Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend Report: MLK Weekend

Anna June had a pretty good weekend, all things considered. Here is the rundown.

Friday night, we decided to stay in and eat frozen pizza, which was good because I had to run a few errands on the way home. In other words, because I had to go to the bank and the gas station and stop by my parents' house to take care of their dogs (Maggie, the younger one, had to have a hematoma removed from her ear on Thursday), Ben had to cook.

I went to bed that night very happy that we were having a three-day weekend. It had been a crazy week. (Don't I say that every week?)

Then, at 6:41AM on Saturday, my cell phone rang. It was my mother, so I knew at that hour, the news couldn't be good.

Of course, I did not anticipate the magnitude of what she was about to tell me.

Drew, my brother, had fallen from a ladder while at work that night, after the auction was over. He broke his leg badly, in multiple places. When she called, he was still in surgery - the doctors had to insert a titanium rod into his shin.

After a quick breakfast of cold cereal, AJ and I left the house. We went back to Mom and Dad's to take care of the dogs again, and then on to the hospital. Drew was just coming out of recovery when we got there. My big contribution was to bring the cell phone charger. They couldn't think of anything else they needed, after being up all night.

Drew will be in a cast for 12-16 weeks. Of course, with such a large area, the main risk is that of infection, so he'll have to be very careful. As the nature of his work involves physical labor, he will be very limited to what he can do work-wise for the next several months.

We went on to AJ's swim lesson and then after that, to meet up with Ben for lunch. Then, we went to her friend Lily's house for their big day out.

Lily's mom had asked if AJ could go with them to Gadsden, AL to the "Let it Snow" Exhibit at the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts. Admission included a visit to Imagination Place Children's Museum.

AJ and Lily had been talking about it all week as if it were a cruise to the Caribbean. They were beside themselves. I didn't feel like going, honestly, but I am glad that we did. It was a challenge getting AJ's booster seat in the car next to Lily's and her brother CJ's, but we made it work.

They used a "unique material" that is often used in the movies to simulate snow - it was cold and sort of wet feeling. It was a polymer that shipped as a powder, but then when water is added...voila! The kids had a blast.

The moms had a nice visit getting to know each other better and chatting while the kids ran around. It was smaller than we had imagined, but the children had a wonderful time. It certainly held their interest, and they would have stayed until closing time, except a mean mama (me) declared it was time to go after about 3 hours. I didn't want our dinner time to get off schedule and it was a long way back. I could tell the kids were getting tired. The girls wanted one more turn in the snow section (where the kids could make snow angels), but just before they were about to enter, I noticed another mom cleaning up her child's vomit in that area. The Center was small, but the one staff person we had seen earlier was nowhere in sight at that point. I was done.

After dinner, AJ got to watch Ernest Goes to Camp, and she and Ben had fun laughing at the slapstick while I took a bath and did laundry. We needed a calm night after such a busy day.

Much to our chagrin, our scheduled delivery of our shed was postponed until Saturday evening, and then postponed again until Sunday. A complaint was lodged.

After lunch, we stopped by Harbor Freight to buy a few other tools needed for the project: an awl to punch out some holes (although we don't have any idea why these are not punched out during the manufacturing process), a screwdriver bit for the drill, etc.

On Sunday afternoon, we set out to begin the daunting task of assembling the shed. Actually, AJ set out with enthusiasm and Ben set out with trepidation, but I just sat out in the beginning, knowing that if laundry didn't get done, no one would set out with clothes on the next day.

Later, I assisted. Ben had assembled the base, and I helped raise the walls. I think that's where we stopped for Sunday - a shed with no roof.

While the assembly instructions were purportedly in English, we had a heck of a time deciphering what we were supposed to do. We had to undo a few steps to go back and do them a little better. There was an online video Ben found to help us. Tablet computers with Wi-Fi that reaches the backyard are extremely useful in these situations.

Complicating this was the fact that we live on the side of a mountain, and the "level" ground it seeks does not exist here.

While we finished our day's work, AJ played with the cardboard box the shed pieces came in. She took various pieces of cardboard and made a "slide" and "swings" for a playground. Then it was a beach house. Then it was a playhouse at the beach. She was having a blast.

I let her wrap the gifts while I got ready, and she did ok with the responsibility. I may make her my new gift wrapper - she can't be worse than I am. Our friends Bernard and Terry were each celebrating birthdays, so we went to their party. We had a nice time - AJ played with Jackson and Isabel. They played "police" which we have surmised is like cops and robbers. She had a great time. I sat with the old folks and we mostly told stories about injuries - everyone was very sorry to hear about Drew.

