Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Drum roll, please...

16 weeks down, 20 something to go.


Monday, August 29, 2011

A Glorious End to the Summer...

There are a couple of known facts about Lia and me and one of them is that we LOVE summer. We love being outdoors playing in the sun, the sand, the water, and on the beach and we also love camping! We wrapped up another busy and glorious summer this past weekend by camping on Blake Island in the Puget Sound with two of my brothers and their families, my parents, and Natalee's mom and sister's family. We were blessed with weather in the mid 80s both days and had a fabulous time. I tell ya, there are few things as beautiful as the Puget Sound on a sunny day! I absolutely love it out on this island and can't wait to do it again for the third summer in a row next year!

One of the perks of having Natalee's sister and her family join our group this year was the addition of Megan, another three-year old girl for Lia to play with the entire time. These two became fast friends and spend many hours playing in one tent or another. Here they are striking up a silly pose in Megan's tent.
The kids spent many fun filled hours playing along the shore. Here are several of them crawling along some driftwood.

Lia gearing up to make one of her world renown sand cakes.

Megan assisting Lia with her masterpiece in the red bucket.

The two cuties posing for a pic.

Lia trying out the island's playground for the first time.

Lia and Megan enjoying one of many rounds on the tire swing.

Our three campsites all in a row with the sound in the background. Talk about a view from your tent!

My cute parents enjoying their foil dinners in our campsite Friday night.

The original fam dam minus Brent. Sniff. Wish you were there!

We took a stroll Friday night after dinner up to the Tillacum Indian lodge to take a peak around. Here are some of the kiddos taking a ride on one of the wooden carvings on the grounds.

Three generations of campers...

Saturday morning brought another beautiful day and a very low tide which provided some excellent beach combing!

Uncle Eric helped the kids find many treasures this morning from starfish to clams (yes, even an elusive gooey duck) to a giant snail to even a large jelly fish! The kids had the time of their lives playing in this outdoor aquarium.

Lia holding up one of the many clams the cousins dug up that morning.

Bryce inspecting the giant snail that Eric found.

The little ones "petting" the slimy underside of the snail.

The beginnings of the giant starfish collection the kids created.

My crazy brother, Chris, decided to go water skiing in the freezing sound Saturday morning. Here he is cruising by the group at the end of his ski!

Why the Pacific Northwest is a glorious place to live in the summer. This pictures speaks volumes.

Lia and all of her playmates lined up for a final picture before taking down our tents and packing up.


Please note the three very confused toddlers on the end of the log.

Thanks again, Blake Island and Chris and Nat, for a glorious last hoorah this summer!

Friday, August 26, 2011

And It's Back to Priest Lake...

We returned this past Sunday from our second round at Priest Lake for the 2011 summer. We were there for a little over a week and were blessed with stunning weather and good times with some of our family. Lia and I went up with my parents this time and joined Brent and Susie and their kiddos and Rebecca and hers for the first four days. After they left, the four of us were alone for a few days until Ron joined us for the second weekend. We sure do love it up there.

The girls discovered a use for the clay found at the water's edge on our beach and spent hours and hours creating various shapes, animals, and food items. Here is Kelsey working hard 0n her latest sculpture.

Lia patting some clay down on the dock. I think she was making some "patty cakes" (aka: pancakes) with Vivi watching over her shoulder.

The little artist up close.

Kelsey swimming in her tube sandwich.

Lia and her cousins playing at the neighborhood tennis court one evening.

I just had to include this picture I tried to take of Lia throwing the basketball. Doesn't she look like the headless horseman or something?

Vivi and Lia playing around.

Lia and some of her older cousins watching television.

Lia going for a kayak ride with her grandparents one morning. How precious.

And they're off!

After Ron joined us, he and my dad completed their annual swim across the lake. My mom, Lia, and I motored along their side in the boat as their chaperones. They completed the 1.25 mile swim in 45 minutes!

Ron and Lia working hard on the dock.

Lia took Ron into her little "pool" for some water play. This is the shallow and usually more calm area next to the beach that Lia enjoyed playing in this summer.

After absolutely refusing to jump into Ron's arms last month, Lia finally got up the nerve this month and fell in love with it. She requested to do this over and over again off the deep end of the dock!

Ahhhh! What a happy pair.

The only family picture snapped this time. Oops.

We found a plastic, toy fish floating in the water one day by our beach complete with fishing line and all. We rigged it to a stick allowing Lia to spend many fun filled hours fishing for Dorothy (the name she gave to the fish in honor of Elma's goldfish).

The grandparents that float together, stick together.

I am proud to say that this is my 69-year of mother water skiing! Her goal was to make it to age 60, but we have continued to encourage her to do it at least once a summer every year since then. Here she is on her second ski the week while we were up there. My new goal for her is to make it to age 75!

Ron completing another glorious morning ski, too.

My little boating partner with her wild and crazy windswept hair! So cute!

Monday, August 22, 2011

3 1/2 Years...

Well, it happened. My little girl is officially half way to her fourth birthday. Oh my. How ever did that happen? As always, she has been up to some funny and new things the past three months that I wanted to record before they slip my mind forever.

1. She made the big move (finally) from the crib to the big girl bed the last weekend in May. She never was one of those kids that climbed out of her crib and she absolutely loved sleeping in it, so I just didn't see the need to make the change early on; however, the time finally arrived this spring when she grew to the same length as her crib!
2. Lia has started to draw real pictures. She can draw pictures of stick people, trees, balloons, and even spiders. I think they are the cutest things and I love watching how carefully she works when she draws them.
3. She has started to say the most elaborate prayers that just crack Ron and me up. They are quite lengthy and she will thoroughly review the events of the day in addition to stating things she is grateful for. The funniest is when she says she is "thankful before" said item instead of "thankful for" said item.
4. Lia has discovered the concept of the imaginary friend and/or cousin. It is so funny because she always makes up these unique and creative names to go along with these imaginary buddies. Our absolute favorite name has just got to be "Choppy Long." Runner up has to be a tie between "Froccoli Bench" and "Vada Vida." In addition to stating their names and what they are doing together at the current moment, Lia typically will also included the imaginary friend's age. So thorough.
5. Lia has discovered that she can hug me while she is lying down in bed if she quickly wraps her arms around my neck and pull me down while I am bending down to kiss her. I just love it and will normally let her hug me in that awkward position for as long as she wants or until my back begins to break.
6. Lia has become fascinated with a few things lately--some good and some not so good. The list includes the time of the day, the age of a person, and private parts. Yep, that's right. I'm not too thrilled about the last one, but it comes up on a daily basis.
7. Our little one has really and truly fallen in love with cereal. Since I refuse to raise a child who only eats cold cereal for breakfast, it has mainly become a daily snack in between one, two, or all three of our meals. Oh well. At least, I know that she is getting her fair share of calcium from milk every day.
8. In the last few weeks, Lia has gone question-asking-happy! Wowzer. It's becoming a full-time job answering all of her questions. I try to be patient all day long and answer the barrage of questions, but I will admit that by night, I am ready for a break.
9. Lia has really become quite a little helper lately. She is usually eager to help out with anything she is asked to do from carrying an item from one place to another or helping stir something in the kitchen. She is really become a big girl.
10. She just discovered how to click her tongue last week and began doing it over and over again. In fact, it was such a distraction for her one day that she was unable to fall asleep during nap time.
11. Although Lia loved the water Summer 2009 when she was 1 1/2 years old, she wanted nothing to do with it last summer. However, I am happy to report that she rediscovered this love this summer at Priest Lake and enjoyed jumping off the deep end of the dock to Ron and "swimming" in the shallow area by the beach.
12. Lia has successfully been potty trained for the past five months...with #1, but the little stinker still wants nothing to do with #2! Ugh. It just kills me as she totally knows what she is doing, but refuses to take care of her business in the potty. Lucky me. Hopefully, we'll have this taken care of by the time she heads off to college in 15 years.
13. After watching Simba's mother licking him in the Lion King movie, Lia has taken to licking Ron and me instead of kissing us. We constantly remind her that she is not a lion, a dog, a cat, or a wolf, but this doesn't seem to bother her one bit. Good times.
14. Lia has definitely hit the peak of her "clinginess." Unless Ron is home, where I am, Lia can be found. Even if I quietly sneak upstairs while she is watching a movie on TV, she can be found looking for me in a matter of minutes. Although I would love some extra space from time to time, she truly is my closest and most loyal fan at the current moment.
15. Lia has developed a habit of setting up "picnics" throughout the main floor of our house. She will pick up random pots, pans, plates, and cups from her toy kitchen, fill them with various plastic food items AND water, and place them on a towel on our floor. It is a very cute, girly habit of hers; however, tripping over a potful of water while trying to navigate your way to the front door isn't always the cutest. :-)

Lia is the absolute joy of my life. She is still such a pleasant, happy, obedient, intelligent, and well-behaved little girl who really skipped over the terrible toddler years. I truly enjoy having her be my sidekick wherever I go and can't imagine my life without her. I'm so grateful that she is my daughter!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Idaho's Crown Jewel...

Well, another July has come and gone and with that brings our first summer trip up to the cabin at Priest Lake--also known as the crown jewel of Idaho. Our little family was gone for almost two weeks and had a ton of fun doing what we do best up there: swimming, skiing, eating, laughing, game playing, and playing on the beach. All 20 members of my family were up there for the first few days and Lia had the time of her life juggling all of her cousins. After the bulk of the group left, we witnessed our first "micro burst" storm that wreaked some serious havoc on the cabin and brought some serious excitement into our lives. Luckily no one was hurt and the cabin survived. Regardless, one never knows what they will find when they venture up to the North of the Narrows! Here's a peak at our two weeks up there!

Lia, pink Iggy, and cousin Vivi hanging out on the porch swing.

Grandma reading bedtime stories to Lia and Mae Mae.

The triplets building their blanket fort on the catwalk.

Papa and Lia reading.

Some cousin play down on the beach.

Papa and Lia basking in that crystal clear water.

Lia refusing to jump into papa's arms.

Riley showing off to Lia.

Garrett and Bryce lounging on the new floaties.

Lia working hard to keep the sand watered.

Ron being smothered in triplet love. Lucky him.

The triplets jumping off the dock in unison.

Celebrating Eric's 37th birthday!

Riley and Lia completing the scavenger hunt that grandma set up.

No summer is complete without a trip to Upper Priest Lake. Oh, how I love the scenic and relaxing trip up the channel to this lake.

The Hartland fam cruising along in the boat.

Nat and her kiddos kickin' it in the front.

Mama and daughter.

Riley and Lia throwing sticks into the water at the beach where we stopped at Upper Priest Lake.

The very tall tree that came down on our cabin after the storm came through! Nuts!

The other tree that toppled over just a few feet over from our cabin.

Ron's first ski of the season.

What a guy, what a guy.

Two days after the storm, my dad hired some men to come and cut down the two trees. It was quite the fascinating event and we spent most of our day just watching them do their thing. You can tell that our agendas are pretty wide open when we are up there...even Lia's.

Watching this man cut down the tree on top of our cabin was pretty darn impressive.

The Hartland fam trying out the new kayak.


Spending a glorious evening out on our deck.

Lia running up and down the shore at Ferry House beach.

Practicing our ABCs in the sand.

Lia and grandma playing in the sand at Ferry House beach.