Thursday, November 29, 2012


A few weekends ago the old crew got together for a photo shoot. (The 'old crew' is our family and Remi, an honorary member of the family.) (She also did our beloved family photo shoot last year.)

I might be a bit biased since Rem is such a great family friend, but being photographed by her is so easy and fun. I wasn't worried about getting June to smile or the fact that she was just wandering around - I knew that Remi would capture the moments. (And besides, the candid ones are some of my favorites.)

I don't want to post the ones we picked for our Christmas card this year (I'm sure you'll all be waiting by your mailboxes in suspense) so I'll post some of my other favorites. (And this is just some - I just aodre so many of them that posting all would be impossible!)

(June got a lot of compliments on her fur vest when we went out to dinner afterwards. I'm eagerly awaiting the day that Arizona's 80-degree-weather streak comes to an end to break it out again.)

Be sure to check out Remi's photography blog here - she has a few more of us up on her site than I posted here!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

June had a little Thanksgiving feast at school the other day. Since her daycare is so close to home and not particularly close to our work, it's been hard for Michael and I to get there for her funny little school events. Like the Halloween parade. And the Feast. I got a little down about it, but one of the teachers said that the kids whose parents come seem to enjoy it all the least since they're so thrown off by their parents hanging around at school, throwing a wrench in the routine. 

Anyway, one of the lovely ladies at the front desk sent me this picture. I sent it to Michael immediately because Turkey Hat. Enough said.

I thought about how sometimes it hurts how much I love her. Why won't she just...let me smother her with hugs and kisses every single moment of the day? And how lucky am I to have that? And to have so much? To have a dad who gives you advice any hour of the day you call, and good, even-tempered advice to counteract your hotheadedness? Or a mom who - now that I've reached a certain age - I can tell dirty jokes to and we'll laugh until we have tears in our eyes? To have a brother that you feel like you just get closer to with age? And a nephew with a good and gentle soul? To have in-laws that you love and genuinely want to be around, and who want to be around you? And a husband who makes the pies every year, even on nights when he had to work a game late?

And then I saw a full-grown man in Trader Joe's wearing a hat that looked like a full-cooked turkey while I was eating my sample, and then I turned a corner and was given another sample of pie and I just started crying because Turkey Hat. And pie.

And even when other things are tumultuous, or it seems like everything else is tumultuous, I still have these people, and people are the core of life anyway.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

18 Months! (sort of)

By the time we realized we were a week or two late on June's 18 month well-baby checkup at the pediatrician's office, she was already heading in for diagnosis and treatment of croup and a double ear infection. Wellness being established as non-existant, her checkup really occurred at past her 19 month.

Our June the Bug weighs 28 lbs (90th percentile) and is 32" high (50th percentile).

Our doctor was really happy with her development and some of the little anecdotal stories I told.

I like these visits because it gives me a chance to ask simple questions and hopefully get a more straight-forward answer than simply Googling the issue brings. ("When should we start potty training" and "When should we put a blanket in her crib?" were the questions du jour.)

She got a couple vaccines, poor thing. Every time something unpleasant happens at the doctor's office (vaccines, getting ears checked while infected), she cries and intermittently woefully asks "All done?" I'm always so relieved when she is, in fact, all done so I can reply "Yes, yes, you're all done. Let's go to the park."

Strangely all of her first molars have grown in before her canines. So she has all of those front teeth, a big gap and then molars. Unless she's a secret vampire baby and they just retract when she's not feeding.

Some of her newest favorite things include:

  • Eskimo kisses (to mommy and daddy and stuffed animals)
  • Kissing mommy or daddy to wake them from their pretend sleep
  • Saying "Knock knock who's there?"
  • Going into private locations to go to the bathroom. Closets, the pantry, the bathroom, you name it. She wants her privacy. If you ask her if she's pooping she will vehemently deny it, contrary to the olfactory evidence. Sometimes she goes and stand by the (adult) potty 
  • Having strangely good subject-verb pairing. ("I push!" instead of "Me push") 
  • Mimicking everything. From Michael drumming on the table to me dancing to us pretending to snore  to blowing belly busters)
  • Referring to herself as "Junie"

She makes the following face every so often. It makes me laugh every time, especially if it is accompanied by whispered excitement. "Momocyl!" she'll whisper as we hear a motorcycle rev past.

I know I'm just a bit biased, but I marvel every day at how sweet and funny and smart she is.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Park It

These days, the park is where it's at. 

It's hanging,

And climbing,




And sliding,

Until we're all tired and ready for a nap.

And until I can find a way to wrap her in bubble wrap, I will continue to waffle between wanting to be right behind her in case she falls and wanting to let her explore on her own.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dresser Re-Do

I am so very glad to finally be able to post about a project I've been working on and have hinted about several times on the blog. I refinished a piece of furniture and it took me about 5 times longer than it would take any normal person. 

