Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday Sanaa!

Today was Sanaa's 6th birthday. We celebrated a little this morning by singing happy birthday and giving her a couple of presents. Since her party was a couple weeks ago we didn't do a whole lot today. She was the first child awake this morning, which was a surprise since she's typically the last one up. But I think she was excited because today was her birthday.

Nate's parents are currently visiting so they got to help us sing happy birthday to Sanaa this morning. I stuck a candle on a donut that we had left from yesterday and we all sang.

After she blew out the candle, Sanaa began to cut her donut into pieces and gave some to Layla, Malakai, Papa Gene, and the rest of us. It was so sweet. I thought she would just share with Layla and Malakai, but she was ready to share her donut with the whole family. It was very thoughtful of her.

After that we gave her a couple small gifts and the cards that we had from other family members. She also got some birthday money in the card we gave her and was very excited about that.

I decorated with streamers for Layla's birthday and did the same thing for Sanaa's birthday. Sanaa requested purple, red, and pink streamers so that's what I did.

Sanaa has grown a lot this past year. She is starting to read and loves to spend time looking at books. She also loves to draw. I found a neat website that has a bunch of "how to draw" directions. I printed some off for her and she drew a castle, a flamingo, and a house one day during her quiet time. I'll need to print off more for her since she seems to enjoy it.

She also loves to play with Layla. While they do fight many times during the day, they are also best friends. I love listening to them when they are outside doing their preteen play. Both girls dress up in their princess dresses often and I'll hear all sorts of story lines. Just recently they were playing at the side of our house (in their hideout) making potions out of grass, rose petals, and other things they found in the yard. I'll also hear them pretend they are pirates and are on a ship.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tadpoles, frogs, and rainbows

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that we brought some tadpoles home from my parents house. They have been busy growing and we've been able to watch 3 of them change into little frogs! It's been pretty exciting around here as the kids look into the tank each morning to see whether or not another tadpole has grown some more legs. 

We had three tadpoles turn into little frogs, but sadly two died. The other tadpoles have enjoyed feasting on the little frogs that died which is pretty gross. But some of the bigger tadpoles have also feasted on some of the smaller tadpoles. We do feed them lettuce or spinach and check their food daily, but I've read that bigger tadpoles will eat smaller ones and it's just something that happens.

Last week, when our first tadpole suddenly got it's front legs we upgraded to a small fish tank with a lid. There are some holes on the lid but I didn't think that would be a problem. The frogs were so little that I didn't think they'd being able to jump up and through the small hole.

What I didn't anticipate was our little frogs climbing the walls. All three frogs preferred to climb to the very top of the fish tank and hang out. So I ended up cutting a pair of old panty hose to put over the tank so that the little guys couldn't come out through the holes in the lid.

Today after church we sent our one remaining frog home with my parents so that they could release it back into their little pond/fountain area where we found the tadpoles. I think the frog will have a better chance at surviving there than it will at our house. Besides, we still have 8-10 tadpoles in our tank!

This last picture is one that Layla took. She really wanted to take a picture of the frog, so I let her. It's not a bad picture!

Finally, rainbows have nothing to do with tadpoles or frogs, but yesterday we went into Portland and saw a rainbow. Nate's parents are here visiting so we went to Portland to see Nate's new store, eat dinner, and walk along the water front. The rainbow is very faint in the picture which is why I put in a little arrow.

At dinner the kids were given wikki stix. I have never heard of them but they are pretty fun. You can twist them up and they stick together. Sanaa asked me to help her make some glasses. She also made a ring and bracelet. Layla just scrunched hers up into balls. Malakai wasn't interested in them at all.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Malakai's 2 year check up

This morning I took Malakai to his 2 year check up while his sisters were at VBS. Overall, he is doing well. He was above the cutoff in all the areas on the ages and stages questionnaire. However, his verbal communication is still not the best. He throws a lot of tantrums and I have a hard time understanding him. He has slowly added new words and sounds over these past three months since he was assessed by ECI, but he still uses a lot of "unk," "umpst," and "uh" with pointing for things he's trying to communicate about.

