Thursday, December 27, 2012
What a festive week it’s been! I am feeling so very blessed to have you, your Mommy and your Daddy back home here to celebrate the Christmas traditions your Poppy and I started so many years ago… and now are ones that your Mom and Dad have incorporated into your family traditions with you! But first things first. Because your Uncle Ryan and Aunt Samantha would be traveling to Ohio to spend time with Aunt Sammy’s family during Christmas week, we all thought it best to celebrate this wondrous holiday as a family on the Sunday before Christmas Day. And what fun it was! Everyone came to Poppy’s and my house early in the afternoon. When you came through the front door Ellie, you shrieked with delight as you eyed a gift that was brought by Santa!
It was a deluxe kitchen center with all the accessories including a shopping cart! Poppy and I had to rearrange the living room and remove some furniture just to make room for it! What fun you had playing mommy with your baby doll! The rest of us took turns watching each other open gifts that were truly given with lots of thought and definitely from the heart! Then we played a silly game called Headbands that provided lots of laughs and entertainment…. especially from you!
I made a delicious dinner for us all and when we sat down at the table everyone, including you El, prayed the Lord's Blessing before laughter and chatter took over the table. (That by the way is one of my favorite sounds when we all get together!) After dinner we partnered up and played another game called Zero, but somehow you were always able to con your Uncle Ryan or your Poppy into sneaking off and playing 5 Little Monkeys! It was a wonderful day and the perfect beginning to start off the Christmas week. Sammy and Ryan left for their travels early Monday while you, mommy, Gram Bubbles and I finished up some last minute shopping and enjoyed a girls' lunch at my house! Then you went home to take a short nap before dressing in what I think was the prettiest Christmas dress ever! Ellie, you looked prettier than every princess in Disney!
That evening we attended Christmas Eve mass followed by a pizza dinner at your house. We then played with whatever you dictated to us to play before settling in to watch the movie, Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation. As the evening came to an end and we kissed you goodbye, I don’t know who was more excited for Christmas morning… you, your mommy or your Poppy! It certainly was a toss up! Christmas Day was the best Ellie. Your Mommy and Daddy like to spend this special day in your own home so that you can play with all of your new presents. So Poppy, Gram Bubbles and I came to your house to watch you open the gifts Santa brought you. Ellie, the look of excitement on your face Christmas morning is one I will cherish forever! It is the look of wonder, the look of awe, the look in a child’s eyes that has no real words to express its depth. It is a ‘look’ that once you see it, you never forget it. And Ellie, you had that look. It was truly angelic.
As you finished opening the last of your presents, I cooked up a yummy breakfast for everyone! Then later in the afternoon, your Dad made a delicious turkey dinner with all the fixings for both sides of your family. As always Ellie, he outdid himself and this year he had some extra special helpers… your Nana and PopPop Callahan. While you took a nap, we adults played a fun game and just enjoyed each other’s company. And then when you awoke, you had Poppy and I play with you and your new dollhouse. We also played Cinderella and of course, baby’s! Ellie, you are a very funny little girl with an imagination like no other. You always find a way to make me giggle. As the evening was winding down, Poppy and I surprised you with one more gift, a standing microphone, which you thought was the ‘cats meow!’ But instead of singing into it… you came up with a much better way to use it. Yep… you used it for introductions, or rather you had me use it to introduce you; “The Amazing and Beautiful Princess Ellie…watch as she descends the staircase!”… And then we would all clap for you. You would then walk down the steps, twirl, bow and briefly say, “Thank you, thank you very much” into the microphone and then it would be my turn to be introduced by you. I love your creativity!! Your Mommy and Daddy are the perfect hostess and host Ellie and I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas!
Your Mom and I are finishing our month of color simile poems. For each week of this month we have chosen different colors that represent Christmas to write our poems about. The colors should give feelings to the holiday images we are comparing them too. And I hope the imagery is lasting for you Ellie. And so I will continue on this fouth week with gold…
Gold as the many wisps of straw gathered together to create a soft manger bed for the baby Jesus.
Gold as the silky hair that lies in soft curls on the delicate wings of a Christmas treetop angel.
Gold as the shiny bell that rings loudly and consistently in the hands of a Salvation Army volunteer.
Gold as the tiny brass buttons found on fine tailored coats worn by young and old throughout the Christmas Season.
