Friday, April 8, 2011

Renewal Month of April: Blog 2: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Ellie helping me organize the office space... 

Ok Dear Ellie Spaghetti (who is now officially walking and I have the video clip to show it!!!),

Renewing the spirit sometimes means cleaning house, literally!  Nothing feels better than getting rid of clutter.  So far, I have packed away 5 moving boxes filled with clothes you have outgrown.  Well, I realized that first, you are extremely loved and second, you are growing so fast!  As for the rest of the house, you helped me clean out my filing cabinet now that taxes are done (and by cleaned, I really mean tried to eat my bills).  And after you were in bed, I went through the medicine cabinets, the pantry, and the refrigerator.  Ahhhhh- good feeling.  Mimi is a bit of a fanatic when it comes to cleaning so I'm not sure if she does any major overhauling once a year or if she does little bits often.

Now, clutter doesn't just fill our house.  I need to clean house figuratively too because clutter also fills our to fix that?  Find your passion or find a new hobby that requires quiet time.  After Kyle died, I tried cooking.  I know I'm still not great at it but I try and I do find comfort in making my family satisfied (I like baking best of all).  And you don't seem to mind when I try sweet things- like chocolate pudding!  Your Mimi is an excellent cook and she loves to feed her family including you.  Let's ask her about what new things she cooked for you on her last visit.  

Sometimes though quiet time isn't enough and sacrifice or moderation can do the trick.  That's why I appreciate Lent.  It's a reason to make a full fledged surrender to devote yourself to something greater than your possessions or things that you think you are tied to.  It's not about suffering; it's about limiting the chaos to understand what's really important.  Uncle Ryan and Aunt Samantha gave up television last year, I bet they had a lot of time for reflection!  Ask Mimi what she gave up for Lent this year, it will make you laugh!  As for me, I have my semi-annual dentist appointment coming up so I am flossing for these 40 days (it's something I despise as my teeth are so close together and it's not easy getting that piece of string through.  My brother, your Uncle Ryan, teases me about, what he calls, my horse teeth.  But I think he's just jealous.  Dear Ellie, your teeth are coming in very pretty and very large, like Chicklet gum pieces, so I think you are inheriting my gigantic mouth.  So show off those pearly whites Ellie, be proud because you have a beautiful and very large smile).  And remember, dental hygiene is important even if there is some discomfort!  Your smile is contagious Ellie so take care of those gorgeous new pearly white teeth that you have!  

You know Ellie, another trick to de-clutter life is to rid yourself of bad relationships and spend time with people who uplift you (and do you notice how you already attract people because your laugh is infectious).  I promise that our house is and always will be a happy home.  Right now, I am really into taking evening walks with you.  Sometimes we go to the park but more often, we get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful evenings.  You love it and it makes you sleep well!  I wish your Mimi were closer because she would be joining us!

I love you my precious baby!
PS The Three G's name you came up with Mimi sounds like money... isn't G a slang term for a thousand dollars? 

And now from your Mimi…

Hi Ellie Jellie Bean!

I just realized that I ran out of my favorite teabag, Tetley.  Luckily I have a small box of Lipton teabags stored in the cupboard as a backup.  Did you know that our ancestors, the Scots, helped make tea a global drink?  Yep.  Lipton was actually started by a Scottish citizen named Thomas Lipton.  In 1871 he started a grocery business in Glasgow Scotland.  After expanding his business to many stores, he then entered into the tea business.  He was not only the first to sell tea at low prices to the public, but also the first to create a specific brand of tea that was to be sold the same everywhere. He expanded his brand to many countries, where it finally reached America in the 1890's!  Huh.... how about that, a little history along with our teablog!  OK... Lipton may not be my favorite, but it is still very worthy of brewing and sipping!  So now that I have my tea, I shall start writing!

Today is another beautiful day Ellie.  The air is cool and crisp.  The sky is a beautiful blue.  The grass is no longer straw yellow, but a lush velvety green brought on from the vast amount of rain we have had the past few weeks.  Ellie, there are flower buds everywhere playing peek-a-boo with the rich earth beneath.  It is easy to see soft shades of pastel in the tiny sprouts sporting a shyness along with a palette of bolder, more colorful sprouts looking to make a shocking garden statement!  This beauty that I am witness to today reminded me of a beautiful Denver day two years ago while I was taking your black Labrador, Nittany, for a walk and came across a very bare tree.  Luckily I had my camera with me, so I crouched down to take a picture of the blue sky showing itself through the stark branches.  Now most people would probably think this tree just looked like a bunch of tangled raw sticks that were wrapped tightly together with heavy sheets of grey paper.  But what I saw Ellie was a tree filled with goodness.  A tree filled with hope, a hope that all things are possible.  A tree filled with new beginnings, a chance to start fresh.  A tree that continuously sees the Circle of Life.  I then put this picture in your brother Kyle's scrapbook and the reason I did so was because this tree, as bare as it was reminded me to never let go of faith.  If you ask your mommy if she remembers this picture, she will tell you 'yes'.  Even though we both kind of joke about it now (wondering where exactly my mind was when I took it), your mommy understands it. 

Here is the picture of the tree scanned in from the scrapbook... very fitting that Kyle's little legs are at the top (afterall, he is in heaven)! 

