Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thinking Thursday: That 70's Day

Anna June's school is having its annual Black History Program today. The theme is "Afros and Bellbottoms". They've asked the children to wear white shirts and khaki bottoms, assuming they'll all look the same in the program. At first, AJ's teacher said the children were to dress in 70s attire, but then retracted the statement when the final word from the office came down. All the same, they asked all the teachers, staff, and PARENTS to dress in their best 70s clothes.

So last night AJ and I visited Granddaddy Jerome. He still has a treasure trove of clothes from Grandma Annette that he's trying to get rid of. I went looking for scarves, but came home with 2 scarves, a purse, a necklace, a pin, 3 tops, a skirt, and a hat/scarf/gloves set new in the package that had nothing to do with our errand.

My plan was for AJ to wear the pin on her shirt and the scarf in her hair, because I had asked Mrs. D. if it would be possible to accessorize in a 70's style for the kids. By the time we left, AJ had traded scarves with me and removed the pin. We should have gotten a picture of how she looked before. (She put on the new scarf herself - because she thought it was cuter.) I also let her put on pale pink lip gloss in the spirit of the day.

So here we are, ready for the program this afternoon.

Peace! Have a groovy day!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Works of Art Wednesday: Snowman

Anna June will be excited to hear the news - I hear it's going to snow on Saturday. Even though it won't stick, she loves the snow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things Tuesday: THE DESK

Since we started talking about her room makeover, Anna June has been the most excited about one element: adding a desk. She dreamed that this would be a place to do her homework, write, color, and draw. Granny send this vital piece last week, and AJ has been so happy about it we can barely get her to come away from it.

Here are some of Ben's pics of AJ at her desk. She loves it! Thanks again, Granny!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Review: Feats and Feasts

Anna June had another busy but fun weekend. Here's the rundown:

Friday night, we went out for pizza. We tried to go to Davenport's, but the wait was so long we headed elsewhere, and ended up at Bongiorno in Crestline. It was fine, but a little fancier than what we had hoped for. I hope to write a full review later.

Instead of watching a movie, we cleaned up AJ's toys, which were strewn about the house from our painting adventures. This was more difficult than we thought, and delayed by AJ's insistence that I shelve her books in alphabetical order.

Saturday, after breakfast, we continued on our quest to find homes for AJ's many toys. She decided to part with many of them, after much deliberation.

Then, we headed to lunch and to make our big purchase of the day: the mattress and box springs. AJ has expensive taste, so we ended up with a pillow-top mattress. She wanted something really soft. I hope it lasts her until college.

We returned home and met my dad and grandfather, who delivered AJ's new bed. Dad helped Ben set it up - the rails were tricky. Then, we went back to Mom and Dad's house for AJ to hang out with Liz, Patrick and baby Wesley while we went to pick up the mattress set in Dad's truck.

Drew came back to the house with some slats for the bed. When went home and Ben had to saw them down, as they were formerly for a full-size bed, but he measured and cut quite well, and they worked great.

We went to Anna's Linens in search of inexpensive bed clothes. We found a bed-in-a-bag set that had a comforter, sheets, pillowcase, and pillow sham. It also had a bed skirt, but I didn't notice that, and I went back and bought another one. So now we have a mattress pad, 2 sets of sheets, 2 bed skirts, and a comforter/sham set. I think she's all set.

Except she doesn't like it. Maybe she'll grow into it - it can't be exchanged!

We made a cherry kool-aid pie for the Feast of the Five Frogs. We had so much fun - AJ played with Carter (in from Michigan) all night. They were very excited to see each other.

Sunday was our usual mix of church, errands, and housework. Ben and I took a nap while AJ played. Then, AJ and I went to a 70th birthday party for two of our friends. She was the only kid there, but she learned how to play hangman and now she's obsessed. We immediately downloaded an app for our tablet to keep her occupied while learning spelling.

I hope this week brings more fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Anna June carefully selected her Saturday outfit. She applied her makeup. I did her hair.

