Thursday, April 25, 2013

Life Lesson Month of April: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

Sometimes I wonder if you are 3 or 33 when it comes to your vocabulary.  I love that you and I can have conversations (that actually can be abstract).

Life Lessons Learned #8:  As a mom, watch what you say… your daughter will absorb everything and become a walking mini-me.

You have said all these phrases and then some:

1.     “What the heck?” when caught off guard.
2.     “Ohmygosh!” said with true astonishment in your tone.
3.     Pretending to talk on a cell phone, “Oh hi, how are you?  Oh no… hmmm…  I’m so sorry.”
4.     You typically start a sentence with “Usually, I…” or sometimes, “Actually, I…” or, “Well…”
5.     “Two more minutes” and this one is taken completely out of context and always said before naptime and before bedtime.
6.     “Shhh!” said with a finger to your lips and a very stern look as you pretend to talk on your cell phone if you are interrupted.
7.     “Uggghhh!  No Joe!  I’m so disappointed in you,” when you see how Joe makes a mess of his food (and for full effect of irritation, one hand is on your hip, the other is pointing at the mischievous cat).
8.     “I was so frustrated,” explaining your feelings to my mom about the cat’s naughty behavior.
9.     “The Easter Bunny isn’t going to visit her house!” you said rather loudly at the grocery store in reference to the little girl not far from you who was having a tantrum just days before Easter.
10. “Don’t talk with your mouth full!” or sometimes if your mouth is full when I ask you a question, you put up your pointer finger to quietly ask me to wait until you swallow.
11. “Here’s the deal.  First, we go to school, and then we go…” as you bossily inform your dolls or sometimes me of the agenda.
12. “Oh I didn’t realize you were sitting there!”
13. “One second, I’m busy.”
14. “You know what?  I love you!” said randomly throughout the day.
15. In response to me saying it’s prayer time and I need your help so you will participate, you say, “It’s ok.  You know how to.  You can do it all by yourself,” speaking as if I were the three old needing encouragement.
16. “Do you want to go to Pee in the Pot?” referring to the store Pea in the Pod.
17. “Should we go try on lipstick?” pulling me toward the cosmetic counter at the department store.
18. After being asked a question, you ponder for a moment by saying, “I have to think,” before answering.
19.  “Oh fine,” you reluctantly relent when I ask you to do something you may not want to do.
20. “Do you know what I mean,” you ask to make sure you really are understood.
21. “Here’s what I’m going to do…” you tell me before enacting your grand plan.
22.  “You forgot to say please!” again reminding me to be polite (and this also goes for thank you and bless you).
23. “You forgot to cover your mouth,” said to anyone sneezing or coughing that obviously forgot that basic rule.
24. “I’m tired of cleaning up!” you tell me when I ask you to help me tidy up the living room.  And all I can do to respond to that one El is say, “Me too!”
25. “Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds scream,” you sing very seriously and I have to laugh to myself because you butcher the words to songs just as badly as Mimi and I!
26. “Are you talking to yourself again?” you ask your Mimi and I if you catch us out of the blue. And sadly, the answer is usually yes!
27. “Silly me!” you say when you’ve made a mistake.
28. “I’m just going to get this over with,” you mutter before you do something you don’t like.

I need to remember that you have a memory that astounds me.  Your Mimi asked you the other day if you wanted a hotdog for dinner and you said, “Nope, they make me sick.”  When your Mimi asked me about that to clarify, I recalled over a year ago (possibly close to two years ago), you ate a hotdog and threw up everywhere as you had the onset of the flu. 

Ellie, your vocabulary is so large that sometimes you switch your words around and it makes me giggle. For example, you say “paper toilet” instead of toilet paper, “towel paper” instead of paper towel, and “burnt sun” instead of sun burnt.  This latter one came about after our Florida vacation when your Poppy went golfing and forgot to wear sunscreen.  This showed me exactly how much of a rule follower you are. That evening, your Poppy said he would take you in the pool at 8pm (it was dark, aside from the exterior lights). You insisted that both you and him put on sunscreen.  Your Poppy tried to get away with just a pretend spray here and there but you made sure that you and him were lathered down to your toes! 

