Sunday, May 29, 2011

Vacation Bliss

Ah, the bliss of vacation. A few days away from reality in our favorite spot... Sedona. It was Daniel's 2nd time (Violet's 1st) but he was too young the first time to remember. Everything from the s'mores to the sleeping bags were new and exciting to him.

Cold enough to require serious snuggling at night but warm enough to warrant some cold creek swimming, we managed to hit the "sweet spot" for camping up north. Our theme song for the trip ("Knee Deep" by the Zac Brown Band) was replayed so many times the kids ended up learning the words.

Daniel could have played in that creek forever... or rolled in that grass forever... or roasted marshmellows forever... or thrown rocks in the river forever... so he kept telling us. And he and Violet were absolutely inseparable the whole time. It's precious to watch them choose each other when they don't have to.

More artsy photos HERE... and more fun photos on Violet's blog, HERE... but here are a handful of fun Daniel memories from our favorite trip yet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Four Haircuts Later...

We took Daniel to get a haircut and instead ended up with four haircuts.  He was actually really entertained by the progression.  (And we were really entertained by the mullet stage.)

We all love the resulting faux hawk except that he HATES having his hair looks crazy or stand up.  At all.  So, it just kind of lays there now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bike Night

Fernando went to "Bike Night" at a nearby mall... you know, hundreds of Harleys, lots of noise and lots of leather.

So we had our own bike night at home... you know, crayons, silly photos, and printed pictures of motorcycles just begging to be colored.

We are bad to the bone, baby.

Someone Special With Blue Eyes

Daniel will be an excellent writer someday.  His level of description and creativity astounds me, even in routine tasks.  He has begun to identify us in fun ways that we have to "figure out".  For example:  "I need someone special with blue eyes to turn off the lights for me."  I'm sure this has something to do with the way his teacher at school calls students to help with classroom chores, but I still love it.  Nothing like a 4-year-old calling his mom "someone special with blue eyes".  

But I digress.

Last week, I decided to try it in reverse.  I was cooking dinner and was elbow deep in a bowl of something.  

I said, "I need someone special with brown eyes to bring me a big spoon."

Daniel didn't hesitate, even though I was looking directly at him (and no one else was in the room).  "Daddy and Violet have brown eyes, too."  

He just stared at me, waiting for me to be more specific, I guess.

I said, "I need someone special with super hero undies to bring me a big spoon."

Without batting an eye, Daniel yanked his shorts down and cranes his head around to see who is on his bootie that day.  Spiderman.  

He began jumping up and down, yelling, "It's me! It's me!  The someone special is me!"  (As if he didn't see this one coming.)  He brought me the spoon and we proceeded with cooking dinner. 

I know this wide-eyed innocence won't last forever, but it's sure fun while it's here.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Baby Rohl Complex

So, after Violet's 2nd birthday party (Viomi), Daniel developed a tiny complex.  Tiny as in small and plastic, with a onesie.

Violet was given a baby doll (Baby Rosie) and fell in love with playing Mommy - she carts that baby everywhere and dotes on it.  Daniel immediately followed suit with one of Violet's other dolls (which he has now adopted as his own).  He even named the baby:  Baby Rohl.  Don't ask me where the name came from... we have no idea.

Update:  Baby Rohl is out and Baby Karate is in.  Very in.  I'm writing this update in OCTOBER, people.  Baby Karate (also named by Daniel for who knows what reason) has become his "child".  For months now, if Violet is playing with her dolls (and even if she isn't) Daniel constantly tells me that Violet is Baby Rosie & Baby Sydney's Mommy and he is Baby Karate's Daddy.  And together we are one big family.  They frequently put the babies to sleep and admonish anyone in the house (including Mittens) if too much noise is made.  I suppose this is a byproduct of having a little sister... and I don't mind one bit.  

Pure Joy

Pure joy takes on different forms on different days.

Yesterday it took the form of barefoot running on cool evening grass at the park past sunset.

Joy showed up under the moonlight, during an imagination game of rockets and monsters.

Joy leaked out of every squeal as they chased each other (and the ducks).

Joy crunched like their cheetoe snacks and floated across the lake like the apology bread we tossed the ducks.

Joy piled in the car with us as we headed home for a lights off movie night at home ("Just like the big movies, Mommy!").

Joy appeared in each "warm hot chocolate" mug and bowl of coconut popcorn.

My heart is so full of joy, it aches.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day

This Mother's Day was special - MY Mother was visiting us.  And we got to see Fernando's Mother as well.  Maybe it's just because I am a mom, but having my kids and my moms together was just... special.  Lovely.

