Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lia's First Basketball Game of the Season

Lia finished off her first basketball season last March definitely wanting to return to the sport again this year.  She had a great coach last year (a mother of a girl who was in Lia's preK class) and really enjoyed learning the sport and bonding with her teammates.  Lia then went on to play softball with this same coach and several of the same girls.  There was just one little problem with Lia's former basketball team.  One of the girls was a bit of a basketball phenom for her age and dominated the ball for the majority of the games.  As a result, Lia barely ever got to touch the ball at most games last year.  So, we decided to not put Lia on the same team again this year even though it meant not playing with the same girls she had played with in two different sports back to back January through June 2016 and not being coached by the same mom.  Ron and I felt like it was the right decision even though it required Lia to make some sacrifices.
Lia is now on a small team this year with just five other girls.  Two of them are her good friends Sienna and Mollie and Mollie's dad is the coach.  Lia has really started to progress in the sport this year since she is not just trying to figure out the basic rules of the game.  She is getting more confident and aggressive and is going to have way more game time this season since there are so few girls on her team.  I think that we made the right decision to move here.
Today was her first game and ironically Lia's team played against her old coach and old teammates.  It sure felt strange to sit at the other end of the gym from so many parents who we rooted and cheered with last year!  But the girls fought a good fight til the bitter end even though they didn't win.  Here are some pictures of the game.

Lia trying to get the ball.

Lia guarding her girl.

Running down the court with her teammates.

Lia got to play point guard this game and was able to bring the ball down court several times.

Lia looking for a teammate to pass the ball to.

Lia throwing the ball.

Getting ready to catch the ball from Mollie.

Lia chasing after the ball.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Snow at Home!

After returning home from a winter wonderland last night, we woke up to snow in our own yard this morning.  I was so surprised when I got out of bed and looked out the window and saw snow everywhere!  For a moment, I actually thought that we might get the first day back to school after winter break cancelled, but it doesn't look like that is now going to happen.  Oh well.  The kids and I did however manage to get our snow clothes on one more time this week and head out for a morning romp in the snow before church.  Although we have been playing in over a foot of it this past week at Priest Lake, it was still fun to run around in our own backyard throwing snowballs at each other and building miniature snowmen.  I don't think that this white stuff will ever lose its excitement when it comes to town...

Lia armed with several snowballs ready to go.

One of the miniature snowmen that Ella helped me make complete with a carrot nose and chocolate chip eyes and buttons.

The cutest boy ever getting ready to throw his giant snowball.

Sisterly love!

Sweet Ella framed in by the two little snowmen we made together.

Logan insisted on dragging our inner tube off of the snow and up into the play set.  I think that his original plan was to ride it down the slide, but that didn't work out so well since it's too wide to even fit through the opening to the top of the slide.  Oh well.  He still had fun sitting on it from atop his perch.

Lia tackling poor Ella.

A close-up of Ella being smothered by her older sister.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ella's 2 3/4 Years Old Today!

I can't believe that this little sweet pea is almost three years old.  The thought of it just makes me want to cry.  In so many ways, she is still my little baby, but in other ways she is so grown up and does everything her older brother and sister do.  Ella is still the biggest bundle of energy we have ever had in a two-year old.  She runs everywhere she goes and is game to do anything!  She has such a zest for life and can also be so feisty and sassy.  Ella continues to prefer her mom to anyone else...including her dad which makes both of us sad.  We have never had a child be such a "mama's girl" before.  I literally have to sneak out of the house whenever I need to leave her behind with Ron which luckily does not happen that often.  Once she figures out I am gone, she normally gets quite upset and continually asks when I will be home.  Whenever she hurts herself and needs comfort or needs help with something, she always wants me to be the one to do it.  As adorable as this is, it sure would be nice to get Ron's help a little more often when he is home.  But such is life with Ella Avalon at this time.
Ella has really become a "girly girl" in the past several months.  Like her older sister, she loves all things Disney princess and can be found wearing five different outfits from the dress-up box in one day.  She loves fancy dresses, jewelry, and pretty shoes.  She loves baby dolls and princess dolls and sneaks into Lia's room almost every day to play with her things.  Luckily, Ella now is starting to acquire her own collection of toys and dolls and enjoys playing independently in her room on a regular basis, too.  Ella still loves her ya-ya and pink blanket that she also calls "comfy warmy" (like Logan).  If she could have her pacifier, pink blanket, and mama all the time, she would be one happy camper.  Ella has also really developed a love of movies in the past few months and thoroughly enjoys her "movie time" every morning.  She happily lays on the big couch with her pink blanket and eat her "gummies" (fruit snacks) while watching her movie of choice.  However, Ella loves one-on-one attention from anyone and would read books, color pictures, complete a puzzle, and play dolls with any willing participant.  Ella still takes a sold two-hour nap every afternoon and sleeps 10 to 11 hours every night.  She also insists on taking baths in the big tub with her brother and sister and refuses to take one alone in the little tub in the children's bathroom anymore.  She wants to do everything they do and wants everything they want.  We sure love our Ella Avalon and cannot imagine what our life would be like without this bundle of energy!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Priest Lake in the Snow!

