Monday, March 25, 2013

Not exactly an Easter Bonnet.

(Blog Post #2 in same day. Will probably never happen again in this lifetime)

Katie and Roz received some awesome handmade winter hats recently. Naturally, we had fun with them.

In light of the fact we've been blasted with snow and gray skies just six days before Easter, it seems all that more fitting.

Who knew that awesome knitted hats could bring out so much of their personalities? These expressions are Ella and Roz through and through.

They are so close, so tuned into each other. So are their Mamas :)






How many pictures can I squeeze into this post?

I'm just going to inundate you with cute pictures so that I can get back on the blogging horse again. Because this mama has fallen off!

Our last two weeks in a series of cuteness.

My parents were out of town. So Ella and I happily took over Bentley duty.
And it was hard work (passed out in her bed at their house).
And because my parents were gone, I took a few vacation days from work on the days Ella would have been with my mom. We had a good time together.

Thomas and friends joined us for lunch.
New playdo.

Larry's band played at a watering hole just down the street last weekend. We struck out three times in search of a sitter so that I could be a big girl. The consolation prize: Ella and I being "roadies" while the band was setting up.

Bellied up to the bar eating popcorn, sipping her water on the rocks.
We hit the ice cream joint across the street for a nightcap.

The schedule also allowed us to see KatieRoz a bit more! We made the most of it with a downtown adventure and art projects.

I set up the girls with cookie cutter painting on their own canvas. Roz's creation is on the left; Ella's on the right. This is a perfect representation of them. Roz is very controlled in her art, in her obsession with letters and numbers (and awesome at it I might add). Ella is not controlled. Her paintbrush or cookie cutter or fingers are all over the place. She smears and if left to her own devices will cover her original creation with black paint before it is all said and done.

And both of them are absolutely perfect and beautiful and different, which is why they get along so well.

Then we headed downtown for lunch with Larry and traipsing around in spitting ice/snow/rain. It was a far cry from this awesome urban adventure.

Plotting out their escape.

Gem of our downtown library

What 'loved' looks like...but OMG he stinks so bad and she screeches at my mention of washing him.

Ella is evolving daily into the photographer and does a fine job of taking interesting photos. Check these out...


Getting out Easter decorations last week, I came across some of Ella's first creations when she was not quite 2 years old...

...and her 4th birthday is coming up so quickly!

I'm low on words but you're here for the Ella pics anyway - just admit it :)


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Where have you been?

Here, there and everywhere - that's where.

Last weekend, we packed our bags and spent time with nephew Trent, Kim, their baby bump! (coming in July), the dogs and the cats at their incredibly cool, old home. Larry and I are both the youngest in our families. It has perks. One of those perks is being an aunt and uncle to adults who are living, doing, traveling, marrying, starting families... Somehow friendship takes over - if you're doing it right. And there is still this level of familial hierarchy. That's good, too. I feel confident that any one of ours could and would call us if the chips were down.

Of course, it poses an interesting situation for Ella: she has no cousins her age. What she does have is her cousin's children to grow up with. We are thrilled to know that Trent and Kim's arrival in July will be part of that crew.

And we think they're going to be great parents because of their love, admiration and attention to Ella.

How many grown men would hit the park in his pj's to swing with his cousin on an early Sunday morning?

Larry sticks the landing!
The park across the street from their home was great. As you can see, we all got in on the fun.

Ella scaled the 'rock wall' her first try.

Swings then slide. Slide then swings...

Jasper, Kim and Josie.
We are still rather amazed at how at ease Ella was in their home (having never been there before) around four different pets. She owned the place within minutes and was quite smitten with the cats. Since returning from our road trip, she has really turned the corner on her affection towards my parents' old guy, Bentley. Win-win!

Sergei and his new shadow.
We hit a tiki restaurant for dinner and then to the most incredible ice cream joint. (Line out the door incredible...)

I love everything about this shot.

She fell asleep like this and woke up in the same position 8 hours later. To hear her say, "I don't want to leave Trent and Kim" on Sunday morning was pretty much the best thing ever.

The rest of the week has gone like this:

  • Ella ditched all pull-up wearing at nap and night sleeps (something she was not letting go of despite the fact that her pull-ups haven't been wet in a year)
  • My mom left for Florida to visit her brother for a week (translation: my sitter is on vacation)
  • My dad left for business out of state (translation: Bentley the dog needed our love and care)
  • My sister-in-law had major surgery and is finally home resting
  • Larry played two gigs over the weekend in conjunction with all of the St. Patrick's Day hoopla (translation: he wasn't around much)
  • I have been full-time MOMMY!!! mode since...oh heck sometime earlier this week

We've got lots of cute photos of the rest of our week. And when I finish up my last 'vacation day' from work (ha) tomorrow with Ella, I'll try to get back on here.