My brother Drew admired her furry vest, asking her, essentially, what it was made of - but he didn't choose his words in just the right way for our four-year-old literalist.

"Is that rabbit?" he asked.
Anna June replied, "No, it's a vest!"


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Friday Photo: In Business

Anna June is thrilled beyond words with her new desk.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thinking Thursday: Excellent!

Anna June has evidently been doing great in school. Her last two mid-term progress reports have showed lots of "very good" marks but no "excellent" ones.

On the progress report we got this week, the "excellent" categories far outnumber all of the other ones.

The only "Little progress" was in knowing her right from her left. I still sometimes struggle with this, as do other people who have grown up to be awesome, so I am not distressed. However, I tested her a bunch of times and she totally gets it. So, I guess there has to be something that needs improvement on every report!

And I loved Mrs. D's comment about how AJ is a stickler for rules. It is a blessing to have a child who is so respectful, although often a curse that she can be so inflexible at times.

I would be proud of her anyway, but I am very proud that she's adjusting well to school and learning what they are teaching.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Works of Art Wednesday: Peanuts

Anna June colored these pages for me - the first pages out of a Christmas coloring/activity book - and I thought I would share them with you. She was very interested in writing her name and mine all over them.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Things: Repeat

Anna June is in the middle of her big girl room re-do, and right now, I would say she's essentially a minimalist. She has asked me to get rid of all her toys. I am not going to do it, especially the brand new ones she asked for and got for Christmas, but she's kind of over not having any room to play for all the toys in the way. So we're slowly getting them back in her room and getting them organized.

So since she doesn't have a thing to talk about this week, I will repeat a picture I posted last week of my current favorite thing - these flowers on my desk that I got from Valentine's day. They've been garnering jealous smiles from my co-workers for nearly a week now, and they still look and smell beautiful.

Have a nice day!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend Review

Anna June's room makeover got started in earnest this weekend. We purchased, prepped, and painted. (And by "we" I mean "Ben"!)

Friday night we ate pizza and watched Madagascar 3 in 3D, thanks to a converter box we added to our entertainment center. AJ wouldn't keep the 3D glasses on, but she still enjoyed it.

Saturday, we got a visit from a window salesman, and learned more than we wanted to know about vinyl, double hung windows. Then, I rushed off to Sterret, AL for the burial of my great Aunt Alice. It was cold, but it was a short and sweet service. I feel something so powerful when I am at our family plot at Mt Signal Cemetery. There's my Nana, whom I still miss, and Aunt Ida, and my mom's father C.P. there are so many I wish I could talk to.

Then Mom and I went out to lunch on the way to Alabaster, where a memorial service was held at Alice's church. Then, we headed to Hoover for what I've learned is called the "mercy meal". I brought broccoli salad, and there was so much food the entire church could have come. Ben and AJ came and visited with all the assembled kin, from as far away as Virginia and Florida.

Sunday we went to Home Depot and Dollar Tree, twice, and got all the things we needed to paint. It had been so long since we last painted that we forgot how much we hate it. AJ, on the other hand, LOVED it! She rolled like a pro. She didn't even get paint on the carpet (that was me).

AJ slept on the sofa last night and will spend her day off from school putting it back together. Here are some "before/during" pics.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Catching Up

According to our calendar, Anna June is due to receive her next mid-term progress report on Tuesday. I'm about a month late, but here's her second 9-week report card - I wanted to make sure and post it before the progress report comes in! If you clock on it to see it - you can see that AJ is doing well and has mastered many skills she was "working on" before. There is still work to do, but overall she has accomplished a lot.

I am hoping to see some "excellent" marks on her progress report!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Photo Friday - Not Exactly

Anna June came to Zumba with me, at her insistence last night. She brought in her backpack, which contained enough candy and snacks to keep her busy. During the course of my hour-long workout, she danced little, but ate a ring pop, goldfish crackers, Cheetos, and drank a Hi-C juice box. Then she had a pink Rice Krispy treat in the car. All this was after the yummy cookies and ice cream at her class party. No wonder all she wanted for dinner was a hot dog.

