Friday, September 28, 2012

Trying on Glasses

Anna June does not need glasses. But a scratch on my lenses led us to our local Lens Crafters on a recent Friday night, and AJ, already in a dressing up mood, decided to try some on for size.

Here is the link to the video.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not Saying Anything

I asked Anna June what I should blog about this morning.

"I don't want you to post anything to the blog," she said. She couldn't give an explanation.




I'm still posting these pictures of the newly-remodeled Crestwood Park and our trip there on Saturday. But I'm not saying anything else.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Progress Report

Anna June got her first progress report from school today. We've always received daily updates from her caregivers/teachers but this is the first time we've had a whole-picture kind of look at her progress.

She got all "good" or "very good". It is only now that I'm realizing "excellent" is an option. Hopefully, we'll see some next time.

I hope you can read this image of the report. If not, know that she knows her letters and numbers, the months of the year, that Barack Obama is the President and you call 911 in an emergency. I'd say we're ok with that!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Game We Didn't Even See

Anna June had a good night, working on her "homework" and eating macaroni and cheese.

We're still living the cable-free lifestyle, and we missed the Packers game on Monday Night Football. Evidently, so did the referees!

If you missed it, here's the link to the sad tale of robbery by the replacement officials.

Here's another article, complete with expletives deleted, of the tweets after the game. Surely fines will be flying today.

Let's hope the rest of the day is dispute-free.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Good Morning!

Anna June didn't get up and dressed all by herself today, but that was partly my fault for forgetting to set her alarm. It's starting to feel like fall, so AJ wore her fuzzy sweater again. The ketchup came out, and it survived the washer and dryer just fine. In fact, I think it needed the dryer to fluff out the sleeves again. She's trying out a headband again today - I am sure it is tucked in her cubbyhole by now.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sabado

Anna June is learning Spanish in an after-school class, and Ben and I have had fun looking up words to supplement the curriculum. For example, yesterday we learned that ice cream is helado and Saturday is sabado.

Here's a list of how our jam-packed day went yesterday:

Car to the dealership for a checkup, since it kept demanding "maint required".

Visit to Chick-Fil-a AND Krispy Kreme for breakfast, since we couldn't decide.

Checked out the newly-renovated Crestwood Park. Much prettier and more fun equipment.

Went to a "Dragons and Damsels" birthday party for our friends Julianne (3) and her sister Amy (1), both September babies. Parents got mimosas, kids got balloon swords and a "dragon egg hunt" in the yard. Besides AJ stepping in ants, all went well.

Home for nap time/ quiet time. The usual: parents slept, AJ destroyed her room but had fun and was quiet.

Went to pick up car as it was done with brake work, transmission fluid change and new spark plugs.

Ate lunch at the Centerpoint Wendy's . AJ bemoaned that it wasn't just like the one in Eastwood.

Went home to find our next door neighbors in the yard with their new chihuahua-terrier mix puppy, rescued the day before from animal control. Her name is Evie and we went over, bearing a gift of dog clean-up bags, and played with her. She's adorable, but I'm glad I'm not trying to housebreak anything right now!

We were going to return to the park, but AJ didn't want to change out of her flip flops, so we stayed home. Instead, we watched a movie called The Three Investgators: Skeleton Island. It was based on a young adult series Ben read and loved. It was probably too scary for AJ, but she got popcorn, so she was OK.

Them date night came along. We let AJ stay with my parents to watch football, eat chili, and bake (and eat) chocolate cake. We grabbed a quick dinner and went to see Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was well-done but depressing.

AJ was exhausted, and finally fell asleep as I was reading to her, which never has happened before. It was 9:45, which explains why she's still sleeping!

So we had a good Sabado. We hope Domingo goes just as well.



Friday, September 21, 2012

Hold Her Down?

Anna June has developed an annoying habit of sucking on her bottom lip. At first it was small, and I thought it may be Kool-Aid, but now she has a full-fledged line of chapped face right below her bottom lip. I know it will improve if I get some Vaseline or something on it - perhaps it would even deter the habit.

For the meantime, she looks like a clown. I'm sure it hurts, too.

I can't decide if I should hold her down and smear her with petroleum jelly or if I should just let it go, telling her to "stop it" every few minutes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Messy Face

Anna June had dessert last night.

