Friday, March 25, 2011

Celebration Month of March- Blog 5: Letters from Mom & Mimi

The Birthday Girl!!!

Dear Birthday Girl Ellie,

I have never seen a baby as loved by so many as you are.  You have been showered with so many gifts, cards, and birthday wishes.  I am in awe and so humbled by the love that surrounds you.  I have always been a believer that people are put on this earth to fulfill a purpose.  For a child of twelve months, I feel like you are already fulfilling one of your reasons of being- spreading happiness to all those who know you and making people appreciate life itself. 

I still can't believe you are officially one year old!  What a fun, crazy party we had with your friends on Sunday at Lil' Gym and then for your actual birthday- your first flu hit!  We didn't get to have that quiet celebration with just you, your Dad, and I on your actual birthday that we had planned with the left-over cupcakes from Sunday's party.  Nope, we saved all that for the day after.  I hope, even though you won't remember the specifics (I'm talking about your birthday, not the stomach bug you had), you always have the foundation of celebrating your life.  I feel like you have grown over night these past two weeks- 8 teeth in total (2 that just popped through), taking your first steps (to me on my birthday!), transitioning to whole milk, liking your sippy cup, and becoming so independent in everything you do!  I love your personality Ellie- you are a fireball of energy.

Silly Mimi, you can't ask someone what they wished for when they blow out their birthday candles until it comes true.  And let me tell you Ellie, my wishes seem to get answered.  Two years ago, I wished for a second, beautiful, healthy baby and within three months I was pregnant with you!  And last year, I wished for an easy birth as you were coming three days later.  How about you Mimi, any wishes that you can share? 

In your last blog Mimi, I do have to say that I loved your stories about Gram Mundy.  Ellie, Gram Mundy is the inspiration for this teatime blog and taking the time to document our lives.  So Mimi, please share more about her amazing life because I would love for Ellie to know her strong character.

Birthdays are bittersweet though, as all good things come to an end.  We said good-bye to Mimi and Poppy a few days ago, they had to go home.  And boy do you miss them!  It seems like yesterday that we picked up Mimi and you crawled over to her in the baggage claim and begged her to pick you up.  You wouldn't let her put you down from then on.  You never take to people like that Ellie- you have such a connection with your Mimi.  I think you must remember her from those days after your birth when we brought you home from the hospital and your Mimi helped me when you didn't sleep at night (that's when we first met Walter, a nickname your Mimi affectionately gave your grumpy face!).  So for now, it's back to skyping everyday.  We miss you Mimi and Poppy!

But the good news is that we have lots to look forward to... Part of your Daddy's birthday gift to me was a plane ticket to see one of my favorite people in the whole wide world...

We are now just about to leave for your God-Mother's house in Vermont for a long weekend visit.  And I am so excited.  Aunt Ally is a truly special friend of mine, the kind of best friend you are lucky to have in your life.  We met our freshman year of college as we lived across the hall from each other.  The funny thing is, we only were together for two years before I transferred to a different school.   After that, we only saw each other once every few months.  After graduation, our visits were reduced to about once a year since we lived in different states.  But the coolest part of our relationship is that the miles between us made us stronger and appreciate each other more.  You probably already know that when the phone rings, chances are it's either Mimi or Aunt Ally.  Aunt Ally and I talk at least once every other day if not every day.  I always say that Aunt Ally is my soul-mate in only a way that female best friends could be. 

The times we do visit with each other are so special though.  We don't even like to plan a lot because we just want to sit and spend time with each other.  We are opposites.  My favorite color is anything colorful with glitter (hence why she calls me Rainbow Bright), while her favorite color is black (our family calls her Jackie O).  She is very reserved, classy (remember that your first set of pearls are from her), and shy.  But she has the biggest heart of anyone I know.

It has been 4 years since I've been to Vermont to see Aunt Ally and in the meantime, she has been out to see me every opportunity and big moment that has passed starting with my wedding.  Aunt Ally came after Kyle passed away and let me share his life with her by watching our home videos, looking at all 700 hundred of his pictures, and letting me share my beloved scrapbook that we put together.  And then she came back out a few months later, when I had just found out I was pregnant with you Ellie girl.  She then had to come right after you born to meet you (and you loved to dance with her in the middle of the night as an eight week old).  And then of course, she came for Kyle's 5k last summer along with your baptism.  Aunt Ally is the kind of friend that is there whenever you need her.  I love her with all of my heart and I know as you get older, you will too.  So it's time that we see her new place, her new town, and her new friends.  I'm hoping you won't need to dance with Aunt Ally in the middle of the night anymore :)

And guess what?  She shares a birthday in the month of March with us too!  So more celebrating on our trip- I told you that we extend our birthdays as long as we can in our family!  And truly Ellie, Aunt Ally knows what a blessing you are to me so we will be celebrating you and your life there.

So let's get packing Ellie Spaghetti.  And please be a good girl on the plane!!!

