Friday, April 1, 2011

When Boys Play Dress-up

Both of our boys drive me slightly crazy (er, even more crazy) when they insist on seeing pictures on the camera every.single.time that I take a picture.  Seriously.  It's annoying.  I've decided recently though to just embrace their silliness in an effort to at least get the occasional really good picture in the midst of the silliness.  I have to admit that it's better to take four "silly pictures" for every one serious picture while they enjoy themselves, rather than deal with grumpiness, tears, anger, and flat-out refusals to have their pictures taken - which is what we dealt with (...and continue to deal with) with Mackenzie.

Tonight, the boys got into all their "dress-up" stuff.  They were insisting that I "take a picture", "take a picture", with every new outfit and every silly idea that they came up with.  I must say, the pictures are not the super adorable, sweet pictures that I have of Mackenzie when she was their age, wearing her little princess outfits, her dress-up shoes, her purses, hats, and necklaces, but they ARE a boy sort of way!  ;-)

Here they are, in all their boy-ness!

Markos as a knight

The obligatory "silly picture" following the knight picture

Daniel as a TMNT

Kenzie trying to get a hug

Daniel - still being a turtle

Daniel as a ??soldier??

My favorite of all the pictures!  Oh, the faces that Markos makes!!

I swear Daniel really isn't a violent kid, he just plays one in pictures!

Doesn't everyone feel the need to shoot firemen?  :-)

hee hee -- Another favorite

Do you see how happy Markos is about stopping the silliness for another hug?

Hmmm.  Interesting competition.  Hockey player vs. Knight

Take that!  A guitar to the head.  Thank goodness for helmets!

Yea.  They only pretend sleep.

And Markos doesn't really even pretend sleep very well!

But Markos DOES find Daniel to be hilarious!

The drama King

Do you see how concerned Eric is with all of this violence?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homework I'm Happy Not to Help With

The older that Mackenzie gets, the less capable I am of helping her with her homework.  This is why (er, at least one of the reasons why) I'm grateful that I have a very smart husband who is a wonderful compliment to me.  You know -- I'm organized; he's creative.  I'm responsible; he's fun.  :-) 

Seriously though, given the fact that, for some reason when Daniel gets home from school, chaos breaks out every day and continues straight through until bedtime, I'm very happy to have a husband who is capable of and willing to help Mackenzie with things like projects and advanced math (which, just for the record, I could do back in the day.  However, my brain is now fried and it would take a lot of 'remembering' for me to be able to do it again, which means I'd definitely need more than 3 hours of sleep on average each night in order for it to happen and unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon!!)

Recently, the two of them have spent many hours out working in the new shed on her big science project which is due on Friday.  They're doing a physics unit and were required to design and make a Rube Goldberg machine.  If you don't know what that is, Wikipedia describes it as:
A Rube Goldberg machine, device, or apparatus is a deliberately over-engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction.  The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg.  Since then, the expression has expanded to denote any form of overly confusing or complicated system.
 As I read that definition, I have to chuckle just a little thinking that this was the PERFECT project for Eric to help with.  :-D

Anyway, they did a great job and had fun working on it together.  Dad/daughter quality time at it's best!  Mackenzie designed it, they tweaked her design together, came up with how to build it, and then went to work together.  It turned out very cool and they managed to get their first successful runs tonight and were able to videotape it for her class.  Good thing the teacher allows them to videotape any large projects or projects that can't easily be moved to the school.  I don't think they'd want to risk the mess with Mackenzie dropping Mentos into Diet Coke in the classroom.  Yep, leave it to Eric and Mackenzie to incorporate this into the machine.  It's cool, but if you ask me, a waste of some perfectly good Diet Coke.  (See?  This is why it's good that he helps with these things!)

And there you have it!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Sweet Boy, Emama's Not Going to Starve!

 Just a short update on Markos' adjustment in the eating arena.  Thankfully, week by week, things are getting easier.  He's still extremely picky, but at least the fear of starving and the panic it brought about has disappeared.  I no longer have to continually offer Markos food.  He will come to me if he's hungry in between meal times.  He will also stop eating if he's full instead of cleaning his plate every time he's given food.  He will even choose playing over eating at times if he's having fun.