If you look closely, you'll see she had a hot dog with ketchup that attacked her fabulous faux fur sleeve. It looked like she was an injured animal!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Amazing

First of all, Anna June has decided that she wants to be called Anna June instead of AJ. We will see if she really means it or not.

Anna June amazed me this morning. Well, not entirely, because she told me that she was going to surprise me. She got up when her alarm rang, went potty, brushed her teeth and hair, and got dressed - including her socks and shoes - all by herself. She kept saying, "Don't come in my room yet, Mama!"

I knew she had the capability of doing this and that is why I've been so frustrated that I've spent the first three + weeks of school literally forcing her into her clothes. I think it has finally sunk in that uniforms are not going anywhere, she must wear shoes whether she likes them or not, being late is bad, and if she's done soon enough, she gets to watch TV.

Let me just say she got a lot of praise, hugs, and kisses from me this morning. Not a tear was shed. Not a whine was heard. The neighbors likely wondered if we were even home.

I am not naive enough to think that this will continue, but it sure helped me have a better morning. 

PS - Work is going to be crazy for the next couple of weeks, so if I break my streak of daily posts, please forgive me.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hits and Misses

Anna June's tastes change from moment to moment, and keeping track is a full-time job.

On Sunday night, I made Ants on a Log for AJ, and she loved it and declared her undying affection for me. Then, by snack time on Monday afternoon, she took one bite and hated it. She saved the rest and brought them to Nana's house. Two things happened with the 4 AOALs :

With the first 2, they scraped the peanut butter and Craisins off and put them on Ritz crackers. AJ liked this much better. Maybe next time she'll get Ants on a Cracker.

The second two got saved for Uncle Drew, who declared his own snack envy.

On Monday morning, AJ declared she was starving and could not possibly wait until breakfast time at school to eat. I sympathized with her and gave her a cereal bar. She ate it in the car. It got all over her and I had to find a baby wipe to make her presentable enough to walk through the school door.

Then, when she was served breakfast, she didn't eat a bite. "I was too full," she declared.

Upon returning to the classroom, she announced, "I'm starving." Good grief.

Fortunately, it wasn't long until lunch time. She took her lunch but learned a few important life lessons.

1. If you choose the heavy stainless steel water bottle, it's going to crush your Pringles if they're only in a baggie.
2. The cutest lunch bag isn't always the most functional (more room for said water bottle to crush said chips).
3. In a short lunch period, if you talk too much, you won't have time to eat dessert. (a cookie from Rusty's, which also got crushed by the heavy water bottle)
4. Homemade almost always trumps store-bought.  Choosing Granddaddy Jerome's homemade fig preserves over the store-bought jelly for her PB&J was a good decision.

Dinner time rolled around. The taco meat was hot off the skillet, so I put a bowl of raspberries out for her. She had selected these in the store and on Saturday evening, we washed them and she ate some for a snack, declaring them to be delicious. When I put them in front of her on Monday night, she said they were yucky.

When it cooled, she ate her taco salad dutifully. I threw a handful of chopped onions in with the ground beef as it was browning, as I always do. Dinner was messier than usual because she detected and removed every single piece of onion from her plate.

She declared her day was too boring. I asked what I could do to liven it up.

"Dessert," she cried. She wanted pistachio pudding - instant, thank goodness.

While she was making it, she decided that the pudding would be even better if it were served with the raspberries, vanilla wafers, and whipped cream. When she finished her homework and it was actually time to serve it, she wanted all but the raspberries - I guess she remembered she suddenly didn't like them.

I tried it her original suggested way, over her objections that I should not be eating sweets - she was right, you know.

She was also right in that the raspberries did NOT go well with the pistachio - too tart for the other sweet items in the concoction.

I suppose that every budding chef has hits and misses.

Speaking of budding chefs, if you are not my friend on Facebook, you missed this blast from the past picture that Rusty scanned in. Do you think he looks like AJ? I just think he looks like a little stinker - which he was.




Monday, September 17, 2012

It's the Little Things

Anna June had a really great Sunday. I have to remind myself that the fantastic things that I plan that sound cool and fun to me may not actually seem fun to her.

We did not go to the Folk Festival. Maybe next year, Leeds.

Instead, we had a pretty good day. Here's the rundown.

AJ slept until almost 7, which is pretty good for her. She should have slept longer, based on how late she went to bed, but that pesky sunlight woke her up.