Gold as the porcelain rimmed tableware set in front of family and friends who are gathered around the table reciting the Lord’s Blessing.
Gold as the luminous star that shone so bright in the dark night guiding the three Wise Men to our new born King.
Merry Christmas Ellie! May the spirit of this blessed holiday be in your heart always!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
4 days until Christmas! Gosh, this really is my favorite time of year. I love all the holiday cheer, the merriment felt abuzz in the streets. I love wrapping gifts when you are fast asleep while watching my favorite holiday movies (or during your nap time and listening to Christmas songs). I have found that when people give of themselves and think of others, they are much more full of cheer (me included)… oh if we all did this more often throughout the year!
This week has also been filled with company. Christmas brings family and friends together so always make sure that you have a warm home that people feel welcome (making delicious homemade cookies to offer helps- and you have been my wonderful baking aid!). Gram Bubbles flew in on Saturday to stay through Christmas and Michelle & Devin came to visit for three days on their way home to Florida. We’ve had such a wonderful time catching up. And for the first time ever, I hosted a 10 person home cooked dinner with all of our family! I made a delicious chicken parmesan dish (with a bunch of homemade baked goodies for dessert). I must say, I was really proud of myself (For future reference for you Ellie, you know you did a good job when you hardly have any leftovers and your company stays many hours). It was a good time had by all and I think I will try doing this again sometime soon.
And on a separate note, I want to detail a big change in your life… you are officially enrolled in preschool (that will begin after the New Year). I’m so proud to say that you are excited and anxious to start! We went in for a tour and you joined the classroom voluntarily to play while I talked to the principal. You came home and told your Poppy that you need a backpack lunch pail so he took you to Target to pick out what you need. You’ve been practicing and playing school every since (filling your bag with books and plastic food!).
Your Mimi and I are continuing our month of color simile poems For each week of December, we have chosen different colors that represent Christmas to write our poems about (so we will each do 2). The colors should give feelings to the holiday images we are comparing them too. Your Mimi has done a couple in the past and they are some of my favorites as I can feel the colors- the imagery is lasting. And I hope that’s what these are for you Ellie. And so I will continue on this third week with…
SILVER as the feathered wings on the angel that sits atop my tree.
SILVER as the feathered wings on the angel that sits atop my tree.
SILVER as the aluminum foiled garland strung across my mantel.
SILVER as the glistening cross in the peaceful chapel reminding us of love and hope.
SILVER as the cast metal bells that are played while the choir sings during Christmas service.
SILVER as the bright star of Bethlehem that guided the three wise men to welcome baby Jesus.
SILVER as the tufts of snow that lie on the living manger outside of my church.
I love you Ellie Bean!
PS Here is the healthy chicken parm recipe I used (I’m almost embarrassed to post it as it is so easy but I love meals that taste good and allows you time to be with your guests, not in the kitchen):
Low Carb Chicken Parmesan
Ingredients: Chicken Breasts, Spaghetti Sauce, Italian Seasonings, Oregano, Garlic Salt, Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Spray non-fat cooking spray on a shallow baking dish (or cooking pan with higher edges)
Season both sides of your chicken breast with Italian seasonings, oregano, and garlic salt.
Spoon pasta sauce evenly over the chicken breasts.
Bake for 45 minutes, then sprinkle the low-fat mozzarella cheese over the breasts evenly and bake for an additional 5 minutes
Serve with spaghetti, salad, and fresh baked bread!
Thursday, December 13, 2012
It’s been a fun week, starting with a night out at the move theater to see Wreck It Ralph… you LOVED it as much as your Dad and I. You totally understood the humor (especially the part when a character makes fun of a video game called Hero’s Duty, playing on the words Doodee of a Hero. You not only comprehended the line but you continued to say “Doodee” over and over again, laughing hysterically and telling everyone about the silly quip). Then on Saturday, we went to the Elves Gift Shop run by the Junior Women’s Club that your Aunt Samantha is involved in. You picked out gifts for the family and met Santa and Ike the Spike (the deer mascot for the local minor leaque baseball team)… what a wonderful way to begin to learn the holiday season is about giving.
On Tuesday, your Dad’s company hosted a children’s holiday complete with pizza, crafts, and a visit from Santa himself!