Some of things he says that I can understand are below:
aught - hot
ites - lights
meeni - money
mama - mom, grandma, and pretty much everyone (even Nate for awhile!)
dada - just started saying this to Nate this weekend!
ah-ba-dah - ta-da!
uck - yuck, stuck, duck
unk - drink, milk
eese - please
ungum or nung-guh - vitamin
ish - fish
pawp-paw - popcorn
grunk-grunk - scissors (and he uses a hand motion with it)
gaw-gaw - thank you
ah-ba or ba-ba - bubbles, banana
bal- ball
ow - ouch or cat sound
animal sounds - dog (oof-oof), duck (ack, ack), cat (ow), sheep (baa)

So, while he is saying sounds and words, the fact that I spend a lot of my day trying to figure out what he is saying when he uses "unk" and "umpst" and the fact that he throws a lot of tantrums during the day led the pediatrician to refer us to a speech therapist. At the end of July Malakai has an appointment with a speech therapist for an assessment. The pediatrician would like to see if working on increasing his vocabulary will help in decreasing the number of tantrums he throws. His communication has also been very slow to develop and it seems that at nearly every check up we're talking about him being behind in communication skills, so I wasn't too surprised at her referral.

His stats: weight 25 lb (20%), height 32.9 inches (20%), and head circumference 19.06 inches (42%).

And more pictures of Malakai that I haven't put up on the blog yet. Watching water run down the road and into the drain is fascinating! All three kids had fun seeing what would float down the gutter and what wouldn't.

I mixed up some sidewalk paint (cornstarch, water, and food coloring). They all played for a long time with this!

Malakai walking up through the rows of grandpa's berry bushes. He and Layla kept looking for any ripe raspberries that were growing. They found a few and of course ate them immediately.

Malakai and cousin Ariana spending a little time coloring together at grandma's house.

Anything that his sisters do, Malakai is determined to do as well. When Layla got her roller skates, Malakai went and found Sanaa's and insisted that he could skate as well.

Enjoying some yummy ice cream. All three kids LOVE ice cream and ice cream cones! Malakai wasn't too sure about the cone, but really liked the ice cream.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Strawberry picking

The Monday before the end of school (which I think was June 9th), Lidia (Marcus and Naomi's mom) invited us to go strawberry picking after school. This was the first time I took the kids and wasn't sure how well they'd do. But overall they did great! I honestly thought Malakai would run off and I'd have to spend most of my time chasing him, but he stayed quite close. He did eat nearly his weight in strawberries and only stopped after he tried to eat a strawberry he had dropped in the dirt. I guess the flavor of a dirt covered strawberry wasn't too his liking. 

Malakai was quite interested in picking the strawberries, but after he'd get 3-5 strawberries in his container he would stop and eat them.

Sanaa didn't pick very many. She ate some (not nearly as many as Malakai) but mostly she ran up and down the strawberry rows with Marcus.

Layla actually picked the most out of all the kids. She did spend some time running up and down, but also was determined to fill her container.

We came home with about 6 1/2 pounds of strawberries. It was great! The only downside is that the kids ate 3/4 of the strawberries in about 2 days. I was able to freeze some that I plan to use for smoothies. At least they are picking healthy things to snack on. I have a hard time stopping them from snacking when they are choosing fruit to eat instead of crackers.

Sanaa's end-of-the-year school party

Sanaa has been out of school for about a week and a half. The day before her last day of school was her end-of-the-year party. It was a party that I said I would help with, but ended up coordinating and coming up with all the ideas. The party turned out great and the kids enjoyed it, which is all that really matters.

There were 4 other moms who said they would help and they did help some, but even though I sent out a couple of emails a week before the party trying to get some feedback on ideas and what we needed to get for the party, the other moms didn't start replying until 2 days before the party. That was quite stressful.

For the party we ended up doing some Minute To Win it games. I didn't take very many pictures since I was busy during the party but the games we ended up picking were:
A Bit Dicey - the kids had to balance dice on a popsicle stick that was in their mouth
Breakfast Scramble - they had to assemble the front of a cereal box that was cut into 16 pieces. Mrs. Wolf ended up keeping this because some of the kids really struggled with the idea of putting together a puzzle! Mrs. Wolf loved the idea of using a cereal box, so I just left the pieces with her.
Elephant March - the kids had to knock over bottles of water with a baseball hanging from panty hose worn on their head. This one was fun to watch!
Floatacious - had to stack 5 empty soda cans on a plate that floating in water (another fun one!)
Noodling Around - they had to hold a spaghetti noodle in their mouth and try to pick up penne pasta with it (this was hard!)
Snow Blower - they had to use an empty paper towel roll to blow a ball across a table and into cups taped on the other side.
Stack Attack - build a triangle out of 36 cups
There She Blows - they used a straw to blow plastic cups across a table. This was a race between two kids at a time.

