Wednesday, April 30, 2014

School days.

Nikko. Callie. Avery. Adrienne. Brynli. Ella. Izzie. Josh. Jack. Nathan.
We are in the last four weeks of pre-school. These little souls have done an awful lot of growing up in the last two years. And it has been such an honor to watch them blossom. These teachers have been at it for over 20 years. They are retiring this year as well. Suffice it to say, there is a whole lot of melancholy swirling around - for everyone. 

Mrs. K (on left) and I have 30 years of history together. She and I taught the littles at our church many moons ago before she and her family moved on to this church. I can't express enough how comforting it has been for me to have her teaching Ella. I've written it here before but it is worth repeating over and over again.

Isn't this just perfect!?

As we look forward to the next chapter in Ella's school life, we are delighted to announce that her name was picked in the lottery for the public school academy here in our neighborhood. She got the golden ticket!!

The new school!
When we dropped off her application at the school several months back, she was quick to tell the principal (after just being introduced to her) that 'she was not going to this stupid school'. What a proud parenting moment!! I guess all that moxie helped. The school is bilingual from day one - German and Spanish. Our first choice was Spanish but there were no openings. It is a foreign language and for that we are thankful. We have a laundry list of registrations, tests and parent meetings in the next month. When we told Ella the great news, she burst into tears about missing her teachers and friends at pre-school. I wish one of them was going to be attending with her...just one :(

As luck would have it, I just learned moments ago that one of Ella's friends from the neighborhood just got the call that she has been accepted at the academy as well. I am so thrilled!

Be prepared for about a month's worth of weepy-I'm-not-ready-to-let-go blog posts about our girl's final month as a pre-schooler. You've been warned.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Someone had a big birthday...

We aren't allowed to talk about age are we? OK. Well, my mom got to celebrate a big milestone and let's leave it at that! My parents look amazing.

We gathered at a former boarding school for boys (turned military school) for an amazing birthday brunch. It is an amazing setting in spite of the bizarre history. Really.

Because my parents are up on almost all technological gadgets (don't ask mom to text - she won't do it), we surprised her with a shiny new Kindle HD 8.9". We may never see her again.
Mom and her sassy girls.

Grand-daughters (and a great grand-daughter dressed as Elsa!)

I absolutely love these two shots I captured of my brother Greg and Lily.

The group shot!
It was such a wonderful celebration for her. Dad is next up for 'this big milestone' in November! Blessings abound.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter Bunny, chocolate would have been better.

I don't know what we did to make him mad but two out of three of us were down for the count and it was not the girl pictured below.

My view for nearly two straight days.
Ella's resiliency is other-worldly. While her KatieRoz were suffering the same way half way across the city, her parents under the same roof, Ella happily bee-bopped around the house on Easter morning. She was a saint and a nurse.

Oh and what made it worse was that WE were hosting Easter dinner at our house. Thankfully, mom and dad switched gears at the 11th hour, re-directed everyone to their house and enjoyed a great day without Larry and me.

I got Ella somewhat put together and her Papa picked her up to celebrate.

So happy my niece sent me these pictures as we slept the entire day away. This Sunday, I will be recreating the entire Easter-Sunday-All-Dressed-Up-For-Church extravaganza whether Ella likes it or not!

We did have a great time leading up to our downfall, however. Like how Ella got to celebrate her 5th birthday early with her BFF because of the most ultimate gift that Roz couldn't keep under her hat!

Anna and Elsa dolls!!!!!!!!
Some excellent park time.
And a Saturday morning filled with celebrating our community.

Aunt Kay and Uncle Pete have just jetted across the pond for several weeks of travel but not before slipping in the mail an awesome (classic) book for Ella. We have read about Frog and Toad nearly every night since. Big fun. 

Larry with patience far-surpassing mine, has been trying to engage Ella in some ukulele playing. Listening to the two of them from the other room is fantastic.

Ella has been nursing two other family members back to health as well. Thomas and Mavis had their front claws removed on Monday. It was a difficult decision for us. And it has been a difficult recovery for them. Ultimately, it had to be done in order to maintain composure under our roof. They were destroying everything. She cried no less than a dozen times as they stayed overnight after their surgery. Suffice it to say she was more concerned about them than her parents. Stinker.

