Friday, July 11, 2014

The Baptism

So Anna got baptized last Saturday. It was a lovely and special day. I am so glad I asked my friend Angie to photograph Anna in her baptism dress a few weeks before to mark the occasion. And I'm now pretty obsessed with these pictures. I can't take my eyes off them. She's just so darn gorgeous! And old. So very old. I think these pictures capture many facets of Anna's personality: sweetness, wise beyond her years, fun and happy, fiery and intense, and a general delight.

Here's a pic from the actual day, so we know it really happened. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A trip of dreams

In January, Anna and I flew south for a magical week in Florida with her aunt Natalie. We stayed in an amazing hotel, hit up Disney World, Universal Studios, the swimming pool (in JANUARY), Epcot Center, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. We had SO much fun, and the trip was pretty much perfect. In a phrase, a trip of dreams. I also took approximately one million pictures, so get ready for a barrage. I picked out only the best for you.

First stop, Disney World. 

After a hesitant beginning, Anna warmed up to the big-kid rides. But surprisingly, one of her most favorite things the whole day was a pirate treasure hunt in Adventureland. It wasn't even a ride, just running around finding clues and pirate's booty. 

We had to do It's a Small World because it's a classic. This photo's cute and all . . .

. . .  but my favorite one was with me and my backseat friend while everyone else is looking away. Hey buddy! (He apparently wasn't so amused this time.)

Catching a show at the castle.

This is the one where I realized Anna and I have the same exact nose.

After a long day of rides, raspberry lemonade spilled all over my legs, lots of walking and running and booty finding and general merriment, we were tired and felt the need to take this picture after probably our fifth time on Space Mountain. 

The next day was Universal Studios. Other parts of the park were fun, but I had only one destination in mind that day: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Anna perfectly captured the excitement I was also feeling the minute we stepped foot into Hogsmeade.


Anna chose an official wand, which turned out to be in the style of Ginny Weasley's, and she couldn't have been happier. The train conductor saw us as we passed by and, noting Anna's hair color, said she must be a Weasley. We both beamed. I was about as proud as Molly Weasley herself.

The whole place was SO fun to see, the rides were amazing (and vomit inducing if you ride them several times in a row and have a stomach full of butter beer), and the shops were a delight to visit, but I loved catching the little things, like the U-NO-POO candies and chocolate frogs at Honeydukes . . .

moving chess pieces!

the pensieve!

and of course the fat lady. 

I won't spoil anymore in case you take a trip there yourselves. It was truly magical.

I was like a giddy little girl, eating lunch at the Three Broomsticks.

Like I said, the rest of Universal Studios was fine and even fun, but we ended our night back with Harry again because we loved it so much. In between, we watched a Sinbad show, rode the Jurassic Park boat ride three times (at Anna's request)  . . .

. . . and achieved true drowned-rat status

. . . and Anna lost a tooth over pizza.

The next day was our "day off" because we were EXHAUSTED.

We hung out around the hotel because there were plenty of fun things to do there. It had its own lake and beach, and we were the only ones on it.

I don't think anyone was supposed to play in the water (mostly because it had a mysterious greenish tint probably due to the seagulls who called it bathroom), but it was hard to keep Anna out of it. We did a lot of sanitizing that afternoon.

We swam, we ate hot fudge sundaes, and we collapsed into bed again after a full but fun day.

The next day started at the Wild Animal Kingdom. We saw lots of fascinating animals and went on many more rides. 

This is Anna touching the top of Mount Everest. With a serious look and bright peacock feather face paint. It's just perfect.

Our favorite part was definitely the African safari. We saw SO many cool animals right up close. I could hardly believe it.

We ended the day at Epcot Center because I felt like we just should. Everyone needs to see the giant golf ball. And we saw some cool things. I wish we would have seen more of them in the daytime, but it was still worth it. Walking around to all the different countries was delightful. As soon as we crossed the border into the next one, Anna would try to say hello in that country's language, and she did pretty well.

But after the sun went down, it got COLD. Like really cold. Especially when you thought it was going to be warm in Florida and only brought a sweater and a jacket. We kept walking a lot, hoping that would keep us warm, but it wasn't enough. We ate a cold dinner in an outdoor cafe in Germany, and the cold seemed to settle into our bones. We were trying to hold out for the amazing fireworks show we had heard so much about, but after the hot chocolate we purchased in Norway didn't help a bit, we threw in the towel and went speedily back to our hotel.

