Sunday, December 25, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is a Healthy Family!

The Hartland fam got slammed with a bad case of the flu during this year's holiday season that knocked the other members of my family flat on their backs for days at a time.  Lia got it first and got it the worst the Monday before Christmas.  She was out for an entire week, but managed to perk up enough by the end of the week to enjoy Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas day with Ron and me.  Unfortunately, Ron woke up with it Christmas Eve morning.  Talk about bad timing.  After driving Lia and me up to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas Eve (and Christmas morning as we had already planned on spending the night at their house), he turned around and drove back home and spent the evening and next morning alone.  How depressing is that?!  Luckily, he felt well enough to join in with our gift opening on Christmas night after Lia and I returned home from my parents.  Now, I'm just wishing that I can escape this nasty virus as we are leaving for our big trip to South Carolina in just two days!   

Lia and I spent Christmas Eve at my parents' house with them and two of my brothers and their families.  For a second year in a row, my dad opted to eat at the "kids' table" in the kitchen so that the rest of us could enjoy a quiet and calm dinner in the dining room.  We feasted on our traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings.  As always, it was delicious!

During dinner, we were treated to a surprise visit by my friend, Sarah, and her family who came caroling--violins and all!

Sarah and I have been working on this match since these little ones were born.  We basically betrothed Lia to Sarah's youngest child, Weston, after her birth.  They are a little over a year apart and we think that they would just make the cutest couple; however, tonight was the first time that they met each other in person.  We had to capture this moment on film.  Weston even agreed to put his arm around Lia. :-)

After dinner, we dove into our Christmas Eve program which always includes playing a few Christmas carols with Natalee's bell set.

Lia and her two cousins, Callie and Vivi, with their bells.

Next item on the program was the reenacting of the nativity story.  Once again, Lia was able to call dibs on the angel costume which just tickles her pink since she feels like a princess while wearing it.

Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus, and my little angel.

The entire line-up after completing the story.

We always finish off the evening's program by paying tribute to my father's German heritage by lighting the candles on the Christmas tree and singing "Silent Night."  It is one of my favorite parts of the evening because it is so peaceful and reverent.

The Hartland fam minus our sick papa who was home alone.  So sad.

Lia and I enjoyed a quiet Christmas morning at my parents' house complete with breakfast and some gift opening and a trip to church since Christmas fell on Sunday this year.  Here is Lia wearing her "Hello Kitty" pajamas and combing her Rapunzel doll's hair which were both gifts from Santa.

Here is a 3-part shot of Lia ripping into one of her gifts from grandma and grandpa.  Part #1.

Part #2.

Part #3.

Lia and I were happy to return to our own home after lunch to spend the rest of the Christmas day with Ron who was starting to feel a bit better.  We saved a lot of our gifts to open with him so that he felt like he was able to participate in some of the day's festivities.  Here is our little Lou getting ready to dive into a gift just from her father.

Assisting Lia with another present.

Father and daughter at the end of the evening. 

Here's wishing for a healthier Christmas in 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bump to Bump

Meet my dear friend, Sarah.  We met as elementary age kiddos at church and became best of friends our freshman year of high school.  Although we were inseparable for the four years that followed, our lives took different turns after our first few years of college.  She got married and started having babies and I went on to finish my degree and have a career.  Since Sarah was completely "done" having her children (all four of them!) before Ron and I even started our family, I never in a million years thought that we would be pregnant at the same time.  However, a month after I became pregnant, Sarah found out that she was expecting a "surprise" baby!  So it was such a treat to see my good friend last night in all of her pregnant glory while she and her family are back up in the northwest for the holidays.  I just couldn't resist having Ron take this picture to document our baby bumps in the making!  Oh, if only we could have seen this picture twenty years ago, we would have laughed ourselves silly.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Nutcracker and My Invalid

Unfortunately, the flu managed to find our little one this past Monday night causing Lia to lay around as lifeless as can be these past three days.  Not too much fun for the days leading up to Christmas!  Luckily our calendar is pretty empty this week, so we only had to cancel a few fun things while she fights this bug. In order to fill the time, Lia has spent a lot of her hours either sleeping or watching movies or listening to stories read by Ron or me.  I have taken advantage of this opportunity to introduce her to some classic Christmas stories that my mother passed onto us including The Nutcracker.  Today, after placing the book by her side, I had to quickly run downstairs to get something before reading this story again to her.  As I was returning a minute or two later, I could hear Lia's little voice coming down the stairs.  I quickly realized that she was telling herself the story instead of waiting for my return and this is the scene that greeted me when I rounded the corner into her room where she was resting.  The Nutcracker and my invalid.  What a precious sight...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Bling!

