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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Summer of Books.

 
This is the story of how Larry almost killed me. My neighbor bud Brooke and I got it in our heads that we wanted to start a Free Library (aka Take a Book/Leave a Book) revolution in our neighborhood. OK, maybe not a revolution but we wanted one in each of our yards before the summer was over.
 
 
I am pretty sure Larry was hoping I'd wake up one morning with it erased from my memory. Don't get me wrong, he loved the idea as well. It was the constructing it that was problematic. But I had faith...that my pestering and his abilities would provide.
 
They did. And let me just tell you how awesome this is. 
 
 





Ella was completely on board with this, which helped my cause.





There are several books that she hasn't read in over a year. Asking her to part with any of those is a brutal process. She covets books (our kid for sure). But we did agree to release a few into the universe. I was super proud of her.

Look at him, all proud and stuff!
As if the finished product wasn't exciting enough, it was the onslaught of traffic and photos being texted to me as friends visited the library.





This hand-written note left on the bookshelf almost made me cry. Who knew this would foster such a sense of community and fun?! I mean, we hoped for that but it has even surprised me. We notice cars driving by slowly trying to figure it all out. We've had tweens/teens stroll by and ask, "So we can just take one?"

Ella and I are super proud of Larry for his masterpiece. We go out and visit the library almost daily to see what awesomeness has been left.


And as for Brooke, she got her wish too. Her awesome library is situated at the other end of our neighborhood. We suspect a few more will be popping up in the next few months. Maybe it will be a revolution after all!

~H

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Projects. Pictures. Progress.

 Last weekend, we teamed up with my lifelong friends Rob and Ron, their kids and one little grandkid. It was one of those magical nights of running free, fireflies and ice cream sundaes. I love this photo of Isabella hauling Ava, Ike, Vera and Ella.

 Larry has been busy all week on a project I put him up to and there will be more on this later. Ella has been a great help in her high heels.


Speaking of high heels, I stumbled into the bathroom late one night last week to this image. The girl was so tired she left her heels at the commode before falling into bed. I couldn't move them. It reminded me of how great life is with her in it.

Grumpy (yet gorgeous) girl after nap wake up.

Late evening sliding at the park - see the moon?

Mavis daydreaming about life outside...
 Ella was able to hang out with Ava, Addy and Roz on Wednesday while I was at work. Mama Sara sent me this photo that afternoon. Our rag-a-muffin needed her hair fixed and John was there to help. What a good Daddy he is, not only to his girls but ours too.

 On Thursday, we spent the day at Ava and Addy's house swimming and before it was over (after a few crying fits), Ella made huge progress!! I can't believe how relaxed she looks in the video.



video


And we started out our glorious weekend with another Kids N Cocktails at Piper's house. This time, we got to bring Roz along with us. Talk about excitement!!


 My girls had fun with the camera in their Funny Face Series.





Larry with his sweethearts.

Such good buds.

1 year old Oliver!
We've got a week filled with Vacation Bible School, some last minute Roz time before she leaves for three weeks (gulp) and a great forecast. July, you've been so, so good thus far :)

~H

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Independence!

 
 Our little firecracker enjoyed the long weekend and so did her parents. We joined our friends at a primo fireworks spot on July 4th. I tried getting a group shot of Ella and all her buds (Claire, Josh, Ben, Blake, Morgan and Mia), but as you can see...



Before the show started, Matt gave us a show of his own by sending off some lanterns.


 
 And then this fabulous foursome joined us for a while - in their matching shirts!
 


I wish I could take credit for this shot. I cannot. Larry was hanging with the kids on blankets and scored this one of Josh. I was in the car with Ella who had her sound canceling earphones on and Frozen blaring on the stereo to further assist in drowning out the big booms. She lasted three seconds outside with the other kids. Poor thing.


In other exciting news, one of our teens from church is in China assisting at a panda reserve. This is Lindsay. We are super proud of her and Ella has been absolutely mesmerized by the photos she's been posting.


Today is my day off but hardly one where I will just lounge around on the couch. We are off to hang by the pool with Addy, Ava and Roz all day, and the weather couldn't be better for such a thing! Roz leaves next week for a three week vacation in Florida so we are trying to get in as much KatieRoz time as we can :)


~H

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Lovin'.

