Friday, August 12, 2011

Extended Vacation Month of August- Blog 2: Letters from Mom & Mimi

 Dear Ellie Spaghetti,

Well, good-byes just plain stink... that's why we don't say good-byes in our family... we say "see you soon."  And that's what we need to do with Mimi.  It has been an incredible vacation for the last three and a half weeks!  So as farewell goes, your Mimi and I will be sadly writing this blog together recounting the final days of our trip that took us to New York City but happily recounting all the smiles, laughs, and good times we shared and the new memories we created.  Once again, your Mimi's part will be in italics and mine will be in regular font.  We are writing this over the phone with a cup of tea in hand (and no, it's not the same as sharing it in person but since it's the best we can do given our distance, I wouldn't change it).

Me too Ellie and Kim.  Me too.

So Ellie-Bean, you took New York City by storm.  Your Poppy rented a minivan so that we could all go in the same car as a family (with Gigi and Pop too).  You chose Mimi to sit with you in the back (she is the best entertainment).  And you and her had the best dance parties back there!

We were really “raising the roof” to those 70’s songs Poppy had blaring on the radio Ellie… at least with our upper bodies since you and I were crammed in the very, very back seat of the mini-van with luggage all around us.   
We also played with the toy piggy bank and its colored coins (most of which you stacked on your head,) the beaded necklaces in the pink pocketbook, my cell phone (thank heavens you haven’t dialed 911 or Europe yet!) and my very real lipstick (you learned how to slide the top off but thankfully you have not yet learned how to expose the actual lipstick goop!)  Overall you fared well with the 5 hour ride Ellie!

Your Poppy had planned long before we left to take you to the Disney store so that was one of our very first stops after St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which had new statues of Pope John Paul II that I found very comforting because it was him and the Blessed Mother that I prayed so hard to when Kyle was sick… we lit candles in memory of your brother).

I too thought the statue of Pope John Paul II was comforting Ellie as your mommy and I said many a Novena to him through Kyle’s ordeal.  We made sure to take a picture of his statue with you, your mommy, your Aunt Joanne and Kyle’s bag!   
 When we made our way back outside onto 5th avenue, you got a little overwhelmed with the wall to wall people crowding the sidewalks.  I don’t blame you Ellie, as sitting low in that stroller and seeing nothing but hundreds of “knees” would freak me out too!  Once we entered the Disney Store your anxiety was replaced with pure excitement and awe!  You started to scoop up one Mickey Mouse after another along with every other Disney character and Poppy, your mommy and I had to follow your trail to pick up each of the stuffed animals you kept dropping!   
 Since you kept returning to the shelf with the original Mickey Mouse, Poppy went ahead and bought you one.  And the funny part of this outing was that on our return to the hotel, instead of you carrying Mickey lovingly in your arms, you head-locked him with your knees letting his body drag on the ground underneath your stroller!  It looks like Mickey’s big white gloves now need the Tide Stain stick!  

And don't forget when we got back to the Pierre, Mickey didn't leave your side even in that comfy bed (and there were slippers that were left for you in your size that you wore... I think you were getting used to being spoiled)!  
 But who could go to NYC and not spend time in Central Park... you loved it!  As much as a lot of people overwhelm you, the freedom of fresh air and green grass makes you giddy.  
Of course, we hit the zoo.  And your favorite parts- the penguins and the goats.  I’ll let Mimi recount the story of the goats because you were hilarious!!!

Oh Ellie, taking you to Central Park’s Petting Zoo was the best.  It didn’t take you long to warm up to the animals at all once we bought the handful of goat food and once you understood that it was for the goats to eat, not you!  Ellie, you had no fear.   
At one moment it looked like one of the larger goats swallowed your whole hand and you just giggled!  While I was taking a picture of this scene, another goat came up to me and bit my upper arm leaving a big red mark in its place.  Maybe it was a senior citizen goat in need of bifocals as no matter how many times I looked at my arm Ellie… I just didn’t see it looking like goat food pellets!  The penguin exhibit was pretty cool too.  Even I was enthralled with those fast moving motorboat birds.  You stood next to the cold glass window on a ledge watching them swim back and forth at lightning speed while insisting on being Miss Independent.   
By that Ellie I mean you didn’t want anyone holding on to you, which was quite difficult for the 6 adults present, who love catering to your every need!  And that freedom to run does make you giddy.  While walking on the paved paths through the park you somehow found time to skin up your knees but since you never cried, we didn’t notice all those scrapes until we got back to the hotel.  While most people enjoy the beauty surrounding them, you were more enthralled with picking up all the dirty leaves, saying” yuck” and casting them to the side of the path.  That goes for all loose gravel too!   (The word Tomboy fits you better than the word Dainty at this stage of your life!)    

On Friday night, while the wedding party had their rehearsal dinner, you stayed with Mimi and Poppy so that your Daddy, Uncle Ryan, and Aunt Samantha could go out... getting dressed up and having drinks, eating appetizers, and seeing Spiderman on Broadway was very New York chic!   
Mimi, tell Ellie what you did with her while you and Poppy babysat!

