Saturday, February 27, 2010

The 2nd Annual MC Night

Last night, Lia and I attended the 2nd Annual Multicultural Night held at Ron's high school. Although Ron and I taught in a pretty diverse school back in our Cali days, our students mainly consisted of Blacks, Hispanics, Cambodians, and the token White kid here or there. As a result, Ron was absolutely blown away by the incredible diversity at his new high school in Washington where he found his classes full of students from literally all over the world. Due to this reason, Ron decided to head up a Multicultural Night last year that was a smashing success with over 300 people in attendance. It was a ton of work for no extra pay, but both he and his students were really pleased with the overall experience and the end product. So, although Ron is in the midst of the craziest and busiest school year of his professional career, there really was NO chance that he was going to get out of organizing another MC Night this year. Luckily, all of the extra hours were able to be applied towards the almost 600 intern hours he has to log in as part of his admin certification program. Thanks heavens for that! So, Lia and I showed up last night to support him in this cause AND to get in on some of that incredible and free food from all over the world!

Ron and Lia in their international garb before the evening's events commenced!

Some of the international decor that was hung around the cafeteria (yes, those posters are taped to cafeteria tables tipped up on their doesn't get any classier than this).

The evening was kicked off by several of Ron's students welcoming their family and friends in their mother tongue.

After the welcome, the first item on the agenda was EATING! There were four booths set up that were overflowing with food brought by the students and their families. Europe, Asia/Pacific Islands, Latin America, and Africa were all represented last night. Delicious!

The masses heading up to the Europe booth for some frenzied feeding.

After dinner, the rest of the evening was devoted to the entertainment portion of the program. The kids started off with several performing numbers (both singing and dancing), then a balut eating contest (you know, the half-developed duck egg that is all the rage in the Philippines), a pinata, and then a fashion show. Here are several of the students performing in a multicultural break dance number. I know, I know, multicultural break dancing is a bit of a stretch, but it sure was fun to watch!

One of Ron's students invited her little sister's Korean dance troupe to come and perform two dance numbers. Here they are dancing their first one. I just wanted to wear those shiny pajama costumes that they had on--don't they look SO comfortable?!

Another group of Ron's students performed the Tinikling which is the national dance of the Philippines where two people beat and tap two, long bamboo sticks on the ground while dancers jump in and out. After a demonstration, the dancers invited a few audience members to participate in the banging bamboo fun and, somehow, Ron ended up in the thick of it. Although my camera's flash was not working well at that moment, here is a pic of my man getting in touch with his roots. Oh, how proud his mother would be...

The final portion of the evening's program consisted of a fashion show where several of the students modeled the traditional clothes from their "mother countries." Ron decided to get in on the fun this year and put himself and Lia on the list. He modeled a barong (a men's Filipino dress shirt that we recently purchased at a little shop in Seattle) while Lia sported a silk dress that I bought for her in Bangkok yeeeears ago before Ron and I were even married. Here they are as they first entered the room. Apparently, Ron has a modeling side to him after all. Is he striking a pose or what?!

Lia became so involved in the fashion show that she insisted on being put down in order to strut her stuff her own way! She wasn't ready to be done with it all by the end of their walk together.

The aspiring model being prematurely whisked away from the catwalk. What a shame!

What a fun and fabulous night! Well done, RWH. Now go and take a nap!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Say Cheese!

Well, we headed off today to attempt the impossible: Lia's 2-year pictures. Living up to the age, this photo session proved to be the most difficult since Lia was an infant. Although she knew exactly what the photographer and I wanted, my little toddler had her own busy agenda to attend to. She was more interested in dragging the chair around or sticking out her tongue or looking up at the ceiling. Although the pickins were pretty slim, there were a few decent ones to choose from. With all of that in mind, take a peeksie at what we ended up with below.

This was my favorite picture taken of Lia, but of course it had the not-so-favorite blue background behind it. So, with a little sepia makeover, we came up with this instead!

My little angel in black and white.

I know, it's a little cheesy, but I couldn't resist including this picture.

Doesn't she just look so grown-up here? Ugh. It just kills me.

Lia and Mr. 2.


Although this is NOT a flattering picture of Lia, I just had to include it. This was the pose where she refused to keep her tongue in her mouth and, ironically, it was taken with the word, TWO, below her. Do you see a connection?

Showing off those baby blues again.

The full-length shot.

My second favorite pic of the shoot. I just wish that her smile was a little more sincere.

And, we're off to Toddlerdom! Wish us luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Final Monthly Review!

Well, believe it or not, the final installment has arrived. Today is Lia's last monthly write-up that I will ever produce for "In the Hartland." It's time to take a break and move on to a quarterly review or something a little less high maintenance. Amen.
Although we held Lia's official birthday party last night with the masses, we honored her day today with a dinner in the dining room, a few more presents from just the two of us, and some homemade strawberry shortcake (which was actually what I used to request every year for my birthday dessert). It was a nice and simple evening. Here are a few pics from the night...

Lia sampling the shortcake before even blowing out the candles! A little anxious are we?

Lia striking a very funny pose before opening her first gift.

Inspecting a new book for the first time with papa looking over her shoulder.

This is serious business. Please note that the fairy skirt is still on!

Breaking in one of her birthday gifts: bathtub crayons! If you look close enough you can see Lia's graffiti and Ron's labeling of various bathroom parts.