It started off as a little black dresser that I found on Craigslist. 

I knew I wanted to make a media console to replace our simple little TV stand that was the most boring, utilitarian little thing in the world.

(Sorry for the weird photo. The only good picture I could find of the TV stand was a still from a video.)

I wanted little doors (check!), storage space (check!) and color. Big color.

The problem was that I just couldn't devote large blocks of time to it. I'd head out to Home Depot during June's nap and I'd try to squeeze in some time after her bedtime but before it became so late that it was rude to use the very loud power sander in our quiet neighborhood. 

(I'd like to give a shout-out to my Aunt Lorie and Uncle Dan, who bought Michael a head lamp for Christmas last year. This thing saved my life in our non-well-lit garage and front yard during our nights - gets dark around 6 pm here!)

I had two super fulfilling parts of the project. One was turning a drawer into a cubby to be used for the cable box and DVD player. This included sawing off a piece of wood (seen below) and installing a shelf. 

Before: a wooden drawer runner:

 After: an open shelf (also shows the dresser after sanding and taping):

Here's a close-up of the shelf with a bonus of my other uber-rewarding job - boring a hole for my power cords to go through! Had to buy a new drill bit and everything!

(I danced around the kitchen from the adrenaline of boring the hole. Boring. Boring. Must use that word in context as often as possible.)

The sanded, dissembled furniture sat out in our garage forever while I tried to get a coat or two in between sickness and job drama and family visits and holidays.

My grand reveal might be a little anti-climactic considering that I didn't do any fancy styling of the room. But nonetheless, I present...Beatrice!

Beatrice the media console, former dresser. I like her and she is yellow. I'm trying my hardest to see past her many imperfections and just appreciate the pop of color she brings the room.

Our eventual hope is to have the TV mounted on the wall so I can decorate the top of Beatrice with knick knacks or holiday decor. Maybe even removing the book cases and going crazy with decorating the free space.

I don't have a picture, but the cubby is painted with a metallic dark brown shade, and so are the cabinets. There are also little shelves in the cabinets for additional storage space.

I bought new hardware. Basic knobs to tie the brown cubby in with the piece, but I wanted something funky for the cabinets. So I got owls.

I'll conclude with close-up BEFORE and AFTER shots.


If anyone is interested, the paint color is Twenty Carat 
by (plain old) Behr paint from Home Depot.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tiny Einy

Einstein passed away today. I started writing that he was my parents' dog, but that seemed so far removed from me. When we first got Einstein, I must have been around 12 years old and he was just a young pup named Zorg. He was around for a lot of my growing-up, and now it's hard to imagine him not being around.

Let's be honest here, he wasn't exactly an Angel dog. He was the one that would take a spot on the bed and threaten you with growls if you tried to displace him. (Oven mitts have even been employed to move him from one spot to another.) He's had the muzzle put on him from time to time. Any time you'd give him a treat, he'd think you were poisoning him and wouldn't eat it until he was absolutely sure. He once peed on our other dog, DJ, which was the saddest thing I've ever seen, so I'm still not sure why I laughed until I cried. 

But Einstein was a good dog, when he wasn't being a naughty dog. He wasn't particularly cuddly in his younger years, but I remember him snuggling with me all day when I stayed home from school sick one day.

He was so playful and spirited and would wrestle The Hand as if he were battling the forces of evil.

He developed this trick of throwing himself against your chest so you would pity him and pet him. It was so endearing, so pathetic, that you would think that you were the only thing on this planet that mattered to him, and dear Lord in Heaven, won't you please have a heart and pet him?? And as soon as you'd stop, after he'd try to re-engage you, he would cross the room and try it on another potential petter.

I'm sorry for my mom especially, because however much I loved Einstein, I know she loved him even more. He was her companion and little buddy. So much so that June (and Kai, if I remember correctly) would associate Mom with Einstein, and ask for him when she was around.

Due to his tendency toward impatience when he was younger, I was a little nervous with June around him at the start. But he was so gentle and tolerant of her, even with her flailing arms and shrieking cries.

He was a part of our family, a very loved part of our family. And we'll all miss that little guy.

What She Learns When We're Not Around

One fact of sending your kid to daycare is that they learn things there that they didn't learn from you.

In this, parenting is like a treasure hunt because you learn new things in unexpected moments, but also like a treasure hunt where half of the treasures are explosive or embarrassing items because not all of these newly-learned items are positive.

Example, Positive:

Michael: "Okay, I'm going to lay out the cards, are you ready?"
June: "I'm ready."
Michael: " can say that you're ready?"
June: "Ready."

Example, Negative:

June: "Waffle, bite!"
Michael rips off a piece of the english muffin and hands to her. She starts crying, grabs the piece of the muffin and the remaining muffin and tries to put them back together.
June: "All mine waffle!"
June proceeds to eat the entire muffin while Michael wonders where she learned this "all mine" business.

