Monday, June 25, 2012

June's Words

June does a lot of talking these days. Even if most of it is still babbling, making nonsensical noises that are obviously questions or exclamations.

She has put two words together twice now. The first time was “Bye Mama” and the second time was “More cracker!” She wasn’t actually eating crackers at the time and just really loves crackers, so it was probably more like, “More! Cracker!” But still. I’m counting it.

She loves B words. Bird, ball, book, baby. And M. Mama, milk, more. She’s also started saying “No,” which sounds more like “neh,” but we know she means “no” because she says it while vehemently shaking her head and often swinging her fists at what we’re presenting to her. As in, “Do you want more chicken?” “Neh!” “Do you want a cracker?” “Cracker!”

And that's just what she says...I'm even more amazed by what she understands. She understands a lot more than she can say. We have this matching game that has a mama animal and a baby animal on separate puzzle pieces that fit together. The other day I said, “Go get the cow. Can you bring me the cow?” She walked over to where all the pieces were, picked one up, said “Mmmmm” (her expression for “moo,” not that she wanted some beef) and brought it over to me. It was the cow piece. So I said, “Can you bring me the sheep?” She did the same thing, except this time she said “Baa!” and brought both the mama sheep and the baby sheep. She did the same thing with the ducks and the kitties before losing interest in the game. I started tearing up and looked up the number for MENSA before realizing I should probably first alert Michael.

Kids really are like little sponges.

I hope you all don't mind me gushing and bragging about my little girl. Sometimes I think of this blog as my baby book, a way I'll look back and remember these little stories and accomplishments.

Anyway, I love her so much and am proud of her every day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Children's Museum of Phoenix

As I'm sure many moms can relate, when I am alone with June for a long stretch of time, my main objective is to fill the time with activities activities activities. She has so much energy, is so active, that just sitting around the house leaves both of us pretty wound up. She can only do her farm animals puzzle so many times before I start eyeing the diaper bag and she grabs the keys and looks at me with an expression that clearly communicates, "Let's blow this joint."

The problem with Phoenix's summer is that it is unlike the summer of almost every other American city.  Our summer is the one time of year you cannot be outside. I can't really take her on walks, go to the park or go on bike rides unless it's first thing in the morning. 

So far I've been experimenting with different outing ideas that keep us both cool but burn off some energy. This has involved walking around malls, going to splash pads, the library and most recently, the Children's Museum of Phoenix.

June and I bounced off the walls, climbed huge structures...

 ...hung out in the baby area...
 ...drove a pickle...
 ...walked through the noodle forest...

 and generally explored.
(My apologies for the blurry pictures. Camera phones and toddling children do not a sharp photo make.) 

It was so fun  - and such a great success at blowing June's mind in awesomeness - that we're going to try to go back this weekend - this time with friends!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Avery Wedding

Finally I get around to posting about the Avery wedding we attended in Los Angeles! 

The venue was a really cool little spot. It was all vintage charm and exposed brick and random genuine old time paintings. 

The ceremony was lovely, of course, with my childhood friend, Luke marrying the beautiful Crystal.

Each of the Avery kids managed to get into this picture.

One of the most popular ladies of the evening was Olive, age 3 months. My first order of business upon arrival was to steal her out of the arms of her Aunt Keely. Olive is a doll. At one point I looked over and saw that she was surrounded by all the dapper gentlemen partygoers. My kind of gal!

One of my favorite moments of the night was when the other Avery kids joined forces in a song for Luke and Crystal's first dance. John played, Keely sang and Adam...lit the music with his cell phone. Yes, that's baby Olive strapped to his chest. She was too excited by all of the celebrations to go to sleep, so into the Ergo she went.

Luke and Crystal surprised us all by ending the night with a tap routine. It was adorable and also confusing, as I had never before thought of Luke as a Fred Astaire type, but will need to reevaluate that theory.

And I leave you with my favorite photo of the evening, possibly the best photo of the planet, the full roster of Martin and Avery men. Love each and every one of these guys!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Day Reunion

I married a sneaky one. 

He surreptitiously planned his week-long trip to return on Father's Day because he knew that June and I would fawn all over him and race each other to the door (as if June stood a chance!) and smother him with kisses. I'M ON TO YOU, MICHAEL.

To pass the time before his plane got in, June and I went to the mall to play in the fountains. The side effect of having a baby who gets up at 6 every day is that I forget that not everyone else does. We were the first ones there which meant June was Queen of the splash pad. 
 Some other families showed up eventually and one in particular was so sweet to share their beach ball with her. Add 'dollar store beach ball' to the list of things to get for our trip to Delaware coming up!
I'm glad we got out of the house in the morning because by the time Michael got home, all we wanted to do was hang out and snuggle and climb on the furniture and roll around. And June did some of that too. 

