Saturday, June 30, 2012

Some swim. We paint.

It has been really, really hot here. So hot that negotiating the kids in a swimming pool (translation: potty breaks, in...out, fighting over toys, complaints of being hungry, then not eating) wasn't something I was up for after my paying gig working for a swimming pool company. So, we beat the heat with art. It was an excellent choice. Frick and Frack didn't disappoint and bickered and bossed like sisters (Ella the ring-leader) nearly the entire time.

Thomas and his mama joined in and his Nana visiting from Ireland came too!

It is always a three-ring circus in our museum's family center. It is divided into two distinct rooms: art and play. Getting our kids in the same room at any given point is like herding cats into a paper bag. And then Ella found this wooden house...

...and then Roz saw this wooden house. And the fireworks began. God love her, but Ella spent most of her day crying about what toy she wanted.

The grown ups look forward to lunch at the museum cafe. A LOT. And we try to score seating in the atrium that looks out on the big hydrangea bushes bursting with blooms. It also provides some of the best lighting for photos, oh, and dancing too :)

The big girl potty progress is awesome and she even ushered us out of the bathroom today so she could ride solo to take care of business. I don't know when I'll break it to her that the M&M prizes are not going to continue until she's 18 years old.

And so that you don't think I'm a complete stick-in-the mud, tomorrow we are going swimming in the 90 degree temps and plan on going to bed water-logged!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big Girl. Shiny Wheels. A Bible. Cicadas.

That title pretty much sums up what is going on around here. The most significant of these is how our big girl is using the potty for everything now. She had mastered the 'easy' part months ago. The last ten days has brought a breakthrough. And where most little girls would be seriously excited for a doll, dress up clothes or bling, our girl did 'it' for a toy hellicopter she spotted at our zoo gift shop. So when she did her part, this mama drove out to the zoo gift shop to get her the much coveted hellicopter. M&M's tend to do the trick now, thankfully. We are so proud of her and spend a lot of time mumbling around the house about how quickly she is growing up.

And Ella's latest obssession is shiny wheels. She spends a great deal of time watching cars on the road - either from the backseat or as they go down our street - critiquing the 'shiny-ness' of the drivers' wheels. She is down-right giddy when she spots a recently washed vehicle. Her Uncle JB stopped by for a visit on Sunday to pick up a piece of furniture (more on this later). JB has spent all of his driving life caring for his cars equal to how he loves his own children. Ella was in hog heaven prancing around his SUV checking out the shine. It is no wonder this is the same Uncle who hooks her up with little cars that she carries around in a Minnie Mouse lunch box!

We're into making faces, too. And she's pretty good at it.

We are in the slow process of re-working our bedroom. Four years ago, we would have had this done in a weekend. Present day with Ella under foot takes us twelve weekends. As a result, two antiques from my Grandma Donna are being passed on to family members to make room for new (matching!) furniture. I'm so happy about that. Yet cleaning out the vanity for my brother to pick up was a melancholy journey. It was my stash-away dresser full of special cards, letters and pieces of my childhood. One of those pieces was this little white leather Bible. My Grandma gave it to me Christmas 1979. I had forgotten about it.

Ella spied it immediately and has been carrying it around the house reading aloud from it. "I'm the teacher so you need to be quiet..." and then rattles off a story about Jesus and a woman walking down the street. It is always about Jesus and a woman with slight variations. For over two years now, she's been attending worship services every week with us. I can't help but think just a wee little bit is sinking in. She is cautious with it's amazingly thin pages. And if a few tear along the way? So what. I can't help but think how my Grandma would have loved this. A beat up Bible is the best ever.

Cicadas are chirping their weee-oooo-weeee-oooo songs in late evenings around here. It always tugs my heart to hear that familiar sound of living in these parts. I know that we are well into summer when they start lulling us to sleep. Ella is fascinated by their song and yet a bit frightened too. She demands to see one and I keep putting her off that they are awfully high in the tree-tops. I think you can pretty much figure out how it is going to go when she lays eyes on one. My word are they ugly creatures. And as long as she doesn't listen to the Bible stories about the locusts, we should be in good shape.

Take care, Ella-land!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Slow Down Summer!!!

Pretty awesome, huh?

I think Ella's dudes had a nice Father's Day. I wish Ella's Mama had more time to write. But it is hot, and Mama works for a company that thrives on hot, sunny weather. So I will leave Ella-Land with these sweet photos and a loose promise to get back at it very soon.

June 20th...I can't hardly believe it. Christmas prep in six months?! Oy.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Milestone Tuesday!

Ella's first official trip to the dentist went wonderfully!