We got up and let Ben sleep. She had a Pop-Tart for breakfast, and I had a bagel.  After we did that, I showed her the nifty calendar that Success by 6 sent us. It has all kinds of activities for parents to do with their kids that encourage learning and school-readiness. Most of them, in our opinion, are too baby-ish for AJ. But she still thinks they are fun. We marked off a couple of things they suggested:

1. Try dried cranberries. We just so happened to have some Craisins from my attempt to make "Healthy Breakfast Cookies". She liked them, which is why they ended up making an appearance in Ants on a Log.

2. Trace small objects, such as jar lids, on a piece of paper. She thought this was really fun. We did all our cookie cutters, a banana, plastic lids, a candle holder, a pencil, and a pencil sharpener.

Then, somehow, we moved on to playing the game Silly Socks. She won all three times, and now, suddenly, it is her favorite game!

Then, she wanted to play with Play-Doh. I gave her 3 colors, and she mashed them all together irreparably. This does not bother her. She has more.

Eventually, she got dressed for church and then packed up a whole bunch of toys to keep her entertained, including a doll and a blanket and pillow for said doll. When it was time for our trio to sing, AJ put the pillow against one ear and the blanket against the other. I was trying not to crack up from the choir loft. Later I tried to talk to her about this behavior, and she protested that she could still hear it anyway. We sang "Whispering Hope," which is evidently one of my grandmother's favorite songs. Here is Ann Murray singing it - based on AJ's review, I'm glad we didn't record ourselves.

We came home and regrouped, then ran out for a quick lunch before nap time. But AJ didn't nap. She played with her paper dolls and generally made a mess in her room.

We worked on cleaning our den and bedroom, and a little bit in the kitchen and office. We had a million unfinished little projects. There were hundreds of things that found homes and some stuff got tossed. I enlisted AJ's help, and when I could tell she was getting bored, we took a minute to make Oobleck. I'd had the recipe (cornstarch, water, and food coloring) on my dresser for over a year. Now, we've done that, and I can cross it off my list!

We called Grandpa on Skype, and AJ said just about the funniest thing she has ever said. She said she wanted to "bring a possum to the Waffle House." Evidently, our low opinion of their food has rubbed off on her. I guess her idea for a roadkill-to-restaurant business has already been done. But I promise you it made me dream of rotting possum meat last night. Yuck!

We went shopping for some gifts on our way to our traditional Sunday night dinner at Rusty's. They were packed! Rusty shared some of his new menu item - Rice Krispie Treats - with AJ for dessert. Yum!

All in all, it wasn't the most productive day ever, but AJ really and truly enjoyed the time we spent on the little things. I hope to do more of the same soon.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ants on a Log

Anna June is very concerned with the food that her friends bring to school. In Pre-K, the class has breakfast together, as well as a traditional lunch, but they also have snack time in the afternoons.

I may have already mentioned that a chunk of AJ's schoolmates are eligible for free or reduced lunches, so I try to let AJ get a hot lunch/breakfast daily so she blends in rather than sticks out.

She noticed the first week who brought their food and who didn't. She wanted to be a bringer instead of a buyer. I compromised by saying we'd review the menu and pick out days when they were serving something she didn't care for and then she could bring her lunch, possibly one day a week. I conveniently forgot last week. After all, she gets more variety in what she eats this way, and I avoid the hassle. Mom's dietitian friend works for the school system nutrition program, and I want to participate in support. Also, it is cheap!

Anyway, Pre-K kids bring a snack, and some moms have been doing better on the creativity and nutrition scales than I have. AJ has come home with a few cases of snack envy.

So tonight we made ants on a log, featuring Craisins. I had to kick it up a notch, right?

These will not transport the best, but AJ seemed delighted. She tried one to see how she likes them. I held my breath, as she normally doesn't like celery. (Which, by the way, was my answer when she asked, "Why don't you ever make me ants on a log?) The verdict: she ate it and liked it! In this case, then, peer pressure seems to have worked in our favor, if AJ tried and liked a healthy snack.

AJ told me I was the best mom. I felt like it, too.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Picnic

Anna June wanted to skip the soup in favor of a picnic. I let her make the PB & J sandwiches while I did some other things.

She was very excited to put our sandwiches in baggies and mark our names on them.

Then, we started eating, and she burst into tears. It seems in the excitement, she made only one sandwich, and had bit into two pieces of bread!

She soon recovered, by switching off dinners. We had a lovely, late night.