And while on the plane heading to Florida, I finally asked you why you weren’t watching Tangled or Madagascar on your iPad (just before landing).  Your response, “We don’t watch TV during the day!”  Oh Ellie, I love that you are my sweet girl who obviously listens to everything I say, but remember that rules can be broken at the right place and time too!

I love you for who you are now, who you are becoming, and all the laughs we have along the way!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Life Lesson Month of April: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Good Morning Ellie!

Well after getting dressed this morning, it became quite apparent to me as to what my blog will be about this week.

Life Lesson Learned #7:  There really is a Muffin-Top fairy.

Yep.  There is Ellie.  I know this because she apparently came and visited late last night while I was sound asleep.  I think she probably poked me once or twice, giggled out her magical words “Hoo-hoo, hee-hee” while swooshing her fairy wand all around my hips, thighs and abdomen.  And then ‘poof’ disappeared before I awoke.  I’ve come to this conclusion because I tried putting on a pair of my jeans this morning and for some reason they were not sliding over my hips like they are supposed to.  I thought to myself, “Humph… that is odd,” thinking that maybe I put them in the dryer on a heat-setting that is a tad bit higher than I normally would use… maybe they just shrunk a little (just so you know Ellie that when it comes to ‘the female gender, clothes, and weight’, there is no rational thinking… I have never adjusted the heat setting on my dryer for anything, ever!).  Anyway back to getting dressed this morning, my common sense was telling me that my ‘tight’ jeans were definitely the dryer’s fault… and Poppy’s too, because he is the only other one living in this house that could have changed its settings.  So I lay on the bed and slid my jeans on that way.  And guess what?  No problem!  I was even able to snap them!  Then I went to sit up and oh my… it was not a pretty site.  Ellie, like a fresh loaf of bread rising in the oven, my mid-section was slowly bubbling up and spilling over my jeans’ waistband, hence giving me the appearance of a ‘muffin top.’  I thought; how could this be?  We are finally on the tail of winter and I just put away my cozy pullover sweaters.  Could the Muffin-Top fairy have heard my constant complaining each and everyday for the last five months about how chilly I have been?  Did she think she was doing me a favor by giving me an added layer of fat to keep me warm?  Spring is coming which means thin-fabric T-shirts and tank tops!  So why would she visit me now instead of last November?  Is she following an alphabetical list and I just so happen to be one of the last women on it?  Doesn’t she know that it is impolite to visit someone unannounced?  How could she do this to me?  Who does that?  Oh… I know.  Her cousin the Dimple fairy arrives unannounced too (and I am not talking about those cute little dimples that you see on pretty faces!).  She never called me either, she just showed up late one night a few years (ok, many years) back and splashed the back of my legs with those so-called indents.  For some reason they aren’t as attractive from the rear view.  All I can say is thank heavens for peddle-pushers, aka very long shorts, as they are back in style!  OK… I seem to have gone off track again and need to refocus this blog back to muffin tops.  The problem is that the Muffin-Top fairy’s services are apparently non-refundable, as no one that I know of has ever seen her, nor does anyone know where she lives for that matter.  So I guess I am going to have to take matters into my own hands and trim down this new cupcake look that I am sporting.  And that would be with exercise.  (Ahhhh… another blog idea on a Life Lesson Learned:  Exercise; Oh how I hate to sweat!  I’ll save that one for a later date.)  Right now I think you, your mommy and I will start walking again.  There are certainly enough hills in this neighborhood to get our heart rates up.  Maybe in a month or two I will be able to tuck my shirts in and not feel so self-conscious.

So I guess the lesson to be learned here Ellie-Bean is; if you want to avoid a visit from the Muffintop fairy; you need to stay fit from the get-go.  Run around outside, play sports, be active, eat healthy, get enough rest and love life.  If you follow these simple suggestions I am pretty sure you won’t receive any surprise visits in the middle of the night during your lifetime.  So get your bike ready Bean because tomorrow is our first official day to walk.  But right now I am going to eat one of those cranberry muffins you and your Mommy baked last week as they are mmmm… mmmm delicious (it is definitely better to eat the muffins than to wear them!).
Love you El!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Life Lesson Month of April: Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

I am once again going to write about bedtime...