Well Ellie-bean, Poppy and I had a ball with you!  Once your mommy, daddy, Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sammy left for the theatre, we headed over to the Plaza Hotel to take a horse and buggy ride through Central Park.  Our driver let you pet the horse and even feed him a carrot, which got you so excited!   
I loved watching you taking everything in as we clippity-clopped our way through the park…. Ellie you were in such awe!  When we got back we took a cab ride to Gallagher’s Steakhouse and had a lovely dinner with Gigi, Pop-pop, Donna and Wes.  At first I was a bit apprehensive as it was not what you would call a child friendly eatery.  But our waiter showed us to a booth with a curved seat.  The curved seat was waist high and rounded an L-shaped wall giving you a triangular ledge to place all your “stash”.  By “stash” I mean your bag of M&M’s and Cheerio’s, your wooden duck, your miniature stuffed giraffe and elephant, a spoon, and your sippy cup.  That ledge provided you with an hour of entertainment and a quiet time for us to eat an incredibly delicious meal thanks to Wes!  On our way back to the hotel Donna, Wes, your Poppy and I stopped at an ice-cream truck to get you a vanilla twist ice-cream cone.  (Most of it dripped down your arm and into the slits of your pretty little sandals!.... The rest of it you wiped on my shorts!)  So we said our good-byes to the Moore’s and headed back to our hotel room so that you could play in the bathtub!  Ellie, you had such a busy night that when it came to bedtime, you carefully placed your 2 blankets and all your stuffed animals around you, laid down and went right to sleep!  Poppy said you gave him the best day ever!

Ok but let's talk about the real reason for the big city trip... the extravagant wedding of our cousin DR to the beautiful Laura at the very fancy Pierre.  Now this black tie affair was not quite for you and your craziness so you were upstairs with the sitter so let me recount those hours that you missed (and perhaps the pictures might do it more justice).  Getting dressed up in ball gowns and jewels is very fantastic.  All the girls looked like a million dollars.  
And all the boys were so handsome in their tuxedos.   
My favorite dance is the Going Fishing… and Justin and Ryan did their Double Dutch dance.  Even your Poppy was getting down on the dance floor!  Your Gigi and Pop (who remember has a brand-new hip) were doing the Jitterbug (and Aunt Gerry joined them too!!!).  
I think what this wedding taught me is that age should place no limits on FUN!

Ellie, age shouldn’t place limits on fun… but depending on what you choose to have fun may somehow come back to bite you the next morning because of your age!  Especially “the fun one may have” at weddings!  And talking about weddings, your cousin D.R. and Laura’s day was stunning.  I agree with your mommy when she said that everyone in their evening attire looked like a million dollars.   
From the ceremony to the reception, everything was exquisitely grand!  The 12 piece band (forgive me but their name escapes me at the moment) opened the dance floor to all guests the moment the reception started and played nonstop till the end of the night.  They were phenomenal!  But then again when it comes to your daddy, mommy, Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sammy on the dance floor, all 4 of them know how to entertain an audience!  Even the videographer followed them and their crazy dance moves around all night!  Your daddy and Uncle Ryan came up with the Double Dutch dance.  Not only was it fun to watch them find the right moment to jump into the middle of the pretend ropes, but also the silly jumps and turns they did before jumping back out to give someone else a turn!  Jackie Russell gave it a try and was hilarious!  She clomped her way into the pretend double dutch ropes looking like 
Lucille Ball in the show where a barefooted Lucy stomped grapes in a large tub!  And your mommy has her own signature dance that she dubbed “Going Fishing.”  While on the dance floor of a wedding she attended last year she threw out a pretend fishing line to “hook” a dancer who on queue was to slowly allow her to reel them in as though they were a fish.  This year Ellie she convinced me to be that fish.  However I couldn’t be just “hooked”, I had to flap my arms as though they were gills too!   Can I just tell you that your mommy threw out her pretend fishing line as though she was going to catch the biggest whale of all, Moby Dick.  Once she hooked me, instead of looking like a freshly caught Parrot fish (my dress was very colorful), I looked more like a dying Grouper fish washed up on the beach fighting for its last breath!   
Ellie, I think your mommy and I need to practice this unique dance a bit more!  And your Poppy, who very rarely dances, never left the dance floor.  While doing the pretend Limbo Dance, your Poppy forgot to bend backwards while moving forward, so it looked more like him doing a solo Leap Frog move instead!   He got just as silly as everyone else and had lots and lots of fun!   
As for you, when we checked with your babysitter she said that it took you a good 25 minutes to warm up to her.  Luckily at that point room service came with your dinner and since you were famished you ate every bit of your grilled cheese sandwich.  Your babysitter said that once you were done your dinner, you were getting ready to make strange again, so she quickly got down on the floor to play with your toys.  Apparently that was enough to woo you down on the floor too.  Apparently when it was your bedtime you didn’t lay down as easily as you did the night before, but that was ok because it made you sleep later the next morning, which we were all grateful for!  You see Ellie; there wasn’t just the typical 1 reception…. D.R. and Laura had 2 receptions; the second one ran into the wee hours of the morning!  What an incredible memory their wedding has given all of us… it was just like a fairytale and if you looked really hard, you might have seen someone pinching themselves to make sure it was real and not a fantasy!