Friday, September 14, 2012

TGIF

Anna June is pretty happy it is Friday. We'll miss Ben tonight, because he'll be working at the auction. But instead of going out to Leeds to glad-hand the customers and eat barbecue, we made our own plan.

We sealed it with a high-five, so it may be legally binding.

We're going to stay home and eat soup (she has a thing for chicken noodle right now), and watch a movie. (She's requested a Veggie Tales flick.) Girls' Night In. There may be popcorn. There may be smoothies. There will certainly be a mama and a little girl snuggled up.

Tomorrow, we plan to go as a family to the Read and Romp at Railroad Park, including Radar. Since we only bought the flea bombs a few weeks ago and never actually set them off, if the weather is good, it will be as good of a time as any. Poor Radar seems to get better and worse with those dang bugs. Luckily, it's not a full-on infestation (yet) so we think our past efforts have worked to some extent, but it's time to give another blast of poison into the environment. We promise to be careful. We also promise not to board our beloved dog at the vet's office again. No out-of-town trips are planned anytime soon, either.

Sunday, after church, we are planning to venture to Leeds and visit the annual Folk Festival. We went in 2010 with Granny and Aunt Nonny. I feel like we've been before or since, either in 2009 or 2011, but since I didn't specifically blog about it, it's like it never happened. I want to say it must have been 2009, because I remember Granny, a stroller, and the adorable polka dot mirror that hangs in AJ's room, and I feel that was added pretty early. Last year, we traveled in September a lot.

I hope that your weekend is as much fun as ours is planned to be. 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tennis

Through the after-school care program, Anna June is taking tennis lessons on Tuesdays.

After one lesson, she really likes it.

AJ has a habit of saying that she doesn't like something, even if she does. If you ask her if she had a good day, she'll say it was terrible.

Evidently, though, all she needed was a foil.

Her friend Layla was being picked up from After School Care on Tuesday at the same time I arrived. The teacher prompted the girls to tell their moms what they'd done that day. After figuring out it was tennis, Layla declared that she didn't like it.

Anna June, of course, declared that she loved it. She had so, so much fun, she said.

She even carried the thread of conversation when she got home to see her daddy, and she told him the same thing. She loves tennis.


I am glad she likes it for now. It's included with her tuition, and I am all in favor of something that may improve her athletic abilities. She does not get to run nearly enough in her daily life, and takes it out by running in the house. Everywhere. I want her to save it for the court.

Plus, our neighborhood park is almost done being renovated, and there's a kids' tennis court in the works. I hope we get to use it with her!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Little Love Notes

When Anna June left McElwain, she was showered with gifts, including a little note pad. She loves writing and drawing on it, and I find these little post-it sized sheets all through the house.

Last night I asked her what one was and she said, "Oh, you can just throw it away."

I did.

But I'm struggling with a couple of ideas right now. One is that she should take pride in her work, and think that if she draws something and does her best, then I am proud of her and she should be, too. After all, I can't draw worth a flip, and I'm hoping to encourage any artistic ability that she shows.

The other idea is that it is OK for every work you produce not to be a masterpiece. Every artists makes sketches, as every writer (should) go through drafts. Every piece of work is not worthy of a blue ribbon, which is fine.

I know one thing I did wrong. I asked her what the drawing was, instead of using the classic line, "Tell me about this." I made a guess and was incorrect. But how do I make her understand that it's OK if it is just a bunch of scribbles. I love that, too. It represents learning, trying, creating.

I am trying to see these little blue slips over all the surfaces of the house as little love notes, even if they're to herself.

Meanwhile, I hope to come up with the right words to strike the right chord with her at the right time to encourage her to keep creating, but also let her know that it is OK if it doesn't turn out great. My grandmother pointed out this weekend that because AJ is so big and so precocious, it is easy to forget that she's only four years old!

Regardless of her talents, whatever they may be, I am always proud of her, and I hope she knows it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Home. Work.

Anna June is adjusting to her new schedule, although the last few nights she's been getting to sleep way later than she should.

Sunday night, after not napping, she stayed up until 10 PM! She cried, fussed, and complained until finally, blessedly, she fell asleep. She had a somewhat grumpy morning but it seemed to be cured at school. She was fine, and did well. She was well-behaved, helpful and hungry at my mom's house. She didn't act scared at all at her Spanish lessons, although it helped that it was at a place she'd been before (Avondale Methodist) and with kids she has gotten to know at school.

