Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Family Snow Day!

When Ron and I decided to stay home from our Priest Lake vacation this week, we made a goal to get our children out every day for a family outing or activity.  And although I am planning on dedicating a blog post to the entire week's activities, I couldn't resist giving today's outing its own post.  When we were brainstorming ideas of what we could do this week, Ron suggested that we try to go play in the snow somewhere and go sledding.  When I looked into it, there were only a few places where we could sled and they were all very overpriced.  Since I knew that our little ones would not last that long in the snow, Ron and I quickly decided that it would not be worth it to pay this kind of money.  I then called my brother, Eric, who spends a lot of time in the Cascades and he gave me the brilliant idea to head up to the one ski resort on Snoqualmie Pass that hasn't opened for the season.  So, we decided to go for it and packed up our kids and all of our snow gear for a little New Year's Eve outing on a beautiful, but chilly, day.  We spent a glorious hour and ten minutes sledding down the ski slope until Logan had a meltdown (due to being too cold since I had accidentally packed the wrong snow boots which meant he had to wear his sneakers instead) and the resort's security guard kicked us out.  Although it was 15 degrees outside, the older two kids really enjoyed themselves and baby Ella managed in our arms until she got so cold that she stopped smiling and Ron took her back to the truck to warm up.  As short as our time was, it just felt so good to be back up in the mountains again enjoying the snow on a beautiful day.  It made me excited for the day when all of our kids are old enough that we can go skiing together!

Logan running up the hill the second we got to the ski slope.

Lia trying out her sled before attempting her first run down the hill.

Lia and papa posing for a picture while Logan throws a tantrum right on the snow.  Oh that boy.

Logan recovering from his tantrum and deciding whether or not he is going to sled down the hill with his big sister.

Lia's first run down the hill with Ron waiting for her down at the bottom.

My three kiddos and me.

The cutest, little snow bunny and me.  I just love this picture.

Logan and Lia heading off on a brother-sister run down the hill.

And they're off!

Papa and a chilled baby Ella before retreating back to the truck.

The kids playing in a snow bank.

My brave boy (in freezing, wet sneakers) braving the cold and giving me a smile.

No matter where we go in this state, we can always find a tribute to the Seahawks and the 12th man--even in the mountains!  Go hawks!

Nine Months Old Today!

Here is our adorable baby Ella at nine months old today.  It's hard to believe that she has officially been outside of my body as long as she was "cooking" inside of it.  Our little Ella Avalon is just the sweetest thing.  The Hartland fam just loves her to pieces and can't get enough of her.  She is still by far our littlest baby which just makes her even cuter, but she is SO active!  Ella is nonstop motion and such a wiggle worm!  She barely lasts in Ron's or my lap for a few minutes before she wants down.  When she is down on the floor, Ella is everywhere.  She cruises all over our house exploring the various rooms and the objects in each of them.  She is fascinated with the bathroom and the shoes in the laundry room--both of which gross me out to no end.  Ella comfortably climbs stairs, walks along furniture, and even can let go and balance on her feet for a second or two before falling to the ground.  I keep on wondering when she will take her first step.  Ella has continued to eat more table food this month--she happily eats peaches, pear, cantaloupe, and bananas along with breads, tortillas, cottage cheese, sweet potatoes, and cheese.  She will also still eat any baby food sent her way.  However, Ella still has not even come close to mastering the drinking of water out of a sippy cup which is a bit worrisome to me as this is vital to weaning her and getting MY freedom back!  Ella still smiles, giggles, and coos whenever we give her any attention.  She has also started "talking" and constantly says, "Uh dah" as her favorite baby word.  Ella also continues to blow raspberries and just started clicking her tongue this past week.  It is the cutest thing!  She also just wrapped up having three colds back to back which took our wonderful nighttime sleeper and made her an awful nighttime sleeper who needed to be either rocked or nursed back to sleep almost every time she woke up.  Ron and I are trying to reverse that this we shall see.  And that's our Ella in a nutshell!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Recap

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas this year.  We enjoyed celebrating Ella's first Christmas, spending time with family, eating fabulous food, and opening gifts.  We spent our traditional Christmas Eve at my parents' house in Issy with both Chris' and Eric's families this year.  We ate my mom's delicious turkey dinner and then had our little Christmas program complete with the lighting of the Christmas tree with my dad's candles.  This is always such a special evening as it is reminds me of my own childhood.  We then had a relaxing and quiet Christmas morning.  Lia didn't come into our room until 7:30 (hooray) and I even made her wait until 8 a.m. before she woke up Logan since we had two late nights out of the last three and the boy needed his sleep!  We then came down stairs to see what Santa left them before eating a fancy breakfast in the dining room.  I then put Ella down for her morning nap before we gathered around the Christmas tree to open up all of our gifts.  Both Lia and Logan were very pleased with their loot this year--lots of Frozen paraphernalia and American Girl doll accessories for Lia and lots of trains, dump trucks, and power tools for Logan!  We spent a slow afternoon with naps and movies before Ron and I made a delicious Filipino dinner which is a new tradition of ours.  My parents joined us around 5 p.m. for the rest of the evening.  It was so fun to share our Christmas dinner and Christmas evening with them.  They brought some wonderful gifts for all of us and really made the evening special for us.  Both Ron and I were pleasantly surprised at how smooth the day went--everyone was healthy and happy.  No major meltdowns, tantrums, or drama!  Hallelujah!

