Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of May- Blog 1: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi My Sweet Girl,

I don’t think there are enough words to tell you how much I enjoy spending time with you and Will.   

Final Thoughts: Know that you will have busy days… and those busy days are often the best and teach you the most.

A mom wears many hats… the one I seem to wear the most lately is that of a cruise director.  You wake up in the mornings wondering what will be on our day’s agenda.  “What are we doing today, Mama?”  Perhaps, it was our extremely long winter but I have our schedule pretty booked.  And in between our playdates, open gym, ballet, swim lessons, and preschool, we find time to go to the park and do art projects.  

I often wonder if it’s my own selfish need to be social that I pack so much into a day but you and Will don’t seem to mind.  And you still are talking about the Full House cast as if they are your family so we apparently do have downtime.  You still remind me constantly of exactly how much screen time you have… for instance, you picked a Frozen book and a Doc McStuffins book at bedtime tonight (you are learning to read, recognizing many site words and sounding out larger words).  But with your choices tonight, you knew the books by heart because you saw them on the television.  So note to self for tomorrow, pick books that aren’t portrayed on the screen.   

With the more consistent beautiful spring weather, you and I will go out on late evening walks after we put Will to bed.  On one night two weeks ago, you asked if you could go in Will’s stroller.  That meant that I could go faster and further so of course, I agreed.  As soon as I put you in it, you starting sucking your thumb and talking in a baby voice with limited vocabulary (as I share this story, do keep in mind that when you play make believe, you commit to your characters 100%..  And remember, I am a specialized instructor for children with development delays between the ages of 0-3).  On our walk, we ran into a co-worker of mine, another teacher.  When I asked you to say hello, you refused to break character and played the part of a rather young toddler very well…  Oh Ellie, you constantly remind me to not care what other people think.

And just today, I overheard you telling one of your dolls that you wish you had a third arm… well, that came straight from my mouth as I say that I wish I had more hands!!!

And then tonight, you said to me (after a 1 hour bedtime routine), “Mama, we never hang out anymore,” which completely guilted me into about ten more kisses and hugs.  And of course, I had to stay and explain to you the definition of the word manipulative. 

Ellie, I am all about having me time but this winter was too darn long… I LOVE hosting and having friends over.  It not only fills my home but fills my heart!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of April: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Good Morning Ellie!

I am glad my blog encompasses the weekend of Easter, as it truly was another Memory Keeper!  It is not in just your actions anymore El, but in what you say also!

Final Thought:  Holidays bring out the best smiles, family fun, interesting conversations and wonderful memories!

Well Little Miss Ellie-bean, our Easter weekend (Friday) started off on a typical and very familiar note… a strong discussion between you and your Mommy on “Yes, you are going to wear your Easter dress for the portrait” and “No, I am not going to wear that dress at all!”  So off we drove to Altoona with fancy clothes in bag and a huge bribe that all you had to do was put the dress and shoes on for 5 minutes and you could take them right back off again.  Sounds reasonable?  Your Mommy and I thought so.  You? Nope.  When we got to the photo session, we had you put the dress on (which was a whole size larger than you actually wear knowing that you don’t like anything tight) and within 30 seconds you began with the familiar “this dress is tooooo tight, it itches, I don’t want to wear it, and my shoes are too tight too” (even though they were a size bigger also!).  More bribes came and we were able to sit you down in front of the camera but at the expense of tears and a blotchy face, oh and with your brother Will… who by the way couldn’t stop smiling.  Out of a dozen shots, we did get “one” that turned out.  