It was still gorgeous out, however, and I had to snap this characteristic pic in an effort to capture Florida.

Our plane left the next afternoon, so we had time that morning to mess around a little more. We played some arcade games, took some quality arcade photos . . .

. . . and rented bikes to ride around the boardwalk. It was so warm and beautiful, and we just had to soak it all in before we flew back to the land of ice and snow.

Like I said, the entire trip was magical. Epic, in fact. And I really, really, really want to go back after they add more to the Harry Potter world this summer: Diagon Alley! Gringotts! Fire-breathing dragons!!!!!!! I want to go to there.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Annacdotes 30

fancy pants pic (I was actually wearing sweats,
but you'd never know it)
1. "I think I'm addicted to the word literally."

And she is. It comes out of her mouth all too frequently, but I'm happy to say that it is mostly used correctly, and her statements literally are things she would literally do and not literally metaphors.

2. In a prayer: "Please help us to learn interesting things from books. And please help us to have great adventures and seek after amazing things in our lives."

3. After a lot of cajoling to get her to bed one night, I finally had Anna on top of her bed and just needed her to roll over so I could pull the blankets out and put them on top of her. But she would not budge. For anything. Her arms and legs were pinned to her sides, and she was completely immovable. After a minute and maybe a tickle or two, she finally broke and said, "Aw, darn. I wanted to make you think time froze!"

4. A beginning of a deep thought: "Say you walk into China . . . "

At Arches last fall

5. Frequently, something pops out of Anna's mouth that causes me to pause a moment and reflect on how it's probably highly unlikely that you'd hear the average kid say it, so I've been keeping a mental list. Here are a few of them:
  • [whilst jumping up and down] "Can I practice the piano yet?"
  • After I ordered some J Dawgs hot dogs, she said hopefully, "Does mine have banana peppers and sauerkraut on it?
  • Anna was with a babysitter for a few hours one day, and when I finally came to pick her up, she ran up to me and said, "Mom! I was so desperate to see you!" I thought most kids might just say they missed you or hug you or break down if it was really so bad, but she articulated that feeling so well.
  • While I was measuring some vinegar for a salad dressing I was making, Anna asked if she could have some to drink. She seriously loves vinegar. Who loves straight vinegar???

6. In a prayer: "Thank you for things that intrigue our minds. For example, magic in books."

7. I overheard a little moment that delighted me when Anna was playing pretend with her friend. Her friend asked if Anna was "ready" (for what, I wasn't quite sure), and Anna said, in a shocked and extremely dramatic voice, "I'm a photographer. Not a model. Not a fashionist."

I love that the fanciness in this picture is offset by no shoes.

8. Last summer, Anna and I were out working on riding her bike one evening, mostly trying to overcome her fears because she was actually physically capable of doing it, and we had a lot of pep talks and straight talks and talks bordering on casual threats. Out of desperation and because I knew she was so very close, I told her that she couldn't watch her favorite show until she rode on her own for 10 seconds. She FINALLY rode her bike on her own that night, and we were both super excited. I told her how brave she was and how proud I was that she kept trying, even though she was afraid, and she actually did it. She accomplished her goal. She hugged me and said sweetly, "Thank YOU for teaching me and for threatening me. Because I really was motivated!" The hug and sweet voice combined with those words just about killed me. Now, who says threats aren't good parenting?

9. We were talking about silent films one day, and I told Anna that when the first films were being made, people didn't have the ability to record sound with the pictures. She said, "Are you sure they weren't just being lazy?"

10. Anna was tossing some dirty clothes into her laundry basket and saying synonyms for "throw" with each item: "hurl," "toss," "throw," "chuck," etc. I said, "Nice, I like the synonyms." She turned to me, lowered her eyes, and said condescendingly, "I was being redundant." Oh. Excuse me.

It's a good thing she's so cute.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More Old Lady Names

Like I said, I've been away from the blog for a while, but that only means that my collection of old lady names has multiplied exponentially while I was on sabbatical. Seriously. I did the math. (No I didn't.) But I do have a bajillion. I wasn't sure how to choose what to share first, but I started noticing some patterns that I think are interesting. I'll start with two today.

First off, we have what I will call the ENDING IN "A" category. I feel like people back then could choose any number of letters—sometimes at random—and, as long as the combination ended in "a," it was deemed a worthy name for their daughter. (Similar to the "lee" suffix of our time, and the many "Braylee," "Brinley," "McKaylee" creations, perhaps?)