In the meantime, sleep well!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

"One of these mornin's you're gonna rise up singin'.

Then you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky." **

This past week, Larry and I put our big kid pants and attended our very first parent teacher conferences as parents. Larry was nervous; I was more excited than anything. Our decision to send Ella to this preschool was reinforced a hundred fold after our meeting with her teachers.

Ella's wings are in full flight - in the last month especially. Her smiles are constant. Her chin is up (as opposed to the bashful head down with Panda shoved in her face). She is engaging with other children. Panda gets placed on a shelf at the beginning of class and she grabs him as she's meeting me for pick up. (Go ahead, read that last sentence a few times to let it sink in.)

We are incredibly proud of the strides she has made. We are grateful for the loving teachers in her life that 'get' her. On Thursday, I threw the girl on the scale and measured her. I mean, all this talk of what a big girl she is, I thought I'd do it all. She weighs 35.2 pounds and is 40 1/2 inches tall. To give you some kind of reference point, when she went to a well doctor visit at the end of August, about 6 months ago, she was 36 inches tall. The string bean has grown 4.5 inches in 6 months' time. And her feet?!! Dear heavens, her feet are size 9s at this point. It is as if she skipped an entire shoe size somewhere in there.

Ella's cooking and baking has ramped up a few notches as she now begs to help me at the stove. After a 5 minute safety course from me, she pushes her chair/perch over to help. Man, she's bossy though.

We are just off a weekend full of travel and family, not to mention the Daylight Savings Time wretchedness this causes a household with young children. When you factor in two days of no true naps, incredibly late bedtimes...to be honest, I'm surprised I hammered this out. Excuse my typos :)

Can't wait to share photos later this week. Sleep tight, Ella-Land! ~H

** Ella Fitzgerald, "Summertime"

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lanterns. Life. Reflections.

Last weekend we planned a celebration to end the Chinese New Year with our own Lantern Festival. We invited some friends and my parents to a big open field in our neighborhood. It was beautiful and special and exciting and even a tiny bit nerve-wracking. Honestly, we can't wait to do it all over again next year.

The kids were fascinated. Ella was as well but for whatever reason (reminded her of fireworks, maybe?) she was less than cooperative, stand-offish, whiny. Thank goodness our Roz was into it!

So beautiful.

And just this past weekend it was life as usual. Larry played his monthly Saturday morning cafe gig. Ella and I turned it into an urban adventure. Eggs, bacon and live music...

...including "You Are My Sunshine" sing-a-long from the ENTIRE cafe. Cindy (playing fiddle) always dedicates that song to our girl. You can almost see her vibrate with excitement and bashfulness.

Then we hoofed it over to the downtown library and got lost in that beautiful beast of a building. We came out with a fabulous selection of books that we quickly devoured before Saturday's nap time.

Ella has become quite the pro at taking pictures with my phone. Saturday night dinner table through her eyes...

And before leaving Ah-men yesterday, she sat down at Larry's kit to make some noise. Today marks

the three year anniversary of our return to the states with this formidable force in tow. What you probably don't know is that once a year, I send this blog to a company who prints it in hardbound books. Pretty awesome, huh? March 4 of each year is always my last entry before the new book begins. While I don't sit down and do the traditional baby book (because there is quite a bit about me that is not traditional), I try very hard to record her life here. One day Ella will have her first years documented. Perhaps the light bulb will go off for her, "Ahhhh...that's why mom was always taking pictures of me!" Blog or not, I would still be in her face with a camera. The best part? We get to pick up these books and reflect back on all of the day-to-day living we may have forgotten.

Another chapter ends today and a whole new world of possibilities await us. Until then, a little flashback to our 'delivery room' at the airport.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Girls' Night Out.

I have other photos to get to, but I had to sign off this week with how perfectly it ended. Larry went to a concert leaving the girls to find their own fun. Not hard. We hit the museum for It's Friday with our friends Ava and Sara. We ate at the cafe, strolled the galleries, tried listening to some live music (too loud for my girl) and then hit the family center for painting and play.

The girls were wonderful. Sara and I got to enjoy relaxed conversation, catching up on all that we don't get to do in emails, texts or our monthly FCC dinner dates.

And when Ella created this and said, "Look mama, my Eiffel Tower", my mouth dropped.

Nicely done, Ella!! Of course, she added wings to it to make it a butterfly then doused it with black making the masterpiece rather unrecognizable.

The girls ended our evening with a delightful little puppet show. They played so well together.

Happy Weekend, Ella-Land. ~H