Sunday, January 31, 2016

22 Months Old Today!

Our little peanut turned 22 months old today.  I just can't believe how close she is getting to her second birthday.  I wish I could make it stop!  Regardless, our little Ella is sure turning into a toddler.  Her new favorite word is "No" and she uses it all the time!  In fact, she often times says, "No, no, no, no!" when she is not happy with something.  She also has perfected the mini tantrum which fortunately doesn't last that long.  I am sure that her brother is to blame for teaching her this!  Ella is turning into a really independent, feisty little girl.  She loves doing everything Logan and Lia do and runs everywhere she goes. It just cracks Ron and me up.  Every time she hears music, she will break out into dancing and really has some good moves.  She also folds her arms over her eyes whenever it is time to say a prayer which is the funniest thing.  Due to Logan's love of playing hide-and-go-seek several times a day, Ella hears me counting to ten all of the time.  As a result, she has gotten really good at counting to five.  In fact, I caught her counting her fingers over and over again in the car the other day.  So cute.  Ella continues to say one or two words at a time and is getting better at expressing her thoughts.  Ella has really started to love dolls this past month and carries Lia's old, baby dolls (which have been passed on to her) all over the house.  She also continues to love soft, cuddly stuffed animals and will hug them super tight and kiss them.  She will also do this to me from time to time which just melts my heart.  Ella still is a total diva and can be found walking around in my high heels with a purse in hand and multiple necklaces draped around her neck.  She still loves her ya ya and pink blankie and continues to sneak up to her room on a regular basis to steak a pacifier out of her crib.  Oh, that girl.  Ella loves reading books and any one-on-one attention that we give her.  She is getting a little better at eating dinner foods again and can be coaxed into eating most meats and vegetables.  Feeeyooh!  Ella still takes a great afternoon nap every day and sleeps most nights for eleven hours.  She is just the sweetest, cutest, feistiest thing and we love her to pieces! 

My precious girl!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Logan's Preschool Class

One of the moms in our co-op is a photographer and offered to take a class picture today in her in-home studio.  As one could imagine, the rest of us jumped on board since it was for free!  Here is the best picture that she was able to come up with.  I wonder how much head swapping she had to do to make this work!  :-)
Top Row (left to right):  Logan, Kyler, Claire, and Reese
Bottom Row (left to right):  Kaden, Sterling, and Vera
Kyler and Kaden are twins and the sons of my friend, Cassie, who also has a daughter a year younger than Lia.  She has been a perfect friend to have these past few years since we actually have children close in age and the same gender.  As a result, I sure was disappointed to learn that they were suddenly moving to Eastern Washington the beginning of February in order for her husband to start a new job.  Sadly, next week will be Kyler's and Kaden's last time coming to preschool.  Bummer.  It was a good run while it lasted!  Luckily, a new mom moved into our ward this past October who will be taking her place.  She, too, will be putting both of her boys (ages 3 and 5) in our co-op.  At least we won't have to host preschool more often than we already have been doing all year long.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Baby in a Basket

Since Logan and Lia were such large babies and toddlers, it still surprises me from time to time how small Ella is.  But, I absolutely love it!  I love still having a little baby to carry around and rock in the chair at bedtime.  I am really going to miss it when this girl starts to "show her age."  But, I digress...
Anyways, I found it totally funny tonight while making dinner when I turned around and found Ella sitting inside one of the baskets that I keep by the fireplace in the family room.  She had pushed it into the kitchen all by herself and promptly climbed into it.  Such a cute and funny girl.  I had to snap a few pictures before I pushed her all over the house in it like she was riding a little car.  She just giggled and giggled during the "ride."  Here are some of the pictures I took...and, please note, that normally her camera-shy brother even jumped in for a few picture with her.  Look how he put his arm around her.  Oh, so cute!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lia's First Basketball Game

In keeping with my goal of introducing Lia to the three, basic team sports this school year (to help figure out if she is going to pursue team gymnastics this spring or kick it to the curb for good), I signed her up for rec basketball.  We convinced her friend, Sienna, to join Lia and off they went to their first practice the beginning of December.  After practicing twice a week for a little over a month, the girls had their first game today.  Ironically, it was against the other team that practices in the same gym at the same time as them.  Lia did a really good job defending her assigned player (you can tell who she is guarding by the matching bands they are wearing around their waste), but had a hard time figuring out that she should break away from this girl while playing offense.  In fact, the one time she made a basket is while she was standing close enough to Ron and me to hear us tell her to break away from her defender.  She listened to us and got free enough to have the ball passed to her.  She then promptly dribbled it up to the hoop, shot the ball, and made a basket!  We were so surprised and excited.  So, although Lia is absolutely loving basketball this season, we still need to work on helping her get down some of the basics of the game.

Lia dribbling the ball down court.

Heading toward the basket.

Lia passing to another teammate.

Lia trying to guard her girl.

More guarding...

and some more guarding.

Since I was busy yelling at Lia to get open, I didn't have my camera up and ready to go.  So, this was the only picture I managed to take of Lia's basket made in the game.  Here she is looking on as her throw goes through the basket!

