Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolution Suggestion

Today is New Year's Eve.  We don't usually go crazy with the partying or with the resolutions, it's usually just a quiet night at home.  

I prayed with each kiddo before they went to sleep, promising to work on a few parenting issues with each.

I said, "Dear Jesus, this year, help me be a better Mommy to Daniel.  Help me be less distracted and more focused on him."

And then I heard a loud whisper:  "And no more bootie swats."

I opened my eyes to see Daniel squinting at me (as he often does during prayer!) and he repeated himself: "And No More Bootie Swats."

Trying not to laugh, I said, "That's what you think I should work on?"

He said, "Yes.  And no more time outs."  And he resumed his bowed head, eyes closed position.

There we go, I guess.  Always good to get firsthand input.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Coloring for Jesus

When Daniel wants to give you the best gift possible, he draws something for you.  It's his greatest expression of love, and when he is overwhelmed with gratitude, he rushes to the dining room table and draws a machine, or a robot, with your name on it.

And today, his gratitude was for Jesus.

"Mommy, Do you know who is bigger than EVERYTHING?  Jesus.  Do you know who is stronger than EVERYTHING?  Jesus.  And do you know who I love more than ANYTHING?  Jesus.  Because he is everyone's shepherd.  He is the shepherd to everyone.  But we are not the sheep that say baaa-baaa.  We are not animals.  But he takes care of us.  I'm going to draw him a cake."  

And that he did.  Every piece meaningful and intentional, the cake took form slowly.  When he got the "s" backwards, he tried to convince me it was supposed to be a "5" because he was almost 5.  Smooth.  When he listed random names of people Jesus loved, Dash (from the Incredibles) made the list because that's what we were watching at the time.

He showed his masterpiece to Violet afterwards, who watched with rapt attention, like a good little sister.  She even asked questions, allowing him to do his absolute favorite thing in the world:  Tell you even MORE about the drawing he just completed.

I'm certain that whatever gifts Jesus received this year, Daniel's offering was the most precious.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Snicker Pie Incident

Not gonna lie, this post isn't for the weak of stomach.  I'm talking to you, Erin Wiens.  Close this window immediately.

For the rest of you, here we go.

Thanks to some good friends in Arkansas, I now possess the recipe for a DELICIOUS and decadent Snickers pie.  It's cold, creamy and very rich.  I made up a pie for Christmas this year, and Daniel took notice.  He is fond of Snickers pie.

Late in the day, he asked us if he could have a snack.  He said, "Could I have a piece of the candy cake?" And assuming he was referring to the biscuit-based cake we had for breakfast, we told him he could.

About twenty minutes later, I noticed what was happening in the kitchen.  And I saw the damage:  A nearly empty pie plate and a very small Dora-the-Explorer fork in the middle of the remains.  Our best guess is that he ate approximately 1/3 of it.  Could have been more.

Fast forward about an hour.  Violet is asking for dinner, but Daniel is rubbing his belly saying that he doesn't want any more treats today.  His tummy hurts.

Fast forward one more hour.  Daniel and I had just completed a brand new puzzle of the United States and he gets a funny look on his face.  He said his tummy REALLY hurts.  And I think we all know what happened next.

The Southern United States were good sports, all things considered, as they receive the brunt of the storm.  The Gulf of Mexico was hardest hit, and Florida didn't stand a chance.  But the entire US and Canada ended up in the trash.  There are some smells that just won't ever come out of cardboard.

After we cleaned him up and calmed him down (he hasn't really ever thrown up before so he was a little shaken up) we laughed about the whole thing, saying what a great story this would make someday.

We didn't know then what we know now, or we wouldn't have been laughing:  That was wave one of SIX.  Little man emptied his stomach on the table, in his bed, in the tub, on the couch, in the bathroom and in the living room.  And naturally, all over Mommy and Daddy in the process.  Four hours and five pairs of pajamas later, he finally fell asleep.

He has refused any snacks since then, asking before each bite if the item in question is "healthy".  And it's been pretty much bananas, applesauce and toast for a day.

I thought he had learned his lesson until he told me thoughtfully today, "Mommy, do you know why I threw up?  Because I ate too much candy pie.  And do you know why I ate too much candy pie?  Because I really, really like it.  I do."  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Video!

A few minutes of fun Christmas moments from our family... Merry Christmas!

Christmas from Fernando Amaro on Vimeo.

A Superhero Christmas

Daniel had a pretty stinkin' good Christmas.  Until about 5 p.m. in the afternoon.  And you'll just have to read the next post for those details because I am NOT writing it out again.

Here's how the day started:  Eating.  Lots of eating.  We do a traditional food line up, starting with Pull-Apart Cake followed shortly by breakfast burritos.  Daniel was a fan of both.

The presents were plentiful, thanks to tons of family members and friends who love spoiling our kiddos.  Mema, Papa and TK slept over on Christmas Eve night, and Mr. David, Quito and Uncle Chris joined us on Christmas Day.  I love my house every day, but I REALLY love it when it's brimming with family.  

Daniel's "big" present from us was the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots game.  He had asked for a machine/robot and this is as close as we could come.  In retrospect, I didn't realize how loud it was.  Fun, though!

His most played with toy so far has been a simple super hero outfit - cape and mask.  He turns into "Super Saver" and, well, saves the city.

His giant cardboard robot was warmly received, too, to say the least. He started coloring it AND camping out in it.

After a full day of playing, napping, eating (and barfing...!) Daniel sacked out quickly by our Christmas evening backyard fire.  Not that we minded - both Fernando and I enjoyed a few minutes of holding a sleeping not-so-little baby.  