A rare photo of the entire Hartland fam.  It's hard to get a picture of all five of us together these days.

My favorite Christmas photo this season standing in front of my parents' tree on Christmas Eve.

Lia and I singing a few of the Christmas carols that she learned this year for caroling with her Girl Scout Daisy troop at a Senior Center in Sumner.

Logan's contribution to the program was showing the family how he can jump on one leg and do a somersault which are his two tricks that he is very proud of these days.  That boy.

Logan jumping on one leg.

Aunt Natalee brought her bells again this year and the kids enjoyed playing a few Christmas carols with them.  Here is Logan and his red bell.

And, of course, Lia chose the turquoise bell.

Next up in the program was our traditional reenactment of the nativity story.  Lia got to be Mary again this year.  Here she is with Garrett (Joseph) and Riley (the shepherd).

The entire gang after finishing the story.

We finished off the program with the singing of some more Christmas songs...

and the lighting of the Christmas tree.  We always sing "Silent Night" afterwards.  I always love the Christmas spirit that I feel during this time of the evening.

Christmas morning began with the children running downstairs to see their "Santa Stuff."  One of the big surprises for Lia was finding her two American Girl Dolls dressed like Elsa and Anna from Frozen.  Santa's elves even styled their hair to match the outfits.  Lia is convinced that Santa recruited the help of a girl elf for this assignment. :-)

Here is Lia standing next to her Santa couch complete with all things Frozen from American Girl Doll clothes to books to Barbies to pajamas to a water bottle.

Ella enjoyed attacking the presents under the tree while her siblings checked out their Santa gifts.

Logan sitting next to his Santa gifts complete with a train set, Thomas the Train coloring book, a Cars roller backpack, and a giant box full of battery operated power tools.  The power tools hand's down were the favorite of the day.  He hasn't stopped running his chainsaw since!

Eating our Christmas breakfast of eggs, bacon, and the bread ring in the dining room.

Logan opening up a "Bob the Builder" movie.

Lia opening up a Barbie horse that we bought last month at Disney on Ice (that she had to wait until Christmas to have).

Lia showing off her new Frozen digital watch.

Logan showing off his dump truck from Aunt Renee and Uncle Derek.

Logan and papa checking out the awesome book he got that has little train tracks on every page for a pull-back train to zip along.

We saved the best for last and had the children move into the family room to open up the two giant gifts that appeared before Christmas morning in the living room.  Lia's gift was wrapped in Disney princess Christmas paper and Logan's was wrapped in Disney Cars Christmas paper.  Here are the two children standing next to these mystery gifts before opening them.

And the unwrapping begins!  Both kids tore into the presents like no other gift Christmas morning!

Ripping away!

And more ripping!

When they finally unwrapped and opened the boxes, several balloons came out.

Here is Lia letting out her balloons.

Tied to the bottom of each of the balloon strings were words that spelled out a message.  Here I am helping Lia put the words in order.

And the message read:
"You are going to Disneyland!
Mom and Dad"
That's right!  We are taking the kiddos to Disneyland this winter!  It took a few seconds for the message to sink in, but when it did, Lia started jumping up and down.  Logan never really got it although we have been talking about Disneyland for quite sometime.  Here we are posing with all of our Disney and star balloons.

And after baby Ella woke up from her morning nap, we all gathered back into the living room to open up her few gifts.

Here is Lia helping Ella try out her stuffed lamb for the first time.

Ella holding her lamb.

Logan supervising Ella and her lambie.  Just precious.

And there you go!  Merry Christmas 2014!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
from our family to yours!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Nutcracker Ballet

For the third holiday season, Lia and I decided to go The Nutcracker Ballet performed by one of the local ballet companies in the area.  We decided to ask our friends Mariah, Mollie, and Gabriella to join us this year and we had a great time.  The girls got all dressed up in their Christmas dresses and we had so much fun watching the ballet together and then posing with all of the ballerinas afterwards.  It was so cute to watch Lia talking Mollie through the storyline throughout the performance as she has become quite The Nutcracker expert.  Both of these six-year old girls were so interested in all of the different dances and clapped with such enthusiasm after each number was finished.  I love sharing these magical experiences with Lia!  I don't ever want her to grow up.

Lia posing with Mollie and her little sister, Gabriella, before the ballet began.

Mother and daughter.

Lia, Mollie, and Gabriella hanging out in their seats during intermission.

The girls posing with one of the many ballerinas after the performance ended.

Lia and Mollie with a Flower and Russian dancer.

Lia and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Lia with the principal Spanish dancer.

And, last but definitely not least, the girls posing with Clara!