Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 reflections and random pictures

I have never been so ready for a year to end and a new one to begin. The entire year wasn't bad. Just the last couple of months have been tough with December being the worst month of all. Had I known what was in store for our family this fall and winter I probably would have curled up in a ball and begged God to not let any of it happen or I would have tried to hibernate like a bear and hope that it all passed without my knowledge. But I didn't know what was coming and the only thing that helped me (I can't speak for the rest of my family) was the knowledge that God knew ahead of time exactly what trial our family was going to start walking through. He always knew the events of this fall and winter would become a part of our family story even though I didn't understand why, nor did I want it as a part of our story. Nonetheless, God is faithful and I am looking forward to a brand new year with a fresh start!

The new year is going to bring changes for our family. One big change is that Sanaa will transferring from Arco Iris where she's been for the last year and a half to the elementary school just up the hill from us. She's excited but also sad to be leaving her friends. The one huge positive that will hopefully make this transition easier on her is that her best friend from church will be in the same class with her. Both Sanaa and Ally are very excited to be in school together. 

"AHH!!! There's a spider on my head!" In October I was able to help at Sanaa's Day of the Dead party (at the Spanish immersion school they put more of an emphasis on celebrating Day of the Dead and not so much Halloween.)

One of Sanaa and Layla's favorite places to go is the art store in the mall. The employees there help the kids draw and paint any picture they want.

We had gone to the art store just before Halloween and one of the employees asked to paint the kids faces. Sanaa was all for it! At first Layla didn't want her face painted. Then she did. Then half way through she got upset and wanted the paint off. She wasn't happy that I took her picture.

Malakai did not want anything on his face but picked a batman symbol for his hand.

While he's into superheroes, he still enjoys dressing up in the princess stuff.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving Layla and Malakai's preschool had a Holiday festival. We've never gone before because we've had other things to do but this year we had nothing going on. I took the kids and they had a great time! Of course Sanaa wanted her face painted and Malakai wanted something on his hand. Layla, as you probably guessed, wanted nothing on her face or hands.

Malakai inspecting his strawberry jam before eating it.

One evening I was busy with Malakai and Layla disappeared. When I walked into the kitchen I found her squeezing the mandarin oranges into a cup. She informed that she wanted to try fresh orange juice. I have no idea where she even got that idea! But she did say it was the best juice she's ever tasted. I have since bought a small orange juicer so that she doesn't have to squeeze the oranges with her hands anymore.

There are many days I can't drink enough coffee to keep up with the craziness in the house. I took the picture of Malakai on his tricycle today. He came flying into the kitchen on it while wearing his laundry basket. Really? How do you even think up something like that?

Next week Layla will begin ballet class. She is so excited!

Sanaa received a white tea set that she could paint from uncle Ryan and aunt Karen for Christmas. She sat down today and painted all of it. She was very proud with how her new tea set turned out. Once all the pieces were dry she even invited all of us to join her in the living room for a tea party.

First snow of this winter!

The last Sunday of December we got some snow! There were a few snow flurries as we arrived at church but nothing stuck. After church it was just rain. We decided to take the kids out to eat and while we were in the restaurant the rain became mixed with snow. The kids were so excited! When we got home they all changed their clothes super fast and ran outside into the snow. We let them play for a few minutes and then packed up and headed to my parents house for the afternoon. We had plans to do Christmas with my brother and his family at my parents house.

Since my parents are at a higher elevation than we are they had more snow. The kids were delighted! Layla immediately began making a snow angel.

Sanaa started to make one as well.

After having all the kids throw snow balls at me I convinced Sanaa to make a snowman. Layla was too cold at this point and went back inside. Malakai kept throwing snowballs at me and my cute little niece Ariana joined Malakai in throwing them at me for a time.

The last six pictures were taken by aunt Karen. The granddaughters together. Malakai refused to join the picture!

Do you wanna build a snowman? (I have the song from Disney's Frozen movie running through my head now.)

I think Ariana and Malakai were throwing snowballs in this picture.

Christmas Day fun

The Sunday before Christmas I tried to get some pictures of the kids since they were all matching in different shades of red. I got one okay picture and of course a silly picture. 

I ended up wearing a red dress too and Malakai took a picture of me with Sanaa and Layla. He didn't do a bad job of getting a picture.

I also needed a picture with Malakai so he helped flip the camera to take a selfie with me.

Christmas Day was nice and relaxing. Past years have felt more rushed but this year. We got the kids a fort making kit. They love it! They aren't able to build the fort themselves but as they get older I'm sure they'll be able to. The kit comes with rods and the corner connectors. You can make any shape you want. There are some suggestions on the box. Once you have your shape you just throw a sheet or blanket over it and you have a fort. The kids aren't the only ones to like the fort. I have also found our cats sleeping inside the fort too!

We spent Christmas Day morning at our house and then just before lunch we drove over to my parents house. The kids got several arts and crafts gifts. All of them wanted to sit down and start painting. So they did. They spent a lot of the afternoon working on their projects.

For years I have been looking for a new hammock for my dad. He one a long time ago that was from Guatemala so I always new I wanted to get him a new one from Guatemala. Two years ago when the girls and I were down there I looked but didn't find anything. This past summer when we went back I looked again and found one! So for Christmas I surprised my dad with a hammock from Guatemala. The kids helped grandpa try it out! I'm sure come summer it'll be really nice to hang out on.

More arts and crafts. The kids got a giant jar of craft items from Nate's parents. The day after Christmas we opened that jar and they dove right in and started creating masks.

Our kids working on some sticker mosaics with their cousin Ariana.

Christmas crafts

I really enjoy doing crafts and have passed that enjoyment on to the kids. Nate prefers to not do crafts and that's okay, although the kids have asked him why he hates to do art. At the Dollar Store I found little ceramic houses for the kids to paint. I used to have three that were given to me many years ago, but two have been broken and now I only have one. So I thought this would be a fun thing for the kids to do and we could use their houses as decorations each year. 

The finished product. Malakai's is the green house with blue roof, Layla's is in the middle with the yellow roof, and Sanaa's in on the right with the gray roof. They each did a great job!

When we brought all the Christmas decorations down at the beginning of December I discovered a gingerbread house from last year that we never put together. I saved it and we made it on Christmas Eve. The icing that came with the kit was to old and wouldn't work to hold anything together, but I had other icing we used. I honestly did not expect the house to stay standing so once the kids finished I took several quick pictures of all the different sides. But here we are a week later and the silly house is still standing!

I expected the kids to do a lot of fighting over who decorated what but they surprised me and did a good job of working together to decorate the house.