We started the party by letting the kids decorate their own foam picture frames that I picked up at Michaels. While they decorated their frames, Mrs. Wolf took pictures of each of them holding Mr. Wolf (a stuffed wolf that each child got to bring home 3 times during the school year). Mrs. Wolf then uploaded the pictures to Walgreens and used the 1 hour print option and we had the pictures and the frames ready to send home with the kids at the end of the party.

After the pictures were done we started on the games. The kids rotated through 4 games and then went outside for recess. While they were out at recess, we cleaned up the first 4 games and got ready for the next round. The only games I got pictures of were Floatacious and Elephant March.

I had 6 empty soda cans that I took and no one was able to stack all 6 cans. Two kids were able to stack 5 cans, but the majority were only able to get 4 cans stacked before it fell over. The kids really seem to like this one and kept coming back to try it again.

The Elephant March was also a fun one and there was a lot of laughing and giggling as the kids tried this one.

Sanaa got to bring Mr. Wolf home one last time two days before school was out. We made sure to take a picture of Sanaa with Mr. Wolf and Tiger. Apparently, Mr. Wolf and Tiger became friends during the year and Tiger was going to miss Mr. Wolf coming to visit.

Finally, Sanaa also wrote her bus driver Bob a nice note. She said, "Dear Bob, Thank you for being my bus driver and for the candy." Bob gave each of the kids some candy a couple days before the end of school as he dropped them off. Sanaa also drew a nice picture of the bus she road on.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy 2nd birthday Malakai!

Malakai turned 2 years old today and to celebrate he slept in until after 7:30am! Wow! Normally he is up between 6:00-6:30am. Unfortunately he did not pass his plan along to his sisters who were up at around 6:45am. 

We celebrated his birthday last weekend with the cake, but since today was his actual birthday, Layla asked me where his candle was and if I could put it in his oatmeal. So that's what we did. We sang Happy Birthday and he ate his birthday oatmeal.

We also saved one gift for him to open. Layla opened it instead of letting Malakai open because she was just too excited. Malakai didn't seem to mind and enjoyed playing with his new little race track.

Later in the morning, the kids and I then drove up to Vancouver to visit some friends that moved up there earlier this spring. We spent most of the day with them and all of our kids (all 6 of them) had a blast playing together. Malakai really enjoyed the swing set that our friends have in their backyard and kept climbing up the side. He'd then yell, "Mama! Eyse!" (Translation: Mama, see!) He was very proud of himself.

He also enjoyed swinging, but wouldn't let any of the girls ride with him even though he was swinging on a 2 seater.

Once it warmed up a little, Cara pulled out their slip 'n' slide and the kids had a great time playing on that. Our friends have a nice hill in their backyard where she set the slip 'n' slide up, so the kids would fly down the slide.

Malakai even tried it. It wasn't too slippery when he tried it, so he didn't go down very fast.

The picture below looks like he is relaxing and resting under a tree at our friends house, but that would be completely misleading. He had just finished a 15 minute tantrum where he laid there screaming, crying, and kicking his legs. It started because he tried to take Layla's juice pop from the chair, but I wasn't sure if Layla was finished so I didn't let him have it. I asked Layla if she was done and once she said yes I then offered it to Malakai. That whole process of me asking Layla made him so angry that he then decided he didn't want it and threw a tantrum. Oh my. I snapped the picture during a very brief quiet moment as he tried to calm himself. I tried to calm him, but he was so angry that if I even approached him he would scream more. So I let him cry for a little while and then went and picked him up. After that, all was good.

Next week after Malakai's 2 year check up I'll post more on what he is doing and saying but here are some fun pictures from the last few weeks. Some of these pictures will most likely embarrass him later in life, but with two older sisters as role models what is one to do? Playing with sparkly, colorful "paint" that you can put on your face is fun!

Mommy's high heeled shoes are fun to walk around in and they make an awesome noise on the hard floor.

His big sisters always dress up in these colorful dresses, so why shouldn't he. He attempted to put the dress on himself, but got frustrated so he brought it to me. He was quite happy once he had it on and even wanted a picture.

Dressing up as a bumble bee is fun too.

Despite the fact that he does play a lot with his sisters toys and dress up clothes, Malakai still acts very much like a boy. He loves to play with balls! Neither of sisters ever had as much interest in balls as he does. He likes to throw and kick. At church he really enjoyed getting the ball in the basket.

He loves to ride on different bikes, cars, and scooters.

He also enjoys showing us his cool moves. Whenever he wants to show me something he'll yell, "Mama! Eyse!"

And of course, he has to make funny faces for the camera.