We left the party and went back to the hospital, where some of Drew's friends were visiting. It was nice to see he looked better and things were going as well as they could be. Our cousins were in town from Dothan, so they got to see him (although we didn't). 

I rushed back so we could see the season premiere of Sherlock. Ben thinks it was not worth it, but I thought it was pretty good. I can handle a show that only has like 3 episodes a season. He had to pause it while I was reading with AJ. Among the selections that night was a book called Everyone is Special and Unique. AJ commented that we could have saved this for MLK day, which I thought was a pretty good observation.

On Monday, we had the day off. I could not help but remember the MLK day we had five years ago, when our home was burglarized while I took AJ to my parents' house and to the mall. It's hard to compare one sucky weekend to another, but I think this one was worse because someone ended up hurt.

After we went to breakfast, where AJ claims she tasted gravy for the first time (and didn't like it),  we went home to tackle the monster again. The shed was ridiculous, but complicating things was our neighbor's dog, Evie, who decided that we needed our help. We kept telling her to go home, but she was content to follow us from one side of the yard to the other, jumping up on us at first but later calming down. She frolicked in the woods, she laid down in the warm sunshine (temps were in the 60s! Ben was in a T-shirt!). Unfortunately, Evie jumps on AJ, so AJ decided she was just content to stay in the house and occupy herself (and keep Radar calm) while the long-haired Chihuahua had her own fun.

AJ played with her dolls, petted and brushed Radar, made a potholder on her Weaving Loom, and more. Of course, our living room still looks like a kids' play area, but she did great with us only occasionally sticking our heads in.

We started looking around for the awl and couldn't find it. My response was my usual - "This place is a mess. How could we find anything?" and I started organizing the tools we had left here and there. Still no awl. It had a blue handle - how could we be missing it? We were stressed, yes, and there were lots of places for things to hide in the detritus from the project, but as I was taking a deep breath I saw Evie with the handle of Ben's favorite screwdriver in her mouth! Thief! I got it from her, but then we were left wondering where the awl was. I texted her owner and he found it, so I came over to retrieve it. She had chewed up the wooden handle of this brand-new tool! I am just glad she didn't try the other end. Ouch! The owner has offered to buy us another.

We took a break for lunch and got our second wind. Ben (with a little help from me, on a ladder - which was now just about the last thing on earth I wanted to do) got the shed together. There was a tense moment when we couldn't get the doors to close properly, but with some shimming with dirt and cardboard, we have gotten it somewhat steady. We'll see if it can hold out the wind and the rain.

We went out to dinner to celebrate and run a quick errand, (who would have thought we would have run out of band-aids?) and then it was on to studying for Ben and bathing for AJ, which I think was something we hadn't done all weekend, except to rinse the chlorine from her hair at the gym. AJ read for her required 20 minutes, and I fell asleep while she was reading.

Photos of everything to come, one day.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hands Free

Anna June has a knack for pretending. Recently, she started taking her plastic iPhone in her purse everywhere. She will be so engrossed in her imaginary conversations she will tell us that she's on the phone. I have no idea who she's calling.

I don't talk on the phone very often. In fact, I try to get all my phone calls out of the way before I get home, so that I can devote more time and attention to AJ. Plus, talking on the phone with a kid is difficult - I inevitably have to stop to give her instructions, advice, corrections, or answers.

I've been reading a little of the blog called Hands Free Mama, and the writer speaks powerfully about being present in your own life, about putting down the phone and other distractions that are dangerous and hurting your relationships.

I guess I still have a lot of work to do if AJ is busy chatting away on her phone, not interacting with the real, live people at the table. She can only imitate what she sees.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Polar Vortex that Wasn't

This time last week, Anna June and I were just leaving the house for work and school. We had been told in advance that the Birmingham City Schools as well as UAB would be opening 2 hours late due to the threat of inclement weather and extreme cold. Our phones kept beeping and ringing with all sorts of weather alerts. On Sunday night, we checked and it was raining, so we thought it may turn to snow with the falling temperatures. Less than a half inch was predicted, but none actually fell. Not even enough to make a tiny snowball, as AJ had hoped.

We stayed home, extending our Christmas vacation by a couple of hours. We went on to work and school and proceeded as normal. Well, as close to normal as we could get. A person in another building rescheduled an appointment for later in the week, as their parking deck was iced over, making conditions dangerous for visitors. Half of AJ's class did not show up at all. It was kind of ridiculous, seeing as how there were only teeny spots of ice on the road here and there (and not even enough to worry about) and the temp was a balmy 19 degrees.

