Friday, June 28, 2013

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

Good Morning Sunshine!

I know I have said it a millions times, but your name is so befitting to you.  Ellie, your name means ‘light’ and you truly are the light of my life as well as so many others!  For my blog this week my story again pertains to you and how easily it is for you to “see” outside the box and change its boundaries, even if it is just for a moment in time.

Life Lesson Learned #17: Playing an actual game of baseball is certainly a lot of fun, but I just found out that playing pretend baseball is even more so!

Ellie, you are such a delight!  Last evening your Mommy called Poppy and me and said that you were both heading down to the park and asked us if we would like to meet you there (of course we said yes!).  So about a half hour later we came upon the two of you, not by the swing sets, but rather on the baseball diamond.  Your Mommy was standing at home plate and you were on the pitchers’ mound.  From a distance, we thought she was hitting balls for you to catch, but as we got closer Poppy and I could see quite clearly that neither of you had any baseball equipment.  Well… “real” equipment that is!  But it was plain to see that you were pretending to throw her a baseball and she was pretending to swing a bat and hit it.  Once you saw Poppy and me you directed us to sit on the bench to be the spectators.  As we rooted for you to tag your mommy out El, you got so excited that you changed the rules of the game… (not that you were following any to begin with) and instructed your Mom to stop what she was doing and to follow you over to where we were sitting.  Then you hopped up onto the batters’ bench to sit with us, as did your mom.  Next, you informed the three of us to continue watching the baseball game that was taking place and to root for the winning team.  Ellie, to you it did not matter that there wasn’t a soul out on that field.  And to us it did not matter either as you were having lots of fun.  But to the people passing by I am sure we had them a bit perplexed!  Anyway, after a few minutes of sitting you decided to change up the teams.  Per your instructions, I was to follow you out into the field, and your Mommy and Poppy were to be the spectators.  Again you took your place on the pitchers’ mound and had me stand at home plate holding a pretend bat.  I had to wait a little bit because you got distracted by the dirt at your feet and bent down to play in it for a while.  Once I yelled to you that I was ready, you stood up again and brushed your hands (yes they were dirty) all over your face and through your hair (I’m guessing that a bath was mandatory when you got home El even though I knew it wasn’t on your Mom’s evening agenda!).  Anyway, you threw the pretend ball at me with both hands.  Like I said, this was your game and your rules.  But you didn’t really throw it at me; it was more like you threw it straight up in the air!  I pretended to hit it and run for first base anyway.  Halfway there you told me to stop and freeze.  You then instructed me to pick up my pretend bat, walk it back over to the opposing team’s side and stand the bat up against the chain-link fence (and yes the fence was real!).  Then you instructed me to follow you over to the batters’ bench and take our seats for the second time.  It was now your Mommy and Poppy’s turn to play while we watched them.  Before they walked out onto the field Ellie I asked you what position they should each play and this is what you said, “Mommy has to be the Bitcher and Poppy has to be the Batter.”  I said, “Excuse me???  What is your Mommy?”  And you said, “She is the Bitcher.  She bitches and Poppy bats.”  I said, “El, you mean your Mommy is the pitcher and she pitches. “  You said excitedly, “Yeah!”  Ellie, I lost it.  I couldn’t stop laughing, nor could your Mommy and Poppy.   Once we got ourselves together again, we continued to play.  You did more running around the fence that protects home plate than the three of us did the whole time we played pretend baseball with you.  None of us ever did get a chance to run all the bases but somehow and at some point you insisted that a homerun was made!  With that we clapped and agreed that the game was finished.  You then decided it was time to go and play on the swing set.  So off we set for the parts of the park where the equipment is ‘real’ and watched you play like a typical three year old: climbing, swinging and just having fun!

So Ellie, I guess my lesson learned this week has been clearly taught to me by you.  Yes, all games have rules and yes, all games may be improvised, but each and every one of us has an imagination with limitless boundaries.  You have shown us how to use imagination in a different light: where its purpose is to have pure and simple fun.  With you, each moment in time holds a special memory because of your imagination El and I know this is just one of many still yet to come!

I love you Best-Friend!

Friday, June 21, 2013

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

This past week was Father's Day... we are surrounded by the world's best dads!
Dear Ellie,

This week’s blog wasn’t hard at all.

Life Lessons Learned #16: I learn a lot from you.