And, now it's time to get on to the purpose of this post: Lia's latest top 10 developments for her 24th month!
1. Although she is speaking in simple sentences all the time, my favorite phrase that Lia picked up this past month is "So dark." Lia always says it in this serious, hushed voice and she loves to say it anytime we walk into a dark room or when it starts to get dark outside. It's quite funny!
2. When she is in the mood, Lia can recite her entire ABC's and count to ten all on her own without any prompting. I like to think it's very impressive, but what do I know?
3. A few months ago, Lia fell in love with dancing. We can be found dancing to the music on the radio/CD player, or from a stuffed, musical dog, or to our singing voices. She has particularly taken to holding these dance parties in her bedroom where we throw her stuffed animals around and get wild! However, what she has started doing this month that absolutely cracks me up is throwing her pacifier in her crib at the beginning of these dance sessions. It's like she knows how much of a sweat she's going to work up and removes her paci for optimal breathing.
4. Although she is doing pretty decent in the eating department, she has taken to a very strange, yet favorite, snack: graham crackers with butter spread on top. What a refined palate she's developing.
5. This has been a tragic development for Nemo and his friends this past month as they've been passed up for Grover and the rest of the Sesame Street gang. The two Sesame Street DVDs we gave Lia for Christmas are now part of our every day existence and all three of us can be found breaking out into a jingle about counting or cookies or being green without a moment's notice!
6. Lia has learned quite a few lines from several songs and nursery rhymes and will sing them or request that I sing them all the time. Apparently we have a little song bird on our hands.
7. She has also become quite proficient at putting together puzzles with little or no help from us. She can even do most of the United States puzzle on her own. I just love it when she picks up the Texas piece and shouts "Texas!" Yes, she is her grandfather's granddaughter.
8. This has got to be Ron's and my absolute favorite from this past month! Lia can be found faithful folding her arms during the dinner prayer while picking up food and feeding herself at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking at a young age!
9. This is the definite low light of the month. The fact that Ron is barely ever around this school year has started to take its toll on Lia. She is now preferring me over him on a daily basis and will even scream and cry sometimes when she is in his arms because she just wants to be with "mama." So sad.
10. My mother recently pointed out to me how entertaining it is to watch Lia run as she doesn't really run in the traditional sort of way. Instead, she kind of flits and skips and dances and hops as she runs from point A to point B. It really is one the cutest things she does at the current moment. Oh, to be that carefree....

Well, that's it folks! Thanks for following the past 12 months! *Until the next child...

*And, NO, that is not an announcement.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Moving on to Year #2!

Tomorrow marks the two year anniversary of the arrival of Miss Lia Elizabeth into our lives. And, oh how fast those two years have gone! Lia has been such a joy and delight in our family and I'm so grateful that she is ours. However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the warning signs of the terrible twos have been surfacing lately. In fact, it's almost as though Lia knew that tomorrow marked the beginning of her second year as she kicked off the day by throwing an absolute FIT when Ron handed her a peeled apple slice at lunch (which she normally loves) and then followed that up with a screaming tantrum while I dressed her for church (something she hasn't done since she was a newborn). Do fun times lay ahead or what?!
Anyways, tonight we celebrated her birthday a day early with my entire immediate family in the area at my brother's house. Because they ROCK, Chris and Natalee graciously agreed to host a joint party for Lia and their twins whose birthday is just three days later. Here is a brief breakdown of the evening's events...

While some last minute dinner preparations were going on, the cousins ran wild! Lia and Riley enjoyed following each other around pushing their respective strollers. As you can see, Lia was already working up a sweat with the always accompany red cheeks that were glowing by the end of the evening!

Two of the silliest kindergartners in the Northwest doing what they do best...whatever that is.

Lia getting in on some of the balloon fun!

After a delicious dinner of Natalee's homemade lasagna and all the fixins, we moved to the living room for some gift opening. Of all the loot Lia received tonight, the winner HAD to be the adorable fairy ensemble that she received from Aunt Becca. She paraded around in it the rest of the night!

Lia checking out her fairy reflection in the bathroom mirror with a doting father looking on.

The fairy takes flight!

I attempted to make an under-the-sea themed birthday cake for the gang tonight since Lia has recently fallen in love with all things Nemo and water-related. As always, it sure did not turn out perfect, but the cake, lemon filling, and butter creme frosting all made from scratch sure tasted dang good!

The birthday trio working on blowing out the candles.

A happy, rosy-cheeked birthday girl eating cake and flirting with her Uncle Tip.
Happy Birthday, my baby girl! I sure do love you!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cirque du Valentine

I surprised Ron with a pair of tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show that is coming our way later this spring! CDS is a passion that we have shared since our dating days and I can't wait to be stunned and amazed yet again under Le Grand Chapiteau!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On Fathers and Washers...

The old adage, "When it rains, it pours," has really rung true in the Hartland the past week. While in the midst of planning two trips for the months to come and purchasing plane tickets and other related items, we got slammed with a massive car repair and a broken washing machine! Needless to say, it's been an expensive week for us. After paying an appliance repairman sixty whoppin' dollars to come to my house for five seconds and tell me that my washer was broken, I learned that I would need to replace it. Since my husband is basically unavailable for all things nonprofessional til June of 2010, I turned to my all-knowing father for some advice. With one phone call, he dropped everything yesterday and drove the hour to my house to spend the afternoon with me. My dad accompanied Lia and me to three stores in order to help us pick out a suitable, replacement washer and then returned to my house to detach the defunct one and provide a tutorial on the basics of washing machine hook-up that I have apparently been ignorant of over the past 33 years! I will always be grateful for my father and the hours of service that he has provided for my brothers and me and an endless list of others who have been fortunate enough to know him. Although he is most definitely one of the most unique and unconventional people I have ever known, I love him to death and will always be grateful for his loving service and example. Thanks, dad!

***The picture above was taken of my father in my brother's yard in Montana and is one of my favorites as it truly shows my dad in his grandfatherly element.