Friday, September 28, 2012

A week in review (and complaints of garage sales).

Garage sales. I hate them. I cannot express to you enough how much I do. I realize starting out a blog post like this might be in poor taste but it represents the moaning and grumping and cleaning and purging that has been going on. Ella and Larry are starting to hoard their favorite possessions in fear that I'm going to snag them, tag them and throw them in the garage.

Silver linings though, people. And one of those bright spots is how much fun a three year old can have in a big, empty box. Wow.

Another silver lining? Finding things you tucked away for a later date. In walks the '53 white Corvette...

My Dad had given this to me a few years back - before Ella. Little did we know of her infatuation with cars and shiny wheels. She could hardly contain herself.

We've already made a minor repair on the steering wheel. Corvette and Chevy go everywhere with us, currently. (They are heavy. Then end up in my purse. I wish her obsessions did weigh this much.)

Our work/pre-school schedule continues on at break-neck speed. (Translation: Mama is tired.) Ella confesses she does actually 'like' pre-school and went so far to say, "My new pre-school is at an Ah-men. It has a cross and high heels." Really, what more does this chick need?

I made some extra time for Art School in between garage sale prep. Ella is amazing at following directions on these projects. (I'm not the natural artist that Larry is but I can orchestrate one for her like a pro!) This particular project is for our cousin who is battling cancer like an army of 100 women. Fall is our cousin's favorite season. So, a tree in all of its autumn-ness it is...

After we make millions on our garage sale, it is off to the annual neighborhood block party. Larry's band is playing. We will fall into bed tomorrow night over the moon at our decision to live where we do. And speaking of moons, check it out tomorrow night. It will be full and more importantly, the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated. Do a search on that if you need to :)

Happy Weekend. ~H

Friday, September 21, 2012


Me: "Ella, let's take a picture of your unbelievable braids."

Ella: "No thank you."

Me: "Really, they are awesome today. You really rocked 'em at school."

Ella: "Not now Mom!!"

Me: (Hitting shutter button a gazillion times)

Ella: "No ma'am!!" (pointing at me for more emphasis)

(No less than 5 seconds later) Ella: "Oh look at my stickers from school. I love them Mom." She has the attention span of a gnat, even when in 10th gear bossing mode.

In addition to rockin' her braids, there was a visit to the zoo with KatieRoz, a visit to the salon to get a tiny inch of hair chopped off the back of her mane, a whole lot of tricycle riding, and one day (out of two) at pre-school with no tears.

There was also fun with her favorite umbrella, one she lifted from her Grandma. When you're three, you need good shoes. If they sparkle and are red - even better.

When you're three, funny faces are important too.

Fall drops in on us tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend, Ella-land!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekend Bliss.

Nothing else sums it up quite like this...

The weather was STUNNING, and exactly why nearly every living-breathing soul falls in love with autumn in our area.
Once in a while, this Mama gets to beat up her body, push her creativity to the limits and help her very own NicoleLee Photography-shootin' girlfriend.
I was honored to spend Saturday with Nikki and a bride and groom that kept US laughing the entire 10 hours. (The 10 hours flew by; my body will tell you differently.) We managed to sneak in the photo booth for a little fun. We continued the antics of self-portraits in the bathroom...a tradition started in 2011 at another wedding shoot.

Big props to Larry for holding down the fort and being so supportive. He was pleased to report Ella was the best little girl for him. On Sunday afternoon, we switched it up: Larry got to be the drummer and Ella and I teamed up. We wandered our downtown warehouse district, listened to the band and even met up with some friends along the way.

And speaking of weekends, we spent the Saturday before at an art and music fest in a town just south of us. It is a standing tradition - one established long before Ella's arrival. She's down with it because 1) there is festival food, and 2) live music. Again with the incredible weather, too!

Can you find her?!

In an effort to encourage a more cooperative Ella when I yank out the camera, I've been letting her use my heavy beast to take her own pictures. I guess this is what I get.

We're in full swing this week with pre-school. Ella will be attending two mornings - no shortened classes and no Mama tagging along. Her teacher reported a few tearful breakdowns during last Thursday's shortened class. I wasn't surprised. When I asked her why she cried, her response was, "Mama, I just wanted you so bad."

Have a great week, Ella-land!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Her Safe Haven. Still.

Ella craves routine and order in her sweet little nook of a bedroom. It is sweet and infuriating all at once. The nap and bedtime rituals can bring us to our knees some days.

She adores her crib. She is probably the only child in her pre-school class still sleeping in one. I'm cool with that.

The 'containment years' will come to an end soon. Sigh. With that will go some of my most favorite images of her, peering through the rails as I sit in the rocker coaxing her to actually get on with the day.

 Her gentle smile.

Her hair a mess.

