Thursday, February 26, 2015

Final Blog...

Dear Ellie,

This is it… our last blog.  It is with a mix of emotions that your Mimi and I sign off.  Probably the strongest feeling right now is relief.  My resolution this year was to slow down.  
Although this blog is one of my proudest accomplishments (4 years with weekly letters), I have also felt a huge time commitment and stress over it (which isn’t fair to you and Will anymore). 

Case in point, as I am currently typing, your Dad just started playing that song from that 80s television show Doogie Houser, MD (the one where he journals).  I think it’s time I shut down the blog so that I can spend more time talking with him after you and Will go to bed.  
Or maybe I will take some time for myself.  Perhaps now, I will get back to my old rhythm of reading books faster.

Final Thought: Know when to leave the party. 

Ellie, you always want your viewers to want more.  Don’t wait until you’ve lost everyone in your audience.  Think of your beloved show Full House that should have ended at least two seasons before it did.  Then think of my beloved show Friends when I cried during the finale, heartbroken that it was over. 

Or on a more serious note, think of how poignant your brother’s life was (especially noting that this is during his 11 day anniversary).  
The timing of his exit, despite it being against my plans and wishes, made the impact of his entrance that much more significant.   

You turning five next month starts a new chapter in your life.  One in which I need to respect your privacy (still writing down your memorable moments only now it will be in your school scrapbook).  When I think back to my own childhood, five is the age when I really started to have concrete memories.  So in effect, the blog isn’t necessary to chronicle your development anymore because you’re old enough now to have that knowledge. 

And your Mimi and I have been feeling some guilt.  You’re not her only grandchild and you’re not my only child.  
It’s not fair that this blog is only for you.  Although I do hope you share some of our letters with your brother and any future cousins as you see fit.  And I hope that you will pass our words down to your posterity so that when we die, our wishes and dreams will live on. 

And don’t be surprised if your Mimi and I have envelopes full of letters throughout the years stuffed into your blog binders.  I’m sure we won’t be able to give up writing to you completely.  After all, writing these entries to you are often so therapeutic for us!   

And so my angel girl, my little love, I close our blog.  Just like we told Kyle, we don’t say good-bye in this family… only see you soon. 
We love you more than words could ever express.
Mom & Mimi

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Final Thoughts Month of February: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie…

Final Thought:  I love you.

Five years ago you made your grand entrance into this world.  On that day Ellie when you were only hours old, I held you in my arms and my very first thought was, “I love you.”  
I remember whispering those three words into your ear as I studied every tiny and perfect feature on your beautiful, angelic being.  Today, I end my last public blog entry with that same beginning thought, “I love you Ellie.”  From the moment I laid eyes on you through all the tomorrows, “I shall always love you.”

And you know how I am all about ‘memories.  Well, I want to leave you with one that you, my sweet grand daughter, created for my keepsake.  It is a memory that I will keep safely tucked within my heart for always.  This memory is one that I can and will draw upon as needed.  I already know it will bring me a perpetual smile!

Here it is:  Last Sunday at church during Father Neil’s sermon on Compassion and Suffering, my eyes kept misting up.  I can tell you now Ellie that your older brother Kyle has been on my mind as we are in the midst of honoring yet another anniversary of his beautifully blessed but too short life.  So while listening to Father Neil I could also see out of the corner of my eye that you were quite busy trying to make a pillow for Violet (your talking purple stuffed dog) with my coat scarf.  And then for no reason, you just stopped what you were doing and crawled up onto my lap.  First you kissed me and then turned around facing forward towards the pulpit.  Seconds passed when you tilted your head back, looked up towards my eyes and whispered, “I love you Mimi” and quietly returned you gaze back to the priest.   Two minutes later you were off my lap removing Violet’s diaper and wrapping it around your own arm creating a one-of-a-kind cast! (Your attention span is still somewhat short!)  But in the moments before that Ellie, it was as though you had a ‘sixth sense’ to my feelings… specifically the one I was trying to keep hidden.  You never seize to amaze me little one.  You are like an ‘old soul’.  And a loving one at that.

