Thursday, December 31, 2009

some recent cute pictures

Just in case you forgot, here's some pictures to remind you of Aveah's cuteness!

She's standing using mostly all her little leg strength. She just needs some hands to help her get up and then balance.

Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade

We headed over to Morro Bay to watch the lighted boat parade on the Bay. I had no idea how decked out these boats would be! It was amazing! Unfortunately, I only brought our point and shoot, so none of my pictures did it justice.

Avi stayed awake for the first part of the parade.

We went with Avi's boyfriend, Levon's, family: James, Paula & Ezzy. It was a cold night, as you can see with everyone bundled up.

After a little boat watching, Avi got tired & James planted an empty Corona bottle in the unsuspecting babe's arms.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best Baby Movies or Your Money Back

Before Avi arrived, my (Michael's) favorite watching activity involved movies. So after Avi arrived, I've tried to add the two together, sort of. And although baby movies aren't exactly my preferred genre, here's a list of some favorites:

Raising Arizona
. Probably the best baby movie ever. Reveals that everyone is a sucker for a baby-- sleazy salesmen, escaped convicts, redeemed convicts, cop-turned-convict, boss' nutty wives-- everybody. And if you're not a sucker for babies, you get blown up with your own hand grenade. I've always enjoyed, been fascinated by, and respected this movie. Now, I understand it.

She's Having a Baby. Not one of the finest films ever made, but I think some parents can connect with Kevin Bacon's inevitable sense of abandonment of other worries when the baby comes along. It seems that after a baby arrives, all other priorities in life drop a notch.

Child's Play. Just kidding. Next.

Away We Go. The scenes with the neo-hippy 'attachment parenting' couple were the funniest (even though this is closest to our own parenting style-- Hollywood can't help but get carried away with anything out of the mainstream). Disclaimer: this film might make you never view baby strollers in the same way again.

At this point, I've run out of any other baby movies to recommend. I'm realizing that the world of cinema is bankrupt when it comes to babies. Actually, all of the above movies probably aren't even worth your time, except for Raising Arizona, which I recommend viewing on a monthly basis. But this raises the question--why the shortage of good baby movies? Because babies can't memorize enough lines? control their facial expressions for maximum effect & persuasion? develop their stage presence? cuss? smoke? represent themselves in actors unions? I'm not sure exactly. But whatever the reasons, they need to get with the program. And all of their little indie home movies aren't going to cut it either; most of their parent-directors are under-qualified and biased and don't understand good lighting. Actually, I should admit that we have a baby film of our own in the drafting stages, starring Avi of course. It will involve flying and maybe a few pyrotechnics. It will be a genre-fusion of fantasy, suspense, Bolivian anime, and puppetry. I'm working on the storyboards. In my head. I'm planning for Wes Anderson to assist me with the pacing. The soundtrack will be heartbreaking and will include Rosie & the Originals and Yoko Ono. It will make Look Who's Talking look like a swapmeet betamax version with the sound dubbing off-kilter. It will be one of the recommended baby films in some other sleep-deprived father's baby blog. It will be epic and our lives may never be the same afterwards. We will have to flee the country with its sharp-clawed paparazzi and move to the Ukraine so that Avi can lead the semblance of a normal life and not wind up in rehab at age 8 or worse-- acting in her own reality show. Maybe we better not do the film after all. Maybe we'll stick to photographs. It was a good idea though.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas parties.

Aveah's been invited to many Christmas parties - she's quite the social butterfly. Here are a few pictures from a select few parties she's attended. (Due to security issues, President Obama wouldn't let us publish the pictures taken at the White House party thrown for Avi.)

Avi wearing all white, topped with a little (burgundy) red hood sweater, which was handmade by a neighbor.

Menorah watching. Avi just might become Jewish so she can celebrate Hanukkah every year. She was so transfixed by the candles, she sat intently and watched them for tens of minutes (like days in adult time).

Christmas competition.

Avi's Christmas card photo picking was tough competition this year! We've never actually sent Christmas cards out before, but this year, we had a very good reason to start doing so: to spread the love and cuteness of little Aveah!

4.12, Would have had it if her eyes had been looking at the camera.

A perfect 5.o, how could you get any cuter???

4.67, nice work, Avi, but the photographer has some lighting issues to be worked out - notice the shadow line on the right side...

4.88, overall appealing in every way, yet it just doesn't hold enough Avi personailty. Perhaps if her face was closer to the camera, it may have had more impact.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Uncle Brant & Auntie Aryn

Maren's brother Brant sorta scared us when he made the comparison of a baby's gotta learn to suffer through a car seat ride to an adult paying taxes; both don't want to do it, but they've got to. Brant's the first to recognize that he doesn't know "anything" about kids, since he has an empty nest (and thus lots of free time and money to spend on fun things). But, when he made that comment about letting a baby cry so that it will learn to do things that aren't pleasant, I thought to myself, he's never gonna be left alone with my little Avi! Well, I had my little assumptions broken when Brant did take care of Avi in late November and he did AMAZING!  Avi loved him - she would just melt in his arms.  She was so content and happy!  