This is also a great time to describe your personality these days… aside from being incredibly comical and happy (given the holiday season and the fact that we are home), you are remarkably smart and manipulative. For instance, when we were driving the other day, you casually told me that your Poppy is going to take you on a real horse (that you will ride by yourself) and let you be a “cowgirl.” So I called my Dad as this seemed like a crazy promise (and found it odd he didn’t discuss it with me first) to find out that you and him never had that conversation… yet, I guarantee you will be riding a horse in the near future, as your Poppy would give you the moon if you asked! And then yesterday, when your Mimi stopped for tea and you had already reached your homemade cookie allotment for the day, you waited until I left the room and pulled my Mom into the kitchen insisting she try one of the cookies you made. And when she pulled the bag off of the high counter, guess who dug in first?! You make me laugh Elle!
Your Mimi and I are continuing our month of color simile poems. For each week of December we have chosen different colors that represent Christmas to write our poems about (so we will each do 2). The colors should give feelings to the holiday images we are comparing them too. Your Mimi has done a couple in the past and they are some of my favorites as I can feel the colors- the imagery is lasting. And I hope that’s what these are for you Ellie. And so your Mimi will continue on this second week with green…
Green as a freshly cut Evergreen standing stoically and waiting to be chosen by just the right family to become their Christmas tree.
Green as the shiny emerald ribbon that is bound around a Christmas wrapped package whose beginning and end can be found underneath a matching emerald green looped bow.
Green as the crisp dollar bills which quickly fill church baskets everywhere on Christmas morning.
Green as the finely decorated Christmas wreaths adorning many front doors throughout the neighborhood.
Green as the sugar coated mint gumdrops that fill Christmas candy dishes along with other holiday sweets.
Green as the ever-loving Grinch who finds that the true meaning of Christmas is not found in what one can hold in their hands but rather what they hold in their hearts. Love...
Merry Christmas 2 weeks early Ellie-bean!
Friday, December 7, 2012
Happy Anniversary to your Mimi and Poppy Ellie (5 days later)… Ellie, you got to celebrate with them early as we asked them to babysit you over night at their house this past Saturday (Joanne was visiting too so it was a great slumber party!). You still are talking about how much fun you had- playing pretend, reading books, making art projects, snacking on ice cream, staying up late, and having the best time.
You also had an old friend visit… Griz… our Elf on the Shelf! And we thought you loved him last year (gosh, I can still hear you last December arguing with me that he was a MOUSE and then seeing my frustration you would get a fit of the giggles!)! But this year, you understand the concept and you are trying really hard not to touch him (as you desperately want to hug him but you know his magic will wear off!). He is getting very creative with his hiding places that I wonder if he is going to run out of places before Christmas!
This month your Mimi and I are going to try our hands at color simile poems. For each of these next four weeks, we will choose different colors that represent Christmas to write our poems on (so we will each do 2). The colors should give feelings to the holiday images we are comparing them too. Your Mimi has done a couple in the past and they are some of my favorites as I can feel the colors- the imagery is lasting. And I hope that’s what these are for you Ellie. And so I will begin with RED (I’m so glad that we are limited to Christmas for the topic as red has never been a favorite of mine because I associate it with anger… maybe as this forces me to think outside of the box, I will reconsider my bias).
Red as the velvety floppy cone hat on Santa’s head.
Red as the many bright bulbs twinkling on strings of colored lights framing my house.
Red as a peppermint stripe on a stick of sweet sticky candy.
Red as the painted round-mirrored ornaments hanging on the Christmas tree reflecting the holiday glow.
Red as the plants adorning my house- mistletoe berries beckoning kisses below and poinsettia plants welcoming visitors inside.
Red as a crisp, sweet, and warm cup of hot apple cider on a cold evening.
Red as the flush of Ellie’s cheeks as she pressed up against the cool window to see if she could spot a sled and eight reindeer flying across the winter sky on Christmas Eve.
We love you Ellie!
Mom & Mimi
Saturday, December 1, 2012
I wrote you this acrostic poem in honor of Thanksgiving…
Traditions of families coming together on a special day to create lasting memories.
Harvested crops providing ample food throughout the season.
Autumn’s final days.
November Holiday always celebrated on the fourth Thursday.
Kickback and relax as it is a day for parades, football and family games.
Sharing time with those we love.
Goat’s horn consisting of flowers, fruit and corn. Also known as the Cornucopia; a symbol of Plenty.