Life Lessons Learned #6:  There are many reasons why bedtime with a toddler can take long, so be prepared by addressing all of these excuses right before lights out (as said from Ellie herself):

1.  Well, when you go to bed then I’ll go to bed.
2.  I have a hangnail, I need a bandaid.
3.  I have a cut (that to the naked eye is invisible), I need a bandaid.
4.  (About 7 minutes later), Look my cut is gone!  It’s all better! I don’t need the bandaid anymore!
5.  I have a bump on my head (again, invisible), I need a bandaid.
6.  I have to go potty (for the third time in 3 minutes).
7.  I’m itchy, I need Aquafor (all over every inch of your body apparently).
8.  My socks are too tight (even though you wore them all day), I need new ones.
9.  Can you tell me the story of the day I was born?
10.  Can you sing me another song?
11.  Can you read me one more book?
12.  Come see my sad face!
13.  I’m hungry.  My stomach’s saying ‘I’m hungry, I’m hungry!’ (wonder where she got that from?).
14.  What day is today? (Thursday) What day is tomorrow? (Friday)
15.  I need one more pretend drink of water (from her play kitchen in her room).

16.  I need a real drink of water.
17.  I need to put my slippers away (that you haven’t worn for days and they have already been sitting out of the way).
18.  Can you fix my blanket?
19.  You didn’t put on your pajamas yet!
20.  I need to check something (as you wonder around your room aimlessly).
21.  I need to tell Daddy something.
22.  I forgot to tell Daddy goodnight.
23.  I need a tissue.
24.  Do you want to talk?  No?  How about tomorrow then?
25.  (Pointing to the top of your bookshelf) I need you to get me the game Candy Land (no Ellie, we will play it tomorrow)… Well, if we play it tomorrow, why can’t I play it tonight?
26.  It's still light outside!  How about if I wait until it gets dark? (Oh boy- it's not even close to June 21 yet!)

You usually ask for an extra book to read to yourself after I kiss you goodnight and I always agree to that for two reasons.  One, I want to encourage you to read (and I did the same thing as a kid) for you to see that books are magical.  Two, I love hearing you read aloud when I am downstairs.  Your memory for these stories is incredible and sometimes I can’t help but come back into your room and have you read to me.

The three main reasons though that I will always come back to your room after lights are out, is when you say, “I need one more kiss!” or “I need one more hug!” or “Do you want to snuggle with me?”  I can’t get enough of any of those!

I know this list will grow… as I figure out how to check these off before I leave your bedroom, you always come up with something new to try to get me back in!

I love you!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life Lesson Month of April: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie-Bean!

And what a perfectly fit nickname you have for this blog as it has to do with Easter not the jellybeans mind you, but the Easter eggs)!  Yes… I do have a story to tell of the present (pertaining to you) as well as a story past (pertaining to your Mommy and Uncle Ryan.)  I shall call it:

Life Lessons Learned #5.   Simple traditions work just as well as complicated ones.

Well Bean… like every holiday, spending it with you is always so much fun!  To see the excitement in your eyes seems to bring out the ‘child of long ago’ in each of us.  But my story of you isn’t exactly about Easter Day… rather a few weeks back when you and I were playing ‘Hide the Eggs; Easter Bunny.’  Here is how we played it.  As always, we start off by playing house.  You are the baby and I am the mommy.  After a (pretend) day filled with lots of activities, I lay you on your (pretend) bed, the couch, and say goodnight.  Then I get six very colorful plastic Easter eggs… fill them with candy and pennies and small things from your play kitchen and put them in an Easter basket.  Now Ellie… before I go and hide them, I always tell you to turn your head and close your eyes.  Dutifully you do, but only for about 10 seconds… just enough time for me to go into the kitchen and put on a pair of bunny ears that I kept on the counter and then hop back into the living room to start my job.  Now the funny part is that I could always see you watching me from my peripheral vision but I pretended not to.  I would then hop around and whisper a bit loudly where I am placing the eggs, (all of which would be in partial view.)  Once I finished I would hop out of the room, take off my bunny ears and come back into the living room as the mommy.  I would yawn loudly and yell out, “Morning time!”  That would be your queue to jump off the couch and go in search of the Easter eggs.  And of course you’d make me giggle because you would follow my exact path that I had used when hiding them.  Once all six were found you and I would sit on the floor and you’d open each plastic egg to see what was inside.  Again, I found this hilarious because you always pretended to be surprised when you already knew what hidden treasures were in there!  Now most children would think this “Hide the Egg” game would be done, but not you.  Very quickly you would make a role reversal.  I would become the child and you would be the mommy/Easter bunny.  Once I was on the couch pretending to be asleep, you would hide the eggs in the exact same spots around the living room that I had just done ten minutes before.  The only difference was that when you said “Morning time” and I jumped off the couch… instead of me going in search of the eggs by myself, you would take my hand and show me where they all were and yell out “I found another one!” as though you yourself didn’t even know where they were hidden!  Ellie, in the past few weeks we have played this game not once, not twice but at least a dozen times and you never get tired of it.  Not only have we played it many times… we rarely change the hiding spots and you seem to be perfectly happy with that.  With you my darling granddaughter, it is not about making the “challenge” harder each time we play, but rather taking the time and playing something that you truly enjoy.

