Tuesday, September 25, 2012


A few weeks ago (months? Does time have any rules AT ALL once you have children??) June started booping us.

I think she picked it up from Michael, who sometimes boops her on the nose and says, “boop!” and sometimes I boop her on the belly button and say, “boop!” Well, in traditional June fashion, she has seen our nose-and-belly-button booping and raised us far stranger body locations to boop.

Sure, she will poke us on the nose and say, “boop,” sometimes during but sometimes a few seconds too late. She booped Michael on his nipple one time and he laughed so hard that she tried to do it to me. She got mad until I let her pull my shirt up and boop me on the nip. My fellow shoppers at Target didn’t find it as amusing as I did.


(They totally found it amusing.)

She boops me on The Belly Mole. Sometimes she boops excitedly, sometimes her boops are more low-key.

The other night I was putting June to sleep in our normal style. I was holding her while I sang a song and rocking back and forth. She had rested her head on my shoulder, had nuzzled into my neck, had her little koala arms wrapped around my shoulders, gripping the sleeves of my shirt. Suddenly she picked her head up. She pulled her hand to her mouth and removed the Binks. With her other hand, she poked me in The Neck Mole and said very sleepily, “boop.”

Then she put her Binks back in her mouth, set her head back on my shoulder and let me finish my song, voice shaking from suppressed laughter.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Babies in Sepia (and other adventures in mall photography)

As a parent, you aren't proud of every single thing you do, and I think that's normal. For example, I'm not proud that I got totally conned into paying for a photo shoot at the mall where they dress your baby up in old-fashioned clothes.

But since the event was a couple weeks ago, I've picked my chin up and I won't be held back from shame. Yes, I am now in possession of sepia-toned images of June looking like a flapper doll.

Sometimes I go to the mall to wander with June even before the mall itself opens. In this case, the mall was opening and the kiosk workers were on the prowl. Now, I've been meaning to take some more professional pictures of June. So after I said "no" to the photographers twice, but kept staring at the examples they have on display, they knew they had me. Two minutes later, I'm dressing my toddler up in a pale pink frock and fake pearls in a not-exactly-closed-in dressing room in the middle of the mall hallway.

June was - to be concise - not thrilled.

She did not want to sit in the vintage suitcase. She did not want to hold the fake flowers. She did not want to play with the old-timer telephone or some kind of contraption that I can only assume makes daguerrotypes. The only thing that made her stop looking like she was being tortured was a fake apple, of all things. With the reassuring, "Uh, I think we got...one" from the photographer, June was back into her normal clothes and we were on our way. 

I came back a week later to pick up the results. See, included in the $20 fee was a 11"x14" print. 

I approached the booth and asked the first guy I saw. He immediately passed me off to The Closer. What I hadn't even considered - because I am surely that naive - was that they would try to up-sell me a package of pictures. 

This guy was such a slime! 

"This package, eh, normally $180. All the pictures $180. For you, I do $150. One fifty. For you!"

I think not preparing for the onslaught was actually a positive. I didn't care the slightest about being polite...I just wanted to pick up my 11x14 and go. He was laying out several different pictures in several different sizes.

"I don't like any of the 11x14's you have printed. Can I get that one in an 11x14? It's the only one where she's sort of smiling."

"No, the printer only make these. But you can have all these...and these...I give you for, eh, $100."

"I don't want those, she looks upset in them."

"How 'bout this one! She so beautiful!"

"You're pointing to the one where she looks the most terrified."

"She so beautiful!"

I was just killing time deciding between the three 11x14's, a little sad I couldn't have the semi-smile one. The thing to realize is that you are completely in control here. They have already eaten the cost of the pictures. If you don't buy any, they just have to throw them away. They will be happy with any money they get from you at this point. 

"How much for that 8x10 of her smiling?"

"I give you all of these, all of these for $50."

"I'm not buying those. How much for the one 8x10?"

I told myself I'd spend $20 and I did. I spent $20 and got the 8x10 and a handful of smaller versions of the semi-smile. They can take the ones of June wincing at the camera and go pound sand for all I care.

Anyway, it was a hoot. I didn't tell Michael about any of it so I could surprise him with the pictures (and the reenactment of my negotiating). I'm glad I did it, even if I'm happiest with the 8x10 and now wondering what to do with the 11x14 below. 

So I present the results. The hard-fought 8x10:

And the gigantic freebee, the one that was the best of the three, if you'll believe it:

I know what you think: "She so beautiful!" (I do.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Posting this makes me feel like both Tiny Tim and Scrooge

Is it so much to ask to find a quality Christmas romance novel?