We took down our decorations the next day, ready to move on to January.  We have had a LOT of Christmas over the past two months.  It has been amazing, and chock full of memories.  I'll leave you with this...

... the sweet little tree I have had for years (decades?) and Daniel decided to decorate it for me this year.  Homemade ornaments, little drawings, stickers, paper clips and a toy string of lights.  Christmas has never looked better!  

Friday, December 23, 2011

The S Word

The S Word = Santa.  I'll clarify that now, in case anyone thinks Daniel has taken to cussing.  He hasn't.  Yet.

Every family has to figure out pretty quickly after having kids what they will do with the Santa issue.  For us, the real decision happened this year when Daniel was 4.  Old enough to ask the real questions, young enough to still be sweetly naive.

I could write forever on this, but it came down to a simple statement that we couldn't get out of our heads.

"Our words are true."

Often, and usually in the middle of catching one of our kids trying to get a "yes" from a parent when the other has said "no", we have said this line to our kids.  "Mommy and Daddy's words are true."  The second line is often, "So if Mommy said no, Daddy will say no too" or "So when I said you will get a time out, I meant it."

And for us, the Santa issue boils down to an issue of believing what your parents tell you.  Even if it means tough conversations.  Even if it means redirection if they aren't old enough for the tough conversation (read: sex, death, etc).  And even if it means risking that they will spill the beans at school with another child who DOES believe Santa is real.  I just can't rationalize lying to my kiddo in order to protect the imagination of another child.  (It's ok if you want to yell at me when my 2-year-old ruins it for your kid.  I can take it.)

So, this year we told Daniel and Violet that Santa is pretend.  They asked and we answered:  He is based on a real historical figure (the Veggie Tales version of St. Nicholas is fabulous, by the way) and it's fun to pretend with Santa, watch movies about him, hang some ornaments on the tree with his face on them.  But he is pretend.  We don't open presents from him, we don't write letters to him, and we talk WAY more about the faith-based meaning of Christmas than about the commercialization bit.

I do think we made the right choice for our family.  We had a photo done with Santa recently, and Daniel and Violet had a blast.  The next day, Daniel said, "Mommy, is God real?  Because you told me Santa is pretend but I saw him last night.  So maybe Santa is real and God is pretend."  Talk about dangerous.  It led to a great conversation and Daniel has been crystal clear since then on real vs pretend in the world of God and Santa.  But it illuminated CLEARLY that my validation of truth to him is his foundation.  He can question and postulate based on that foundation, but we as parents are responsible for the base knowledge.  And I'm not risking messing that up.

So, there you go.  Our take on Santa in the Amaro house.  Ho ho ho, y'all.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stage, Round Two

After the infamous "Anti Performance" of the week before, we were curious about what would happen at Daniel's church choir performance this week.

Here's what happened... pretty much the whole time.  (That's him on the far right, by the way...)

He didn't totally freeze, but it would appear that his moratorium on performances is still in effect.  He was more interested in the big screens behind him (and also why he couldn't get his fingers to "snap") than in singing or dancing at all.

That's ok... he'd be cute in a potato sack.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Growing Up

After Violet's performance, we headed to the park to get a few photos of her wearing the Red Dress from my childhood.  As a nice byproduct, we also got some killer shots of Daniel.  He kept leading us on adventures (while singing the "Going On Adventures" song, naturally) and pointing out how the leaves are yellow, so it must be Fall.

I am amazed at how much he is changing daily.  His humor... his speech... his character... his individuality.  I simply fall more in love with him every day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Her Brother, the Cheerleader

Two days after Daniel's Christmas performance at his preschool, Violet had her show.  (Fun details here!)  

Her performance was memorable in tons of ways, but one of the things I'll remember most is Daniel's reaction to it.  He was truly, genuinely excited to see it.  He kept saying things during the performance like, "Violet looks so cute!  She's doing so good!"  

In her classroom afterwards, he was very obviously proud to be seen with her, hugging on her and keeping his arm around her.  

Nothing makes me prouder, more inspired or more humbled as a parent than to see their mutual love, respect and admiration for each other.  It is awe-inspiring.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mr. Angry Tuxedo

So, Daniel doesn't like wearing a suit.  I found this out the morning of his Christmas preschool play.  He sobbed.  He whined.  He looked at me with the most pathetic brown eyes I have ever seen.  But I made him wear it.

And perhaps partially out of defiance and partially out of stage fright, he rebelled.  He decided not to make one move.  The songs he has been singing for weeks... not one word.  The moves he has been practicing... not one finger lifted.  He quietly resolved to stand stock still for twenty minutes, and succeeded.  Nothing but steady eye contact and an emotionless face.

It was maybe the cutest thing I have ever seen.

As soon as it was done, in the "after party" in the classroom, he was completely fine.  Happy, energetic, answering questions about why he didn't dance or sing with a simple, "I decided to just stand still."

He played on the playground for a few minutes in his suit, and which made for some cute photos.  (The suit is filthy dirty now though, which is a small price to pay for photos.)

I will cherish this memory forever, and will try to keep myself from playing the video of the performance to all of Daniel's friends as he gets older.  No guarantees though... it's a pretty cute video.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Big Camera Time

As a photographer, I don't typically subject my kids to regular "photo shoots".  But once or twice a year, we get a little more formal about photos.  (Read:  I don't use the iPhone.)  

This week, we headed to a local outdoor spot that seemed conducive to photos and low key enough to let the kids run around.  Thirty minutes later, we had captured a few memories and had a ton of fun.  

As always, too many photos to post them all, but here are a few fun ones: