Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Outside the Mansion

It has been a while since I posted a picture of Anna June herself, so here she is with all her style and sass (and sleepiness). This was taken outside the Hassinger-Daniels Mansion in 5 Points South. Our trip there is touched on in this post.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sundaes on Sunday

On Sunday, Anna June attended a fabulous birthday party for her good friend, Grey. He had a sundae bar, and cupcakes baked in ice cream cones. It was delicious. The children had a blast playing together in the yard and the adults enjoyed conversation - which mostly centered around how school starts in just three weeks!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Anna June, Radar and Ben are all still asleep. I'm trying not to make a sound. AJ went to bed at 9. She needs to sleep until at least 8, but knowing how camp and swim lessons wear her out she may need more. Ben worked at the auction after work, so we didn't get in bed until later than usual, too.

You never know how much noise you make doing normal things like showering, unloading the dishwasher, or even watching tv with the volume turned on really low until it wakes someone up. So I'm trying to be very, very quiet.

I'd probably still be asleep myself if it weren't for Radar. He has no concept of Saturday.

Rain is in the forecast -again- for this afternoon. We've had 2 days of sun but it still hasn't been enough to dry out the mud the torrents of rain have caused. Hopefully, this morning we'll get some outdoor activities in before it rains. At least it hasn't been so hot.

We have a lot to do today. A birthday party tomorrow, prep for our vacation, shoe shopping for Ben, figuring out what to do with the tomatoes a friend gave us, etc. I'm tired just thinking about it. I maybe should go in to work to try to finish some things, but I really don't see that happening. I have been particularly wrapped up in a project that needs to be finished ASAP. Unfortunately, doing it from home isn't really a good option, or I'd be working on it now instead of pecking at my phone for this post.

In other news, my grandmother is in the hospital, after suffering what appears to be a mini stroke. Her blood pressure has been unable to be regulated well, so this is what we've been afraid might happen. Luckily, she's doing very well. She even liked the food at the hospital - that hasn't happened in any of her (way too frequent) stays. AJ and I visited her last night on the way home. She seems ok. AJ gave her a little craft she made: a telescope of the cardboard roll from the middle of my aluminum foil, plus some paper, ribbon and tape. It was in my work bag for some reason, so she picked that over some of her other works of art that happened to be at my office to take to Grandma. We didn't prepare anything in advance - we hoped she'd be home by Friday night.

Swim lessons seem to be going well. AJ wants to head to the pool today to practice. She won't get to full swimming competence by the end of next week, but I am so glad we did this. We're discussing gymnastics vs swimming for AJ's extracurricular activity during school,  and we're leaning towards swimming. This may have something to do with my cousin Ella, who just had surgery on her elbow due to a gymnastics accident. Yikes. 

AJ has been mostly sweet this week. She's done chores and gotten dressed with minimal nagging and a decent attitude. We have to work on our routines to get ourselves out the door in the mornings. School starts really soon! August 19 will be here before we know it. Before then, there will be a week more ("Hollywood week") at camp, and a week more of swim lessons. Then our trip to see everyone in Wisconsin - if you're reading this and want to see us, please contact me so we can make sure you get on our itinerary. I have only one sure thing on the agenda: cream puffs at the State Fair. We'll arrive in Birmingham just in time to hit up registration at school. Then, there will be a week of Camp Nana, also including some time with me for a play date, eye appointment, and uniform/school supply shopping. Fun!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Love Notes

Anna June has been on a kick lately of bringing us little mini cards.
They almost all have the same message:

This one is older, but a little different:

This one, also older, is an envelope, containing a peace sign temporary tattoo.

You never know what that girl is working on at her desk!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Catching Up

Anna June decided last night that she needed to catch up on her sleep, so she made sure she was in bed exactly at 8 pm. Even though she woke up groggy as usual, she told me that she could get herself ready. I am glad that she still has the capability, if not the desire, to dress by herself. We've spent a lot of whiny mornings lately stuffing AJ into her shorts and shoes. It was a relief to catch my breath this morning.

Here are some things we did over the weekend. Each one is post-worthy, but I'm not sure I'll have time to write like I want to - work is out of control right now.

Weekend rundown:
Friday night
Pizza - Domino's
Movie - The Wizard of Oz


Donuts from Heavenly Donut Co. in Vestavia

Shopping at Brookwood Village. AJ and I browsed while we waited for Ben to help my mom at Best Buy Mobile, where they were phone shopping. AJ even said, "Shopping is fun."

Park in the Park at Avondale - this vintage car show was amazing. I couldn't believe how many cars were there. It was very, very hot, though, so we only stayed about 20 minutes - long enough for a quick lap around the pond.

AJ was watching a video when I got finished showering, so I asked her to come see me when the episode concluded. At the particular moment she appeared, I was looking at this picture.

So she wanted to bake cupcakes.

We went to retrieve my cupcake pan, and then we went to the grocery store, where we ran into a ton of people we knew.