Anyway, during all of her running back and forth and playing, she must have found my phone, because when I picked it up after class it had this piece of artwork ready to email out. I have no idea what she had been drawing, but evidently it was special enough to her to want to send it.

So, it's not exactly a photo, but it is a little snapshot of whatever was going on in her sugar-fueled, preservative filled brain last night.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thinking Thursday: Valentine's Edition

Anna June was so excited she couldn't sleep last night. She told us she was too excited for Valentine's Day! I don't blame her - I was, too.

This morning I woke up and stayed in my bed until her alarm went off, per her instructions the night before. She woke up and came directly to our room, and when I told her Happy Valentine's Day, she gave me a really sweet card. It said, "Be Happy" and it had a koala on it. I mean, who couldn't be happy when there's a koala bear, right? On the reverse, it said "From: Anna June. To: Mom. Happy Valentine's Day. And to Dad too." I'll probably scan it at some point. It's too precious.

Then, I gave her a card. And I gave Ben a card. And he gave me a card - a very, very sweet and lovely card - along with a box. The box contained a belly dance skirt for Zumba! I've been wanting one for ages. I can't wait to finish this post and leave to go try it out.

We gave Anna June a stuffed animal she had admired. Then, she asked if she could give it to Radar, because he doesn't have as many toys as she does, and we didn't get him a Valentine.

I went on and dropped AJ off at school, and got ready to start on spending most of my day with transcribing minutes from an exceedingly boring conference call. There was a knock at my office door, and, as I looked up, thinking, "I do NOT need one more thing to do," it was my fantastic husband, bringing flowers. He and AJ picked them out together.

It really made my day!

Our real gift to each other this year is a one-hour couple's massage at Golden Temple. We cannot wait to schedule it. We both seem to be having more aches and pains than usual - let's blame the awful weather instead of getting older, shall we?

So, since this blog post is supposed to be about Anna June and her thinking and development, here are some observations:

1. She loves celebrating occasions.
2. She had all her Valentine cards addressed a month early (she got this from me).
3. She loves buying presents for others.
4. She is extremely thoughtful when it comes to those less fortunate, even if it is Radar.
5. She's good at sharing.
6. She's good at hugging, kissing, and saying, "I love you."
7. She's good at making cards.

In short, Valentine's day is the perfect holiday for such a sweet little girl. Now, off to Zumba to preemptively burn calories I may consume from raiding her chocolate stash from her school Valentine party.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Works of Art Wednesday: Card

One of my favorite things about Anna June is that she spontaneously makes works of art to give to others, and her recent milieu is cards. She usually makes them for me or Ben. She found this under her bed - it was possibly meant as an additional birthday card back in December.

This is the front and back:

This is the inside:

I love her drawing of our whole family and our house. And the paper is even my favorite color!

Have a great day!

PS - I have no idea where I put my draft of Tuesday Things - maybe it will reappear later this week.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Weekend Review: Rest

Anna June had a peaceful weekend. We watched a lot of movies and rested, still trying to get rid of the cold/coughs, but we did find some time to accomplish some things. Here's the rundown:

Friday night - We visited the Pop-Up Project in downtown Birmingham. We left with a bag of Bitty's Sneaky Mix, a lovely sweet/spicy snack mix, and a bar of handmade soap by Harmony. It was great to talk with the local small vendors, who don't yet have their own retail presence, and good to chat with LK, aka Grey's mom. Then we had dinner at Newk's and came home to watch AJ's choice on Netflix: Casper's Haunted Christmas. It was terrible, but I fell asleep at the end. Maybe it got better.