Happy Father's Day, Michael! You are most certainly sneaky but also adored.

The Protective Father

When I was thirteen or so I had an enormous crush on one of my brother's soccer teammates. His name was Patrick and he was a dreamboat. I would wear my coolest purple t-shirt with a glitter Tazmanian Devil on it and cheer for the boys as they came off the field. Inside, I was only cheering for him. Everyone knew about my crush. Even Patrick knew about my crush. I do not look back on this time without embarrassment.

When JP's team went on a trip to Portland for a tournament, I went with the family and stayed in a hotel room with my parents. Most of the boys shared rooms with each other and it was the subject of my constant obsession to wonder what they talked about all the time. On one car ride to a team dinner, I was invited to ride in JP's car with the boys (!) and even sat next to Patrick (!!) and our legs touched (!!!) but mine was shaking and we sang "Ghetto Cowboy" and I knew all the words and about fainted in pride.

One of the nights of that trip, I sleep walked. Let me tell you what I remember:

I was asleep. Then I heard a loud click sound that woke me up, but I was not in bed. I was in a strange and brightly lit hallway with tons of doors. I panicked for a second before remembering where I was. How long had I been walking? Which was my parents' room? What was the number on the door nearest me? I couldn't remember our hotel room number but I knocked anyway.

My dad answered the door. I don't remember the immediate reaction but I remember the lasting one: he was PISSED. He wanted to know exactly what I was doing out there. He wasn't falling for the old "sleep walking" bit and he wanted answers. It came out that he thought I had been visiting one of the boys' rooms, likely Patrick's. I did my best to convince him that I truly was just sleep walking, and that I was still a little unsettled from being woken in such a startling way.

I don't know if I've ever seen him in such a state. He was pacing. He was muttering. Cursing. How was he to find the truth!? Looking back, it's as if he was wondering if he had to go fight a teenage boy over my virtue!

Now, of course, this is a story of legend around the dinner table. One of the regulars that gets brought up every now and then. Dad still jokingly (or not-so-jokingly) states that he STILL thinks I was sneaking around to a boy's room. I still maintain that if I had been sneaking out to a boy's room, it would NOT have been without a bra, in an XXL tye-dye tee shirt with a sloppy bun and my retainer still in.

But I have to say this: I can't help but wonder what life would be like if all dads felt this way, would react this way. If every girl knew that her dad cared so much for her safety and character, that her dad would be SO ANGRY if she stepped out of line, but that even if she had, he'd be fair but also terrifying. If more dads were like that, I wonder how it would change the generations of girls being raised these days. For the better, is what I'm thinking.

I know there are dads like this still out there. I'm just glad I got one of them.

Happy Father's Day to a Dad who is just the right amount of protective.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Grammy Time

While Michael and I were at work and later in California for a wedding, we received some pictures and videos from Judy to let us know what she was up to.

It was helpful, because I was trying so hard to be all, "I miss my baayybeeee" but the competing thoughts were all, "Wedding cake Earth Wind & Fire photobooth wine dance cake." This really helped me manage the balance.

It was nice to know that while we were off having fun, June was having a good time too. Here is some of the proof:

And lastly, a little video Judy sent us. She had bought a little pool to keep on our back patio for June to play in. June loves playing in the water...though she's a little hesitant about the big googly eyes on the pool. (It's a big puffer fish, if you're wondering, which of course you are.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June Baby and Juno Baby

When June was first born, my dear friend Keely sent us a package that included various baby items, but among them were a stuffed doll and an educational DVD to go with her. It's all part of the Juno Baby company. 

Juno Baby (known affectionately as just "Baby" round these parts) is one of June's favorites and whenever we put the DVD in, June makes sure to grab Juno Baby to watch with her. 

We're THOSE annoying parents who don't have the TV on while June's awake. But when we were trying to get June to sit still for an albuterol (breathing) treatment, Michael had the stroke of genius to put the DVD in. She was entranced. The discovery has been a lifesaver for fingernail clipping. Anyway, June just adores Juno Baby. They have original classical music and the songs are really great. (Michael and I find ourselves singing every once in awhile, "In the ooocean! In the ooooooocean!")

So this evening, with Michael out of town, we had an evening Skype session with him. Afterwards June got a little sad that Dada was gone, so I pulled up the first Juno Baby video I could find on YouTube (this one) and June immediately searched for Juno Baby and started dancing. 

She obviously gets those sassy hips from her mom. I love how she almost falls over while looking back at me. But she's all, "BE COOL MOM" and totally plays it off with more dancing. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nursing Update

Is it me or have there been quite a few controversial articles about breastfeeding lately? Maybe I’m a little sensitive because I read the comment sections, get incensed and then click through all the suggested articles that are linked. The TIME magazine cover sticks out the most, but there was also the one about women in their military uniforms photographed nursing. It has inspired me to write long-winded responses and opinions and then never gather the courage to publish to the blog. That’s true for a lot of things lately.