When we looked at pictures of the rest of the country, we felt bad for having it so easy.

But then, the schools decided they needed delayed openings on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. UAB, because it was only going to be very, very cold and not at all wet, decided to carry on as usual.

Here, I will pause for a moment to thank my parents. Because they work from home a lot, and because of an already scheduled off day, they were able to take AJ to school at 10 and I was able to be at work at 8. Thanks, Nana and Granddaddy! The first day I called to make sure they actually went. It was 8 degrees outside. I could see wanting to stay home. Sure enough, my dad did try to convince AJ to stay home with him and help him work, but she insisted she had to go to school. Fortunately, their house is between ours and the school - it isn't far at all.

Anyway, it was cold. I put a sweater on Radar. Once it got back above freezing, we took it off, but he's so proud of that thing I didn't have the heart.

We are very, very fortunate that we don't have far to go in the cold. Our heater works. The heaters in our cars work. The heaters at our school and offices work. (Actually, three Birmingham schools had to close on Tuesday because their heaters weren't working properly, but they were back in order by Wednesday.)

I have covered parking right next to the door of my building. AJ is dropped off at the front door of the school. Ben has to walk a couple of blocks to his parking deck, but we found his gloves and he had a heavy coat, so he's probably the toughest of us three.

Speaking of clothing, we have long johns, but we didn't even think to wear them. We have gloves and mittens, hats, and scarves. We have heavy coats. I actually bought AJ a new heavy coat as the arms on one of her three started to get a little short. That kid just keeps growing! AJ also has earmuffs. She was trying to figure out how to wear a hat and earmuffs at the same time, but we finally convinced her to pick one or the other.

We also just ordered our batch of "winter" uniforms, as AJ grew out of the ones from last year...long sleeve shirts and pants. It was so cold she didn't argue about not wearing a skirt or jumper - long pants it was.

So we were absolutely fine. AJ was actually better than fine, because she got 4 extra hours of grandparent time, eating breakfast, watching TV, reading books, etc.

The weather delay actually killed my momentum. I was excited to come back to work Monday, with it being a new year, so I could get started on all the things that I had missed. But coming in late, and the cold weather making me grumpy, made me just want to forget it all and not come back.

We're due for more cold temps this week, but nothing like we saw last week. Thank goodness!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Buzz

Anna June is having a busy weekend, as usual.

Saturday morning, swim lessons resumed. She was not as enthusiastic for this session, but a) she hasn't quite passed the last level of Starfish Swim School b) I don't want her to forget what she learned in 2013 before Day Camp starts in June and c) I really liked having to be at the gym once a week. But she spoke with reason and conviction about sleeping in, and not having to be anywhere on Saturdays. So we've only re-enrolled for a 5 week session. And we switched to an earlier time slot, to make more of the day available to us afterwards. We'll see how it goes. She did well. She has a new instructor, and she seemed to be having fun with the other little girl in her group. 

Here are some self-portraits she took after swimming.



Afterwards, we started on our big project of the day: shopping for a new storage shed. We had done a little research before, but we hadn't decided. So we went to Home Depot. After waiting for a while for the right salesperson, we got a quote on a lovely wood shed, painted to match our house. AJ was tired and hungry. She let us know it, too. We had lunch at the closest possible place (Honeybaked Ham) and discussed what to do next.

We had planned to visit the far side of Trussville. We go pretty often, but it is frustrating because although there is lots of shopping in our neighborhood, the national chains tend to land in the suburbs. It is terrible to live somewhere for the sake of convenience, when it doesn't turn out to be especially convenient.

AJ declared she just couldn't go to Trussville."Why?" I asked. "Are you on the run from the law?" 

In retrospect, I should have delivered her immediately to her grandparents. But she came along with us and reminded us that she wanted to go home about every five minutes.

Our first stop was a local chain called H and H. They sell things like sheds and swimming pools. Unfortunately, they don't believe in urban homes with small backyards, so their 8x8 sheds were too big for the footprint we need. There you have it: I tried to shop locally, but it didn't work out. They have some neat pool tables, though.

Next up was clothes shopping. This did not got our mission, but it did fit our location. AJ wanted to return a shirt to Marshall's. It was fine, but she thought it was too short. We ended up getting a different shirt (Jessica Simpson brand, no less -AJ has fancy taste) and some sweatpants (because she also loves comfort like her mama). Ben got a sweater with some remaining store credit he had, too. 

