thing is that she sleeps at all, which she claims she didn't. She did sleep, though, all through the night, after she finally went to sleep.

She was so tired this morning that she was very grouchy. At first, she told me she wanted both pancakes AND waffles, but after she ate the pancakes, she was done and ready to move on to the next activity. She hated the polka dot grosgrain ribbon I used to fancy up the presentation of the cake we baked. (By the way, we made this cake, which appears to be my mom's chocolate-chocolate-chip pound cake recipe, with nuts, and in a long pan instead of a Bundt.)

So, since I can't show you a picture of AJ dressed as a rhinestone cowgirl, or a video of her riding her hobby horse, you'll have to settle for this picture of sunshine she drew instead.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Thousand!


"Balloons" by Anna June



Since I couldn't decide what to post for today's monumental milestone of A THOUSAND BLOG POSTS, I interviewed Anna June this morning. Here are some of the facts I learned that I wanted to share with you, with my comments in italics.


Age: 4
Height: Tall
Hair: Curly
Favorite color: Purple (subject to change, frequently)
Preferred extracurricular activity: a tie between soccer, Zumba, and basketball (although she hasn't yet started)
Favorite food: Pizza, cheese only
Favorite drink: Root beer floats, so she can eat ice cream, too (She only had her first root beer float last night!)

Favorite dessert: S'mores (We often make in the microwave them with Peeps and whatever kind of mini chocolate candy she has in her stash.)


Favorite TV show: Clifford
Favorite thing to do outside: Swim
Favorite thing to do inside: Play (not with any specific toy, just play)
This weekend, you pretended to be a kitty, a doggie, and a robot. Which was your favorite? Kitty.
Best baby doll: Apple Girl (who looks like this
Favorite thing to do in school: learn to read
Favorite thing to do with Mom and Dad: stay home
Favorite thing to do with grandparents: go to the jumpy place (which she did one time, with one grandparent)
Dresses vs. Pants? Dresses. (Obviously!)
Cats vs. Dogs? Cats, and then dogs.

What she wants to be when she grows up: Nothing (I was a little disappointed in this reaction, and it made me think of this campaign I saw yesterday via Georgia Mae. But then I realized she's only 4, and I shouldn't put too much pressure on her. Previously, she's told me artist, teacher, mommy, and work in an office. I told her she can do all of those things, if she wants.)

There you have it - the current status of our celebrity subject, Anna June. When she was giving me noncommittal answers, I told her if she kept that up, I'd have to change the title of this blog to The Boring Post

After our interview, I told her to go get dressed. She knew that was what she was supposed to be doing, and protested, "You don't have to tell me!"

After she dressed, she came to breakfast with Apple Girl, whom she changed out of her nightgown and into her day clothes. Apple Girl ate pancakes and marshmallows with AJ for breakfast, because that's what AJ told me she had promised her doll. I figured it was a special enough occasion.

Thanks to all of you for your support and continued reading. I do plan to keep on doing what I'm doing, at least until AJ starts to read. Then, who knows, maybe she'll write her own posts and I can stay out of it. But for now, I do it for you all, and for myself. After all, as some writers have said, it's not because we want to write - it is because we can't NOT write. And what better subject than AJ, who is a blessing every day, and a constantly changing source of new material. Children are amazing. We are so lucky to have her. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

999


AJ called this piece "All of the World."



Anna June has had practically her whole life documented on this blog. Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will publish our 1,000th post. It sounds like a lot, but really, about 900 of them have been about how AJ doesn't sleep and won't wear shoes. If I were to write about last night and this morning, it would be more of the same.


My question to you, my 53 registered readers, is: what do you want to see? What would you like to know about Anna June and our family? What changes would you like to make, if you were running this blog? I'm not saying I will be able to take all of your suggestions, I'm just saying that I'm open to hearing them. I (occasionally) know my limits.

Possibly more important: what keeps you coming back each day? I already know my MIL comes home from working the night shift and tries not to go to sleep until I post - which is daunting sometimes. Knowing there are grandparents several states away who look forward to hearing about what their little angel did in the past 24 hours keeps me writing, but it also keeps me worried that if I don't put something up, even if it is bad, even if there's not a picture, that they will be disappointed. Being connected to the ins and outs of her daily life eases the sting of being so far away just a tiny bit.


Thanks in advance for your feedback.



Monday, May 7, 2012

Family Meeting

Anna June and the rest of us had a weekend full of highs and lows. Here are some of them.