Here's to a healthy weekend, yard work, playing catch-up on the blog and my other 50 projects. Happy Friday, Ella-Land! ~H

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You can thank your Uncle Greg, Ella.

The most amazing news bulletin ever!!!!

My brother asked me to host Easter this year. 20+ people here on Sunday means prep needs to start now.

First up, extend antique dining room table.

Secondly, look down into hollow pedestal just for the heck of it.

Spy sweet little Panda looking up at me. Wait about 15 seconds, just staring at him without making a noise.

Grab Larry. Show him our own EASTER MIRACLE OF THE RISEN PANDA!!!

Call Ella in. Grab camera again because this is how I live my life.

Joy. Disbelief. More joy. More disbelief.


Smelling him. Feeling him. Smelling him again.


She quickly decided he needed a bath as he smelled like 'the old dining room table'. She was right - he did.

At 10:12pm, she is nestled in bed with Panda #1 and Panda #2 trying really hard to sort out her love for the old and the new.

We will be sure to give Uncle Greg an extra squeeze on Easter morning for playing his part in our Easter Miracle.

Oh, and as for HOW ON EARTH DID HE GET IN THERE? I'm still not 100%. Anyone could slip their hand under the table and into the opening to drop something in. The table mechanism was locked and I never, ever lock it which tells me other hands were under there. (Thomas is good but he's not that good.) And yes, it is somewhat feasible one of the cats (translation: Thomas) could have picked him up and taken him in there.

He was MIA for 49 days today. Oh Panda...welcome back.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Photo Round Up!!

An impromptu trip to Ann Arbor on one of the first tolerable days of spring?? Yes, PLEASE!

And getting to hang out with our cousin Dawn was the even bigger bonus!
A day filled with fun and new friends at our art museum....
such different artists. Roz (L) has very deliberate brush strokes; Ella's strokes are BIG.

And then this!! I could gripe about how great her social life is but I enjoy hanging out with these moms just as much as she enjoys screeching and running with the kids :)

You are not misinterpreting. Ella was less than thrilled with the "Some Bunny Loves You" theme I had going on here.


Monday, April 14, 2014


On my drive into work this morning, I heard a poem recited. It happens at the same time on the radio program. Every day. And I'm always at the same point on my commute to work when the radio personality's voice takes over the speakers.
This morning's poem was about a little girl named Mavis...
We practiced in Baltimore's alleys with her dress
tucked in so it would not catch in her wheels.

It was late summer and we waited until after supper
when the sun melts. I held the seat and handlebars

and she pedaled as fast as she could. She has
such thin legs, such balance. It did not take

long before she left me standing in place:
hands in my pockets, throat full of hope.
Teaching Mavis to Ride a Bike by Faith Shearin

How lovely. And how timely for us with our current-day Ella. It is possible that she will be the only 20 year old with training wheels on her bike because the girl shuts us down on any discussions about removing them. But she is already leaving me standing in place: hands in my pockets, throat full of hope. She is growing and changing in ways I never thought possible for an-almost-five-year-old.
So why is this post all about Namaste? "I bow to the divine you" is the translation, and how we end our yoga sessions with Miss Erin. Mommy-Daughter Yoga has been going strong for about 6 months now. Once a week we meet up with Erin, her son Dex and our partners-in-crime, KatieRoz. Erin asked me to photograph one of our sessions.  I jumped at the chance!
Miss Erin and her son, Dex.
After looking at these photographs for all the usual stuff - lighting, symmetry, etc., I started really looking at them.
Their little bodies fit so nicely on us. Still.
A year from now, I suspect I'll be hard-pressed to do this pose with Ella. Woah, I knew she was growing and changing and stuff but...
Lizard (Roz) on a Rock (Ella).
Again, I feel a little like the person in the poem with my throat filled with hope. Ella may not be taking dance, perfecting her piano or violin skills, or playing soccer, basketball or t-ball (yet), but she's finding her groove. And right now she is stretching and balancing with me. She hears me groan or struggle with some positions and I don't lose sight of how important that is: she needs to see that everyone doesn't get 'it' on the first try, especially me (almost always me!).

Namaste, Ella-land! ~H