But as soon as I walked in the door at home, she had an absolute meltdown. I eventually told her she'd have to get out of my lap or we'd all starve because I could not physically hold her and cook supper simultaneously. Ben offered to hold her, but that wasn't the same. She wanted mama. She also pointed out that she wouldn't starve because at Nana's house, she'd had a peanut butter and (homemade) fig preserve sandwich, a piece of cheese, a brownie, and some milk. My argument for the baked chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes, she thought, was invalid.

With all the whining, as well as with a couple of side projects, she was distracted before dinner and didn't get around to doing her homework, which involved tracing her name.Toward the end, she was so tired she could barely keep her eyes open.

AJ has had a lot of experience with tracing her name. Ms. Rita often handmade tracing dots for her and the other kids at McElwain so that she could practice. Here's an example.

I have no idea why she didn't finish this project, although I often begin things and have no follow-through, so I can see where she gets it.

Maybe she thought she did it one time, and that should certainly be sufficient.

This morning, when I was rushed, I was explaining to AJ that I was having trouble leaving on time because of various things I had to do. Besides getting myself ready, I had to take the garbage out, take the dog out, etc. We were talking about how to tweak the evening, and, on her own, she said, "I should have done my homework while you were making dinner."

Yes, she should have. I wouldn't have been coaching her from a sink full of dishes saying, "Just write it one more time."

She promised to make this change for the night to go more smoothly. We'll see if she remembers it by the time we get home. After all, she's going to be exhausted.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coming Soon, to a Radio Near You

Anna June has a really smart dad. Too smart, sometimes.

When we were attending meetings, back in the winter, we were convinced to send AJ to Avondale. But we still had our doubts, especially about the race issue. We knew AJ would be fine, but we were worried about the grownups.

"This is going to upset a lot of people," he said. He was right. Evidently, the attention paid to white folks came up as an issue from the community when the Birmingham Board of Education tried to fire our superintendent.

"This is going to make national news," Ben said. I was not sure about that - after all, what we were doing had been done before.

But, as it turns out, he was right again.

This piece, from our NPR-affiliate's local education correspondent Dan Carsen, is going to air nationally, although we haven't heard when, exactly. We weren't interviewed for this piece, but our friends were, and we would have said the same things, essentially.

Things really are going well at the school. There are lots of neat projects ahead and the PTA is gearing up for a great year. AJ is making friends and doing well.

And, speaking of AJ and her education, she starts (extracurricular) Spanish lessons today. Adios!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Messy

Anna June got a fried peach pie at Milo's on Friday night. This doesn't fully capture how messy of an endeavor it was. She even requested that I take her to the restroom to wash up afterward.

This reminds me - it's definitely laundry day!

Friday, September 7, 2012

TGIF

Anna June loves school, even if she is reluctant to admit it. She's pretty silent on what their learning, but she tells me all about her friends. I am always anxious to hear recaps of their conversations and what they played on the playground.

At church on Wednesday night, I was telling someone about her yellow jacket sting and what we did to remedy it, and she spoke up. "Angus said you can rub toothpaste on it to get the stinger out." I had not heard that, but I believe it. Angus is her good buddy at school. Evidently, they'd been talking about her trauma over the weekend. And if a 4-year-old knows it, then it must be true.


As much as she loves school, she usually loves being picked up from school just as much. Here are a couple of parking lot shots post-after-school care.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Canine Death in the Family

At the ripe old age of 4, Anna June has gone to a couple of funerals and heard of many people dying in our family, church and circle of friends. This past week, she experienced her first canine death in our family. My parents lost their beloved Jesse on Thursday.

I've written a lot about dearly departed humans. After my post about my cousin Mac last week, Ben told me that I should do memorial pieces professionally, which is a very high compliment from someone who doesn't dole them out easily. I've written about my friend Kirsty, and my grandmother and grandfather. But I've never blogged about a dog. So here goes.

Jesse was adopted into our family many years ago. My dad's employee, Becky, found him (or knew someone who found him) out in St. Clair County somewhere. Dad agreed to take him in. Mom was out of town, and as I recall, was a little put out that Dad adopted a little brother for their dog Hank when she wasn't even home.