We were lucky enough to learn from Sienna's mom that another girl, Peyton, that they both went to preschool with had signed up with her mom as the coach.  So, I quickly requested to have Lia put on this team.  Coach Ashley is a fabulous coach and is really helping the girls this winter with their game.  Here she is talking to the girls during halftime.  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Winter Vacation to Priest Lake

Once again, we headed up to Priest Lake for the annual vacation the week after Christmas to play in the snow and be with my family.  It had snowed a TON the week of Christmas and the pass had been a total mess and closed several times during the days leading up to our trip, so I had wondered if we were even going to be able to make it.  However, the weather calmed down after Christmas and my entire family was able to make the trek over there with no problem.  There was about a foot of new snow at the cabin, so we had so much fun playing in it all week long.  Since we no longer get a big snow storm where we live each winter (like we did when I was a growing up), I am so grateful for the opportunity to bring my kids to a place where they can experience snow every year.  For me, this is such a fun part of being a child.  So, once again, I am so grateful to my parents for building this wonderful place for our family to enjoy--both in the summer and in the winter!  Since Ron was still recovering from his awful cold/flu, he only ventured out two of the mornings we were there to watch us sled for a few minutes.  We were just afraid that he would get worse being outside in the cold air.  But this turned out to be a good thing as Baby Ella did not love the snow like the bigger kids, so Ron was able to take her back inside the cabin and be with her while I frolicked in the snow with Logan and Lia.  I'd say it was a win-win situation except for the fact that Ron didn't get to have much "outside fun" this week.  Oh well, there's always next year...

Logan did not like wearing his pair of black gloves as they were "too hard" to get over his fingers, so he opted to wear Lia's old, lavender mittens all week long which was kind of funny.  So, here is my boy and his lavender mittens experiencing the snow the first morning we were there.

Ella standing unsure in the snow before she burst out into tears.  Luckily, I was able to snap this picture before she started crying.  She looked like such an adorable snow bunny this week!

Lia takes a break from sledding to take a picture with her sister.

All three of my kiddos decked out in their snow gear!

This was the first year that Lia was totally comfortable sledding on all of the hills with her big cousins.  She really has grown up in the past year and gotten so much braver at doing this (just like last summer when she finally started swimming in the deep end without a life jacket).  Here she is getting ready to slide down the steep hill in front of the cabin.

Down she goes!

And finishes with a smile!

Logan and Trenton spent many hours playing together all week long.  I'm so grateful that these two have each other!  Here they are testing out the snow together.

The boys and Baby Ella hanging out on the road above the cabin.

As always, Spencer was such a help with the little kids.  I am going to miss him so much when he goes on his mission this summer.  Here he is taking Logan down one of the two big hills in front of the cabin.

And, they're off!

I was able to take Ella down the big hill a few times one of the mornings we were outside.  She actually did okay and just sat quietly on my lap the entire ride down.

And, here we go!

Like previous years, the older cousins got a kick out of wandering around the other cabins on our road looking for gigantic ice cycles to break off and bring back home.  Here are Brynn and Kelsey with the biggest one they found all week.

Ron and Baby Ella.

An attempt at a family photo.  Little did I know that both Ella's and Logan's faces were being covered by their hoods.

Lia and the snow.  Look at that winter wonderful behind her.

Giving Ella some love before she called it quits and went into the cabin for the rest of the day.

Silly Logan barely giving me a smile for the picture.  

The view of our deck, the icicle collection, and the lake from the kitchen.  It is so pretty up here in the winter!

As always, Lia had the time of her life playing with the "triplets" whenever they were in the cabin.  Although all three of these girls are turning twelve in the next few months, they still will bring up their American Girl Dolls and play a few times with her.  I am so grateful for this and dread the day when it all stops.  Here are all four of them playing school on the stairs.

Lia's new doll, McKenna, with Elizabeth and Lanie.

Aunt Rebecca was kind enough to read to the boys a few times while we were up there.  Here are Logan and Trenton completely engrossed in a dinosaur book she was reading to them.

The triplets and Lia always make blanket forts to play under with their dolls.  Here is Lia and McKenna with Sarah in the background.

Ella spent most of the week running around the cabin like a crazy baby enjoying all of the attention from the older cousins.  She especially loved wearing the McDonald's backpack.  Here she is up on my bed ready to go!

Another day of play in the snow!  Spencer sending the two, little boys down the driveway in their own sled.

And down they come!

We tried a second attempt at a family photo another morning we were all outside.  I think this one turned out a little better.

My boy, Logan, hanging out on the steps.

We called Logan back down from the steps for one more pose.

And another photo before...

the big group one that Rebecca took with her camera.  I thought it turned out quite nice!

Lia heading down one of the long, sledding hills by herself.  So brave!

A picture I took of her after she past me.  Look at how beautiful the trees looked that week!  I just loved it.

Ron holding Ella before heading back inside that morning.

Chris and I taking Trenton and Logan down the big hill together.  It was so fun sledding side-by-side with them.

And here we go!

Grandpa also helped out several times by reading to our boy.  I just love how Logan is draped all over my dad while he was reading this book.  So cute.  Logan sure loves his grandpa.

Trenton got in on some of the story time, too.

As always, the older cousins were crazy and did the Polar Beat plunge on New Year's Eve Day.  Here they are getting ready to jump into the freezing, cold water surrounded by snow!

Kelsey and Brynn ready to go!

A freezing Sarah and Callie wait for the go ahead!

And, they're off!  Kelsey, Spencer, Sarah, and Callie running into the water (Brynn took the easy way out and just jumped off the dock and immediately hopped back up on it again).

Spencer leaping backwards into the water!  He's insane!