April 5, 2014

Brinley Kristine Martin

Today Brinley is 6 months old!  I don't know why it always surprises me when time flies by... but it does!  It seems like only yesterday I found out that I was pregnant with little brinners!  Since I have never posted about her I figured I'd do a 6 month/birth/pregnancy catch up all in one!  So here we go! There are some cute pictures so if you don't want to read all of my ramblings I invite you to just browse the pictures!


I found out I was pregers with little Brinners back in March.  At the time I was teaching 7th grade science, and I was trying to figure out why I felt so sick and tired all the time.  For some reason it just didn't register that I could be pregnant until I went to go grocery shopping one day.  I remember walking down the chip isle at HEP and suddenly feeling nausious thinking about the dinner I was going to make, and getting this strong craving for potato chips and chocolate!  At that point it hit me that I was probably pregnant so I grabbed some ruffles, a wide array of chocolate candy, and a pregnancy test and then went home!  :)  We were both pretty surprised, but extrememly excited to have another baby!  

We were surprised when I went in to my first OB appointment that Brinley was a much farther along than we thought!  Hence why we announced that we were pregnant and that we already new the gender at the same time!  (This came as a shock to a lot of my family, but it wasn't done intentionally I promise!)  I appreciated that she was farther along, that meant that I wouldn't be pregnant for as long!  Winning!

Our first family pictures where I actualy look pregnant!
It was a long hot summer here in San Antonio!  I felt like I had to stay inside most of the time because it was just so so hot!  We had a early labor scare that sent me to the hospital for a night, and there were some other issues that came up during the pregnancy.  But I had a lot of support from great friends here in San Antonio who looked after me and listen to all my pregnant lady grumbling!  I am forever grateful to them for their care!  

Birth Story:
Trace came 10 days early, which was awesome!  But we weren't sure what to expect from Brinner so although I wanted her to come early I didn't think it would actually happen.  So 10 days before her due date Justin and I decided to try to get in one last date before our life ended (having a new baby sometimes feels like social death for the first few months)!  The plan was to go to Outback and then to go see a movie (Gravity in 3D, which the science teacher in me was so excited to see).  Dinner was delicious!  You gotta love Outback bread and steak!   However i had started to feel some contractions, so I started to time them.  At dinner they were not too consistent or painful so I didn't worry about it.  However, once we got to the movie theater we had to stand in line to wait for the theater to be cleaned and while standing in like those contractions kicked into gear!  I asked justin to go get a refund for our tickets and then we went home.  (BTW I finally saw Gravity a couple weeks ago and it would have been so amazing at the theater... sigh.  Oh well!)

My friend Rachel was watching Trace for our date and she offered to watch him a little longer while we decided what to do.  I decided to take a bath, and in the bath the contractions stopped.  So Justin went and picked up Trace and I went to bed.  At 4am the contractions woke me up and at 6am we called Rachel to come over and watch Trace so that we could go into the hospital!  I called my mom and of course she was able to get on a plane and arrive just in time (literally 10 minutes before I had to start pushing) for Brinley's birth at 1:38 pm on October 5th!  She was 7lb 15oz and 19.5 inches long!  We were originaly going to name her Hailey, however when she came out she had these huge cheeks and dark hair and for some reason the name (as much as I
loved it)  just didn't fit!  So Brinley was the name!

The last 6 months! 

To say that nursing was a struggle is an understatement :)  We just coulnd't figure it out!!  I will spare you all the gross grusom details! (but if you want to know them then just ask me, cause some were crazy!)  But after two weeks of blood sweat and tears we decided switch her to formula.  It was a hard decision to make (lots of emotions come back now even just thinking of it)  But it was the right descision for our family.  And Brinley seems to be just as healthy and happy as Trace ever was so I'm not too worried about it anymore!  
Brinners struggled/struggles with reflux and constipation, so she is on medicine for both of those and since we've figured that out she has just been a doll!  I love having a little girl to dress up and enjoy!  She started smiling at 1 month, but she really started getting her personality at 2 months.  She is the easiest baby to make smile!  Not the easiest to get to laugh however.  She saves her laughs for when she is trully enjoying an experience :) Trace is actually the best at making her laugh!  All he has to do is smile at her or do something silly and her eyes just light up!  I love that they already love and enjoy each other!  
Brinley at 1 month (Trace at 2 years)

Brinley at 3 months
Happy Girl!
Brinners at 6 months

Brinley is such a ray of sunshine in our family!  She is a sometimes sitter, and easily distractable eater, an adoring little sister, and an easy smiler, a patient second child (thank goodness!), and a beautiful daughter of god!  I love her so much, and I am so greatful for the opportunity I get to be her mommy!  

