Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Month of December- Blog 2: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Happy Almost Christmas Miss Ellie!

These past two weeks, we have been decorating, baking, sorting, and wrapping.  You know me Ellie; I have been done with my Christmas shopping for the past two months (except for stocking stuffers and a few odds and ends).  With my compulsive personality, I hit many of the end-of-summer sales and shopped throughout the year to budget.  And I already have my packages mailed out… the first set went to those who know my craziness and won’t judge, like Aunt Ally and Kimmy Nacker!  But I have to say Ellie, you are keeping my craziness in check.  Each night as I wrap a few gifts, you unravel or rip what I have accomplished… it’s kind of funny but a tad frustrating.  You also use my boxes as cribs for you babies so it takes up time for them to finish their naps (aka takes time to finish adding my tissue paper and presents to the boxes!).  You and your imagination at 20 months old!
This is you using my table runner as a blanket!

Your Mimi also makes me wait until December 1 to get my Christmas cards out… so December 2, they went in the mail!  We do a family picture every year in Disney and send out the photo cards.  This year, we did it with Mickey Mouse at Animal Kingdom.  Very fitting as you loved the Disney characters.  And your Mimi being so creative helped come up with the saying to wish everyone a season full of character!

I love pulling out our Christmas decorations and ornaments, so much so that I do it as soon as we get back from Disney (literally, I did this the night we got back!).  The Christmas balls are all meaningful (I decorated as you ate Saturday morning breakfast!).  I love reminiscing as I add to the tree.  Some of the ornaments remind me of loved ones (we have beautiful ones representing Kyle), milestones (our marriage, first house, your pregnancy Ellie), family (Jackie hand-makes special ornaments every year!), Disney (we but an ornament every year representing something from that particular trip and have it engraved with the year), and hand-me-downs (from your Great Grams and Mimi).  

This year, I made sure to decorate the bottom of the tree with stuffed animals or balls that could be handled (your Mimi came up with that idea by buying you Mickey and Pluto animals, she is so smart and knows you so well!).  You, Ellie, are worse than the cat at batting and hitting the balls! 

As for our house, I have a manger on our mantel from your Gigi (we had to replace the Joseph as she buried him in front of her Philly house to make it sell faster… Low and behold, it worked but when she dug out poor Joseph, he was a pile of mush!).  And I have a hand-painted small decorative sleigh that your Great-Gram Bubbles decorated a beautiful drummer boy.  Our tree topper is none other than Mickey Mouse (we are on our 2nd!)!  I think I could safely say that I could trim my entire house in Disney but that might be a bit tacky.  Although if we keep buying decorations every year, this might be a reality (this year, we added kitchen towels to our collection)!  And going back to memories, I try to pull out old Christmas pictures to remind us of years past.  
These are my favorites from last year (your Mimi took the one of you in the red dress):

Yes Ellie, the photograph of you sitting on Santa’s lap last year is front and center (I wonder how that will go this year as you have decided to hate all strangers!).  Christmas decorations should bring smiles and warmth Ellie and I think ours sure do that. 

Your Mimi passed down the 12 Days of Christmas by the artist P. Buckley Moss.  These are truly gorgeous and I have them on a tree stand as a centerpiece.  

They will be yours someday Ellie.  But sooner, you will get ornaments of your own as your Mimi has started you on a collection of one ball every year.  Your tree is going to be so special with all the memories that it will hold!

I would love to share more memories and traditions next week Ellie.  But first, let’s see how Mimi is faring with her decorations.  I remember in Philadelphia, she used to hand-paint our front window in Christmas scenes.  And in State College, she would take the time to wrap all of the hanging pictures in our house to look like gifts.  They were so pretty and festive.  I wonder if we have any pictures to show you?  Tomorrow, we are off to our first holiday party put on by our family friends Jaclyn and Jason (and you are invited too!).     

Holidays are about God, family, and friends Ellie!  And speaking of family, we improvise as we live so far away.  You are getting to know Gigi and Aunt Joanne through Skype (and I think you are bring smiles to Gigi to make her feel better and get well faster).  Your smile is contagious and this time of year people need joy.  You, Ellie, bring happiness every second of everyday (did I mention that you learned how to watch emotions this week and have learned to wrap your arms around my shoulders as I carry you and give me a big bear hug when I feel crazed and plant the biggest kiss on my lips?!).  You (and Kyle) are my best presents of all time.  And that being said, I have to say that I am overwhelmed by the Christmas gifts that have already been pouring in for you Ellie.  As I continually say, you are so loved (especially by me and Mimi). 

I love you Spaghetti!

And now from your Mimi.. 

Ho, ho, ho Little Miss Ellie!

Can you believe Christmas is almost upon us?!  Oh how I love this holiday! (Well, actually I love every holiday but this one in particular seems to warm our hearts an extra few degrees, reach out to those in need and give a smile to both friends and strangers!)  Could it be because of the Christmas songs that have been playing since Thanksgiving on the radio?  Could it be because of the chill in the air and the white sparkling snowflakes falling to the ground?  Could it be because of the Sunday sermons at church reminding parishioners to follow the Golden Rule?   Or could it simply be because there is good in all of us Ellie, and December is the perfect month to act on it?  No matter, everything about this holiday makes me happy!

I even bought 2 of Poppy’s favorite Christmas Cartoon Character mugs at Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago!  Yep.  During teatime Poppy is now sporting a very green Grinch mug while I am sipping from a very reddish orange Cindy Lou Who mug!

