Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Halls Decked.

Some of my favorite images from our Thanksgiving. :)

I did the new normal this decorating season: I let the artificial tree "rest and get used to it's surroundings" before bedazzling it with beads and baubles and ornaments. I do this because of Thomas and Mavis - but really just Thomas. Within 2 minutes of the tree being upright, he had scaled up 3/4 of it where he quickly got stuck. He is such a huge animal that he no doubt thought he could negotiate the climbing apparatus with the same ease that he did a year ago. I spent the next 20 minutes yelling at him to get out then gave up.

Surprisingly, no ornaments have shattered into a million pieces. He is still super curious about everything - like Baby Jesus and how he gnawed at the ears of the manger scene donkey until I had to hide the tired donkey from his sight.

 This year I unearthed the Christmas Village (that I had made for my mom many moons ago) from the depths of our attic. It is now in Ella's room where she falls asleep with it on every night. Because I am freakishly concerned about the wiring of some of these things, I sneak in and turn it off before I go to bed.

While Mama KT and Patrick were off enjoying some much deserved time in Vegas,we checked in on Roz a lot while she and her grandparents were holding down the fort back home. 

 And we did fun stuff.

 And we loved on our foster girl, Miss Hannigan, who has taken over every sink in their house.

We even managed to squeak in a little time at the Art Museum. Larry was with us too but he must have been hiding from the camera more than usual.


A Visit With Santa's Wife!

In a 36 hour period this past weekend, we crammed in just about as much Christmas cheer as we could. We all fell into bed on Sunday sad the weekend had to end. Saturday kicked off with our FCC family hanging out with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

It was pretty much cuteness overload.

Hiding in the back of the room coloring were Ella and Roz. Ella has strongly opposed getting near Santa from her very first Christmas. But when she had her BFF with her, it was easier to push them up on stage. Oh, and she had his wife...which is who she spoke with...the entire time! She wouldn't even look at Santa! I was thrilled she got THAT close. She asked for, "Shopkins, ponies, dresses, puzzles and books", because "Mom, Christmas isn't all about toys". (What the ????? Am I actually being heard?!)

With an hour or two to regroup that afternoon, we dressed in layers to hit our zoo for the festive lights. We drug along with us our friends - the Harrison's and the Hall's. 

 We went early to beat the rush of folks coming once it was dark. Brilliant move! As we were leaving the zoo, miles of cars were waiting to enter in every direction. Yay us! We treated ourselves to dinner out. The kids out-numbered us in energy.

Sunday was spent at our Valentine Theatre watching Ella's piano teacher perform in A Christmas Carol. We had perfect balcony seats.

Miss Gail!!!
 And although I am not a Dickens fan, this performance changed me - so much talent on one stage.

 As we left, we took time out for a family picture near a bike rack in front of the theatre. This isn't just any old bike rack but one that Larry designed. How cool is that!

Perhaps the best icing on the day was that in the form of a peppermint cake pop for our girl. She was such big fun all weekend.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Her name was Veronica.

We had a long-term relationship. She was often on the receiving end of my long-winded emails, my phone calls that begged for answers.

Veronica had to be pretty darn excited to finally make that referral call back on December 2, 2009.

Maybe she wasn't as excited as us to take that call. I remember how she paused and admitted not only was Ella quite young but incredibly beautiful.

I wonder what Veronica is up to these days. The adoption agency folded shortly after our travels to China. I remember her soothing voice and how completely unflappable she was. I remember her calling our hotel room in Kunming that first night, just as I was getting ready to give Ella her first bath. I remember her joy at our joy.

I hope I never forget her name or how her voice sounded that rainy evening six years ago.

Happy Referral Day to us! ~H

Monday, November 23, 2015

A whole lot of thanksgiving.

A highlights reel of our thankfulness...

Husband-Dad who does anything for his girls.

Dad-Grandpa celebrating another birthday and my Mom who are such incredible Grandparents to our girl.

 The arrival of peppermint brownie cake-pops.

A vibrant community that allows for even the youngest to be a part of a cool evening.

Music. All kinds of music! This year, we are especially thankful for a sweet piano teacher friend who lives a few blocks away and how she is teaching Ella to make HER OWN music.
She will perform in her very first recital in mid December. One of the selections will be a duet with the BFF Roz.
We are thankful for new undertakings and for Ella's ability to roll with whatever comes her way. We are extremely thankful for my parents and Mama Katie who help fill in gaps as these undertakings do a lot of 'taking' of time.

Nature. It has been a glorious fall filled with sun and warmer-than-normal temperatures. We also had overnight visitors a few days ago. This buck and one of his girls camped out in our backyard!

Family gatherings to honor all of my Grandma's cooking, and packing the house so full of people that every window steamed up.

And waking up the next morning to the season's first snow fall.

Thanksgiving love to all of you! ~H