Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Finishing off 2014 with random pictures

I am ending 2014 with a post of random pictures from various days over the past two weeks. We have been busy with Christmas, playing, and finishing some small projects. We have also had more than our share of fighting and whining, but here are some pictures of the fun we've had.

The kids Christmas morning. Getting them all to cooperate and smile took a long time. Layla would not smile and this picture was important because I was sending it to my aunt so she could add to my grandpa's large picture frame of all his great-grand kids. But we finally managed one picture with all of them looking and smiling.

One day before Christmas I loaded up my three kids and took them to the children's museum for a good 3 hours so they could wear themselves out. It was the first time I took all of them by myself and I was a little worried about one or more of them running off, but the girls did a great job of listening and checking in with me as I followed Malakai around. One of our favorite rooms to play in was where we had a snowball fight with white loofas. All the kids were laughing and even the adults were getting into it too!

The day after Christmas the girls asked to wear their Guatemala outfits. Sanaa then spent the morning walking around and speaking in Spanish. Some of what she said was made up, but she also had some correct words to. She'll tell you she doesn't know any Spanish but her understanding of it is really growing. There were at least two times over Christmas that my dad asked her a question in Spanish and Sanaa answered in English without even thinking. Normally, she would just look at my dad and say, "I don't know what you said." But now she'll just answer as if he had asked her something in English and then go on her way. It is so cool to see and I can't wait to see how much more she understands by the end of the school year.

Earlier this week I took the kids shopping at Ikea. The girls spent an hour in the kids play area while I browsed with Malakai. I then picked them, we ate lunch, and I finished my shopping. Nate's parents gave us some gift cards for Christmas and I had a great time spending them! Each of the kids got a little reading light to hook onto their beds. I wanted to get one just for Sanaa, but knew we'd have massive fights if that happened. So now they can each read in bed with their light.

The girls received a bunch of books from Nate's parents for Christmas and I had wanted to put little wall shelves behind their door to hold more books. I showed my dad the idea I had found on the internet and asked if had any wood I could. Yep, he sure did. He had part of our picket fence that the previous owners had left in our garage. They used some of the picket fence to block off the garden area but had extra. I had given my dad all the extra wood that was stacked in our garage when we moved in. So he cut down the wood for me and helped screw in the small ledge piece in the back. Once home, I painted the wood and then yesterday I finished hanging them on the wall behind the girls' door. I love how it turned out!

Today we took down our tree. The girls weren't very excited since that meant Christmas was over. We still have our other decorations up but I wanted to tree down so we could get Nate's new entertainment center up. This year instead of dragging the tree out into the garage we cut the branches off. Sanaa and Malakai ran walked back and forth putting the branches into our yard waste container. Malakai would clap each time he put a branch into. The pictures are blurry since they were running back and forth.

Inside the tree we found a fun surprise. An old birds nest! It's currently sitting in our garage because the kids did not want us to get rid of it.

And the wonderful mess that was left.... I think this is the worst part of the season. Cleaning up afterwards. But it didn't take too long since Sanaa was very sweet and helped scoop up the needles to dump into a bag.

Finally, our big project for the afternoon was to put Nate's entertainment center together. Nate wasn't there to help. It was his day off but he was helping a friend move. So during Malakai's nap the girls and I put the unit together. This was easier to put together than I expected. I thought I would have some of it done by the time Malakai woke up, but not the entire thing.

I had intended to put the bookcase section on the other side and thought I was.... until I pushed it up against the wall. Both girls gave me a hug as I sat on the floor just looking at and wondering if there was an easy way to fix it. But then I decided to just leave it.

Once Nate was home he connected the tv back up and then we filled the shelves with books and commentaries our former pastor gave him. And I must say, my mistake of putting the shelves on the opposite side actually looks good. It makes things much more balanced by having books on one side and then the computer desk on the other.