Instead of posting those, allow me to give an update on our nursing status.

June is 14 months old and still nurses. I know that this is considered too long by some…reading the words of internet commenters has caused me to find out many disappointing things about the human race, including that some people think moms get sexual gratification from nursing and that nursing past 6 months is actually detrimental to children. (*Shudders*) Mens' comments are just ridiculous because they obviously have no say in the whole thing, but womens' comments really get me down. Mom-on-mom hate is a real thing. How can we live in a world where "Breast is Best**" is a well-known saying, but with an implication or understanding that, "**Not in public, only under a cover or in a bathroom stall, and not if they are over a year old"?

June nurses before bedtime and sometimes first thing in the morning. This past week she has skipped the morning feeding because her Grammy is here to distract her while I get ready. We're not completely past it though...the other day I tried skipping the morning session. She drank from a cup a bit until she saw the bed, which is where the morning meal occurs. She pointed to the bed and made her funny question sound, “Mmehh?” I showed her the sippy cup, “Look, here’s some milk.” She pointed to the bed again, then looked back at me with the saddest, confused face in the world. My shattered, quivering heart and I didn’t have it in me to say no.

So, that’ll happen eventually, I'm just not in a hurry to end the whole thing. My PROs and CONs list looks a little like the following:

Extended Breastfeeding PROs:
  • Health benefits, as pointed out by the WHO, APA, etc.
  • Cuddle time with my girl who is increasingly squirmy at all other times
  • It's part of our routine, meaning that she knows that boobtime = bedtime. When that is over, I hope we won't see the disruption to the routine disrupt her general bedtime.
  • It makes me feel like we share a special bond
Extended Breastfeeding CONs:
  • Some strangers think it's icky

My goal was to make it to a year and I was thrilled to make it that long after our rough start. It's a positive in our household. So in conclusion, no, I don’t plan on nursing June until she’s 4. We're doing a gradual wean that looks more like cutting out a feeding when she and I both want to rather than wearing a shirt that says, "Closed for Business." 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Parent Day Out

When you are a Martin and you are invited to an Avery wedding, in the words of Tim Gunn, you "make it work." We knew we had to be there and the only thing left to do was to figure out the logistics. We decided to try going without the Miss Junebug and it worked out perfectly by having her Grammy come stay with us for a week. Judy was able to hang out with us for a few days and then have some one-on-one time with June all day on Saturday. 

We were really only gone for about 24 hours. We left pretty early Saturday morning for the short flight to LA, but first we had to say goodbye to this one:
Boarding a plane from the tarmac always makes me feel like a celebrity. A celebrity who flies Southwest Airlines as a social experiment in finding out what coach class is really like.

In LA, we met up with my family who was already in town. To spend the afternoon we went to the Americana shopping center in Glendale and had a great time. 

 We ate on a lovely patio, walked around the shops, shared some cupcakes and some wine. And we walked around the little market, complete with chandelier.
Michael and I have been on dates. We've each spent nights away from home (and June) individually for business or pleasure, but this was the first extended time away for us together. With Judy sending us regular pictures and videos of what she was up to, we were really able to relax and enjoy 24 hours of adult carefreeness. It came and went too quickly, but it was so so enjoyable. Wedding post coming soon!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cookie Monster

Well, technically it's a teething biscuit but I call them 'cookies.' 

I had my phone camera on so she could see herself on the screen, and she was acting so cute that I started recording. 
At least she wanted to share right?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Suit Yourself

Michael and I are headed to the wedding of a family friend this upcoming Saturday. I've been telling Michael for a while that I think he should get one of those light colored suits to wear in the summer on account of their being awesome. 

We spent over an hour at Macy's, which meant me wrangling our little wildling for that long. The good news is that she has no desire for utter destruction (overturning displays, grabbing shoes and throwing them to the floor, etc.), she just really likes to wander and occasionally pick things up off the floor. "Oh, what's that you found? An 'on hold' sign?"

So mostly I was chasing her around and letting her navigate the racks of suits. 

At times like these I sometimes wonder if this is considered "letting my kid run amok," "not controlling my child," etc. At the end of the day, I guess I don't care if other people think I let her do what she wants - I feel like her exploring helps her learn and experience. She's never out of sight and if she ever pulls something out (like every single bouncy ball in the Sports Authority rack), I have her help me put them all back before we leave.

But I digress. The shopping trip was a success - Michael got two new suits, including a light tan one and a medium gray one. The only question now is what shirt and tie to wear with it.