Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Recap

We spent a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at my parents' home in Issy. Ron graciously agreed to spend the night even though it makes him feel like a teenager. Although this is a "bad thing" for him, it is exactly the thing I love about being at my parents' for special time of year! Thanks, Ron! We arrived in the afternoon on the 24th so that I could assist my mom in the kitchen, Ron could take a nap, and Lia could play trains with grandpa for hours on end. My brother, Eric, and his family joined us for my mom's traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings and the little, family program afterwards. After the program, we were surprised by a rare visit from Santa himself (well, really my parents' next door neighbor, but the kids had NO idea). My niece ran straight to him to give him a hug, my nephew (who is a year older than my niece) ran the other direction, and Lia just stared in amazement for several minutes before saying 'Santa' over and over again. After visiting with Santa and discussing the matter of naughty or nice, we tried to take a group picture with Lia on his nap. That didn't go very far (see picture below). Lia continued to say "Bye Bye Santa" over and over again after Saint Nick left. The most adorable moment was when I heard her say "Bye Bye Santa" after I had tucked her to bed and walked out of the bedroom. After everyone had left and my dad, Ron, and baby were all in bed, my mom and I turned off all of the lights (except for those on the tree) and talked til 11 pm. What a rare treat that was!
Christmas morning started off with a delicious breakfast and then the unwrapping of the gifts while dodging numerous phone calls. We all went our separate ways after a turkey sandwich lunch. Ron and Lia went home for Lia's nap and I joined my parents to visit Eric and Reb's house. My mom and dad dropped me off on their way to Port Orchard to spend the evening with my other brother. Ron, Lia, and I enjoyed a nice, mellow Christmas evening at our house where we ended it by watching Juno, one of my gifts from Ron, after Lia went to bed. It was a wonderful Christmas this year. Can't wait for the next one!

Like grandfather, like granddaughter. Lia cannot get enough of her grandpa's Lionel trains that date back to his childhood.

Lia crying her eyes out next to Santa and her cousins on Christmas Eve.

Helping Lia open one of her gifts with a doting grandma overhead.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

22 Months Review!

Well, Lia hit her 22 month mark today. We are basically staring at her second birthday in the face at this point. So hard to believe. Lia is such a happy, energetic little girl that just brings smiles and laughter into our home on a daily basis. What a joy it is to be her parents! Here is a quick blow-by-blow of her developments the last month.

1. Lia found her first freckle and it is just the cutest thing. It is located at the top of her foot/front of her ankle on her right leg. When she first found it, I was sitting right next to her and she immediately thought it was an "owie." After I corrected her and told her it was a freckle, she started calling it a "circle." We finally got it straight and now we discuss and locate her freckle on a daily basis. She especially loves it when I kiss it!
2. Lia is obsessed with flushing toilets. Up until recently, she would go into one of our bathrooms and start flushing the toilet over and over again. Me no likey as we pay for every flush in our house! :-) However, we have recently gotten this under control as Lia is the designated flusher whenever I use the toilet for myself or one of her dirty diapers. Bet you really wanted to know that...
3. Thanks to Ron, Lia has fallen in love with having circles, triangles, squares, etc. drawn on her hands with ballpoint pens. She can often times be found requesting a shape with pen in hand. However, my dad truly took it to a new level the other day when he started drawing shapes on her belly. Is this going to lead to a full-body tattoo one day?
4. Lia has developed an aversion towards all things dirty. She constantly points out "messes" now and requests to have her dirty hands cleaned off half way through meals.
5. Since we TRY to keep Lia's pacifier sucking to her bed only (it doesn't always work), she is in the habit of taking it out once we pick her up out of the crib. However, she has gotten a little fancy on us and will now spit it out instead of taking it out with her fingers. Maybe it's just me, but I think it's so funny.
6. Lia discovered a new sport while hanging out in our bathroom recently. She enjoys "riding the tub" while waiting for me whenever we are in there together. If you don't know what "riding the tub means," just think of what riding a horse looks like and then substitute the horse for a tub.
7. Lia has developed an interest in certain songs and will now request them by saying the title. Her current favorites are "Jingle Bells," "Rockabye Baby," and "Twinkle Twinkle."
8. Lia's talking is out of control. She talks all the time. In fact, it has gotten to the point where I just expect her to talk out all of her wishes, concerns, and desires. I am not even going to attempt to record her new words of the past month, but some favorite sayings of mine are "Baby funny" when she thinks she is, well, funny, and "Carry you" and "Help you" when she really means "Carry me" and "Help me."
9. For some reason, Lia has developed a desire to take off her sleeper pajamas in the morning after breakfast. She can be found requesting, "Off," while tugging at her zipper. When I do give in, Lia then freely frolics around the house in her diapers while it is 30 degrees outside. Makes sense to me.
10. Lia has gotten to know some of her board books so well that she can quote some of the lines from specific pages while we are reading them together. In fact, she sometimes also uses these quotes to request reading the books in the first place. Such a smart baby.

