Sunday, August 31, 2014

Five Months Old Today!

Our baby Ella turned five months old today!  It's hard to believe that she is almost to her halfway year mark.  Ella is such a little wiggle worm these days.  She is nonstop movement!  I have never had a baby this physically active this young.  She is either rolling around or up on all fours scooting along all the time.  It's amazing.  She can easily travel several feet in just a few minutes.  Ella now is very interested in any toys that we put on the floor around her and is constantly reaching out and playing with them.  Ella is still a very happy baby if her basic needs are met and will give us the biggest smiles and laughs if we get up in her face and talk to her.  Although she loves all of us, I think that her favorite is her big sister as Lia is the best at baby talk and making her laugh!  Ella is thankfully now sleeping through the night consistently and is settling into a routine of a morning nap, afternoon nap, and evening nap although the times vary daily.  She is a great nurser and is getting bigger every day.  We will be pulling out the rice cereal and some fruit baby food during this month which will be fun for Ron and Lia to feed her for the first time!  Until next month...   

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Day on Blake

For the fifth summer in a row, my family headed out to Blake Island the last weekend in August for camping and overall fun on the island.  This is honestly one of the highlights of my summer and the perfect way to end this favorite season of mine.  Since it falls either right before or right after school starts, Ron is always too stressed out and too tired to join us.  As a result, I have always gone without him and managed to camp alone with one or two children in tow.  However, I knew that I just couldn't do it this year with a nursing newborn and a very busy toddler on my own and decided to just go out for the day on Friday.  Although both Lia and I were disappointed not to be spending the night, we tried to focus on the positive and just be grateful to be able to go for the day and enjoy this wonderful place with my family.  Here are some pictures of our day on the island!

Logan was finally old enough to really appreciate Blake Island and had a great time running around with his cousins.  My, he is growing up!  Here he is with Callie, Trenton, and Vivi checking out the deer that always roam the island.

A close-up of some of the deer near my family's campsite.

We spent a large part of Friday afternoon on the beach.  Here is Lia climbing on some driftwood.

Logan loved playing in the sand with his shovel and bucket.  Here he is with Trenton and Bryce.

The ladies of the family on a log watching the children play.

Uncle Eric gave Lia some hitting instructions on the beach using a piece of wood and endless miles of rocks.

Trenton and Logan have really become buddies this summer and are so fun to watch.  Here they are playing in the sand.

Riley also put the two boys on the makeshift seesaw that has been on the beach for a few years and gave them a fun ride up and down several times.

A close-up of these cute toddlers.

Lia jumped in on the fun causing Logan to start crying!

Ella took a few naps while we were up there and one of them was in my mom's tent.  Here is my baby girl after waking up.

The children made several trips to the island's playground.  Logan loved the tire swing and enjoyed some time with Riley...

and with Trenton, too.  Lia did a great job pushing the boys around.

Lia enjoyed going up and down the zip line, too!

After foil dinners and some freshly caught crab (thanks to Chris and his pots), we packed up and headed home around 8 o'clock that evening.  Here is my little family minus Ron before heading to the marina to go home.  Oh how I love Blake Island.

Thanks, Natalee and Chris, for another fun year.  Can't wait to come back next year for some real camping!

Monday, August 25, 2014

She did it!

Well, after only two days of cruising around on her makeshift balance bike and practicing on her real bike without the training wheels, my girl took flight tonight!  It was so cool to run out to the backyard after seeing Ron beckoning me through the kitchen window to find Lia riding around the sport's court all on her own.  She made several loops around the court, starting, stopping, and turning the corners all by herself.  I'm so happy that Lia figured this out before the bad weather returns this fall and our bikes get locked up for a long, winter's nap!  Good job, Lia!  I'm so proud of you.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Bike Boom!

The Hartland children's bike fleet more than doubled in the past few weeks.  We went from three bikes to a total of EIGHT due to two hand-me-down ones from family members and three garage sale bikes that Ron paid a total of $5 for this past weekend.  Needless to say, we've had a bike boom in the family and the kids are loving it!  Ron took two of the garage sale bikes and turned them into balance bikes by removing the pedals.  In addition, he added some training wheels to another one giving Logan two little, boy bikes to cruise around on our sport's court.  It's just the cutest thing!  All of this bike mania has finally given Lia the interest and the courage to try to learn how to ride a bike without training wheels.  We had a great time this morning before church and tonight after dinner helping and watching our kids ride around our backyard!  Here are some pictures from tonight.