Her hoarse voice singing or detailing out what we might be doing next. When free of restraints, I suspect her little feet will hit the ground running and I'll have to pull these images from my memory (or frantically go back through old blog posts!).

I really hope she keeps the butterflies fluttering above her, however. They are so whimsical and peaceful suspended high above. And I don't think Larry will let me put them in our room.

Happy Friday, Ella-Land! ~H

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A birthday, a small town, sunshine and smiles.

Wednesdays are the new Thursdays. My work schedule has shifted due to Ella's busy learning/social life. It worked out perfectly because my dear friend, Ella's 'other mama', celebrated her birthday today. She will hate me for posting this photo, but seeing the two little ones push the old (ha) birthday girl in the swing was priceless. What was also priceless was today's adventure. It was a picture-perfect fall day in our parts. We traipsed around an awesome little town a short drive from Ella-land. We ate, walked, played, watched the river run by...

We hope that Katie enjoyed her day. I'm pretty sure two little ones did.

Their joy just bursts from this photo...


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

She was rockin' in her school shoes.

Pete The Cat book lovers will certainly get this blog title reference. (One of Ella's favorites, thanks to her Kunming Sister Hannah!) Ella had a successful first day at pre-school. It was a shortened class and one that parents attended with the children. What a huge relief for our girl! Both of us accompanied her, Larry slipped out to head to the office and I stayed on. There are six girl and six boys in her class. The teachers are wonderful. Her two classrooms are inviting and warm. The shocker for us is that never once did she ask for P-Man. But as you can tell from the 'before' pics, he was in her little fists.
Breakfast with helicopter and plane.
See what I mean?

Finally. A smile!!
How did they know to have one of her favorite things at the entrance? Scoring cool school points already.
She walked right up the table and picked up her own name tag.
Routines begin. She quickly found her name and fed the class dog her bone.
Ella found the dress up corner. She squealed with delight, "Look Mom, Wozzie shoes are here!" She walked around in these things for the entire time. Clomp. Clomp. Clomp.

We worked on art projects together and although we do "Art School" here at home often, I was delighted to see her use the scissors, glue, and write her name with such ease. Surprising me even more was how she used her right hand to cut, and used her left for everything else. We are almost positive she is a lefty at this point.

We have a calendar chucked full of fund-raisers and field trips and snack schedules. There's no lookin' back now, little Ella Man Li.



Monday, September 10, 2012

Pre-School Eve.

Dear Ella,
You are sleeping oh-so-soundly right now. I know because I hear your deep sighs through the baby monitor. Your Daddy and I went to the parent meeting to kick off the school year at your new school. We got lots of information on what you'll be doing, how the teachers will be encouraging you to learn, laugh, explore and share. It took my breath away at one point. How could this be? How could it be that we're preparing you to transition into elementary school? You hear me say it often, "What happened to my Baby Ella?", to which you always respond with a round of giggles. (You love this game.) I feel that more than ever tonight.
Your First Day of School outfit is ready to go and although you smiled and acted interested in choosing it, I know you. You're worried. It's OK. Truth be told, we are a little nervous too.
You will excel, my love. You will do big things. We can't wait to sit back and watch you bloom. We know this new venture is going to be tough for you in the beginning. But P-Man gets to go along with you to watch how your days unfold.
And remember, Mama and Daddy always come back.

So, go let your light shine. Sing loudly. Dance without caution. We'll be right here cheering you on in pre-school, in third grade, in high school and beyond.

Love, Mama and Daddy-O

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ella's BFF's BIG Day!

Today is a very special day in our world. Three years ago today, this family was created.

Little did we know how important they would be, Rozalyn would be, to us.

We were friends back then but never did we realize how engrained we would be in each others' lives three years later. God sure knew what He (or She, if you ask Ella) was doing when the plan included our lives intersecting.

And just this week, I came across this image on our home computer. I shot it about a month after Roz was home. I still see so much of Ella's BFF in this sweet bald-headed face. Don't you?

Happy Family Day, Roz, Mama Katie and Patrick. We look forward to celebrating a lifetime of them with you.

~H, L & EML

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pack the bags.

Last year, I made a pact with Roz's mom that we would take the girls at least once a year...somewhere. It didn't have to be far but it would include swimsuits and staying the night at a hotel. After unpacking our bags from our Wisconsin trip, a week later I was packing again. And it was well worth it.

We stayed at the lodge at our state park, enjoyed really wonderful weather, swimming, playgrounds (indoors and out!), ice cream, breakfast in bed, giggles, bossing and pure exhaustion.



Until the girls are too old or too cool to want to do this, we'll keep planning our yearly escape. No boys allowed. Truth be told, the big chicks enjoy this just as much as the little chicks. And watching these two grow up together is beyond words.