It was quickly discovered that Jesse, part Laborador retriever, we've assumed, was pretty good at the retriever part. He loved to catch tennis balls. At one point, we saw him get three in his mouth. He could use empty bowls to transport the balls. He loved to play. Even as the dogs grew older and heavier, their personalities were pretty clear: Hank loved to eat, Jesse loved to fetch. Mom and Dad later adopted a third dog, Maggie. She likes to eat AND fetch.

Anna June loved, loved, loved playing with Jesse, and you could tell that he loved playing with her. Jesse didn't discriminate - he'd bring a ball to anyone, old or young, family member or visitor, in hopes that you'd throw it. Outside was best, of course, but he loved it when someone would toss the ball to him in the den. When one tired of throwing, there was a little routine. You'd have to throw it to him, let him catch it and then tell him, "no." Then, he would go lie down, a little dejected, but at least he would stop begging. Honestly, we were glad when AJ got old enough to throw the ball well - she had the most energy of all of us.

A few weeks ago, Jesse was sick. He had been losing weight, but suddenly was spitting up blood. Mom took him to the vet. They drew blood and observed. She waited and waited. She read about half of her book.They had many tests to run, which, in the end were inconclusive.

A few days after that, Mom called to give me the update, and asked if I had seen her library book. I hadn't. She called the vet and they hadn't seen it, either. Mom, an avid reader, would have to report it lost to the library. In light of everything else going on, it didn't seem like a big deal.

Jesse, Dr. Weber suspected, had cancer. While they waited for the official diagnosis, Mom shared with me that she had already decided that such intensive treatments like chemotherapy were out of the question, given their expense and his advanced age. They were going to have to put him to sleep, if it ever became apparent that he was in pain. Mysteriously, though, the results from Auburn's pathology lab were never reported to us.

Jesse had good days and bad days, like most cancer patients I know, and, come to think of it, just about everyone. Mostly, he still wanted to fetch. He ate and drank.

Then, there was a day when he wasn't moving. A storm was coming, and if anything could motivate Jesse quicker than a ball, it was thunder. Mom couldn't get him to come inside. She recruited help and went back to the vet.

While in the vet's office, Jesse had a seizure.They kept him almost a week for observation, sedating him so he could rest through it. Even days later, he had trouble walking. We feared the worst.

Eventually, he seemed to improve, so he came home.

Several days passed, but then he had another seizure. Afterwards, he again seemed fine, eating and drinking normally. Then, less than 24 hours later, he was gone.

Like with a person, it is probably the best thing to say: he died peacefully at home. Like with a person, it comes to mind: I wish I had spent more time with him, but I am glad for the times we had together. Like with a person, he will be missed.

I gave AJ the bad news after school, in the parking lot. After discussing that we'd never see him again, she said, "Maggie also likes it when I throw the ball to her." This is true, although she'll never be as enthusiastic as her big brother. The next day, when I saw one of Radar's tennis balls on the floor at our house, I burst into tears.

Mom took Jesse's body back to the vet's office for disposal. On the way home, she stopped to run an errand. There, at the library, was another copy of the book she'd been reading at Eastwood Animal Clinic. Coincidentally, it has a picture of a friendly dog on the cover.

You can choose to see that as a coincidence, but to Mom and to me, it seems like a sign that Jesse is in a better place already, and that everything is going to be OK.

(Photos by and courtesy of Patrick Tucker)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Current Phobia


Anna June told me that she likes gym more than recess, because gym is indoors. She's officially scared to be outside because of her recent brush with a bee.

I told her that the good news is that we found out that she's NOT allergic to bee stings, and therefore, even though it may hurt a lot, she's not going to get sick if a bee stings her.

This thought did not comfort her, and she pointed out she was even scared to walk across the parking lot at Wal-Mart, lest some wayward yellow jacket happen by.

I told her it would get easier and easier every day.

But for a kid with a long memory, it will be hard to forget.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Our Weekend Went

Anna June's teacher asked us this morning how our long weekend was. I said, "Well, it wasn't great. We got rained on at the football game, AJ got stung by a yellow-jacket at our family gathering, and then our trip to Rickwood Caverns was rained out."

But there were some good things that happened, too.

Most of them related to food.

AJ's favorite thing all weekend was this Blue Raspberry Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

She also enjoyed a jam session with her dad, playing X-Box and imagining things. She told her whole pirate ship crew to "batten down the hatches," yesterday during one of the many thunderstorms.

