Sunday, July 22, 2012

Five Goldfish. One Pirate Party. One More Good-bye.

Friday night was a long over-due grown up night for us. Ella spent the night with Grandma and Papa and we stayed out til the wee hours of the morning enjoying a great night of music in our little corner of the world. Ella enjoyed a fun night as well and greeted me with a fishbowl and five goldfish Saturday morning. Yep. It was that good! We have lost one of the fish already but she seems oblivious there are only four swimming around today. Whew. Another death talk was NOT what I wanted.

We went to a pirate party for our little neighborhood buddy, Josh, on Saturday afternoon. Always the reluctant one, Ella did more observing than participating. We were happy to be included and the treasure chest gift box party favor was an enormous hit. And nothing says Sunday morning at Ah-men like a pirate boat tattoo on your forearm.

We handled our last good-bye for this week - and hopefully for quite a while. Our pastor of eight years is off to a new adventure. The photo above was taken at Ella's baptism just about two years ago. (Ella looks like a stuffed baby doll in this photo!) Ella has spent nearly every Sunday morning in this sanctuary listening to our pastor's voice. And I know she's listening because her latest morsel is "good news", something often discussed. "Mama, I've got some good news here for you." And just last week, "I have to take this box with me to Ah-men to hold all my good news." Pretty great, huh?  Larry and our pastor shared a love for music. Not many can say they went to see Dylan with their pastor! It was a nice fit for us.  So, we adjust and move on and see what comes next for the church we call home.

So that when Ella and I went for a long bike ride tonight and I looked up at the sky and saw this...

...I thought it was a pretty perfect ending to an otherwise imperfect week. And I believe the little girl on the swings was the cherry on top.

Have a great week, Ella-land! ~H

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dance it out.

Thank goodness Katie had her phone out to capture this...a perfect ending to a rather lousy day. Both Rozzie and Ella did marvelous dancing at dance class last night.

Fingers crossed that Thursday's session is even better!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A book finished.

Simba has been with me for just about 18 years. She has stood by me through some of my more defining moments and those that were less than stellar. Apartments. Houses. Marriage. A child. She wasn't just a few chapters in my life, in our life. She was a whole book.

Today, we laid her old soul to rest. Let me rephrase that - Larry did. My strong husband did what I simply could not find the strength to do. I applaud him and love him a thousand times over for taking the reigns.
Simba fell in love with Larry immediately. We often joked about how she put the moves on him better than me. It was a mutual admiration society.

Simba's love for Ella took a bit longer. By the time we became a three-some, she was rather set in her ways. But the two girls had a wonderful respect for each other. And Ella would surprise us from time to time with her outright adoration. It would be no surprise that she asked Simba to join us today for storytime before Ella's nap. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. It nearly put me over the edge.

We will ease into telling Ella about Simba's absence. She may notice immediately, or it could take a few days. I am hoping for the delay so I have my wits about me.

And I would be remiss if I didn't share the story of how Simba acquired her name. My very young niece Allison and nephew Christian were star-struck with The Lion King. (Both kids in college now!) I allowed them to name her. I tried to point out that Simba was the male lion, not the female. They could have cared less. And so it was.

Our world is incredibly quiet today. Simba talked more than any other cat I've met. I am certain she's found a good audience for all that she has to say but we will miss her nagging so, so much...


Monday, July 16, 2012

"Look at me! Look at me!

Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how.”  ~ Dr. Seuss

This past week has been full of lots of fun. It has also been a learning/teaching week for this Mama and Daddy (more on that later!).

Most recently, Uncle Trent was in town for a party that we all attended Saturday night. There was a laughter-filled Cat in the Hat dress up session. We're quite certain she is crushing on him these days and was sad to see him leave.

We also did this: Vacation Bible School, Dance Class, Downtown Art Walk, and a neighborhood Kids N' Cocktails gathering. It is no wonder that I collapsed yesterday when she took her three hour nap!

Vacation Bible School was not a big hit. I think a variety of factors contributed, and having me there volunteering only made her cry more. My word, did she cry and fuss and beg to go home. The complexities of our Ella seem to unfold in waves. (We are riding a big wave these days.) There are no pictures of her with her 3 year-old class but I did snap a few of her with a classmate, Chase. He too was having a pretty emotional day on Thursday so I let the two of them hang together.

And as if a switch flips, she's this entertaining, social little pip with her new friend. Like I said, big learning curve right now...

This past week also brought about another new adventure: a summer dance class. BFF Roz and she are both attending on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The class consists of about 15 two and three year old girls. There is wall-to-wall cuteness! The class is only 30 minutes long and will continue through the end of July. Translation: This class is exactly 29 1/2 minutes and four weeks longer than Ella wants it to be.

