Thursday, March 31, 2011

Traipse Around Thursday

We spent a delightful day with KatieRoz at our Art Museum this morning and afternoon. The girls were less than impressed by my tour with them in one of the main galleries. Ella kept saying, "No, no, no." At least Roz acted like she was interested in what I was saying.

What they wanted was endless paint and easels. And chalkboards. And wooden boats that rock! Ella was quite serious when they found the music corner. The girl knows her way around percussion instruments, for sure. We hog-tied the girls and journeyed to our Museum's wonderful cafe with an atrium full of windows. The lighting was perfect, as it is most days. This one makes me smile. Roz and her cat are much like Ella and her panda. Ella day-dreaming in the background... A few more to get you through your Friday. Enjoy the first day of April!! (That isn't static in her hair, she's standing on the air vent. Big fun!) ~H, L & EML

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Like A Lion

...out like a lamb. March is almost behind us and although the temperatures aren't warming up, the sun has been shining. So we'll take it. Today is March 29. Five years ago today, someone finished reviewing our dossier in China, put some offical stamp on the massively big file and placed us in the looooong line of adoptive parents. Five years! Who knew it would take so long to become the perfect three-some?!

Below is some footage of Ella during this past month, busy in her little world, our sweet little abode. She rattled off these sentences today as well:

"Where did Daddy go?"

"Panda (no more Pa-Pa but the full word, which is still throwing me) nose is runny. I wipe it."

~H, L & EML

Monday, March 28, 2011


In our little corner of the world yesterday, a big, wonderful light shone down. BIG. BRIGHT.

Larry, with Neil's blessing, and his family's guidance, pulled off the most fabulous fund-raiser for Hospice.

Bands (all friends of Neil) donated their Sunday... their time ... their enormous talent.

Friends volunteered to make it all run smoothly.

Hundreds and hundreds showed up - a testament to the love we have for our dear friend, proof that he is still with us.

We thank our baby-sitter and my parents for taking on Ella yesterday so that we could pull this off. We are amazingly tired, yet shining from the inside at what we witnessed.

Seeing Ella in her "Neil dress"? Well, that's just the icing on the cake.

~H, L & EML

Friday, March 25, 2011

Picture Friday!

Wow. 10 days since my last post? I knew the March calendar was full, so much so that I haven't been busy with the camera, apparently.

In an effort to keep her public happy, I grabbed the camera and we spent some time in Ella's window seat last night. The sunset was beautiful.

And when she finally cooperated and looked at the camera, I got this...

We finished up our evening with a little bubble time. And although sweet pictures, do you think she could throw me ONE smile??

Such is life with Ella. Her cup runneth over in independence!

~H, L & EML

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Saturdays with Ella

On Saturday morning, we bundled up and walked to our neighborhood coffee shop. (We are lucky enough to have so much available to us within walking distance including two great coffee shops!) Ella and I met some neighborhood ankle-biters and their mothers for art projects. I'm pouting a little at how grown up she looks here.

And quite serious about her art, don't you think?

We walked home afterwards, chatting about the birds, the wind and the mess of branches left behind from our recent ice storm. And then this:

Ella: You know what?
Mama: What?
Ella: I dunno!

Her give and take in conversing is remarkable. What is also remarkable is her budding fashion sense.

May your day be bright and filled with good conversations! ~ H, L & EML

Monday, March 14, 2011

Panda legs and other thoughts.

Of course you all know our second child, P-Man, Panda or as Ella refers to him Pa-Pa. She seems to get the most comfort from his legs and feet these days, placing a leg just under her nose...

And she's serious about this, people. She likes to share the other leg with me when I'm holding her. A wise sage, she is. When I was this age, I was never without my "Snuffy Doll" - a leg under my nose, a thumb in my mouth.

We have had a busy week filled with new adventures. Last Sunday, we Skyped with Ella's first BFF, Lexie. Lexie and Ella share the special connection of their adoption journeys. Although Lexie's Mama has sent updated photos, Sunday was the first time we have seen each other 'live' since departing from China last year. In an instant, I was transported back to our time together. For two weeks, I knew everything about Lexie's schedule, her likes and dislikes. We watched our girls' personalities unfold together. I wanted to reach through the computer and touch her, make her giggle. I wish we lived closer.

My mom bought Ella great boots for stomping around in the springtime mess. You'll see here that Roz adores these boots and from her expression, is not hip to giving them up anytime soon. Ella is petrified of them. She gets them on by herself and then melts down in a fit of tears and screaming. Your guess is as good as mine on why!

But there is a fascination with footwear over the last week. She riffled through her closet and found these bright yellow shoes to finish out her ensemble on Saturday.

In light of spring's arrival, Ella had her first gardening experience planting daisies and sunflowers for our kitchen window. "Yucky", her words as we prepared the soil...

...then she tested out the little planting pots. While she thought I wasn't looking, she had her hand in rearranging one of my cupboards - with a smirk.

She is intrigued by what is going on in this soil. Each morning, she impatiently points and clamors for me to pick her up to check out the progress.

And we are watching the news, reading as much as we can about the earthquake and tsunami damage in Japan. Continued gray skies. An occasional sleepless night. Not having enough time in a day to complete the tasks at hand. It all falls into perspective, rather quick-like. Our hearts ache.

More pictures coming at you soon. ~H, L & EML

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Fun

On Saturday, our friends Gabe and Lana spent the night. Drums. Pizza. Popcorn. Card games. Cooking in Ella's kitchen. Lana was a huge help with bathtime and bedtime and Ella enjoyed having her buddies still with her in the morning. Whenever she could, she would yell, "Gabe!!" just to make sure he was nearby.

All five of us managed to make it to church early on Sunday morning. That amazed me more than anyone, trust me.

Ella even figured out how to play her pink harmonica (possible video on that to come). You will see here that she continues to be intrigued by all the bells, whistles, beats and washboards on her Daddy's drum platform. She occupied herself for quite a while we worked from home last week.

Turn up your tunes this week...spring is only 13 days away! H, L & EML

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Sweet Homecoming Revisited.

One year ago, right at this moment, we were high in the clouds, perhaps still over the Atlantic Ocean. Our Teflon Traveler was making us look good on that jam-packed plane. I'll never forget that stressful rush to make our Chicago-Detroit flight for the final leg of our whirlwind tour.

When we hit the final escalator and saw our people, Ella's people? Oh man. The heavens opened a whole bunch that night.

Enjoy. H, L & EML

Welcome Home Ella Man Li on PhotoPeach

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Ella did her own hair this morning. Not bad at all!!

I Got Your Back.

On Sunday, Ella spent the afternoon and early evening with Roz and her parents so that Larry and I could attend the memorial service (one like no other) for our friend N. Because we knew Ella was having the time of her life, we were able to linger as long as we needed to at the luncheon afterwards. We cannot thank them enough. As you can see, Roz made sure Ella was secure. In fact, Roz spends a lot of time making sure Ella knows that she is loved...

...this picture from the Art Museum a few weeks ago.

Roz has her back, for sure. And Roz's parents made sure they had ours on a long, emotional day.

H, L & EML