Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Work from home Tuesday!

Work-from-home Tuesdays are a great gift to us. It is a lot more work for me, on about 50 different levels. I wouldn't change a thing.

We get to play with VW Campers and wear high heels.

Three out of the four of us get to snuggle into cozy beds, with soft sunshine filtering through and nap. Ring the bells, she DID sleep for me!

And when she wakes up on Wednesday morning, squealing with excitement to go to school, I breathe a sigh of relief that we are doing just what we need to be doing.

Look at those smiles!!!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Hey November 18.

The last week has been riddled with good stuff here and there but mostly, we are just plugging away in our school, work, music and art schedules.

Ella is doing a great job of napping at my mom's on her school days and fighting it to her death when she's with me/us on Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends. Occasionally, I'll even allow co-sleeping at naps. Like this:

Mavis and Thomas catch on and it becomes one big carnival in my room. Then this face stares at me, "Are you tired? Are your eyes getting heavy?"

60 minutes of quiet time is dashed. We waste 90 minutes trying to get quiet with "Shhh!, Quiet down, Stop teasing the kittens, Thomas get off my head", etc. You combine the lack of nap with the pitch black skies at 5:30pm and we are doing our best to keep her up until 7:45 on those nights.

Saturday was a great day of art in the city. We did our best to eat breakfast before hitting art class at the museum. Thomas did his best to eat it as well.

Class was all about watercolors and landscapes. Ella was in a zone and made her grass a delightful purple/pink.

We took in the indie craft scene and holiday art loop downtown later on. Because Ella woke up at 5:30am determined to wreak havoc on the household, this happened...

She perked up at our arrival at the first stop: the Amtrak Train Station and spent most of her time looking out the windows for a her favorite things.

We all spent more time socializing than we did shopping at this venue as it turned out to be quite the well-attended event by our friends. Ella declared it a fun adventure, indeed. And her pants were incredible (see above).

The very last remnant of Ella's toddler life came down yesterday. The 'baby gate' at the top of our stairs isn't necessary. Ella has never been a monkey on the stairs but we were worried that once she transitioned to a big girl bed, she might wander. And by wander, I mean go out her bedroom door, walk one foot to the right and fall down the steps. Ella was the big helper with the power tools. We've been running into that thing for almost four years now. I was strangely sad about it all.

Have a great week, Ella-Land!! ~H

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Well, that was a pretty awesome week!

As I was downloading pictures last night, it dawned on me why the laundry has taken over our basement: Our week was too awesome for housework!!

We enjoyed a wonderful meal of Austrian cuisine prepared by our friends Stefan and Allie. They spent a year abroad, got pregnant and had not-so-little Walter in that timeframe. We had lots of catching up to do. Ella was especially attentive to Walter (babies...not her strong suit).

Look at those cheeks!!
What was even sweeter was her affection for Stefan. She was at his side in the kitchen. I think his accent put it over the edge.

On Sunday, we walked into THIS at Ah-men...Quilt Sunday! These quilts have been hand-made by our powerful quiltmaker circle. Some are sold to help defray expenses and the rest are donated to several shelters in our city. It is an amazing sight.

We exercised our civic duty on Tuesday, including Panda, of course.

Roz's grandparents were town this past week. For the first time, both girls stayed with them so that Mama Katie and I could go to lunch. Alone. ALONE. Every single one of us enjoyed it!

Thomas and Mavis are growing (getting fat) and enjoying the freedom of the entire house. We haven't perfected night-time sleeping yet but they are darn good at napping with us.


The Saturday morning art classes are big fun. Aminah Robinson and the Japanese Print Exhibit served as inspirations in Ella's class.

This is Ella's story board. Her story is entitled "Victor Talks A Lot".
Victor...as in train engine. Big surprise :)

Ella in a kimono colored with pastels.
A Random Act of Kindness surprise hit my mailbox this weekend too. The secret sender gifted me this, thanking me for sharing my gift. Since I just got done editing 22 family photo sessions, I'm baffled on who sent it. I'm embracing the random-ness! It is adorable and I'm touched.

Mama's Girl.
We are in the very small window of our outdoor lives that brings trepidation. The time change means pitch black by 5:30pm; the leaves are tumbling down every second so leaf-raking never ends; our overwhelming gardens are disgusting, dead and need cleaned out; it's cold and the snow could fly any moment.

Our neighborhood may be incredibly beautiful right now but we are a little 'boo hoo' about this part! We are chipping away at what we can.  Ella does a nice job managing us from her chariot.

Happy Tuesday, Ella-Land! ~H

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pre-K Kuteness!!!!

This year's Halloween Program at Ella's school was wonderful. I am amazed how many songs these little ones memorize. Music is a huge component to the teaching and learning process in her class. (Just another reason for us to love this place.)

I spent most of the 30 minutes blinking tears and smiling. Ella not only participated fully belting out the tunes, she had fun. She is ever-evolving into an amazing, cool little lady.

Then a huge weather system was supposed to move in on Halloween Day. After much sniping and venting on social media sites and the barrage of phone calls to City Hall, the city leaders as well as the smaller communities around us, switched the actual Trick Or Treat'ing to Sunday - 3 days later. As parents of a four year old, we got it. It didn't matter to us with Ella so over-the-top scared at anything remotely spooky this year. The storm never hit exactly as it was supposed to (insert more community grumbling), so we hit the library instead. It just made sense.

Self-Check Out Master.
And then we crawled under covers and read and read and read... 

Mavis chose Ella's window seat.

Thomas hogged the blankets.
Sunday's Trick-or-Treat night was a success. We built a fire in our pit, gathered chairs and a neighbor, had adult beverages and drained the bowls of any candy. The weather was chilly but dry! Ella traipsed up and down our block, screeched and melted into tears twice at scary masks and came home to enjoy her loot.

And doesn't every Lady Bug start out a big evening by playing the Ukulele?


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's National Adoption Month.

Thank you, Love Without Boundaries for this touching video.

Click here for the YouTube video.

Even three years later, we need this reminder too.


Our Photographer.

Having a really good girlfriend you can trust with anything, who gets your sense of humor, who finishes your sentences... is a gift, and one I have never taken lightly.

When that same girlfriend is also your photographer? Well then, you can imagine the awesomeness!!

Here's a little sneak peek of what Nicole Lee Photography captured last month.


Now to the daunting task of going through the oodles of images to select favorites!

PS: We're pretty excited Panda made it in the photos another year as well.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Daddy's Little Girl.

May she never grow too old for this.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Manicure Milestone.

So, this happened.

And it was 100 kinds of adorable.

A stunned Roz.

I caught wind of a Princess Day at a local nail salon. Mama Katie blogs about it here making sure to point out that channeling my inner princess is something I don't do often. I knew Roz would be over the moon. I knew Ella would be glad to go along for the ride. I was right.

Special princess cocktails.

 Cute piggies.

Ella chose a very sparkly bright red; Roz, a bold sparkly blue. It was such a good time for them, and the moms...who left with unpainted fingers and toes (bad, bad planning on our part!)

About a week ago, I called our magical Deb to get Ella a hair appointment. It was time. More than a 'trim' needed to happen on her mop of hair. Getting through it each night, each morning and after bath time was killing me. Everyone was thrilled except Ella.

We tried to make it a fun time on haircut day by going to Roz's for lunch and then letting the girls play in the huge master bathtub.

And Henry was a fabulous helper during the hair-washing sessions.

After all that, Ella still wasn't happy about the haircut. But Deb was able to whack off three inches. Ella's full-time hairdresser (me) couldn't be happier!

Mavis found it to be a lot softer when laying on Ella's head later that day, too.