Thursday, January 27, 2011

Living a Double Life...

So although Lia has been in love with the Disney "princi" (plural for princess) for many months, it wasn't until this past week that she really and truly fell in love with the story of Cinderella. For some reason something just clicked one night when I put her in one of her Cinderella hand-me-down dresses and played the ball/dance scene of the movie for her on the television. Lia just stood there--awe struck--in her own gown, mesmerized for minutes. It was as though she had become Cinderella herself. Ever since that magical moment, Lia has talked incessantly about this fairy tale in the first person. She constantly worries that someone will come and "rip her dress," she runs around the house intentionally dropping one of her glass slippers, and she even called my two friends, Megan and Wendy, (who were over the other day) her stepsisters. We have verbally diagrammed the plot of this story over and over and carefully dissected many of the characters...all at her request. However, the most poetic moment of all occurred the other night when she was running around the family room in her Cinderella gown and heels and one of them broke!! Yes, you read right, one of Lia's "glass slippers" shattered into though Walt had waltzed into our world and animated the incident himself. Needless to say, we really and truly have our own Cinderella living and breathing under our own roof. Now I'm just waiting for the fairy godmother to appear any moment...(and, boy, do I have a list for her)!

Monday, January 24, 2011

At 10:35 tonight...

...this is how I found my daughter sleeping.
Clutching Iggy to her bosom.
Does this girl love her stuffed monkey or what?!?
They are a match made in heaven.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dear Mr. Sucker...and a few others

Well The Hartland has been in detox this past week...and I'm happy to say that we have survived. Lia has finally given up her beloved "sucker." It truly has been her "baby crack" since the first few days of infancy. I must admit that I had grand plans of implementing detox week soon after her second birthday, but I was scared to death. I tried it last April (right after our trip to Tennessee for Easter as I refused to fly half way across the country without that darn pacifier), but it didn't work. Well, I didn't let it work. After only two days of trying, I threw in the towel after watching the quick destruction of Lia's fine-tuned sleeping schedule. You see, the sucker was Lia's sleep-aid. Whenever we put that thing in her mouth, we could immediately begin to see her entire body start to relax. I just wasn't willing to throw our perfected nap and bed time schedules to the wind when I was still having to wake her up at 6:45 a.m. a few mornings each week so that I could go to work.
So, fast forward nine months. It's now January and a new year...which of course coincides with new year's resolutions. I only made like...two...and one of them was to separate Lia from her beloved friend before her teeth pointed straight out of her face. The whole transition went unbelievably well due to the timely introduction of Iggy into Lia's life the week before the new year. My entire family went up to the cabin in Priest Lake...and with the arrival of my dear niece, Kelsey, came the arrival of Iggy, the stuffed monkey she had chosen during her 5th grade class' white elephant gift exchange in December. When Lia saw this stuffed animal, it was love at first sight. She didn't let go of that animal the entire time we were up there (thanks to Kelsey's willingness to share it 24/7). And when Lia woke up one night while we were there asking for Iggy (and not her sucker), an idea was born.
We immediately found an identical twin online and ordered it. While waiting for it to arrive, we were able to convince Lia that Kelsey had mailed her Iggy...and in exchange, she had to mail off her sucker to another baby that needed it. After several days of discussing this, Iggy came and the sucker was "mailed" off. For the most part, Lia hasn't looked back. A massive sigh of relief was felt in The Hartland and due to that reason it just wouldn't be right if I didn't close this post without a thank you letter addressed to each of the three key players. So without further ado....

Dear Mr. Sucker,
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a member of our family these past three years. Your calming and soothing presence has brought hours of peaceful sleep to our home for many, many nights. Words cannot sufficiently express our indebted gratitude to you. Thank you for your loyal service and the faithful friendship you provided to my daughter. You will be missed.
The Hartland mom

Dear Iggy,
This past week of detox would have been a bloody, painful mess without you. Your timely arrival into our lives was heaven sent. Thank you for your willingness to become Lia's new constant companion as I know being toted around the house (by your neck, no less) by a toddler isn't the easiest way to spend your days. We are grateful for your cute, little face and petite size that caused Lia to fall in love with you upon first sight. We hope that this new found relationship will last for years to come. We already consider you one of our own.
The Hartland mom

And last, but definitely, not least...
Dear Kelsey,
Where to even begin? Miss Kelsey Elisabeth, you made this whole transition possible. Thank you for your insight in selecting Iggy out of a pile of twenty-some gifts in your classroom last month. I believe that you were guided by a higher source. Thank you for bringing Iggy up to the cabin and, most importantly, for loaning him out to Lia with such selflessness for several days. You helped to create a friendship that made the removal of Mr. Sucker a reality. What would I have done without you?!
I love you!
Aunt Beese

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

The Hartland fam just spent a few days with my family at the Priest Lake cabin in the winter wonderland we found up there. Although it didn't snow while we were there, we had about a foot or so to play in. As always, Lia had the time of her life spending time with her "friends" (aka: her cousins) and toting Kelsey's tiny monkey named Iggy all over the place. We enjoyed great food, fun games, and plenty of sledding during our time up North and were said to leave it behind. I am so grateful for this special place that my parents built for all of us to enjoy. I heart Priest Lake in the sun and in the snow!

The first night there, I found this precious scene by the Christmas tree. Oh, how these girls love their grandmother! I don't blame them...

The Hartland fam in the snow on our first full day there!

Lia trying to figure out this deep, white stuff while her father fusses over one of the mittens.

Best buds: Kelsey and Brynn making professional snowballs with their snowball makers. Innocent bystanders...beware!

A photo of the great system my brothers devised years ago...using the ol' motorcycle to pull lazy sledders up the hill! Here is my brother Eric giving Vivi and Callie a ride.

After much coaxing, we convinced Lia to ride in the sled with me a total of two times. You can see by the look on her face that she was NOT a fan!

I just love this three handsome bros walking up the hill after another round of "ram" (the game they have been playing for over twenty years on the sledding slopes...the name of the game tells it all). Doesn't this pic look like it came straight out of an L.L. Bean catalogue?

We celebrated Callie's seventh birthday while we were there. Is she really that old? Please notice Vivi in midair in the background.

Lia clinging to Papa during another morning outside She grew less and less fond of the snow the more time she spent in it. Oh well, there's always next year....

Big, bad Spence cruising down the hill.

I slipped away with my mom for a walk in the woods so that she could try out her new snowshoes that she received for Christmas. She navigated like a pro on these contraptions and only fell once!!

One of the many mushrooms we passed on our walk covered in snow. Nature sure has a way of reinventing herself from season to season, doesn't she? Amazing.

Lia playing with the "triplets" on the day we headed for home. Oh, how she misses the fun and how I miss the constant entertainment for her.

A last photo of Priest Lake in all of her four degree glory! Boy was it chilly our last morning there! Can't wait to see her again all thawed out this summer.