Indians (Wampanoag Tribe), Pilgrims and Puritans shared the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621.
Vine-ripened pumpkins displayed in all their orange glory at roadside stands, on front doorsteps, and in delicious pies served with a dollop of whipped cream.
Indulging in a fine turkey feast with all its trimmings.
New World: America.
Giving prayers of Thanks for the abundance of Unconditional Love, Time, Faith, Beauty, Opportunities, Experiences, Forgiveness, and Eternal Hope that God has provided for us all.
PS… Ellie, we are so thankful for a wonderful family vacation. To see the magic of Disney through your eyes is so very precious and priceless to your Poppy and me, your Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sammy, your Gigi and Pop, as well as your Mommy and Daddy.
Your favorite ride was the People Mover in the Magic Kingdom, which was not really a ride at all but a relaxing way to see the surroundings of Tomorrow Land.
You must have gotten on it six times in the first two days! (You called it the Moon Ride… and I think that is because on another ride right next to it there were big green saucer lights.) As much as you loved meeting all the Disney characters last year, this year you were even more enthralled with having your picture taken with all the princesses.
You were excited and patient to ride on the attractions for the most part (and your once favorite carousel was forgotten as you found much cooler rides!). The new and improved Flying Dumbo had a circus tent filled with many gym type activities for you to play on.
Instead of a waiting in a long line we were given a ‘beeper’ to hold until the ride became available. You thought that was the greatest. You watched the parade and fireworks every night on Poppy’s shoulders.
And you thought the Country Bear Jamboree was “delarious!” (Aka hilarious)… particularly the big bear at the end of the show that messes up the song). Ellie, among the many new attractions this year at the Magic Kingdom, the new dance club in Tomorrow Land was a hit (and we spent many hours there). Goofy, Pluto, Stitch, and the Chipmunks would sing on stage and eventually worked their way into the crowd where you would dance with them.
Every time you wore your purple princess dress you kept saying, “I’m a pencil!” And after a couple of days I finally figured out that you were saying, “I’m Rapunzel!” Speaking of which (and note to your Mom for next year), you only need to pack two princess dresses instead of a suitcase full of outfits, as that’s all you wore the entire week. I liked that you were old enough to sit through many shows this year too. You really enjoyed Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios but the Beast scared you. Being the bright little princess that you are though… you quickly talked yourself out of it with some very logical reasoning, and the more you said it out loud the more you believed it! Your thought process went something like this, “The Beast is not very nice. He’s scary. But then he changed. Now he’s nice.” Your body expressions were the best El when you explained his transformation. When he was scary, your facial expression was that of concern. When he changed, you used your shoulders and hands to articulate the change and when the Beast turned nice your explanation ended with a huge Cinderella smile! All of which seemed to put your mind at rest as you talked about it most of the trip!). You know me Ellie, I love Disney and all of its magic, I love family and the happy memories we continue to create and share, and I love you with all my heart and soul! So to sum up this week Ellie…. a vacation at Cinderella’s castle and you my pretty little princess at its center made it picture perfect!
Friday, November 23, 2012
With the season of Thanksgiving upon us, I think it’s important to always reflect and be appreciative (particularly since we are so blessed to spend Thanksgiving with family in Disney but in our excitement and haste among the parks, I think sometimes old traditions are forgotten). It is here that I want to share a story of a young girl who captured not only my heart but those around the world recently. She is a 14 year old Pakistani girl who wanted to go to school. Sadly, her village was still among those in control of the Taliban (a militant group adamantly opposed to western culture, women’s rights, and everything in between). They are the antithesis of democracy. Because of this girl’s blog (in which she stated her opinion about females and education), she was gunned down by the Taliban on October 9 of this year. Her name is Malala Yousufzai and she is healing currently in the United Kingdom (because the Taliban warned that they will come again for her if she survives). My heart breaks that her home has become her enemy but I love that the world has adopted her cause. This is where my story of thanks begins.
