Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Decorating the Tree

"Oh Christmas tree... Oh Christmas tree... How lovely are your branches..."

This year, decorating the tree was a two part task.  The first part was spent getting the tree up, placing the angel at the top and finding colored strands of lights that actually worked.  Once that was accomplished, we saved the rest of our decorating for another day.

Day two of decorating was the fun day.  I love getting out all of the Christmas ornaments and seeing some of the old ones that my mom saved all of these years.  If it weren't for her giving me about 50 gold glass ornaments and a tin of some of our old ornaments... we wouldn't have much on our tree.

Dana put the girls on his shoulders so they could place some of the ornaments up higher.

...and if he didn't have them on his shoulders, this is where they would all end up...

...at the bottom of the tree and clustered in one spot lol.

Here's some pictures of a few of the older ornaments that were on our tree when I was growing up.

Here she is... in all of her glory...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trip to Page & Visit with Masani

We headed up to Page this past weekend.  Masani, Dana's grandma, fractured her hip several weeks ago and we were not sure if she would pull through.  Fast forward to now and she is recovering in a rehabilitation facility post hip surgery.  We believe that Masani is in her 90's (no one knows for sure as they didn't keep exact dates on birthdays in the older Navajo generations).  Anyway, she is one tough Navajo woman because she pulled through and though her health has been better in past years... she's still doing ok (see more about Masani below).

The Page balloon Regatta was going on this weekend so on Saturday morning I stepped outside to catch the balloon launching.  This was the view from Dana's parent's house.  The balloons launch from various locations in town.

I caught a few through the beautiful fall foliage...

Despite my terrible allergies, that always bother me this time of year in northern Arizona, I do enjoy  being up north and seeing the fall foliage that we miss here in Phoenix.  Dana's parents have two trees that turn a beautiful shade of yellow in the fall. I took this shot of a red slate bench, through the leaves, in Dana's parent's front yard.

The trip was pretty relaxing with not a whole lot planned other than a family photo shoot that I did on Saturday evening.  We made our stops at everyone's house and enjoyed being with family.  The girls LOVED playing with their cousins and, other than watching the street in front of Dana's parent's house to make sure that they were not out there playing in it, I hardly saw the kids all weekend.  

On our way back to Phoenix, we stopped at the rehab facility where Masani is staying until she is well enough to go home.  It was an emotional visit because much of the family felt that she was not going to make it only weeks prior.  Masani was very happy to see all of us and she thanked everyone for visiting her with tears in her eyes.  Masani uses the word Chei (grandpa) in an endearing manner and often calls Dana and his brothers, Chei.  She said that she had a dream that we all visited her and she wondered if we would be there soon to see her.  She enjoyed seeing the little ones, often saying "Ah-wayh'" (the Navajo word for baby) as she patted them and nodded in satisfaction.

Dana and 3 of his siblings with their Masani...
Lorin, Chris, Travis & Dana (missing Don, Carminda & Sam)

Clara with her great grandma...

Aiyana was excited to see her Masani, but she fell asleep on the car ride there and we couldn't get her to wake up.  Here's a picture of Masani trying to get her to wake up.  So sweet.

Olin (Dana's dad) and Masani holding hands.  Dana's parents both speak the Navajo language fluently.  Dana's dad is white, but he learned the language during his mission on the reservation.

On our way out, I hugged Masani and said "ha goo nee" which is Navajo for goodbye.  Masani pulled her head back a bit to look at me as we hugged and then she pulled in again nodding in approval as she patted my back and repeated "ha goo nee".  We always say "ya at eeh" to her which is Navajo for hello, but I thought I'd pull out some of my practiced Navajo words (credit to a Navajo app that I have on my phone for the girls).

We asked Masani if she ever expected to have such blonde descendants as many of her great grandchildren have blonde hair.  She laughed and said that she always wondered what her grandchildren would look like when Lori (Dana's mom) married Olin (a white man).  She said that she is very pleased and she loves seeing the results.  

Here's a little video snippet of Masani talking to us...

Aiyana did eventually wake up before we left and she asked to be brought back to Masani's room before we headed out.  So we brought her back to her great grandma's room for a quick hello.  I did grab a picture, but the room was really dark and it didn't turn out so well.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween 2013 & Other Things

This year, Aiyana saw a Rapunzel bride costume online and decided that she wanted to be Rapunzel for Halloween. I did a little Halloween photo shoot with the girls and here are a couple of pictures from Aiyana's photo shoot.

I really wanted one of the girls to wear a witch costume so Clara obliged and she picked out a colorful witch costume.  I think she made for a darling little witch.

Here we are on trick-or-treat night.

Other things...

The other day, Clara and I spotted an owl outside of Aiyana's school when we went to pick her up.  It was so cute and we could get pretty close to him.  I asked the office staff about him and they said that there is almost always an owl in the parking lot outside of the school so maybe we will see more of him in the future.  I wish I would have had a good camera with me, but I only had a cell phone to take this picture.

Tada... the first watermelon from our garden.  We also have some pretty plump peppers that are about ready to be picked as well.