Burst & Box Twists

This week's style developed out of a desire to find a 100% protective style, and keep the hair out of Ms. V's face!  While it's simple in theory (flat rope twists in a "burst" pattern on top of her head, box twists in the back) it took longer than I had anticipated.  Those twists came out smaller than I meant for them to, and it took us nearly 3 movies to complete this one.  We kept on twisting right through naptime.

What I'll do differently next time: The ear-to-ear part will need to be moved back another inch - those flat twists "tails" keep flipping forward.

Anyway.  It's a sweet style, and it's fun to change up her look from week to week.  My husband remarked this week that her face seems to change with each new look - this week included.  It's true.  Half the fun of styling is seeing the personality it evokes!

These "style" photos were taken while V was still in the styling chair (read: high chair), with her styling clothes on (read: pajamas), with her styling diversions still in place (read: yogurt still all over her face!).


That Photo

Some photos just capture the heart of a family.  Some photos just completely portray what it FELT like to be somewhere.  Some photos just make you want to look at them over... and over... and over.

For me, this is that photo.

It was taken last month at our family Halloween party, but after most everyone had changed into their regular clothes.  (I love that Keila and Raquel still look half dressed up.  My Chola and Flapper sisters.)

Papa Bear was giving the kids a ride, and the grown ups just kept on piling on, the whole room just full of laughter and shrieks of joy.  It was hilarious, and just so fun.  (And Fernando is definitely up to no good back there.  Poor, poor Papa.)

Anyway.  It just warms my heart for a thousand reasons, not the least of which is seeing Violet at the front of such support and love.  I hope she understands someday what an amazing network God created for her.  Because not all kids get to experience this.


Low Pigtail Twists

A new do!  Thanksgiving is this week, and for us that means a day of hard playing outside with a whole lot of cousins.  So, we needed a full protection style that would hold up to the play while still feeling "festive" and "Fall-ish".  (I later noticed that I was wearing my hair in low pigtails that day, so I think I subconsciously influenced the style choice...!?)

Last week, Violet's hair was free (amazing fro... getting soooo big and beautiful) but that means it was a mess during bath time and took longer during detangling.  Thankfully, the style didn't take that long (2 movies exactly!).  

One center part, seven rows on each side, and one diamond of "bangs" in the front.  Each pigtail is connected in a rubber band, and then the seven twists are braided together and connected again at the end.  I'll just change out the two colored bobbles to match her outfits this week.

She wasn't thrilled about me taking photos of her hair afterwards (sometimes she loves it and sometimes she's just ready to be free to run around after sitting for so long!) but we invented a new silly face game that seemed to change her mind.  :)    

We have been using the same products for each rope twist style:  Co-washing with Tug Me Not (Blended Beauty), Additional conditioning aftewards with Coconut Oil, each twist gets moisturized with Jelly Cream (Blended Beauty) and then a generous amount of Madagascar Vanilla Creme (Darcy's Botanicals).  

Anyway, it was a fun style I'm sure we'll use again.  Fernando loves it, and it really does suit her personality.  Usually I DON'T like the style that comes after a week of free hair (because I miss the fro) but that hasn't happened with this one.  I think it's a keeper!


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:   




Glorious Afro

After weeks of protected styles only, we let Violet have a week of "free hair".  
We spent the whole week admiring how healthy, thick and long her hair is getting.  
It's just gorgeous.  Magnificent.  Regal. 


Jesus on your phone?

We have always exposed our kids to a wide arrange of fun, eclectic music in the hopes of laying a foundation for musical appreciation on a grand scale.  Right now, for example, their most requested songs include:

"Rhythm of Love" (by the Plain White T's.  Also called "camping song #2" by the kids.)
"Elvira" (by The Oak Ridge Boys.  Giddeup a oompahpah, baby.)
"Nothing's Gonna Stop This Love" (great dance song by "Radiant Rising" - turns any drive into a jam.)
"Knee Deep" (by Zac Brown Band.  Also called "camping song #1" by the kids.)
"I Am the War Inside" (by Switchfoot.  Violet sings that line on repeat, which is just awesome.  And hilarious.)
"I'm Yours" (by Jason Mraz.  Yes he swears in that song, but it's the "d" word and honestly sounds like he is saying Daniel's name... so Daniel thinks it's HIS song.  We're such great parents...!)

The one thing we HAVEN'T exposed them to is traditional kids music.  When we put on a kids' album, it's usually something quirky like Elizabeth Mitchell or SteveSongs ("Fast Monkey" is a household favorite.)

But when it comes to the CLASSICS, they aren't coming from us.  They tend to come from school and church at times (we weren't the ones to teach them "Jesus Loves Me" or "Taking Home a Baby Bumblebee", for example) but once they have been taught them, we sing them together.  We're not anti-kids music.  There's just so much good stuff out there in the real world that we'd prefer them listening to - it's probably more selfish than anything strategic.

Anyway.  Back to my point.  I'm not sure where this one came from but they started singing that (really old) kids song:  "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning, Jesus at the noontime, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus when the sun goes down."  (Then you repeat with new words - Love him, Serve him, Praise him, Thank him.)

So Fernando taught them the correct lyrics (Daniel kept saying "Jesus at the news time" and Violet insisted on "Bake him, Bake him" instead of "Thank him, Thank him".)  He even worked up a fun little version on guitar so we could sing as a family at home.

This was great, but didn't work in the car.  (And thanks to our iPhones, the car has become our central music point.)  I mean, we'd sing it all together ac cappella, but something was still missing.  SO he downloaded a (very cheesy) version of this onto his iPhone, so we could play it in the car.

Instant hit.  Like, overnight #1 Billboard kind of success with the kids.  Forget that previous list of favorites... Plain White T's are out, and Jesus is in.

