Friday, December 2, 2011

Holiday Month of December- Blog 1: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hello Happy Ellie Girl!

And Happy Anniversary to your Mimi and Poppy!  Congratulations to 33 years of wedded bliss and what a model they are to what marriage should be.  I’m so glad that we could celebrate their anniversary and them while we were in Disney last week.
Thank you!  I love that our anniversary is between Thanksgiving and Christmas!  It is such a happy time of year!  Ellie, over the years you will come to realize that Poppy and I are all about family!  And celebrating "any" day is wonderful as long as you have someone that you love celebrating it with you!  

So like last week, your Mimi and I wrote this blog together to tell you about our amazing Thanksgiving vacation to Disney World!

Oh Ellie, even though Disney is our Christmas present to our children, being with you for 8 days is the best gift to us!  

You were definitely my shadow again, and I loved every second.  We sang songs, read stories, ate chocolate ice cream, smiled a lot, and went on many rides together (mostly the Teacups!)  It was like having blue skies and sunshine 24/7!  It was so much fun watching you flirt with your Uncle Ryan when he flew in and joined us on Monday.  

And then the first words out of your mouth when you saw your Aunt Sammy on Wednesday was "pretty" and you automatically put your arms out for her to pick you up!  

You have an amazing memory!

Not only did you love spending time with us Ellie but also you loved the Russell’s who joined us too, specifically your cousin Colin.  You thought he was the coolest (and his light up Mickey balloon, which he shared with you).  

I wish we lived closer to them!  Steve cooked the family dinners for us every night, which were delicious and a great way to touch base with both families after whirlwind days of being on the go!  Our mornings were spent in a park and afternoons were split between yours and Colin’s naptime (which the adults took advantage of too once in a while!) and the pool. 

After dinner, we would go back to the Magic Kingdom.  I will let Mimi tell you your favorite rides because she is the best with funny details but leave it for me to say that you are one of a kind!!!

Ellie, you were hilarious!  Your favorite rides were 1.) The buses to the park; every time one turned a sharp corner you would yell out "woooooaaaaa!"... 2.) The train that circled Disney; every time the train whistle blew you would inhale quite loudly and yell out "you hear that?!"... 3.) The Carousel; which you little munchkin could spot through the castle every time we walked by and then your arms would spring out towards Poppy as you chattered nonstop "Poppy, horsey?!"... 

4.) And the Teacups;

The first few times we rode them you were so impatient I think you could have actually bulldozed your little body over every adult and child in that line to get on them first!  But Poppy kept telling you Ellie that you had to share and wait your turn.  Eventually it worked!

You made me laugh with your increased vocabulary this week Ellie!  When we walked to the Magic Kingdom and down Main Street toward the end of the trip, you said “Hi Castle… what’s up?”  As if you have been here a million times!  I felt like you grew up in these eight days.  Oh another funny story was when Poppy bought you the Mine-Mine bird from the Nemo ride.  You walked around all day with that thing in your arms saying "Mine, Mine" nonstop!  Some of our group thought you were being a typical baby not wanting to share when the reality was that that is what those birds actually say!

Ellie, with the Thanksgiving Holiday happening while we were there, we had some extra blessings to be thankful for.  You see, Gigi had undergone a major surgery the week before we arrived in Disney.  And I think I can speak for all that we are very thankful that she is strong, determined and a fighter. I am also very thankful that we were able to visit with her during this time.  I have teased her saying that she is the glue that holds this family together, but the reality is we all love, need and depend on her for so many important issues and choices in our lives.  I think for everyone it was a comforting visit.  And prayerfully she will be home soon Ellie regaining her strength to help her in healing 100%!

And that is why we brought you too to the hospital Ellie.  You are good medicine for bringing Gigi lots of smiles.  We made sure to take lots of pictures throughout our trip for Gigi too.  She so loves you!  And we love her!

I loved how we spent Thanksgiving.  We had a delicious dinner at Portobello's Restaurant in Downtown Disney.   

And you and Colin were so well behaved… thanks to your Daddy and his technology.  You watched Fresh Beats on his IPad and the Mickey Mouse Club on his MacBook while lounging on your right side and slurping up that yummy spaghetti!  

Thankfully your Aunt Sammy brought what I call her "Let's Make a Deal Pocketbook" and let you rifle through it while we finished our dinner.  Aunt Sammy has so many interesting "things" in there that it kept you busy for a good 45 minutes!