First of all, I am thankful that Malala is alive as her survival amidst that ambush is miraculous. Secondly, I am grateful that she is stoic and strong. She has become a beacon for basic human rights. But more than that Ellie (as selfishly as It may sound), I am so appreciate that you have a role model beyond our television screen, music industry, and social media outlets. Malala’s purpose is far greater than herself and her image. And she’s only 14… courage defies age and is limitless. Kids can do great things- they can be shakers and movers too. Like Malala, I want you to stand up and be a voice for those who can’t or won’t talk. I want you to stand up for not only yourself but for those weaker than you (and Ellie if your 2 year old self is any indication of how you will be at 14, you will be the lion not the zebra). It’s ok to question, to formulate well reasoned and educated decisions, and to go deeper than our pop culture addresses. At two and half, your favorite show to watch on television isn’t a cartoon, it’s the adult musical movie Hairspray. I’m sure the singing and dancing make it entertaining for you but I wonder if this foreshadows your years ahead as the show confronts societal issues like the Civil Rights movement and weight barriers (I know this seems silly but the fact that you choose this over Elmo, Barney, Mickey Mouse, and countless others shows me that you are different from your peers).
This excerpt is taken from Ashley Fantz (CNN)’s article called Pakistan’s Malala: Global Symbol but Still Just a Kid from 10/15/2012
She (Malala) rarely showed fear, and she didn't hide her face
"I have the right of education," she said in a 2011 interview with CNN. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."
Why do you risk your life to raise your voice? a reporter asked her.
In perfect English, she answered that her people need her.
"I shall raise my voice," she insisted.
"If I didn't do it, who would?" she said.
Girls who are scared should fight their fear, she said.
"Don't sit in your bedrooms”
Ellie, I am beyond thankful that you can sleep safely at night and that I know here in America (and with us as your parents), you will be educated to your full potential. And although we don’t live in a perfect place, I hope that you are always treated equally with regards to gender. While we are so far ahead of many other countries, we still have our own issues with sex and race particularly). But maybe that’s for your generation to confront and make peace with.
And so Ellie, as we are enjoying our family vacation, I want you to remember to give thanks. This isn’t a letter to make you feel guilty about what we have but rather be grateful about the circumstances in which we have it. But secondly, remember your voice- it’s God’s gift to you to be heard so use it with care, strength, power, and love (like Malala). You have the right to live, to be happy, to rise to your potential (without harming others in the process… remember Spiderman’s adage here- “With great power, comes great responsibility”), and to change the world as you see fit (particularly if you see a miscarriage of justice).
Ellie, be a catalyst for a transformation if you see deem It necessary (and be ever-thankful that you live in a society that may not necessarily embrace it but will enable you speak your mind and explore paths not taken).
It would only be fitting to leave you with a Walt Disney quote on the subject, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
I love you and I so appreciate that we have this week as a family in Disney World! Happy Thanksgiving!
Friday, November 16, 2012
Dear Ellie Bean,
Well, your mommy has given me a couple of weeks reprieve before diving into our next story. (Good thing too El as ‘life’ as we knew it no longer exists!) And that is a good thing! Because your Daddy and Mommy made a long thought out decision this past summer to return to their roots here in State College, the hustle and bustle of the three of you settling in to your new surrounds has been quite busy these past few weeks. Your Poppy and I love, love, love seeing you on a more daily basis. (Skyping was a Godsend when you were in Denver, but nothing beats the real deal… having you here to watch, to enjoy and to love each and everyday.
We are in heaven my darling grand daughter to say the least. So I think it is befitting to follow suite with your mom. In her last blog entry she wrote her hopes and dreams for you and your future Ellie. I had the chance to read them before they went public and I couldn’t agree with her more. So this week I would like to do the same thing… write my hopes and dreams for you as you grow up from a grandmother’s perspective.
I know all babies are born with ‘personalities’, but Ellie yours was truly unique from the ‘git-go!’ The day you showed your Walter side- and that was at 2 days old- was the day your Mommy and I realized that your character traits were going to be quite broad.
Your determination to do things on your own has shown many your strong will…(some may call it stubbornness, I call it destiny to great things.) Your sense of timing when someone needs a kiss, a hug or just a silly laugh is uncanny and shows your compassionate and gentle side for someone so tiny. But it is your ability to listen, to understand and repeat that really has me in awe. Ellie, I am talking about how (again) starting from a baby you were able to sing the words to the songs your Mommy and/or I sang to you. One of the songs in particular that I sang to you from Day 1 was your Uncle Ryan’s favorite- I Love My Teddy bear. You would watch my mouth and my eyes so intently that after only a few times singing it, you were able to join in on many of the words with me. Your Mommy would sing another one to you called You Are My Sunshine.
