Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Best Day (part two)

So, I mentioned in the last post about something life-changing that took place last night. The thing is, for some of you, it might sound silly. But, if you are parents, you just might get it. You see, Alex and I have found...a babysitter! The lack of a babysitter has really taken it's toll. We needed a night out pretty badly. And I was getting so tired of begging my sister to watch them, or feeling guilty of asking my mother, since she has them for most of the day. How could I say, "Um mom, I know you have watched the kids for 8 hours, but do you mind watching them another 3 hours, so Alex and I can go watch a movie?" I couldn't.

So, ever since we moved to the house, I had this fantasy of the perfect teenage girl living across the street. And she would come over, and have tons of babysitting experience, and be super cheap, and love my kids. Well, there actually is a teenage girl across the street, but she has never come over with her Babysitter's Club inspired tote bag. Sigh. But, but! We have a new youth pastor at our church, and they have 4 kids. And out of those four kids, there is a teenage girl. And she is the oldest child, which means she has changed a diaper or two. And the minute I heard about her, I felt a sense of rightness about her. Like I knew.

So, I stalked her on Facebook for a while. And then I talked to her in person. And guess what? She was very excited about the notion of hanging out with my kids. And we texted back and forth. And set a date. I showed the kids her picture on Facebook, to remind them of who she was. And we talked about how she was coming over to play with them. And THEY were excited. And Alex was excited.

So, she came over. Her parents dropped her off. And we walked around with the kids trailing behind us. They were shy at first, but eventually warmed up, and started showing her their toys. We hung around for about 30 minutes, and then felt like we could go. And because we live in such a cool town now, we walked to the restaurant. It was a beautiful night, and I felt so great about this whole new stage we were in.

I have been wanting to go to this crepe restaurant for a while now, but was concerned that Alex wouldn't like it. But he told me he was game, so we gave it a try. It's called Creme de la Crepes. It's on River Rd. in Fair Lawn. I was under the impression that it was kind of a gimmicky restaurant- because of the crepes. But actually, it's like a small French bistro. The owner is French. And our waiter was French. Very Frenchy.

The walls are red, with Eiffel Tower decor. See? Bisto-y.

This flower was on our table. It was pretty.

Perusing the menu. I take this part seriously.

There was actually alot for Alex to choose from. He was debating between being safe, or being adventuresome.

Can we decide on the dessert crepes first?

We ordered the Creme Champetre as an appetizer. A crepe with brie, homemade pesto and tomatoes. Nice and light.
This is my entree. The Croque de Mer. Scallops and mushrooms in a garlic bechamel sauce.

This was Alex's. The Stroganoff. Sliced sirloin, sauteed with Roma tomatoes in a wine sauce. All in a crepe.
Definitely dessert was the best part. I would go just for dessert. This was the Bananas et Cream Glacee. Without the cream glacee (ice cream). Bananas, caramel sauce, and almonds. With fresh whipped cream. Loooved it.

I had a cappuccino. So good. I don't know if everything was truly as delicious as it was, or if I was so enamored with being out, but everything was fantastic.
Fancy sugar packets!

Adorable tiny salt and pepper shakers!

We walked back home, totally happy, and anxious to see how the kids did. I don't know if they had even realized we had left. They had so much fun, and apparently babysitter-girl did too. She told me that Gideon told her that he loved her. I asked them both if they would like her to come again, and they said YES! Alex took care of getting them into bed, and I drove the nicest girl in the world home. Notice I have not mentioned her name, mostly because I am trying to protect her privacy. But, also I don't want anyone to steal her.

So, thank you thank you thank you! You know who you are. We will definitely do this again. I feel like it's a step in the right direction. A step toward more crepes.
Sesame Street Live! Live!

A short video of me interrogating my children, and forcing them to say that they are having a good time. Also, proof of Lucia shoving popcorn in her mouth, for those of you waiting to report me to child services.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Best Day (Part One)
It has been awhile since we posted, and alot of that has to do with the moving in to the house, and getting settled part. Also, we "lost" our camera for a few weeks, and "found" it under one of the seats of the van.

So, today was Saturday. Yesterday, I went to the dentist and did not die. Hooray. But, then I came home and my Gideon was sick. AGAIN. He had a fever, and cold symptoms. And he was clingy and sad. So, I didn't go back to work, and I thought, "Well, there goes the weekend." But today, he woke up feeling better. And ready to go to a birthday party. A birthday party with a bouncy house.

He had a ridiculous amount of fun.It was an outdoor family/friends party. The backyard was decked out with kid's stuff.

