Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Shall We Dedicate All January Posts to This Frozen Tundra?!

It is January 29 and Ella has been in school 3 days this month due to snow and below zero temperatures. Any type of schedule or routine has been completely dismantled - for her, for me, for us. I cannot thank my parents enough for pinch-hitting during this ridiculousness that is our January. I'm also thankful for our employers. We've been able to work from home more because of them.
The Chinese New Year celebrations are SUPPOSED TO begin on Friday. Ella and I are going to school together, assuming it will be open, and share traditions with her class. The Year of the Horse begins! We will be gathering with our local FCC families on Sunday for chaos and food and are so looking forward to that.
In the meantime, we are reading and resting. AGAIN.

Taking a moment to enjoy the sunshine and thankful for the little warmth it provides when our curtains and blinds aren't pulled tight.

I am recycling old toys to keep Ella interested. As a result, I've spent some quality time stepping on these and trying to keep the cats from eating them.

We all migrate to the kitchen in the afternoon for warmth and sunbathing...even Mavis!

Due to the routine-upside-down-situation, nap and bed times have been challenging. "I miss you!" "I need you!" "Come check on me again?" The weather hasn't been the only thing brutal, this too, is right up there. I had a full schedule of things I wanted to check off my list once she was in bed for the night. It became apparent no check marks were going to happen. I grabbed my book and her and we piled in bed at 8:45. After an hour of her non-stop chatter, she was snoring peacefully. Just. Like. This.

So I watched her sleep - I lost track of how long - and then struggled to pick up her limp, long body to deposit it back in her own bed.

I requested a copy of Wizard of Oz DVD from our library. It came in on Monday. Timing has been perfectly orchestrated for a continuous OZ FEST at our house!!!

Yesterday's temperatures were somewhere around 20 below. (Without wind chill factored in.) Several of my neighborhood mamas and I had orchestrated an afternoon get-together for the kids over a week ago. With everything canceled, we saved our sanity and moved it to the morning. We are tough and desperate - temperature warnings or not! Sophie and Mama Jess were incredible hosts.

Bird's eye view from Sophie's playroom

Ella, Sophie, Josh, Claire and Piper in art heaven.

Mama Jess and Ella in heavy train making discussions.

Such a peaceful image.

"Mom this wasn't a bad idea", said Ella.

New Year's Resolution Success: Get mamas in front of camera more!
Mama Jess gets into the playroom jam session.

I am thankful Larry told me we were escaping the house for dinner and drinks last night. It was necessary. Really.

On a very somber note, our city's fire department lost two firefighters in a blaze on Sunday. It has been over 50 years since this has happened. Because we have connections, Ella heard me rather quietly freak out about the news as it unfolded. We didn't know either of the men but this city is grieving. We told Ella the truth and I told her we could do something, even if small. So we baked because feeding souls...well, it is what we do. And our friends Brooke and Piper baked. And there were homemade cards.

This morning before we headed to the car for drop off at my mom's, Ella said, "I wonder if they are having fun playing with the dogs." "Who, Ella?", I asked. "The firemen, mom...in heaven with our doggies that are there." I drove straight to our neighborhood fire station. We handed over our offerings with gentle smiles and love.


Sunday, January 26, 2014


Another Level 2 Snow Emergency.

A cancelled church service.

Snow blowing, shoveling and bundling Ella up to blow off the stink.

There are at least a dozen projects around the house that we should be starting. Instead we were slugs - reading, watching tv, napping, and taking silly photos.

Red cheeks alert!

More red cheeks...

...and a scratch on the left cheek from Thomas, her brother cat.



I have just received word that schools are closed tomorrow. The snow, which stopped around 2pm today, is beginning to fall again and will throughout the night. The forecast is calling for thundersnow, because really...what is a polar vortex round 2 without thunder?!!

We might be losing it a bit with all this shut in business...


Friday, January 24, 2014

Last week in pictures.

The whole polar vortex thing has returned. For the first time this morning, my car told me it was -8 outside which doesn't factor in the coldness one feels with a wind chill. So, we're cold. But we have a warm home that (knock on wood) hasn't suffered any frozen pipes. We are feeding our birds and squirrels like a new parent feeds a newborn.
Thomas has the right idea. I found him here in Ella's bed waiting for her. Ella continues to be thick as thieves with these two. She did suffer a three inch scratch across her cheek yesterday. She wanted to carry him around like a baby; he wanted to play.

The sun continues to shine beautifully.

Thomas is my bud. He follows me like a dog where Mavis is a bit more content nestled up in a ball somewhere.

Ella's Shu-Shu Jeff came over bearing gifts for his girl. When she unwrapped this sucker I thought she was going to faint. I almost did as well.