Love you Sweet Angel,


PS Let's ask Mimi who her female soulmate/bestfriend is and maybe she'll share a favorite story of their friendship.  And Mimi, anymore ideas of a name for the three of us?  I'm still giggling over the lassies... 

And now from your Mimi:

Hi Ellie Sunshine!

Since tea inspires my writing to you, I will never be without a cup!  But since it is after 7:00 pm., I have to change over to decaffeinated tea.  (Ellie, don't let anyone convince you that it is just as delicious as an original teabag, because it is NOT!)  Now don't get me wrong, it can still be good as long as it is made a certain way!  For me, I need to use the right size mug.  And that would be my over-sized Disney mug with the name mickey highlighted in red lower-cased block styled letters.  With this mug, I insist that the decaf teabag sit twice as long in the boiling water as an original teabag would, I add an extra half teaspoon of sugar to the 2 heaping ones I have already stirred in, along with a smidgen more of creamy milk to make the perfect coloring! Then with a little 'pretending', it becomes the almost perfect cup of tea!  Of course it will take me 2 hours and lots of reheating to drink it, but that is ok.... as it warms my soul.  While writing this, two thoughts have come to mind.  The first being the Disney mickey mug.  It reminded me of a story my parents told me long ago on how I came to acquire such an unusual nickname.  You see, when I was born in 1957, a TV show called "The Mickey Mouse Club" was very popular.  Even though the birth name my parents gave me was Michelle, my mother wanted to nickname me 'Shelly'.  Apparently my father said absolutely not and I believe the show inspired him to pick the name 'Mickey' for me instead.  Well it stuck so well that as I grew, when someone called me Michelle, I wouldn't answer right away, and not because I was ignorant, but rather I forgot that was my real name!!!  What was particularly endearing to me was that he called me 'Mickey Mouse' until the day he passed away.  I was 42 years old at that time Ellie and never once did I think it was silly.  It gave me a special connection with my father.  Which brings me to thought number two... a funny time when your mommy and I convinced your daddy to have a cup of tea with us.  Ellie, watching him make his tea was like watching a painter take a brush and lots of color to a canvas!  First your daddy got his 'mug' (which looked like a fiesta-ware soup bowl) out of the cupboard, he then poured the boiling water into it, quickly dipping the teabag in and out a few times as though the teabag was saying "ouch, too hot" after each dunking, then reaching for the glass sugar container he would remove the lid and calculate with eye measurement the exact amount of sugar his bowl, I mean cup needed!  Let me just say it was a LOT... we needed to replenish the sugar bowl once your dad was done with it!  And lastly he would take the milk and filler up to the brim!!  Ellie it was like watching a masterpiece take form!  And the best part of all was that he did not sip it slow like "us" ladies.... he drank it like a man.... downed it in about 3 big gulps!  He sure made us giggle that day Ellie.  Your dad is such a wonderful sport for giving our teatime a try!

I am home now and I just want to say I had a wonderful week with you!  It was very hard leaving on Monday morning but when we had the chance to Skype Monday evening, you gave me a laugh that I really needed.  Ellie, you got soooooooo excited when the 'skype sound' came on the computer and when you saw us your expression was priceless.  You looked at us in the computer "box", you looked at your mommy, you looked at us in the computer "box" again, you looked behind you and then you returned your look to us in the computer "box" once more.  Ellie, the way your head tilted, the look of perplexity on your face, your pensive eyebrows furrowed close together and your mouth in the shape of a perfect little "o" was clearly stating....."Poppy and Mimi, how did you get from my house into that tiny little computer box?"  Thank you for that Ellie.  You turned my sad frown upside down! :)

So now you are officially one year old Ellie!  Yeahhhhh!  It seems like only yesterday that your mommy and daddy brought you home from the hospital.  Ellie you were so tiny, so beautiful, so angelic... well, the angelic part was short lived that is up till your mommy (who nursed you the first two weeks) cluelessly ate two helpings of a delicious homemade Chicken Cacciatore dinner overloaded with extra onions and peppers!  Unbeknown to your mom.... those "foods" were the worst to eat while nursing.  We learned that quite quickly when a few hours later you woke up, and let everyone in the house know what your lung and voice capacity could reach, and not only how high and how loud you could cry, but more important how looooooooooong you could cry!  Between your daddy and your mommy and I, we tried to rotate turns in soothing you.  Luck was with me finally at about 3:00am.  I held you so that your back was against my chest and I pulled your legs up close to your belly while my other hand firmly held your belly in!  Ellie.... you were wide awake and the look on your face was that of such a grumpy old man.... so grumpy that you looked like the ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's oldest puppet "Walter!"  All your mommy and I could do was laugh!  And from that day on, every once in awhile you would show that grumpy precious face.... so Poppy and I got you a pink hat with the name Walter embroidered on it!  Mommy had you wear it when you showed your special face and yes... we have pictures!

