Friday, July 31, 2015

16 Months Old!

Our baby girl turned 16 months old today and she is sure growing up!  Ron and I really have noticed some changes this past month in Ella.  She is starting to make that transition from baby to toddler.  First off, she is sooooo busy!  I cannot emphasize this enough.  I have never had a baby so busy.  She is everywhere and gets into everything.  Since she has been my most physically advanced and active baby for months now, she continues to amaze us with her coordination and lack of fear.  This past month, she learned how to climb up the huge ladder AND the slide to the platform of our play structure which is several feet up in the air.  The first time Ron and I looked out the kitchen window and saw her on the third rung of the ladder, we nearly had a heart attack.  Needless to say, an adult now has to be with her in the backyard at all times to make sure that she is supervised when climbing on the play area.  Ella has also gotten really good at running and enjoys running away from us when we want to take something from her that she knows she shouldn't have.  She continues to giggle and laugh at many things and loves being in the middle of the action and chaos of her older brother and sister.  She has started getting cups out of the cupboard and walking over to the refrigerator and pointing to the water dispenser whenever she is thirsty.  She will also walk to her high chair whenever she knows that it is meal time.  Ella also has begun to pat our back when we give her hugs which is just the cutest thing!  She also has the hugest appetite and eats way more than her older brother.  She will eat an entire meal and then want to sit on our laps and eat our meal after we get her out of the high chair.  This is just hilarious to us because she is still such a little thing.  She has also picked up a few new words this past month.  In addition to saying uh oh, mama, and papa, Ella will now wave and say "bye bye"--especially after I ask her to put her pacifier back after I get her out of the crib.  She also says "wow" and "no" and she just learned "thank you" from Lola who is visiting right right now.  It is the cutest thing as she says the "you" with such emphasis.  Ella is still taking two naps a day although it often times takes her over an hour to fall asleep for her afternoon nap.  I just need to start pushing back her morning nap until after lunch in order to combine the two, but I will wait until after school starts to do that.  Ella is sleeping great at night and I barely ever have to do a pacifier run anymore which is just fabulous.  She is such a cute, happy, and busy baby.  She keeps us laughing or shaking our head in awe most of the time.  We love you, Ella!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Takashi's Visit

When Ron lived in Japan for two years back in 2000 to 2002, he became friends with a lot of Japanese people--especially Takashi.  Although it has been thirteen years since he lived there, Takashi and Ron have stayed in touch.  Takashi came out to visit him two times in California and once to Seattle right after we moved here in 2007.  We also saw Takashi and his wife when we went to Japan two years ago and told them several times about the "Hattori Hotel" (the basement in our new house) that would be available to them any time they ever wanted to visit the U.S.  Well, Takashi finally took us up on our offer and flew out for another whirlwind weekend (that is how the Japanese do it) with his friend, Kan-Chan.  Both of these guys are big, American car buffs--especially of the old fashioned variety and so they planned their visit to see us the same weekend as the HUGE, annual car show in our town that displays 4,000 cars at the fairgrounds.  So, although we got into town late Friday night after being gone a week, we turned around and welcomed them into our home Saturday morning!  Ron spent all day Saturday at the car show and at the Lemay Car Museum in Tacoma and all day Sunday taking them on a road trip to Mt. Rainier and back while I stayed home and cooked, and cleaned, and watched children.  So, we both did our part to make sure that their stay was comfortable and enjoyable.  The children and I had a good time spending our breakfasts and dinners with them and got a kick out of trying to communicate with the massive, language barrier.  Plus, it was fun to show them Japanese-themed scenes from Pixar's Cars II and Big Hero Six.  They were as Japanese as it gets--leaving their shoes by the door, showering us with gifts, and ooohing and ahhhing over things like mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs.  It was so nice to have a little piece of Japan in our home for the weekend!

