Thursday, January 31, 2019

january in a jiffy.

My funny, little Ella. What a month we had. It started out with ringing in the new year with our Finnish-Toledo family home for the holidays. Now we've been bitten by the bug to try to make travel to them happen this summer. 

The winter got off to a rather mild start and then blasted us quite nicely the past 3 days. In fact, so much so that it has been the coldest weather on record for our little corner of the world. The three of us have been working from home and are just a tad bit stir crazy. Of course it will be 55 degrees in four short days. When you do the math, that equals about a 70 degree temperature increase from what we've had. 

NOT photographed on the coldest day in history.

The piano lessons continue with our favorite piano teacher, and the homework comes home every night. Thomas does his part to help with the homework by lounging on the kitchen table to catch as much sun as he can. Mavis saves up all her snuggles for anytime after 7pm. She is your girl, Ella, and is happiest sleeping with you - not us. She is also one of the biggest reasons I cannot get you out of bed in the morning. 

Christmas Day 2018!
We have two big weddings coming up in the family as Christian and Libby and Allison and Ryan tie the knots within 5 weeks of each other this fall. Your cousins are so much older than you that they are more like aunts and uncles. In fact, you often have to have me remind you of that. I'm just happy that you'll be old enough to remember both of these celebrations.

You are still such a unique contradiction in so many ways - outspoken yet bashful; independent and yet still under my feet at every turn (or in our bed). All the while, you are funny. You have a fantastic sense of humor - the one trait I so desperately hoped you would have. I promise it will make life so much easier as you continue to grow up. And although I shouldn't be surprised, you adore helping me cook or bake. It is a trade off for me as I've always enjoyed getting lost in a recipe, the solitude, making a huge mess in the kitchen as I measure and stir and stuff. But showing you how to do it for yourself cancels out all that I used to have. It is a different joy with you at my side. You're messy though and I can only think Grandma Donna is looking over us calling us both left-handed cooks because the clean up after we are done is ridiculous.



Tuesday, January 15, 2019


I'm warning you, I've blown the cob webs off this sacred little space. There is no way for me to summarize the last 10 months of life we've lived. It was great and chaotic.

Never once did I think I would stop documenting for her but doing the actual work in the evening at the laptop just kept falling down the list of things to accomplish, because feeding the humans and the cats and the foster kittens and doing the homework and laundry took over.

So I start anew with guarded expectations and joy in my heart to be back at it.

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 9, 2018

New Beginnings

Team Ella has hit the ground running in 2018.

A really unique opportunity popped up for me and I grabbed it. In addition to my gig with the pool company, I work two days a week as outreach coordinator for a downtown Episcopal church now too. Some might think I'm crazy, and I honestly thought that had already been established. But because Larry, my parents and Mama Katie were willing to fill in a few gaps for me with regard to after school times with Ella, it has been terrific.

It has been a learning experience on just about every level. The first time Ella got to spend time at my new work, she was arm wrestling her BFF on the sanctuary floor after a peace march that ended at the church. (Huge cool points with the girls)

This church isn't new to me. Even though I'm steeped in the church I have known my whole life, I have spent the last 20 some years attending the Good Friday service here. It has been one of the most sacred Toledo spaces to me ever since. Little did I know I'd be on the payroll one day.

I have flexibility. I get to be two totally different people at both of my jobs. I enjoy both jobs more because of that. Ella has come to the church with me no less than six times in this short time. It didn't take long for Priest Lisa to wiggle into Ella's heart. And light up rockets in the sanctuary pretty much sealed the deal.

All this work talk though doesn't mean we don't make time for cool stuff with Ella. One of those cool things was Larry taking over her Brownie Troop meeting with drum talk.

There is nothing cuter (and louder) than a bunch of third grade girls testing out their senses of rhythm. And although Ella may look a bit bashful in some of these photos, she was so very proud.

Another cool thing? Transforming Ella's bedroom into something a bit more in line with her 8 year old self. And just when I think I've got her figured out, she goes a picks hot pink for wall color. We did compromise on painting just two of the walls that color and perhaps part of the floor too. (What a mess...it did clean up)

Finished photo coming up next post! It looks amazing and she seems to really enjoy hanging out in her room again like she used to.

We've had plenty of snow this winter, for sure. The gray skies of NW Ohio are beginning to wear us all down as we head into March. We have had some bizarre 60 degree days too, only to be followed by 3 inches of snow 24 hours later. But so over winter. So. Over. It.

The backyard continues to be an animal sanctuary with Waddles the Opossum taking over Creamsicle's winter shelter and Creamsicle graduating to indoor time when it is super cold. Creamsicle only gets that little space at the back door and doesn't interact with Thomas or Mavis. I don't ever see that happening but he has come so very far since he first showed up in our backyard.

The mummies are back on display in a special exhibit at our Art Museum. This is such a big deal for kids both young and old.

We even scheduled a flashlight tour with some of our buds from the neighborhood family group. I mean what could wrong with this crew in a dark museum?

We brought in the Year of the Dog with our FCC Family - what a great tradition. And for the 6th year now, I took the Chinese New Year on the road and taught Ella's 3rd grade class. I came up with some new food for taste testing, made them use chopsticks (lots of grumbling and laughter on that) and was delighted to see how much her class has retained over my years of teaching them. Do you think she'll let me do this when she's a senior in high school??


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Really Great Lake

Just about a 35 minute drive from our front door, we can peer out over water blue at one of the Great Lakes. But during the winter months, it is wicked cold and not nearly as fun as the warm summer months...until ice.

I think the girls were skeptical until we got there. 

And that was the first time I actually saw it with my own eyes too. IT WAS AMAZING.  Adventure score, I think!