Friday, October 28, 2011

Anticipation Month of October- Blog 5: Letters from Mom and Mimi

Happy Almost Halloween Ellie!!!

We have had the best week ever… because I was home with you on my fall break!  And we have gotten into the Halloween mood.  We have been dressing up, going to the park, running errands, and playing with friends. 


And we even had a day of playing in the snow… yup, that’s right… we had our first snowfall of the year (and although you experienced the white flurries last year, this time around was way more fun!). 

And yes, in this last picture, you thought you lost your hand!

You are talking like crazy- even making short sentences that melt my heart… “Thank you Mama!” “Hi Daddy!”  “Bye Drake (a random friend you made at the park)”  “Miss you Mimi (and you switch this one with Poppy).” “I got you.” “Kiss Mommy (my favorite although this is often a set-up as you tease me… when I pucker my lips, you turn your head!).” "Burp Baby (while you practice being a mom and patting on your doll's back)." "Hat Joe (as you share your Halloween Elmo headpiece with the cat, although he doesn't appreciate your new found sharing skills!)." 

You also have learned how to use the phone… on your pretend one, you call Weaver (Daddy’s best friend here in Colorado who you are in love with!) and have a conversation with him (which I assume you are telling him to come back and visit)!   
And just this week, you for real talk to Mimi on my cell phone now too and are getting the hang of answering her questions instead of just listening.  But you get super-frustrated when the screen goes black and Mimi’s picture disappears… I hope live picture phone chats (like sype) become the norm for you in the future of cell phones Ellie!  We are also working on you saying Happy Halloween and Trick-or-Treat for Monday night!    

But to help us anticipate Halloween even more, here is a great snack to serve for a fall/Halloween party (or even for a tailgate)… your Mimi gave this to me a few years ago and it’s been a staple autumn appetizer (and you, Ellie, being the apple lover these days should adore this)!

Caramel Apple Dip
1 package of 8 ounce regular cream cheese
½ cup brown sugar
Mix those with mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth
Put in a pie pan and refrigerate for 2 hours or more
Then take 1 container of caramel dip… heat in microwave for 30-40 seconds
Pour over the cream cheese mixture
Put back in the refrigerator until guests arrive.
Cut up granny smith apples ahead of time.  Put in gallon plastic bag with a quarter cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of water (this keeps them fresh and not turn brown).
Then eat up when the guests arrive!!!

And for a little reading entertainment, how appropriate is this poem?

Song of the Witches (from MacBeth Scene IV) by William Shakespeare:
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

I can’t wait to take you trick-or-treating on Monday Ellie!   

Love you Monkey (and I love this Monkey Jacket that your Mimi sent- so perfect!),
Love, Mom

And now from your Mimi…

Hi Ellie!

It is such a wonderful day today!  I love when the air is crisp and cool, the kind when your nostrils are the first sense to feel that cool tingling feeling of fresh air!  It is also the perfect day to have a cup of gingerbread tea!  The flavorful aroma that waifs freely from it is not only soothing but places me in a "fall harvest" kind of mood Ellie!  My nostrils are already signaling my other sense (mouth) to start watering for a big red juicy delicious MacIntosh apple!  And it is only 6:00 am in the morning!  Yikes.... I have to eat my oatmeal first!  

I do need to tell you that I did not get a chance to take any fall foliage pictures of State College this year.  My original plan was to try and spend one of these October days with my camera and explore the beautiful areas around town to capture this beautiful season.  Seeing nature at its peek on the color wheel of vibrant shades is definitely a heightened anticipation of mine as we have Mount Nittany not too far from our backyard, Springcreek Park with its covered bridge only a mile down the road and two Apple Orchards on the other side of town… all ideal places for picture perfect photographs Ellie!  Your mommy asked me last month to take some pictures of the foliage here and send them to her.  (Did you know that up until a couple of years ago I used to say “foilage"?) Hee, hee!  Anyway, I think I missed my window of opportunity, as it seems to have fallen over the time period when we were in Florida for your aunt and uncle's wedding.  I shall try again next year El to capture its beauty here as it differs greatly from what you are used to seeing in Denver.  Someday I hope you have the chance to visit us in the Fall and see for yourself the “Monet” that we are nestled inside of.  Better yet, I hope you have the chance to be my camera’s favorite Fall subject!

Well since I am in a "Fall Harvest" mood, I think the perfect recipe to share with you this month is my girlfriend Susan Drenning's famous Pumpkin Bread.  It is truly one of the best comfort foods I have ever eaten.  And when you are old enough to make it yourself.... don't be shy with the drizzle.  It completes this amazing tea accompaniment!  Here it is.

Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 - 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2/3-cup water
2 cups pumpkin
3 cups sugar
1-cup oil
4 eggs

Mix all ingredients in large bowl until smooth.  Grease and flour 2 large or 3 small loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

6 tbsp of brown sugar
3 tbsp of milk
6 tbsp butter

Mix in small pan - stirring - let come to a boil - stir until it starts to thicken (usually takes about 8-10 minutes.)  Drizzle over warm pumpkin bread.