To God I am thankful for so many things El, especially for blessing me with three beautiful grandchildren who have captured my heart completely and for those grandchildren that are still yet to come. To God I am also thankful for his guidance in helping me pen my thoughts for sharing through Teacup Talk With Ellie.  It is because of yours and my special bond that I have been able to write our stories El.  And prayerfully they shall continue… maybe not as consistently, but for as long as I am able to write.  For there are many memories still yet to come...

I Heart You Always!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Final Thoughts Month of February: Blog 2- A Letter from Poppy

Ellie, over the past 5 years, I have been in awe that your Mom and Mimi have been writing letters to you every week.  Your Mom and Mimi have a talent that I do not possess, but greatly admire.  

In the spirit of challenging my own self, I would like to share with you my almost 6 decades of life experiences.

1.  I realized that “our roads” to success have been paved by everyone that has come before us.   So with each passing birthday Ellie, I hope you will take a moment to look back and see “your road” the one that is paving your future.

2.  If you were to take a picture of the “you” today, you need to know that there is more than just a pretty young lady staring back at you from the photo.   That picture is like a jigsaw puzzle made up of many pieces.  Your family, friends and daily life moments shape each of those pieces.  

3.  That being said Ellie “YOU” are responsible for You.   You have the final decision of the person you want to be.  So challenge yourself everyday.  Don’t take the easy road and blame someone else for a wrong choice made.  Be responsible. 

5.  Education will get you everywhere.  Never stop learning Ellie.  Our mind is one of the greatest gifts given to us, so fill it with knowledge and lots of it.  It is an important key to success.

4.  Everyone at some point in life goes through difficult times; your success or failure will depend on how you handle all situations including the tough ones.  And if you are ever in doubt, ask for help.

6.  What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while.  Put your best foot forward each morning and you will sleep better each night.

7.  Live your life with Integrity and Honesty, remembering your word is everything.

8.  A leader leads by a positive example.  Be a leader Ellie… you have that capability. 

9.  I have learned through my many years that hard work as well as common sense brings opportunities to our paths, and many of those opportunities bring success.

10.   Lastly Ellie, I would like to leave you with an inspirational piece that has had a profound effect on me.  I use to be the person who looked for “the station,” but no more.  
With age, I have become a bit wiser (or so I would hope!).  Please read the following poem Ellie, and don’t forget to Stop and Smell the Roses on your own path of life.

Your Poppy

The Station
By: Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. 
We are traveling by train, out the windows, 
we drink in the passing scenes of children waving at a crossing, 
cattle grazing on a distant hillside, 
row upon row of corn and wheat, 
flatlands and valleys, 
mountains and rolling hillsides 
and city skylines. 

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. 
On a certain day, we will pull into the station. 
Bands will be playing and flags waving. 
Once we get there, our dreams will come true 
and the pieces of our lives 
will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. 
Restlessly we pace the aisles, 
damning the minutes - waiting, 
waiting, waiting for the station. 

"When we reach the station, that will be it!" 
We cry. "When I'm 18." "When I buy a new 450sl Mercedes Benz!" "When I put the last kid through college." 
"When I have paid off the mortgage!" 
"When I get a promotion." "When I reach retirement, 
I shall live happily ever after!" 

Sooner or later, we realize there is no station, no one place to arrive. 
The true joy of life is the trip. 
The station is only a dream. 
It constantly outdistances us. "Relish the moment" is a good motto. 
It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. 
It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. 
Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today. Regret is reality, after the facts. 

So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. 

Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, 

go barefoot more often, 
swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. 
Life must be lived as we go along. 

The STATION will come soon enough.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Final Thoughts Month of February: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

With a few dates rapidly approaching- the end of this blog (as of March 1) and Kyle’s 11-day anniversary, I am finding myself more thoughtful of the past as I look for advice to give you in the future.

