Sunday, February 24, 2013

Golden Gate

Last Sunday our group - Jacob, Allegra, baby Liana, Michael, June and I - went to the Golden Gate Bridge. We went to a place called Cavallo Point, which has quite a bit of emotional significance to Jacob and Allegra, who got engaged there. 

It's a resort right at the base of the Bridge and it is fabulous. I'll tell you what it reminded me of: the family camp in Dirty Dancing. There were all of these big old white buildings with red roofs  that contrasted with the greenery and it was a lovely effect. The place used to be Fort Baker, a former US Army post. So it's got an old feel and an old look and I think I'm in love.

Anyway, we went there for lunch and then walked around taking pictures and appreciating the views. I don't have much else to say but to let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dolores Park

We decided to take a small family trip to San Francisco this past weekend to visit some friends out there. Jacob and Allegra had an adorable baby several months ago and we were tired of oogling over her through Instagram and decided to go meet her in person. 

After a short, easy flight on Saturday morning, we arrived in San Fran and hit the ground running. We ate lunch in and then walked a few miles to Dolores Park. The simple act of walking was SUCH a pleasure. I've only been to San Francisco once before and it was a short work trip that didn't allow me much time for sight-seeing. So much about the city is so unique - the architecture, the social climate, the geography - and I was drinking it all in as we meandered with the strollers. 

Here, for example, is a bit of what we were told is one of the steepest hills in San Francisco. (So steep that there wasn't even a sidewalk, just steps!)

Dolores Park was so fun and quirky and relaxing and different. It was a huge park in the middle of a metropolis, so since the weather was TO DIE FOR, it was overrun with people wanting to spend time outdoors in the greenery. Off to one side was a huge play structure that kids were going wild over. And all the while you had views of the city that were incredible.

Different groups of people have their "spot" in Dolores Park. True to what was promised, I googled it and found maps that help you find what spot you're looking for. There is the family-friendly area, the area where all the dogs are, the yogis, the pot-smokers, the gay sun bathers, the hipster bicyclists.

We took a spot near the play structure and just laid around for a few hours.

A troupe of people showed up with about twenty hula hoops, played music and invited others to join. So we did. 

 (Baby Liana - June called her 'Baby Eena' - makes me smile too.)

 After lounging, playing, dancing, hula-hooping, walking to the market to buy snacks and drinks, consuming the snacks and drinks and generally having a great time, we walked back through the streets to Jacob and Allegra's home.

Then it was time for bed for the kids and time for the grill for the adults.

We loved getting to see our friends and see the city in an relaxed and unhurried way. That first day was probably the most low-key of the ones we spent, but it was also probably my favorite.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Toddler Valentine

When I got the email from school saying that the kids would all be having a Valentine’s Day party and to please bring snacks and Valentines for everyone, I had to first confirm with our teacher that it meant us too. I mean, the older kids, sure, but the toddlers too? So I signed up to bring chips and stopped at the store on the way home to grab a box of Valentines.

I have to admit that I felt like a total boob when buying the Valentines. I stood in front of the 10 possible choices for too long assessing which ones were the most acceptable. The ones with princesses? Too girly. The ones with temporary tattoos? The parents would love that. The ones with stickers on them? Let’s not get too crazy, most of the kids in June’s class aren’t even two yet. So I bought some plain little Mickey Mouse ones and brought them home and promptly forgot about them until 30 minutes before I was set to be out the door on Valentine’s Day morning. At that time, I scribbled June’s name on them and threw them in a sandwich bag, grabbed the Sun Chips and left. I thought I was so clever to send her to school in a pink shirt.

And then I got to school.

One girl had a formal Valentine’s dress on complete with lace and bows. A boy wore slacks and a red sweater vest. Three kids had special Valentine shirts on. I went over to the table with the bulging reusable grocery bags so I could set down my snacks with everyone else’s. I peeked in the bags. 

They were not snacks, they were the Valentines. 

One person had brought little heart-shaped boxes with teddy bears in each of them. One person had sixteen plastic measuring cups, each filled with candy and trinkets and paper and ribbon. I glanced down at my  little cardboard Mickey Mouse Valentines. Suddenly I didn’t seem as advanced for managing to put a little heart-shaped sticker on each of them.

I propped my little plastic bag of paper against the bulging sack of wonders and decided to consider the whole thing hilarious instead of embarrassing.

I'm not sure that I'll ever be the mom sending her kids to school with homemade fun packs, but I have learned my lesson. Next year June's classmates will be covered head-to-toe in stickers and temporary tattoos and I will be redeemed. Oh yes, I will be redeemed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Young Suns Fam

On Sunday evening we went to a Suns game. I couldn't believe that this was June's first game! She went to a Mercury game (the women's team in Phoenix) but this was her first time seeing the guys. (There was a blog post about the Mercury outing. And since I can't resist, I'm also posting two pictures:

End parenthesis.)

We arrived early before the doors were opened and got a good look around. 

We walked around the concourse for a while trying to burn off some energy. I wasn't very optimistic about June's willingness to sit in her seat for any period of time and I didn't want to get to our seats and then have her struggling with me through the National Anthem or something. Knowing that Michael would have to run off for a bit, we took a family picture for the record books.

But once June saw how exciting the main bowl of the stadium was, she didn't want to go back to the concourse. Okay, I said, if you want to be in there so bad we'll head to our seats.

That girl, man. That girl.

Had the time of HER LIFE.

