Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summertime and the livin' is easy, fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high.*

Summer arrived overnight. It is wonderfully hot and sticky. This spring has been rainy...gray...lackluster. Kind of like it forgot to show up. The warmth feels fabulous.

The S Family invited us over for dinner this weekend. Roz was invited too. There was good food.

Lots of time on the patio and BUBBLES!


*"Summertime" Ella Fitzgerald

A Birthday Revisited.

I finally got the video downloaded from Ella's birthday party...two weeks later. I think you'll agree - the girl was excited. And the duo of Roz (oops, I mean Dorothy) and Ella excited is pretty special.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mystery Solved!

Our sweet little Kunming Sister, Hannah, sent the rockin' book to Ella. Here's a picture of Hannah taken earlier this month. She will be two in just a few weeks. Quite a resemblance between our two girls, huh?

Hannah's mama and I met online just over a year ago. We 'counseled' each other on our travels to China (both girls are from the same orphanage) and adjusting to life after travel. We've never actually met. I really hope we do in the near future. The girls have some stunning similarities - not only in their physical beings but their personalities as well.

So, Xie-Xie Hannah!! We had to read the book again last night!

H, L & EML

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cats and Kitchens.

(Ella, looking out into her yard thinking of all the things she could get into...)

A mysterious birthday gift arrived in Friday's mail. "Pete The Cat", a fantastic book about a cool cat and his shoes. Including today, one of us has read it (Ella included, reading it to Panda in her Ella-speak) about a dozen times since we unwrapped it. There was no note as to who sent it.

So, I'm putting it out there? We love it! Thank you! And please let us know?

As luck would have it, just as our nearly 16 year-old cat, Simba, is getting thinner and more feeble, Ella has struck up quite a friendship with her. She calls for her all the time trying to figure out where Simba may be hiding. Simba, for all her faults (we do love her, really) has become more patient with Ella. Because Ella is super, super bossy with her. Super.

Last night, we picked up the ultimate hand-me-down from our little friend Isabella. She's outgrown THE BEST KITCHEN EVER. We got it as far as the garage last night which made for the perfect play-time when KatieRoz came over for lunch today. There was one shoving match (Ella) at the kitchen sink requiring a Mama Intervention and attitude readjustment.

Please note how Ella is close to taking her out in this one...

And the follow-up expression.

H, L & EML

Friday, May 20, 2011

You say it's your birthday, it's my birthday too!*

Ella and I had a wonderful birthday celebration yesterday. We got rolling early and went for breakfast with the man of the house before he headed to work, came home and readied the house for our gathering last night. I suppose the cupcakes don't surprise anyone? Since the weather didn't cooperate for outdoor celebrating, I brought the outdoors in with lanterns strewn about.

Each time the doorbell rang, she ramped it up a little bit. By the time everyone had arrived, she was impossible to contain. Running. Jumping. Dancing. Singing. In thinking back, I don't believe I held her more than ten seconds...a big difference from our mild little one a year ago.

The new easel was a big hit. (Bowl of strawberries at her feet...because creativity makes a girl hungry.)

'Dorothy' made a special appearance and we were amazed how much she reminded us of Roz!

Ella's Uncle Greg and cousins Matthew and Michael.

Did she really get the whole birthday party - singing, blowing out the candle, presents? Nah. In fact, I'm not certain if Ella still comprehends the party was for HER. It was a party. She had her peeps gathered on her stompin' grounds. Nothing else mattered. What was especially touching was the interaction between Ella and Roz. They really do have such a special relationship, and their antics provided superb entertainment.

I'll leave you with some more. Enjoy! Thanks for all the birthday love!

*"Birthday", The Beatles.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Her First Wedding.

This past Saturday, Ella attended her first wedding reception. We knew the dance floor would be a big hit...and the band. By the end of the first song, dance floor still empty of other guests, Ella found her groove.

Here she is, lifting her dress up for all to see.

When she wasn't running and jumping to the music, she was here (see below) or flirting with the musicians.

Ella likes a good party. That much hasn't changed!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yes. I'm Behind.

I have had the best of intentions and really cannot blame fabulous weather as an excuse. (But for our zoo outing on Thursday of last week, the rain has been menacing.) Roz's grandparents are visiting from Florida. We packed up the girls, grandparents - Ella's grandma included - and explored our zoo for hours. Ella found time to dance, as you can see.

Roz did too. And Roz was a bit more brave about petting the animals. See how the girls have their sunglasses hanging from their shirts? This is the latest fashion craze. Such big girls.

When we finally sprung them from their strollers, photographing them was a challenge. I took our Flip video camera to show you the girls in motion.

Big week here. I'm pretty sure at least one girl has a birthday. Check back. Let's see if I can get back into a routine again!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


A lot of folks have asked if we've had Ella's hair cut. We have not. It has grown in fabulous, wispy layers. Did I mention growing? Honestly, I'm not feeding her horse pills for hair growth.

I took these photos tonight, just after her bath. I marvel at how quickly her hair has grown since her first birthday. She had one little shoot of a ponytail sticking straight up on the top of her head then. Next week, Ella turns two. She's changed a thousand times over since May 2010. Hasn't she?

~H, L & EML

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Two Thousand Eleven

A more perfect image could not have been captured. More than love and happiness, I see two chicks who get each other. Co-conspirators in life, this journey.

My little Ella Man Li, how she makes my heart soar.

Happy Mother's Day.

*This photo is from our photo shoot last weekend with my sweet friend, NicoleLee Photography. You'll see in the next week how well she knows all three of us because no one else could capture our essence like this woman. More to come!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

You are my sunshine

One of Ella's favorite songs to sing is "You Are My Sunshine". She can sing the entire first verse by herself. And she does a nice job of keeping the tune. So much of her daily routines bring sunshine to us. My parents took this photo yesterday. Ella picked me flowers on her afternoon stroll with her grandparents and the boys (Blake and Bentley...the ever-so-wonderful shelties). Ella often takes walks with her daddy when I'm trying to get dinner ready. She greets me at the back door with a dandelion or violet then, too.

But make no mistake - in spite of her shining spirit (or maybe because of it?), the girl is unbelievably headstrong. This past week has been a burst of opposition in every form. It hasn't helped that the flu cloud has been over our house rendering me a single parent since the wee hours of Tuesday morning. (Poor Larry, still not back in the saddle at full swing.) There has been some serious head-butting going on!

And never was it quite so apparent then during our "Ella is Two!" photo shoot with NicoleLee Photography this past Saturday. She was not the same little pip who appeared on the other side of her camera lens a year ago. I have not a doubt in my mind that Nikki was able to capture our girl absolutely perfectly. I mean, take a look at the sneak peek and make up your own mind?!

Rest assured, we'll post more of Nikki's work soon. Until then, enjoy your Cinco de Mayo!