Thursday, November 28, 2013

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

Hi Ellie,

Happy Thanksgiving!  You have a very privileged life, my love, and I don’t ever want you to take that for granted.  Appreciate what you have and keep in mind those who are less fortunate.

Life Lessoned Learned #39: Always remember to give thanks.

Even though we acknowledge what we are thankful for in our daily nighttime prayers, I wanted to spend some more time with you making a big list in honor of this special holiday.  Here are your top 23 things you are thankful for as you quoted them to me today:

1.     My family
2.     Snow
3.     Santa Clause
4.     Bunnies
5.     Christmas time
6.     Christmas trees
7.     A pink mouse (???)
8.     The elephant on the Disney safari ride that I would like to name Ellie
9.     My blanket
10. Disney World
11. Plies in ballet
12. Pictures that I draw
13. Cameras
14. Carrots
15. Stripes (I think you got sidetracked on my striped shirt here)
16. Soft Pants
17. Our couch
18. Flowers
19. Jumping
20. Railings on the stairs
21. Songs
22. Burp cloths for Will
23. The Goldilocks and the Three Bears book

I love how you think Ellie.  Even the smallest treasures don’t go unnoticed by you, my observant girl.  And I particularly adore your #1… you already understand that relationships are one of the most important things in this world!  Enjoy this wonderful holiday and be grateful everyday for your blessings.

I thank God everyday for you, your brother Will, and of course Kyle too.
Love you,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Life Lessons Month of November: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie-bean!

Life Lessoned Learned #38: Apparently a ‘crack’ has more than one definition!

El, my blog this week stems from a comment you made to me recently while we were playing dolls.

“Mimi, why do you have a crack on your face?”

“Is it food?” I questioned.

“Nope,” you stated matter-of-factly.

“Is it my make-up?” I asked next.

“Nope,” you said all knowingly.

“Is it a scratch?” I inquired.

“Nope… it’s just a crack,” you sighed, obviously already bored with the interrogation.
Completely perplexed by what could possibly be on my face and having no mirror to look into, I had to ask your mommy.

With a giggle she replied, “Oh, that crack is just a wrinkle!”

Now I know I am old, but for a moment I was dumbfounded!  “A wrinkle?”

“Yeah,” your mommy answered and then turned to you and explained that it was actually a laugh-line.

“A laugh-line?” I voiced as I forced the muscles in my right cheek to rise upward.
Now it was my turn to let out a giggle.  Like a said, I know I am old and I know that with ‘oldness’ comes wrinkles, but I guess this was the first time that someone actually brought attention to my being the actual ‘old one!’

And then wouldn’t you know the very next day at school I was double whammied!
While working with a group of children one of the little girls (I’ll refer to her as Sally) said that she was going to be a teacher when she grew up.  I told her that I thought she would make a wonderful teacher.  Sally then asked me if I would still be working at the school when she got her first job.  I answered with a bit of hesitation, “Welllllllllllllllllllllllll, I’m not sure.” 

“Yeah, you’ll probably be retired by then,” Sally concluded quite endearingly.

And without missing a beat a little boy sitting next to her (Ill refer to him as Jimmy) looked up from his work and blurted out, “No she won’t.  Mrs. Russell will be dead by then.  She is old.”  Jimmy said this, not to hurt me, but more like he was stating hard-facts from a World Book Encyclopedia! 

Oooooops.  I guess my reference of World Book just backed-up his statement…. I should have said Wikipedia or Snopes!

No matter Ellie… the children at school gave me a fit of the giggles just like you did!
And that one obvious crack that you brought attention too, or laugh-line, or wrinkle (which is actually one of my many) or whatever you want to call it got me thinking.

That crack took many years to form, and it has weathered many facets of life.  El, there are world-renowned photographers that have been quite successful in capturing the day-to-day lives of the elderly.  And their success came from zooming in and capturing the depth, the emotion and the grit that has gone into each of those cracks.  I would like to think mine hold some wisdom, or at least some learned knowledge that I can pass on.  Although I slightly fear my many blunders over the years might trump them.  I guess I will never really know, but I can certainly hope. 

So I guess the lesson I have learned Ellie is that for every ‘crack’ I bore, I have truly earned.  They have been formed from love, hard work, tears, compassion, faith, joy and so much more.  There is an old saying: “Beauty is only skin deep.”  Not true.  El, those cracks have great beauty for their beginnings go well beyond the surface.  Those cracks hold the history of each individual.  They tell ones story in great depth.  And the awesome thing is, just like snowflakes, there are no two cracks exactly alike!  God planned each of our “beginnings and ends” to be unique.  And even though ‘cracks’ hint at ones loss of youth, I am a firm believer of that age-old saying: You’re only as young as you feel.  And Ellie with you and Will around, I shall never get old!

I love you my little playmate!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Life Lessons Month of November: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

Now I am by no means claiming any sort of creative title here but I do have some decorating advice for you, as we definitely had our fun remodeling our new house.  Despite being very pregnant when we moved in, I really enjoyed making the house our home.  Thankfully, I also got a lot of ideas and recommendations from your Dad, Mimi, and Aunt Joanne.   So here’s what I learned:  

Life Lessoned Learned #37: Making a house a home doesn’t have to be expensive and should reflect who you and your family are.

1.     Get artwork from family and friends.  Not only will those pieces become keepsakes, they give character and uniqueness to spaces.

2.     Frame a bulletin board.  It beautifully organizes a mess of all things that are important to you.  You and your brother are actually getting them in your room soon as well.  This way, you can save tickets, photos, and your schoolwork.  It’s constantly a changing piece of art and you can keep it current.

