Thursday, January 31, 2013

Picture Thursday.


Of all the books she wanted from a recent bookstore run, she picked Jughead?

Ella has been working on Valentine's Day surprises. And during cold winter nights, filling up that monster of a bathtub with bubbles, pouring a cup of java is a perfect combination for Ella and her mama.

What else has she been up to? Well...

and a little fun with her BFF Roz.

Happy Weekend, Ella-land!! ~H

Monday, January 28, 2013


"I'm just not curious about you, mama."


"How is your day going today?" (At least 10 times a day.)

"You're my best mama in the whole world." (Even more, which is lovely.)

"Panda is now my baby, he isn't a Panda anymore."

Recent Baby Monitor Eavesdrop:
"Panda, you do not have a mosquito bite, you have a bumble bee owee. We will ask mama for a band aid. Bees have things in their mouths, Panda. You can hardly see it. You can feel it."

For so many that come in contact with Ella, she is reserved, bashful, quiet. For those of us who live with her, she never shuts up. Whether it is nap or bedtime, she passes out in mid-song or mid-conversation. She loves the sound of her own voice. A LOT.

We enjoyed a good weekend of firsts. Ella and Larry went to their first Big/Little drawing class at our museum. She did quite well, we think. This is her creation - all drawing done by our artist.

Try as we might, she is still struggling to get the letters of her name in the right order.

While my parents were gone for the day, we spent some time with our favorite dog. Even at 13, Master Bentley shows a little of his puppy side and plays in the snow. We love having them so close by.

We even got a chance to eat Vietnamese food at a place we've been trying to get to for months. It was a feast and we can't wait to go back.

In fact, we're still talking about this meal...

I've talked about this before but man, do hand-me-downs ROCK. Ella was cute as a button in this outfit she wore to church yesterday.

I'm certain everyone at church thinks I shop weekly for her, as her wardrobe surpasses mine by 100 times. We're so thankful for all the little chicks slightly older than her that keep her looking cute.

This week is filled with Chinese New Year prep, Valentine's Day prep, two drumming gigs for Larry, more art class and 62 degree weather followed by 20 degree weather. C-r-a-z-y.

Have a wonderful Monday, Ella-land! ~H

Friday, January 25, 2013

In case you're wondering...

...Ella still needs a nap.

This was the scene in my car on Tuesday at 3:30pm. Larry and I had to meet for an appointment at 4 which presented an issue - let Ella nap for an hour or so and have to (gasp!) wake her, or ride it out and let her crash and burn where she falls. I opted for the second choice. No one, and I repeat NO ONE, likes to wake Ella...especially me. We made it through our appointment with a drowsy child and then paid for that lousy 15 minute cat-nap the rest of the night (think fits, crying jags over undetermined issues) until we could heave her into bed for the night.

We may not have a child who sleeps through the night uninterrupted. In fact, I can't remember the last time she slept two consecutive nights without numerous 'wake ups'. We praise her with cheers when she does sleep straight through but it really is out of her control. It is one of her layers.

Napping tends to be a different ballgame. The girl can do it well. Very well. At least once a week, she pulls a three-hour snooze while she's with my mom. Nice, huh? So when I get the "Oh, maybe she's outgrown naps" I laugh. When I hear other moms say, "He hasn't taken a nap in over a year" I cringe. I simply cannot imagine Ella's daily behavior if she stopped napping at this stage in her life. I also cannot imagine life without the downtime her nap provides her (somewhat) older parents. When actual napping does become a thing of the past, we'll get creative with a timer and 'downtime' in her room (for our sake).

Despite the bitter, bitter cold here, I still can't keep socks on her feet.

I'm in double socks, she's in none. Thank goodness the sun has been peeking out this week. It is just about the only thing motivating us to want to leave the house in the morning.

And my African violets have been pleased with the sunshine too.

Tomorrow morning, Ella starts a four week drawing class at our art museum. I'm excited to see how well she does with this. She's made some interesting progress in the last week. Just last night, she picked up one of her train engines, held it in one hand and tried to draw it with the other. It was abstract, but she did get the key components on the paper. Go Ella, go!

Have a great weekend. ~H

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So cold, mind lost.

It is painfully cold today. It is so cold and nearly disorienting that we got to school before I realized Panda wasn't with us. After a legendary meltdown in the car, it was decided (translation: I caved) I would buzz back home to get Panda and return with him. I am happy to report that Ella didn't ask for him once, even after I hightailed it back to deliver him to her teacher. I've spent an amazing amount of time talking this up: that Ella CAN survive - and survive famously - without Panda pressed firmly to her nose.

I can't blame the cold weather entirely. I also blame Ella who was so determined to get out the back door today to check out the dusting of snow. It took everything I had to corral her into the car.

Her coat should be zipped - no question. It is 15 below windchill. I'm feeling like Mom of the Year that her coat was even on before she bolted!

And last night was terrific. Roz's grandparents are in town and the girls, the parents and the grandparents met at our favorite Mexican Restaurant. It is hard to imagine our lives without all of them; it feels like they've always been here.

Katie got a new iPhone and the girls had fun photographing themselves.
New to Ella's vocabulary?  "Speaking of which..." and she almost always uses it correctly.

I'll leave you with a little blues playin' on this cold winter day.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Snuggle time.

Baby it's cold outside. And when it is this cold, watching the sun peek out in the mornings is especially gratifying.

It would only seem fitting that Baby Girl would start feeling lousy when none of us feel like going out in the elements. Good timing, Ella! We spent a good deal of time laying around on Saturday and Sunday snuggling, watching some of her favorite shows.

And being a screwball...

She was able to work on her self-portrait skills and found a little spunk to play hairdresser with her Daddy-O.