Saturday - I resumed my resting. We had cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. AJ played by herself and we watched a couple of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episodes. It is also terrible, in my opinion, but as long as AJ was still, quiet, and snuggling, I was OK with it. Later, we went out to the park to take advantage of the beautiful day. While I walked Radar, Ben and AJ headed to the field to practice soccer - AJ had her cleats and ball - but then I ran into AJ's friend Avery, and since he loves soccer (his dad played in college!), he made a beeline to the field to show her how it was done. Later, I spotted another one of their friends and AJ and Avery went back up to the playground to play with her instead. We ran into my friend Sara from work and her grandson, Will. In other words, it was a big old Crestwood Park party. We went back to the house and rested for a little bit, and then we took AJ to my parents' house for a steak dinner with my granddaddy while Ben and I went out for sushi and to the movies. (And of course, I had an errand to run at Dollar Tree. Gotta get my errands in!) Side note: We saw Silver Linings Playbook. It was great, perfectly cast, and I hope that it wins tons of awards. When we got to my parents' house, AJ had just fallen asleep, but luckily, she went back to sleep fairly easily when we got home.

Sunday - We skipped church to hit up Big Blue Bagel, Home Depot, Dollar Tree (again!) and FoodSmart. The main project we had in mind with all of this shopping was to get samples of paint for AJ's room. She had been telling us she wanted pink walls, but then she changed her mind to purple, then red, and then, when we were actually looking at paint sample cards - blue really grabbed her attention. She picked out two colors of light blue. One is a lighter, more aqua version, (Ionic Sky) and one is a darker truer blue (Pool Party). We pretty much all agree that we should get the light one, after seeing the samples on the wall. It was a hard choice - both are beautiful. Next weekend we'll paint AJ's big girl room! Can't believe it.

We also did an exercise video, actually cooked lunch (Rachel Ray's Chinese Orange BBQ Cashew Chicken) Watched ANOTHER movie (The Rescuers Down Under, which luckily I've seen, since I fell asleep in that one, too! Another side note: I was awake long enough to be sad that Eva Gabor, John Candy, and George C. Scott are all dead in real life, although their voice talents live on in the movies.) Skyped with Grandpa, sent Ben for a (major) haircut, talked on the phone to Aunt Nonny, ate at Rusty's and almost made it to bed on time. We saw some of the Grammys, where my favorite new (local!) band the Alabama Shakes lost but performed well, and then I crashed. Maybe this week we'll shake this sinus trouble/coughing/sneezing/sore throat nonsense.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Anna June, upset that she broke her tube of lipstick she got from the classroom treasure box, was promised a trip to Dollar Tree to get a replacement. This morning she cashed in, and here is her first self-application of her latest beauty supply acquisition.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Photo Friday: Making Plans

Anna June writes on a calendar. And then I make her sit on her butt. Note the jeans!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thinking Thursday: On Time

Anna June gets stressed when we are stressed. I haven't been feeling well lately, and I let the house go to pieces while I lay in bed or on the sofa, blowing my nose and just wishing for things to be better. Of course, Ben has the same cold, and is pretty much doing the same.

AJ has the same cold, but she's 4 (and a half! she says) and she has energy that we don't. I explained to her that I knew she wasn't feeling well, but I needed her to get back to being responsible for getting herself up and dressed in the mornings, in order to bring some sanity to my life.

Last night I did get her backpack in order, emailed her teacher, sat with her while she completed her homework. I laid out her clothes (with her input), set her alarm, and sent her to bed with a promise that we'd try to do better. She didn't want me to "get late" again.

And it worked. At 6:15, she got up, dressed herself, used the bathroom, brushed her teeth, combed her hair, and did everything but tie her shoes (we're still working on that one).

I had enough time to make it through showering, wardrobe, hair and makeup this morning, and I didn't come in to work looking like a cat dragged me there.

It probably helped that I washed dishes and did laundry for the first time in days. I don't physically feel any better but mentally I'm in better shape, I think.