I looked back through our photos and discovered that the tv unit we had been using we had bought during our first year of marriage. We had always intended to update the tv unit but never did. Getting a library of books from our pastor gave us the little push to actually update it, so 11 years later we finally get a new tv unit!

Celebrating Christmas

Christmas morning we spent at home. The kids were so excited and could barely make it through breakfast. I tried very hard to keep some kind of order as gifts were opened. But they just tore through everything and it felt like a tornado. They loved the gifts they received. One of the first gifts Layla opened was a bow and arrow from Uncle Caleb and Aunt Sarah. All gift opening stopped once that gift came out and everyone needed to try it.

Layla and Malakai had a hard time. Layla did let Nate help her, but Malakai would not accept any help whatsoever and then huffed angrily because he couldn't do it.

Sanaa on the other hand, figured it out right away and has had a lot of fun with it. I did have to make some rules such as no aiming it at your siblings and you cannot use the suction arrows to attempt to climb the sliding glass door. Layla did try to climb the back door and of course fell when the suction didn't hold. But I'm not surprised. Layla has the personality trait in which she has to try something and fail before she actually believes you.

Sanaa and Layla were fast at opening their gifts, but Malakai was very careful about ripping the paper. He would do some of it and then hand me the present so I could remove the rest of the wrapping.

The girls painted some very special gifts for me. A few weeks ago, Nate took them to a ceramic store and the girls painted some wonderful serving dishes. Sanaa painted the large bowl and Layla painted the heart-shaped serving dish. We've used these dishes every day to hold fruit or veggies in.

Malakai's favorite gift was a musical wand that was actually given to Layla and has been fought over on a consistent basis since Christmas. He is obsessed with anything that has to do with Elsa or Anna. He likes Olaf, but you can tell he has a definite preference.

After we finished opening gifts at our house we got dressed and ready to head over to my parents house for the afternoon. When we arrived my mom let them open their stockings. We waited until after lunch to open the gifts under the tree.

My dad had his train set up again this year and all the kids love watching it. Malakai will ask grandpa to turn it on by making some train sounds and then turning in a circle.

Sanaa got a fun princess crayon rubbing set and both she and Layla have made several princess pictures to color.

For Malakai, I asked for a take-a-part plane and car. Nate's parents got him the car and my parents got him the plane. He loves both and has had fun taking the plane and car apart. Once they are apart he typically asks Sanaa and Layla to put them back together! I did enjoy watching my dad and Malakai figure out how to put the plane together.

Malakai thought my kitchen rug was so nice it would make a good bed!

The kids also received some new games to play. So far, they've only wanted to play one game that is themed after the Frozen movie. We played that game 4 times in one day and they also got grandpa to play with them!

The Sunday after Christmas we went back to my parents house to celebrate Christmas with my brother and his family. We had a great time and I know the girls really enjoyed getting horsy rides from aunt Karen!

We also took some family pictures. A nice one of us smiling and then one with us making silly faces!

Christmas Eve

Nate had Christmas Eve off this year! I'm sure he's had other Christmas Eve's off, but I don't remember when they were. It really feels like he works most holidays, so it was a very nice change to have him home for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

After breakfast we let the kids open their stockings. I think we're going to start letting the kids open their stockings on Christmas Eve and then wait until Christmas to open the gifts under the tree. They were so excited!

I also pulled out one gift from under the tree for each of. Each of them got a robe! The girls have been asking for robes for about a year now. Since they got them, they have worn them each day.

Since summer, Sanaa has been asking for face paint. She received some of that in her stocking and asked me to paint her face like the picture on the box.

Both girls received some new headbands. I made the different princesses with ribbon and then glued them onto some headbands. I gave Layla a Tinkerbell and Cinderella headband while Sanaa received Aurora and Ariel.

Layla still loves My Little Pony and was very excited to find Applejack in her stocking. I guess Rainbow Dash now has a friend to play with.

And because I was taking so many pictures of his sisters, Malakai wanted a picture as well as he held his new yo-yo.