Thursday, December 31, 2015

21 Months Old!

I can't believe that my baby is 21 months old today.  How did this happen?  She is sure growing up fast these days.  I feel like I say this every month, but Ella is so busy.  During her waking hours, she is just everywhere and into everything.  I cannot even count how many times I am cleaning a room or picking up after the kids with her buzzing around me.  When I am done, I look behind me to find the previous room all messed up due to Ella's "help."  She has a knack of "undoing" things after I have done them.  Oh that girl.  She also continues to use my white, desk chair in the kitchen to get into anything up high.  She slides that thing all over the kitchen and quickly climbs up on it to access any counter top in the room.  Ugh.  Ella also continues to love doing whatever her siblings are doing and copies them all them time.  Whenever it is time to leave the house, she immediately figures this out and runs to the laundry room to get her shoes to follow the rest of us out of the house.  However, it is a major problem when she isn't going with the group.  A sobbing and heartbroken baby is always left behind to be soothed by the other parent.  Ella loves running from place to place which always makes me smile because it is so cute.  She also can be found shouting, "Weeeee," as she runs around the house if she is super excited.  Ella loves dancing and will start busting a move whenever she hears music on the TV or in the car or anywhere else.  I just love it.  She loves shoes and puts them on all the time.  Her current favorites are the snow boots I recently pulled out for our Priest Lake trip.  She wears those boots everywhere!  She also is very girly and loves wearing jewelry or carrying a purse around the house.  Also, whenever we ask her where someone or something is that she doesn't know, she holds out her hands in the upturned way that we all do when we don't know the answer.  It's so funny!  Ella is still a picky eater after being the best eater ever.  She refuses most meats and vegetables at dinner and other random food items for breakfast and lunch that differ from day to day.  She still sleeps well at night and takes a 2 hour nap every afternoon.  Ella LOVES her ya-ya (pacifier) and her soft, pink blanket and talks about them nonstop during the day.  In fact, she still regularily sneaks up to her room to get a ya-ya from her crib and will suddenly appear back downstairs with it in her mouth.  Oh, that sneaky girl.  Ella continues to learn new words and her favorite these days is "toot."  She loves to say it whenever someone toots in our house and points to that person's bottom.  We think this is so funny!  Ella's new words for the past month are:  gummies, cars, bubbles, bowl, broke, shoes, hair, wa-wa (for water), ca-ca (for bird), baby, eat, more, hot, shoes, cookies, cheese, amen, ocks (for socks), Logan, woof woof, the sound a lion, bear, and sheep/goat make, book, choo choo, juice, help you, ball, and back (for backpack).  We sure love our Ella Avalon!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tooth #4 Came Out!

Well, it happened again.  Lia's other top, middle tooth came out yesterday!  We had been hoping this would happen for weeks so that she could sing, "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," but it happened the day AFTER Christmas!  She just missed it by a few hours.  Oh well.  Just like Lia's other top, middle tooth, this tooth had been lose for months and eventually started to sag creating a new gap in her top teeth.  I just had no idea this would happen.  So, it was a bit of a relief when it fell out as the whole tooth started to look a bit "sickly."  Lia's tooth finally came out while she was eating some Christmas M&M's while watching TV.  She immediately ran over to the kitchen counter to spit the bloody mess out in search of her tooth.  I was out running errands and missed the entire event, but Ron was home to take care of everything; however, they never found the tooth!  Apparently Lia swallowed it with the M&M's!  Woops.  So, we had to write a letter of explanation to the tooth fairy asking her to overlook the missing tooth under the pillow.  Luckily, she obliged and Lia got her $2 anyways!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