As for birthday wishes... hmmmmmm.  Your mommy is right Ellie in saying that no one is to tell their birthday wish out loud after they blow out the candles because it is said that it won't come true if you do.  I can remember one of my birthday wishes that happened a very long time ago. It is a rather silly one.  I think I might have been around 13 years old... there was a very cute boy about two years older than me who lived on our street a few houses away.  I remember wishing that he would like me.  Well..... I think my birthday wish came true.  That summer he kindly allowed me to play basketball with him as he had a basketball hoop attached to the drain spout above his garage.  I remember playing the game Horse.  It didn't matter to me that there were a number of other neighborhood kids there too... it was that I got asked also.  So in my mind, my wish came true!  Sadly he moved away at the beginning of the school year, so my first romance didn't really amount to much!  I'm sure my parents were thrilled!

But way before boyfriends should come friendships.  Ellie, this week you are blessed to be visiting one of your mommy's closest and dearest friends.... your Godmother Ally!  Not everyone is lucky enough to find someone they connect with Ellie so for every "someone" you meet... get to know them as you never know the rewards that may come from a first hello.  Your mommy asked me if I had a soulmate/bestfriend and as I sit here and ponder that question Ellie, I would definitely say yes.  It is not an easy question to answer as there are so many special women in my life.  So many that each and every one will be told about in blogs to come.   I could tell you many stories of two of my closest friends from back home, Robin and Julie, who have been in my life since high school.   Even though many miles divide us now, we are in touch throughout the year and can carry on as though we saw each other yesterday.  I could tell you about my sister, your Aunt Sheri, who as sisters go, I have the best!  I could tell you about my two closest aunts in Philadelphia, Aunt Phyllis and Aunt Midge, who took me in and made me part of their family when I moved so far away from home.  I could tell you about all of my closest and most wonderful friends here in State College... these particular women are incredible and I am forever grateful to them for being in my life.  But I guess when it comes to a soulmate/friend, that would have to be my best friend Jackie, who is married to your Poppy's best friend/cousin Steve.  Ellie, I met Jackie thirty-five years ago when I moved east.  From that time on, she has been very special in my life.  She is the type of friend that will call on a Saturday morning and ask me if I would like to have a cup of tea with her.  I get so excited when that happens as I know that means our conversations are meant to last indefinitely!  Sometimes we can talk for hours!  We will talk about our happiness, our troubles, our jobs, our ideas, our wishes, our passion of photography, our families, our husbands, our children, our most joyful pleasure which is our grandchildren and whatever else life has in store for us.   We have vacationed together as couples each and every year and each of those vacations has brought us more laughter and memories than the one previously!  That is because Jackie believes the best part of any vacation is the "anticipation", the many days leading up to the trip that brings forth the excitement!   One year when we were going to take a Mediterranean cruise, 40 days prior the trip I started to send her and everyone tidbits and fun facts of the places we would be seeing!  What fun we had with that!!   She is the type of person that knows when I need her without me having to ask her.  By trade she is a nurse practitioner.  Her profession fits her perfectly because she is always thinking of others first and always taking care of family, friends and even strangers in need.  She is a "listener" and only a "fixer" if requested.  She is happy by nature, spiritual, a positive thinker and always supportive in what I do.  Her energy is magnetic and her patience is endless.  By this description I am sure you can now understand why I love her so.  When your mommy moved to Denver, it was Jackie whose words gave me comfort.  When your brother Kyle passed away, it was Jackie who helped me through his loss.  She did not force, but allowed me to cry when I needed to cry.  I have learned to do the same for her.  She is fun to shop with, she is fun to have a glass of wine with, she is fun to make homemade bagels with, she is fun period!  But she has seen much sadness too.   For the past many months Jackie has been caring for her terminally ill sister.  It has been an extremely difficult road for her, yet she never complains.  And as I try to reciprocate my time with her... she still finds a way to make me think 'wow'.  While juggling her career, her family, making sure her mom is comfortable in the nursing home and caring for her sister, last week she found the time to send me a very sentimental/priceless birthday gift.  I was in awe because she knows how much I love broaches Ellie,.. and she sent me a beautiful one, a large purple stone encased in pearls set atop a gold turtle that belonged to her grandmother.  When I asked why... she simply stated that she knew I would wear it and that in itself would make her happy!  I guess I am telling you all this Ellie because it will hopefully show you the importance of friendships.  You see, there is a very simple yet important lesson to be learned here.  And it is this:  To have a friend, you need to be a friend.  If you can succeed at this, you will have a blessed and wonderful life!

I can't wait for you to return to Denver as I will be on Kimberly/Ellie withdrawal for a better part of the week!  But when you do arrive back into Denver we will be entering a new month... April!  Kimberly.... what topic do we have in store for Ellie for this wonderful Easter month?
I can't wait to see what you decide on!  I love you Kim... and just so you know, you too are my soulmate/bestfriend!

Till then my little Ellie rainbow girl,
I love you!

P.S.  What do you think of the name "Three M's"????   Stands for Mimi, Mommy and Me.   or how about "Two Ladies and a Lass"????  They were Gram B's suggestions.  I'm not 100 percent sold on them... You????????

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