Thursday, December 27, 2012

Creative Month of December: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

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…

Christmas 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!

Love Mimi

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Creative Month of December: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

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 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

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

Dear Ellie Bean,

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!
We’ve had play dates with new friends, trips to the park with Poppy, and made many batches of cookies.  I love this time of year.

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…

Christmas 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!
Love Mimi

Friday, December 7, 2012

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

Dear Ellie,

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).

Christmas Red

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

Creative Month of November: Blog 5- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

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.

With love,

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!