We wrapped up another fabulous Christmas season last night.  It's hard to believe that it is all over.  Unlike lots of moms, I am always sad to see Christmas end.  Besides the extra work, I love everything about the Christmas season--the music, the decorations, the parties, the food, wrapping gifts, watching my children's excitement grow on a daily bais, receiving Christmas cards, and the overall special and magical feeling that can be felt throughout the month of December.  Sigh.  I guess it's a good thing that Christmas always comes around twelve months later.
In keeping with tradition, we did what we always do every year--Christmas Eve at my parents' house and Christmas day at our house.  Lia and Logan were both so excited for Christmas this year.  It was so cute to watch the two of them get into the holiday spirit.  Ella was finally old enough to enjoy certain aspects of the holidays like the lights on all of the houses and the Christmas tree in the living room.  We enjoyed a fabulous dinner and Christmas program at my parents' house with Eric's family this year.  It simply wouldn't be Christmas for me if it weren't for Christmas Eve at my parents' house.  We then spent a wonderful and relaxing Christmas morning opening gifts with the children and eating a delicious breakfast in the dining room.  After lunch, the younger two went down for naps while Lia watched one of her new movies and Ron tried to rest/nap (he has been suffering from a horrid cold/flu this week).  In the meantime, I cleaned up the kitchen, did dishes, set the table, and cooked a Filipino feast for dinner.  At four o'clock, my parents arrived for the evening.  We enjoyed opening their gifts and sharing dinner with them.  I was sad to bid them farewell as it meant the ending of the day, but was grateful for the wonderful holiday we spent as a family (minus a very sick Ron).

The one family photo we took this Christmas season at my parents' home after arriving on Christmas Eve.

Lia enjoyed spending time with her older cousin, Vivi, all evening long.  Here are the girls playing the piano before dinner.


After our traditional turkey dinner, the kids acted out the nativity story.  Since Chris' family was at his in-laws this year, Lia and Vivi had to act out multiple parts of the story.  Here are Lia and Bryce as Mary and Joseph.

Cute Lia giggling over the baby doll hidden inside her dress.

The angel, Vivi, bringing good tidings to Lia, the shepherd.  

Lia, the wise man, Vivi the star, and Bryce as Joseph, posing at the end of the nativity story.

A sweet picture of Grandpa quietly reading to Logan while...

Grandma read a Christmas story to the rest of us.

We concluded the program with my favorite part--the lighting of the candles on the Christmas tree while singing "Silent Night."

Lia getting ready to snuff out a candle.

Snuffing away.

After driving back home and getting the kids to bed, a sick Ron put together Ella's doll crib while I layed out all of the children's Santa gifts on the couches.  Here is Lia's couch all ready to go.  Her big Santa gift this year was the retired American Girl Doll, McKenna, and several items from her collection (a book, the movie, three of her outfits, and her stuffed dog....all of which had to be found and bought on Craig's List or ebay).  Of all the gifts our children received this year, I was most excited to see Lia's reaction to this one!

A close-up of Mckenna and her dog, Cooper.  

A picture of the goodies Santa brought Logan and Ella on the couch that they shared. 

Luckily, Lia slept til almost 7:30 Christmas morning (hooray).  She then had no problem waking up both Logan and Ella in order to get things going.  After Ron gave the children permission to come downstairs, here are some pictures I took of their initial reactions to their gifts.  Of course, Lia immediately picked up her American Girl doll and started screaming!

Baby Ella picking up her new Dream Light (she loves playing with Lia's and Logan's).

I just love that I managed to capture this moment on camera--Lia hugging Mckenna for the first time!

Ella immediately stole Logan's Build-a-Bear dog and put it in her crib with her new Bitty Baby doll.  In fact, she favored this stuffed dog all day over her new doll.  It's a good thing that Logan wasn't that interested in it as sparks would have flown otherwise!

Logan doing one of his silly poses for me by his "loot."

Lia had to run upstairs to get her two other American Girl dolls in order to introduce them to McKenna.  So cute.

After the kids thoroughly inspected their Santa presents, we enjoyed our traditional breakfast of bacon, eggs, and my mother's delicious bread ring.

