Elizabeth has earned her first blue belt stripe!
We also had our "allergy-friendly" gingerbread reprise. Jay and Natasha made some pretty cute cookies, while Auntie Janice made BB 8.
This year's Christmas cards for the various and sundry teachers that bless our children.
We participated in the group gift for preschool but the kids made various candy and fudges for the teachers which we then sent to school (and music class).
Amelia made toffee, Matthew made chocolate coconut cranberry fudge and Elizabeth made a marshmallow chocolate fudge. They were very proud of their efforts...
I should mention that Matthew's teachers completely spoiled him in return, sending him home with a candle AND a new Christmas stuffy.
In no particular order - this year's gingerbread men from music (highly coveted; rarely eaten by the children but Daddy doesn't mind...)
We helped decorate the tree at church.
One of my favourite advent traditions is the lighting of the wreath at suppertime. While we light them we sing O Come O Come Emmanuel (adding one verse for each candle). Everyone gets a bell and when we get to the "Rejoice" part we all ring our bells wildly.
In junior church this year we did a Jesse tree during Advent. The first week we had traditional Jesse symbols to colour and cut out, and we tried to guess and/or told the stories they represented. The following week the older kids were given blank pieces of paper and told to draw stories from the Bible leading up to Jesus. Sometimes the kids are inclined to draw things that are completely unrelated (eg tanks, rocket ships etc) and so one of the leaders was about to tell off the little boy drawing the king killer when we suddenly realized he'd been paying attention the week before when I told them the story of Deborah and Jael.
Packing snow today meant that Elizabeth HAD to build a snowman. Tuesdays are an early (and long) karate day and generally we have less than half an hour between school bus and needing to leave, during which time she managed to eat, put on her gi AND build a pretty darn cute snowman.
Okay so this is almost so late that we should just skip it but when we went to take Amelia's two and a half photos with the bear Elizabeth pointed out that we kind of missed documenting her and Matthew's important milestones at the end of the summer.
At four and a half Matthew is very wiggly and can hardly manage to stay still. It's as if he's full of energy that just can't help but overflow. He loves to talk and talk, usually at high volume. He's very affectionate and sweet, with much consideration for the feelings of others, except possibly Amelia whom he ADORES teasing. He actually adores her as well, but just cannot help pushing her buttons.
If someone feels left out, Matthew is very likely to give away his toys, food, or hugs. His big sister might be overly aware of this and tends to take advantage. He is a very sensitive little soul, which he sometimes covers up with rough housing.
He loves building and construction toys, cooking and making crafts (the more glue, glitter and cutting the better). His speech is getting much clearer - he's actually starting to add the 's' to the beginning of his words - no more nacks or mall kids around here.
At eight and half Elizabeth is an extremely organized little girl that likes doing things "comme il faut". She dislikes being late and has helped us figure out routines that will keep her on time without too much rushing about (which she also doesn't like). When we're late she tries to figure out what caused the problem and come up with solutions for fixing it. This is very helpful in getting out the door to the school bus - when our "out the door" alarm goes; she's out the door! I also don't usually have to nag her to do her homework or remind her to complete her projects; she's pretty on top of things generally.
Still pretty social with many, many friends. She doesn't seem to talk about having a "best" friend anymore; though I'm told she still hangs out with both Adi and Olivia - it's just that her friend group seems a little less exclusive and cliquish. I *think* that's a good thing. Her teacher commented that she's a delight to have in class but the main thing she needs to work on is being a little more assertive. She considers the feelings of her friends possibly a little too much - she'll always put the feelings of others first instead of asking herself what she wants or needs. For instance, if they are asked to form a group she'll wait to see who is left out and then make her picks (apparently everyone wants to be in her group) rather than just deciding which kids she'd like to have in her group. Fiercely competitive, but at the same time doesn't want to stick out too much as being "different".
Still likes "her" stuff, but lately has been trying to reconcile her desire to collect all the things with her liking of things being tidy. "I have TOO MUCH STUFF" she announced the other day, and gave a pile of it away to her siblings. I was quite amused, having done exactly the same thing as a kid (although I might have taken longer to come to the same conclusion!)
Extremely athletic, Elizabeth spends an inordinate amount of time upside down or doing the splits in addition to the various activities that she enjoys. She is starting to enjoy reading a little bit more - she likes the Tea Sisters and Geronimo Stilton series (en français) and has been caught reading for fun. She can read in English too, but it's clearly harder. She will read to her siblings sometimes without asking. Still loves drawing and is obsessed with making teeny tiny little books that you pretend to push a button on and then it asks you questions depending on what part of the book you open (eg favourite number, favourite colour etc).