And the reason why I am telling you this story Ellie is because I took that walk during the Lenten season.  And here we are again; in the Lenten season.  When your mommy explained the sacrifices we make during Lent, it reminded me of some of my own "give up items" that I have made through the years during the forty days of Lent.  Looking back, some are quite funny.  Here is one example:  When I was nine years old I decided to give up a TV show for Lent.  Now mind you, I did not give up TV altogether because to a nine year old NO TV watching for forty days would have definitely brought on the ultimate sacrifice which in a child's eyes would be death or so I believed!  And I wasn't quite ready for that.  So instead I gave up my favorite TV show called Gilligan's Island... and let me tell you that that choice was a very difficult one.  You see my brother, Uncle Stevie, also loved this particular show so when it aired I had to remove myself from the family room, where the TV was stationed, and go to another room (where I could still hear the dialog!).  When a commercial would come on, I would stroll into the kitchen which was conveniently located next to the family room to get a drink of water.  I would then linger a bit so that when the show came back on, I hopefully could catch a glimpse of Mr. and Mrs. Howl, or the Professor, or the Skipper or of Gilligan himself for that matter!  How silly is that Ellie?!  And now that I am much older, I don't think I have changed much with my sacrifices.  This year I decided to give up my all time favorite candy, Tootsie Rolls.  I don't know how much it really counts as I just replaced them with jellybeans to satisfy my sweet-tooth!  (Sometimes growing up is a bit hard!)  But what I have learned over the years Ellie is to give something more from myself along with a sacrifice.   Something I truly love to do is to smile and say hi to people of all types. It doesn't matter if it is on a sidewalk, if it is in a grocery store line, if it is at church or while on vacation.  What I have found is that a kind smile and a cheery hello will create a smile on their face too.  This year while talking with a friend, she gave me a wonderful idea to try and I did.  When I went to Star Bucks to order my favorite drink (hot chocolate) I told the cashier that I would also like to pay for the order made from the car behind mine.  Some might think that is self-gratitude, but Ellie, all I could think about was the smile it hopefully gave!  So when your mommy suggested that "Cleaning House Figuratively" was a wonderful way to cleanse the soul she was so very right.  Remember Ellie, if you have goodness in your soul and happiness in your heart, you will have a smile and receive a smile wherever you go.

And speaking of "Cleaning House Figuratively" Ellie.... how about "Cleaning House Reality!"  Just like your mom, I too love the beginning of spring because it is a wonderful time to throw open the windows and let all the fresh air in!  The only problem with this scenario in my house is that when I do it, the "dust bunnies" that were good at hiding here, there and everywhere throughout the winter have now come out in full force as though they were dancing the Waltz on my hardwood floors!  And the only way to tame these little "Hip-Hoppers" is with a good old fashioned Mr. Swiffer Mop and a Bucket of Murphy Oil Soap!  Ughhhhhh!  But once I start Ellie, I continue to clean with a vengeance!  I too love to clean out closets and rid the medicine cabinet and refrigerator of expired items!  Oooooh, and then there is the garage.... that is a cleaning all in itself!  But with garage cleaning comes the anticipation of getting ready for May planting, gardening and lawn cleaning.... Ellie, there are lots of funny Poppy stories to tell here, but I shall wait for a future blog to do so!

Back to "Cleaning House Figuratively"... your mommy shared one of her passions with you Ellie which was baking.  I must say that she bakes the absolutely best chocolate chip cookies ever!  And she has made some wonderful desserts too... one in particular comes from the back of the graham cracker box!  Ask her about it!  She can bake for me anytime... it certainly would make me smile!  I too love to try new things in the kitchen Ellie.  Last month while spending time with you, your mommy started introducing you to new foods. She gave me free reign to try also.  So my brilliant idea was to introduce you to a cooked cereal called "Cream of Wheat."  Once I finished following the directions for a perfect baby serving, and brought it to the perfect consistency, I filled your bowl and placed it on your highchair tray with a baby spoon.  Well, before I could blink Ellie, your little hands dove into that bowl so fast and before I could gasp, your little hands slathered that goo all over your pretty face and throughout your hair.  Can I just tell you that Cream of Wheat should be a main ingredient in making sidewalks as it only took about three minutes for that gooey mess to harden all over your body like cement!  Needless to say the bowl, the spoon and the tray went right into the kitchen sink while you went right into the bathtub!  And what did you do in the bathtub?  Yep.  Giggle.  And what response did it give me?  Yep.  A smile.  Ellie, just like "the tree", you are goodness to the core. That is a characteristic of your soul and it is a wonderful one to have.  As for the Cream of Wheat?... I don't foresee your mom attempting to try it with you ever, but I do foresee it going right into the trashcan, for good!

Kimberly, I have been thinking about this month and the 'topic' we have given it.  So far we have touched on the meaning of renewal, we have touched on faith and Lent  and also spring cleaning... what about books?  Can you tell me what your favorite inspirational book is and also what you are reading now???  I know how reading soothes your soul as it does mine too.  How about we share our thoughts on this each month.... and maybe someday You Ellie, can look up your mommy's and my book "picks" at the library and read them yourself!  And if I am not in full fledged senility by then, maybe the three of us can have some book discussions!  How much fun would that be... three different thoughts from three different generations?!  I for one will look forward to it!

Till next time my little love,


  1. Reading your letters to Ellie puts a big smile on my face! I want to thank you for sharing them with me, I feel so honored to read them and be a little part of your awesome lives! Love to the three of you from me!

  2. Again Kim and Mic, you put into words lots of love. I always feel happy after reading them. This is a wonderful tribute to you family to put into writing memories that will go on forever. As I am coming across old pictures of my Mom's box I wish I could have some of those old stories. You both have a wonderful gift and I feel so lucky to share this gift with you.

  3. Reading your tea party blog is so much fun. The three of you are so adorable in your tea party hats. I really enjoy all of the letters and love the videos of Ellie on fb. You can feel the love the three of you share. What a treasure you have started. Love to all, Mary G.

  4. Thank you for the kind words ladies! I hope Ellie enjoys these letters someday too!