Example, Positive:

Starting to sing a song you've never sung to June before, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and having her start doing the hand motions on her own.

Example, Negative:

When June repeatedly asks me to sing the "Da Da Da" song and gets angry when I don't know which one she's talking about. I ask her to sing it so I can guess, but she just sings "Da Da Da" and not exactly on-key, if you know what I'm saying. (By the way, I later learned from school that she means the Addams Family song. They have a little toy ghost that dances to the song and apparently June can't get enough.)

Example, Positive:

She mysteriously loves spiders. She likes to hug them, she likes to pet them, she likes to point them out to others. Mind you, this normally occurs in the context of stuffed spiders and Halloween decor. Not sure what her reaction will be to actual spiders. 

Things We Don't Know Where They Were Learned:

- Being afraid of dogs (when they are within arm's reach)

- Being afraid of balls larger than soccer balls ("No! No big ball!")

- Pole dancing? Read on...

Every time we do this one loop in our neighborhood, we pass this stop sign. And almost every time we do, June walks over to it, grabs the pole and starts dancing. Sometimes she'll make her own music, humming a little tune. I'm....not sure what she's doing, or where she learned it. She certainly hasn't been watching any pole dancing at home, and I have a hard time believing they're showing this type of thing at school. So ... this one is still a question mark.

(By the way, this picture was taken a full four days after Halloween. After spotting her strawberry costume in the closet, she wanted it, and she wanted it bad. I'm thinking she was remembering when Vivi and I took her on a walk with it on and we went around to a few neighbors houses and she got to pick out small, shiny packages out of buckets and hold them in her tiny, hot fists until they were squishy. So instead of arguing, I slipped her costume on and headed out the door. So now I had a costumed baby dancing with a pole. On November 4. Sigh.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Gratitude

Well, it's that time...finally. I know I'm not the only person who will be so very glad when this election is over.

Before I could check Facebook, before I could hear any speculation on talk radio, before I could read the news, I was filled with such a sense of camaraderie toward my fellow Americans this morning. I went out for lunch and there was a man wearing an American flag tee-shirt with the Constitution across the back, and I liked him so much.

This morning something popped up into my Google Reader feed. It was pictures from Syria, gruesome pictures of the rebellion happening there. There were images - sad, bloody images of what has become of that country. (If you're interested, the link is HERE)

Can I just take a moment and say that no matter what the outcome is in this election, whether we have results tonight or a month from now, I am grateful to live in a country like ours. As a friend of mine commented on Facebook today, ours is a country that transfers power peacefully. I don't fear being killed for the way I voted. I don't fear being murdered if I protest the government or if I blog about disappointment in leadership. I'm not afraid of being killed by a sniper while walking across the street or having my house destroyed by government-deployed bombs.

No matter which presidential candidate wins, I can rely on the fact that these things won't change. 

I was proud to vote because I can. It is the one sure, easy way that I can have a voice (no matter how faint it may be) in how my government is run. Which is a lot more than many people - women in particular - have on this planet.

I'm grateful today, no matter what.

Monday, November 5, 2012


On Thursday, my mom and I flew with another mother/daughter pair of friends - Carol and Nicola - to Los Angeles for a quick day trip. My mom had won four VIP tickets to the Ellen Degeneres show! 

We flew in, checked into our hotel and took a quick shot with the on-site HOLLYWOOD sign and a waxy David Beckham.

Before the show, we ate a the Smoke House Restaurant, where George Clooney was rumored to eat lunch every day for a period of time. (While shooting ER maybe? Don't know for sure, but I do know that I want to eat their garlic bread all day every day. Michael would love that!)

After that, we hung around in the waiting area before the show.

There were a ton of people, but we learned that they don't shoot on Fridays so they shoot two shows on Thursdays.

We were escorted from one waiting room to another, eventually ending up in the "Riff Raff Room" before getting to find our seats.

We got to sit on the aisle, which was nice. Ellen danced right past us!

We weren't allowed to take any pictures during the show, so I don't have any celebrity pictures, but we did see Denzel Washington get interviewed! And Jenna Fisher (Pam from The Office). There was also a segment with a 3 year-old boy singing "Call Me Maybe" and "Gangnam Style" and a video interview with people at the CMAs.

We sang, we cheered, we clapped, we laughed. And in the end, I think we were all exhausted. Happy, but exhausted.

Part of the VIP status was a gift bag, so we now have some memorabilia to take home. (Michael's thrilled about his Ellen underwear, I'm sure.)

After the show we went to the WB store, which took us past several stages on which they film tons of shows. For example, as this photo shows, Stage 6 was where they filmed ER, Casablanca, The Bill Cosby Show and The Perfect Storm.

That night we went out to dinner and had one of the best meals I've had in quite some time. We flew out the next morning, after which I had to go to work. But I was sure to set my DVR so I'd have the Ellen Show waiting for me at home. And sure enough: