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!