We snapped a few fun photos by the front door on the way to church.  Here's my favorite:

Church was fun, too.  The men decided to perform a (hilarious) flash mob dance to "Man, I Feel Like a Woman."  They finally figured out what women want at Mother's Day - not candy, not flowers... just a few more incriminating memories of their husbands acting ridiculous.  :)

This year Mother's Day also fell on Violet's actual birthday... there are more fun things on her blog about the day and the party that followed, but for the purpose of this blog, I'll just say we had a lovely Chinese take-out dinner at Fernando's parents house.  No stress... no mess... just a lot of family around a big table talking and laughing a lot.  Perfect.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gramma Time

It's pretty fun to sing "Gramma Time" to the tune of "Hammer Time". Just sayin'.

We got to keep Gramma for nearly TWO WHOLE WEEKS. It was amazing, and Daniel is still in denial that she had to go.

To start things off on a fabulous note, we got stranded at IKEA.  (Not a bad place to be stranded, all in all.)  But the car wouldn't start so we improvised while we waited for Fernando.  We played for hours in the kids section, ended up eating TWO meals there, and watching an entire movie.

(And please don't ask me why the car wouldn't start... I'm still embarrassed.  Let's just say it was a user error.)

The rest of the trip was spent enjoying local splash pads... watching movies... going shopping... and getting crafty.

We created new hair clip styles for Violet while Daniel honed his counting skills with the "big shiny gold buttons".  Mom taught me how to make the kind of hair clips she used to make for me and Stacey as kids... so fun.

At the grocery store, we allowed Daniel to select a toy car to bring home, but he insisted on picking one for everyone - including Gramma.  She got the hot yellow sports car (and she looked pretty happy about it, too)... kitchen counter car races ensued.  

At the end of the visit, Daniel was extremely (extremely) sad to see her go.  But he kept consoling himself:  "Gramma needs to go home and see Tex.  Gramma and Tex are best friends."  It was a tearful goodbye, but so special knowing how much my kiddos love my mom.

Long distance family isn't ideal (I'd much rather them be close by!) but it's working, nonetheless.  And knowing that my kids will love my parents like I love my (long distance) grandparents is beyond priceless.  

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Kid Thief

Daniel has pretty much grown out of naps. He doesn't need them most days, but if I know it's gonna be a long or tiring evening, we make him take a nap.

Today (Mother's Day and also Violet's 2nd Birthday) is one of those days. And since my mom is still in town visiting, Daniel has been sleeping in our bed. (You won't hear me complain about that... I still love it.)

He doesn't love the idea of naps, so in order to help persuade him, I employed the beloved method of "in on the secret" bribery. I showed him the "top secret" birthday cake in the fridge for Violet and explained that he needed to take a nap or he would definitely not be getting any birthday cake.

His eyes bulged at the cake... the temptation began it's work. But then he composed himself and very thoughtfully told me, "Mommy, if I eat too much food, my tummy hurts. And I don't want that. So I think I'll just color instead of taking a nap."

Let's all say it together: BACKFIRE. First time in history that this kid has passed up cake.

So plan B it was... I just told him to get in bed. He did as he was told with one request: A naptime story. He scampered to the bookshelf and selected "The Night Before Christmas".

On this day, Mother's Day and Violet's Birthday, it seemed an interesting request but it ended up being pretty fun to discuss sugarplums and concepts like "bowlful of jelly" in the middle of May. Daniel stayed interested throughout the dense language until the very end, when he became suddenly very bothered:

"He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the dawn of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight..."

He pointed to the dad on the page. "Mommy, what's the daddy saying?"

I said, "He is saying bye to Santa, baby."

"No he's not, Mommy. He's saying 'I WANT MY BABY BACK!'" And Daniel got upset, pointing towards one of the elves on Santa's sleigh.

I tried to calm him down, "Honey, that's not his baby. That's just an elf from the North Pole. His baby is safe in his bed. Santa doesn't take babies."

Daniel thought for a minute, then pointed to another elf. "What about THAT one? Did Santa take that baby?"

I hope this memory doesn't stick around until December or we might have a traumatizing Christmas on our hands, folks.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Best Part of My Workday

I could debate myself for hours on the pros and cons on being an "outside of the home" working mom.  Sometimes it just plain stinks, and I miss the minutes I'm missing with my babies.

But there is one giant perk that stays consistent:  The sheer joy and excitement on their faces when they see me at the end of a school day.  What follows is pretty fun, too:  Babbling, run on sentences full of that day's adventures... who they played with, what they ate, what they learned, what they did, how much they missed me, what they want to do at home tonight.  This conversation continues out the door and all the way home.

But it's that initial moment of recognition I live for.  The "drop everything fun I'm doing - MOMMY'S HERE!" moment.  I wait for it all day, and when it happens, it absolutely fills me up.