We all napped yesterday, which was nice but made it very hard to get AJ to bed. We're damned if she naps, and damned if she doesn't. The amount of fussing is the same, it's just at different times.

AJ claims she never slept last night - she was just "resting her eyes." For sure she was up at 2:30 AM, very upset. This morning when I let her elaborate, she claimed to be upset by scenes from the movie we watched, Matilda. We enjoyed it, but I still don't know how Roald Dahl got so good at writing bad guys. Scary!

The forecast calls for more rain, but I hope the rest of the week is smoother.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rain, Rain

The rain is keeping us from our plans to go to Rickwood Caverns today, but it won't keep Anna June from having fun.

We've had pancakes at her request, and we finished making the "Clothespin Cuties" she got as a prize for summer reading.

And it's not even 9 am yet!

Have a great day resting from your labors, unless you sell BBQ. In that case, get to work!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Had Fun, Got Wet

Anna June attended her first college football game Saturday. We were a little late to truly tailgate, but we brought hot dogs and the fixings, and ate it off the tailgate of my dad's truck. Real enough. Drew even stepped in ants. "What's a picnic without ants?" Dad asked.

I made "healthy breakfast cookies" which weren't great, but they weren't bad either. AJ wasn't impressed.

We weren't even to the stadium before AJ asked to go home. Even a quick jump in the bouncy house didn't make her happy.

Our seats are on the 42nd row. That didn't seem so high when I ordered them.

The game was televised, so timeouts were frequent.

It was 90 degrees. We wore hats and sunscreen, but not enough. AJ wore a dress, refusing the Blaze's Kids Club shirt. (I'll save my wardrobe battles for weekdays, thanks)

So we were all hot and tired and annoyed, a little. AJ whined. Ben let her play a game on his iPhone. Mom took her to the bathroom. Ben walked her around the stadium.

I promised AJ that at halftime she could spend her money on a Hawaiian shaved ice. We were in line and raindrops started to fall. A cell phone call to reach my family in the stands was received but not heard. I tried to buy the blue raspberry ice and text on my wet phone simultaneously. I wasn't successful.

I found us a dry spot under the stands. I texted a landmark. Evidently, I wasn't clear. AJ's face was blue and sticky, and her dad's, at the other end of the same end zone, was red and panicked.

We finally reunited and left the stadium, having had enough family fun for one day. We heard UAB score as we left. By the time we were back to our cars, the rain stopped.

After we left, the rain stopped and started about half a dozen more times. UAB almost tied at one point, but the Blazers ended up losing by 10 to in-state rivals Troy, who led the whole game. UAB made some big mistakes in its first outing with our new coach.

It may be a long time before that many of us go to a game again!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Homework

Anna June's teacher, Mrs. D., gave them homework this week.

There's a folder that each kid takes home every day. The parents have to sign it and return it daily.

On one side of the folder is a calendar with a code at the bottom. There are many numbers, I'd say 1-30, with corresponding things that a parent would need to know about. For example, 1 may equal talking in class. There's a number for hitting. A number for not listening. Et cetera. Alternatively, for good behavior, the teacher places a sticker or draws a star on that day.

So far, with one week of half days, and then one full week including folders, AJ has not "gotten a number", but has gotten all stickers.

We expect no less.

On the other side of the folder, there is a sheet for the homework assignments.

I don't know if she'll always do it this way or not, but Mrs. D. wrote a whole week's worth of homework on the sheet. AJ had it done in a day.

In case you were wondering, this was her homework for week 1:

1. Memorize and practice entering lunch number.
This is the "secret code" we got AJ so excited about before school started. You deposit money in the child's breakfast and lunch account, and she punches in her PIN in the lunch line. How cool is that? No quarters getting lost on the playground. This is a five-digit number. AJ made a little song about it and learned it in no time. She even knows to press "enter" after her number. Who would have ever thought of such a thing when we were kids, right? There weren't even debit cards. No one knew what a PIN was.
2. Find a clean, empty household container with writing on it "environmental print" to bring in.
We had an empty liquid soap container, which AJ had been playing with in the bathtub. She was dismayed to sacrifice it for classroom duty.
3. Cut out a picture of something that begins with A.
We found a picture of avocados in a grocery ad. AJ cut it all by herself.
4. Cut out a word that begins with A.
In the same grocery ad, we found the word "American," and she cut it well enough to read all the letters.

I hope that, when she's older, AJ still likes homework as much as she does when she's 4.