Talk about bringing out the best of Grinchmas spirit! J  The funny thing is is that as much as your Poppy loves the Grinch, Poppy’s heart is way bigger than the Grinch’s ever was even after the Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes!

OK.  So this week we are talking about decorating…  Thankfully I am somewhat on task and am slowly progressing to the final stages!  Right after we came home from Disney Ellie I asked Poppy to put up our Christmas tree so that I could decorate it.  (And no it did not come from fresh out of the woods nor did it come from Michael’s Craft Store even though it is fake!)  Somehow I conveniently forgot that it takes about 2 hours to unbend and spread out all those gazillion branches!  And since my attention span does struggle at times, I waited until the next night to add the ornaments, as tree fluffing is not my favorite thing to do!  Now Ellie, I’m guessing that our Christmas tree would fall under the category theme of “Hodge Podge” as it has everything but the kitchen sink hanging from it.

But that is ok with me because there is a memory that belongs to every unmatched ornament that I have.  I especially love all the ones your mommy and Uncle Ryan made me when they were in grade school.

After finishing the tree… well not exactly, rather 2 days later I started decorating the house.  This year I had to scale way down Ellie since we removed the wall shelves in the living room last spring when we painted leaving me less space to “knick-knack” up!  So I’ve opted not to unpack all my Jim Shore Angels but rather display all my snowmen instead.  Next year I will flip-flop this arrangement.  I placed my Nativity set underneath the Christmas tree and it seems that our cat Daisy likes snuggling up beside it every night.  I think my prayers are being answered because so far Daisy has not batted the baby Jesus out of the manger or gnawed on the wooden stable corners!  Nor has she tried crawling up into the tree!  And best of all she has not chewed through any extension cords!  Halleluiah!  You know there have been times that I’ve wondered whether Daisy is part Tasmanian Devil with those razor sharp teeth she owns!  Did you know that Daisy was once your mommy’s cat?  Someday Ellie you need to ask her how it is that Poppy and I became that cat’s adoptive parents!

OK…. back to my holiday decorating.  This past weekend we had an out of town wedding to attend of one of my closest friends sons.  Thankfully when we returned on Sunday afternoon the weather was unseasonably warm so Poppy put up the Christmas lights outside.  Of course they are the multi-coloreds as big as you can buy Christmas bulb sets and he strung them from one end of the house to the other.  But because of last years high winds he re-thought his stranding strategy and opted not to hang them from the roofs rain gutters as it gets way too cold to constantly get out the ladder and climb to what seems like heaven only to change those light bulbs every other day.

No matter Ellie, even with minimizing the number of bulbs, I still think a plane could use our house as landing lights!  Your Aunt Ally would laugh!  Where she is more about class and tactfully displaying dainty white lights, we have this habit of going overboard with the “More, Bigger, and Brighter” is better theory!  One year Poppy even put up a huge 15-foot inflatable light up Grinch Character that stood dead center in the middle of our front yard!  Your Aunt Ally would have truly died that Christmas season!

As for shopping Ellie, I have a pretty good handle on it.  Like your Mommy, I am a coupon shopper and am always looking for the best deals.  And if that means buying a gift at the end of summer or better yet after last year season ends then so be it!  Surprisingly (and some would be proud I might add) I have also used the computer a little bit more this year especially on Cyber Monday!  Huh!  Imagine that… a computer and me actually getting along for one day!  I guess it all has to do with awesome deal finding!

Addressing Christmas cards are next on my list Ellie.  We have so many wonderful family members and friends that I really do look forward to wishing everyone a Merry Christmas filled with all the love that I can magically tuck into each envelope!   And just like last years, we had a family photo of you, your mom and dad, Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sammy along with Poppy and me displayed on a Disney Picture Christmas card taken so that I can share all of you with everyone I know!  Hopefully I can tackle this agenda over the coming weekend.  Since Poppy is planning on traveling to Florida to give your Great-Pop some company and do whatever he can in helping with Gigi’s healing, I guess that means I have no excuse not to finish our Christmas list since there will be absolutely no distractions around here!  Uh-oh… I better add organizing and wrapping gifts to my To-Do list too because next week I will need to mail them!

But like your Mommy said, “God, Family and Friends are what holidays are truly about.”  They are what really matter this Christmas season.  Actually Ellie, I think the lesson to be learned here is that God, Family and Friends matter every day of our lives.  To have faith and love around you and within you is the best “daily” gift we can give ourselves and to others all during the Christmas season as well as everyday before and after too.

So with that thought Ellie, have a beautiful night.  May sweet dreams and visions of Santa dance in your head bringing smiles and sunshine to your morning.  How about next week we blog about a Christmas memory?  Kimberly, I think you need to write about Ellie finding Griz: The Elf on the Shelf.  Those stories are precious and the videos are hilarious!

Till next time.
Love you Sugar Plum!


  1. I loved hearing about your Christmas traditions and decorations. I remember when Mickey used to cover all the pictures in the house to make them look like presents. Kim I also enjoy putting the ornaments on the tree and rememberiing where each one came from. Ellie will enjoy these stories because they speak of love of family and friends and that is what Christmas is all about.

  2. I think your traditions and ours are so similar Jackie. I love your tradition of buying your kids (and now grandchildren) yearly ornaments. You always think of others!!!