It was an Italian restaurant- we might not do things by the book (no turkey for us) but we still got into the meaning of Thanksgiving.  I don’t think one of us took for granted being together.  The laughs, company, and conversations showed that there is nothing like being with family!  And even though we had to split into 2 side-by-side tables, we made sure to say what we are thankful for Ellie, which has been a Russell tradition for as long as I can remember!

That is true- you can see why Jackie and Steve are our best friends!  

And it was nice to stroll through the shops of Downtown Disney, especially the Christmas shop. You see Ellie; it has become a tradition to add a new Disney ornament to our trees every year.  And of course while we were waiting for the engraving to be done on certain ornaments, you spotted another Carousel to ride!  

All I can say is thank goodness for Poppy and his tank of a stomach!  I would have been green... literally inside and out if I had to ride on that thing!

Thanks Mimi for babysitting so the adult ‘kids’ could spend a night out too.  We toured the countries of Epcot sampling food and drinks and had the best time catching up.  

Sam, Amber, Craig, and I all tried our luck at finding pearls in oysters in Japan… Amber got so lucky… she picked the oyster with two black pearls!  What a cool souvenir to take home!  And of course, ending the night with the fireworks was perfect! 

Oh Kim, I would spend time with Ellie everyday if I could!  She has me totally wrapped around her heart.  

I wonder what the other guests thought each time they saw Poppy and me, Ellie always in my arms and Poppy pushing an empty stroller!  She was a ball of energy in the parks as well as back at the hotel!  I guess you could add "Jumping on the Bed" as another Ellie favorite!  She would have been happy jumping all night if I let her! 

I think we need to tell Ellie about the character breakfast mid-week.  

Colin was so whole-heartedly excited to see Pluto- you would have thought he won the lottery.  But you Ellie Girl weren’t so happy.  You didn’t like sharing Mickey, Goofy, and the rest of the gang with the other diners.  You definitely had a meltdown (notice you in the background of Colin's Pluto picture):

However, we did find the characters again in the back of Animal Kingdom with very small lines and you LOVED meeting them.  You kissed Minnie (you also ripped off her tassel when it was time to go) and you let Donald hold you.  

The funniest is though that you didn’t like any of the characters that looked like people, such as Pocahontas or Alice… they were too scary I guess but not the giant animals!  Oh to see things through your eyes!!!  Your smile was priceless!

I loved our down time.  Watching you, Ellie, and Colin relax in the pool and play truly made this a vacation!  

You so enjoyed the spouting sprinklers (and drank out of them too) and the sand.  I think you were intrigued with how cool to the touch it was as well as its softness.  Ellie, you would glide through the sand like a sea serpent and then quickly sit upright to pick up fistful after fistful of the soft grains only to let them slowly slip through your fingers!  

Watching you was fascinating! 

It was just so cool to watch you experience Disney and I’m so glad you loved it as much as we do Ellie!  

Watching you dance on Poppy’s shoulders during the parade and wave the princess wave to all the passing floats, calling to all the animals in the Animal Kingdom, singing along to the Disney Jr. show at Hollywood Studios, and clapping in the Lion King and Bear Jamboree was priceless. But I think the funniest memory for me happened the very first night when we all went to the Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks.  

As the lights in the park went out and the castle was in darkness you whispered loudly "wooooooaaaaa!"  That's when the Disney themed music began, heightening the anticipation of the fireworks when Tinkerbelle zip lined from the top of the castle to a far off place and you not holding back yelled out "Look! Bug!"   Ellie, I love you!

Me too Ellie, me too!  And I think you made Jackie's day when you freely called out her name and allowed her to carry you through the park.  

Each day you had a roll-call list and it was truly an honor to be one of the chosen few on that list!  Can you believe it’s only three and half weeks until we see you again for Christmas!  So I think it’s only fitting that this coming months theme be about the holidays.  So I will wrap this up, as I have to get my Christmas decorations out.  I love you Ellie B.!

Me too Ellie- you are the best!
Mom & Mimi


  1. I love reading your blog -- your family is so joyful and full of love. Thanks for sharing your experiences with all.

  2. You are too kind Sue! I do love that our family enjoys spending time together. oI hope you and your family are well! Merry Christmas!

  3. WOW another amazing job done by both of you. Ellie will sure love to hear these stories when she can appreciate that she comes a great family. We loved to be able to share some of these happy times with you all. We are also very grateful for you to be in our lives.

  4. Thank you Jackie- it was so much sharing Disney with you guys!!!