The theme for the month's pictures are unusual spots where I have found Lia sitting:

1. In her baby doll's stroller while coloring.

2. In one of my baskets that she "drove" (like a car) into the kitchen.

3. On the coffee table that she dragged up right next to the TV where she watches Nemo while frying her eyes out.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Happenings...

We have been a little busy these past few days participating in some of the festivities of the season. Although we are best known as social recluses, Ron and I actually had three Christmas parties this on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. How on earth did that happen? In addition, my mom, Lia, and I headed into downtown Seattle on Monday to soak in the holiday fun in some of the hotels and department stores. I don't know about Lia, but after all of this, I think that I am ready for a long winter's nap! :-)

Lia decked out in her snowflake, holiday sweater ringing a jingle bell before Ron's work party on Friday night.

Lia jingling all the way. She has fallen in love with this holiday song and requests it all the time.

On Saturday night, Ron and I hosted a little Christmas party for anyone in our church that wanted to come. Only 15 people showed up, but we had a good time anyway dining on potluck goodies and playing a rousing white elephant game. We had Lia all ready for bed before the group showed up. After grazing off of our plates, she spent most of an hour trying on our guests' shoes and walking around the house in them before being put to bed. Such a funny baby!

Serving up!

After most of our guests left, Ron and his two UFC boys found their way to our couch to partake in some of the "UFC's Best 100 Fights of All Time." Good grief.

Sunday wrapped up the weekend o' parties with my mom's extended family Christmas party at my aunt's and uncle's house. Here is Lia in holiday sweater #2 looking as cute as can be!

The Hartland Fam. Ron and I look really tired in this picture...I think we need a vacation.

My uncle starting up the family program portion of the evening.

Riley and Lia climbing over their favorite jungle gym during the program..a.k.a. grandpa.

Monday, my mom, Lia, and I headed to Seattle to check out a few of the holiday sights and sounds. First stop was the Sheraton Hotel to check out their annual gingerbread house display in their lobby. This year, the theme was Christmas movies. Above is the Nightmare Before Christmas gingerbread house.

And The Polar Express gingerbread house.

After the Sheraton, we wandered around the Westlake mall and hit up the food court for lunch. Here is Grandma and baby in front of the large Christmas tree outside of the mall.

We went to both Nordstroms and Macys to take a gander at the outside window displays and the decor inside. Here is the traditional star outside of Macys building that originally was the Bon Marche. Glad to see that this tradition has stayed the same as so many of the other downtown ones are now gone.

Lia and I inside the holiday section of Macy's where Santa and the long waiting-line can be found (that we did NOT wait in).

As close to Santa as Lia got that day. Sorry baby!

