Saturday, June 29, 2013

Watery Weekend

We spent last weekend up at my parents' house. June's always happy to go to "Vivi Papa House!" and it always feels like a mini vacation when we do. 

We spend time in the pool...

And have a whole new set of toys and books to play with...

We have a whole kitchen at our disposal, so making dinner up there is a breeze.

When Daddy goes off to play some golf, June and I have plenty to do around town, including feeding ducks with all the leftover hamburger buns.

Of course this time I didn't even bring June's swimsuit to the park. Last time she barely wanted anything to do with the water park and I didn't even end up using a towel for her. So, naturally, this time:

Soaked to the bone. Standing still while water jets poured all over her. No suit, no swimmie diaper, no towel. But she had a great time, which is all that counts. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Butterfly Wonderland

We spent last weekend up at my parents' house, and placed perfectly on the way there is the new Butterfly Wonderland attraction. (I had asked Michael - with great excitement - if he'd be interested in going here on Father's Day. The answer was, " Father's Day Veto.") 

The first thing we did was go into a little movie theater and watch a 15 minute video about the migration journey of Monarch butterflies. It was in 3-D, which totally had June entranced for the first 10 minutes. By the last five she was over the glasses and but seemed happy enough to continue watching anyway.

There's a little room that is like a butterfly nursery where you can see all of these cocoons and live butterflies that have had it out of them.

Then it was time to go into the Atrium, the largest one in North America, they claim.

It was pretty cool. There must have been thousands of butterflies just fluttering around everywhere. Landing on people, landing on every plant, landing on the ground (you have to be sure not to step on any). Butterflies of all shapes and colors. There were these bowls of fruit and butterfly food that the butterflies flocked to.

We made such a big deal to June about not touching the butterflies that she got a little concerned when they wanted to touch her. 

It was pretty warm in there, even with the misters, so I'd definitely recommend a morning visit (we arrived around 9:30).

There were also some other small exhibits. There was a bug room, that had these cross-sectioned ant colonies and bee hives.

They also had some native desert insects, like bark scorpions, complete with a black light to see them better!

And there was an aquatic room with several fish tanks, plus one large open tank in the middle with little sting rays swimming around. You could reach in and touch them if you wanted.

Overall, it was a lovely experience. It was a little pricey, about $20 per adult, and kids 3 and over are $10. (June got in free, which is nice.) Similar to how I felt about the Sea Life Aquarium, I felt that this was a great experience and one that I'm glad we've done, but I'm not sure if we'll be going back any time soon. It was a great-to-do-once thing, and we might not be back until June is older. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013


On Friday night we had a family outing to the Phoenix Mercury game! This is the first time we've seen the women's team since June was still being hauled around in a baby carrier. 

Like last time, we got the chance to hang out down by the court for a little bit before the game started. 

We couldn't stay long. There was music, and these days June is a dancing fiend, so it was a struggle to keep her from bouncing off to center court.

June was a little disappointed to hear that the Suns Gorilla doesn't come to Mercury games, so we waited with baited breath to see her reaction to Scorch, the mascot of the Mercury.

He was a hit. She does this thing where she tilts her head back and scrunches up her face, showing us all her little teeth and her dimples, while she cackles like she's never seen something so funny. "Dat's silly!" she'll say.

S'matter of fact, she liked him a little TOO well. All throughout the game she wanted to know where Scorch was and got a little squirmy when he'd been gone for too long. When she started her head-back-cackle randomly while looking over my shoulder, I thought maybe Michael had returned. Nope! It was Scorch hanging out at the top of the aisle. June was grinning and waving a cackling so much that all the people behind us were turning around to see what she was looking at.

We hustled along our row so we could catch him on his way down to the court. Surprisingly June didn't freak out at the close proximity and instead waved at Scorch, and even gave him a high-five!

(Thanks to JP for taking this shot. Sorry we didn't take any with you in the photo!)

Scorch was all she talked about on the way home. That, and her new "Go Mercury!" that she finally mastered. But mostly Scorch. Always Scorch. Forever Scorch. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Dad Day of Summer

Hi! I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day! My own dad being out in Delaware, after a morning Skype session, I spent time with the other Top Dad in my life, Michael. June helped make breakfast with me while Michael got some extra sleep.

When he was up, it was Present Time. June was very generous and helped Dad open his presents without even needing to be asked!

  Look at this look! I die!

Then we all lotioned up with SPF Mayonaise and went to the pool at the Y, where we lazed about in the shallows.

Then lunch and naps all around, three cheers!

Michael got to watch some golf and we were able to Skype with Michael's parents and his sister while June danced around without pants on.

