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Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 in Review

Our 2015 has been quite eventful! Both girls started kindergarten this year--their third year in a Mandarin immersion Montessori school. Both girls are thriving and sounding like native Chinese speakers. Both are learning to read and to write in both the English alphabet and Chinese pinyin and characters.

Lucy's favorite subjects are art and music. She began piano lessons this fall, learned to ice skate this spring, is active in gymnastics and soccer, ran her second kid's Spartan Race this summer and has lost her two bottom teeth. She had two cleft fistula surgeries this summer and made a full recovery by the time school started in September.

Kate has learned to read and write and her favorite subjects are math and Chinese. She began flute lessons last winter and performed her first solo recital this summer. She stays busy with chess club and gymnastics and she ran her first kid's Spartan Race with Lucy by her side.

I took one session of Chinese lessons this spring and the girls help me out by correcting my pronunciation when I practice. I have spent some time volunteering at their school as well. Len is still doing well at work, taking on additional responsibilities and mentoring other communicators.

We adopted Bella, a lynx-point Siamese cat, this Spring. She is now 1 1/2 years old and fits nicely into our sometimes chaotic household.

Our travel this year included a spring break trip to Washington, DC, our annual summer trip to FL, and my annual trip to Houston for a cancer checkup (got the all-clear this year!). My next trip is scheduled for Spring 2016.

Below is our annual video, cramming a year's worth of photos into a 4 minute montage. Enjoy!

2015 in Review from Lisa on Vimeo.

The music in the video is Standing By by PTX.

In case you missed our earlier end-of-the-year videos, you can click on the links below:
2014 in Review
2013 in Review
2012 in Review
2011 in Review
2010 in Review
2009 in Review

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

Over and Done! Christmas 2015 was a success all the way around. We set to work making Christmas cookies so Santa would have something to snack on as he filled stockings. First up were sugar cookies.


Daddy is always good for a ride somewhere.
The next day we made chocolate/mint brownie balls.
The best part is licking your hands clean!


Lucy and Len worked on a lego project at the table while Nana read and Kate "napped" on the couch.
Finally it's Christmas Eve. Charlie sits on the two presents he has left for the girls before he leaves for another year.
New Christmas nightgowns for both!
Before bed, we pile onto couch for one last holiday movie...Polar Express.
With cookies, carrots and milk set out, the girls are ready for bed! They oddly both sat down in a yoga meditation pose... perhaps centering themselves for the frenzy that would follow on the next day.
Christmas morning came early!

They each got what they asked for: a metal detector for Kate and a large stuffed lion for Lucy.


Looks like Nana was a good girl this year as well!
 A tin of smoked sardines...I think Len will be very popular with Bella!










After some breakfast, we headed outside. Lucy really wanted to try out the new jump rope that was in her stocking.
Kate and I headed to the beach to try out her metal detector.

Found a penny!
The magna-tiles have been keeping them very busy. They told me that this was "a castle for homeless people".
Kate received a dinosaur excavation kit with a t-rex skeleton embedded into it. She spent an afternoon steadfastly chipping away at the block.
We took a break when the mailman showed up with the box of ornaments from Meme and Papa that were delivered a day late. (The bandaids on Kate's face are there because the goggles she needs for the excavation kit were hurting her nose and forehead.)
Success--part of the bones are found.

Bella helped her wash the bones so she could assemble them into a standing skeleton.
Lucy took a break from the magna-tiles to see the "bones".

She also received a crystal growing kit. This is a work-in-progress as it takes almost 2 weeks, left undisturbed, to grow a crystal. Here is it on Day 2. I forgot to take a picture of it when we poured it in--it just looked like sand on the bottom.
We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and we wish you all a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Bella and the Lion

Lucy asked Santa for a large lion to cuddle with this year. Santa came as soon as the girls were asleep  tonight so we had a bit of fun with Bella. As Bella was checking out the cookies and milk leftovers, I put the lion right behind her. She was not as surprised as I had hoped but she did run around her little house to make a sneak attack. And then another one just to be sure.

Bella & the lion from Lisa on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lucy's 6th birthday in pictures

My friend Jo took some wonderful photos at Lucy's party. It freed me up to actually enjoy the party! Not much verbage to follow--just pictures.














































 I took the rest of the photos. Not quite as nice as Jo's!






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