When Kyle was born, we had a taste of how good life could be with children.  
We understood how big our hearts could grow to love someone so little with enormous medical issues.  When he died, we grieved for the child we knew but also for the memories we would never make with him.  Even through our sadness, it was the love of our child that we chose to take away from that experience.  And that my dear is why we chose to have you and your brother. 

Looking at this picture above (your Dad and I are in our Denver house and I’m 9 months pregnant with you), I remember feeling that I knew my life would be better once I gave birth that afternoon (in fact 5 hours after this picture was taken).  But it was the magnitude of how much better that I couldn’t comprehend before I met you.  It’s only in retrospect that I realize how these 5 years have been the very best of my entire life.  You, my sweet girl, came three days after my 30th birthday and you were hands down the best birthday gift anyone has ever given to me.  
You were small and feisty- two traits that still remain today. 

At your preschool parent-teacher conference two weeks ago, your teacher told your Dad and I that you were a quiet leader in her classroom.  A quiet leader… the perfect words to describe you, my lovebug.  You are shy but you make good choices, despite what others are doing around you.  You are gentle, kind, and lead by example.  I see this when I watch you interact with Will (who can be very rough, especially because of his size)… even if you treat Will like a puppy dog once in a while (particularly when you were playing fetch with him today).  

Your teacher also said that you were independent (a trait I see in your clothing choices especially… although your teacher was genuinely surprised and pleased when I told her you pick out your outfits everyday- I’m wondering if I should be insulted!).  
You have such a quirky sense of humor and you are so very honest and endearing.      

I am the mom that can say she cherished (and still cherishes) every moment with all three of her children.  I think it was the anesthesiologist that told Mimi on his way out of my surgery (helping to deliver you) that he hasn’t seen anyone smile as much as me during a c-section.  And I can promise that didn’t change one bit with Will’s pregnancy and delivery too.  
I am also the mom who wouldn’t let you or Will go to the nursery after you were born- I held you both, refusing sleep just to stare at your beautiful faces.  For me, cradling you and Will in my arms was a dream come true- specifically because of Kyle watching from above.  The words glorious, angelic, and blissful are how I would describe those first moments (and even many since) with you and Will. 

Final Thought: The passing of Kyle does not make me fear losing you or Will, rather it makes each second with the both of you that much sweeter.
Thank you Kyle- it is because of you that I wish each milestone would last a lifetime.

I love you Ellie just as I love both of your brothers,


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Final Thoughts Month of January: Blog 5- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie!

This week my final thought to you has something to do with “Bucket Lists” and how important it is to follow through with checking off some, if not all, of the items accomplished.  And El, you don’t have to be a senior citizen to start this process… actually I think the younger you are the better!

Final Thought:  As the years pass by, prioritize your Bucket List to accommodate your age.  It’s all about happy accomplishments Ellie and wonderful memories, not the “I should have when…” or “I wish I did…” statements that turn into regrets later on.

One of the items on my bucket list is very generic.  And that is because it has to do with Poppy.  I have classified this checklist item as: Anywhere Poppy wants to travel to… Go!  So this past weekend we drove to the Poconos to spend time with Steve and Jackie at their place.  Since I had the day off from school Poppy and I left early on Friday so we could get a full day of inner tubing in at Big Boulder Ski Resort.  
And what a blast it was!  Ellie, I think we were the oldest people there that day, but only in body… certainly not in “minds”!  We probably went down the tubing shoots at least 50 times and giggled with every run.  We even got to the point where Poppy and I would lock our tubes together with him taking position in the front and me in the back.  If we could stay in alignment without spinning Poppy and I could work up a speed that would have us flying well past the rubber strips that they had strategically placed at the end of each shoot to stop the tubers.  El, we had so much fun inner tubing that Poppy is hoping your family is available in a few weeks for a repeat.  I can only imagine the delight you will experience being the snow-bunny that you already are!  As for Will, we will have to work on convincing him that snow can actually be lots of fun! … 

Remember: It is all about Happy Accomplishment and Wonderful Memories.