Now for my poem choice, I chose something for the very young at heart.  In fact, maybe your mommy can recite it to you this coming weekend, as it is a perfect fit for the Fall Harvest Season.  I loved your mommy's pick by Shakespeare... it too is a perfect fit because of Halloween!   I chose "Five Little Pumpkins" because I work with first graders and I so very much love the little ones!  I hope it gives you a giggle Ellie!  Here it is.

Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate
Author: Unknown

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said,
"Oh my, it's getting late."
The second one said,
"But we don't care."
The third one said,
"I see witches in the air."
The fourth one said,
"Let's run, and run, and run."
The fifth one said,
"Get ready for some fun."
Then whoosh went the wind,
And out went the lights,
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

Ahhhhhhh.... now I am at the end of this weeks blog.  I can't wait to hear how your trick-or-treating weekend goes Ellie.  I hope next week your mommy shares pictures of you in all your costumes!  I am anticipating hearing some wonderful and humorous stories of you!  Ohhhh.  I almost forgot.  Don't forget to say "thank you" to all who are kind to you.  Those two short words go a long way Ellie.... a very long way!

Till next week little munchkin!

Love Mimi

Friday, October 21, 2011

Anticipation Month of October- Blog 4: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Princess Ellie,

Can we rewind time?  The wedding weekend of your Uncle Ryan and Aunt Samantha went by way too fast.  But such is life when you are having fun!  Let’s relive those amazing few days.  Your Mimi will help me, as I just called her.  She has her tea and I have mine.  And even though we are missing each other (and your Mimi is definitely missing you Ellie), we are writing to you the story of the marriage weekend together, because it was so special (and it makes us feel like we are together again!).  Your Mimi’s words will be italics and mine are in regular font.  And I am using some pictures that not only are from my camera but your Aunt Joanne's, Jackie's, Aunt Phyllis', and Aunt Sheri's too.

First, I think we can all agree that Samantha was an absolutely stunning bride and you, Ellie, sure did make a beautiful flower girl!  And second, you being the awesome and experience flier has come to an end.  I’m pretty sure your Dad and I saw your head spin like that girl in the famous horror movie.  But it was completely worth the terrible plane ride to see your Aunt and Uncle celebrate their love.  What a weekend!

Oh Ellie, let me give you an overall highlight: the flower bouquets and centerpieces (deep shades of purples, pinks, greens and white), the dresses (flowing eggplant chiffon), the tuxes (light grey and very classy), the food (hands down delicious), the DJ (played everybody on the dance-floor dance songs), you as the flower girl (hmmm.... where do I begin?.... so pretty in your knee-length dress trimmed with white roses and your windblown-slept-on-your-head-hairstyle look), and Aunt Sammy (looking gorgeous in her elegant beaded ivory wedding gown with its train length veil, her sparkling eyes and radiant smile as she said "I Do" to your Uncle Ryan)!  When your mommy said she looked stunning.... she couldn't have stated it any better!    

Everything was beautiful.  And your Uncle Ryan, the incredible artist that he is, weaved himself and his creativity throughout the wedding.  It was truly a unique, one of a kind, original and hard to top wedding!

Oh I was so impressed with the travel theme and the level he took it to.  It all started with the Save-The-Dates that were maps.  And then we got the invitations that were passports.  

But he took the theme further with the cake (a piece of luggage), the wishing well card-holder (a miniature leather old-fashioned trunk), the individual table seating’s (luggage tags), and the gifts for the attendants (monogrammed travel bags).  There wasn’t a detail he left out!  So cool, especially as it was a destination wedding!  Oh, I almost forgot to write that Uncle Ryan and Aunt Samantha gave you and Colin a special gift for being in their wedding too.  You each got the book "The Giving Tree" by Shell Silverstein with a hand written personal message by the bride and groom.  It is a gift you will hopefully treasure in years to come Ellie!

Kim, you forgot to mention the Lottery bouquet that Samantha threw in place of her own too!  That too was pretty cool and a great way to get all the single girls up to catch it!  And how wonderful that so many people, family and friends, traveled to celebrate Ryan and Samantha?  It’s a true testament to how loved they are!  And wasn't it amazing how Ryan's Green Bay friends and their State College friends connected and became so close in such a short time!

I’m so glad that I got to spend time with my friend Kim, her husband, her Mom, and her new baby Scarlett.  Ellie, you couldn’t play yet with her as she is only just about three months old but you will someday be great friends!  Kim hasn’t seen you since you were 2 weeks old and a lot has changed since then!  I was so touched that they made the trip to see the family. 

I liked how Ryan and Samantha (with the help of Joanne and Doug) planned out the whole weekend so that family and friends could spend the maximum amount of time together.  Your Aunt Joanne's barbeque was a huge hit and really set a festive mood with all the guests!  She is a wonderful hostess and does it with such ease!

Even though I wish we could have gotten to Florida early, I’m glad we made it in time for the catered dinner Joanne had at her house on Thursday.  Joanne was so sweet to open her house and help so much.  Aunt Joanne really spoiled you Ellie, she had about a million toys waiting for you and you were in heaven, but it took till Sunday for you to really feel right at home!