February 20, 2014

Why I Love & Support Sea World! #dontjudgeme

It's been a while!  Like 16 months!  Sorry I have neglected you blog!  Much has happened since last we met, and i fully plan on updating you on all of it  However for today I want to make my reappearance on blogger with a sort of touchy subject as of late.  Warning, this is a long post!  I have been thinking about this post for quite some time trying to decide if it is worth it to write, if I have anything unique to add to this argument, or if anyone even cares about my thoughts and opinion on the matter.  And while I don't think that anyone really cares what I think, I'm gonna tell you anyways!  Because this is America, dangit!  And I can do stuff like that here!  But in all seriousness I don't normally get too involved or publicly share my opinion, I don't ever want to offend people.  But I would feel remiss if I did not do so in this case because it is something I feel so strongly about.  The subject I want to discuss is the "documentary" Blackfish and how misleading and destructive it is to the cause of education, conservation, and inspiration everywhere.

The first time I heard of Blackfish was through social media.  My news feed on facebook was suddenly full of it!  I know many people who I consider to be dear friends who watched the documentary and were appalled by what they saw and immediately wrote posts in anger about Sea World and how they "mistreat their animals", stating that no one should ever go to Sea World again.  Some even went as far to state that they would never take their kids to any zoos or aquariums again because of what they saw on Blackfish.  I love all of these people, and I don't want to offend anyone because everyone is entitled to their opinions.  However, I worry that many people watched the movie and formed their opinions solely on the content of Blackfish alone without questioning its truth or quality.  I hope that we all do research on things before we form such strong opinions.  By not researching both sides of a story we are not being responsible stewards or citizens, and our rash opinions can be destructive.

The Lies of Blackfish
Blackfish is advertised as being a documentary, and showing objective truth.  However those descriptions for this movie are extremely misleading.  Blackfish is an advocacy piece that is affiliated with people and groups who are animal rights activists to the extreme.  Furthermore, the cast of Blackfish is made up of disgruntled ex-employees that worked at Sea World over 20 years ago.  They spin a false narrative not only of the life of Tilikum (the killer whale who is featured in the film), but of the death of Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau who was killed during a training sesson with Tilikum in 2010. These trainers lie in order to make the audience believe that Sea World captures killer whales, mistreats them  (which turns them into killing monsters), and then creates elaborate cover up schemes to keep it all a secret.  In truth,  Sea World did not collect Tilikum, nor has it collected any killer whales from the wild in over 35 years.  Second Sea World rescued Tilikum from the marine park that captured and was mistreating him.  And third, in regards to the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau, the cast featured in the film had no involvement with Sea World at the time of this attack nor are they experienced enough to understand all that occurred on that day in 2010.  So they are completely unqualified to make the assumptions and statements that they made in the film.  These are just a few of the issues with Blackfish and there are so many more.  Below I have placed a couple links to what other, more qualified, people have said about the deceit of Blackfish.  I encourage you to read them and decide for yourself weather or not the film Blackfish can be trusted. 

Why You Should Take Your Kids to Sea World
What I want to address in the rest of this post is how Sea World has personally impacted my life for the better.  And how zoos and aquariums and places like Sea World have an important place in society today.

I truly owe a lot to Sea World and its amazing animals and employees.  From the ages of 1 to 4 I was taken to Sea World in San Antonio many many times.  My parents thankfully bought seasons passes and we went there often.  Even though I can't remember many of those visits today, through watching the Shamu show, and Seamore and Clyde, and riding past the penguin habitat on the moving walk way over and over again I gained a love for the ocean and all the beautiful mysterious creatures that live there.  That love has been a huge part of my life and has guided me to do many amazing things thus far.