The brunch on Sunday was delicious... I think I am still full! And I hate this saying but I suppose it fits, all good things do come to an end because we had to say good-bye to Mimi, Poppy, Gigi, Pop, Ryan, and Aunt Samantha after breakfast.  The good news was that Aunt Joanne was with us for the extra day so it was more time in Central Park, FAO Schwartz, a carriage ride, and the zoo!  

Oh Ellie, good-byes with you, your mommy and daddy are so very hard.  I love how you say Mimi all the time now, and when I pick you up you wrap your one arm around mine while your other arm is trying to find a way to lock it in.  This is when I love to kiss you gently on your soft baby cheek and whisper, “I love you” to you.  I know you hear me because within moments you quietly turn your head and gently kiss my shoulder.  It is those little moments Ellie that are my greatest treasures.  Poppy had a hard time leaving you too.  He is so funny though Ellie as you have him totally wrapped around your finger.  Very early on our last day, Poppy walked around the hotel with you.  Not far from the brunch area was a set of shorter stairs (5 steps) and next to them was a small handicap carpeted ramp.  Your Poppy put you down knowing that you would enjoy walking up and down it.   
But to his surprise, that is not what you had in mind.  Apparently you thought the ramp was a sliding board and proceeded to go down it on your tummy headfirst.  But like a fly stuck to sticky paper, the carpeted ramp held you firmly in place, spread eagle and immobile!  And did that deter you from trying again?  Nope.  The only difference was that the next time you tried going down, you knew to change positions.  That time you sat down on your behind with your knees bent close to your tummy and preceded to use your feet to help scooch you down to the bottom of the ramp!  It didn’t look like very much fun to all of us adults watching you but rather more like exhausting exercise.  But who are we to question a little one…. obviously to you it was a lot of fun because you did it not once, not twice, but over and over again!  Then on to the brunch we all went, which was a temporary distraction to the sadness we felt knowing that our “Goodbye’s” would be said soon.  Through tears I have to tell you Ellie that our stay in New York, the wedding and the time spent with you was the best.  Actually the last 3-½ weeks with you and your mommy was the best.  We three have so much fun together Sweetpea.  I shall always be thankful for our closeness!

It really was the best vacation and it was hard staying on by ourselves.  It was so quiet!  And we both missed your Mimi and Poppy so much (you kept calling for her and Poppy).  We didn’t have a flight out until late Monday night so your Dad and I took you to the Empire State Building…
We bought the extra ticket to go beyond the 86th floor up to the 102nd floor and you will never guess who we ran into… TOM CRUISE!  And he was so nice… after getting our picture with him (and you were just as star struck as me), he shook your Dad’s hand and wished him congratulations on his little girl and said how beautiful you are!!!

Hmmmmmmm…. You would have thought he would have asked you to star in his next movie!  What was Tom Cruise thinking?  Obviously he wasn’t!  That’s ok Ellie, you and your mommy are the “stars” in my life each and everyday.  I shall never tire of watching either of you for you make each day an exciting story!  And I always look forward to what comes next!

But now my Dear Girl, we are back at home and getting back into routine.  I can’t get over how much you have grown and changed these last few weeks.  You are talking incessantly now and I love every new word that comes out of your mouth.  I do have some work cut out for me this week though.  You have developed a hitting habit when I say no to you… this could get interesting (our first meeting of the minds!). 

Yes Kimberly, I think it will be interesting.  Ellie has wonderful characteristics and traits that she has acquired from both you and Justin.  Headstrong is one of them.  Good Luck!

I am so sad that summer is just about over and even sadder that we don’t have family nearby.  The good news is that Aunt Samantha is here on business for the next few days so I will tell you all about her trip to visit us next week.

Ahhhhh, you lucky girls!  Having Aunt Sammy there is a perfect ending to the almost end of our summer days.  I can’t wait to hear about your fun adventure with her Ellie and Kim!  Aunt Sammy is sure to leave you with a great memory!  Next week I will write about our trip to Cape May to support Steve Russell’s campaign fund.  We always have fun with Steve and Jackie no matter where we are… at home or on the road!  So I guess the lesson to be learned here Ellie is that it is up to us as individuals to make the best of a vacation.  We get to choose the level of quiet time, the level of activity and the level of enjoyment we wish to experience on the Vacation Fun-o-meter.  And from my many years of experience Ellie, I would highly recommend making sure that its needle nose always hits Maximum-fun!

Till next week Ellie Spaghetti,
Love Mom and Mimi


  1. WOw how did you capture all of this in one blog. It really was a great wedding and you all took NEw YOrk by storm. Ellie is so lucky that all of you are taking the time to put all of these memories into print, just think where her imagination will take her when she reads all of these stories.

  2. Thank you Jackie, I sure wish we could rewind time! We miss you!!!