As Lia gets older and is enjoying the festivities that come with the holiday season more and more, I am trying to find a few new, fun things to add to our December calendar.  As a result, I suggested that we try out the Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park tonight for Family Home Evening.  So we hopped in our big, black truck and headed out to Spanaway to take at gander at the Northwest's largest holiday drive-through display.  For two miles, we meandered around the park gazing at all of the lit-up creatures and creations from snowboarding Santas to bike riding snowmen to kite flying bears.  We all got a kick out of this lighted bonanza and might even make it an annual tradition!  Until 2012...

Driving through the glorious, poinsettia arch at the entrance of the park.

Lia gazing out the window at one of the many lighted displays.
Here are a few of our favorites below:

Santa going pirate.
The happy gingerbread family.

The overstuffed stocking.

The classy, old car.

A snowman going for a ride.

A friendly gingerbread house.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Away in a Langer

For the past few weeks, we have been teaching Lia the story of Jesus Christ's birth during Family Home Evening.  From reading the scriptures, to watching a video, to coloring pictures, to playing with our nativity puppets, Lia has soaked it all up like a sponge and has learned quite a bit.  As a result, I jumped at the opportunity to take Lia up to my parent's church last night to see the 500 nativity sets that were on display.  After walking around the gym for quite some time, we ended up in the children's room where there was several sets that she could touch.  Lia thoroughly enjoyed playing with many of these, moving around the various pieces to her liking.  Afterwards, we took her through another room that showed the entire life of Christ through a beautiful display of pictures and objects.  Thanks to a life-size manger in this room, I was able to teach Lia about its purpose for animals and its significance in the nativity story.  This little lesson obviously stuck with her as she came up to me today with one of her dolls laying in an Easter basket and proudly announced, "This is baby Jesus laying in a langer."  So cute.  I just love sharing Christmas with this three-year old.

Lia hard at play with one of the children's nativity sets.

A happy girl enjoying the true reason for this season.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

30 weeks down, 10 more to go!

Well, we are now into the third trimester and the 30th week!  I can't believe it as every day of my first trimester draaaaged as I literally checked each day off of the calendar until I started to feel like we might actually keep this baby.  However, since then, time has really flown.  Besides struggling to pick things off of the floor, I still feel relatively great.  I am just so happy and feel so blessed to be pregnant this holiday season. Our little family is so excited to meet this baby boy come February!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Two years ago, the Hartland fam braved the cold to attend our town's annual Santa Parade; however, the low temperatures chased us out before we could actually see Santa and his Missus on their float.  So when we set out today for a repeat performance, we were committed to seeing Santa Claus--especially since Lia is now very intrigued by this illusive holiday hero.  We were able to slip into town a little bit early to hit our local Greek restaurant for dinner before heading out to observe the parade and its participants for the next hour or so.  The good news?  We made it to the end and actually got to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  Lia was absolutely awestruck...

Lia and Ron mesmerized by the Sumner High School marching band.

No Puyallup parade is complete without our local Daffodil royalty.  Here are our girls in all their yellow glory.

A happy parade observer.

Moving to the top of papa's shoulders for a better view.

One of the many lit up tractors.

My little Lou and me.

Ron and I couldn't get over this deck-out hot rod.  Can you find the car under there?

Finally!  The final float with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

We wandered over to our library park after the parade to take a gander at the tree-lighting ceremony.  While there, we were able to see Santa and the Missus up close and the set of Disney princesses from the parade.  Talk about holiday luck.  Lia thought she had died and gone to heaven.
Let the holiday season begin!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Magic of Christmas...

