Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2012 year end review in pictures

Lily's 6th birthday.  She wanted a rainbow "Candy Land" theme.. and like usual.. I sort of got carried away with the decorating. 

What I wrote on my hand one day.  I thought if I pretended to be happy it would at least be better for the girls than my being depressed all the time.  I also thought that maybe if I pretended to be happy than I might actually become happier.. didn't really work that way though.  After this I tried to focus more on taking pictures of positive things.

February-- Projects and art is something that doesn't really end at our house.  Notice the crawling baby in the background.  She just learned to do this around this time of the year.

Short trees, fences, buildings.. this is Dallas.  Every time I look between the apartments to that golf course I get sad and think of the song "Don't fence me in"... I can't breath here.  I feel like Alice in Wonderland wishing to get through the looking glass but in my case I never can.

Somehow we find room for the girls to help on occasion in the kitchen to make cookies or something.  Generally, there is a lot of fighting about who gets to stir.

March 6 was Renna's 4th birthday and this is when we got the membership to the Dallas Zoo.  The only place here that I've felt content for a few brief minutes.  On those days when there weren't many people it was a nice escape from the city and apartments and crowds.

March -- When Grace was still taking a morning nap (or was in between enough and would fall asleep in the carrier) it was so relaxing to go to the zoo where the kids would be happy and I could do "nothing" for a while.  It was always too hot of course, but we packed ice bottles and I learned where things were in the zoo enough to know where to go during the warmer parts of the day so we'd stay cool.

April 22nd came Gracie's first birthday.  She only had one tooth at this point and it must have been her sweet tooth because the chocolate was a big hit!

May-- I got to go to a comic convention with Spider-man this month.  We wanted to see Patrick Stewart!

"The line" to get into the convention.  There are way too many people in Dallas..

Projects projects and more projects.  I often.. often wish that we had a different room for school and projects so that we had a place to eat that didn't involve cleaning up all the glue and paint and paper and what-not before setting the table.  Even a little breakfast nook would be fabulous!

My favorite thing to do at the zoo is to feed the Koi fish.  They are so gigantic and so fun to feed!  Also, when they fight over the food and you get splashed it cools you off.  ;)  My Dad came in June and we took him to the zoo one day.  He enjoyed feeding the fish too and the girls liked showing him all their favorite spots.

July-- Youssef and I got to take just Grace to the Dallas Museum for our 8th wedding anniversary.  I really enjoyed the kids area with her and it was amazing to have some time in the afternoon when she fell asleep in her stroller to just be "us"... I forgot how easy just having one is

In July us girls took a plane trip to Washington for a month!  The trip there was exceedingly exhausting for me, but when I got to be in the quiet hills and see the tall trees my soul started to breathe again and I began to recover.

Lily and Renna loved hanging out with their uncle.  Jonathan turned 13 while we were there.

A few weeks after we got back (in August) Youssef's Mom came for a few days.  It was nice getting to see her at least for a little bit this year.

Random playing --The girls were playing baby dolls and Renna was with child.  ;)

The start of our school happened in September.  Trying to be more consistent with the school time, but it's hard with a teething active toddler getting into everything! 

I felt like the only consistent break I can get on occasion is when the girls are at the church we've been going to.  They love the sundayschool there and have made some good friends.  Here, two of my  kids are posing well and the middle one is having issues.  She smiled later when we got to the part of the hallway that had the turtle that she liked.

A moment at the park when a butterfly landed on Grace.  We see a lot of butterflies here even in December!  If there's going to be heat and bugs down here in droves lets focus on the kind we like, right?

"Trunk or Treat" at our church in October and this was our car decorated like fairy land.  I'm not sure if I should do this next year since it was a ton of work!  We'll see.

Beginning of November and our littlest has not only rejected taking her binky anymore she's grown out of the baby bed... so here we are putting the toddler bed frame together.  I painted it black and it looks quite nice and will work for at least a few more years before she has to graduate to a Twin mattress.

Finally in November it was started to look a little more like Autumn and the girls had fun playing in the falling leaves.  Renna helped collect some "sweet gum balls" from the tree just outside of our apartment.
Also in November I started a Christmas lap quilt.  My Gramma Betty passed away earlier this year and she'd hand sewn those lighter colored blocks.  I've had them for several years now and have been wanting to finish them... well, this year seemed like a good time to do this.  Thanksgiving and Christmas were a lot harder for me this year than any I've experienced before, but making new friends and having projects like this helped a little bit.

December came and with it came our traditional cookie cutting and decorating.

I had about 2 days of real excitement this year (in Dallas) when I thought we might be able to move into a little "dream house" .. it was quirky and amazed me how much it fit Youssef's and my personalities (together) .. Youssef said it was like a tree house and it really seemed to be.  On our honey moon I bought him a book of tree houses and we talked about how we'd like to live in a tree house some day.  This house was about as close to that possibility as we'll probably ever come.  But it didn't work out for us to buy it.  Perhaps when Lily is 10 we'll be able to look again.  :{  In the mean time we're doomed to live in apartments with little play room and cranky neighbors. 

Random moment where Grace got into the butter.  See, this would be why I'm always and forever tired and never able to rest.  Lily and Renna are JUST getting to a point where I can trust them to not have any major issues while I'm resting when Grace naps.  But that doesn't work often when I can't do school with the older ones when the little one is awake.  So, school tends to happen during her nap and then I can't seem to get a moment for rest or my own projects.

I was feeling the need for snow this year more than before.  Last Christmas was so depressing all by ourselves here that I wanted to some how make this one better..  Spreading out the fun stuff sort of worked, and making almost 100 paper snowflakes gave me something useful to do. 

The best present this year was snow ON Christmas day.  After all that longing for snow it actually came and we had a white Christmas after all!  When people talk about getting snow on Christmas here they say something like "We've had snow on Christmas before.. when I was 12 I know it snowed on Christmas a little bit.. and hey, it snowed on Christmas a few years ago."  Lets just say that the probability of this happening is very very low.  So, we were super grateful that it snowed on Christmas this year!  Lily might have been even more excited than me.  When we watched "White Christmas" earlier in December she cried at the end because "It's such a beautiful ending with the snow" and the thing she kept saying that she loved about Christmas was "playing in the snow" and her wish came true! 

Lily has grown much taller this past year (she will be 7 January 4th) and now that we've stayed in one church she's been able to make a few good friends.  She loves to do all kinds of  art and craft projects still.  She doesn't like her reading in school, but I'm pleased to see her progressing well in her language arts and math even if she doesn't like doing it!  Her favorite color is blue and she is planning a "Mermaid Barbie" themed birthday party.  She's said how she wants to be a zoo worker when she grows up because she loves animals so much:  Especially all kinds of cats.
Renna likes to make up songs and has her own style and way of doing things.  She's picked up so much in school times from what I've taught Lily that she started to sound out words to spell all on her own!  Renna loves to wear dresses and her new Christmas Tu-tu.  She's still quite dramatic, but I'm pleased to see her helping out more and starting to work together with the family rather than against what we are all trying to do.  She's affectionate and smart and growing into a lovely girl.  She often says out of the blue how much she misses Gramma and her cousin Sophie. 
Grace has gone from just learning to crawl at the beginning of 2012 to racing around and climbing the tall stools and getting into everything as she tries to keep up with her big sisters.  She has developed quite an interest in "The Muppets" of all things, and Kermit seems to be her favorite.  She also loves to read books and go to the zoo to see the animals.  At the beginning of this year she was painfully shy and would cry and run to me when anyone smiled at her, but after the plane trip to Washington in July, she's grown up a lot and while she's still shy she smiles at people now instead of crying! 

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