An ornament my mom found on one of the Macy's trees. I need to make it my mantra as I don't take to those Plan B's so well. :-)

The End of Summer

I know, by the title of this post, you must be wondering what is going on. The end of summer in December? I actually ripped out all of our gardens in November and, as a result, picked a HUGE bushel of green tomatoes off of our four plants before pulling them out of the ground (do you like how I had a reason to use the word "bushel?'). Anyways, over the past several weeks, I have slowly been using up this massive crop of tomatoes a little at a time. Whenever a green one would start to ripen and turn orange, into the house it would go from the garage. When I would have enough red ones, I would then make a huge batch of salsa that we would then eat over the next two weeks. At that point, a whole new batch of tomatoes had ripened and I would make the salsa all over again! Well, yesterday, I officially used up my last ones for a family Christmas party we had at my aunt's and uncle's house. Pretty amazing considering it is December! However, I'm actually a little relieved as I have been juggling large amounts of tomatoes for many months now and am ready for a break and ready to have the space back on my counter top. But, I must say that I am a little annoyed at the thought of having to pay for tomatoes for the first time in FIVE months! Geez.

What I started with...

What I ended with...

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Bownanza of an Evening!

I recently learned how to make both flower and ribbon bows for my daughter's hair. As a result, I went a little crazy one night making a bunch for her. Surprisingly enough, they didn't turn out half bad. Here is the picture of some of my finished products that I managed to snap off the top of my model's head who was very much a "moving target" during this mini photo shoot!

Below you will find the picture I took while madly chasing after my daughter with camera in hand. Although Lia appears to be comfortably settled on the floor playing with her tin o' treasures, she is actually in the midst of a quick floor slide while trying to escape from me and my lens. Love that bow covered head!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Is this normal?

Is this what most one and-a-half-year-old toddlers can be found doing in their crib after being put to bed at night?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Christmas Gift...

All wrapped up with a bow on top!

P.S. Thank you, Lola, for sending the beatuiful Christmas dress.
P.P.S. Sorry to the person who sat on the pew after us at church today. I hate to be the one to tell you, but your church clothes are COVERED in sparkles from my daughter's dress!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The We-Didn't-See-Santa Parade

There are a few things that I really love about the town I live in and one of those things would most definitely be its small-town traditions. Puyallup hosts a fair each fall, runs a farmer's market every weekend through the spring and summer months, and holds a Santa Parade each December through the old, "main street" part of town. Since Lia is now old enough to appreciate such things, we decided to brave the cold snap that the NW is currently experiencing and head downtown to watch the parade. From the vantage points of papa's shoulders and my lap, Lia thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the many participants of her first Christmas parade from lit-up tractors to marching high school bands to hordes and hordes of girl scouts. And, even though it was a toasty 37 degrees outside, we actually lasted an hour before throwing in the towel (or should I say scarf?) and heading home. The only problem with our early departure was missing Santa on the finale float. Oh well, there's always 2010!

Lia from her observation deck.

Just a really silly picture of my little bug.

Mother and daughter and the December twilight.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Weekend of Thanks...

Well, tonight wraps up a glorious 4-day holiday weekend with Ron at our side the entire time. Ever since he went back to school in late June, this has been a rare thing for Lia and I to have him around for this many days in a row. Pathetic, I know. So, were we ever grateful to start off our weekend of thanksgiving with that additional blessing. Plus, we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving in Seattle with my family for the first time (for me) since 2001! That makes eight years that I have been in a different state or even county. We loved not having to fly on the busiest travel weekend of the year. No lines, delayed flights, lost luggage, no nothing! Here are the highlights of the weekend:

Thanksgiving dinner was held at my parents' house with several family members in attendance. Although many members of the family contributed to the dinner, my mother made over half of it herself and came through with flying colors (which is no surprise). Here is my mom, SIL Natalee, and Aunt Sharon bustling around the kitchen during the final, frantic minutes before dinner. I am helping out by taking pictures...

My SIL Rebecca, brother Tip, hubby Ron, and three nieces playing games in the family room while awaiting the meal.