She is painfully bashful in this setting as well. I end up sitting on the dance floor within a few feet of where she reluctantly stands just so that she won't cry...the entire session...which she still ends up doing. I see the sparkle in her eye. She wants to dance. But in front of anyone other than me or her Daddy? Nope. I am praying that this week is less stressful for both of us!

After Thursday's disastrous VBS session and dance session, Ella and Mama went to a nearby ice cream joint for dinner. Yes, ice cream for dinner. The transformation was miraculous. Because of this new-found zest for life, we headed downtown to meet up with Larry for the monthly Art Walk.

The temptation nearly killed me after the day we'd had. A beer for $1??? Even Ella thought it was a fantastic offer!  Instead, we strolled the streets, ducking into different galleries while Larry played music nearby.

Our work week ended perfectly with our neighborhood mom's group Kids N Cocktails. The location rotates but the ground rules remain the same: bring your kids, a few beverages, food to share. The kids run wild for a few hours, you scoop up your own and make the trek back to your doorstep. It is brilliant and we stroll home from these always cheering on how awesome our neighborhood is. Ella joins in. And when a bouncy house of some sort is included (like this past Friday), Ella really voices her opinion on the awesomeness.

We managed to scrub down her dirty little self before letting her head hit the pillow. But no pictures, Mama!!

My fingers are crossed that this week is easier in dance class. She doesn't have to moon walk (yet). I'd be overjoyed with just a few more smiles.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Feel the sun on your face.

I love so many things about this photograph. The left over cheetos on the corner of her mouth...the tiny sweat-beads on her button nose...the ornery open-mouth grin...her eyes shut taking in the sun's strength...those looonnng eyelashes...the glow of her sun-kissed skin.

I look at this photo and feel the sun. I feel summer. I feel childhood.

We were poolside last week with Roz and Thomas. When Thomas and his parents traveled to California a while ago, he came back with matching lifeguard shirts for the girls. Don't you think he's pretty thrilled the girls have another reason to be bossy in their new roles?

And I was able to get one more shot...

...and then she went boom. AGAIN.

As usual with Ella and an 'oweee' there was a good 20 minutes of crying, screaming and gnashing of teeth at the sight of it. And she would NOT stop looking at it which then only started the crying cycle all over again. She refused to move off the pool steps for the rest of the day for fear of getting her nearly-severed arm wet. God love her but she is super high-drama over her injuries and it seems she gets a new one about every four days. It didn't stop Roz and Thomas, however!

I'm so glad Ella has such good people in her life. I'm grateful she's smiling with her face towards the sun.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fireworks...not her Top Ten.

Our July 4 Family Self-Portrait
We spent a wonderful evening with forever friends on July 4th. The kids had fun. The grown ups had fun. We ate like royalty.

Ella and Ike

The little blow up pool helped cool off the ankle-biters and sweet RJ took time away to play at the water table with Ella. There's no question: Ella is super, super sweet on RJ.

See what I mean?
Their community fireworks blast off so perfectly, that their backyard provides the best seats around. So does their living room. Where it is quiet from all the booms and whistles...which is where Ella took it all in. As we suspected, she was unhinged at the first boom. So, we adapt. Next year might be easier for her, or not. We'll figure it out along the way and not pressure her.

What she DID do was make her own fireworks earlier that morning, out of dried pasta. While I cooked party food in the kitchen, she sat in her booster seat for over an hour working on her creation. Not bad, Ella!

Have a good week, Ella-Land. Hope to get some pool pics up later this week :)


Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday Morning Derailed.

Ella's sleep patterns can be so incredibly awesome or so unbelievably bad. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground for our girl. And although I make mental notes about what triggers her, it can be something completely different two weeks later.

Saturday night was some of her best work. Because of it, we had to play hookie from Ah-men yesterday morning. It was necessary - for all parties involved. We think He understood, in fact, we know He did.

Because there was massive amounts of whining about being cold (it was 80 degrees at 9am), we plopped her in the sun to eat her breakfast. We turned on relaxing music to fill the backyard in hopes to soothe the savage beast. It worked, for a short time...

...and Panda helped. But it spiraled downward shortly thereafter and she ended up going down for a nap at 11:30 (!) and slept it off for a few hours. I then took her to Aunt Mimi and Uncle Glenn's house to swim and swing and bounce on the trampoline. Over two hours of non-stop action.

I am happy to report that she slept 11 hours last night. Uninterrupted. Which means I slept incredibly well. And Daddy-O slept incredibly well. And we are very grateful to our friends for having a three-year old's dream of a backyard that saved the day.

Here's hoping the holiday week is filled with smiles, fewer off-the-chart fits and good sleep.