Then we went over to Kohl's to spend the Kohl's cash I had "earned". They are a tricky store! Before Christmas I went out there to return a sweater, which was great but had to be hand washed or dry cleaned. That reminds me of the Mitch Headberg joke: "This shirt is 'dry clean only,' which means...it's dirty." Anyway, I did a lot of Christmas shopping while I was there and earned $20 in Kohl's Cash to spend after Christmas. With the credit from the return and my birthday money, I shopped online to get myself a bunch of new clothes. It is easier to find my size and laundry requirements online. I caught some sales and an additional 15% off Promo code, which along with my Kohl's Cash kept bringing down my total so low that I had to keep adding items to my cart to qualify for free shipping! So I got myself a nightgown, a sweater, a pair of pants, a long sleeve t-shirt, a dress, and some workout pants (which they ended up not having and canceling, but with no penalty), and for AJ I got a pair of pants, a shirt, and a nightgown. The shirt has owls, polka dots, a bow, and purple and green in it - it's like our family designed it or something. It's a size 7 for length. AJ kept getting rid of her 6 and 6X clothes because we could see her belly when she raised her arms - a tall kid problem I was unaware of in my own experience, to be sure. 

So tricky old Kohl's gave me $20 MORE in Kohl's Cash, after I just got everything my heart desired. So Ben got to pick out another sweater. This one was on clearance for $20, so it was nice to hear the cashier say, "You owe nothing." Whew. 

Then we resumed our shed buying mission with a visit to Lowe's on the other side of Tussville. The employees there weren't as hard to find as the Home Depot set, but they weren't as friendly, either. We looked earnestly at the wood sheds, but Lowe's was more serious about selling plastic ones - Home Depot didn't even have any on display! We looked and thought. We talked and tested, with AJ running in and out of each one. But still we couldn't truly decide, until we finally picked a 7' x 7' Rubbermaid model that was on sale to purchase. The pros: fits our allowed size, was considerably cheaper, had a better (gabled) roof than out current model, does not need a ramp, will not rust or dent, will not need to be repaired or re-shingled. The cons: plastic can break, especially if the doors are left to flop open, we will have to put it together, we will have to clear a couple more feet of foliage, and we will have to level the ground. Ben noticed the box looked like it had been opened, and he asked the salesman, who read the note that it had a broken piece. The guy said, "yeah, you don't want that one." But he found it at another location, so we called from the car. 

It was a long call (through a McDonald's drive-through for Miss I'm Thirsty! and all the way home from Trussville), but we got it ordered and scheduled for delivery next weekend. 

We started cleaning out the existing (broken) shed and clearing brush. Ben also worked on cleaning the gutters. We were outside more than an hour, so we were glad the weather had warmed up considerably (temps were in the 60s). We were out without jackets. We tossed a bunch of ruined stuff. It felt good.

AJ was actually really helpful. First, she entertained Radar. Then, she shoveled leaves and mud out of the shed. Then, she went and got her gardening gloves and sacked up leaves. When she came in, she declared she was tired and had been working all day! She put on her nightgown and went off to play with her dolls. She earned that, I guess. 

Then, we went to Nana's to drop the nightgown-clad AJ off while we had our date night. Ben's work folks had given him a gift certificate to Ruth's Chris Steak House. We had never been, so we were pretty excited about the experience. A place where we needed "proper attire" and reservations! Ooh la la!

It was actually really nice, but there were some downsides. First, we were seated in the part of the restaurant that juts out into the atrium of the Embassy Suites hotel. It was pretty, but we could see some sort of soup and salad bar, and we kept wondering what the hotel guests were having. The guy who poured our water was nice, but a piece of ice went flying onto my menu and later, when a different guy poured a refill for me, I got a little splash back. Ben ordered a Coke, which they brought out in a little 8 oz bottle. He poured it over the glass of ice they brought and he couldn't get the whole thing in the glass at once there was so much ice! We split an entree, two sides, and a dessert. For the entree, we had the petite fillet and the lobster tail. Ben liked the lobster (how can one not like something dipped in butter?). I liked the fillet, but the first couple of bites were fatty and tough - not what I expected. We ordered sautéed mushrooms, which were very similar to how Ben makes them at home, and the potatoes au gratin were also good, but Ben said the kind from the box are just about the same. We picked the famous chocolate sin cake, which is made with chocolate and espresso. It was heavy on the espresso! Should have gotten the cheesecake. It was a really nice place, with a koi pond to enjoy and nice staff, who made sure to take their time between courses. It was a really nice gift and I am glad we went. We'd rate Fleming's a little higher for high-end chain steakhouses. The menu at Ruth's Chris was certainly big enough for anyone to get something really good, but it wasn't super interesting or adventurous. For example, they had sautéed baby spinach or creamed spinach. Fleming's had chipotle macaroni and cheese. Just a little more flair there.

