Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What we need...

...is one more panda. Because that means we have one more to lose. And for a brief 24 hours we lost her most-favorite Christmas present - in our house. We searched high and low for baby panda with no success. I even interrogated the cats. 

I made a call to my knitting genius who just so happened to have an idea how to re-create the treasured Santa gift. Within 4 hours the following morning, the replacement was in my hands. Shrieks of joy could be heard miles around.

Ella was amazed that Susan (knitting genius) was able to do it. I'm so glad she has an in with Santa's elves.

And then we walked into the dining room to find the MIA baby panda on the floor - in plain sight. Ummm, yeah, the cats. Where on earth they had hidden it the first 24 hours is a mystery. So more shrieks and smiles as now she has TWO baby pandas to keep track of. (Oy)

We were super happy to see Ella's last two homework reading books - both settings in China. Yay Grove Patterson!

While this past weekend was filled with much of the mundane, we did make time for a special little kitten while her owners were gone. It was just like old times with Miss Hannigan.

Ella was secretly thrilled to have her all to herself. Miss Hannigan didn't mind either.

We even got to hang out with some of our favorite peeps on MLK Day. Nothing says negative wind chills like a bouncy house in the basement! Thomas did his MLK meditations in this chair for the entire day. Smart cat, even though he steals baby pandas...


Friday, January 15, 2016


This photo captures Ella ever-so-perfectly. This week, we received her 2nd quarter grade card wherein she received STRAIGHT A'S in every single category. She is soaring. She is growing. Her mind works in ways that marvel us. Of course with that, are growing pains and I don't mean the physical ones. She seems to have acquired more sass (heaviest doses for Mama) and the ability to break down into hysterics over every.little.thing.

And when she's not bossing us around, she's bossing Mavis. Mavis, who paces the floor at 7:30 each night waiting for Ella to crawl into bed so that she can  nestle up next to her for a long winter's sleep.

Happy Friday, Ella-Land. ~H

Monday, January 11, 2016

Thank you, we needed that.

I didn't think we needed a snow day.

 But we did.

 And so did they.

Thomas fell right into the routine as well, allowing his big sis Ella to wrap him in a blanket knitted by my mom.
More snow will fly tonight and tomorrow. It could mean a snow day from school, and I'm really OK with that too :)


Indianapolis isn't just for race cars.

...that city also has one incredible Children's Museum! Katie, Sara and I put our heads together in an effort to make this road trip happen and luckily our schedules lined up. This has been on our radar for some time as we knew there was a China Exhibit there. Nothing about the trip disappointed. 

We made sure the hotel had a pool because c'mon! 

 I was impressed with how well the girls did together - especially the three older girls. (When there are three there is usually drama!) Did I mention that the Dads all got to come along as well? Big fun.

In addition to Chinese caligraphy and cooking, there was a panda reserve. THERE WAS A PANDA RESERVE!!!

We were able to take a peek into what homes in China look like. We showed Ella what her bed may have looked and we giggled at how she's almost outgrown it at 6 years old!

 Here's me, resplendid in Chinese Opera makeup.
 And Larry looking rather regal in is opera outfit.

The museum was fantastic and worth the road trip. The China exhibit alone was worth the trip. We are so glad we made these memories for our girls, for the grown ups.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

More of the Jingle Bells and Ho-Ho-Ho.

The baking continued and we absolutely nailed our first time at this recipe. (Man, Ella has beautiful hands.)

 As if things weren't already relaxed at my workplace, they were even more so the week of Christmas. I worked most of the day with these two chatterboxes sharing my desk.

There was no White Christmas this year but Ella had another perfectly made dress from her Grandma.

This year was THE year that Ella relished in all that is magical about Santa and the anticipation of his arrival. We left special food outside for the reindeer and she's certain she heard Santa in the house when she woke up in the middle of the night.

The winning gift was peeking out of her stocking - this hand-made woolen baby panda. Weeks later, and she is still enamored. Baby does not sleep with her like P-Man because she worries he will get lost but he does go in her backpack each day to school to keep P-Man company.

Christmas night was perfect. We hosted the family this year and then walked down to Mom and Dad's for dessert.

The house is finally back in order as we started our first week back to school. Ella was so excited to get back to her school friends and teacher. (Yay Ella!) Currently we are getting our first big snow storm, the wind is whirling little snow tornadoes everywhere and a certain little 6 year old is pretty excited about it all.