That's what I want to know.

Around this time of year, despite the fact that today's temperature had a high of 102, I start dreaming about fall. And the holidays. And Christmas.

And sometimes a girl just wants to read a romance novel. When I'm on a fifteen minute break from work, I want to be whisked away to a love story that's set in a snow-covered country cottage with a over-the-top adorned tree and a crackling fire and the smells of Christmas.

I'm in between books right now, which means that I spend my breaks reading through book reviews on my Kindle, searching for good picks in the "Under $3.00" category. I've spent the last few days pouring over the results from searching for "Christmas."

The problem is not a lack of holiday-themed romances, the problem is finding one that isn't so hokey your eyes end up hurting from rolling so much.

Here is the template for every single Christmas romance novel ever published ever:

- Beautiful-but-she-doesn't-know-it heroine
- Unlikely and emotionally scarred bachelor
- Coincidental holiday-related introduction
- Christmas hijinks, possibly involving pets behaving badly, pageants going awry or someone falling down
- A Christmas wish being granted
- A silly cooking disaster
- A family gathering with wonky but warm relatives
- A "problem" keeping the two main characters from really falling, this is later revealed to be a misunderstanding
- Climax of the story on Christmas Day

And as another personal peeve, the heroine will always be named something like "Debra" and will wear coral-colored turtlenecks tucked into her jeans and will have a job she's not really committed to, something she can be rescued from when she eventually takes up with the man. Like a waitress. Or retail. And she'll say things like, "You've got another thing coming, buster!" Is there no such thing as a contemporary Christmas-themed romance novel with 3 dimensional characters?

Am I being too needy with my guilty pleasure? Am I a Christmas romance snob? Are the very things I'm campaigning against the things that make up the quintessential holiday read?

I don't care. If you can point me in the direction of a romance novel that takes place around Christmas but doesn't fall into the tired template above, I will send you homemade Christmas cookies. In September.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Read

Our girl loves to read. 

She usually takes her books off her bookshelf and backs into our laps and lets us read to her. Sometimes she just wants to flip through the pages or point at certain animals and make their respective noises. Sometimes, when Michael and I are getting ready to head out the door, she'll take a book and sit in front of it so she's sure not to get left behind.

But today she brought her book to the couch, got a leg up and sat down to enjoy a read.

Just relaxing.

Having a good time.

All by herself.

I hope she keeps this interest in books long enough to be forced into nightly dramatic readings of Harry Potter. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

This Bites

June's daycare has gotten a little too Twilighty for my liking lately. In that, she's getting bit like no one's business.

She's been bit four times total. The first one was the worst, and it left a mark that still hasn't gone away weeks later. The next three happened within days of each other and left me feeling pretty frustrated and helpless.

The first two times were observed by staff and when I asked who had bit her, they replied that they couldn't tell me. I think they're worried that I would challenge the biters and/or their parents to a duel in the parking lot. (THEY WERE RIGHT. "Get out here, Ethan, June's Mommy's about to throw down!")

The second two times, the bite just showed up, June didn't cry or fuss and the staff didn't witness it (??) so they guessed that they were self-inflicted. I casually asked how June would have managed to bite the back of her own elbow.

When the staff asked June who bit her, she would just point to the bite mark and solemnly say, "Bite-ee. Bite-ee." Which she did for me later when I asked about it, and then she asked, "Pray tell, why are you sobbing, Mama?" (Actually, her strange new habit is to call me Mah-gee. I have no idea where it's coming from.)

Besides, you can clearly see that this child has canines - as evidenced by the six individual tooth marks on both top and bottom. You better bet that I went in the next day looking for who had canines in the classrooms. ("So help me, Sarah, smile for June's Mommy! Molars, huh? I didn't realize we had some overachievers in this class!")

I asked questions. No, June wasn't biting them first or doing anything to provoke attacks. The first two bites were not committed by the same person. No one else in the classroom is getting bit. I was told that some of the kids have a sort of fascination with June and follow her around and touch her a lot...which makes her get mad sometimes, and I don't blame her.


That's that.

She's being moved up to the next classroom a few weeks early to get her out of the Chomp Zone and into the relative safety of Toddlers with Even More Teeth. Hopefully as an underclassman she'll blend into the furnishings and be safe.

SAFER THAN ETHAN'S PARENTS AT LEAST. (Sarah, you're free to go.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Personality Shorts

Since June makes me laugh so much, here is a list of some little incidents of her personality coming out:

  • At school they sometimes line the kids up and have them "race to the finish!"across the room/playground. When they do this, the teacher counts down and says "go!" to release their tiny speed. June can't exactly count down, so sometimes she'll go stand against a wall, stand very still, then say, "go, go, GO!" and run across the room. The first time it happened I had no idea what was going on...now it makes me laugh, especially when she does it over and over.