We picked up AJ, who had been watching figure skating and working a puzzle after eating spaghetti and taking a bath. She did not want to leave. She fussed going to bed, which was my fault because the night before I let her sleep in my bed while Ben was on the sofa. Eventually, she quieted down, and is still asleep, although she may be on the floor since we heard a thud a little while ago.

Here's the dandelion that AJ found in our yard while we were cleaning up. If that could survive our single digit temps this week, I guess it was pretty hardy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Worth a Pancake

Anna June brought home a report card for her second nine weeks in Kindergarten. It was all A's again.

We let her pick where we'd go out to dinner to celebrate, and she picked IHOP. We tried to persuade her to another place, as our IHOP has had abysmal service since it opened over a decade ago. On our last visit, it was so bad that we swore we'd never return.

But a smiling kindergartner with a perfect report card had more power than our vow made in disgust.

She had the Create-a-Face Pancake, which comes with a tube of strawberry yogurt you can add to the berries, bananas and whipped cream already on the giant pancake. She ate every bite.

It wasn't THAT bad. Until we started to leave. A young lady asked if she could have Ben's receipt, so she could call the number and take the survey to get $4 off of her meal. We did it, making sure she didn't get the copy with the last four digits of our debit card number, but as we left, we silently promised again never to return.

Until AJ gets to pick again for another celebration.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Another Milestone

Anna June and Wesley's Granddaddy turned 60 years old yesterday. We had a dinner party, featuring lasagna, with pound cake and ice cream for dessert. There were no balloons, candles, or singing, but there was a lot of kid-watching, with dogs.

I took several pictures but this was the one with the birthday boy and his grandkids all smiling.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Return of Marigol

Anna June likes to pretend she's a dog named Marigol. Last night, Marigol came to visit, and she didn't leave until this morning. AJ even slept on the floor, because I surely wouldn't allow a dog to spend the night in AJ's bed. She had a snack of Froot Loops in a bowl on the floor. She told me she knew how to speak dog, and tried it out on Radar. With her Dora guitar, she invented a new style of rock music for canines, "Dog and Roll". 
 

I don't know exactly when the dog left, but when she did, AJ turned into a bird. She made a nest of blankets on the floor. She is in disguise under a blanket to keep herself away from the stuffed animals: the bear (whose food she steals while he's sleeping) and the cat, who obviously wants to eat her. Birds eat mice, bread and twigs. Also, she sings. 

Who knows what she'll think of next?



Homebound

This picture is from a couple of weeks ago, when Anna June and I found it warm enough to run around in short sleeves. This is from El Cazador, a Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood. Yes, something is on my lens or else my phone takes terrible photos. I will add that to my list of things to tackle in 2014. The longer I stay home, the longer my list grows.

Speaking of staying home, we are confined to the house for another day, per doctor's orders. Anna June tested positive for strep. 

This, of course, brings the Mom guilt up a notch. We did have a magical, lovely Christmas. But my throat started on fire December 22. Know why I remember? I had to sing a solo that day. It was possibly the worst of my life: I forgot the words, I was worn out from trying to cram months worth of practice for the rest of the program into one afternoon, and I got nervous. But mostly, my throat hurt. 

I ignored it and soldiered on to Christmas Eve Eve. If I hadn't been there, I suppose the world would have kept spinning, but honestly I had to help my mom that day. Seventy-nine people showed up for the party. I tried not to get too close or hug, but it's impossible to stop hugs from kinfolk who've traveled from out-of-state or those you haven't seen in a year. Sigh.

AJ, meanwhile, complained of various ailments. Her nose was runny, she was tired, her legs hurt, there may be a snake in her bed. 

Then Ben came down with a cold, too, and we all thought it was more of the same Christmas Crud we were all passing around.

Meanwhile, we pressed on. I treated days like school days: if no fever > 100 degrees, then keep a regular schedule. We roller skated. We went to McWane. We went to the park, out shopping, and to the movies. Our Christmas stay-cation was going great, except for feeling a little under the weather.