I no longer have to load his plate to overflowing with food, most of which I knew he wasn't going to like and therefore wasn't going to eat.  When he first came, he insisted on "tilick food"  (big food) every time I fed him.  If I only put a small amount on his plate for him to try, he would cry; insist on "tilick, tilick"; get angry; insist "NO TINNISH!"  (no little); swing at the table, at me, at his plate.  Now, he understands when I say, "try it and see if you like it.  You can have more if you like it."  He has even stopped checking, "tinnish, more?" when I do that - meaning, 'I will try just a little but I can have more, right?'.  I can now bargain with him over the foods that I know he likes to get him to try new things - ie. if you eat one bite of broccoli, you can have more baked beans.

Here are some of his favorites:
  • bananas
  • chicken nuggets & fries from Chick-fil-A (but ONLY from Chick-fil-A!  He "no like different chicken" - aka chicken nuggets from any other fast food restaurant)  :-)
  • waffles (breakfast EVERY morning)
  • dabbo (bread - but only the whole grain wheat bread or cinnamon bread)
  • sega (meat - plain, cut up hamburgers)
  • shy (hot tea - which he drinks every morning also)
  • apple juice (thank goodness that we have been able to transition him to apple juice from the super thick mango juice and papaya juice that he drank when we first came home)
  • Ethiopian food (I have almost used up that which I froze before we left so I guess it's time to make some more or to go back to the ET restaurant!)
  • corn chips with spicy salsa (I have resorted to counting this as a vegetable.  If the schools can count ketchup as a vegetable, then I can count salsa!  I actually buy the all natural, organic salsa which contains nothing more than tomatoes, onions, peppers, vinegar, and spices so I think it's justified!)
  • chicken with rice
  • baked beans
He still hates:
  • all things vegetable!  (seriously, I haven't found a vegetable yet that he will eat - aside from the previously mentioned 'salsa vegetable')
  • most things potato (potato chips even repulse him, but he will eat fries)
  • all dairy (he won't eat cheese, won't drink milk, doesn't like yogurt)
  • onions and garlic (with a passion!!  He smells almost everything before he eats it and I am not kidding, if it has garlic or onion, he almost always wrinkles up his nose, makes his yuck face, and refuses to try it.  Only exception thus far - the salsa vegetable!)
  • most new things or things that look different
So, it's going ok.  I'm praying it continues to get easier and he starts eating more soon because with Eric's food allergies and all of Daniel's food allergies, I really don't need another picky eater in the house.

But, here's the interesting thing that I have picked up on over the past few weeks.  Markos gets very concerned if I don't eat when he eats.  I noticed it a while ago, but didn't really put it together until recently.  If I give him lunch, and I'm not hungry but sit with him at the table, he will keep insisting, "Emama eat".  Even if he's eating his very favorite food and is hungry, he will try to give me some of his food.  "Emama eat!".  A week ago, I got out a bag of Twizzlers and there were only 3 left.  I had already eaten one before he came over, so I gave him the 2 that were left.  He was totally excited and happy to get the two, until he saw that there were none left.  Then, with a sad face, he gave me one of his, insisting, "Emama eat".  I told him it was ok, that he could have it, but he kept insisting, "Emama eat".  I told him I already ate one, that it was ok, but he was still insisting, "Emama eat".

I can see the fear and the hurt in his beautiful eyes when he says it - "Emama eat".  He knows hunger.  He's lived it.  He's had one Emama give her food for him and his brothers and sisters to eat.  He lost her.  He doesn't want to lose another Emama, so he'll give his food now.  Oh my poor sweet boy, this Emama's not going to starve.  Trust me.  I could stand to skip a few meals, but I'll be sure to do it when you won't notice so you won't worry about me.  I'm always happy to eat some chips and salsa with you!!  After all, it IS a vegetable, so it's healthy, right?!