I'm sure it helped that it was just sensory overload in there. The blimp whizzing around overhead. The ADD soundbites of 7 seconds of songs. The fans. The dancers. The young girl behind us who was cheering fervently. The gorilla. Oh the gorilla. June was in awe. The befacial-haired middle-aged men sitting next to us, who I worried we would annoy, said that June was plenty of entertainment for the whole evening. She danced. She clapped. She bounced. She showed us how a gorilla goes (pounded her chest).

She even sat in fascination when the lights went out for the opening lineup and Anthem.

It was a great situation. She sat in my lap most of the time and had the space in front of her seat the rest. No one was in the seat directly in front of her so she was able to jump her little heart out to those little music clips.

It was a great little night out for the family - and we didn't even go to the kid zone! I guess we'll have to save that for another time...if I can pull her away from the game, that is.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Best Parts about Sunday

1.  June getting a bit nervous while Michael vacuums, so she sits nestled into my lap on the couch, tilts her head back on my shoulder and snuggles. Daytime voluntary snuggles are a rare thing around here.

2.  Walking back to the car from Pita Jungle and saying, "Junebug, are you a silly goose?" She replies, "No! Mommy Daddy silly goose!" And thus, she completed her first diss.

3. Warm cinnamon sugar muffins made from scratch.

4.  Michael doing a celebratory dance after successfully executing a combination bounce/spin maneuver to get a big ball back to it's corner.

5.  Getting ready to take a shower, I hear June singing the ABC's by herself in the next room. When she finishes the song, I hear her quietly say, "Yaaaay."

6.  Sitting on the floor while June climbs on my lap, I say, "Do you know how much I love you? I love you so much!" She stops climbing, looks me square in the face and says, very clearly, "I love you too...Mommy."

7. Michael reconsidering having me run out at a certain downtown Phoenix gas station we were passing to return the Redbox rental. "On second thought, I think someone got slashed there semi-recently. Let's use one closer to home." He doesn't want to see me slashed! This is the stuff of romance, people!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lessons from the Street

The Sesame Street, that is.

June is sick once more and we've been giving her at least two breathing treatments a day to help her with her coughing. I stopped by the library to get her a new video to watch during the treatments since we're all singing Juno Baby songs in our sleep by now. I picked up a DVD that features 90's and 2000's era pop artists singing their hits with lyrics adjusted to fit the Sesame audience. So, for example, James Blunt sang that one song, "You're beautiful, you're beautiful, you're beautiful it's true." And the song is about "My triangle, my triangle...."

(I find these hilarious. Word play, man. There's one line in that song where Telly sings, "It must be those angles that put a smile on your face, not to mention the hypotenuse." Killed me dead.)

The first song on the DVD is singing a song called "What I Am" with a bunch of characters. It's an adorable song, but one thing is horribly distracting: that looks like he would rather be anywhere on this Earth than making a Sesame Street video.

I'm not sure if he's just trying to look cool, look 'above' Sesame Street or what...but it's really unfortunate because it takes away from an otherwise upbeat and encouraging song. (For the record, this version done by just the monsters is SO much better.)

And then you have other songs, like Adam Sandler's "A Song About Elmo" and Ricky Gervais's "Celebrity Lullaby"  and most of the others where the stars really commit and go all out and the result is so great and cute and genuine. (Yeah, I just used those words to describe Ricky Gervais, possibly a first for him.)

And I found myself thinking, while watching Sheryl Crow sing about how the letter "I" wants to "Soak Up the Sun" and I'm thinking about how this is a metaphor for life. (Could second-hand Albuteral be making me high?)

Who looked cooler - who was rolling his eyes while furry muppets danced merrily around him? Or Adam Sandler, who let a 7-foot dragon nuzzle him and shouted all of his weird words that rhymed with "Elmo"?

In Tina Fey's book Bossypants, which I loved, one of my favorite parts was when she talked about why Will Ferrell was so good on SNL. She said that he was loved because he committed. He gave as much of his heart and soul into sketches that were just so-so as he did into "Cowbell" and the cheerleader skits and Robert Goulet. People like it when you give yourself, show yourself. I think people are drawn to people who are vulnerable and genuine.

I will try to remember this when I feel like I need to lock myself up, streamline my personality, make it fit into that cookie cutter that I assume the adult world wants.

In short: = no. Dragon nuzzle = yes.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Urban Farm

On Saturday morning we met one of my favorite friends, Remi, at one of my favorite Phoenix spots, the Farm at South Mountain. It was Remi's birthday and the Farm just happens to be her happy place too. Something about that place makes you feel miles outside of a city.

As soon as we stepped out of the car, a rooster crowed and June got so excited, her little mouth forming a perfect "O."

The kids loved looking at the chickens and roosters. See this little one in pink in the middle? That's Smith, Remi's son. Did he borrow June's sweatshirt for warmth? Or were we making a statement about gender roles? You decide!

We had an awesome breakfast and then walked around. In addition to the working farm, they have a few tables set up selling produce and homemade jam. I was in heaven.

And see that little dreamboat in the fuzzy full-body reindeer suit? That's Captain, Remi and Cole's younger son. He is the cutest, smiliest little guy. I held him for a bit, and while I attempted to tame my baby fever, June had to tame something of her own. Namely, her jealousy. She was NOT PLEASED to see Mommy holding the baby and eventually had to go on a walk with Daddy so Mommy could get her snuggles in.