On the 8th day of my sore throat, which had gotten better and worse, I called my ENT, hoping for a strep test. I like my doctor and his easygoing partner, but they are married to each other and they were on vacation. So I called my general practitioner, and she is out on Mondays. But her partner, hearing my symptoms, called in an antibiotic.

Because I was feeling better, we did crafts! We played games! We watched movies! And AJ was having fun. Her snot was drying up. We were having a good time, although Ben asked me if maybe I should take AJ to the doctor, too.

I've had many times where I felt like we wasted a co-pay to sit there, exposing ourselves to other germs, only to be told, "It's just a virus. There's nothing we can do!" 

But on Thursday morning, the first thing AJ said to me after "good morning," was, "My throat hurts." So I called. Luckily, our agendas were clear.

Our regular doctor was out, but we were able to be worked in. AJ immediately panicked at the thought of having her throat swabbed. I panicked at the thought of the usually sweet lady in the lab who shot me a look that made me feel like the worst mom ever when I couldn't hold AJ's hands still. AJ declared her throat no longer hurt. I believed her, but we still went.

Our fears were realized. After a while, we were seen. We described the symptoms. The doctor examined AJ, and she said that her throat was only a little red, and she told us to go to the lab for the dreaded test. AJ fought hard. I could hold her hands down, but I couldn't open her mouth. Eventually, they got the sample and we made our way back to the waiting room.

When we got called back to see the doctor, I have no idea what I was hoping to hear. If strep, it's easy to treat (free amoxicillin at Publix, which actually cost me $99 in groceries). If not strep, better safe than sorry, and then on with our tentatively planned trip to Chuck E Cheese.

Strep it was. According to her chart, AJ was last diagnosed on November 22, one month to the day before I obviously started exhibiting symptoms. 

AJ cried all the way from the parking deck at St. Vincent's to Publix pharmacy. The doctor told us she should not be around other people until Saturday, which dashed all our hopes of fun outings. I wanted to cry, too. I felt like a neglectful parent who could have taken care of this problem a week earlier! But I just HAD to go to work, just HAD to keep my schedule. And in what part of my dirty house are the germs hiding? It would be impossible to tell.

I felt terrible. As I poured AJ her dose, I remembered how we seemed to run out of antibiotics a day or two early last time. I just assumed we had given her doses that were slightly too big. I wonder if by not checking on that we were asking for a relapse. I hope to not make that mistake again.

So we got milkshakes and watched Mickey Mouse movies curled up with Radar on the sofa. We made dinner and played "restaurant." Ben played Uno and Candyland with her. It turned out not to be such a bad day after all.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Anna June toasted the New Year with us at 9:00 PM, and eventually went to sleep around 10:00. She'd been battling growing pains all evening, and was tired from a long day at the McWane Center, so we declined an invitation to visit another family and kept our runny noses home, too.

Anna June in the "Build A Snow Fort" area of the Winter Wonderland Exhibit at
 the McWane Science Center, December 31, 2013


I bought a 2014 calendar and started filling out all the birthdays and big events coming up this year. 2014 is going to be fantastic. Here are just a few things we're looking forward to:

  • Wesley turns 1! This week! His birth was clearly the best thing to happen in all of 2013.
  • In February, Birmingham City Schools will have an e-learning day on Valentine's Day, so school will be closed. Interesting choice of days, guys. Kids will still find a way to bring all that candy to school. Combined with Presidents' Day, they'll have a 4-day weekend. Yikes.
  • In March, AJ will turn SIX YEARS OLD. 
  • Also in March, Spring Break! Week of March 24. 
  • In April, we'll celebrate Easter. They get out early on Good Friday.
  • In May, Do Dah Day.
  • In June, July and August, AJ will attend UAB Rec Center Day Camp and we'll take some vacation time. We hope to visit Wisconsin and Florida again.We maybe, just maybe, will finally make it to Disney World. I mentioned this possibility to AJ and she was, "speechless."
  • In June, we'll celebrate our 12th anniversary, hopefully with a trip out of state.
  • Also in June (if my math is correct), Nana and Granddaddy will celebrate their 40th (ruby) anniversary. 
  • In August, AJ will begin FIRST GRADE!
  • In September, we hope to participate in The Color Run at Barber Motorsports Park.
  • In October, November, and December, we'll do the respective holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. All these tend to blur together for me. 
  • Also in December, and also if my math is correct, Rusty will turn 30.
It is January 1. I'm supposed to be exercising. Happy New Year!