Finally, we came home, put up the groceries, ate dinner, and baked cupcakes.

I settled on a vanilla cupcake with a cream cheese/cinnamon icing from The Joy of Cooking. I didn't follow the instructions exactly, so we ended up with runnier icing than I'd have liked. AJ wanted it tinted blue, but with the addition of cinnamon, they looked more blue-green. And she sprayed some whipped topping on them, so they looked kind of like a sky with clouds.

We called up my granddaddy and took him a couple of cupcakes while they were still warm. It was a good, if brief, visit.

Then, blessedly, it was bedtime.


I did a "short class" on my Zumba Rush game for XBox. AJ tried playing a game, but she's too little for the Kinect motion sensors to detect her. Frustration and tears ensued. Maybe next year.

I went to church, and I had a solo prepared. "It is Well with My Soul." God must love irony, because there was absolutely nothing well with my soul that morning. AJ was possibly the worst-behaved she'd ever been in church.

After lunch we went home and AJ was so tired that she admitted that she'd take a nap with me. So we laid down in my bed and slept. It was wonderful. Afterwards, I got my regular happy kid back, with much better behavior. T

Then, AJ and I left Ben to study and went to dinner at the Hassinger-Daniels Mansion, a new Bed & Breakfast owned by my parents' clients, the Chaffins. They met us at the door in period costume, and we toured all of the gorgeous rooms. We had a delicious dinner, and enjoyed the company of others who had helped them furnish the house by selling them antiques. It was a wonderful night.

So now, we're about caught up.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


This is what happens when you let Anna June use your phone just for a second. Who knows what she was aiming for?

Monday, July 22, 2013


If you've got to go to work on a Monday morning, it's best that you have an awesome photo of Anna June in your inbox to greet you.

Go Blazers!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Anna June has been learning to swim, but she's also picking up other skills at day camp. Last week, she learned to braid hair. She tried it out on me, since her hair isn't long enough. Pretty good, huh?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Anna June attended the Summer Reading grand finale at the library last night. There were fun carnival activities, including face painting, bowling, a beanbag toss, fishing for chips, a basketball toss, a craft, inflatable jump/crawl stations and a book walk. AJ got lots of goodies. She behaved herself while in the long lines and did fine at skill-based games. Even though she hasn't earned her certificate (yet), she had a good time celebrating with the other kids. We saw lots of her schoolmates and friends from around town. She even talked me into letting her visit the park for a few minutes on the way out. She had a great night!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pizza Pondering

Anna June may be burned out on it, but I am still in love with our tradition/habit of having pizza on Friday nights. I was definitely in the mood for pizza. We headed over to Donato's to eat.

At some point after our (obligatory) trip to the bathroom, we sat down and I heard a blast from the past over the speakers. Whoever was programming the radio that night had no idea, but they almost brought me to tears.

"Jimmy Olsen's Blues" by the Spin Doctors was playing. This song might have been my first introduction to the quirky, intensely popular band. Even though their popularity didn't last, the feelings I associate with the memory of the first time I heard this song have stayed.

I've always been a sucker for a clever lyric, but when I was a teenager, I thought the idea of one's rival as Superman and the underhandedness of Jimmy Olsen by having a pocketful of Kryptonite was pretty darn near genius. And that groove. Their other singles from that album skyrocketed, leaving this one in the dust, but this song was the first one I heard. And even this many years later, I remember that we were going in between school and a basketball game to Taco Bell. Nowadays, and many runs to Taco Bell later, this does not seem remarkable. But it was quite a big deal for me to have permission (wait, did I have permission?) to go out - in the daytime, in a group of teenagers, (including boys) to eat some late afternoon tacos.

I returned to the present day from my memory and looked over at Anna June, who had just asked me to cut her pizza into smaller pieces, please, so they'd cool faster. My eyes filled with tears as I prayed for time to stop, or at least slow down for just a minute.

In ten years, she'll be wanting to ride in cars with basketball players.

Hopefully, she'll be introduced to music she loves, and when she hears it as background music when she's older, she'll have a smile. And hopefully, unlike me, she'll remember clearly which basketball player.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Still Here

Anna June's recent adventures have kept me so busy that I haven't had time to post, so I'm sorry. 

Here are some things that have happened that I plan to post about in more depth later.

1. This weekend, we attended 4 birthday parties. Surely, that's a personal record. She got a cape at the super hero  party. Pretty sure I need it.
2. AJ is reading well, although the end of the summer reading program came before we were ready. Not getting a certificate is disappointing, but if we'd written down all the books we read to her, we'd have made the goal. Worse for me than her.
3. AJ is swimming! She moved up to the yellow group. Long way to go, but terrific progress.
4. We paid off my car. This is a big deal to us, anyway.
5. AJ is making up stories - that she was born in the Gray Forest, where she are the plants that grew there. I told her, no, I'm pretty sure she came out of me, but she insists. The tale gets longer and more involved.
6. She has aliases. Anna May, Anna March, and Anna July are among them.
That's it for now. I hope to write about all these things and more this week, but not tonight! Work has been extremely busy and blogging is down on the list! Stupid paying job...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Diamonds and Rocks

Anna June had a great morning yesterday. She got up with her alarm, fixed her very own bowl of cereal, got dressed, brushed her teeth and her hair, and even put her shoes on without nagging. We bragged about it all day. I told her how proud I was of her, and how it made such a difference in my day not to have to yell at her, prod her, threaten her or ignore her to get her to do what she knew she had to do. Not a tear was shed. We were on time.