You knew those words by heart, or let me be clearer and say that you knew the words to the only verse your mom repeatedly sang to you by heart. The day I sang it and proceeded into the second verse… you looked at me as though I had two heads! Ellie, it was the funniest look I ever got! And the funniest look you have gotten from me is your ‘2 minute rule.’ You have mastered or should I say manipulated that saying to perfection… “It is time for bed”, “2 minutes”… “Please put your toys away”, “2 minutes”… “Say Goodbye”, “2 minutes”… “It’s bath time”, “2 minutes” and this can go on and on! Another “Ellie” original is your version of playing Hide-N-Go-Seek.
You let me count to 10 while you hide. Even though I know exactly where you are I prolong finding you by looking in other places. While doing so I always make statements out loud and to myself as to where you are not. Example: I’ll say “Hmmm… is Ellie in the closet?” of which I will hear a far off response from you saying, “No I not. I in here!” Then I will go to the next place and say “Hmmm… is Ellie in the bathtub?” of which you will again answer from some far away place saying, “No I not. I in here!” I continue with these random ‘room’ visits and you always respond the same way. When I do finally go in search of you, you are usually standing in direct eyesight screaming with excitement! We then play the game another dozen times with you usually hiding in the same exact place! And the best part of all Ellie is that the game never gets old with you. Each time you hide and whether it is in the same spot or not, you still scream with delight and excitement upon being found! But as usual, you can see that I have slipped off task. When writing Ellie and the Magic Teapot stories I have to stay focused on the adventure at hand, but with you there is already so much to write about. Each day you bring us a different ‘Ellie’ adventure and so many ‘Ellie-isms’! And it’s only been 2 ½ years so far.
So if I were to share my hopes and dreams with you Ellie, besides all the wonderful things your mom has written and yes I agree to all of it, I would have to add ‘For You To Be Happy.’ I pray that each morning you wake you are happy that God has given you a beautiful day to explore. I pray that the people who come and go in your life bring you happiness and insight on how to be sincere and compassionate with others. I pray that you are happy in your school environment and absorb like a sponge all the knowledge (and then some) that is taught to you. I pray that opportunities and experiences (especially the rare ones) bring you happiness and a drive to make a difference that leads to a better future for those less fortunate. I pray that your faith brings you happiness when guiding you down your path. I guess what I am saying Ellie is that I pray Happiness not only follows you but is actually a part of you, for when you smile nothing radiates more as it is truly genuine. On a more personal ‘Hope and Dream’… I would love for you to someday join your mom and I in writing our blogs and possibly even our Ellie and the Magic Teapot stories, although I am not sure how much weight the whole “Left-Brain/Right-Brain Thinkers” will play a part in this hopeful ideal of mine. You see even though you are only 2 ½ at this writing, I am leaning (but not 100%) towards your way of thinking to be left-brain: logical, analytical and objective because your ability to already reason is uncanny. The right brain thinkers are said to be intuitive (which you do seem to have a connection with Kyle), thoughtful (when it is on your terms) and creative (your coloring would put Picasso and Jackson Pollock to shame!), so we will have to see as the years go by where your strengths lay. With the amazing genes you have acquired from both sides of your family and a bit of luck to boot, may you find yourself evenly balanced between the two El!
But right now there is a whole world waiting for you to explore. You my darling Grand-daughter have brought so much happiness to so many others that the time has already begun for you to enjoy each day to its fullest and hopefully discover your passion as well as your purpose for being. May each step you take bring a smile to your face and happiness to your heart! Oh, and by the way… I also have a ‘hope and dream’ for myself too. It is that I never get too old to play with you!)
