Monday, February 25, 2013

As long as I'm living, my baby you will be.

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be." ~ "Love You Forever" Robert Munsch

Here we are, after a monumental weekend and I'm pretty much feeling like this familiar quote. It was a banner weekend but the biggest news is the partial deconstruction of Ella's crib.

She gave it a test run.

And then we visited my parents so that Ella could help her Papa deconstruct her crib at their house as well.

She handled the tools quite well and her Papa handled the bossing even better.

I am happy to report that Ella is sleeping better than ever and I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't sad for me. She isn't even a toddler anymore. With the exception of Panda, she has pretty much shed her little-self skin. Ella reminded me yesterday, "You know, I'm just not a baby anymore, mom" to which I replied, "but you will always be MY baby". I got this look...

Happy Monday! ~H

Friday, February 22, 2013


Wednesday and Thursday were full of Forever Family Day celebratory activities. Including, but not limited to:

  • coffee talk

  • a trip to our hands-on science museum

  • lunching downtown afterwards with Larry and two other FCC Mamas who work downtown
  • presents and adorable cards (including video greetings from the BFF)

  • dinner with my parents
  • ice cream

  • watching videos from our travels to China

Ella sees her 'baby self' in these videos and speaks of herself in third person. She cannot or will not fully grasp that the little one giggling on the screen is the younger version of herself. After watching the footage of Kunming before adoption day and asking several times, "Where's Ella?" I explained that we had to wait for our appointment, that we couldn't just bolt to the orphanage and leave with her at free will. "Did Xuilan hook you up?" came out of her mouth next.


And yes, Ella. Xuilan hooked us up.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Forever Family Day

to us!!!!!!!!

There is nothing in this world like what happened in that little room, halfway around the world...three years ago today.

Thanks for hanging with us then, and now.

Love, H, L & EML

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A morning at our museum.

Ella finished up her four-week drawing class at the museum on Saturday. She enjoyed it and so did we. We hope to get her signed up for the painting class in April. One of Ella's very first outings with us upon our return from China was a trip to our museum. I remember how she dozed off in her stroller as we wheeled her around the galleries. I adore how she knows when we're within a mile of the museum by the landmarks. Honestly, I think she could direct us there if we asked her.

And so while Larry and Ella were participating, I was photographing (as amazing as that must read).

Story time in the gallery.
Teacher Kelly inspiring the kids.
When you are crawling around on the old cork floors with your camera, you see a much different perspective. You see skylights in a different way...

...and you see sculptures outside from a little kid's perspective too.

Glitter metallic crayons? Whoa!
I'm pretty sure there is some bossing going on.

And we ended our visit with lunch in the atrium, probably my most favorite place of all to photograph Ella.


A classic Ella move: the head butt. She does it when she's tired and she nailed me hard in the cheek, so hard that my eyes watered uncontrollably and my cheekbone still hurts four days later! Good job Larry for catching it all.

We have grown very fond of a new installation on the grounds of the museum. It is called Spiegel. Ella calls it 'Skeletons'. It is awesome at night and a while back I managed to catch these images.

Here's me, standing inside one of the 'skeletons' looking up at the head.

Tomorrow is a very important anniversary, like even more spectacular than birthdays in my opinion. We got an early start on celebrating today with KatieRoz. We braved really, really cold weather and hit our science museum. More on that later!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Video Success.

It is a long story and involves technology and a desktop computer along with two laptops. Bottom line, I've managed to get most of our China video clips into 'sharing' form since the support and website offered through our cute little handheld video camera is no more. I did it. I'm thrilled.

So, I'll leave you with this: three years ago this very day we were here.

Stone Forest, about 75 miles outside of Kunming. It feels prehistoric and rather surreal.

Xuilan and her husband drove us there. If you forget what she looks like she's the older lady with glasses wearing the tan jacket. You know, the one with a whole bunch of zip.

I miss her. And going back through these videos makes me miss Kunming very much. Enjoy a little China through our eyes.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ornery Valentine With a Rolling Pin.

So as not to be outdone by Tuesday's celebrations, Cupid's party was two days later at Ella's school. Our ornery Valentine was in hopping-everywhere-instead-of-walking, out-of-her-mind-with-excitement form. And she started out the day (big shocker) being horribly uncooperative about photos.

But this just wasn't any old pre-school party. Sure, we passed out Valentines to classmates but we also got super messy by rolling out cookie dough, using copious amounts of flour, using cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkling the finished products.

And Ella used this heirloom...

...my Grandma's rolling pin. The homemade noodles, the cookies, the pies...so much history and love in Ella's little hands. It was the highlight of the day for me.

One of Ella's big highlights was having her Grandma along to join in the fun.

They talked rolling technique.

And here's a little glimpse at the busy workers at our table, James and Nikko right at her side!

The kids did a little singing too. I was able to capture this image of Ella in between her serious dance moves. Ok, so this image may be a tie for my highlight of the day.

A masterpiece!

Of course, Ella received some awesome cards and handmade artwork from her friends and family in the mail, too.

Uncle Trent and Aunt Kim even decorated the box they shipped!

A special delivery from our sweet neighbor had Ella squealing too. I'm not going to lie, Larry and I love this neighbor's baking. It may be a fight for the last of her treats.

Suffice it to say, the last five days have been filled with really wonderful memories. On February 21, we will celebrate and reflect on our Forever Family Day just three years ago. Yep, still shaking my head at how quickly it is flying by...

Happy Weekend! ~H

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ella's Heritage Preschool Style.

For the past month or so, I've been working with Ella's teachers in planning a Chinese New Year Celebration for her class. On Tuesday morning we pulled it off.

Ella wore yet another qipao, this one from a Chicago Chinatown visit last year. She practiced her kung fu skills while brushing her teeth that morning.

We had big fun. The teachers did great research on the customs behind the celebration, too. There was a little bit of geography, ribbon dancing to Chinese music, art, gym time, story time and snack time. All of it revolved around Ella's heritage. I was beyond thrilled for her. I guess having me there for the entire morning was a pretty big deal as well although it may be a toss up on who had more fun - Ella or me.

We all slithered likes snakes between pylons...

Ella teamed up with Nikko for lantern making.

I surprised even myself on the snake cake I made. The kids inhaled it.

It has been a week full of affirmations that Ella's school is a perfect fit for her. And the teachers and I are already excited about our celebration for 2014. I'm so thankful they allowed me to be a part of such a special day for her.