Before every single sleep (nap or night), we read. It can often be a debate on how many books we'll read or how long the books will be. It can especially make naptime prep a drawn out stall routine. The last three days, she has singled out this book: "Let's read the Obama book, Mama." (With his inauguration just today, I find her timing impeccable.)

My parents bought it for her. It is a wonderful book and she marvels at the stories of thirteen significant Americans. Billie Holiday, Neil Armstrong and Albert Einstein are her favorites and I love her well-rounded interest. One day, she'll be reading in her window seat without my help. Until then, I will gladly snuggle up with her and lose my voice reading. (Sidenote: Larry is always a part of this if he's home, directed to sit in her window seat by bossy.)


Saturday, January 19, 2013


Last night we ended our work week in a bowl-o-rama with our neighborhood mom's group. This was Ella's first time at it. She did great.

Larry got in his stretching exercises at the same time.

We were lucky enough to share lanes with James and his family. James and Ella go to pre-school together. Before it was over, she had him in her death-grip hug.

There was a whole lotta cute in that bowling alley last night.

We are blessed with such a cool community of parents and kids. Today, we're off to a baby shower (Ella and me) and a diaper party for the expectant daddy (Larry) later on. Looks like we're in for really, really cold weather starting tomorrow. We may have to get that tricycle out for a spin yet today!

Happy Weekend! ~H

Monday, January 14, 2013

What I like about you.

She's 3 1/2. Is she EVER.

This brings challenges that all my mama friends tried to warn me of. The 'THREE's' are worse than the 'TWO's'. I am now a believer of this. I will sing it from the rooftops for all those in the trenches behind me. This age is challenging.

But we like this kid. A lot. (Of course we are madly in love with her.) We like how her personality has transformed into this phenomenal story-teller, singer, dancer, musician, jokster. We like her out-of-this world vocabulary. We like that she tells us "I love you" as much as she says "I want..." in any given day. We like the little person she is shaping into.

Quirks. Oh, she's got 'em. And at least for now, they seem to be set in stone. And because WE are a work-in-progress, we don't always understand them (they are hers, after all).

Yesterday we were invited to Madrin's 7th birthday party at a rollerskating rink. I will tell you that I spent a good deal of time on roller skates as a kid. It was a BIG deal to hit the rink on the weekends with my friends. I will also share that I haven't been on roller skates in over 25 years. It's like riding a bike, right?? What you won't do for your three-year old. Larry had never laced up a pair before yesterday.

So once we were laced up and ready to go, the lights went out. And it looked this cool. And Ella freaked. While Larry and I were trying to get our bearings, clomping around on carpet with skates, we were also trying to calm the cling-on of a child yelling about the flashing lights. We did a good deal of watching from the sidelines as Ella's BFF Roz was out there embracing the lights and loud music with reckless abandon. Ella was perfectly content to be on the sidelines taking it all in and the work-in-progress parents figured this out :)

The lights came back on and she was a new kid. "Let's go!", she said. And we did.

How Katie managed this shot while skating behind us, holding Roz's hand...a mystery.

And Roz got quite brave before the day was over!

It was so much fun that we all napped for over two hours on Sunday afternoon. Slugs, yes...but it felt great.

I'm also including a link for insight on the changing face of China's orphans. Check back to this Love Without Boundaries blog for more writing. They are a wonderful organization.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Routine restored.

This week, we've been back in the swing of the normal work/school routine. Throw in a couple play dates and we've landed at Friday in a blink of an eye. Ella is far from over-joyed that school is back in session. She's even turning on the water works when being dropped off for her two days with my mom - something that rarely occurs. I'm getting a LOT of:
"I missed you today mom."
"You're the best mom in the whole wide world."
"I cried for you while you were at work."
"I'm going to be bashful today and not play."

But she IS having fun when I'm not around. On Tuesday, she got to wear PJ's to school and take a teddy bear. She chose my antique of a teddy to haul with her.

Thomas continues to be a huge presence in our day-to-day operations. PJ's, little engines scattered for me to trip on...


The ornery levels are still pretty darn high.

But the cuteness levels are pretty high as well.

Ella got to jump like a fool at our neighborhood mom's group play date. And although she kept to herself, she had a ball. And so did I.

Who doesn't like dress up?!

Enjoy your weekend, Ella-land. ~H


Monday, January 7, 2013

A Weekend In Pictures.

Happy Hour on Friday with the parents and grandparents

Saturday morning was awesome. We hit downtown for breakfast at our favorite cafe and favorite band. That's Larry's band in the background as Ella is bellied up to the bar for some bacon and eggs. She had to bring Dinah and played along the entire time we were there - in between bites.

We bundled up and hoofed it to our downtown library for more adventures.

The elevator ride up to the children's section is way cool with big open windows looking out. Ella, who normally loves any elevator or escalator, was quick to jump up into my arms.

We had fun walking through row after row of books. I had to limit her to eight selections. It was a difficult task.

We had fun in the bathroom, too :)

Yep, it was this gorgeous out on Saturday...I took this while we were stopped in traffic. Ella called them Cotton Ball Clouds.

Storytime before our Saturday nap was filled with new adventures. Is there nothing better than unveiling a new book?

Sunday was filled with church, a grocery store run and working on letter recognition. Ella despises this. She furrows her brow and grunts and stuff. All cooperation goes out the window.

Thanks to Pinterest, I am finding interesting ways to help her along. Once we accomplished this magnificent C, it was on to cooking with my little Julia Childs. Perched on her kitchen chair at the counter, she helped put together a wonderful meal for all of us. She likes to taste-test along the way.

Tomorrow starts the pre-school schedule once again and boy are we thankful for THIS! She gets to wear PJ's to school and is delighted her new Thomas the Train duds are fresh out of the dryer.

Have a great week, Ella-Land!