Thankful for HER

This Thanksgiving, all I could think about what how lucky we are to have Violet. How at this time last year, we didn't have a daughter and she was in an orphanage. The food, the family, the incredibly amount of love all around us all day nearly brought me to tears. I am so thankful for HER.

And this year, I didn't bring my camera to Thanksgiving so that I wouldn't be so focused on the photos that I wouldn't enjoy the event.

Hence... no photos. Well, there's one.

But Daniel looks terrified, I look cheesy, Fernando is talking, and Violet looks, well, not pleased.

But here you go... an Amaro Thanksgiving.

The day was pretty amazing - so many family members and so much food! We played games and took naps and kept on eating. Violet did admirably with all the noise and chaos. After the initial adjustment, she seemed to like it!


Fall iPhone Fun

Just a few fun shots with my iphone lately!

Violet's hair is growing SO MUCH! I'm loving the fro. I'm jealous of the fro. Daniel loves to read to her... we frequently walk into one of their rooms to see something like this. He's like her little school teacher sometimes.

He also likes to protect her from "scary" scenes in movies... and she lets him. (She also lets her cousins put her shoes back on, as you can see!)

It's Fall... and Violet loves pumpkins. She says, "Hi, pumpkin!" every time we pass one in the store. She also bee-lined straight for the fence to play with the boys on the other side during her Fall party. They didn't seem to mind!


Flower Head

Today, I put a flower in Violet's hair. Then I put another one in. Then she asked for more. And somehow... we wound up with 15 flowers in her hair.

I found an old red slip from my childhood and sent the little wood nymph out to the backyard to play (of course following close behind with a camera).

She had so much fun.

And then eventually her rough and tough side came out... water guns and hoses AND red ruffles and 15 flowers. I love this child.


Girlie Girl

In case there was any doubt left: Violet is a girlie girl.

She loves shoes. She loves jewelry. She loves looking at herself in the mirror and telling herself she's pretty. She loves ruffles. She loves pink. She loves flowers in her hair. She loves baby dolls. She loves pretending to be a mommy. (She shares her milk with her Dora doll sometimes.)

Today I put her in one of my childhood dresses - pale blue with white dots, lots of ruffles and a big bow in the back. She lit up instantly and enjoyed every moment in that dress.


Facebook Fun

Another installment of "Recently on Facebook"! Or some equally non-exciting title. Anyway. A few snippets of kid-related posts from our pages recently, in no particular order!

CFA: Christmas season officially started in the Amaro house. We had a big ole dance party to everything from Family Force Five's Carol of the Bells to Bing Crosby's Christmas in Kilarney. And Violet does an amazing Irish jig, in case you were wondering.

FAA: I used to play the recorder. I have passed it on to Daniel. Was not thinking clearly.

CFA: Violet officially calls me "mommy" instead of "mama"... It's precious and sad, too. How did the mama stage end so soon??

FAA: My baby girl just fell asleep on my shoulder as I sang Beatles songs, perfect moment. :)

CFA: Wrestling today... One of their happier rounds. Currently they are both in time out for hitting each other. :)

FAA: Had an amazing afternoon with my amazing kiddos, made dinner including some delicious yellow bell peppers sauteed in coconut oil which even Daniel loved! We watched "Racing Stripes", had ice cream, and a dance contest with some crazy fun music! Living the dream!

CFA: Perfect morning interrupted by Daniel's first bee sting... Boo! Daddy went outside and put the bee in "time out". This made the patient very happy.

CFA: Violet just polished off her first peanut butter and jelly sandwich. In related news, I had a See's chocolate sucker earlier that made me think of Gramma. Bittersweet day for food in our house.

FAA: Took the little amaros out this morn. Headed to the park for a little brunch with the ducks (ducks ate old tortillas and we had water, apples and cheese). Spent some time at the playground then headed in to the public library for some reading fun! Daniel just told me that it was "so cool daddy". Win.

CFA: On the playground. Violet ditches the pumpkin patch and beelines for the fence to play with three boys from the other class. Should I be worried yet???

CFA: All done! Violet's adoption is as complete and legal as it gets. Everything went great... Especially when Daniel told the judge (under oath) that his name is "Astroboy" :)

FAA: Carrie was getting breakfast ready and Daniel says "mommy can I have ice cream?" and Carrie says "No Daniel, I'm making eggs" and Daniel proceeds to fall to his knees, throw his hands up in the air, and yell....."ICE CREAM EGGS!!!! YUMMMMMMY!!!". It was actually sad to explain to him that we did not mean ice cream eggs. Lol

CFA: I put one of my childhood dresses on Violet today, just for fun... she didn't want to take it off. I think she felt pretty :)

CFA: Violet's new word: "Mo". As in, "I want to say 'no' but can't pronounce the 'n'. So.... 'Mo'." Accompanied by a (very) sassy head shake. Here we go.