This morning, though, it was another story.

She had to be coaxed to get her pajamas off, and then, when I left her to her own devices, she went straight back to sleep. She had to be dressed by her father, and I got shoe duty. She then took her shoes off (maybe because I didn't do them just right)- and ended up going to the car in her socks. She had to be led to the bathroom, lectured into actually using it, and I had to brush her teeth and hair. She ate a Pop-tart in the car and was brushing the crumbs off herself when I dropped her off at day camp. I am sure the ants now living in the car will appreciate the snack. Whining occurred (and, technically, I am still whining).


"Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks." - Tom Petty

"Some days are diamonds, some days are stones." - John Denver

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mini golf

Rusty and Anna June played mini golf at the outlet mall Friday night. Ben showed AJ how to place her hands.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Anna June is having a good Independence Day, I think.

Well, once she told me she was bored, but it was after 3 pm at that point. So I think we did OK.

I have had a ton of little projects around the house today: filing, shredding, laundry, making and cleaning up after breakfast, making Red White and Blue Trifle to take to a fireworks viewing party and cleaning up after, etc. I've been doing everything at a pretty slow pace as my form of "relaxing" on my day off. I even got in some reading this morning.

AJ has played with Barbies (I broke one of their heads off, and not in a pop-back-on kind of way), made a bracelet from paper, and accompanied me on a quick walk of the dog between rain showers. I did both of our nails - AJ is wearing purple glitter on her fingers and star polish on her toes. I have red fingers and blue toes in the spirit of the day.

I've only run a couple of other errands, which is good for me on a day off, but I'd probably have done more if everything weren't closed.

I'm sure we're supposed to be reflecting on things like our founding fathers and our war for Independence, but I've been reflecting on if it's worth it to mop the kitchen floor and where I put the login information for our FSA. At breakfast, Ben asked AJ if she knew what we were celebrating. She asked if it was Jesus' birthday or God's birthday. Clearly, we have work to do.

But speaking of God, AJ's paper bracelet says, "I love God and Jesus." No word yet on her feelings on the Holy Spirit. 

We watched the Brewers play baseball on TV. They lost, but it was to the Washington Nationals. It kind of felt patriotic, although I wasn't feeling too philosophical when I saw a base running error and Ben was yelling about various injustices. 

I took a short nap, interrupted several times by AJ's various requests. I finally got up and showered, because she was appalled that I actually left the house to get lunch wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt. I told the lady at Chick-fil-A I was cleaning house, because I was at the time, kind of. I was also glad I was not wearing anything fancy, because I spilled coke on myself. Pro tip: if they ask you if you want a drink holder, always say yes.

I tried to get dressed and show off my new outfit to AJ. She told me it didn't go together. Three tries later, I ended up wearing all black. Nothing says Independence Day like a goth look, right? I guess Bermuda shorts can't be goth, even if they are black.
Anna June has enjoyed her freedom to play with stamps and watch a lot of different videos on her Kindle.

She told me at camp they have a "secrets club." I don't really like the sound of it, but she's five and doesn't have many secrets. After all, she has a dedicated blogger telling most of them to the internet.

She told me that we could have a secrets club at home, too, and I started with the (not very) secret that I am scared of rats. AJ then told something equally benign. At the park, after running into some neighbors and friends, and - seriously the thing she was the most excited about today - getting to pick up after the dog all by herself, she told me she had a new secret, and that was, "I don't like my life."

She's five years old. I asked her what she didn't like, and it basically boiled down to that we make her do homework and clean her room. And we don't even do those things every day. She's a lucky girl, and I think she knows it.

What a wonderful problem to have, to be upset only because you have too many possessions and too many opportunities to learn things.

We're about to leave to go see our friends, eat too much, drink too much, and watch people blow things up. God Bless America.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Let's Just Sit Here

On Sunday, Wesley was baptized, and Anna June had a lot of fun visiting his church and at the party afterwards.

I have lots of things to write and describe, but for now, let's just sit here and enjoy this one picture - of the two kids just sitting there. That's right - Wesley's latest achievement is sitting all by himself. We are so proud, and they are so cute.

Photo by Aunt Connie. I am sure there are more to come...Wesley's paparazzi was in full force. If I count right, he had about 5 grandparents, 2 great aunts, a great uncle, a couple of cousins, some friends, and half a dozen aunts and uncles hanging around. What a true blessing and a fun day.