This has been a very happy year for us. Not because of any particularly exciting events, but more for the lack of them. Compared to last year, when we welcomed a new daughter and moved to a new house (which, don’t get me wrong, were very happy events), this year has been much more simple & less exhausting. A spring spent gardening and going on walks to explore our neighborhood. Hot summer days, watching the kids eat popsicles and play at the park. Autumn hikes on Cougar Mountain and playing outside on crisp, sunny mornings. We expect winter to include lots of cozying up by the fire and coloring books full of art work. However there were a few exciting events that took place this year and although we’re not diligent about keeping up with this blog, you can scroll through past entries and photos to see some of this year’s high lights, such as:
A much-needed week of fun in the sun, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with Bryan (Brett’s brother), Jenn and Alex. Less than 2 months after that trip, Bryan, Jenn & Alex welcomed our newest nephew, Sam, into the world and he is a happy, healthy little guy.
We visited Sandy (Mandy’s sister), Steve and the girls in Idaho. This was our first time meeting Wynn’s little sister, Cullayn, who recently celebrated her 1st birthday! Although they’ve now moved across the country to Philadelphia, we hope the girls will have many more opportunities to play together soon.
We took a few weekend getaways this summer; Our first camping trip as a family, on San Juan Island (see July 20 post) and spent a weekend in Victoria BC, to visit close family friends, Mike and Jean. We were blessed with just enough sun and warmth to visit the petting zoo, take walks in town and play on the beach. Our very hospitable hosts should be warned… we will be back!
The biggest change (for all of us) was when Matea started preschool this fall. She’s attending a Spanish-immersion preschool 3-days a week. Along with regular preschool curriculum, her lessons are based on ecology & once a week she attends school on a 3-acre farm. The kids spend much of their day outdoors and have first-hand experience with hens, goats, rabbits & alpacas. It is fun to hear Matea talk about these new experiences and I love that she smells of musty earth when I pick her up at the end of the day. The school is involved in projects that allow the kids to give-back to the community and the environment. Matea seems to take a lot of pride in learning Spanish and it is fun for us to hear her using new Spanish words. Considering it is a much busier schedule than she was used to in the past, she is adjusting very well. Although she seems to enjoy school, she still likes to be home, playing with her sister, helping mom cook, doing craft projects, coloring & painting.
Dahlia (or as Matea likes to call her “June bug Jones”) is a very busy, almost-2-year-old. She & mommy attend a toddler group once a week, which is great fun for both of us. Dahlia gets to play with other kids her age and I get to meet other parents in our neighborhood and bond with my youngest daughter. Language has come slower for Dahlia than it did Matea, but she seems to be more of a dare-devil when it comes to jumping, climbing and other large motor skills. She uses a lot of sign language, grunting, shrieking and other gestures to get her points made. We aren’t in any rush to see her grow up, but a few more vocabulary words would make life a little easier.
As most of you know, our move across the lake brought Brett much closer to his office and he found a lot of pleasure in riding his bike to work twice a week during the warmer weather months. He is in his 5th year working at Microsoft and continues to enjoy the opportunities and challenges it provides. There have been many small projects around the house to keep him busy & entertained (he seems to enjoy them!), but he always tells me that the most enjoyable moments for him are the quiet weekends at home when there is little on the agenda.
Even with our busier schedule, I manage to carve out a little time to enjoy some activities that are solely for me. After months of training, I completed the inaugural Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll ½ marathon in June, which was a very fun race. I also purchased a sewing machine! This is a big deal for someone who always claimed she hated to sew. Who would have known, I actually LOVE to sew!? I always thought sewing was about mending things and required tedious, eye-wrenching detail. To my surprise, it has allowed me to expand on something I have always loved: creating things. It gives me so much pleasure when the girls play with something we’ve made together or I can repurpose something old into something new. I hope to pass on a love of creativity to the girls, but in reality, it is they who have influenced me. I am constantly in awe of their imaginative stories and the way they view the world.
To end the year, Brett and I were able to get away on our fist kid-less vacation, to the Bahamas. We attended a beautiful wedding of a dear friend and had just enough sun and R&R to come home feeling refreshed. The girls had a wonderful week at the Knight’s house, while we were away. They are so blessed to have such loving grandparents.
We hope that you have all had a wonderful year and that next year is full of simple, happy moments for you and your family.
Merry Christmas from the Haakensons!