I pretty much giggled silently through the whole ordeal because I remembered a time many, many years ago when your Mommy had done the same thing.  Only then I had your Great-Aunt Phyllis with me who had done everything in her power less stand on her head to get your Mommy to stop crying and smile just one time for the camera!   Oh Ellie what we adults do for a “perfect picture” when in reality the “perfect” is in a regular moment.  After all photos were taken I had to honor one of the bribes, which was to take you into the middle of the mall and let you ride the Easter train.  Seeing the Easter Bunny sitting so nicely not too far away prompted me to ask you a question and your response was priceless.  Here was our conversation Ellie. 
Mimi:  “Ellie…
Ellie:  “Yes Mim’s…”
Mimi:  “I know Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, but no one ever told me where the Easter Bunny lives.  Do you know?”
Ellie:  “That is an excellent question Mimi.  I will tell you.”
Mimi:  “Why thank you.”
Ellie:  “The Easter Bunny just hops around all day long every day.”
Mimi:  “How do you know that?”
Ellie:  “I just do.   And I think that there is a human being in that bunny.”
Mimi:  “A real human being?”
Ellie:  “Yep.  He’s got a costume on.”
Mimi:  “Oh, I didn’t know that either!  Wellllll…. But what about the bunny rabbit that comes and hides eggs and Easter baskets in our houses when we are sleeping?”
Ellie:  “Wellllll… It’s the human being in that costume.  He comes into your house and hides the eggs then leaves.”
Mimi:  “Hmmm… Interesting.  That’s another thing I didn’t know.”
Ellie:  “Yea.”
Mimi:  “But then where does he go when he is all done?”
Ellie:  “Oh he just hops away.”
(You, my little one, are truly a deeper thinker than your actual 4 years of age!)

On Saturday Poppy and I watched you and Will participate in the annual VFW Easter egg hunt.  Well, Will’s participation was pretty much just sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap for a picture.  

You however, with homemade bucket in hand were ready to dash around and find as many eggs as you could that were hidden underneath the hay.  Apparently there was one golden egg worthy of a special prize, but you didn’t care.  

In your eyes Ellie, it was all about finding as many eggs as you could and by what was in your bucket I would say you hit the jackpot!  Your Mommy took you on another egg hunt (a much larger one) in the afternoon but I did not go along.  Good thing too because when your Mommy called, she said it was insanity!  Something tells me that that particular egg hunt will not be on next years’ agenda!

And then we come to Easter Sunday.  Our faith reminds us Ellie of what a glorious day Easter is, and I couldn’t agree more.  Poppy and I met you, your Daddy, Mommy and Will at church (Uncle Ryan and Aunt Sammy could not meet us as they had a very bad case of the flu.  We did miss them very much throughout the day).  But back to church, I love how you are picking up the words to more of the churches hymns and singing them a few notes higher now!  And no, you did NOT wear either of your beautiful Easter dresses, but chose a more comfy knit dress along with your pink light-up crocks instead!  You also shook a record “5” hands during the “Peace be with you” part of Mass and did it with an actual smile too!  I forgot to mention that right before mass your Mommy told me about yours and Will’s Easter morning and how much fun you all had finding eggs and the surprises that were hidden inside (and just like Christmas morning, you were ready to get up and start the day at 2:30 am!  Your mommy and daddy were not!).  Apparently the Easter Bunny hid your basket really good as it was in the coat closet which you could not find…  even with your Mom prompting you where to look, and even with you hitting your head on its doorknob!   I can only imagine that the morning at your house must have produced lots of giggles and much excitement when you found your plastic eggs filled with jellie-beans, money and your favorite flavored Chapsticks!  After church El, we did not meet up with you again until the middle of the afternoon when you and your family came over to our house for an Easter dinner.  The best was, apparently “that human being in a bunny costume” left a dozen eggs and Easter Bags for you to find here also.  The egg hunt was fun because the bunny left notes in each room as to how many eggs you were to look for.  

And the bag hunt was equally as fun because when you found it and what you call a Hooli-Hoop in the bathtub, outside to play is where you wanted to go!  

Right before dinner you came back inside to open all the plastic eggs.  I think your favorite treasures were the body glitter, the Miss Kitty watch, the chocolate coins and the puddy glitter.  I know the puddy glitter was not your Mommy’s favorite treasure because a little someone (meaning you Ellie) got a glob of it stuck in your hair.  How you did that I don’t know… but what I do know now is that puddy glitter is just like gum.  If you get it in your hair, scissors is its only removal!  Luckily your mommy was able to cut the glob of puddy hair out without leaving a bald spot!  Whewwwww… I know a human being Easter bunny that would not be in good graces if that didn’t end well!  Ellie-bean you always make me giggle.  The day was a perfect one as are all my days with you.  God has blessed me greatly Ellie and to Him I make sure to say thank you everyday.

You are and always will be my little jEllie-bean!
Love Mimi

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of April- Blog 3: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

Easter is just about upon us.  And we are quite busy this Easter weekend- with the usual traditions of egg hunts, church, and a big family dinner.

