Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fall 2013 - A Review

Lots of fun activity this much that I haven't had time to blog!  Lia headed back to school in September. This is her first year of kindergarten (because her birthday is late in the year, she will actually attend two years before 1st grade). She is once again loving her teacher and friends at school:

Soon after school started, we were invited to a birthday party for a set of twins in her class. These girls hosted their party at a working farm which also includes a petting zoo and horses. Lia was super brave and took her very first REAL horse ride on a very tall horse!
Along came mid-October and we had a very special trip planned to Disneyland with grandma and grandpa! We met them in Anaheim and had a total blast for three days. Lia was in Princess heaven meeting all her favorite characters, especially her current favorite - Rapunzel:
Of course, right after our Disney trip came...Halloween! For the first time in a couple of years, Lia decided NOT to be a princess (guess she's gotten those jollies out at Disney)...and chose to be a Panda for Halloween. She and Daddy had a great time running around the neighborhood and even ran into a few of Lia's schoolmates along the way. What a difference four years makes, huh?:
And what comes after Halloween? Lia's birthday of course!!! Our big girl turned 5 and had a party with her class at school, as well as a family party over her birthday weekend. She picked the theme of her party as the "minions" (from the movie Despicable Me).


Friday, August 09, 2013

Summertime Fun

We are starting to wrap up our busy summer. Three weeks and Lia will be going back to school for her first year in early entrance Kindergarten. Time flies! We've had a lot of fun this summer. Lia has attended local preschool daycamp in the mornings with weekly themes of Circus, Cowboy/Cowgirls, Rainforest, Royalty, and Beaches. Next week is the final (6th) week of day camp. We'll miss the teachers and helpers - they have been awesome!

We've also done a LOT of doctor & therapy visits this summer. Speech therapy weekly, and now twice weekly since she is also doing a summer speech program thru her school for August. Catching her up on all her vaccines (which have been behind since China!) has required two separate visits for shots (8 total - yikes - and she took 'em like a champ!) On Wednesday we visited her ENT to check on her ears. Unfortunately, the hole in her left eardrum continues to grow, which explains a lot of her irritation around loud noise levels. The doctor gave us some ear plugs for now, but warned us that another surgery might be down the road to patch the hole.

Lia and I took a "parent-tot" swim class during the month of July. She was officially too old for the class since she is 4, but they were willing to waive her in based on her history. She was pretty wary at first, but really enjoyed swimming on her own with the foam noodle.

She never did get to the point where she'd put her face or head under water, but as the ENT pointed out, that is probably a good thing with the hole in her ear. He does, however, want her to learn to swim as much as we do, so he recommended trying it with ear plugs next time.

Lia also saw her first movies in the theater this summer! Monsters University was her very first movie and she loved it ("only a couple scary parts mama!") so we took her back to see "Despicable Me 2" and "Turbo"a few weeks later. That girl can chow down a bag of popcorn let me tell you!

Other than that, it's been a summer of rest and relaxation. Spending time in our backyard and the firepit at grandma & grandpa's house making s'mores.

In two weeks we will be headed to Colorado to visit Grandma Wall and Lia is really excited to go on an airplane again and visit all of Steve's family, many whom she hasn't gotten to meet yet.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Graduate - Preschool June 2013

Monday was Lia's "graduation" from the two years of preschool she has attend thus far. Grandma & Grandpa and Great Uncle Dave join us for the special occasion. Lia was VERY proud of her fancy purple dress and her graduation cap! 

Modeling her dress before the ceremony

Hanging in the audience with mama, grandma, & grandpa

A lovely box full of momentos, milestones, and photos.

Lia and her best buddy!

So proud of our girl!


Thursday, May 02, 2013

Spring has Sprung

Once again, it's been awhile since I've done any has just gotten too busy with an active four year old, and both of us balancing work with family time. Lia is doing amazing. Her speech is REALLY coming along. Now, people who haven't seen her in a few months even comment on how much more they can understand. She is also coming out of her shell now that we've been settled in our house for almost a year and she is enjoying her new school and afternoon schedule as well. As the previous post noted, Lia started ballet in January. During March, there was a brief hiatus from ballet lessons, where I enrolled her in a local gymnastics program for four weeks - just to try it out. The gym is loud and there are a TON of kids there on any given weeknight - so I wasn't sure how she'd do. She is also still working on catching up on some of her gross motor skills in terms of balance, strength, and agility. The first night she was more of an "observer", but since then, every week she has tried (and succeeded!) and new skills and her increased strength is showing!