The day before the wedding was great too.  Sam and Ryan set up a beach party and I would venture to guess that about 50 of the wedding guests participated.  It was so relaxing to play in the sand, swim, eat good food, and enjoy each other.  And Ellie, it was hilarious to watch you because that was your first beach trip!  You reminded me of your mommy when she was your age.  Do you remember Kim?  Ellie did the same thing you did that first time at the beach.... she didn't want to touch the wet sand with her toes or any other parts of her body!   It took a bit of coaxing to pry her out of our arms!   

Colin helped by giving her a little red shovel to dig with!   Now Ellie I think you are going to be quite the beach girl as Poppy had you in the ocean and you wouldn’t leave his arms.  You loved when he kept dipping you in the cool water! 

I was pretty nervous for the rehearsal after.  It was a tell-all of what was to come on the wedding day for you Miss Ellie!

Oh Ellie, you and Colin sure did make it memorable!  On the night of the rehearsal, you ran up and down the aisle about a million times taking a time out every now and then to sit down and graffiti on the church envelopes with those tiny pencils they keep in the pew slots!  This is a picture of the family at the dinner after the rehearsal.

We were pretty confident that you would be running down with Samantha during the actual ceremony, but on the day of the wedding you wouldn’t go down unless you were carried in your Mom’s arms.  What do you think Kim?  Our own little Ellie B.?????  

Well you would have gone down in your Mimi’s arms if she didn’t have her own role in the ceremony!  You actually had a crazy tantrum just before so no smiling for you on the way down and no shoes or socks also, but at least you were quiet.  Colin walked down beside us but about halfway through; he lost sight of his dad and got scared so he ran back up the aisle.  

If anything, you both made the procession pretty cute. 

I agree Kimberly!  The children helped create a wedding memory that will certainly bring giggles!  To start off the day, Samantha had the whole morning organized so that we could all be together.  But first, Joanne, your Mom, Gigi, you Ellie, and I went to the hair salon before we met up with Samantha and the girls to get our make-up on and get dressed. At the hair salon, we also got purple glitter butterfly tattoos in honor of Kyle.  

How cool that your Aunt Joanne thought of it!  We tried to have them tame your hair Ellie but you didn’t have the patience.  Thankfully they were able to clip a bit off your bangs so you could at least see!

When we got back to the country club to meet up with the other girls, I was so happy to see how relaxed Samantha was.  She truly enjoyed the whole trip and nothing stressed her out (and everything fell into place). The ceremony was perfect- Aunt Samantha and Uncle Ryan never once stopped smiling.  Everyone looked so beautiful (your Mimi’s dress was a gorgeous cobalt blue).  Ryan and Samantha even honored Kyle in the program.  The dinner, the dj, the cake, the flowers (done by a family friend) were amazing.  

My favorite though was the best man’s speech done by Uncle Ryan’s best friend Luke.  He was funny, sincere, and even spiritual.  

Ryan and Samantha are so blessed with great friends.  Then, we partied!  And you can tell when a wedding is truly spectacular- it’s when the dancing doesn’t end and everyone is up on their feet!  You and Scarlett ended up at Aunt Joanne’s to unwind after dinner while the adults danced.  And yes, both your Uncle Ryan’s and your Dad did their famous (and goofy) Apache dance.

And the best part was that the celebration continued on into Sunday.  Gigi invited us over to see her new house and you went swimming with Poppy in her pool.  

Then, Joanne had a wine tasting in the afternoon in honor of Mary (Aunt Sammy's mom) and I, with a casual yet elegant dinner party following.  

Ellie, you finally warmed up to everyone and everything.  You ran around without a shirt on like a mad woman and giggled your way through the day!

And although it was really sad to leave early Monday morning (and a bit terrible on the plane as you had a complete tantrum for the full three hours), we have something very big to get excited about as a family in just a few short weeks… DISNEY WORLD!  You haven’t stopped asking for Mimi yet either.  It’s breaking my heart (as I’m sure it is hers too, as she can hear you when I am on the phone with her).

Ellie, you and I have a very special connection.  We have since the day you were born and I pray we do throughout our lives.  You have touched my heart and my soul.  In fact, I think you and I were old soul mates in another lifetime that just found each other again.  I don't know how else to explain it.  It is a bond that cannot nor will not ever be broken Ellie-bean.  Even your mommy understands it and respects it.  I think it gives her comfort.  Am I correct Kim?  I think the lesson to be learned here is to trust in your instincts when you meet someone that you feel a closeness to.  A forever friendship is sure to grow from it.

It’s so true Ellie and I know that connection will last forever.  Aunt Joanne said it best- Ellie, you are velcroed to your Mimi’s side whenever you are with her (and I don’t think she minds one bit!).

How about in next weeks blog we share our October recipe and poem!  And don't forget to make it fit our theme Kimberly.  Do you have any good ideas???  I think I've narrowed mine down to the perfect choice.

Till then.
Love you Ellie Bean!
Mom & Mimi