Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Recap

It's hard to believe that Christmas 2010 has already come and gone. We had a simple, yet very enjoyable, holiday with my family this year. We went up to Issy to celebrate Christmas Eve with my parents and my local brothers and their families. We dined on my mother's traditional turkey dinner with all of the fixings before moving into the living room for the program portion of the evening. I convinced my wonderful hubby to spend the night at my parents' house (yet again) so that we could spend Christmas morning with them to open gifts and eat breakfast. I'm always a little bit sad to see Christmas go, but am looking forward to 2011 and what she brings! Here's a quick recap of the time spent at my parents' house.

My father graciously agreed to man seven grandkiddies in the kitchen so that the rest of the adults could enjoy a peaceful dinner in the dining room. WHAT A GUY!

One of the items on the program's agenda was reenacting the nativity story while Eric read Luke 2. Natalee produced some of the cutest nativity costumes for the kids and Lia was lucky enough to be the angel. She dawned the princess-like angel dress and wings and immediately began requesting to wear her "glass slippers." So dang cute!

The gang all lined up before "show time."

Here are Lia and her cousins admiring baby Jesus after their performance was over. Please notice Riley's hair spilling out through the crown's prongs--just like what every wiseman's hair looked like 2000 years ago.

The final portion of the evening was the lighting of the candles on the Christmas tree and the singing of "Silent Night"--this is a German tradition that my father did with his family growing up that he passed on to us. I always loved doing this as it brings such a special Christmas spirit to the evening.

Lia's older cousin, Brynn, helping her snuff out one of the candles at the end of the evening.

Lia opening up one of her gifts on Christmas morning with the help of Grandma (while wearing her new Ariel dress...compliments of her wonderful North Carolina cousins).

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas out there!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Man vs. Nature

Man Won.
Oh, those poor fruit trees had no idea what they had comin'.
This is how Ron has been spending his Christmas break.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Annual Friend

The night before our wedding, we hosted an informal dinner at our Lake Samm cabin for family and friends who had come from out of town to attend our nuptials. Joy, one of Ron's cousins, brought us a beautiful, burgundy colored orchid plant as a pre-wedding gift. Since we were living in California at the time, I left the plant behind with my mother who took care of it until I moved back to my homeland two years later. Since the summer of 2007, this orchid plant has been my constant companion in the kitchen. And about every 13 months, a shoot springs forth bearing a cluster of tender, green buds. Within a matter of weeks, the most stunning orchids burst open and grace my kitchen with their presence for the next few months. Although this process had begun this year before I left for North Carolina, you will see what I found patiently awaiting my return last week. Welcome back, my annual friend. It's good to have you around again.

Santa's Helper...

This past weekend, Christmas finally arrived in the Hartland. We set out on Saturday to select our tree and then spent most of Sunday evening decorating it with all of the trimmings. This was the second year in a row that Lia was truly able to soak it all up and get in on the fun. Watching her enjoy the magic of Christmas makes it that much more magical for me. Here is my girl rolling around in some spare strings of musical Christmas lights that have never made it off our living room floor. It's just too much fun to turn them on and dance around!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Southern Thanksgiving

We just returned late last night after a glorious run in North Carolina where we celebrated Thanksgiving with all of Ron's immediate family. Considering the fact that it was snowing the morning we flew out, it felt fabulous to arrive in Jacksonville on Thanksgiving evening to 70 degree plus weather! We had a fun few days spending time with family, eating great food, shopping around town, taking a trip to the beach, and even driving down "memory lane" with Ron. It was great to stay at Lola's new second home and watch Lia bond yet again with her two adorable cousins, Regan and Addison. We're fortunate to be able to get together with Ron's family for the occasional holiday considering how far we live from the rest of them! Here's some random pics of our week there...

Ron and his bros in front of Lola's new home.

Lia, Addison, and Regan getting crazy in their play tent.

Regan in the tent tunnel.

The three girls just hangin' out on the floor.

The three girls climbing on their favorite jungle gym.

The gang sliding down a slide at the local park one evening.

Papa and Uncle Robbie with the girls.

Our group Christmas gift to Lola this year was a BBQ for her new house. The three boys picked it out and purchased it together and then spend an evening putting it together. Here they are hard at work in the garage!

Just the three of us were able to slip away one day to spend a glorious afternoon out on the Atlantic coast. We went to a quaint, beach town named Emerald Ilse and camped out on the shore for a few hours so that Lia could do what she does best: play in the sand and the surf. Here she is skipping for joy!

Mama and baby and the Atlantic.

Playing in one of the many holes papa dug.

The Hartland fam.

Digging another hole with papa.

Dancing in the sand with mama!

More frolicking.

Watering Lola's shell cake with her new Dora watering can.

Some PJ time with the cousins.

The girls modeling their new Christmas dresses from Lola after church.

The girls coloring at their little table at Lola's.

Lia and Addison cruisin' for a bruisin'.

Thanks for the Southern Thanksgiving everyone! Can't wait to see you all again!