CFA: Just gave Violet almond milk for the first time... Every time she takes a swig from her cup she throws her head back and yells "yay!!!!" ... I think she likes it...

FAA: Why are the kids so cranky today...oh, wait, its 3pm and we forgot to have nap time. :) They are now sleeping and its true...silence really is golden.

CFA: Violet finally learned to say "Daniel" tonight. For the past week, she's been calling him "Ah-to-boy". (Astroboy). He believes he IS Astroboy. She apparently agrees.

FAA: Violet just said "blue battery" perfectly. seriously, perfectly. Why you ask? Because Astro Boy aka Daniel is powered by a blue battery and he asked her "can you say blue battery, blue battery!"

CFA: Had a few hours this evening with my sweet kiddos... we ran errands, made dinner, chased grasshoppers (in the kitchen), and spent most of the time playing in Daniel's imaginary garden world. I love them so.

CFA: Try keeping a straight face while telling your 3-year-old not to color on your 1-year-old's forehead. Both Fernando and I failed miserably - we had to hide in the hallway, laughing silently, trying to gain composure. And then we still couldn't NOT laugh. Oh well. :)

FAA: Move over Buzz Lightyear, Daniel is now running around pretending to be Astro Boy, the geeky fanboy in me is smiling. Can’t wait till he discovers Voltron. :)

FAA: Nothing like a dance party to Christmas tunes. Daniel and Violet do a mean "Robot". Domo Arigato and a Happy New Year.


A Different Child

I hesitate to even document these words, as if the act of giving them voice is in and of itself scarring my kids in the future. But here we go anyway: Daniel and Violet are different.

I know, I know. Obvious, right? Never so much as it was today.

Every Sunday, there is a precious little hour between the end of church and the start of nap when I get to hang out with my kids. The issue with this is that they are 1) tired, 2) tired of being there, 3) hungry, 4) cranky. I am also usually all of those four things.

Violet and I managed to have not one but THREE blowouts during this week's most recent "precious little hour". In retrospect, I see my mistakes (read: my). At the time however, I relied on the parenting wisdom I have gathered from my experiences with an 18-month old Daniel. INEFFECTIVE with Violet.

Mistake #1: Expecting her to come when I called, after just allowing her to run around in a new fun environment (an outdoor dirt lot with tons of "car lot" type colored flags). I should know better. I am used to a child to comes when called - period. Violet is not that child. She prefers to explore her settings and gets caught up in them - she tunes us out. Next Time: I will walk over to her instead of hollering across a bunch of people. Less hollering, Mom.

Mistake #2: Expecting her to oblige sweetly, hold my hand, and walk AWAY from this newly discovered fun new play environment. I must have lost my mind for a minute. Violet does not like holding hands and was far too involved in the fun new play spot. Next Time: I will still make her hold my hand and walk away. I just won't be disappointed when she's not sweet about it and I will not convince myself it's because she doesn't love me.

Mistake #3: Thinking that this particular hour on a Sunday would be a grand time to take a picture of my kiddos wearing cute little hats. Sitting together. Smiling at the camera. WRONG. Next Time: Put the camera down, Mom. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong temperaments all around.

Mistake #4: Allowing all of the above (and more) get to me. As in, really get to me. I spent the better part of their naptime worrying about how badly I had messed up the brief time we had spent together. Yes, I was irritable, irrational, short-tempered and more than once had allowed the "Daniel was never like this" thought to cross mind. (Which led to more mental self-abuse for even thinking the thought).

But Violet is different. Not good or bad - just different. She is adventurous and fiery where so far, Daniel has tended to be safe and sweet. Her defiance is as natural and healthy to her as it is foreign to me. It's a learning curve for both of us - and mostly for me.

In the midst of a stressful moment with her I can lose sight of the beauty in our differences. But in these quiet reflective moments, it's crystal clear: I stand to learn a lot from Violet. Lessons I will miss out on if I insist on making her conform to the parental mold Daniel created in me.

Instead of forcing my unrealistic expectations onto her, I will choose to shift MY parenting to match her personality. And not vice versa.