  At age 13 I became scuba certified.  As a diver i was finally able to see some of the animals that I had dreamt of all my life!  I was hooked!  All throughout high school and for part of college I worked in a scuba diving shop and then became a scuba diving instructor so that I could help others learn and see the world and creatures that I had come to love so much.  Over those 8 years I logged 106 dives in many different places and I have some pretty awesome stories from those dives.  Possibly the best was a night dive in Hawaii where I dove very close to humpback whales.  The vibrations from their calls literally shook my body.  It was crazy awesome and an experience I will never forget!
A picture from that night dive!

Then in my sophomore year of college I was able to attend an internship in Hawaii at Sea Life Park.  I was so excited because I was finally going to get to be around the marine animals that I had always loved!  I worked with sea lions, penguins, dolphins, and even a wolphin (half whale half dolphin... pretty much the coolest hybrid ever!)  and it was a dream come true!  I can still remember the first time that I touched a dolphin, or the first time that I got to ask a dolphin for a behavior!   Every day was pretty much the BEST. DAY. EVER!  And the people that I worked with were amazing people that loved the animals just as much if not more than I did.  The relationships that I observed with the animals and their trainers were relationships of love.  And I felt blessed to be involved in that good work of caring for and loving those animals.  One of the best parts of working at Sea Life Park was being able to not only work with the animals I loved but to be able to help others interact with these animals too.  I assisted in running animal guest interactions in which we would teach guests about the animals, let them touch them, and let them spend time with them so that they could understand why it was so important to protect and conserve the ocean environment.  The smiles on children's and parents faces alike when they get a kiss from a dolphin, or get to feed a sea lion is priceless and something I will never forget.  You can bet that these people who visited Sea Life Park learned a lot during their visit and gained a greater appreciation for the beautiful animals in the ocean.  I look back on that decision to go to Hawaii as one of the best decisions I ever made!

After a year in Hawaii I went back to school at BYU in Provo UT and that was when I met Justin.  Marrying him was the best decision I ever made.  And life since has been truly amazing!  But I would not have had those experiences, or possibly even met my husband, had I not been exposed at the age of 4 to the amazing creatures at Sea World.  That love is what drove me to be a scuba instructor, and to go out to Hawaii in the first place!   It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I owe a lot in my life to Sea World!

My story is not unique.  There have been thousands that have been inspired because of all the good that Sea World does.  And that is the last point I want to make.  Sea World as a company does so much good in the world today.  First of all, it is responsible for education and conservation efforts world wide.  Children learn from animal trainers and care takers at Sea World and are exposed to animals that they would never see otherwise.  And they have been inspired by these visits to become scientists, and educators, and to spread the word of how amazing these creatures are.  Second, through the captivity of a relatively small number of animals we have learned so much about their species.  The things we have learned have led to a better world for their counterparts in the wild.  and Third, for all the animals it keeps in its parks, it takes in, heals, and releases thousands more.  And if a rescued animal is not physically fit to return to the wild then Sea World cares for it at one of their sites.  Sea World has saved the lives of thousands of animals and is a leader in animal rescue and rehabilitation.  When you support Sea World you are supporting these efforts, and I think that that is a pretty awesome thing!

So parents, before you decide to cut your children off from ever experiencing a zoo or aquarium again, please think about what you may be depriving your child of!  I am forever grateful to my parents for exposing me to places like Sea World.  Do your research, and don't just take Blackfish, or advocacy pieces like it, at face value.  As a teacher I can attest to the importance of having real world experiences in order to learn.  Reading a book, or watching a documentary about animals will never teach as well or make as lasting of an impression as actually seeing those animals first hand.  If you are lucky enough to live by an ocean or rain forest, or savanna where you can see these amazing animals in their natural environment, then good for you.  If not, then take your kids to a zoo!  Who knows, maybe their life will be shaped by that experience as much as my life was shaped by visiting Sea World!

October 13, 2012

Trace the Gecko Slayer

Let me preface this story by saying that Texas has geckos.  It freaked me out the first time I saw one, because they come inside houses and crawl around on the ground and wall and stuff.  However they actually play a very helpful role in the house because they eat little bugs!

Anyways, about 2 months ago Trace, Justin, and I were just hanging out at the apartment.  It was a typical day, Justin was studying, I was doing who knows what, and Trace was playing in the kitchen.  He was going through a pretty drooly stage in his life (and he still is... when does that stage end?!).   And it was not uncommon for us to find random puddles of drool around the house marking the places where Trace had spent more than 10 seconds.  Well, he played in there for a while and then crawled on to find  more exciting trouble to get into.