Things I learned from you, Ellie, in just one day:

1.     Be eager to learn and be curious (you ask questions about everything and you are so anxious to get to preschool in the mornings- everything now begs the question why?).
2.     Be active.
3.     Don’t be afraid to be silly (you love telling knock knock jokes and saying “bad” words like dooty).
4.     Stop eating when you are full (even if that means eating dessert first sometimes).
5.     Love being outside.
6.     Have basic manners.
7.     Be kind.
8.     Love unconditionally.
9.     Don’t be too vain.
10. Speak frankly and honestly.
11. Wear your emotions on your sleeve.
12. Ask to snuggle.
13. Get really, really, really excited.
14. Dream big.
15. Experiment and push boundaries.
16. Explore
17. Believe in magic.
18. Create your games, make your own rules, and then change them.
19. Be spontaneous one minute, then very indecisive the next.
20. Naps and/or quiet time are a must.
21. Observe.
22. Play hard and then sleep hard.
23. Live your fantasies and play make-believe (you role play and have imaginary friends like no one I have ever met).
24. Relish in the company of those you love the most.

Ellie, from this list I realized I learned something from you just about every hour of the day (and I could go on and on).  You know I admire you because as a three year old, you are limited in so many of your choices (think about it, you don’t have a say in bedtime or naptime or have much of a say in meal choices or running errands) but your imagination is limitless.  You live outside boundaries.  Today, you asked me to pretend to be your teacher, Mrs. Lower (and five minutes later, you also asked me to be you (Ellie), then two minutes later, you told me to be your Mimi), as you were Megan (another friend from school) who had a little sister (named Little Megan, who you pretended to carry around) while we role played in different scenarios.  And if I don’t keep the names and situations straight, you get very upset.  You keep me on my toes!
I love you my crazy girl!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

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

Hi Ellie… or should I say Megan or Olivia or Elizabeth???   This month (and we are only 13 days into it) you have changed your name at least 3 times!  And to make life in “Ellie’s” world a tad bit more challenging, you have added a few additional characters that no one can see but are very much present in your daily interactions!
Take for instance our jaunt to the grocery store:  You were Big Megan… apparently your sister Little Megan was along, as well as your good friend Big Ellie.  You and I had to help these invisible children out of the car and walk them across the parking lot with me hunched over like a decrepit old woman because those invisible little ones were only about a foot tall.   Once we were inside, together you and I had to hoist them into the basket of the grocery cart because you insisted that its child-seat, which sits center stage, was for you alone to ride in (and like a queen I might add!).  Anyway, even though your multiple character choices would make for a great blog this week, I’d rather focus on the character you’ve become.  And besides I am sure that there will be plenty of opportunities throughout your childhood to revisit my first thought!   But this week, my blog focus is on the ‘little character’ you were in Church!

Life Lesson Learned # 15:  When attending Mass with a three year old you must listen extra hard to hear God’s Word as distractions are inevitable for both young and old!

Yes Ellie… that three year old would be you!  For the most part you are very respectful and pretty quiet in church (except for the occasional loud gruff whisper that you yell to your mom when you are informing her that you are being quiet!).  But where you still need a little work is in the “sitting without moving” area.  Let me rephrase that.  After this past Saturday evening… I’m thinking you are going to be our perpetual work in progress!  Let me explain why.  On our drive to Mass, you asked your Mommy if you could bring a Lunchable with you because that is what one of your little best friends at school ate.  Because you are such a picky eater and you specifically asked for this snack your Mommy thought, “why not?”  So we made a pit stop at the Sheetz Convenience Store to purchase this interesting choice of treat for you.  Upon arriving at church, we chose to sit in a pew near the front to give you a good view of the choir.  (That was Mistake #1!)  Once we were seated, settled in, and the service started, you asked if you could take off your shoes and I said yes.  (That would be Mistake #2.)  It was at that moment you realized that you had a hangnail on your toe.  So you sat down on the kneeler and proceeded to try and pull it off.  Your Mommy was not thrilled with this apparent engrossment of yours so she tapped you on the head and signaled for you to stop doing what you were doing and sit still.  You, being the kind of child that can’t let something go until it is completed, shrugged your shoulders and quickly stuck your big toe in your mouth and bit the hangnail off!  I was not only shocked but also amazed at how easily you accomplished this El!  You are one very bendy little girl (and just so you know I did try imitating that feat at home on the same evening just to see if I could bend my legs that far.  Nope… I almost broke myself in two!  My body is apparently not made of Gumby extremities like yours)!  Anyway, back to my story.  After stifling a shocked giggle and recomposing myself, you went from a sitting position on the kneeler to a laying position with your arms and legs wrapped around it like a hotdog bun hugging its content, the hotdog!  We thought you were being a tootsie roll but you said the kneeler was a string and you were trying to balance on it!  Speaking of strings… we brought along Kyle’s bag as it held your doll only to find out that it would be your next distraction.  (And also Mistake #3.)  Who would have thought that the bag itself could be a deterrent!  Actually it was the strings from Kyle’s bag that dangled over the edge of the pew that caused the problem of attracting your attention.  While laying on the kneeler you tried to slide your feet into the loop of each string which created a hammock effect allowing you to swing them back and forth as well as to and fro!  Thankfully you tired of that within seconds and returned to a standing position to watch the interactions of Mass.  (Now came Mistake #4.)  You asked your Mommy if you could eat your Lunchable.  So she took it out of her pocketbook, opened its lid and placed the package directly on the pew.  You dear Ellie took out a cracker, smiled, and set it down on the bench.  You then took out a slice of cheese, placed it on the cracker and whispered that you were going to make a sandwich.  Next you took out another cracker and placed it on the cheese.  Quite pleased with yourself you picked it up and were just about ready to eat it when you realized that you forgot to add the slice of bologna.  With an “Ooops” expression on your face, you set down your yummy creation and quickly grabbed a piece of meat.  Its slippery texture must have intrigued you because you brought that tiny circular slice of bologna close to your eyes for further inspection.  But upon doing so, you let out an “Ewwwwww, this meat smells yucky!”  Ellie, if the whole congregation didn’t hear you, the dozen or so pews surrounding us certainly did!  Your Mommy quietly removed the mystery meat and gave you a wipey-dipe to wash your hands.  (And that would become Mistake #5!)  Being the responsible child you are, you not only washed your hands but the pew too!  And when your mommy took the wipey-dipes away from you, in the blink of an eye you hiked up your bright orange sundress to tummy level and gave its beautiful fabric another purpose.  Yep… you polished the bench as though you were instructed not to stop until you could see it shine!  Oh my Ellie-bean, you were one busy little girl during church service.  At least we had no issues with the passing of the collection basket.  You are the one in charge of putting both your Mommy’s and my envelope into it.  And you are always quite proud of yourself for performing this weekly task without error.  You are also at your very best when it comes time to go to Communion.  As long as Monsignor pats your head or your arm Ellie, you are pleased and satisfied that you too have received Jesus in your heart.  That is my favorite part of Mass because you usually break into a huge grin that spreads from ear to ear.  It is as though you have been blessed with the best gift of all! 