Highs:
  • Skipped Zumba to dedicate the day to spending as a family. Went to 4 yard sales on our street, then breakfast at Big Blue Bagel.
  • Yard sale scores: waffle iron, 101 Dalmatians on VHS, and more
  • Decided to register AJ for TOTS basketball camp this summer. For one week, during daycare, she'll get to learn about dinosaurs as well as basketball. I hope this is a great experience, as she will have the height for one of my favorite sports. She solemnly swears she will wear appropriate shoes.
  • Ben fixed Grandma Hazel's voice mail, blocked an annoying telemarketer caller, changed a high light bulb, and showed her how to change her printer cartridge. She fed us a delicious dinner of roast, green beans, squash, rolls, fruit salad and key lime pie. I contributed some roasted asparagus and watermelon.
  • Visited the carnival that was in town, on its last day. Ben and I saw giant dollar signs: it was a total ripoff. There was admission, plus each ride cost 3-6 tickets. If we had been going to stay longer, we would have bought AJ the all-access wristband, but we decided not to...it was hot and late. She rode the kiddie rides solo, and asked to go on the Spider with me. She didn't like that one much. It was scary! (Maybe that one was a "low") The scariest part for me was when she was up on the kiddie Ferris wheel all by herself, and the ride operator stopped her at the very top to load some indecisive passengers. She was rocking the car and waving down at us - I hollered up for her to keep still but she couldn't hear me. I could just see the headlines ("An Unaccompanied 4-year-old...") But it was fine, and she had so much fun. I know those things are inspected and licensed, but the folks operating the rides were kinda scary, too...they had maybe a set of teeth between them.
  • Breakfast for dinner at IHOP. AJ loves scrambled eggs, hash browns, and pancakes with strawberry syrup.
  • Special ordering at Rusty's. AJ wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Luckily, she knows the chef personally.
  • Ben installed a new security camera on our house.
  • Sorted through a bit of closet space to make some giveaways. We still don't have enough room, but at least we're not hanging on to things we don't need.
  • AJ discovered convertibles, and demanded we point them out to her each time we saw them.
  • AJ has been pointing out letters and numbers everywhere, encouraging us that she's that much closer to literacy.
 Lows:
  • Missed spending the whole Saturday just the three of us, as we ended up getting a text message that we'd missed an evite to William's birthday party, and asking if we would like to come. There was a bouncy house for the kids and margaritas for the adults. Therefore, this can also be listed in the "highs" category. (Literally.) AJ and I went, leaving Ben to study.
  • Ben didn't actually study, but watched Sherlock instead. Therefore, also could be listed in the "highs" category. 
  • Ben tricked me into thinking that he'd made up the name "Benedict Cumberbatch," which, obviously, he did not.  (I've seen the guy in several movies; I should have known!)
  • Friday night had to reroute our trip to Grandma Hazel's house because of a fatal wreck on I-459. It took us about an hour to get there, and it usually takes half that. AJ pointed out that the DVD she was watching took less time than it did to get to Grandma's house. And Ben doesn't even like roast.
  • Sunday night: thunderstorm at bedtime. AJ claimed to be scared, and I didn't blame her. She camped out all night on the floor (on a nap mat) next to us, but when she finally got up she was a pill - I'm sure she was still exhausted from all the fun of the weekend.
  • Radar escaped, while Ben was trying to lock the door on our way to the carnival. Luckily, he was caught pretty quickly.
  • Shopping with AJ. Every five steps, she asked a question about something. Granted, most of the questions were, "Mama, can I have this?" but some were more pressing, like, "How do I work this telescope? Why can't I see anything? What size shoe do I wear? Can I try these on? Why are you getting that? Why can't we get this one?" Eventually, I just told Ben, "We have to leave. Now." He asked me, "Why?" I said, "Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama."
  • While installing the new security camera, Ben messed up a wire to our alarm system, therefore making the house (temporarily) less secure. Repairmen have been called. There's a local company who has as their slogan, "We repair what your husband fixed." I used to think that was a little sexist, but at the moment, I am thankful for professional services such as the ones they offer.
  • It was a million degrees in the attic, and pretty hot outside, too. Ben must have sweated off 5 pounds during his project. AJ and I, meanwhile, had quiet/nap time and went outside to play with the bat and ball. AJ got several good hits, and enjoyed pretending we were on the Brewers' team. The reason this is on the "lows" list is that AJ probably got more hits than the Brew Crew this weekend.
  • AJ's talking baby doll, Apple Girl, cried during church. AJ was embarrassed, but didn't take her out of the service.
Last night, while in the bath,  AJ asked if we could have a family meeting in the kitchen, this morning before breakfast. The topic? When she will start at Avondale Elementary. So, after enduring her tantrums about what she'd wear, whether or not to get up, and whether or not to go potty, we talked to her, while she was eating. We told her that school begins August 13, with a possibility that it will be pushed back one week later, to August 20th. I apologized for the uncertainty, because grown-ups are supposed to know things like this. But our legislature is trying to make the school year a little shorter, although it is up to the Governor to sign or veto. I have no real opinion about it, but I would like to know something so we can plan. We reassured her she still has 3 months at her current school, and she will have time to meet her teacher and things like that before her first day. I know she, like us, is anxious about her new school situation. AJ reported to me on Friday that she'd had a bad dream where she was at Avondale and couldn't find her classroom, but we came and helped her find it. Overall, we're excited and happy, although we're skeptical for all the right reasons. At this point, we have nothing to lose, and AJ will be starting school with some really cool kids, whose parents we really like. We're hopeful and, based on the talks with teachers and parents we've met so far, AJ will be in good hands.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Berry Sweet