Elda (I've seen several of these, so this name was not uncommon. But it makes me wonder why "Eld" was something you'd want to feminize with an "a.")
Idona (I feel like this one is begging Bart Simpson to use it for a fake name when he calls Moe's Tavern. What would a good last name be?)
Wilda (One word: Wildebeest.)
Arcola (Maybe not the best idea to put a popular soft drink in your child's name?)
Cloma (This is heading dangerously into "sounds like a body part or a disease" territory.)
Varda (I tried to see this one from all sides, but I still say don't name your child anything that rhymes with "lard.")
Ora, Arva, Wilma, Ola, Eda (All of these beauties appeared the same day in the obits. It was a goooooooood day.)

Another collection of names falls into the VISIBLE ROOTS category. These are names that are indeed odd, but I feel like I can see how people possibly arrived at them. Possibly maybe.

Ronella (Maybe it's one of those Dad's name + Mom's name situations? Ron + Ella? Or maybe it's just a feminized version of Ron, which is a terrible idea.)
Royalene (Could be Ronella's cousin, the child of Roy and Alene, or the feminized version of Royal, which, again, didn't turn out very well)
Rinda (A horrible variation of Linda?)
Arvilla (Another feminized version? Of Arville? Why?)

So let's hear it. Which name offends your senses the least, and which makes you recoil and feel like you came down with a terrible case of cloma?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Radio silence

Boy, what has the world come to? I haven't posted anything since late November, and I don't really know why. I didn't intend to let the blog go, truly. But that's a heckuva long time, even for a minimal poster like me. So what have I been doing this whole time? Working, playing, reading Harry Potter to Anna, trying new recipes, having dance parties, thinking about books I'm going to write, going on vacation, and probably too much Netflix, frankly.

But I've still been amassing dozens of Annacdotes and old lady names, so get ready for lots of new additions to those collections. Here's a teaser: Birdice. Like Bernice, but with a cold?

Stay tuned for more real posts in the near future. Or just future. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Annacdotes 29

in an outfit I termed "floral camo"
1. Because Anna has a summer birthday, she got to celebrate it early at school. (Yes, this is an old Annacdote.) Each kid in her class drew her a picture, and then her teacher made a little booklet out of them. When we were looking through it later that day, I saw one picture that included a boy's name and his phone number. I was a little surprised at this and asked her why he included his number. She said, "Remember? That's the boy that has a crush on me!" We giggled about it for a minute, and then I said, "What do you think he would do if you called him?" Shocked and a little embarrassed, she said, "I don't even know! He might ask me to go out!" I asked Anna what she would say to that, and she said, "I would probably say, 'Don't you know we're only kids?'"

2. In a prayer: "Thank you for giving children the opportunity to learn fascinating facts and interesting things about the world and sometimes adults but mostly children. Thank you for that."

3. My mother was talking about our family one day and she said that, except for a few aches and pains, we have all been blessed with really good health. We talked about this for a few minutes, and then Anna chimed in loudly with, "Yeah, and just be glad we're not on the Mayflower with all the disease and stuff." She offers such a fresh perspective.

4. One morning, Anna tried several ways of negotiating her way out of making her bed. First she said she was planning on taking a nap later, so she'd just like to be able to get back in her bed. (She wouldn't take a nap in a million years, by the way.) I said she still needed to make her bed and if she did, in fact, take a nap, she could lay on top of her bed with a blanket. Then she said that would mess up her bed during the nap, but I stood my ground. After a few more failed attempts, she said, "Fine! You win this round, [then cryptically] but I'll be back."

5. In a prayer: "Thank you for the past, thank you for the future, and thank you for this exact second." She likes to cover her bases.

a picture Anna submitted to an art contest, to give you a little context for her artist statement below


6. Saying goodnight one evening, I hugged Anna and told her I loved her and would forever. She circled my face with her hand several times and said dramatically with cool echo effects, "I will love you after after after time ends."

7. These next three happened all in the same day, so they go together:
First, Anna paused partway through eating her dessert and started reading the Sunday comics that were sitting next to her. After a minute, I noticed the pause and asked if she was full. She said, "Sort of. I just gotta, you know, let it ... 'reader's.....digest.'"
Then later, I let her have some salt water taffy just before she was supposed to get ready for bed. I told her I'd let her eat one if it made her quick, as if it were a pill for speediness. Happily unwrapping the taffy, she said, "Actually, it might make me tarry." I stared at her, frozen in awe for a moment, and she said, "Wait, does 'tarry' mean get distracted and wander around?" Yes, yes it does. And totally Sunday appropriate, I thought.