I never should have doubted my brother; he excels at everything.  And I mean EVERYTHING: from playing guitar, to all sports, to chiropractic, to baby-wooing. Avi just adored him! In fact, I would have a picture of Aryn posted below, but Brant wouldn't let her have Avi - he just couldn't get enough of the Avi love and, at times, Avi only wanted Brant!  Sorry, Brant, for ever doubting you!

Here are some pictures from a walk we took on the dunes on Sunday morning before they headed home.

Uncle Brant.

"cousins" Cali & Dax, Brant & Aryn's "practice kids"

a cool picture of the dunes that Michael snuck in during our walk.

Aunt Aryn has some photographic skills. Go Aryn!

Who said dad's aren't sexy? This daddy is!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thanksgiving in Fresno, 2009

We spent Thanksgiving with family in Fresno (as usual) at Michael's mom's house this year. Sadly, Michael's dad was in the hospital, but thankfully, he is now out and recovering!

Disclaimer about the above picture: Michael's mom made us do that! She kept telling Avi that she was going to cook her as the turkey and then put her on the platter. Well, put a visual idea in photographers' minds often enough, and we have to act on it (within reason). So.... here's the result. On a final note: no babies were harmed in the making of this photograph.

Great Nana Barbara, little Avi, Great PapPap Ed Brajkovich

Uncle David throwing Avi up into the sky - one of her favorite activities.

Avi's only cousins (so far): Matthew & Alexis. Setti (grammy) is holding Avi in her Thanksgiving dress which Setti bought for Avi. Thanks, Setti!

Avi with her other great-grandma, G.G. Carmen. Do you see the resemblences? I do.

Avi taking some reflective moments to play the piano at Setti's.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rockabye Baby

Led Zeppelin rocks our baby to sleep at night. At least for a while, that was a key feature in her nightly bedtime ritual. Her primary song of slumber was "Thank You." Now, we only pull the Led out in emergencies. I had discovered Rockabye Baby , a site that sells rock music in lullaby form, even before Avi was born-- the search grew out of a foreboding fear that when a child eventually came into my life, I/Michael would be subjected to soulless, mindless, dribbling children's music that would turn me into a zombie. It really was a concern of mine. Hearing damage. Tone deafness. Audio terrorism. Brain leakage through the ear canal. But it shouldn't be so bad, 'cause now I can listen to dangerous, soul-filling music the whole family can enjoy! (and Radiohead will probably be Avi's next musical experience.) However, I should mention that the irony in my children's music phobia is that I improvise & sing baby songs to Avi on a daily basis. I've run the gamut of running away in horror from listening to children's music to actually creating children's music. A lot of children's music. We're talking volumes. In just the last few weeks. Not that I have much of a singing voice; I mean, I make Clay Aiken sound decent. But I got plenty of heart and I'm definitely Avi's number one vote. Half the time my musical arrangements are twisted rip-offs of the songs that gently flow out of her battery-powered baby chair-- imagine if you will, "twinkle twinkle little star" sung by a disoriented though overzealous Al Green with a sore throat. But my lyrics are original, and my performances are stellar. I may not be Led Zeppelin, but who the heck can be? So Avi, in a few years when you pick up a little guitar and magically start busting out Jimmy Page style riffs, you can thank me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A birthday party fit for a Prince.

The day after my "real" birthday, Michael TOTALLY surprised me with a surprise party hosted by Prince himself! All my friends and family were told to dress up 70's and 80's style. The party also included a karoake machine after Prince had to fly back home to Minnesota. Thanks everyone for keeping me completely in the dark - even Avi didn't let out a peep about it! And, thanks, Lover, for getting me back for what I did to you on your 30th!

Avi stage right to Prince.

Avi, up way past her bedtime, dancing to Prince with her maternal grandparents. Nothing, not even a 14 pound sleepy baby keeps them from dancing!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Look.

In a previous post, I discussed my discernment of The Look as a sign that I had entered the brotherhood of parenthood. Below is a description-- born from my experience accompanying Avi in all manner of places public and private.