Here is Lia and Ron with our guests before Ron took them to the airport on Monday morning.  And, yes, even adults Japanese people have to pose silly for pictures.  Classic.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Family Trip to Priest Lake

We just returned tonight from a glorious week in Priest Lake with my parents for our annual, July trip.  It seriously was one of the best vacations I have had up there.  For starters, the weather was the high 80s or 90s all week long.  So, every day we were able to spend quality time playing on the beach or swimming in the water with the kiddos.  In addition, there was glassy water every morning except for one.  Now that Lia is my designated "flagger," she joined my mom and me every time that I went skiing.  Skiing on smooth water in the calm of the morning with barely a boat on the lake is just one of my favorite things and it is so fun to now share this with my little girl.  Lia did a great job swimming every day without a life jacket and really got confident swimming in the deep end while we were up there.  Logan had a great time playing on the beach and splashing around in the shallow water.  And Ella just had a good time being in the thick of it all.  We ate good food every day, took plenty of naps, enjoyed spending quality time with our kids and my parents, and overall just basked in the slow pace one finds up there.  I heart Priest Lake.
Here are some random pictures of our week up north of the narrows...

Lia leaping off of the dock with no life jacket on!

Lia swimming back toward the dock.

Mother and daughter playing on the dock.

Lia running towards the beach.

After some coaxing, I was able to convince Logan to go out on the kayak with me.  He actually had a good time as long as we didn't go out too far.

Lia was much braver and happily paddled out with me past the dock to find papa swimming.

Mommy and daughter.

Logan and Lia got in on the fun together.  It always makes me so happy when I see them playing nicely together (because it doesn't happen all of the time).

One morning during baby Ella's nap, Ron and I took the kids over to the tennis court for some fun.  Here is Ron teaching Lia how to hit a ball.

Logan ran around with me throwing various balls and being crazy.  Here he is posing with a tennis racket in front of his face.

Lia looking cool with her racket.

We stopped and investigated the scooper parked next to the tennis court.  As you can imagine, Logan loved driving it.

Ron, Logan, and Lia posing with the scooper.

We managed to get Ella down to the beach most of the days that we were there.  The funny thing was that she did NOT like walking on the sand.  As a result, she either stayed on the towel or sat in one of our laps the entire time we were down there while usually playing with a bucket and a shovel.  Here is my baby girl hesitantly looking at me after I put her down to take a picture.

When I moved Ella over to the wet sand to get a picture out of the shade, this is what she did!  I told you she doesn't like standing on the sand! 

Papa and his girls.

One of the few pictures I have managed to snap with my three kiddos alone.  It's amazing I got this one as Ella began crying and Logan began picking his nose by the time I snapped the second picture.

Ella hanging out in the boat.

Papa and Logan relaxing in the boat with Ella.

A few days into our vacation, Ella discovered this little, play backpack.  She asked Ron to put it on and fell in LOVE with it!  She wore it all of her waking hours in the cabin from that point on.  It was just the cutest thing!  Ron and I kept on commenting how Ella kind of grew up over night once she started wearing this backpack.  She suddenly became this sassier, more independent, and more confident child while wearing this backpack.  Very funny.

Ella and her backpack on the go.

One morning, we left a sleeping Ella at the cabin with my parents and cruised the channel to Upper Priest Lake.  This is another one of my favorite things to do up here.  

Ron and the kids basking in the sun while cruising the channel.

Ron and my dad managed to squeeze in their annual swim across the lake one morning after I water skied.  I stayed up in the cabin with the kids while my mom drove the boat next to them.  We were able to watch them the entire time due to view from the cabin deck.  You can barely make out two little heads swimming to the right of the boat in this picture.

We actually attempted a few family pictures on our last afternoon there.  Amazingly, they didn't turn out that bad.  Here we are with Lia striking an Elsa pose (that I didn't know about at the time). :-)

Another angle on the deck.

And one down on the beach.  I'm just amazed that Logan was looking at the camera every single time!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

2nd Tooth Came Out!

