Friday, February 3, 2012

Evaluative Month of February: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie Spaghetti!

Well, your Mimi and I did it- we finished our goal of writing you a story together.  And it was so much fun… more fun than anything I imagined.  Since next month is your birthday and since this blog was your gift from us (happy 1st birthday to our blog!), I think we need to assess how this year went- we need to look at the good, the bad, and where we go for next year… and that is why February is our month of EVALUATION.  And Ellie, this should be a lifelong lesson… always evaluate your projects, your dreams, and your happiness.  You have an opportunity to do anything you want so don’t ever settle.

That being said, your Mimi and I love writing to you every week.  We love recapturing your every moment, telling you funny stories, and reminicing about our history too.  But the best blog weeks for us by far has been our creative story month of January.  Your Mimi and I both adore writing and it’s been a while since we allowed ourselves to practice those fiction skills.  And to have those time boundaries we built in made it much less stressful too (sometimes when we tackle big projects, they can be overwhelming but I can write for forty-five minutes no problem so breaking this story down made all the difference).  Although your Mimi felt too constrained and she wants the rules to change slightly for her next time to ninety minutes.  And that’s ok- that’s what evaluating lets us do (forty-five is just fine for me). 

Your Mimi had a great idea and wanted feedback on our Ellie and the Magic Teapot story from our friends and family (who have been so supportive this last year reading our blogs to you) so I will let her tell you what people shared. 

But I wanted to tell you that we have made a new goal for the upcoming year on our blog… we are going to write a whole year’s worth of Ellie and the Magic Teapot stories (with the same rules as before including illustrations) but instead of limiting ourselves to one story every four weeks, we are just going to write and let the stories tell us where they should start and end… we might have 12 chapters or we might have 5 by next March.  Taking risks and following your passion will make you happy Ellie and this is what this blog has done for us.  I hope writing becomes one of your favorite pastimes too Ellie!

And just like in our January story, you will be our inspiration.  Down to our characters and their unique traits, you are in every nook and cranny in each paragraph.  Just so we still chronicle you and your growth too (one of original goals of the blog), we will make sure to detail anything new in our introduction because Ellie, this is still all for you.

I can’t resist but to review you in the last few weeks right now because you are hysterical: you eat M&M’s with no hands, you prefer to sit in the refrigerator to relax as I cook, 

you like to lie on the floor at home improvement stores, 

you show off on Skype like crazy still,

you lick off cream cheese off of bagels, toast, or waffles (I should just give it to you on a spoon), 

you love to dress up in coats, 

you make me run to the mailbox as fast as I can as I carry you, you gaze up at the stars in awe, you dip most anything in ketchup including peas, 

you still find stickers as fabulous accessories for you and your toys, 

you choose to play with dog toys sometimes too, 

you still love all shoes big and small, 

and your curiosity has reached new levels as you ask, “What’s that, what’s this?” every other minute.  You are my sunshine Ellie, my beautiful Peanut, who is about to be 2.  So before we embark on our story adventure year beginning in March, your Mimi and I want to evaluate a few other things to tie up these past few months.

I love you!

And now from your Mimi…

Hello Ellie!

Oh your Mommy is so right!  What fun we had the month of January writing a fairytale story to you… and so much so Ellie-bean that yes, we do plan to do it again!  When we finished its final entry last week, your Mom came up with a great idea to use the month of February for an evaluation.  And not just for our fairytale, but since our first year of writing a weekly blog to you is coming up, we thought it would be the perfect time to evaluate the journey we took you on and what path we may want to follow for the next 52 weeks!  (I always have to think about a deck of cards when considering how many weeks there are in a year before I write it down as I don’t want to mistake it for the same number as that of states in the U.S.!)  I know you are probably thinking, “Mimi, where are you going with this one”… and all I can say is… “Sidetracked again!  Sorry!”  Hopefully your Mommy never picks a month’s theme on “Evaluating Mimi” as that could take many “months” and lots of ink cartridges!  Ok, back to the task at hand.

First of all, here is the definition of Evaluation:  To examine someone or something and judge carefully…. Assessing strengths and weakness of such and improving upon their effectiveness.

I did ask family and friends for some positive as well as negative feedback along with constructive criticism on our story Ellie and the Magic Teapot and here is what your Mommy and I have gotten so far.  First, we want to say thank you to all who have read and enjoyed our story!  That in itself has given us the courage Ellie to continue our creative writing with a new adventure.  We have been told that the characters we chose were a great idea but in this first story… we used too many.  Some readers were getting confused as to who was who and needed to reread the chapter again.  Everyone seemed to love the idea that we used your stuffed animals as your tea party friends El, but next time we should narrow them down to maybe two.  Another reader mentioned to us that we made our story too busy, meaning that we should have let the teapot whisk you and your little friends to one magical place instead of traveling to so many destinations all in one story.  Many readers commented how they loved that we incorporated into the story’s characters your quirky characteristic traits and memorable daily antics!  Another suggestion by another reader (actually… Me) suggested to the other amazing and talented writer for a bit more writing time.  To be an honest rule follower I need more than 45 minutes to write.  I don’t want to be a writing hog of our story Ellie, but 45 minutes goes by in a blink for me!  I barely get my ideas down on the document page and poof, time is up!  With that being said I have to fess up and admit that I turned the clock so that it faced the wall.  That way I had no idea when 45 minutes was up!  (And yes I do know there is a clock in the upper right-hand corner of the laptop but I refused to allow my peripheral vision to seek it out!)  I would write until I found a satisfying point to stop and save my work.  Then and only then would I look at the clock and gasp in a shockingly manor thinking, “Uh-oh… oooooops.”  Each week it seemed I was using two rounds of 45 minutes!” and then with a bit of guilt, I would fudge my admitted writing time to your mom!   Thankfully she agreed to lengthen my time for the next story.  Many smiles to her!

At the beginning of this New Year, reviewing time spent with family was a constant thought on my mind.  I always knew its importance, but lately I feel it on a much deeper level. This past weekend your cousin Jackie Russell and I went to Florida to spend time with Gigi.  She is remarkable Ellie!  Even though a serious health scare took control of her body just a few months ago, her attitude is amazing… very positive!  Thankfully she has a mindset that there is no time for cancer.  After all Ellie, one of Gigi’s many goals is to dance at your wedding!  And speaking of you, I love how your Mommy ended her part of this week’s blog reviewing all your Ellie-isms!  From infant to baby to a present day toddler, I would say that to evaluate you El would bring us all to the conclusion that you are on a perfect track in forming a spunky, bright, creative, humorous, quirky and cute personality!

So I guess the lesson to be learned here is to “judge” carefully Ellie.   Just like in the fairytale we wrote for you last month, every decision in life has a consequence.

Kimberly, how about in next week’s blog, we evaluate appearances!  I think we could bring lots of smiles and giggles with this one.  Ellie and her hair alone could be our opener!  What do you think?

Till then Little Miss Goosey!
Love Mimi!   


  1. Love the theme this month. We sometimes never take the time to evaulate ourselves always in a rush to get to the next place and don't take time to realize the beauty in the present. Love the pictures of Ellie she is one cute little girl, she has her own mind and personality already and Kim you do such a nice job in letting her explore her creative side. I look forward to these weekly blogs and admire the talent you both have for writing.

  2. You always say the nicest things. Thank you Jackie! We love your words!