We then went back into the living room for the opening of family gifts after breakfast.  By this point, Ron was feeling so sick that he just layed on the couch and barely moved while the kids and I opened gifts.  This is the second Christmas that this has happened to him in the past few years.  No fun.  Here are Lia and Logan all ready to open presents!

Mama and the three kiddos.

Lia opening up an American Girl school desk from Aunt Austin and Uncle Robbie.  Yes, it definitely was an American Girl Doll Christmas for Lia and I loved every bit of it!

Helping Logan open his long-awaited Star Wars gun (he was with me a few months ago when I bought this in the store and he has been talking about it ever since).

Lia and I helping Ella with one of her gifts.

Another family picture!

Lia opening up her American Girl Doll salon chair.

Ella opening up Lola's gift of clothing while Logan looks on and a sick Ron lays in the background.

Ella inspecting her Disney's Frozen t-shirt.  So funny!

Ella giving me a cute look!

Although I didn't take any pictures of gift opening with my parents or eating dinner with them, I did remember to snap a few as they were getting ready to leave.  Ella had covered her shirt with rice at dinner and refused to put a clean one on afterwards.  As a result, she walked around topless the rest of the evening.  In addition, she had discovered by the end of the day that she had more fun sitting in her doll crib than playing with it.  So, this was the funny picture I got of the group when I first asked them to smile.  Please notice Ella's hilarious smile while Logan and my dad aren't even looking at the camera.

Although Ella's smile is not as brilliant, this is a slightly better picture of the group than the previous one.

A close-up of the grandparents with my two oldest.  As you can tell by the look on his face, Logan was really struggling with the bright flash on my camera.  Oh dear.

And that's a wrap for Christmas 2015!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fantasy Lights for FHE

We headed out on a cold and rainy night to venture over to Spanaway to check out the Fantasy Lights.  We have been doing this for several years now and it never disappoints.  We can stay in the warm, dry comfort of our car while driving around and seeing hundreds of Christmas light displays.  The kids love it and it is so fun listening to their reactions.  It was especially cute this year to observe Ella's reaction to it all.  She is sure growing up!

The giant, red teddy bear.

The choo choo train (that Ella always says with her mouth closed.  It is the funniest thing!)

Santa on the pirate ship.

This is what I got when I tried to take a picture in the dark truck with a flash on the camera--both Ella and Logan covered up their faces every single time!  

Luckily, after several tries, Ella finally agreed to not cover up her face and smile for me.  What a sweet girl.

Our Ellie Bellie.

Not surprisingly, Logan never agreed to smile for the camera, but he did give me a profile shot while he was pointing at something outside the window!

One of the new additions in the park this year was a Mt. Rainier and St. Helens all lit up.  Here is Mt. Rainier in all of her glory next to a tree full of lanterns.

The final Christmas light display as we left the park.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Fourth Annual Trip to The Nutcracker

For the fourth year in a row, Lia and I went to see a local ballet company's production of The Nutcracker.  I just love this holiday tradition that we share together.  We went for the second time with my friend, Mariah, and her two daughters, Mollie and Gabby.  We enjoyed dressing up and watching this fabulous ballet performed by some really talented dancers.  As always, I just love watching the snowflake scene--it almost makes me cry every time I see it!  I love that Lia knows this story so well and enjoys going to the ballet with me every year.

Mollie, Lia, and Gabby in the lobby before the ballet began.

Mommy and daughter.

Lia and Mollie with a giant nutcracker.  These girls have been friends for 3 1/2 years!

Although I had intended to take Lia to a different, local production of this ballet every December, she insisted that we return to this one (the Evergreen City Ballet) after our second year because the dancers always come out to pose for pictures after the production is over.  It's the next best thing to posing with Disney princesses for Lia.  So, here are Lia and Mollie with the Nutcracker and Clara.

The girls with the lead dancer from the Arabian dance.

The girls with the Snowflake queen and one of the snowflake dancers.