Lia also got a new, 2-wheel bike a few weeks ago! She is still using training wheels, but she has gotten the hang of using the brakes to slow down, and is working hard pedaling up inclines and using those new leg muscles! We are so proud of her. Now, anytime the sun is shining, she wants to go outside on a ride around the neighborhood with us. When it rains, she just rides around and around the kitchen island! Yesterday was beautiful, so Steve took her out on her bike and she rode over to the neighborhood play area. She face-planted at one point (due to going down a driveway slope too fast and turning the wheel) but she was wearing her helmet and pads, so after a few tears (from being scared!) she got back on that bike and rode over to the park anyway. GO LIA!

Over Lia's spring break from preschool, we took a day to travel up north and visit the tulip fields. It was SO beautiful. Lia said she could look and them "all day and all night". Her favorites were the pink and purple varieties (of course!) but we were able to snap this pic of her standing amongst a field of red. Amazing!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ballet & Valentines

Lia started ballet classes at the local rec center at the end of January. She absolutely loves it. She loves the pretty outfits she gets to wear, and the music, and the teacher. After the first class I asked her if she still wanted to go back the following week - and she said "Yes!...and the next week...and the next week...and the next week!"

Valentines Day lasted for what seemed like a week at preschool. Since she attends two different preschool classes at the same location, she got to have two parties...and each class made Valentines crafts all week. I especially loved this Valentine "owl" bag they made:

She was thrilled to wake up on Valentine's Day to some special treats from mama and daddy as well!

Of course, at this age, her favorite Valentine is her daddy...

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Happy New Year 2013!

Well, I promised I would blog more after the new year, so here we are! We had a bumpy holiday this year with illness and work schedules, but we still managed to have a lot of fun along the way.

Lia started afternoon preschool in December. We had her moved to the afternoon class for a few reasons, but mainly because there is a 4 year old afternoon class that has girls in it! Amazingly, at least in this school district, there seems to be many more boys than girls registered for preschool. She is really enjoying the afternoon class, and coming out of her shell much more. The teachers are really pleased with her progress and acclimation into the new class.

Unfortunately, she came home the second week of December with a cold, which ended up turning into pneumonia by week's end. After a trip to urgent care, and a round of antibiotics, we got her healthy enough to play "the camel" in her preschool's Christmas play - which was a hoot! You gotta love a group of 4 year olds shouting out the lyrics to Christmas carols they don't really know. As with any group this age, the kids have short attention spans:

Lia, far left, watching the teacher as her friend yawns...

Preschool released for winter break right after the play, so we had a few days to catch up on our holiday decorating and traditions before Santa's big visit. On the 21st, we visited a local nursery, where Santa's reindeer come to "rest up" prior to the big night. Lia loved seeing them, but was somewhat disappointed that Rudolph was there with his red nose:

On Christmas Eve, Daddy had to work, so Lia and I decided to make some frosted sugar cookies for Santa. This year Lia helped cut out the cookies and spread the frosting and sprinkles. She did a great job! The cookies turned out awesome and Santa gobbled up the three that she chose to leave out for him that evening:

We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, followed by a candlelight church service, before heading home for the night. Daddy helped Lia hold her candle and her eyes were as big as saucers, but she was so proud to get to hold a candle herself this year! Christmas day my parents, uncle and sister came to our house for Christmas dinner. Lia had plenty of new toys and presents to show off to the family.

The following day, we took her out shopping, with the gift card she received from Steve's mom. It was super fun to watch her make tough decisions, pick out her gifts and hand her card to the cashier. This little girl is not hurting for toys!!! Later in the day, she posed with some of her new acquistions:

A cute sidenote: Santa brought her a baby penguin, which coos when you feed it a bottle. When we told Lia that she had a gift card she could use to buy anything else she needed/wanted that Santa might have forgotten, she says, "I want to get the baby penguin a mama and daddy. He needs a you came to China to get me"... Oh, my heart! And I'll be darned if the first thing she picked out on Wednesday wasn't a penguin mama and daddy for her baby. Sweet girl.  :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas 2012

Where has this year gone? I guess between job changes and moving and a new school, dental surgery, birthdays, and a 'bout with pneumonia - it has just escaped me. I will try to catch up in a New  Year's post, but for now, just wanted to wish all of our friends and family (near and far) a safe and merry Christmas!

P.S. - We LOVE the Santa on Vashon Island. No crowds, just a quaint little log cottage in the middle of a town park. No pressure. :)