Now fast forward to last Saturday, the day before Easter.  Your Mommy and Daddy took you to an Easter egg hunt that took place on the grounds of the Knights of Columbus building.  
Poppy and I were thrilled to tag along and watch this amazing event that you were going to participate in.  
There were three large circular areas, age appropriate, that were staked out for the egg hunt and you opted for the 3 to 5 year old patch.  Once the gentleman in charge counted to three, all the children ran into the middle of the patch turning over clumps of hay and grabbing up the colorful eggs.  Ellie instead of scrambling like the others, you took your time picking up the eggs and slowly dropped them into your Kyle bag.  
It only took a matter of minutes for all the children present to scarf up the few hundred eggs that were hidden underneath the hay.  You were quite pleased with yourself as you found five eggs (all of which were in eyesight by the way), and you know what?  You couldn’t have been happier!  For it wasn’t about finding the most eggs or the cleverly hidden ones, it was just about enjoying the moment.

Now rewind to many, many years ago when your Mommy and Uncle Ryan were much younger, actually children themselves.  Yes the Easter Bunny visited their house year after year too.  Only back then he seemed to make his task, (hiding the Easter eggs and the Easter baskets), harder than it should have been.  Instead of just hopping into our home in the wee hours of the morning and randomly placing eggs and baskets here there and everywhere… he planned, strategized and mapped out our home placing them in nooks and crannies (some that we didn’t even know we had) as well as compartments that were near to impossible to find!  Here are a few examples Ellie:  one year the Easter bunny tied Ryan’s Easter basket using heavy shoe string to a sturdy hanger in his own closet.  He then got your Uncle’s winter ski jacket and hung it on the hanger making sure the dangling Easter basket was snug securely inside of it.  He zipped the coat up to its neck leaving no trace that the bunny had ever entered the closet!  It took your Uncle Ryan all morning to find that one!  Another time the Easter bunny hid your Mommy’s Easter basket in a 30” Pullman suitcase that was stored on the third shelf of the basements storage room!  Who would ever think to look in there????  Certainly not your Mommy!  As for the Easter eggs, well back then the bunny took time to hard-boil each and every egg (what was he thinking???!!!).  Anyway…  he would then carry them around the world hiding two-dozen or so in each home along the way.  It’s amazing that no one got salmonella poisoning back then!  When you think about it, those eggs sat hidden (some in well used sneakers) at room temperature for hours!  Thankfully the Easter Bunny always left Poppy and I a detailed note as to where he hid those colorful eggs.  We never really had to rely on the note because Poppy would get just as excited during the ‘hunt’ as your Mommy and Uncle Ryan did.  If Poppy saw an egg that one of them overlooked he would coax them back with the game Hot/Cold.  And if they still couldn’t find it, he would just come right out and tell them exactly where it was located!  I would get frustrated and tell Poppy to give them more time, but I guess in the grand scheme of things it was a smart tactic.  Otherwise we might have ended up with one very stinky house days later from lost or forgotten eggs!

I guess what I have learned this past week Ellie is that someone needs to tell the Easter Bunny that he doesn’t have to always try so hard to make his ‘bunny activity’ so challenging.  After playing “Hide the Easter Eggs” with you, I found out it is not about increasing the level of difficulty each time the eggs are hidden, but rather it is about enjoying family traditions and making memories from them!

I love you Ellie!