One thing I noticed about my son. He likes the ladies. I told him to play it cool. So, there he is, pretending that he is not having the time of his life on that tire swing.

We cut the birthday party short, much to Gideon's disappointment. But for a very fun reason. Sesame Street Live! We won free tickets, thanks to NJ Library Champions We entered a contest and actually won! It was very exciting.

The seats were pretty far away, but they were free after all.
But we still could see the characters.
Lucia was kind of amazed. She sat enthralled for at least an hour of it.
Gideon was amazed at how much popcorn he was able to shove in his mouth at the same time.
We tried to take some pictures of us with the kids. Here is Gideon and Daddy, happily posing for the camera.
Here is Mommy and the kids. Notice Lucia's extremely forced smile. It actually was just supposed to be a Lucia and Mommy picture. Gideon snuck in at the last moment.

Here is a silly Gideon moment.

Back to the popcorn. For those of you that are judging me for letting my child eat a choking hazard, let me tell you that you are right! Because I was allowing Lucia, when suddenly she started making a sound in her throat. She gagged and spit out pieces of a kernel. Lordy. Elmo probably heard her. And is judging me too. No more popcorn for Lucia! Daddy went and got her a soft pretzel.

Here she is. No worse for the experience. Doesn't she look older already?

Later that night, the most exciting thing happened. But I am very tired right now, so I will post about it tomorrow. Just know that it was life-changing for Alex and myself. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Here's the Play-by-Play.

Boy meets Lucia. Boy tries to say hi to Lucia. Lucia walks away. Boy follows Lucia closely. Lucia starts running. They pause, then Lucia proceeds to run full speed. Surprised at her acceleration, Boy focuses in on catching Lucia, so much so that he bumps into a group of boys, falling down. Lucia has him beat; the Boy is nowhere to be seen. But he returns with a vengeance, and Lucia takes it easy, walking towards daddy, whose recording. Boy is persistent and gets her to smile and she runs away again. Boy's parents indicate that he should stop chasing Lucia. He does and runs off onto the sunset. Lucia can now get back to seeing the band play.

Cut to next scene.

Lucia is showing off her moves, and catches a glimpse of older girls, who are talented dancers themselves. She studies, then joins in. Then she walks away, but returns to check out what the girls were doing. She sees that their interest in her has faded, so Lucia makes her famous dance move, winning the dance off. Lucia walks off to the left towards Mommy, celebrating her victory. The camera focuses in on Gideon.

He notices the camerman, Daddy, and waves. He then begins to dance the hop-along-Gideon. Showing off his fancy moves again. The play ends with a flurry of activity, whereby Gideon and Lucia join in on the chaos.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Taking a Bow.

Lucia and Gideon have become accustomed to performing in front of the camera. It comes natural to them I guess. They also like to dance, and I think they have pretty good rhythm for their age. Notice how Lucia takes a bow at the end of their "performance." She's a natural!

As parents, Alexa and I often talk about our kids' futures.

Gideon is awesome with words, and enjoys putting letters together to build words. He's also a good singer, funny, and as the video above shows, a great dancer.

We've discovered that Lucia has a love for shoes, and she does well in selecting the right ones for her mom and aunt when they're picking out their outfits. Really, she does. Just last night before dinner, her Tia Andi asked her what she felt about the shoes she was wearing. Lucia did not approve of her aunt's black shoes, and selected a metallic silver style. The choice was clear, Lucia was right, and Tia Andi changed her shoes.

A bit later, after about an hour of sporting her new lavender Crocs and looking at her feet while walking in them, Lucia decided to change her shoes to better match the torquise dress Mommy selected for her. She was right again, the lavender clashed too much with the torquise, and she wore her pink ones which had little shiny things on them.

Is Lucia destined to be a famous shoe designer?

Will my kids' love for the camera translate into eventual fame on TV, or the big screen?

Don't know. I do know that I think that both my kids are natural performers and love the camera. And, I'm pretty sure the camera loves them.

I've actually done quite a bit of research and thought about calling an agent to see what needed to be done to see if my kids got "It." But, just the other day Alexa provided "Words of Wisdom" out of the blue. It was deep, and I was surprised because in the ten years I've known Alexa, as girlfriend, then fiancee, then wife; she has never shown an interest in philosophy. But there she was, providing a philosophy that made me think. Pensively, she asked, "When has fame and fortune ever improved someone, from the inside, spiritually?"

Straightforward question, but "wow," I said in my head. Because if you think about it, the answer is, hardly ever. When people you know become famous, all of a sudden they disappear. They are ever present on the screen, but just not around anywhere near you. And, then phone numbers change, and you are uninformed about it.

There are the few that have actually used their fame to contribute to society, but I think the story with fame is that it usually separates; the famous from the common. Fame and fortune causes people to wall themselves up against those who are not famous. And, the riches associated with the fame is something you need to worry about.

To lose the sense of peace with the world and fellowship with the common person - not sure if it's worth all the fame and fortune. I wonder what you think?

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Day by the River

What river? I have no idea. It was Memorial Day weekend, and we had promised the kids that we would go to Bear Mountain! Bear Mountain! Gideon was very excited. I am pretty sure he thought that we were going to see bears everywhere. However, we weren't that smart about it, since we didn't leave until late morning, and by that time, Bear Mountain was closed. There were people everywhere; parked on the side of the road, pulling coolers and carrying babies. We were disappointed, but Alex was determined to find a playground or something fun for the kids.

We drove for awhile, Gideon and Lucia asleep in the back. Driving in upstate NY is pretty; winding roads and lovely vistas. Suddenly, we saw a giant sign advertising a PUERTO RICAN DAY PARADE! Alex took it as a sign from God, and we pulled into that town's main street. We followed the road until it took us to the banks of a river, and thank God, a playground. The children woke up and Gideon asked, "Are we at Bear Mountain?". "No," we replied, "we are at a river! with a playground!" Gideon was satisfied.

Water! We must touch it!

Gideon found a plethera of sticks.

Some of the sticks looked EVIL.

Lucia was unsure about dirt touching her sandals.

Throwing rocks with Daddy!

Umm...why is the sun touching me? Why am I warm? Why am I slightly sweating? Can you make it stop?

A breeze. God hears Lucia. Do you think either of them inherited my nose?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

Today Alex informed me that the Soto Update can lose it's status on Google. Meaning, that when you type in "Soto Update", it might not be the first thing that pops up. The horrors! That was his subtle way of informing me to get off my tuckus and post something already.

Ok, so this will be a little of a wrap-up of the latest happenings. The following pictures are from Mother's Day. I know, that's like sooo 2 months ago.

We went out for Japanese. This is Lucia doing some kind of intricate arm flapping maneuver. She is practicing to be a ninja.

Gideon with Daddy. It is very hard for him to actually look at a camera directly. He is practicing for when he is famous, and he has to act all indifferent to the paparazzi.

Lucia with Ya-Ya. They are pretty much in love all the time.
This a family shot that the waiter took of us. It is, for us, an excellent picture. No one is blinking or sneezing. We all look pretty happy, and the kids are looking at the camera.

Lucia had the brilliant idea of wearing matching outfits.

We tried to get a nice picture of Mommy and the kids.

Not successful.
She is checking out my shoes. She loves shoes, and usually picks mine out for me.

I thought I would take a sweet picture of my parents walking arm in arm. Instead, I got a picture of my father lifting the back of his jacket to show me his butt. He is so classy, my father the ELDER.

Alex and Gideon had run up ahead to scare us.

And Lucia is really surprised!
Will post again very soon! Have lots more pictures to make fun of :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting Our Hair Done
I don't know how it is for you moms out there, but finding the time to get my haircut happens like once a year. Literally, I got an actual professional haircut at a salon last fall. And for those of you that see me on a daily basis, my hair totally reflects that.
However, the kids are a different story. You see, Gideon's nursery school had a picture day. Picture Day! And, as my dad likes to say, Gideon was looking a little bit like a hippie. Those hippies. So, off to the the salon we went. Now, I used to take them to a kid-friendly salon. In Paramus. However, they charge $25.00 a haircut, and for two kids, that's $50.00. Did you see that bit of math-wizness? I know. Amazing. So now we go to a hair salon in Passaic. A Mexican hair salon. We can watch telenovelas while we wait. And they charge ten bucks a pop. That is less than one haircut at the Paramus place.
This was pretty much Lucia's first haircut. My mom had trimmed her bangs before, but nothing at this level.
She was not entirely sold.
Gideon is a pro. He is even fine with the clippers.
Unbeknown to me, the girl doing Lucia's hair was planning a major 'do. It was only when I saw her come out with a big box of rubber band things, did I even guess at what was going to happen. Lucia did not like it, but she did like all the attention she got afterwards. I was still unsure.
Here she is sitting in the salon.
Here she is in the car. They both got lollipops for good behavior. Another salon trick.

Hey, what is this kid looking and smiling at? Could there be something cute to his left?
Hey, who is she looking at? Could there be something cute to her right?

Yup! Two cuties!