Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Referral Anniversary Eve!

(Drums...The Daily Ritual in Ella-Land)

One year ago tonight, we had no idea what she looked like. Conceptually, we knew she was with us, under the same full moon. But we didn't have the face to gaze at yet. A year ago tonight was essentially the last night we were a two-some. Every single decision and thought wrapped around her from December 2nd thereafter.

Over the last week, I've been spending time reading through our Ella Journal entries from one year ago. That Journal is golden! I am amazed at the detail, most of which has slipped my memory. I share an excerpt written by Larry on the morning of December 2. It's just a little peak into that enormously emotional, happy, surreal day.

"This morning, the phone rang while I was still in bed. Your Grandma Irene was in tears, telling me to check R@mor Queen. At the same time, our friend Katie was calling your mom's cell phone, telling her the same thing, and actually reading her today's blog post over the phone. If correct, your package, and many others, are in transit to the respective adoption agencies. You're in the air, baby! At least we hope so. To be honest, we are nervous. Maybe scared, just a little. This is life-altering stuff, for you and us. I'm ready if you are."

So, raise a glass or a coffee cup or a teacup tomorrow in celebration!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

An end to a great week

EML celebrated her very first Thanksgiving. We packed it up and traveled a few hours south to my brother's. My sister-in-law prepared a feast. I packed everything but the camera. Nice, huh? You'll have to trust me. She looked pretty cute. She figured out the lay of the land and took over. We are delighted with how much she enjoys a party. (Such a cool little chick, really.)

We greet this holiday season with open arms and a little extra bounce in our step because of Ella's arrival. Personally, it is nearly impossible to remember life before her. Her presence is so huge; her spirit so out of this world that the bittersweet edges from past holidays have faded.

Enjoy some shots of our fun weekend together. You'll note that Ella is bathing in the sink. When mama is nursing a bad back, this is how we roll.

Ella ready to shout amen, sing and dance in church wearing the dress her daddy picked out while we were in China.

H, L & EML

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Not just tomorrow

Frick and Frack. Peas and Carrots. Ella and Roz. They are distinctly different little women and yet perfect for each other. The world awaits them, doesn't it?

Not only are we approaching our first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year as a threesome, we are coming up on several other big milestones (stay tuned). Our cup overflows. Continually. We are thankful, hopeful and grateful. Not just tomorrow. But every day.

Thank you for being with us every step of the way. Give thanks.

H, L & EML

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Family Traditions

Since my grandmother, Donna Ruth, passed away eight years ago, we gather together near her birthday and whip up all of the recipes she left behind. I could spend a few blog posts on Donna Ruth and the relationship I had with her, for sure. (At least a handful would be how I would give anything for her to meet Ella, if only for a moment.) She could feed a soul like no other. Her meals could uplift a bad day, cure a cold or a broken heart. She had an amazing way of doing the Lord's work through her food.

We wanted to make sure that in some way, her gift continued. And so it does. We gather from all parts with Donna Ruth comfort food in hand, and the group photo keeps getting bigger and bigger! And we eat and laugh and reminisce. Ella met some of her people for the very first time. It warmed our hearts.

With cousins Kaia and Alyssa.

Ella and Marie chatting in the kitchen, munching on the well-known sugar cookies.

Ella with her cousins Nicole and Matthew.

Perhaps my favorite from the entire day, Ella with Uncle JB.

Even with a costume change into pajamas, she was still going strong. Her cousins were so good with her.

If Donna Ruth could, she would have called me early Sunday morning to re-hash the festivities. With tears of joy, she would have talked about the pride and love she felt for her tribe. The conversation would have started, "Now Dolly (her term of endearment for yours truly), I want to talk about how wonderful yesterday was for me..." When it was important, the conversation always started out "Now..."

One day we will get to tell her all about it. Until then, we'll keep cooking, baking and gathering.


Friday, November 19, 2010

18 Months!

Today marks the one and a half year milestone for EML. What could be bigger than that?? This...

A switch flipped. She's off and running. I shudder to think how our Amen! yellin' daughter is going to behave during church on Sunday. With these new-found wheels, she might feel the need to assist during the sermon or at least help her daddy out on the drums.

A big celebration at our house tomorrow. Pictures and good stuff to come!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Put one foot in front of the other...

...and soon you'll be walkin' 'cross the flo-o-r!

C'mon. Admit it. You know this song. It is from the 1970 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' children's special. Oh how I love these old school Christmas shows. (With Ella on my side this year, surely Larry will lose the battle and struggle through my singing and dancing as they air between now and Christmas!)

But really, this is about Ella and she is definitely putting one foot in front of the other. At last count, six steps on her own. If we could get her to stop giggling in excitement, she'd probably accomplish more. This is a mixed blessing. We are incredibly relieved she's hitting this milestone in her time, that her balance and strength are catching up with her voracious vocabulary. However, because she knows she can do it, her frustration levels have shot through the roof. "Walk!" Up!" "PLEASE!" These are all constant demands and at least she sprinkles in a little sugar with the occasional "please". Selfishly, we feel a bit (oh heck, a lot) melancholy that our baby is growing up. We'll try to get some video up for our out-of-towners soon.

Thursday, we were Roz's (Ella's partner in crime) special guest at her weekly music class. Ella was a fool, I tell ya. A fool. She sang, danced, shouted and shrieked. Roz didn't know what to make of her.

Here are the girls before going into class.

We went out for bagels and chat-time afterwards where Roz made sure Ella was getting cared for.

Enjoy the weekend everyone! H, L & EML

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sing me a swing song and let me dance.*

It is a swing kind of day here in Ella-land! The sun is shining. The skies are crystal clear. The air is mild with that great smell of fall.

We hope you get to enjoy your day, too. Maybe swing or dance or both!
H, L & EML
*Sing Me a Swing Song ~ Ella Fitzgerald (who else?)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yogurt and other tricks

Ella will do everything under the sun...but walk on her own. I am convinced that she is holding out simply because we want her to try walking on her own.

Yogurt is a favorite around here.

We get to "fall back" tonight and gain an extra hour of sleep. As you can see, Ella wasn't entirely pleased with this news. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween take two

One day after Jumpsuit Elvis left the building and a costume change later, we celebrated our first Trick or Treat night as a threesome. Grandma and Grandpa even made it back in town just in time for the fun.

We even got the pumpkin carved!