Here is another important “Bucket List” item that is on my page Ellie: Take a girls’ trip with my Mom and Sister.  Since Gram Bubbles is now solidly climbing the 4th tier of the age ladder (she is a very spry 81 years, 4 months, and 28 days old) I thought it important to ask her what is on her Bucket List that she still wants to check off before she so calls “checks out.”  
Just so you know, Gram thinks that she has made a ‘live and die’ arrangement with God.  And it actually has a name (created by the one and only Barb Jones).  It is called ’Eighty-Five and Out.’  In other words, Gram believes that she has lived a quality life and will be ready at the age of 85 for the Good Lord to call her home.  I have told her I don’t think it works that way but she is quite stubborn and believes it will because that is what she wants (her analogy reminds me of the millennium hoopla when everyone believed that there would be a disastrous Y2K crash.  And did that happen?  Nope.  Everything is still just as it was).   But I guess I am getting off track now so back to the Bucket List.  Well, Gram’s reply to my question was, “I’ve always wanted to go to San Francisco Mickey, and I would love to go with my girls.”   So I called Aunt Sheri one day late last summer, told her about Gram’s wish, which she was totally on board with being a part of, and then booked a trip for the three of us to travel to San Francisco early this spring.  Ellie, not only is Gram Bubbles excited about this upcoming experience, but your Aunt Sheri and I are too, especially since we get to share this special time with our Mom.  …  Remember: It is all about Wonderful Memories and No Regrets.

I still have many more items on my Bucket List to share with you Ellie, but they are for another time. 

Before I close this blog though I thought it would be fun to hear what you, as a 5 year old, would put on your Bucket List.  Silly me… I should have realized that you wouldn’t have a clue as to what a “Bucket List” is, so first things first.  Your Mommy was kind enough to explain to you its definition, and after a little bit of thought you came up with 3 endearing items to add to your own.  Here they are Ellie: 1.) Look for bunny rabbits.  Now this may be viewed by others as a bit odd, buy hey… it is your list El, and I am pretty sure that this will be an easy one to check off before you become a senior citizen!  2.) Visit Catherine and Henry in England.  I am personally liking this one El.  You just might find me hiding in your suitcase with my passport in hand ready to tag along!  3.) Take horseback riding lessons.  This has got to be the sweetest one as its connection comes from the little stuffed pony Poppy got you that never leaves your sight.  

I am not sure but you may be the youngest person who has officially started a Bucket List Ellie.  And that is a good thing as it is just a way of reminding us to embrace life to its fullest.  Remember: It is all about No Regrets.

Love you Ellie Girlfriend!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Final Thoughts Month of January: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

It makes no sense but you and I had a conversation about college already even though you are only in preschool (it made me giggle and swell with adoration and pride with your response).

Final Thought: Follow your heart and your dreams.

In the past, if anyone asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up, you would reply, “Stay with my mama.”  The only way you would agree to go to a university or get a job is if you could live at home and teach with me.  But recently your tune has changed.  You are now saying that you want to be a doctor (although you aren’t sure what kind but you are curious as to all of the different types).  I think the realistic doctor kit that Santa brought you (filled with x-rays, an eye chart, a working stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, prescription pads and bottles filled with candy, bandages, clipboard with patient charts, a diploma, and an anatomy poster- everything a real office would have) influenced your thought process and glamorized the profession for you.  

I had to laugh though because when you first saw the set, you immediately said aloud, “I guess Santa goes to Chick-Filet.”  I asked you what would make you think that (assuming you would guess he got hungry and likes the same food joint as you do) but you replied, “The wipes from this doctors office are the same ones they have there.  He must have picked them up on his way here.”  You are observant and think so far outside of the box.

I’m sure that you will change your mind a dozen more times but I would imagine that I won’t ever hear you say that you want to be with me forever again- another sign that you are growing up my dear.  Know that I love you very much and will support you in achieving your goals but also know that our home will always be your home with an open door. 