Maybe we can continue the trajectory tonight. Or maybe it was a fluke. I'm just thrilled she is still capable of dressing herself without the wrangling and cajoling that we've had going on the past few weeks. If I de-stress the environment, maybe she'll be less stressed, too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Works of Art Wednesday: Stamps

When Anna June came to my office last week, we brought her walkie-talkies to play with if I went down the hall, her tracing book, a tablet computer with lots of kid games, and a stuffed lamb as a lovey. We also brought juice and snacks. All of that entertainment was shelved as soon as AJ discovered that I had stamps in my desk. Thanks, UAB, for providing me with stamps so that AJ could be quiet - and stop pressing my No! button - for a few minutes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday Things: The No Button

When Anna June visited my office last week, she had fun playing with the toy I requested for Christmas. A big, shiny, "NO!" button. Everyone who presses it gets the giggles. I regularly threaten to use it on my faculty members. It hasn't gotten old yet.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Weekend Review: Super

Anna June had another great weekend. On Friday night, we hit up the Chinese buffet and watched The Rescuers. Actually, AJ watched The Rescuers and I fell asleep just as the actual rescue was taking place, but I am sure it comes out all right - and we can watch it again another time: the beauty of DVD!

On Saturday, AJ entertained herself and I cleaned the refrigerator out. Yes, that was a great part of my day! I tossed so much stuff. Then we went to lunch and AJ and I went on to the Birmingham Dance Walk. My blogger pal Sherri Ross organized a Dance Walk. After reading about one of the past events here, I knew this was something that I had to get in on ASAP. I thought AJ would love it, too. I showed her this video about dance walking, and she was all in. Her ballet lessons are going well, and she killed it at Zumba the other night, so I thought she was going to have a blast. Evidently, I misrepresented the plan to her, and she was upset that there was no stopping in shops as we danced (something I read indicated that we would, but I was mistaken). There was a visit from Madge the Magic City Dragon, and it was so cool to see this work of art and her dozen handlers dancing down the street. You can read accounts of the fun event here and here. They have real pictures, too, none of which seem to feature AJ or much of me. But we were there! I promise!

Afterwards, I tried to interest AJ in a visit to the downtown library to take a peek at the writer's expo, but she was not having it. She wanted to shop. So shop we did. We went to Sojourns, where the owner had fruit, tea and coffee for the dance walkers. Then we went next door to Reed Books, where I was in search of a local author's latest book. I found her old one, but not the new one - yet.  Then, we needed a sugar rush and a bathroom, so we went to Urban Standard for some cupcakes. AJ had red velvet and I had blackberry cabernet - so delicious!

Next we went to Charm, a fantastic little jewelry shop owned by one of our auction's customers, and then we went down to What's on 2nd, (where the owner is also a Garden City Auction customer) and we ran into our friend Ian, who couldn't believe how big AJ was getting!  Then we were shopped out, so we went home and I took a much needed nap. By then, it was time for our night out, so we took AJ to my parents' house, headed to the Galleria for some shopping and dinner, and then made a stop by my grandmother's house to fix her computer.

On Sunday, we began preparations for our Super Bowl Supper with my parents and brother Drew. Ben vacuumed, steam cleaned, and scrubbed toilets. I went to the store before church and could tell it was time for the big game because Publix was dangerously low on regular Velveeta. Anyway, we ended up making pasta salad with football-shaped pasta, Ro-Tel dip (which Grandpa misheard as "roadkill dip") and creamy lemon bars. Mom and Dad brought chili and hot dogs. It was perfect football food! Of course, when I throw a Super Bowl party and the Packers are not playing, it's not a true Super Bowl party - it's a First Half of the Super Bowl party. We all had things to do the next day, places to be, people to see, and missions to accomplish, so everyone was gone and AJ was in the tub before the lights went out.

Overall, though, it was a SUPER weekend!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Photo Friday: Jobs

Anna June is doing her jobs at after school care. Presently, she's sharpening pencils. As soon as she's done, then we can leave.