We just returned home from our five day trip to the beautiful, snowy, winter wonderland at Priest Lake right now.  There was so much snow at the cabin this year and several inches fell the day after Christmas which was the day before we left.  Luckily, we managed to make it over Snoqualmie Pass on Tuesday morning even though we had worried that the pass might be closed or we might be stuck in long delays due to the storm that had just come through the night before.  However, the snow plows had been out in full force throughout the night keeping the roads cleared for the most part.  Although I-90 was covered in compact snow when we reached the pass, we were able to drive through, but at a much slower speed.  It took us about nine hours to get to the cabin instead of seven and half, but we were just grateful to arrive safely and to get there in time for dinner.  All of my brothers and their families got there before us and the cabin was cozy and warm with the Christmas decorations already up!  It was so beautiful.  I just couldn't get over it.
My parents unfortunately never made it up to the cabin due to how bad their viral plague was.  They never got better the entire time that we were all up there.  And the real surprise came when my dad got diagnosed with shingles half way through the week.  As a result, his flu turned out to be a real blessing in disguise as it had forced him to stay home close to things like Urgent Care, doctors, and prescription medicine which were all things he badly needed once his shingles were discovered.  If he had been up in the woods at Priest Lake, it would have made getting to doctors and getting home really difficult.  So although we missed my parents dearly, it was a good thing that they never came up.  Regardless, we had a wonderful time playing in the snow, sledding down the hills, and being with the cousins.  The children always have such a great time up there and I just love being in the middle of nowhere in a cozy cabin in the snow.  It is always such a fun way to spend the second half of our Christmas vacation and to wrap up the holiday season.  Here are some pictures of our time up at Priest Lake...

The three kiddos and me outside and ready to play in the snow on our first morning there.

Logan getting a feel for the sled after being pushed off by me.

Logan crashing into a snow bank on the side of the road.

It came as no surprise that Ella immediately took to sledding and was never afraid of doing it all week long.  Here she is happily sledding down the hill in my lap.

Logan going for a run down the hill with Papa.

Lia has gotten much braver in the past year or so and now happily flies down the hill on her own.  Here she is going down the hill on her maiden voyage of the year!

Logan discovered on this trip how much he loved eating snow.  I could find him eating this stuff every time we went outside to play.  It was pretty funny.  Here he is with snow all over his mouth after taking a large bite of the delicious, white stuff.

As always, Ella had to copy what Logan was doing.  So she also got into eating snow on this trip.

Ron, Logan, and Ella at the top of the sledding hill.

Logan and papa going down again.

Ella wandering around.

Logan enjoyed exploring the deep snow on the side of the sledding hill.

Both of the little ones even agreed to go down the hill at the same time with me.

Logan, Trenton, and Ella playing in the deep snow.

My favorite family picture taken all week long.  I can't believe how everyone is looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.  This doesn't happen every day in the Hartland.

Some of the parents at the top of the sledding hill.

Logan and Trenton hanging out and eating snow.

The kids had plenty of indoor cabin time throughout the week.  They passed a lot of the time playing games.  Here is Lia with some of her cousins playing "Apples to Apples."

We brought up Logan's Star Wars Lego set that he had just gotten for Christmas since we knew there would be some down time at the cabin to put it together.  Here is Ron helping him out with Princess Ella looking on.

On our second day there, Ella agreed to ride down the sledding hill on Lia's back a couple of times.  She has no fear when it comes to these kinds of things.  I just thought it was the cutest thing to see the two of them flying down the hill.  Here is one of the action shots I managed to take of them.

The two girls speeding down the hill after they passed me.

It snowed on our second full day there which made it even funner to be in the snow.  Here is another picture I took of Logan eating snow with the snowflakes in the foreground.

The kiddos and me.

Ella riding down on Lia's back again.

Chris introduced video games to Ella and Logan for the first time.  Although the two of them had no idea what they were doing, they got a kick out of holding their own controller and pushing all of the buttons.

Lia tried out "Minecraft" for the first time with Sarah and Vivi.

I brought up a sock snowman craft (left over from Activity Days this month) for the girls to do.  Here are Lia and the triplets making their own snowman to take home.

Ella joined the group and pretended to feed her stuffed penguin a bunch of buttons left over from the craft. 

On our third full day at the cabin, the majority of the group went skiing to Schweitzer.  As a result, Natalee and Trenton stayed behind with us which made for a quiet and relaxing day.  We started out the morning sledding down the driveway and snowbank near the garage for a change.  Even Ella was game to try going down the driveway on her own sled.  It was the cutest thing!

Logan fell in love with the snow bank and went down it again and again.  It's pretty steep, so I was impressed that he was willing to try it out all on his own.  He's starting to grow up...

Of course, Ella was willing to go down the snow bank with me.  Here we are at the bottom.

And going down again!

Lia did a few runs herself.

We then decided to venture down the 88 stairs covered in snow to check out the beach below.  Here are the kids climbing on and around the boat lift that has been pulled onto the shore for the winter months.

Lia sitting on a 'snow throne.'

Logan relaxing on our dock covered in snow.

Another family picture in the deep snow with Priest Lake in the background.  So beautiful!

The sun came out for a little bit on our third day there.  Here is a picture I took from the deck looking out over the water.

After the gang returned home from skiing, the girls finally broke out their stuffed animals that they had all brought up to the cabin.  Here are the triplets and Lia with their extensive line-up of Beanie Boos.  This kind of stuffed animal is definitely a favorite among our entire family!