Later on Justin went into the kitchen and looked down to find a poor little gecko barely moving, sitting in an abandoned pile of drool... WHAT?!?!?! SICK!!!

So pretty much this is how I see the whole thing going down...

The poor gecko is just scuttling around minding his own business eating bugs when all of a sudden out of no where a little 7 month old Trace comes crawling around the corner.  The gecko decides it should probably take off and starts to run away, but Trace has spotted him, and somehow manages to catch him.  How that happened? I have know idea because Geckos are pretty fast and Trace was not the most coordinated crawler at this point.  Anyways, after he catches the Gecko he does what any normal person would do and stuffs it into his mouth because maybe it will taste good.  But the gecko will not go down without a fight and starts wiggling around, startling Trace who spits him out onto the floor, makes a weird face, and crawls away thinking, "that was not food!"

That's the most likely story... but I personally like the version that Jenae came up with.  The gecko was sprinting across the kitchen floor and slipped in one of Trace's drool puddles and broke his legs so he could not move which is why he was still lying there when Justin walked into the kitchen.  That version makes me feel better as a mother.  I'd rather not think that my son had a reptile in his mouth.  Who knows what sorts of things were living on it... sick...

Anyways, I have made up a little song to warn any other geckos that might be still living in the apartment... feel free to sing along as you read it!

It looks like we have a gecko slayer in the apartment!
He's crawlin' round your floor,
snatchin' your geckos up,
tryin' to eat them,
so you better hide your kids,
hide your wife,
hide your kids,
hide your wife,
and hide your husband cause he's eatin e'rybody in here!

I know, it's a pretty good song... I bet if we made a youtube video out if it'd go viral!  I'm just sayin'!  Well anyways, this was a true story, and I just wanted to write it down somewhere before I forgot it.  We sure do love the little guy, and we are so happy to have him in our lives!  :)

September 23, 2012

We Did Not Buy a Zoo

This past Saturday we went to the San Antonio Zoo with our friends the Ence's!
  It was so much fun, and we were really impressed with all the cool animals!  We saw hippos, lions, a huge turtle, and some impressive snakes.  And of course we posed with a bunch of bronze animal statues (because you can't go to the zoo without posing with bronze animal statues).
  We love zoos!  Both of us for different reasons, Justin loves to see the animals and try to mimic their noises, and I love to watch Justin try to mimic their noises!
Anyways here are few pictures from the day.
Trace and his friend Austin posing in front of a pair of large hippo bums!
Austin is 1 day younger than Trace, but 5 pounds larger than him!
(And for  little babies, 5 pounds goes a long way!)

OK, this snapping turtle was HUGE!
I thought that putting trace up would help show how big the turtle really was, but that was an epic fail of an idea... So you'll just have to imagine!  But in this picture trace is 3 feet away from the glass... it was the biggest thing I've ever seen and I'm pretty sure it could eat me, whole!

Trace posing on a Komodo Dragon!
I am already impressed with Trace's ability to really become one with the bronze animals.
He's a zoo picture posing master in the making!
Anyways, it was fun to take a brake from school, and teaching, and do something fun in this awesome city!  Thanks to the Ence's for inviting us to come!  

September 3, 2012

Life Life Life

Wow!  Have things picked up around our little apartment lately!  Approximately 1 month ago I was offered a job to teach 7th Grade Science at Harris Middle School!  After a lot of prayer and soul searching I decided to take the job.  Without going into all the details I will just say that the decision to  work outside of the home was a hard one, but it is the best decision for us right now as a family.  Anyways, Last week was my first week and I absolutely LOVE the students I get to work with this year!  I can already tell that they will be a fun group!
Ever since getting this job however, our lives have become quite a bit crazier!  Since I am working we have put Trace in a local day care (which I am pretty sure is the same day care I attended till I was 4 years old!).  Putting Trace in daycare is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do...  and the first day we dropped him off I was (as my sister-in-law Kindra likes to say) "a hot mess!"  I was crying when we dropped him off, and crying when I thought about him there, and then I was crying again when we picked him up!  And there have been some tears since as well.  But I am so pleased with how well he is doing!  And a lot of the ladies there that watch him have expressed to me how much they love him, and that is very reassuring to hear!
Anyways, today I came across this poem that kind of sums up our lives right now!  Even though our apartment might be a little messier than normal, and our lives are so busy, I truly feel like I am able to appreciate the time I have with Trace so much more!  The few hours we get to spend with him each day are by far the highlights of our lives right now.  Those moments are what get me through from one day to the next, and I am so grateful for him and for Justin, and the true joy and happiness they bring to my life!