Anna June has had nightmares, two days in a row, waking up at 5 am. Yesterday, she hollered to me that she was scared, and I went in her room and tucked her back in. Then, she must have just been hitting the good part of her sleep cycle when her alarm went off at 6:00. She screamed. That was the first time she's ever been frightened by her beloved alarm.

This morning, it was the same scenario, but a different outcome. She woke up around 5, and I told her to go back to sleep. She did, and, when her 6:00 alarm went off, she turned it off and padded into our room. She got in bed with us to give me a hug, and then, promptly fell asleep in my arms. It was really sweet for a while, but eventually, she had to get up and get dressed.

I asked if I could pick out her clothes for her, and she declined, but went back to sleep. I grabbed up a dress from the clean laundry pile and laid it next to her. Knowing we're going to visit my grandmother tonight, I showed AJ the dress, in hopes that a school-appropriate dress would make it to this evening's dinner in tact. "I think Grandma Hazel would love this dress, AJ" I said, trying to get her awake. Her response? "I don't think it comes in her size."

Have a fantastic weekend!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

All The Places We Went To

A few months ago, Anna June received some replacement paint markers, as the original ones had seen their best days. The dried up colors were frustrating all of us. I had trouble finding them online and in stores, so I am assuming that Crayola is discontinuing them.

AJ loves these markers, and spent a few days making us pictures of brightly-colored drawings. After she was done, I asked for titles or explanations about what each picture was. This one, she said, was "All the Places We Went To." This particular piece was done in February, before her more current, more representational series began.

I hope this brightens up what is, here, a rainy and yucky day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Social Director

Anna June is already hearing phrases that her parents heard about themselves as kids. "Mature for her age" stands out as one that keeps cropping up, and with good reason. Recently, she planned a night out with our friends, all on her own.

AJ knows that her friend Maddie's family often goes to our local Mexican place on Friday nights (Maddie H is pictured above - not to be confused with Maddie L, Maddie B, or Maddie M). AJ started on Wednesday or Thursday confirming with Maddie's mom that they'd be there, and what time. On Thursday evening, she asked, again, "Will you still be going tomorrow at 6:00?" and confirmed again on Friday morning.

Luckily, Maddie's mom is fantastic and thought it was cute instead of rude that AJ would be inviting herself along. We'd gotten together once before, but this time, AJ was the one deliberately planning our adventure. Maddie's mom, Amy, sent me a message to make sure that I knew about AJ's plan, which, truthfully, I did not. Fortunately for AJ, it worked out. I can almost always be available for cheese dip. Our planned girls' night in turned into a girls' night out - plus Maddie's dad, who was available to help with Maddie's little sister.

On the way to the restaurant, I asked AJ what she thought she'd like to order. "Whatever Maddie is having," she said. The girls ordered matching cheese quesadillas, rice and beans. After they finished eating, they had a blast dancing, jumping, and giggling in the aisles. The waitstaff probably remembered us from last time - how could you forget these two adorable blondes? I hope our tips were sufficient for the giant mess we left. I'm sure we'll be back again soon. I'll just have to wait until my social director arranges it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

That's Entertainment

Anna June likes to color. On the plane ride home, she had me draw a picture of Radar for her to color. Unfortunately, this is the best I could do. It ripped a little, and AJ fussed, so I thought she wanted me to throw it away. Instead, she wanted to save it, so here it is, a little wrinkled from its rescue from the trash.

Speaking of rescue, Granny Annie rescued a dog from a shelter and brought him home this weekend. His name is Joey. Actually, his name is Joey Jo Jo, Junior Shabadoo, after this clip on The Simpsons.

If you want to see it in another language, you can click here or here. This was our entertainment last night while we were waiting for AJ to go to sleep.


Joey is the dog on the left, with Sweeney on the right. (Photo courtesy Nonny, via Facebook.) AJ is excited about the newest four-legged member of the family - we're just sad we couldn't meet him while we were there.