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we started the process of putting up Christmas in the Hartland. Lia has now grown to the age where she really has begun to anticipate and appreciate the holidays and all of the festivities that come with them. I love this as it makes them that much more special for me. She was so excited to buy our Christmas tree and put it up in the living room and was a great assistant in helping to hang the ornaments. We also dug up her mini Christmas tree with its little string of lights and ornaments and put it in her bedroom before bedtime the first night. After reading stories and saying her prayer, I told Lia that she could play with her tree for a few minutes before climbing into bed. After a few minutes of complete silence, I tiptoed upstairs to peak in on her and this is the precious scene I found: Lia laying on the floor gently touching every little light bulb and ornament. I just thought it was the sweetest thing as my three-year old was truly mesmerized by the magic of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm thankful for...

At preschool yesterday, Lia was able to complete a few different Thanksgiving activities.  One of these projects required the children to assemble a paper turkey and have the mom-in-charge write down what every child was thankful for on the feathers.  You can imagine my chuckle when I saw what Lia was grateful for at this time in her life:
1.  Beautiful gowns
2.  Princesses
3.  Ball (not the toy, but the event)
4.  Turkey
I fear that Walt Disney has created a monster.  Oh dear.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Three and Three Quarters Report...

Well, it's hard to believe, but our little girl is three-fourths of the way through her third year today.  Good grief, Charlie Brown!  We're staring at her fourth birthday in the face.  It's amazing to me how the baby phase just seems to take forever, but once it fades into toddlerdom, life really starts to pick up and just fly by.  I mean, in one and a half years, I'll be putting my baby on a school bus!  I'm just grateful that I have another baby on the way, or else things would really be getting tough on me.  And I digress...
So without further adieu, here is a complete list of all of the funny changes and cravings and crazes that my daughter has been about the past three months:
1.  Let's start with the biggest highlight:  Lia is fully potty trained!  Hooray!  It only took six months to get her to buy into the second and more difficult part of potty training, but it finally happened the end of September and I couldn't be happier!
2.  After she was introduced to it during her first week of preschool this fall, Lia has fallen in love with water coloring.  A palate and brushes were quickly purchased at our grocery store and we can be found on a regular basis gathered around the kitchen table painting away.
3.  Lia has taken to telling her own made-up stories that always start with the infamous line, "Once upon a time."  Her stories usually follow a fairytale/princess theme, but they are priceless and I love hearing them.
4.  Lia loves, loves, loves preschool and asks me all the time when she gets to go next.  I'm so grateful fro the co-op of mothers in my ward that have made this possible for free!  She also is very excited about the elementary school that she will attend in the Fall of 2013 and talks about it regularly.  This is one little girl that will eat school up when she is given the chance!
5.  Lia is very excited about the pending arrival of her baby brother.  You can tell that she was ready a long time ago to acquire a sibling.  Sorry it took so long, Lia!  She has already made up a nickname for him ("Logie") and talks about how cute he is and loves to kiss and pat my belly all the time.  We'll see how long this sibling love lasts. ;-)
6.  After Ron got the flu in September forcing me into our guest bedroom for a few nights, Lia realized that there was a use to this bedroom for the first time in her life.  As as result, she now "bed hops" all the time from her bedroom to the guest bedroom.  We will put her down for the night in one bed and find her asleep in the other one by the time we come up a few hours later.  It's quite funny.  She has also added the small couch in the office to her sleeping repertoire during nap time.  It's just your basic game of musical beds.
7.  Much to my chagrin, Lia has become your regular, cold cereal junkie.  She wants to eat it all the time--for every meal and every snack.  Obviously she doesn't get her way all the time, but at least one or two or three bowls of cereal are consumed by this little one daily.  Oh well, at least she is getting her daily intake of calcium!
8.  I am ashamed to admit that I finally incorporated scripture reading into our nightly, bedtime routine.  I know, I know, better late than never, right?  Anyways, Lia took to it like a fish to water and now reminds me to do it every night (which is a good thing because I still forget sometimes).  She loves sitting on our coffee table across from me and follows along with fascination. 
9.  Lia has become very clingy to her momma this fall for some odd reason.  Although she has never been a fan of strangers, she was always fine with being left at home with papa or the grandparents, but that has all changed.  Whenever I now have to leave her with Ron, a big tantrum is thrown with tears and sobs.  You can tell I'm not working anymore...
10.  Unfortunately thanks to some of her little friends, Lia has picked up on the art of "potty talk" in the past few months.  Grrrr.  Although she now recites the rule that she is not allowed to say the words "poo poo" or "pee pee" more than she says them, it's just down right annoying.  We'll see how long it takes her to grow out of that one.
11.  Lia now loves to rock out with me to Katie Perry's "Firework" song whenever it comes on the radio while we are driving around in the car.  It's so cute as she now even knows some of the words and can be found singing them around the house.
12.  I don't know where this phase came from, but a few weeks ago Lia decided that she wanted to wear her pajamas in the house whenever we are home (which can be most of the day sometimes).  So, the days of getting ready in the morning and staying in the same clothes til bedtime are long gone.  I don't know if it coincided with the arrival of the cold weather this fall or what, but it is definitely her favorite thing to wear (well, along with her princess dresses, that is).
13.  Lia's sleeping schedule has evolved for the first time in years.  She either skips her nap now for "quiet time" in her room or will take a much later afternoon nap resulting in a much later bedtime.  I'm sure that most moms would yank the nap altogether to guarantee an 8 pm bedtime, but I still just love that break in the middle of the day so much that I can't do it.  As as result, she goes down most days for a nap around 2 or 3 pm and then doesn't actually fall asleep at night til around 10 pm or so.  It's a bit ridiculous and much later than I would like, but it's what I choose to do in order to get a break half way through the day.
14.  Lia is fascinated with ages and wants to know how old everyone is all the time.  She has Ron's and my ages memorized and likes to remind us on a regular basis how old we are.  Funny girl.
15.  Lastly, Lia is still very into her make-believe friends and talks about them all the time.  She still makes up the funniest names and frequently reports on their comings and goings.  Lia especially loves to blame her bad behavior and choices on them by saying things like, "Jonesa told me to do it!"  Ron and I are now in the habit of kicking her fake friends out our house.  Oh, what fun!

