Friday, January 25, 2013

Yes, we're still here!

It's nearly the end of January (already!), so let's play catch-up! The blog often slips my mind in the day-to-day routine... add in the holidays and it was completely forgotten. Oops!

Leah had another wonderful Christmas. I probably say this every year, but each year does get more fun. She remembers more about the previous holiday season and looks forward to so many of the traditions. She loved decorating the Christmas trees, especially the artificial one with all of her character ornaments. We even got to play my extended family's annual game "I'm Thinking of an Ornament" for the first time this year. :)  Leah looked forward to making and decorating cookies, especially spritz. She did a beautiful job, as always! Leah also experienced a first this holiday season - she chose to meet and sit with Santa.

Additionally, a new tradition began with the Elf on the Shelf this year. Leah was a bit apprehensive at first when she discovered that the elf seemed to enjoy playing with her toys. Still, she grew to love the elf, looking for her everyday, and becoming sad when Dorothy had to leave for the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Leah asks about her from time to time and looks forward to seeing her again next December. Anything that adds to the magic of the season is alright by me!

Santa, of course, visited our house yet chose to change things up a bit this year... rather than leave the gifts by the tree in the living room, they were placed by the tree in the family room. It made sense since the Fraser Fir always has family gifts around it, yet the artificial tree gets ignored. I don't think Santa wanted to risk waking Leah either. ;)

Leah's big gift was a dress-up rack for all her princess and fairy outfits, along with some new ones! Leah changed her dress so many times on Christmas Day, you'd think she was hosting an awards show. Haha! I think, by far, her favorite dress was the Dorothy one that her great-aunt Donna sent. Between that, the stuffed Toto & basket that Santa left, and the red sparkly shoes Grammy had given her awhile back, she looked the part and spent the day on cloud nine.

In other news, homeschooling is going well. We recently finished up two units that Leah really enjoyed: transportation and wild animals. Last week, she worked on a wild animal mural a little bit each day. All week long, she was SO excited to "do school" so that she could spend time on her picture. Leah loves drawing, coloring, painting, gluing - pretty much anything crafty - and she very much loves anything to do with animals. So, the project was like homeschool gold for her. You know she's proud of her work when she willingly poses for a photo with it!

Leah is thriving in her dance class as well. She did a 6 week class in the fall and we're currently in the midst of another 6 week class. These classes have been without parent participation and it's amazing to see how much she's grown up. When we tried this a year ago, she bawled her eyes out and wouldn't separate from neither Dan nor I. Now, she's like a pro. I am so glad we didn't push her, we just waited, did another round of the parent/child class, and let her show us when she was ready. Watching her now through the one-way mirror, Leah impresses me with her maturity, how well she listens and follows directions, and how much she clearly enjoys herself. She's made a couple friends too, and has introduced herself to every other little girl in the class. What a big girl!

Speaking of which, we're working on a "big girl" room in time for Leah's 5th birthday. It's time to say goodbye to Winnie the Pooh and the toddler bed that Leah is very close to outgrowing! Dan began earlier this week by tearing out the closets and patching up the walls. The room is getting a complete makeover from top to bottom - paint, floors, furniture, you name it. Exciting stuff for the new year!