Michael is such a wonderful father, for lots of reasons. He makes up songs for every little thing he does with June. He has patience beyond measure. When he is with June, you can tell that she is the very center-point of his happiness, and it's such a beautiful thing to behold. Another perk is that he didn't mind having such a low-key Father's Day with his girls.

Sometimes I wonder if she knows how loved and how lucky she is.

I think she does.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The CMoP, Then and Now

When the days start getting hot again, those are the days when Michael and I sit on the couch for much longer than usual muttering, "Well what do YOU want to do?" I get antsy and feel guilty for keeping June locked inside expecting her to still get joy out of placing her Beanie Babies in a circle for the millionth time. 

Should we go bake in the sun at the park where June can't even go on most of the parts because the plastic is hot as the surface of the sun? Should we go walk around the outside malls, clinging to the misters and shade-hopping like the rest of the patrons?

This Saturday was the first time of the year that we broke out the ol' Children's Museum of Phoenix membership. (To be fair, I didn't even realize we still had the membership until a couple of months ago.) 

It was good to be back. It's so great to just watch all of these little humans running around, hearts just exploding from curiosity and freedom and gross motor skills. And all of us parents, just wanting to do the right thing and not step on any tiny feet. I taught June how to make her hands into a point to help her charge through the Noodle Forest and, with how proud I was, you'd think I'd taught her how to use the quadratic formula. 

It's been almost a full year since we first got the membership. It was crazy to compare what June could do/was interested in back then to what she can/is now. She used to spend hours in the baby room and now she is just like, "PSH, BABY ROOM, WHERE IS THE GROCERY STORE?"

Leeetle Junebug:

Monster Junebug:

Pickle car, then and now:

It's funny, we had previously discussed letting the membership expire this year. And then the summer came, and their air conditioning feels so good, and June can say "MooZeeUm!" so we got up to the counter to check in and renewed the thing.  So at least we'll have one extra option next time we're laying around, asking "What do YOU want to do?"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spontaneous Aquarium

We spent Friday night hanging out with our friends Remi and Cole and their kids Smith and Captain. We were having such a great time, and the kids were so well-behaved, that we ended up staying until 10:30 (June's normal bedtime is 8:00). 

We hoped that this would mean June would sleep in on Sunday morning, yet 6:30 rolled around and we heard her singing Baa Baa Black Sheep through the monitor. Michael was a total dream and took June out for bagels and groceries while I slept until 9. 

Michael had to work a bit that day, so we did a Junebug handoff and I took off for an adventure. The plan was to go to Arizona Mills mall and walk off some energy in the air-conditioned loop while getting some Father's Day shopping in. Then I found out that the shops didn't open for another hour and a half. This was no less than the third time I've found myself at AZ Mills in this exact situation. 

Instead of wandering the darkened loop with only metal shop gates to look at, I took a spontaneous detour into the Sea Life Aquarium. I've passed this before and it always seemed like a ripoff. $18 per person, and inside a mall no less, how good could it be?? But I saw that kids under 3 were free, and suddenly it seemed like a better choice than the alternative.

One of the coolest parts was a circular room with the aquarium around the whole thing, with a school of fish swimming, swimming, swimming in circles around you. 

See that little dome in the bottom right corner? You could crawl under there and poke your head up into it to see the fish. June was a little scared to get all the way up in there, but was happy to sit and watch the fish swim above her.

See the shark in the background?

Overall impression from the Aquarium? It was better than I expected, considering it was in a mall and I felt like space would be limited. There were some really cool exhibits, though. The stingray room was awesome and June loved the jellyfish room. It worked out great for us, but I can't imagine a family of four paying over $60 to attend (and that's for young kids, anyone over 12 pays an adult admission).

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lady in Wading

The pendulum has swung in the fitness department for this family. We used to belong to an LA Fitness, where girls with full makeup and bros in muscle tees would eye each other across the workout equiptment. I'm pretty sure there was a rule about kids under 12 being expressly not allowed. 

We quit the gym and joined the YMCA! We've officially begun that phase of life. 

I've gone to my first few Zumba classes in a few years and was reassured that I still have the gift of my face turning tomato-red after only a half hour. 

The thing that I am most looking forward to, however, is the pool. We don't have one in our yard, so this will be our main place to stay cool this summer. June has some swim lessons coming up, but took her to the pool on Friday to see how she liked it. 

Long story short: she loved it. 

She loved wading into the slowly graded kids pool, and walked all the way up to her neck on her own before turning and wading back to the "little water" (shallows).

I think I know where we'll be every Friday evening going forward.