After waiting six longs months, Lia's second tooth finally came out while driving to Priest Lake yesterday.  Her big tooth had broken through many, many weeks ago (or was it months ago?) and both Lia and this tooth have been patiently waiting for the baby tooth to come out ever since.  The baby tooth finally started to loosen a week or two ago and Lia has been wiggling it nonstop.  Although it had gotten really lose by yesterday morning, we gave her strict instructions not to wiggle it while she was at camp because we were afraid she would lose it if it came out while she was there.  Being the obedient child that she is, Lia didn't touch it until we picked her up from camp and started the seven-hour drive to Priest Lake.  While we were outside of Ellensburg (about two hours into our drive), she pulled it right out!  There was much rejoicing and jubilation in the car with a promise that the Tooth Fairy would get the memo that she would not be sleeping in her regular bad that night.  Luckily I was able to get in touch with this busy, little fairy and she safely found Lia that night and placed $2 under her pillow.  Feeeeeyooooh!  :-) 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Girl Scout Day Camp

Lia wrapped up her second year of going to Girl Scout Day Camp in Bonney Lake today.  She went five days in a row for nine hours a day and never complained once!  She attended with several of her buddies from her Brownie troop and we carpooled every day with Sienna's and Addy's mom.  The weather was glorious and sunny every day and the girls had a great time.  They had so much fun participating in a variety of activities from rock climbing to learning Karate to crafting to throwing water balloons to making their own trail mix to running in a relay race.  They sang songs and acted out a skit in front of the entire camp.  They made an awesome craft every single day including a memory box made from wood (that they actually sanded, nailed, and stained themselves), a stepping stone, a picture frame, binoculars made out of toilet paper rolls, a dragonfly made out of twigs and leaves, and a telescope with a built-in constellation.  Lia really loved her unit leader and the plethora of youth leaders who ran around the camp assisting with all of the stations.  She can't wait for next year!

Addy, Lia, and Sienna giving us a silly pose!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Camping at Ocean Shores

Although rain was predicted for the weekend and there was a statewide burn ban in all campgrounds, we headed out on our annual camping trip to the coast this past weekend.  We managed to have a good time anyways with three other families that joined us from P-town!  Although it poured Friday night while we were safely tucked away in our tents, it only sprinkled on and off on Saturday which didn't really stop us from having our usual fun.  In addition, we figured out that our campground perfectly hid our campfire around the bend from the road, so we were able to secretly have one both nights which was wonderful!  We enjoyed doing our favorite activities while being there--bike rides around the campground, playing at the beach, eating good food, and hanging out around the campfire.  Both Lia and Logan had a great time playing with friends that joined us and baby Ella did a really good job just wandering around everywhere!  Can't wait til next year!

The Ford F150 loaded down with everything under the sun as we headed out on Friday.

Ron rigged a baby swing between two trees in our campground and baby Ella had a great time swinging in it!

A close-up of our girl.

The kids enjoyed throwing pop-its out on the road in front of our campground.

Although the beach was unusually chilly on Saturday, we managed to enjoy a few hours out there!  Here is Logan helping Ron let the kite into the sky.

Lia having a go with the kite.

Logan, Mollie, Lia, and Gabriella playing in the sand.

A chilly, Hartland photo.  Look at that wind!

The three girls had a great time walking Moses and Cooper everywhere!  Here they are walking them along the beach.

Logan was the only one from our family that braved the water and promptly fell in (big surprise).  Here he is before getting totally wet.

Lia and Moses.

Getting Logan warm back at our spot on the beach.  He eventually fell asleep in my arms and took a quick afternoon nap.

Sweet, baby Ella playing in the sand.

Besides walking the dogs, these three girls spent many hours riding up and down our the road in front of our campgrounds on their bikes.  Here they are taking a break for a quick pic.

Some of the adults and kids enjoying the Saturday evening fire.

Logan and Easton bonded and enjoyed exploring the forest connected to our campground for many hours.

The girls found a clearing in the woods behind our campground where they enjoyed performing several dance recitals for any willing audience.  Here they are getting ready to give us a show.

Getting ready to take a bow at the end of their dance!

The Hartland fam heading out on a bike ride Sunday morning.  Ella loved riding around in the backpack carrier and did a great job!

Ron and Logan riding along.

Lia was a total trooper and followed us on several, long bike rides around the campground and even out onto the beach.

Mama and baby.