And there you go!  Until her fourth birthday, that's the latest on our little Lou!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Save the Lips!

Since the cold season has settled into the great Northwest, Lia has been plagued with constant chapped lips.  No sooner do we get one bad case cleared up then another one sets in.  Today was no exception as Lia woke up with multiple pieces of dried flesh hanging off her lips.  After attempting to lightly pull a few pieces of skin off tonight, I told Lia that I couldn't because I didn't want to rip her lips.  After asking some questions, Lia agreed with my decision to hold back by stating, "I want my lips to stay on."  I don't blame her. :-)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The 26 Week Bump!

Well, it's been four weeks, so I guess it's time for an updated version of my baby bump.  I am now 26 weeks preggers and have started to finally "feel" pregnant for the first time with this baby.  It now takes some effort to get off of the couch or out of bed and Lia has become my designated picker-upper of all things on the floor since bending over is becoming a bit of a bother.  However, I am still loving it.  Loving that I am finally pregnant.  Loving that this baby is growing.  Loving the fact that in just three months, we will finally have another baby in our house.  I can't wait...

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Pint-Sized Snow White

Lia and I duked it out for weeks as to which princess she was going to be for "Falloween." She wanted Cinderella and I wanted Snow White. My argument? Well, for starters, she looks like Snow White! With her fair complexion and dark hair, people have been commenting on the resemblance for years. Secondly, her Snow White costume is much nicer than all of her used and loved Cinderella hand-me-down dresses. So, after weeks of debate, I finally convinced Lia to come to my side by offering to buy a matching red bow to go with costume. Who knew it would be that easy?
After getting my girl all dressed up this afternoon, we headed outside for our traditional photo shoot in the front yard before heading out with papa to our church's trunk-or-treat and a quick trip around our neighborhood. Lia made off like a bandit for the amount of time that she was actually trick-or-treating tonight. Ron and I can't wait to get into it when her back is turned!

Quite possibly the cutest princess I have ever seen.

I just love this pic. Can't you see Disney's actual Snow White posing like this while warbling by her wishing well?
One more coy pose before heading off for the evening.

Working hard at the trunk-or-treat in our church's parking lot.


A girl on a mission.

Heading out for more candy back in our neighborhood.

Lia organizing her inventory with papa's assistance after a busy evening.

Happy Falloween everyone!