Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Celebrations 2014.

Mama got run over by a reindeer...Well, no not exactly. But I did fracture my right (driving!) foot and have been in this ridiculous Velcro cast up to my knee. It has slowed me down which is probably a good thing. It also hindered our ability to be 'left-handed cooks' in the kitchen this Christmas. I'm sure we will make up for it in the slow months of winter.

Having my life-long friend Michelle as the nurse presenting this was the only saving grace.
We managed to hit some awesome events with me hobbling along, however: a Christmas celebration at one of our local Metroparks, and one of our newly renovated libraries.

Ella performed in her very first big girl school performance too. The gymnasium was standing room only. The cuteness was overflowing.

E and Teagan

Sharp-dressed Garland with E

Autumn, E and Amelia

Niyah and E

One of Ella's classmate's dad took a video of the adorable performance if you need to see it in action :) We were incredibly proud of her. I mean look at the smile on her face! She owned the place rarely looking for any of us for reassurance, and she sang loud and proud. Yay Ella!

Her last day of school before winter break was all about the letter P. PJ's. Polar Express. Popcorn. Pringles. Panda, of course. Jacob and she were pretty stoked at drop off on Friday morning.

Since then, we have had lots of fun at Ah-men with our buddies, and fit in a little time with Roz just before Christmas. Poor Roz and her family have been battling sickness for what seems eternity. Before the day was over, we threw the girls in a bubble bath. I'll be so sad when the day comes that they don't want to do this anymore.

We got to hang out with Drew, Jenni, Ruthy and our kids this past week, too. The ages span from 5 - 24 years old. Ella fit right in with them and especially loved Mitchell (can you tell?).

Mavis is continuing to have issues with getting stuck in the Christmas tree. She just isn't as stealth as her brother...or as smart. God love her, she is beautiful though.

One of my most favorite traditions is to save one gift for Christmas Eve morning and go shopping. I promise you it is a whole different vibe that morning, and yes, filled with quite a few male shoppers :) Ella and I headed out for some fun. She wore her new shoes to break them in for later on.

Christmas Eve was beautiful at Ah-men and I even managed to get the camera out before we left and I'm so glad I did. My girl looked exquisite in her dress from Grandma and perfect little bun piled on top of her head.

Mavis a little put out that she wasn't included.

After church, we snuggled into our bed with popcorn and watched Charlie Brown's Christmas. Amazingly, Ella kept asking to go to bed so that she could hurry up with the sleep part and rush Santa's arrival.

Christmas morning did not disappoint, even though we did hear her bumble, "I didn't get that pom pom panda I asked him for..." before the morning was over.

We hope you are enjoying your family and friends during this holiday and maybe even a little break from work. We hope you're relaxing and napping, reading a good book that Santa brought, too. 2015 is quickly approaching. May it be a year filled with more peace...for everyone.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Ella, I dig you.

Kindergartners have quite a bit of homework. It is manageable and she is more consistently eager to complete it. (It was touch and go for a while.) Of all the public schools in our city, her school is the only one to utilize this particular Success For All reading program. It is very methodical. It is all about Ella sounding out words and writing/spelling the way it sounds. Translation: We can't help and get in trouble when we do. For example, Ella spells the word "use" like "uz". Ella's reading has flourished in the last two weeks and her homework assignment from one night last week "I play the drums yith my dad." complete with an illustration of her banging on the drums with the sun, moon and stars overhead. Bravo, Ella!

We were fortunate enough to get an 8am Saturday haircut with our Deb.

Five inches later...
...we had this awesomeness!! Deb tried to talk me out of it. Since her last haircut in June, almost all of that had grown back and the tangled mess in her winter coat, hat - well it was driving me nuts, and Ella. In some ways, she looks more like Baby Ella to me but like this photo, she looks 15.

Fresh hair cut under our belts, we headed to Roz's early birthday party. SIX YEARS OLD? How is this possible? What big fun we all had together.

With two weeks to spare, we finally decked every hall that is going to be decked. Ella was great in her capacity as lighting engineer.

This is where I exaggerate my daughter's coolness. It may not be a big deal to some, but she watched the I Love Lucy Christmas Special with me on Sunday. She did this the entire time. Oh how I dig you, Ella Man Li...

~Happy Weekend, Ella-Land

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thankful Travels.

I took this photo during Computer Lab at school. Another mom and I help out twice a week so that the teacher isn't pulling out her hair when the kids have computer glitches. I would help out every day if my work didn't get in the way. Ella got her mid-term report last week. She is doing quite well and has opened up and started participating much to the joy of her teacher and us. Rock on, Ella! Panda is with her every single day, stuffed gently in a separate compartment of her book bag. She never needs to see him during class but the moment she busts out of those front doors, she is frantically unzipping the bag to shove him to her face.

Thanksgiving was great this year. We did some baking in preparation for our travels. Ella and her trusty side-kick Mavis were a big help. Larry happened to be drumming during our kitchen adventures, and she busted out in this:
She is a riot and such a string bean!
Bright and early Thanksgiving morning, we headed to Ah-men to help coordinate the Thanksgiving meal deliveries...all 763 of them. What a wonderful way to start our thankfulness. 

Our buddy Sophie and her parents helped out for the first time this year!
We hit the road for John and Cathy's and all of her awesome cooking.

We managed to move our sleepy bodies to the movie theater to watch Penguins. Look at this deluxe set up! Best experience ever!

Round two of eating had Max wishing Ella would just drop one little crumb.

Friday morning, Ella and Christian talked over coffee and stuff (so cute). And Riley followed Ella around like a little shadow. What a difference a year can make! Ella was not a freak about Riley. Hooray!

Having siblings living in different cities can be a downer, but it eases the angst when your nephew and his family live just down the road from your brother. Getting to spend the afternoon with Trent, Kim and Abbott was another feather in the thankful cap.

We came home to a special package from Aunt Kay. A new snowman book by her children's author buddy, Will, and a new advent calendar. Every year without fail, Ella gets an advent calendar from her. Big fun.

We managed to get the tree up, decorated and secured. Why do we have to secure it? Well, because both cats get in the tree, occasionally get stuck and muck about. You will hear bells and glass clanging around at 4am, roll over in bed just knowing that at least one ornament could be injured from it all.

Happy Thursday, Ella-Land! ~H