One of the tables decked out in its Thanksgiving splendor in the dining room. Martha would be proud, mom.

In keeping up with being the closest to perfect that a toddler can be, Lia obediently took her daily nap before, during, and after the Thanksgiving dinner. By doing so, Lia kept on schedule and allowed her parents the freedom to enjoy their holiday dinner in peace. It's hard work being perfect, but she manages to do it somehow. Here she is bossing Ron around while most anxiously consuming her turkey dinner after the rest of us have long since finished.

I volunteered to make four pies from SCRATCH (yes, dough and all) as my assignment for dinner. I made two pumpkin, one apple, and one banana cream pie. I did this in order to further my progress in accomplishing the goal of becoming more like my mother.

The full-belly family.

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we decided to go on a little family outing in order to, one, avoid the malls and, two, take advantage of some sunshine peaking through the clouds. We ventured out and explored a new beach on the Puget Sound in Tacoma called Owen Beach (thanks, Sarah, for the directions) for an hour or so before stopping for salmon wraps and salmon chowder (delish!) at this adorable seafood shop on the way out. Here is Ron, Lia, and my shadow basking in the sunshine.

Lia in repose...

Quite possibly the world's most adorable toddler...

On our way home, we made a spontaneous stop at the grocery store to pick out our Christmas tree from the freshly arrived stock of trees. Since we have never been home on Thanksgiving weekend as a married couple, we have never purchased our tree this early in the season. However, we realized with Ron's busy work-school and university-school schedule, that this was the opportune weekend to do it! So, we carpe diemed and bought one. And, I know, I know, we DO live in the world of U-Cut Christmas tree farms, but we had a bad experience with one our first year living here and are now completely content with buying our 6-foot Douglas Fir at Top Food Grocery Store for a bargain $19.97 each year.

Ron unloading the tree from the car!

Friday night, while Ron worked, Lia helped me decorate the Christmas tree with lights and ornaments. As one would imagine, she was absolutely mesmerized by the entire process and never left the room. I managed to photograph the most precious moment of the evening that I think captures some of the magic of Christmas. While I was stringing the lights around the tree, I found Lia on the landing of our stairs where she was trying to feed the other end of the lights through the railings and onto the tree! What a little Santa's helper.

Of all the "ormanents" (as Lia fondly calls them), she was most fascinated with this little birdie and its accompanying nest. She carried it around and played with it for several minutes before finally helping me place it on a lower bough in the tree. Here she is on the ground playing with her new found friend.

Putting the birdie in the nest.

Ron and I wrapped up the highlights of our holiday weekend with an actual date on Saturday. Gasp, I know. This kind of thing unfortunately does not happen as much as it should in the Hartland. However, thanks to our favorite YW, Paige, who is 17-going-on-30 and the free babysitting she owed us for the proofreading of two English papers, we were able to slip out of the home for almost six hours! I'm embarrassed to admit that I dragged Ron to New Moon for the first half of the date (I have a love-hate relationship with Stephenie Meyer and her books for a couple of reasons that I won't get into) where he managed to survive the film and its endless scenes of shirtless men. We then finished off the day with a trip to the fabulous Asian strip mall we found in August while his mother was visiting. We feasted on Filipino food, sipped Vietnamese avocado shakes, purchased enough Pan de Ube at the Filipino bakery to feed an army, and happily wandered the miles and miles of highly entertaining and equally fascinating aisles of the Asian grocery store. Pictured above, you will find me and our cart in the aisle devoted ENTIRELY to sauces. Can you even imagine an entire aisle in a grocery store devoted to everything sauce under the sun?! Fish sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce, oyster sauce, banana sauce, bean sauce, BBQ sauce, and even some vinegar and shrimp and chili paste are all available for your enjoyment. I think I now finally understand why my husband absolutely insists on having some sort of sauce on everything we eat...

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend!