Monday, December 30, 2013

Down time and playing with friends

These are just a bunch of pictures I wanted to get up before 2013 came to end so that they'll end up in my 2013 family book. I really like the picture below of Sanaa and Layla walking down the sidewalk holding hands. I really hope that they remain good friends as they grow up.

Sanaa and Layla were setting up all their ponies for some kids of party. It was fun just standing at the edge of the doorway and listening in.

Upon closer inspection I saw that all of their bracelets were lined up on the key board.

And all the ponies were very nicely lined up in the front window.

Malakai has started to enjoy scribbling more. He doesn't sit still or work on something peacefully for very long, so it's nice to see him spend some quite time just scribbling.

The kids love doing art and playing with play doh. Malakai really enjoys play doh and will pull it out on his own and try to open the play doh containers by himself. Sanaa of course, loves drawing and painting.

In the summer Sanaa received some sticker mosaics (you put the correct sticker on the corresponding number). I had pulled them out a couple of times, but she would only do a little bit and then lose interest. But on Thanksgiving I took one along to my parents house and she spent a lot of time working on it. The days after Thanksgiving she insisted on finishing all of the mosaics.

Layla tried to hold up the other 3 mosaics that Sanaa made but you can only see one.

I had Sanaa and Layla each hold 2 mosaics so I could get a picture of the finished product.

This year we've had a lot of fun spending time with friends. Malakai and Burke are 9 months apart. Burke's older sisters are some of Sanaa and Layla's best friends (Lexi and Brynli).

Lexi and Brynli spent an afternoon with us while their parents did some house hunting. Malakai really enjoyed himself even though he was the only boy. They may have found a house in a city near by and will still be close to us, but will be far enough away from Layla's preschool that they would end up pulling Brynli out of the preschool. I'm kind of hoping that doesn't happen but I guess we'll see whether or not they get the house for sure. It'll be hard to explain to Layla why Brynli isn't in school with her anymore if that happens.

Marcus and Naomi are the girls' good friends that live right down the street from us. A couple of weeks ago I found out that there is the possibility of them moving to another area in town. What is up with our friends moving to new places right now? They aren't 100% sure they'll move but they could move this spring. If Lexi and Brynli move and then Marcus and Naomi move, I'm not sure what the Sanaa and Layla will do. Thankfully none of them are moving out of state, but we've gotten so use to seeing Marcus and Naomi around that if they end up moving it'll be a big adjustment for the kids. But I guess we'll cross that bridge if we need to. We have had a wonderful time getting to know them this fall. They've actually been living here just a few months shorter than we have but we didn't meet until Sanaa and Marcus started kindergarten.

The girls enjoy having Marcus and Naomi over to our house and they also love going over to their house. They all play really well together. Malakai often gets left out since he's smaller but most of the time he doesn't mind. When he does want to be included he just butts right in to whatever they are doing and most of the time they willingly let him join.

Family pictures

Just some updated family pictures. The pictures with my family were taken on Thanksgiving. We have my dad, my mom, me, Malakai and Nate in the back row. My sister-in-law Karen, my brother Ryan, my niece Ariana, and then Layla and Sanaa in the front row.

My parents with their four grandkids.

Nate's parents with our kiddos. This was taken during our trip to Texas at the beginning of November.

Christmas Day

Christmas day was rather busy, but fun for us. The kiddos woke a their normal time (6:30-7:00ish). Once everyone was dressed and breakfast was done we started opening gifts. Malakai was more interested in the gifts everyone else was getting and still didn't understand when we gave him a package that he could open it. He usually pushed it aside or ignored it until it was unwrapped for him.

One of Sanaa's favorite gifts was an art activity center. It's a box full of little cubbies with a variety of craft supplies like glitter pens, feathers, beads, foam shapes, glue, pipe cleaners, markers, etc. There is a lot of crafting items and she could not wait to start making something.

Layla got a wooden tea set and all the kids immediately began "eating" and having a tea party.

After we finished opening gifts at home we headed to my brother's house and exchanged gifts with them. We weren't there for very long but it was nice to spend time with my brother and his family. I didn't even think to take pictures while we were there. 

We left Ryan's place and headed over to my parents for a yummy meal of ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, corn, and of course a big variety of cookies. Since the kids were all wound up after lunch and Malakai didn't seem too interested in napping we started opening gifts. Sanaa and Layla could not wait to tear into their gifts, but once again Malakai just didn't understand the excitement. 

Even though my mom shook his stocking and dumped his gifts right next to him, he was much more interested in sucking on the lollipop that fell out of the stocking and playing with a little stove.

I didn't take too many gifts of the kids opening presents because it all seemed to happen quite fast.

One of Malakai's favorite gifts (he actually has a couple of favorites) was a remote control truck from my parents. He has played with that quite a bit.

Even my dad got in on the action with Malakai.

Sanaa and Layla got some pretty cool hair clips and the first time they put them in, they came running to find me and said, "Mom! Look! I'm a pony now!"

One of Malakai's other favorite gifts is a hockey goal he got from Nate's parents. He played with it for a good 25 minutes. I'm sure he'd play with it more, but we've already managed to lose the ball. I have looked all over and under every piece of furniture but have no idea where the ball went. I'm sure it'll turn up when I least expect it. For now, we have other balls that seem to work.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve Nate had to work. That's no surprise. I think he's worked nearly every Christmas Eve from the beginning of our marriage. Thankfully, the store closes early on Christmas Eve so he's always home in time for us to go to the Christmas Eve service.

Pizza is a favorite meal around here and I often make ours from scratch. Since it was Christmas Eve I decided to shape the dough into a candy cane shape. Sanaa thought it was pretty cool and ask if we could do this each year. So we may just started a new tradition. We'll see. 

Both Sanaa and Layla got to decorate a pizza candy cane. Sanaa's is the top and Layla's is the bottom.

At this point in the season I'm also starting to get cookied out. From school holiday parties to church parties the kids have decorated and eaten so much icing. Most of the time Layla and Malakai ignore the cookie and just eat the icing. Since we still had some plain cookies left, I let the kids decorate some more cookies. They all had fun spreading the icing but Sanaa was the only one to actually eat the cookie.

After Nate got home and ate, we let the kids open the gifts in their stockings. Sanaa and Layla were very excited and Malakai was just excited because his sisters were excited. He watched Layla and Sanaa go through their stockings, but he just held his. We tried to show him that stuff was inside but he didn't get it. 

Sanaa and Layla are into My Little Pony and the different Disney princesses. I found a small stuffed Twilight Sparkle (the purple one) and Pinky Pie (the pink one) for the girls and they loved it.

Malakai loved his green ball that I bought at the dollar store. If I'd known how much he'd like that one gift I could have saved myself a ton of money!

After opening the stockings we still had time before we needed to leave for church so we decided to open the box from Nate's brother and family.

The girls got some new Disney princesses and were screaming in delight when they saw them. I wanted to get a picture of them to send to Caleb and Sarah and right as I got ready to snap the picture, Malakai jumped up and said, "eese!"

Malakai finally let go of his ball long enough to drive the truck he got from Caleb and Sarah into the kitchen.

After that it was time to leave for the Christmas Eve service. Overall it was a good service, but taking our three little kids to a service that started at 8pm was not fun. The girls did get to hold real candles with real fire at the end while we sang and they thought that was pretty cool. But I was constantly watching them because Layla thought it would be interesting to move the fire towards the pew in front of us. I stopped her just before she actually touched the pew with the flame. But then Sanaa swung her head around and her hair almost went into the flame. Meanwhile, Malakai was doing his best to try and get the candle from Nate. I'm sure next year will be better but this year, the service seemed to last forever.

Trip to Texas - part 2: the arboretum

When we lived in Texas our church would go to the Dallas arboretum each spring for a church picnic. I really enjoyed but for some reason I never remember going to the arboretum in the fall. The second day we were in Texas Nate's parents took us to the arboretum and once again the kids had fun running around and exploring. The arboretum now has a new children's area that is awesome! We spent at least 2 hours in the children's area and probably only got half way through you. You could easily spend an entire day just exploring the kids area.

Before we even got to the kids area we walked around and the girls got to see and play in a house set up from pioneer times. They pretended to cook and got to sit in the back of a covered wagon.

A family picture in front of a fountain. I think Carol took at least 10 pictures before getting one where all of us were looking at the camera.

Like I said before, the kids area was awesome. There was so much there it was unbelievable. There was a maze that we got to walk through and when we came out we ran into a bee. Sanaa got her picture taken with the bee, but Layla was too scared.

I think one of the places the kids had the most fun was climbing and jumping around up on top of a tree house. (I guess that's the best way to describe it.) It absolutely terrified me. I don't like heights one bit and the fact that you could see through the netting to the ground which was probably a good 30 feet above the ground. (I asked Nate how high up he thought it was since I'm not sure. I just know it was high.)

Gene loved making fun of me as I stood back and just watched my kids out on the netting. The kids were disappointed to leave this area but I was more then ready to move on.

Of course there was another water area that the kids enjoyed a great deal.

The wind tunnel was cool. I think the girls went in it at least 5 times. The last time we took Malakai in as well. He laughed and then the strong wind caught his breath and he wasn't too sure what to do.

Our final stop on the way out of the arboretum was the pumpkin area. It was amazing to see all the different pumpkins and how different buildings were decorated with them. Malakai was so worn out by this point that he napped in the stroller the entire time we were in the pumpkin area.

When we saw the carriage, Sanaa really wanted to sit inside. Layla really wanted to sit on the front and pretend to drive, but you were only allowed to sit inside. 

I hope our next trip to Texas is longer. It was great to go back to spend time with Nate's parents and see old friends, but the trip was so short that there was many people that I wish I had been able to see but didn't get to.