For a while I didn't have it on my phone, so Violet would ask, "Can we hear Jesus?  Or is he just on Daddy's phone?"  Which is cute.  But then it got cuter.  She'd just smile at us and ask,

"Do you have Jesus on your phone?"

The day Mommy got Jesus on her phone was a pretty big deal.  And now we have to impose rules about how many times they can listen to Jesus before Mommy and Daddy go INSANE.

Don't get me wrong.  I love Jesus a lot, but my limit is three.  I'm pretty sure he understands.

(Side note about the photo... Violet now uses a silk scarf behind her head for hair protection purposes.  She also has been carrying around Baby Sydney and Baby Boy a lot.  When we leave them in the car, she tells them bye, that she loves them and she'll come back to see them.  Little mother in the making!) 



I'm usually a strict mom.  But I break a few of my own rules on a regular basis.

Like... bedtimes are VERY fluid in our house.  This is a bad thing, I know.  I can't help it.

And after raising one "Babywise" kiddo, I have become the sucker who rocks/lays with each of my kids as they go to sleep.  I make no apologies for that one - I wouldn't trade those minutes for the world.

But the one I have noticed lately is a strange one for me, because it's technically unsafe (and typically I don't mess around with safety):

I let my kids sit on the counters.

In fact, I find myself using it strategically.  In this photo, I needed to get a wipe for Violet's runny nose and we were about to head out the door so I didn't want her to run off and play.  (Then I took the time to snap a photo with my phone, so that makes it worse, I guess!)

But when they are cooking with me, it's just easier to have them up there where they can watch everything.  When I'm doing anything in the kitchen actually, and they just want to hang out, I let them.  We're face to face this way - just feels better.  And if I need/want a quick photo of them together, the counter is perfect:  They can't run from the camera.  Feet washing at the end of the day happens on the bathroom sink counter, as does teeth-brushing.

So.  There's my confession.  But honestly it's not something I plan on changing anytime soon.

I just hope that when I hollar, "Stay there a minute and don't fall!" they'll take me seriously.  Because a big fall would ruin ALL the fun.  

Ballerina Up-do

Well, it's a style that I have seen on a ton of little girls, but it's usually done with cornrows: The Ballerina Up-do.

Since I'm not quite confident enough in my cornrows to do a whole head of them (and since I have just mastered "flat rope twists upside down"!) we substituted flat rope twists.

It was quick and pretty easy, too - after bath and detangling (I included a photo of mid-way through the routine, which I don't normally show!), we did our coconut oil and parting routine, then went right into the style since we were making such good time.  From start (pre-bath) to finish (totally done) it was less than 3 hours.

Usually the top is left in a free puff (from what I have seen on other kids) but I'm really trying for totally protective styles this winter - no loose ends anywhere.  So we left the twists in and created a bun.  It's a funny combination of ballerina and sumo wrestler.

The downside:  It's fuzzy already.  The twists are so big that all the little baby hair still growing in just popped up almost instantly.  We'll see if it lasts a whole week before the OCD mom in me has to retwist a few sections.  I'm thinking that the next time I do this one, I will do smaller twists (maybe 16 instead of 8?) to keep those baby hairs happy longer.

For this week, it will work.

And you'll have to excuse the fuzzy camera phone photos.  I can't bust out the big boy EVERY time.


Tigers, Ice Cream and Bobbing for Pears

Our Halloween fun started a day early, with the traditional Amaro Halloween Bash.  This year we partied on Sunday the 30th which turned out to be a great decision. 

Violet and Daniel wore their "real" costumes - Octimus Prime and... Ice-Cream.  She saw this costume with Fernando at Target a few weeks back and just fell in love.  It is pretty stinking cute.  We even found some plaid shoes on clearance to match.  The cutest part was that Daniel just wanted to "save the day" and "keep us safe" - specifically the ice cream.  So they walked around as a team, her pointing out imaginary monsters and him putting his arm around her second scoop and reasurring her. 

The Amaros made their grand entrance (Mema and Papa were Mustard and Ketchup... TK was a Chola... Quito and Uncle Chris were a 1920s couple... Fernando was Obi-Juan-Kenobe and I was Princess Lei-a) and we took the traditional photos.  Then we did the traditional next step - taking the uncomfortable costumes OFF and having a big dinner together. 

After dinner we played with some party favors and tried out a new-to-us game:  Bobbing for Apples.  TK rocked it, Papa struggled, and Fernando decided to show his skills and plunged his whole head in the bucket (much to the delight of his shrieking children). 

Naturally Daniel and Violet wanted to try - Daniel managed to get two (by the stems I think!) and Violet unfortunately cannot eat apples.  So we found a pear and made do. (Side note: Pears don't float.)

The next night, on the 31st, we headed to the annual church tailgate event.  About 30 minutes before we had to leave, both kids changed their mind on the costumes.  While looking through the family costume bucket, they discovered LAST year's costumes and begged to wear those instead.  So we squished a nearly 5-year-old Daniel into a 2T Batman suit and a 2 1/2 year-old Violet into an 18 month Tiger costume.  (Thankfully, Daniel felt a little too squished and opted to change back.)  But Violet stuck with the (high water) tiger and let me put some fun makeup on her.

Daniel was extremely bold, telling everyone he saw that he loved their costume, showing off his costume and trick-or-treating car to car with glee.  But Violet was focused on one thing:  A sucker.  She can't have a lot of the regular candy, but I promised her a dum-dum sucker.  She just might have been the happiest girl on earth that night.

Both kids ended up with way more candy in their bucket than I would EVER let them eat, but were perfectly happy to give it away.  In fact, I think they had more fun giving the candy to other kids than getting it in the first place. 

Anyway.  Halloween 2011 was a success in the Amaro house.  We're already making plans for next year!