  • She loves to dance. She dances all the time at home and likes to make her dolls dance too. We get notes from daycare that says, "I can always count on June to dance with me at dance time!" I guess sometimes she's the only child who is interested in dancing.

  • She's gaining some sense of fear. She used to love all dogs, would go running up to a German Shepherd and pet it and we'd have to chase after her and remind her to be gentle. She's become a little afraid now. Even at the pet store, with puppies safely behind glass, she'll get upset if they're too rambunctious, saying a concerned "no," while shaking her head and walking away.

  • Her new thing is to give kisses on peoples' noses. She thinks it's so funny that even if she's not in a really affectionate mood, we can ask her for a kiss on the nose and she'll usually grant it. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Family that Ails

Would you rather your child be sick, so you can dote on her and take care of her and hold her while she feels ill? Or would you rather be the sick one, so only you really suffer but you'd still need to take care of your healthy child?

Our family got to experience both of these in the past week.

Poor June was exhausted-sick on Sunday. She fussed all morning, slept in the car on the way home, fell asleep in my arms multiple times and basically slept all day. She and I traded roles eventually, causing me to take a day off work. I can't remember the time I literally slept ALL. DAY. I'm a little disappointed, to be honest. I think of sick days and think of catching up on the DVR and relaxing on the couch and eating soup and reading a book. Not waking up at noon to get some form of sustenance and then fall asleep 'til your husband comes home with the baby. 

My family is the greatest. 

First, there's my husband, who let me nap on Monday while he played with June, and took care of basically all the food and cleaning.

Then there're my parents, who came to visit us when we didn't want to tempt fate by leaving the house. We had a party on the ground, with June handing out all of her dolls so the four of us adults could make them all dance. They live their lives by the "We make plans, God laughs" motto, so they didn't even mind that we bailed on the weekend plans to get June back to her breathing treatment machine.

There's my adorable nephew, Kai, too. He's just such a sweetie. JP must be doing something right. Because Kai shares and is happy to try to get June to understand his rules ("No! The chapstick is the rocket launcher!"). But if she knocks down his Lego tower, he's patient and understands that "she's just a baby." He runs around the house so she chases him, then makes the rule that "whoever comes in last wins" so she can win sometimes too.

He sings the Junebug song to cheer her up when she's crying, and when we were packing up the car to leave for the weekend, he leaned over and gave June a hug and said "I hope you feel better, June," with no one having told him to say that.

He'll ask me to take a picture of him, and when I show it to him and ask how he likes it, he says, "I like it! It's cute!"

I love this little guy. And my whole family, who help me out when I need it the most.

Friday, September 7, 2012

See Food

Just a couple of hours ago we were feeding June and she was being a ham. Michael took out the camera to capture some of her goofiness. "Can you give us a smile? Can you smile?"

This was the result.

So there you go.

If we want a traditional smile, we have to ask her to show us her teeth. Otherwise we get a mouthful of tortilla.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Savage Visit

Our good friends Amy and Erik came to visit over the weekend. They came all the way from Seattle to spend some time with us and then head to Las Vegas for the remainder of their vacation. 

Amy and Erik are a special kind of people. 

The weekend didn't go exactly as planned. June got sick early on, meaning she wasn't her normal self and was very fussy. She spent Sunday morning refusing to eat, crying and falling asleep in my arms. As a result, we cancelled some of our well-laid plans and headed back home from visiting my parents in Fountain Hills. 

A few times, riddled by guilt at having them spend their vacation listening to a crying baby, I offered them a menu of choices of other things they could go out to do. ("The mall will have significantly less screaming than here, really, you should enjoy yourselves...") They loyally stuck beside us insisting that they came to Arizona to spend time with us, no matter the circumstances. Seriously good people here, these Savages.

We did manage some time out of the house. The whole family went out to dinner (minus Michael, who had a work event):

And Mom and Dad watched June and Kai while we went out for some drinks:

These two were so great. And totally good sports, too. "So, Amy, are you guys thinking of having childre...MICHAEL, JUNE'S GAGGING AGAIN...you were saying, Erik? You'll have to raise your voice above the screaming! I promise we don't usually use the phone to distract her but I'm afraid that Mommy needs to step away for some special time to stare off into the distance and shudder."

Monday morning came with bagels and coffee, and these two headed off in style!

Amy and Erik, thanks so much for visiting us. You two are special people who are very dear to us.