And do remember that work and money aren’t everything; consider other outlets that bring you happiness- family and hobbies.  It’s a constant juggling act (filled with sacrifices) as I am still figuring out.  

I love you my forward thinking daughter!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Final Thoughts Month of January: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie!

Well… it is another gymnastics day and I have to say that I am so glad that your Mommy and Daddy count on me to take you to your class now and then because it is certainly a precious site to see!  This blog will not be long, but before they come to a permanent end, I want to touch upon your cartwheels.  And that is because if gymnastics comes to an abrupt halt like ballet did, (where you lose interest in the hobby after one year), I doubt you would remember this moment in time years down the road.

Final Thought:  There is a saying “Practice Makes Perfect”, but more times than not the saying should really be “Practice Makes Us Better”!

And Ellie, you are true testimony to that statement!  Let me back up for a moment and explain your gymnastics class weekly agenda and my first time observing.  First Ellie, there are about 6 of you in the class and all of you are pretty much equal in “gymnastic” ability!  Your instructor usually has you all doing a few stretches to start off.  You are the only one El, who can split your body into a perfect “T” shape (like the plastic Barbie dolls whose limbs can move inhumanly) while laying face down, body flat on the floor with arms stretched outward and still pat out the pizza dough your instructor has you pretending to make.  Next comes forward and backward rolls which are pretty much done with ease by everyone.  Following that is the walk on the balance beam which to be honest with you boggles my mind.  Ellie, for the life of me, I don’t understand how you do not fall off that thin board as your eyes are constantly darting to wherever there is activity in the room, everywhere except for where they should be and that is focused on the end point of the balance beam!  The next rotation sends you to the spring board where you are to run, take one hop (with one leg) at the beginning of the board, then two hops (with both legs) at the top of the board and then land on your knees as you spring towards the mat.  Ellie, this gymnastic activity always makes me giggle because it is like watching you play Hop Scotch… the one foot/two foot hop doesn’t always happen when it is suppose to!  Next up is the cartwheel mat.  When your instructor laid it down, I thought… “Hmmmm, that is kind of cool.”  There were two perfectly positioned hands and two perfectly positioned feet boldly outlined on the mat for you little ones to use while turning your bodies upside down from one side of the mat to the other.  The visual was pretty self-explanatory.  Well… actually for adults it is.  You and your classmates saw it a little differently.  Ellie, instead of standing with arms raised tall and ready to glide your upper-body downwards and sideways as your lower body raises itself upwards and over your head… you turned into a little robot!

First you studied the position of the right and left foot and then set your own directly on top of them.  Next you studied the position of both hands and quite robotically placed yours directly on top of them.  Then instead of hoisting both legs overhead like a windmill, your cartwheel looked more like a frog with led in its bottom weighting it down!  You swiveled your hips sideways with a hop that was no more than 2 inches off the ground and leaped from one side of the mat to the other.  El, the impressive part of this ‘definitely not a cartwheel move’ was that your feet landed perfectly in their rightful spots on the other side!  Now fast-forward a dozen weeks.  Your cartwheels are officially the real deal and you are having lots of fun performing them.  You no longer need the mat to show you how to position your hands and feet and only use it as a reminder to where you are to be in the rotation.  The parallel bars, the trampoline, the floor mat and the pit follow in your class’s one-hour time slot.  And with so many versatile activities to practice and hopefully some day master, it is amazing that you don’t ever leave there exhausted!  You are quite agile little one and it is only a matter of time before all the gymnastic moves become comfortable to you.

Poppy and I saw a movie last night about the life of Stephen Hawking, a physicist and cosmologist who was riddled with a motor neuron disease.  The movie ended with a great quote of his and it is definitely great wisdom to live by.  He said, “ However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”  How true Ellie… All we need to do is practice.

Love you Ellie jellie-gumby-bean!