The Look. The most intense ones come from parents, usually mothers of babies that are several months old or just a few years old. The look is given upon the initial gaze of our baby (or any newborn baby, I'm sure) and the look encapsulates personal memories of their own baby at this age. A description of "the look": eyes wide open and a little blank, pupils dilated, lips slightly parted, jaws receding, eyebrows curved mournfully. The look is sometimes, often-times, followed by the moan. The moan is instinctive, given without effort. It too, is mournful, and usually begins with a dull pitch before bending downward, though on some moms, it actually raises to an inflection that blends question with surprise (I haven't discerned reasons for the difference yet-- perhaps that's one for the pscyhoanalysts). Maren and I currently carry a variation of the look; it has less of the mournfulness, though not much less in Maren's case. She is already anticipating the passing of Avi's smallness and it hurts her. I estimate that I give my version of the look about 36 times a day. Maren's looks are probably in the hundreds. I don't really have much in the way of the moan, but Maren's moans are sometimes heartbreaking. Often though, it transforms into laughter, but usually drops down again for closure.

We are not yet at the point where we are gazing at younger babies in public places and giving the bona fide look. But with each passing day in Avi's life, we are certainly cultivating it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

SLO Adult Ed

Mommy & Avi get out at least 3 days a week to do all kinds of cool things via the SLO Adult Ed program. Mondays we go hiking (I'm really bad, I don't have any pictures of the BEAUTIFUL places we hiked this semester), Wednesdays we stroll, Thursdays we go to class and hang out with other babies and mommies. Avi loves it and it keeps mama busy. We're signed up for next semester already!

Here we are strolling at Atascadero Lake. Look closely & you can see Avi. She has yet to grow into her stroller - which Grammy Louise bought for her. Thanks, Grammy!


My 11-year-old cousin, Kelly, and my aunt Pam were gracious enough to take care of Avi during one of our wedding shoots recently. Kelly was a little nervous in the beginning, but she calmed down and was great with Avi! Look at how cute they are together!

Thanks Pam & Kelly for all your help, love and support! (Also, Kelly & Pam took care of Avi - on last minute's notice - while mama & dada went out jet-skiing to celebrate their 9th anniversary one Sunday morning. Thanks, again, Pam & Kelly!)

full circle

Grammy had the privilege of being the first person we told we were pregnant over a year ago. She had invited us to an opera in San Luis Obispo on Halloween. We had kept the secret to ourselves for weeks and couldn't hold it in any longer. We got a onsie (modeled on the grown Avi below) to share the news. When we handed the garment to her while waiting for the show to start, I thought she was going to jump out of her seat and fly over the balcony she was so excited!

Michael & Maren (dressed up Halloween-style for the opera) and Grammy Louise on the night of learning of her first great-grandbaby!

Here's Avi wearing the shirt we got to announce her presence to her Great-Grammy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sleep like a baby.

Don't you wish you could sleep like this: anywhere, no matter how uncomfortable, exposed or noisy it is?

Avi asleep in the Ergo Baby.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Radio Flyer

I've been waiting for this.  One simple dream of mine has been to see a child of mine wheeled around in a red wagon.  Well, the day has finally come, and I must admit it was even cuter than I imagined.  Avi rode with Levon, her 2-year-old friend, around Tierra Nueva.  Levon was given instructions to hold on to Avi's shoulders so she would'nt slide around.  He took his job very seriously (as seen in his expression in these pictures).  See a bigger version of the same pics at our photo blog.

Avi rocks!

Michael was fed up with all these "cute" baby clothes.  So, he took one of her plain white onsies and created a  couture rocker shirt for her.  It simply states: Avi rocks.  To see more of these pics, visit our photo blog.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Best Birthday Ever!

Today was my best birthday ever.  Despite the fact that I was woken at 6:45 a.m. to feed an unhappy baby and that when I tried to talk in Parent Participation she started screaming... what made it the best birthday ever was those things in a weird way.  Avi made this birthday so special to me.  Her presence - even at 6:45 a.m. - was a present itself!  And then, when suddenly, everyone in class turned to me (and Avi who was staring out while sitting on my lap) and shouted "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" and it startled the little Avi so much she started screaming at the top of her lungs and her little face contorted into pain and confusion, even that was a present - just her cute reaction to that benign (but enthusiastic) greeting.

After class, me and two friends went (along with our baby girls) to Sycamore Hot Springs for an hour soak in a mineral tub, then off to Marisol for some appetizers by the ocean.  The weather was perfect: sunny, blue skies, warm, the tiniest breeze to keep things not too hot.  Thanks, God!
Avi splashed her toes in the tub.

Avi's sleeping in the Ergo Baby carrier.


Avi's had a big week!  She got her first diaper rash which isn't too fun because sometimes she wimpers in pain (do you have any idea how hard it is to hear that?).  Some uplifting developments are she's laughing all the time and she also turned over (just once, from her tummy to her back).

Avi is always laughing!  She's the best baby!

eyelashes - watch out Liz Taylor!

No, we don't tint or use mascara on them - they are natural!


In the last post, I talked about toys.  Well, I forgot to mention that Avi's favorite toy right now is fingers (her own and others').  She loves to grab them and suck on them - she practically made out with my index finger the other night.  I know I'll miss the days when such simplicity could entertain her.