We ventured out to the Museum for some fun with our neighbor kids and mamas. Ella was a tad bashful. All of the children were younger than her. None of her 'regulars' could make it. I loved getting the chance to hang with some of the grown ups and she eventually found her groove. But she is a creature of habit and if I heard it once, I heard it a dozen times, "It just doesn't feel right being here without Rozzie."

Creating a shadow box.

She drew these simultaneously, double fisted with chalk!

Chatterbox. Chatterbox. Chatterbox. Although she is quiet, reserved in new settings and with people she may not see regularly, the girl does not stop talking any other time. Nap-Quiet time is no exception. She carries on full-blown conversations with Panda working on the details of the day. Without fail, she scurries out of bed to her bookshelf, grabs her small Bible and hunkers down in the covers. She reads aloud. The stories always start out the same: A woman with gold coins, the woman talking to Jesus and Jesus being kind to her when no one else would be. Lately, the stories have become more complex of Mary and Joseph wanting Jesus to grow up to be strong. And long journeys on donkeys...with a lot of walking.

For a girl who (still) cannot tolerate one thing out of place in her room before falling into bed, I find it comforting that her Bible is never returned to the bookshelf. She leaves it in bed with her as she dozes off for her cat nap. Realize, not one thing can sleep in or on her bed except Panda and herself - no other animals, toys or blankets - it throws her way off.  But the Bible gets special treatment, or gives special comfort. Either way? Excellent.

And finally, a big round of applause to Larry for painting the upstairs bathroom this past week. I did not pick up the paint brush or roller once. He spent evenings up there with his daughter under foot, or perched at the door. I stayed away as the two of them solved the world's problems. She has officially entered the "My Daddy is My Boyfriend And I Kinda Want to Marry Him" stage. And Larry has fallen more in love with her :)

Happy Weekend, Ella-Land! ~H

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hi. It's me. Melancholy.

I am in the process of 'cleaning' my computer at work, deleting, moving, etc. to a much-needed sparkly new one.

I came across these.

I love the person Ella is right this moment but maybe take a moment to join me in the melancholy stroll.

Happy Friday!! ~H

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

4:45 am wake up call.

Nothing like starting your day at 4:45am. For whatever reason, Ella woke up crying. And although I got her calmed down, she NEVER shut her eyes again. So here we are at 8:05am, and it feels like 2pm. Work-From-Home-Tuesday could go 50 kinds of wrong before this day is over...
After a false start on Friday, (school was cancelled at the very last minute) Ella was beyond excited yesterday to pull up in her school parking lot. She screamed out the window in joy.

We had fun waiting for her friends to arrive.
Grandma and Papa watched Ella for a bit on Friday night so that I could escape to watch Larry and the band play.
Other than watching the mermaid monster swim and tripping over the cats sleeping in the sunshine, it was a pretty low-key weekend.

KatieRoz are visiting the family in Florida all week so Ella is doing an awful lot of whining about missing her buddy. But we have orchestrated a gathering at our art museum on Thursday with Thomas and some of our neighborhood friends. I suspect that will help turn her frown around.

Happy Tuesday, Ella-Land! ~H


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Today was a good day.

It was a full day of playing with Roz and ended with Mama-Ella-Katie-Roz yoga. There were smiles just like this all day long. We are so thankful they have each other.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

one hundred and twenty hours of photographs.

Blizzard of 2014. Nikon. Smart phone.

On Friday night we braved the pre-blizzard temperatures to watch Wizard of Oz with our favorite Dorothy, Lana and Gabe.

The venue was our very own historical theatre.

Before hitting the grocery store with all the millions stocking up, we stocked up on giggles from RJ and Isabella!

Then we treated ourselves to dinner outside of our home and good margaritas!

Sunday, reality set in about 2pm...

Photo by Ella

But not before we bundled up to make our snowman. Even our next door neighbor Jim joined in the fun.

It was one of the more beautiful storms. Crazy or not, I bundled up Ella and walked her down to my parents Sunday night. She giggled the entire way...and then spent the night!


We have been housebound since Sunday. We completed our snow removal around noon on Monday, but not without coming in to warm up in intervals, drink warm stuff and check emails (see below).

Ice formations on our windows...-40 below will do that.

Even when the sun finally broke out in all its glory, it has still been dangerously bitter.

We've been thankful for our kitchen sunbathing spots during our lockdown!

Because we're borderline stir-crazy, we have been holding firm on naptimes so that we could all get a break from each other. And I'm happy to say that we are taking some of our best winter naps during this blizzard!

Mavis on the assist during wake-up.

I have also had to choose my battles a little. Normally, Thomas is not allowed to lounge on the kitchen table. But it was one of the best spots in the house during the afternoon sunglow.

Tomorrow, we hope the lockdown will be lifted (a Level Three Emergency in our parts) so that we can escape. We know Ella's school is canceled again for tomorrow morning. We are really hoping she returns to routine by Friday!

Stay warm, Ella-land!!