Love you Ellie-bean!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
We finally finished our last Ellie and the Magic Teapot story... and like before, your Mimi and I had a blast writing it. We loved developing the crazy characters that Ellie and Lion, the main characters, encounter. But really, I think your Mimi and I can both agree that what we adore most is weaving in your personality throughout (and even though our character Ellie is older than you are, she is you in her strength, quirkiness, and nature). Although I find writing these weekly blogs to you to be therapeutic (my way of journaling I suppose), I find myself stressing out when your Mimi tells me that her part of the blog is finished and it's my turn to continue. Your Mimi writes so well and so descriptively, I feel inadequate because I don't think I can write my piece at a level that she did. It usually takes me about four days to ponder, worry, and dwell before diving in to begin my piece. Writing back and forth is such a good exercise and writing tool as it forces you out of your comfort zone and pushes your limits (when you are old enough, we are going to get you in this routine with us). I think I've become a better writer because of the bar your Mimi sets (she forces me to take my time and not rush, which has always been a weakness of mine not just in writing). Because this story did take a lot (we pour many hours into Ellie and the Magic Teapot series as we have such a passion for creative writing) and because we have some busy weeks ahead of us, we aren't going to write another Ellie and the Magic Teapot story until January. Late November and December will still be creative months but we are going to draft some poetry for you in the interim. As for these next two weeks, I wanted to address our move to Pennsylvania one final time by drafting letters to you with our hopes for you in your new home (this week I will do it and next week, your Mimi will).
We definitely miss our Colorado friends who made our time out west memorable and I know we will keep in touch. We have so many relationships that came out of our time spent there- people welcomed us transplants with arms wide open and accepted us as if we had lived there forever. Remember Ellie, we don’t good-bye but see you soon. But now it’s time for a new chapter.
So my Sweet Girl,
So my Sweet Girl,
I have come full circle... I am home. And I hope that you feel like this is home too. I truly never thought this day would come. Your Dad and I left Pennsylvania in 2006 and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. Leaving the comfort of our family and friends strengthened our marriage in ways that that wouldn't have been possible had we otherwise stayed. We learned to lean on each other. This reliance gave us a solid foundation that enabled our relationship to flourish. I am most proud of how we learned to communicate effectively (as we really are opposites). But now, nearly 7 years later, we are a solid unit and you my dear Ellie have molded us into a family. What I learned is that sometimes you need to leave to gain perspective. Ellie, I will encourage you to spread your wings as you grow. Growing up in a small town can be such a great opportunity. Namely it shelters you from a lot of the world's woes. However, small town life can be confining and smothering. I will push you to travel and try new things but I will also remind you that nothing is as strong as family. If you choose to follow your Mimi and my paths to move across the country someday, I will fully support you (just as your Mimi did for me) but know that I will make sure our bond stays strong (and be prepared for many visits). No matter how far you go, your family will always be in your heart (and on your doorsteps whenever possible!). That being said, your Dad and I realized that after your brother Kyle's passing and watching you grow, we need to be around those that love us the most. And especially for you, what a better way to develop and grow than being around grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins! It does take a village to raise a child and I want you to feel the love and encouragement that I felt growing up amidst our family.
In these next few years, I want you to be comfortable with your family (your Mimi and Poppy won't ever expect you to knock and will expect you to visit for tea often), explore the outdoors (I have many hikes planned), and take advantage of the wonderful academic opportunities (the school district is fantastic). I also want to be able to introduce you to the many cultural places that are within a few hours’ drive- NYC, Philadelphia, and DC. I know we won't have access to a zoo or aquarium (or a decent mall) everyday but the university in the center of our town will offer new possibilities. And I expect you to make new friends here- lots of them. It's so convenient that many of my old friends, whom we will be back with, have children too. You will fit right in.
Most of all Ellie, I want you to feel the security and warmth that being near loved ones bring. You will never have a shortage of people at future concerts, recitals, or award ceremonies. You will never be lonely. But also remember that these things that will be bestowed upon you, you need to reciprocate and show love, respect, and acceptance to in return. If you feel stifled, make sure you find a healthy outlet (writing is that for me). And try to remember how blessed you are to have this opportunity. It wasn't until I moved to Denver that I realized how much I took for granted. When I would think about home, memories of lively dinners, crazy holidays, Saturday lunches, evening theater, daily tea time, reunions during tailgates, and eccentric classes would make me long to go back. And now here we are!
Oh Ellie- the fun we will have. I see so many adventures in our future but the best part of them is that they will be filled with family alongside of us! Never forget where you came from because it is why you are the person you are today and it lays the backbone for who you will become tomorrow. And one final note- home isn't a specific place but one that is filled with love, warmth, security, comfort, friends and family. For me, home is this cloudy small city nestled in a valley in the middle of nowhere- not necessarily because it's beautiful or bustling with activity but because of the people it holds within, the nostalgic memories it has given me, and the bright future it holds for you.