Lastly, she had been playing with this strip of fabric all evening, wearing it like a shawl, and as we knelt down to pray, she wrapped it around me and tied me tightly to her. Totally deadpan, she said, "This is to make sure no one gets squirmy. Especially YOU."

8. Practicing the piano one day, Anna made a mistake. Overdramatically ashamed, she covered her eyes and said, "Shame on me! I'm not opening my eyes to see the beautiful world ever again. Unless it's a dump."

9. When Anna gets asked what she learned at school that day, her response is often "nothing," which doesn't really make for an awesome conversation. So one day, the question was changed to, "What would you like to be learning?" She came up with three responses: "Magic, although that's not possible, levitation, and my part for the primary program."

10. As I was doing my best to mimic the opera singer we happened to be listening to (and my version was not half bad, by the way), Anna groaned and said, "I wish I didn't have a mother who sang opera." I laughed and said, "That's the best kind of mother there is! A fun one!" Then she said in a sincere lament, "Man, I just wish I had a normal life!"

She lost one of her front teeth at the beginning of November . . . 

. . . and then the second one came out three weeks later. In true Anna fashion, she works very hard on her enunciation now so that she doesn't have a lisp, which is too, too bad. I think she'd be adorable with a lisp, but it would go against this old-soul image she's developed.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween Fun

Happy Halloween a couple days ago. We had a fantastic and very full October, and I realize it was mostly due to many things surrounding Halloween. It's such a purely fun holiday, and I love it for that reason. Candy, costumes, carving, decorating—all for pretty much no meaningful reason. Brilliant.

First off, Anna attended a musical theatre workshop for the last couple months, and it ended with a halloween show. Along with her group, she sang and danced to "This Is Halloween," and she sang parts of "Monster Mash." (Sidenote: This song always makes me laugh because it relates to an inside joke I have with my sister. Many years ago, we joked about making threatening calls to a particular young women's basketball referee we didn't see eye to eye with, and one of us suggested we play scary music in the background. And then the other said, "What kind of scary music? Who has scary music? Like the 'Monster Mash'?" And we imagined a few scenarios where we called up this woman and had a silly, shaky voiced "it's a GRAVEyard smash!" playing in the background. We just thought that was so ridiculous and hilarious.)

Another highlight of the show was figuring out what Anna could wear to get the best use out of the black light they had shining on the performers. Her shoes that were splattered with neon paint glowed like they were radioactive, and they were a must every night of the show. (Thanks, Jen.) Anyway, it was good times all around and got us into the Halloween spirit.

We also made some stellar Apple Uglies this year. Mine was kind of a rainbow alien. 

After I finished, I thought back to the apples I have made in recent years, and, more often than not, I make Apple Cuties. I've made some uglies in the past, but these days, I seem to be too focused on color and design and symmetry. And those principles usually produce cute. But even though I am not following the guidelines to the letter, I'm fine with it. I've made some great ones, and my apple this year was still awesome.

Here is Anna's apple. She added some sculptures to the right and behind the apple that really added some pizzazz this year—the apple's pet ghost and the ghost's cyclops friend with crutches and the cyclops' baby. Sculptures aside, I'm mostly frightened of the apple's nose.

Here's a pic with Anna's face, just because she's so cute.

And let's not forget the traditional carving of the jack-o-lantern. Anna decided she wanted to carve a vampire this year, and then when we added a snake nose, it became even creepier. And so it was named Snakette.

Here's another fun thing we did on Halloween night. Toilet paper rolls + scary cut-out eyes + glow sticks + outside in the yard = creepy hidden creatures staring at you in the dark.

And now for the costume. Anna wanted to be a butterfly this year, and she really, really wanted her face painted. We bought some wings but added the jewels because the wings needed some oomph. I think the jewels did a good job. The face paint showed my amateur skills, but at least it was there.

What wasn't there was the set of glow-in-the-dark hair extensions we bought for her costume but totally forgot to bring out that night. We also forgot some ribbon bracelets. Sad. I guess we were just too excited to get out there and secure some candy.

I also wore a neon pink wig.

Hope you had a lovely October as well.