Which brings me back to my Life Lesson Learned El.  Even through the many distractions you created and explored during Mass, I do remember an important part of Monsignor’s sermon that evening.  It was about forgiveness: asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness.  It was that one word, forgiveness, which seemed to fit perfectly into my blog topic this week.  It is a humbling word and one that our vocabulary should never be without.   So even though it was late in the day and well past dusk, I still made sure to ask for forgiveness for not paying attention to the whole of Mass.  And I am pretty confident that God too had to think about forgiveness.  Only his had to come in the form of granting it!  And that would be to the three of us because distractions are quite common in our daily living.   You may be our little work in progress Ellie, but life as a whole is always a work in progress, and that pertains to everyone!  But it is up to each of us to listen with our hearts and mind and hear what needs to be heard!  God listens.

Till next time Beaner… I always look forward to what you have in store for us for you are my favorite distraction of all!
Love Mimi

Thursday, June 6, 2013

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

Dear Ellie,

This past week you graduated from your first year of preschool (granted you still have two more years to go before kindergarten, but this was a really big deal for you).

Life Lessons Learned #14: Celebrate moments in your life- both big and small if they are important to you and those you love (especially if you have worked really hard to accomplish a milestone or goal).

You have been practicing for this end of the year ceremony for a few weeks now and you have been so proud of your progress (I knew this because you were constantly practicing your songs in the car and at bedtime).

This service was also new to me so I was told to show up a half hour early to get a good seat.  I’m sure glad I did because you found your cheering section (your Dad, Poppy, and I) immediately after your procession in and waved to us constantly.  You weren’t even one bit shy, performing all the songs in perfect sync with the hand motions. 

Unfortunately, the air condition in the activity center was broken and it was a HOT day but the energy and excitement from the children made the sweltering room bearable and enjoyable.  Your Poppy got some fresh air in the hallway for a short while and he had a perfect view of you from where you were seated.  You were blowing him kisses and smiling at him!  I think that made him forget how stifling it was.

Each class was able to take a turn on center stage to perform their own song and you were right front and center.  As you took the stage and I found my place up front to take a close up video, you yelled, “Hi Mommy!” so loudly and proudly that all the parents laughed.  As a mom, that ranks up there for the best feeling in the whole world.

You may only be three years old Ellie, but this may have well been your college graduation- I was so proud of you!  After the ceremony, we got to meet you at the back of the room and get some pictures before partying at the park across the street.  

For a preschooler, a picnic lunch and outdoor playtime is the best way to celebrate!  We remembered to thank your fantastic teachers too- keep in mind that that path to success is possible because of those who help you along the way.

By 2pm, you were home in bed taking one of the best naps you have taken in a long time.  All of those anticipatory and eager emotions can be exhausting.

May you always take pride in your accomplishments Ellie and know that you have the biggest cheering section behind you.

I love you Bean!

PS- Your cheering section would have been a lot bigger had it not have been in the morning of a work day… but I took lots of pictures for your Mimi to feel like she was right there with us (and that evening, you told her about each second of your big day so I’m sure she experienced it with you!).