Getting Logan started on his new, little bike with training wheels.

Logan really riding along on his new bike.  It was so surprising and fun to watch.  

My cute, little biker pausing for a photo par mama's request.

Lia scooting along on her newly made balance bike.

Papa helping Lia to ride her big girl bike without training wheels.

Lia made several trips around the sport's court with little assistance from Ron.  Hopefully, she will be doing this all on her own soon!

Our fleet of bikes all lined up and ready to go for another day of fun!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Up on all fours!

Ella continues to amaze us with how quickly she is progressing physically.  At only four and a half months old, she is already pulling herself up on all fours and rocking back and forth!  This is two months earlier than when Logan was doing this who was much more physically advanced than Lia.  At this rate, Ella could be crawling and walking waaay before her older siblings were.  It's such a surprise because she is still such a little thing compared to them!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Camping at Ocean Shores

We returned to Ocean Shores for the fifth summer this past weekend with two other families for our annual camping trip.  Although we have a newborn this year, I decided to be brave and carry on this tradition--especially since I knew that Lia and Logan would have so much fun.  We actually had a good time and Ron and I survived our two nights camping there by sleeping in different tents.  Since both Logan and Ella wake up throughout the night, we knew that it would be toxic to put them together.  Luckily, we have two tents, two air mattresses, and two pack 'n plays, so we were able to establish a "girls tent" and a "boys tent" and made it through both nights pretty peacefully.  Overall we had a great time with our friends and enjoyed our time playing on the beach, riding our bikes, cooking dutch oven meals, and spending time around the campfire.  We can't wait to return next year!

After arriving Friday, we gathered that evening with our friends for dinner and to celebrate Mayce's third birthday.

Getting ready to blow out the candles!

We spent Saturday morning down at the beach.  Here are all five of us ready to ride our bikes down to the sand.

Ron, Logan, and Lia hitting the beach after riding through the dunes.

Ella was a good, little companion on my back as we made our way down to the beach.

A close-up of my baby and me.

All of the kids had such a great time playing down by the water.  Here is Lia and her bosom buddy, Kaylee, digging in the sand.

As usual, Logan was fearless and played in the freezing surf with gusto.

Logan filling up his bucket with water.

The Hartland fam and the Pacific Ocean.

After Logan got knocked over by a wave, Ron stripped him down to his shorts for more fun in the sun.

Logan playing in the "pit" that some of the other kids dug.  Needless to say, this boy was covered in sand after we brought him back to the campground.

Lia in the dunes.

Lia and Kaylee in the dunes.

Baby Ella did a great job and slept in my backpack carrier for the majority of the time that we were down on the beach.  She woke up at the very end...just in time for a picture!

The kids spent hours cruising up and down the lane in front of our campgrounds on their bicycles.  Here are some of the kids pausing for a quick picture.

We made a delicious sausage stew for dinner on Saturday night.  Logan was fascinated by all of the campfire cooking and assisted as much as could.

Eating dinner around the picnic table with our friends.

We headed out Sunday morning for another family bike ride.  We put Ella in the bike trailer for the first time with Lia at her side.  She actually did pretty well (as long as Ron was moving) and eventually fell asleep for the rest of our ride around the campground.

Ron pulling all three of our kids.  What a guy!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ella's 4-Month Photos

After having to reschedule due to a nasty scratch on Ella's face, we made it in this evening for her 4-month pictures.  Although Ella didn't cry at all, she had a hard time warming up to the photographer for the majority of the photo shoot and refused to produce one of her stellar, open-mouth smiles for the majority of the time.  Luckily, she decided to cooperate at the very end of the appointment and gave us a few, adorable smiles (due to tickling her chin over and over again with a burp rag) providing more than one picture to choose from!  My favorite one is above, but there are a few cute ones below in addition to the collages that the photographer made for us.