I warned you there were going to be black holes in between blog posts this summer, didn't I? I didn't dream that I wrote that...right?
 

I absolutely love this picture of Mavis. Did she think she was hiding? Did she just not care how she looked or where she collapsed? I can relate, Mavis. Ella was quick to say, "This is NOT very ladylike."

Eeeeeeek! That is me excited about this summer and the glorious weather and all the fun stuff we've all been doing. Eeeeeeeek! That is also me that I'm typing this on 7.8.14 and I don't want to believe it is 7.8.14.

The last three weeks have been confusing in terms of work schedules. My mom is recouping nicely from her knee replacement but until yesterday, has not felt comfortable or strong enough to keep Ella for a full day. Ella has gone to work with me, hung out with me while I work from home, gone to work with her Daddy, hung out with KatieRoz and hung out at Mama Brooke and Piper's house. A big thank you to our friends for helping us limp through this. :)



Noodle-eating pros.

Here she is at work with me. She played like this for almost 3 hours that day. TROOPER.

We were able to carve out a little time for a Sand-tastic event Friday of last week. We met up with Ava, Emmett, and two other families from my neighborhood mom's group. It really was a great (free!) event that was only made better by the ice cream we pounded in an attempt to cool off.


 
Love. This. Picture. We are sweaty, sandy, stinky and happy. Ella may be going through a really big sassy, back-talkin' like-no-other-phase, but she has been such a good partner-in-crime. I always hoped for a child with a good sense of humor...

If there is sun, they are going to find it.
In an ultimate cool mom move, I threw the 'to do' list out the window last Sunday and packed our bags for a local pool. The water was perfect and I'm trying to build upon her joy of swimming before it fades. She still had a hard time getting her face wet, and whined about blowing bubbles. But she looked relaxed during the rest period, that's for sure.

And then we went swimming with Roz a few days later. And she tried on this mask. Praise the Lord it covers her nose - and she's freaked about water getting in her nose and burning. She showed more guts in that one hour of swimming than she has her entire life. Go Ella!


There have been trips to the art museum and hanging out with our neighbor friends.



We also honored Larry and a few others at a reception for their recent contributions to public art in our city. Larry designed an awesome bike rack entitled "Two Strings". I should have a photo of this! There will be soon - promise.

The reception was held at a funky little coffee shop that just so happens to have one of our city's latest and greatest murals.



The most shocking news, I guess, was Ella's request for a haircut. The same girl who has cried and freaked at the thought of our sweet Deb cutting her hair since it was long enough for a first trim. In all honesty, Ella was right. It was way past her waist and getting in the way when she took care of business in the bathroom (if you know what I mean).

Before.
During.

All Smiles!

After!

She had about 6 inches cut off and Deb got more emotional than even I did. I worried that she would look older when all was said and done, but she actually looks younger to me. And let me just tell you how much easier bath time is!


Ella with our Wonder Woman, Deb.
Hanging with Lana.

Ella in NASA training mode.

In other breaking news, our FCC family just got a bit bigger. We all piled in our cars to welcome home Addy Grace at the airport. The Ho Family has been home about 10 days now (see? seriously behind). Big Sister Ava was blown away at the welcoming committee.



 



Tears were a' flowin. Being away from home for three weeks is hard but when you factor in the enormity of THIS three weeks - a foreign land, bringing a new daughter into the fold, jet lag, hot weather - you can imagine the release of seeing familiar faces. The big kids were ecstatic to be included in this homecoming. In all of our houses, it has prompted a great deal of reflecting back on their own homecomings. Ella had to look through the photo book of her welcoming home photos by Nikki. And when she went to bed, I looked through it another dozen times.


Addy was glued to her daddy. But honestly, that little sweet pea found me and my camera and did a wonderful job of staring through me in almost every shot.

Drum Circle Fun!


This photo is absolutely hysterical. Look at all the big kids sizing up Addy. What are they thinking!?




And so they are off as a family of four now, trying to adjust to sleeping and eating and sharing. We were so honored to be a part of their journey before, during and now. Welcome to your new world, Addy Grace.

~H