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat- a- cake, darling and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard and there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look!  Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs.  Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby.  Babies don’t keep.

1958   Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Trace at 8 months old!

July 24, 2012

White Coat Ceramony

So I have officially lost my Husband for the next 4 years... sigh... :)
This past Sunday we attended Justin's White Coat Ceramony which signifies his entry into medical school.  The parts of the ceremony that I saw were very impressive!  Unfortunatly Trace did not find them as entertaining as I did, which is why I spent most of the ceremony out in the hall... 

This was who I got to hang out with while the ceremony was going on!
He played in the grass for the first time! and subsequently ate grass for the first time...
But I was able to see the important parts before Trace freaked out!  Justin and the rest of his class walked in. Then later he walked up on stage and got his white coat (the symbol of a healer), and after that they all took the Hippocratic Oath and promised to help the world!
Justin walking down after recieving his white coat!
Thanks to Justin's Mom for taking these great pictures!
Justin's parents took time off from their busy, busy post mission lives to come down and celebrate this happy day with us!  

Trace still has not mastered looking at the camera and smiling..

Trace loves his dada!
And all in all it was a great day to celebrate Justin's achievements thus far! Good luck on the next 4 years Justin!!

July 11, 2012

Justin? Where's the truck?!

Last month we moved to San Antonio!

Oh ya, if you haven't heard, Justin got accepted into UT San Antonio for medical school!  So after 10 minutes of deliberations over which school we should attend, we decided to go to San Antonio instead of El Paso!

So anyways, at the beginning of June we moved down to San Antonio.  We were way excited as you can see in this picture.

Packing for the move was pretty easy since we had been living in Justin's parents house and really hadn't had to unpack any of our stuff from our previous move.  So the only new stuff we had to pack was Trace's stuff.
Side note:  I was shocked at how much stuff we accumulated for Trace!  Goodness Kid!  Babies add so much stuff to your life... clothes, diapers, furniture, it really is crazy!

The actual move was awesome!  I had to drive alone with Trace in the car to San Antonio while Justin drove the truck, and due to prior experience I was fully prepared to listen to whining and crying the whole 5 hours.  But a small miracle happened that day (with a little help from my best friend, Baby Tylenol) and Trace slept for the first 4 hours of the trip and then cooed happily for the rest!  Thank goodness!

That night we unpacked the entire truck with some help from our new neighbor Jessie who was kind enough to come down, introduce himself, and then offer to help Justin with all our heavy furniture.  I mean, I was fully prepared to use my insane upper body strength to aid Justin in moving all that heavy stuff, but when Jessie came down I figured I would let him and Justin have some male bonding time.  I know, I am such an amazing wife, right?! ;)

The next day we spent the whole morning inside our apartment unpacking and when we came out to take our handy dandy Budget truck back to the dealer it was MISSING!  As in, the parking space where Justin parked it the night before was empty!  We quickly visited the front office of the apartment complex and found out that it had not been towed, therefore someone had STOLEN it!  what the?!  Who steals a moving van?!

So Justin called the police who sent out an officer to our apartment and while we were talking with him we got a call from an apartment complex about 20 minutes South of us saying that they were going to tow our truck if we didn't move it out of their parking lot soon.  I think they were expecting us to be bummed about possibly being towed, but we were just elated that they found our moving truck!  So we asked them to hold the truck there, we through Trace in the car, and went down to reclaim our stolen truck.

I guess someone had just been looking for a moving van and when they saw ours they decided it would work! They popped the locks and then took a screw driver to the ignition.  Since it was stolen Budget didn't charge us for any of the damages, and they even came and picked up the van and towed it back for us!  So, all's well that ends well!

I'm not even mad really.  I think it's a funny story!  But I still wonder what the truck hijackers were needing to move so badly?  A really big dead body?!  Toys stuffed with drugs?!  Stolen art worth millions of dollars?!  The possibilities are endless really... let me know your theories!  And come visit us in San Antonio sometime!  Though we can't promise your car won't get stolen... :)