When 2012 first rolled around, Malia was part-way through Grade 1 and while she was still struggling with her reading, she was otherwise faring quite well - especially in regards to making friends and being a student who was attentive and respectful. And now, as we say good-bye to 2012 she is a Grade 2 student who turned 7 at the beginning of October! Still sweet, bubbly and charming, it didn't take her long to win over her teacher and another new set of classmates. This year she is also in the same class as her cousin Elliott, and those two girls have done really well being together. Reading is still something that Malia needs to work at to get up to grade level, but her improvement was already evident earlier in spring when she was still in Grade 1 and the books she is bringing home - and is able to read - are continually longer and contain more difficult words. Her determination and effort has not slowed down any, and while she first seemed offended when she discovered she had been signed up for extra reading help in November, once I reminded her that this was going to help her reach her goal of being up to chapter books by the end of Grade 2, she took on a new level of determination.
Her teachers and classmates aren't the only ones who are captured by her bright and tender spirit. As per usual, Malia doles out love and attention to babies and toddlers everywhere as well as to animals and other "critters" as well. She also has a gentle and encouraging nature about her and will often give me love notes such as this one that bring a smile to my face and a special warmth to my heart.
|Picture taken by Ang Kroeker Photography|
In spring Malia once again excelled in soccer - and this time she was among the youngest of the 2-year age span group of girls. She still dominated the field and had a fun time doing it! Always full of energy, this was a great way to have her burn off some of that "go-go-go" quality that she carries around!
Music is still a big part of this young girl's life as she is continually singing or dancing. She really has good rhythm and in her latest report card, her music teacher noted that she always sings on pitch! This September I started giving Malia piano lessons and she has caught on really well. Just a few weeks ago we played our first duet together in church!
One of Malia's big "firsts" this year was that she went away to camp for the first time! This was easier than Joelle's first exhibition last year but also harder. It was easier in the sense that it was for a shorter time - only for 2 nights instead of 4. But it was harder because she was a year younger than Joelle was the first time she went away. I missed her terribly and was very relieved to have her home again!
This summer she also went to her very first sleep-over (not counting times she's been at Grandparents' places or my sister's place). Like Joelle's first sleep-over, it was at a house just down the street which was helpful for both Malia and Mom! As excited as she was about it, when the time came for me to leave her there she proved to be a bit on the nervous side. Of course as soon as I was out of sight I was also out of mind and she had a great time!
This child of mine is full of energy, goofiness and spunk! She enjoys playing tricks on people (usually her family members) and sometimes even gets her big sister involved. She loves hiding and scaring people and once you get this kid laughing...oh boy, is it ever contagious!
And while the time has mostly passed for her to say funny things, every once in awhile she still comes up with a gem...or two!
Little Miss Malia...life without you would certainly not be as complete. It wouldn't be as full of giggles and definitely would not be as spunky! I would be missing out on many hugs and "I love you's"...I would be missing a big chunk of my heart. Thank you for the ways you have challenged me and blessed me this past year. I am proud of the little lady you are becoming and I pray for great things for this next year. I love you!
Joelle said hello to the year 2012 as a bright Grade 3 student and audios to the same year as a Grade 4 student who turned 9 years old at the end of September. I've been enjoying the new kinds of projects she has been doing as she gets into higher grades - like a rock collection project and a front-page newspaper as a couple of examples. She doesn't get perfect scores on her assignments, but she still does very well and I am proud of how hard she works and I love how much she enjoys school (for the most part).
Her core group of friends is still pretty much the same group of girls that she has been friends with since Kindergarten - and some as early as pre-school - but I'm thankful that this doesn't mean she can't make room for more friends. Every year as her classmates change she connects with a few new friends (or re-connects with friends that were in her classes in previous years) to add to her budding friendships. She also has had to say good-bye to a few friends this past year who moved away. This is always really hard for my sensitive first-born, even if it's a friend that she wasn't best friends with - it's still a loss to her and she feels it deeply.
|Picture taken by Ang Kroeker Photography|
Joelle continued to show her artistic side with a few creative projects she made at home. She certainly didn't get this talent from her Mother...but I am excited to see what other things she comes up with as her creativity will likely only continue to blossom as time goes by.
One big way that Joelle has changed this year is her increase in bravery. Whether it was finally succumbing to trying the water slide on our Fargo trip last year, or going on the Pirate Ship ride at our local summer fair (I won't even go near that ride!)...or finally taking the plunge on getting her ears pierced - this girl impressed me with the things she was willing to try this year. And all of these things have made her more confident in herself which is a wonderful thing!
Joelle's stubbornness is something that once again was obvious in 2012 - but I'm sure I'll be able to say that every year. :) One particular story that I am reminded of is when she was determined to get her bangs cut! She staged her own personal protest and did not give up until she broke me down. :)
Joelle spent another 4 nights at camp this summer - and while I was more prepared for it this time around, I was still more than happy to get her back at the end of the stint - the hug included this time!
Joelle also has a love of music like her little sister but it takes on a slightly different form. She's not as likely to sing and dance - although she does let loose every once in awhile and has a mean booty-shake - but she seems to prefer to create the music. She is excelling quite nicely in her 3rd year of taking piano lessons AND this fall she started learning the ukelele in music class! She developed such a strong love for it that it was the #1 item on her Christmas wish list this year and it was all she could talk about for months! Needless to say, when she unwrapped her beloved ukelele at my parents' house on Boxing Day she was a very happy girl! I'm excited that she has a desire to learn a new instrument and I look forward to one day having "jamming" sessions with my guitar and her ukelele!
Next fall this eldest daughter of mine will turn 10 years old. Double-digits! It really hit me this year already though when she turned 9. That's halfway to 18 in case you weren't keeping track! That means that she has already been in my care for half of her life as a child. Another quick 9 years and she will officially be an adult! While that thought scares me - and yes, saddens me - there's another part of me that enjoys this more grown-up child. She's helpful in the kitchen, we can play more "grown-up" games and this past week when we were on our little holiday, she even came with me clothes-shopping for a short while and helped me comb through the racks and gave me her opinion in the changing room. I can't get her early years back, but I can certainly enjoy the tween-age and teenage years as they approach.
Joelle, my prayer for you as you continue to grow into a young woman, is that we will have a strong relationship. That you will trust me with the details of your life and that you will always feel comfortable coming to me with any sort of problem. And I pray that as your life gets more confusing as you approach the "uncertain" years, you will make our family's faith your own; a faith that you can cling to when nothing else may seem certain. Thank you for the ways you brightened up our family this year. I love you!