Here she is all ready to go. She wouldn't sit in the seat without me, so she ended up laying ON me. Twenty teeth and all in perfectly tip-top shiny condition. It is no wonder, the girl brushes her teeth no less than six times a day. The doctor used words like palette and spacing and other stuff. Bottom line, she's got plenty of room for all her big girl teeth. The thought of her actually losing a baby tooth makes me crumble.

Here she is, all smiles at the end. Even Panda got a clean bill of health.

Our dentist's office has 'kids day' twice a year and today was that day. Bertie the Clown was in the waiting room to keep us company. Ella wasn't exactly scared but she was painfully bashful.

She got to play with Bertie's trick toys. Bertie even made her a butterfly balloon to take home.

Ella Man Li, we are so, so proud of you!! Way to hike up those big girl pants! Oh and rest assured, I was the only mama there with my big old camera, snapping photos. No surprise there, really.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Urban Adventure.

This past Thursday brought a change of pace. Katie and I packed up Roz and Ella and headed downtown for an adventure in architecture, outdoor art, a historic theatre, live music outdoors over the lunch hour, food, a visit to Ella's Daddy-O's office and ice cream. You throw in a big fountain and larger than life sidewalks and well....

 ...the girls were dancing in the streets. It was an excellent (near) four hours. Our downtown has taken a beating over the years. Like a lot of cities our size, the retail hustle and bustle of yester-year has moved on out to the suburbs. But the old gal is reinventing herself, I think. Good ideas, good people and a really strong sense of pride are flowing.

I think the pictures will show that a pretty blue sky with big mashed potato clouds shows just how cool downtown still is. Oh, and three cute little ones (Thomas joined us later) certainly help it along!

Ella posing with the piano to the sky in honor of our city's own, Art Tatum.

Ella walked 10 feet in front of us, owning the sidewalk. Her sense of independence is...wow!

Stopping for a self-portrait in an office building window.

Someone had her third fall in three days.

But it didn't seem to stop her from doing this:

The pic in the lower right corner STILL has us grinning stupid grins.

I wasn't kidding. A LOT of dancing! Happy Feet :)

There must be an extra $5 in that fountain because of the coins they threw.

Rozzie and her Mama Heather.
Our weekend was equally as fun - filled with our annual neighborhood garage sale, biking as a three-some (with Ella in a buggy or as she calls it, her car, behind my bike), painting at the easel, sidewalk chalk, gardening and a big favorite for Ella - putting laundry on the clothesline!

Currently, a tired little one is snoring through the baby monitor. Have a good week, Ella-Land!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Picture Wednesday

Mama Katie and I carved out a little time from my work-from-home Tuesday to let the girls wander around the books at our neighborhood library. There is a stage for story-time in the children's section. It was the perfect venue for the Rozzie-Ella Show. Ornery girls, don't you think? And what blows me away more than anything is how tall Ella is! I mean, I see her lanky legs and long torso every day, I know. What I have to remind myself is that she is five months younger than Roz.

And on Sunday morning, Ella wore a new dress to Ah-men. Rozzie's Daddy-O traveled to China recently for business. He came back with fabulous goodies for the girls. This dress was one of them. He did very, very well. Ella loved the fact that Patrick bought it for her. (She is smitten with Patrick. SMITTEN.)

And she didn't go barefoot to Ah-men. Promise.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Let the festivals begin!

Here in Ella-land's community, folks are quite good at throwing a festival in the summer months. Sometimes there are so many, you simply can't make them to all in a given weekend. There is one that is quite special to us, however. It is a festival (and a huge kick-off parade) that embraces, celebrates and unabashedly shows off one of our oldest neighborhoods. It is a community rich with diversity, pride and history. It is situated around our fantastic art museum. The homes are H-U-G-E. I always leave the festival with "big house envy" until I arrive back at our humble abode and laugh at the impossibility I would encounter in the upkeep. Hey, it's ok to dream.

Daddy-O was in the thick of things all weekend with his drum kit. Ella and I were in the thick of things too.

Listening to Daddy-O and our friend Rachel. Perfect Sunday afternoon!

The weekend wasn't without some valleys. Because Larry was gone so much, Ella was stuck with me. A LOT. And to say that she and I are like oil and water right now would be an understatement. She is three years old, you know. And for those of you who say "Terrible Two's"? Well, three is a sight to behold.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Rainy Days on Fridays.

We need a reason to smile. Do you?

It is cold and raining here in Ella-Land, a huge change from the awesome weather we had just a few short days ago. AND, Daddy-O is home sick in bed which ought to make for an interesting weekend with all that we have on the calendar.

So take a few and check out Nicolelee at her best. My buddy. My shutter-bug extraordinaire. And the one woman who can make Ella charm the camera like no one else on this big earth.

You will smile. I guarantee it!

Happy Weekend. ~H