3.     Pick paint colors that look good with your skin tone and colors that you actually like (and would wear as clothes).  After all, it’s you who is going to spend the most time in your house and you want to feel good in it!  You know how I love all colors Ellie so our house is a rainbow… we have a purple room, blue room, green room, pink room, yellow room… but predominantly, our house is a sea blue and it’s so calming. 
4.     For your brother’s room, we went with the theme Goodnight, Gorilla (my favorite children’s book, which happens to be a picture book).  We bought a large hard-back copy, tore out the frame, and pasted it to different colors of backing (to which my Mom secured hooks so we could hang our favorite pages that tell most of the story).

5.     When I was looking for curtains that would go in the front of my house, I couldn’t find any I loved.  On the way out of one of the many stores I scoured, I walked by the bath section and I fell in love with a cloth shower curtain.  So I bought several of them, took them to my seamstress who secured the top for the rod and hung them in the dining room and your playroom.  Now I realize that the trend is to have long curtains to give the affect of higher ceilings but for the money I saved, I feel ok with going against that fashion.

6.     Finally, do what feels right for you.  Your Dad and I felt we needed to represent Kyle so we painted our guest room a bright green color and displayed some of our 5k memorabilia.  We both know he’s not really in there but it makes us feel good to know that he’s still a part of our family in spirit.

But most of all Ellie, what makes a house a home is love and we have a lot of that!  Now I’m sure your Dad could write a book on house projects involving refinishing, landscaping, and tools so for any of those projects, seek him out! 

I love you Bean!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life Lessons Month of November: Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Bean-sprout!

Because of your brother Will’s baptism, it has been a very busy past 2 weeks!  

Your amazing and wonderful great-grandparents came for the blessed event!  Grandmom Bubbles time of stay was the whole week before while Gigi’s and Pop’s was the whole week after!  

And each made sure to give you equal attention time with Will.  Honestly El, I think they really prefer to just sit and watch you in action because your creative originality is just that… unique!  This week my blog idea came when Miss Trixie McAllister the waitress (aka- you), your Mommy, Gram Bubbles, Will, Violet the doll, and I played restaurant.  Gram Bubbles, who couldn’t stop laughing, made a comment afterwards that our playtime should be on a video.  Ellie, she stated quite accurately that your imagination is definitely way outside of the box!  

So here is my life lesson learned for this week:

Life Lessoned Learned #36:  Playing the “If You Let” game with you my dear granddaughter, one must have patience and also an open-mind!

You have so lovingly entertained me with our game.  Here are some examples Ellie!

1.) If you let your granddaughter have free reign to whatever is on the church pew during the Mass before Will’s christening, be prepared that she will pick up his knitted baby christening cap and wear it on her own head… backwards… and casually go on about her business as though all is normal!

2.) If you let your granddaughter play in your jewelry box, be prepared that not only will she take the grandest and yes the gaudiest pieces to possibly play with, but she will leave the rest in massive knots (the last time you did this El; I had a thought…  It was that I should just send the whole jewelry mess to the game company that creates Challenging Puzzles for the Brain … because my brain has great difficulty getting past the untangling of the first knot!).

3.) If you let your granddaughter do your dishes (a more accurate statement would be … playing in a sink full of sudsy soap water) then be prepared for a tidal wave, or two, or three to occur and a man-made lake to replace your tile floor!

4.) If you let your granddaughter wear multiple velour clothes, be prepared that she will transform into a cat and you had better pet her!

5.) If you let your granddaughter create her own ice-cream cup at Sweet Frog, be prepared that she will choose at least a dozen (ex: gummy bears, pretzel bits, tropical poppers, fresh cherries, chopped snickers, banana slices, and M&M’s to name a few) of the 4 dozen toppings available and fill her cup with them!  And proudly eat every last spoonful (Oh, did I forget to mention that there is probably only a teaspoon of ice-cream underneath all that sugar substance?)!

6.) If you let your granddaughter play with your green, copper and shimmering gold eye-shadow, be prepared that a major uni-brow will take over her forehead. And you had better be prepared to follow up with acknowledging to her that she is a very talented make-up artist!

7.) If you let your granddaughter choose any board games to play, be prepared and fully understand that she controls the rules of how the game is actually played.  One example: The Sock Monkey Game: cast aside all the clue cards and play only with the half dozen that say “Go Look For It”!

8.) If you let your granddaughter apply her own lotion after a bath, be prepared in advance by purchasing stock in the lotion company, as she may make you quite wealthy but the amount she slathers all over herself and the number of bottles you will go through in her lifetime!

9.) If you let your granddaughter apply Elmer’s glue to the crafts you create, again be prepared in advance by purchasing stock in the glue factory!

10.) If you let your granddaughter snuggle on your lap while chatting with her Mommy or Poppy, be prepared that your tea will disappear as fast as she can gulp it down with that irresistible twinkle in her eye always upon you!

11.) If you let your granddaughter choose “1” toy item to take to Sunday mass, be prepared to have octopus arms that are capable of carrying multiple oversized “items” along with one arm free to carry her as well!

Ellie, I really could go on and on as I am having so much fun with this list!  I just wish I had more time!   Even though the “If You Let” game isn’t really a game, I love watching you play it because I find that it allows you that little bit of extra freedom you seem to seek out...possibly strengthening the right-side of your brain.  After all, that is the side which controls one’s creativity.  And no one can deny that you have been creating originality since birth!  So I guess my lesson learned this week El, along with your mom and dad, is to continue allowing you the freedom to explore not just the parameters, but the whole area in an around your ‘Box.’  All ready at the age of 3, you are learning how to redefine yourself daily.  My guess is that by the time you are age 99, your mirror will have seen many, many faces and your closets will have held an infinite number of hats!  Don’t ever change sweetheart, yet continue to change, shape and mold the inner you! You are truly entertaining Ellie and a joy to be around.

Love you Miss Trixie McAllister!