Final Thought: Continue to always ask why…. don’t do things simply because people tell you, know the meaning and depth behind what is asked of you!

This year, we started hiding Resurrection Eggs and making Easter cookies for Easter, a tradition I want to continue throughout the years.  Both tell the story of Jesus’ last days.  For the Resurrection Eggs, I hid them first.  You would find them and then we would read the biblical passages (actually, the simplified preschool version), opening each egg (finding a concrete piece of the story) to begin a new chapter.  For instance, you found a donkey in the first egg representing Palm Sunday and how the people treated Jesus as a king.  

We opened 12 eggs in total, the last being a white empty one.  That represented the empty tomb in which Jesus had risen.  I loved the passage about Judah in particular; you compared him to Hans in Frozen (and I thought that was brilliant… yes Ellie, both were pretenders).  

The Easter cookies (also known as Resurrection cookies) were fun to make and each step of the recipe also recounted Jesus’ last moments on Earth so it reinforced the egg activity.  

One of the final steps was sealing the oven (which represented the tomb) and we had to leave the cookies in there for several hours (the directions said to preheat the oven and as soon as the cookie sheet is inserted, you turn the oven off).  The prompt for this part of the activity was to get you to understand sadness… because you had to wait (symbolizing the grief of those who loved Jesus).  You weren’t even the slightest bit sad because you had been eating the M&M’s and batter throughout the whole recipe so your belly was full!  

We dyed our Easter eggs talking about how they symbolize new life (just as spring is allowing those buds to form on the trees outside).

You asking why and looking for explanations is not just with the Easter holiday, the word ‘why’ has become quite the theme in our house lately.  Your questions are so thoughtful but it’s hard for me to explain them in your terms so I often go to YouTube for visual support (which helped you understand why it rains and why you can see the moon in the daytime).  Ellie, especially with matters of faith, don’t hesitate to question.  It will deepen your understanding of all things.

Happy Easter my sweet girl!

Love you,


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of April- Blog 2: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Little Miss Ellie!

I do hope your Mommy’s and my love of writing will some day become a love of yours too.  If that happens El, then I also hope that your Great-Great Grandmother Mundy’s talent of writing poems peeks a desire within you to give that style of creative writing a try also.  For me poetry is a fun challenge.  You see Spring officially arrived on March 20th, but you would never know it, because Mother Nature will not let go of Winter!  I think this is the first week of consistently nice spring weather so let’s hope it stays!

This picture was taken in late March!

Final Thoughts:  When frustrated, happy, stressed, or sad write a poem in the moment of your emotion.

Then just like that, thoughts and words pertaining to the seasons began entering my head.  If you remember my January blog on New Years Resolutions Ellie, I made my own resolution to pen more poetry this year.  And since the computer makes erasing a lot easier I quickly started typing all those thoughts and words that were swirling around in my head, changed a few, and rearranged some others, until I finally had a poem that captured my emotion.  Oh, and Ellie, the cool thing about poetry is there are no rules… no sentence structure rules, no capitals and punctuation rules, and no grammatical rules.  You get to create your own rules to fit your poems personality! 
So here is mine:

Spring Has Yet To Be Sprung

Spring has not yet sprung
Although it has been trying
Winter’s been procrastinating
And a tad bit defying!

The sun wants to warm
All the earth to sprout to green
But that nasty northern Vortex
Has a strength of mind: to be seen!

Every once in awhile
You’ll see a blossom rise
But then the temperature drops
And we’re in for another surprise!

A whipping wind to chill us
A flurry here and there
Oh Winter, you’re quite determined
To push back the Springtime air.

March is soon to leave us
And April’s around the bend
Oh please, oh please Mother Nature
Tame your wrath and let it end.

I can hear the birds a calling
As the rays of sun push through
The days are getting longer
And the earth’s canvas needs a hue.

You’ve done your job of cleansing
And getting rid of all the old
It’s time for you to hibernate
And ease up on that winter cold.

The Spring season and its rebirth
Has quietly begun
To awaken our earth and body
So Winter… It’s time to be done!

By: Michelle Russell

Ellie, your Mommy has already had you out to a few parks and riding your bike.  
And I can’t wait to join you!  Let’s catch some fireflies and eat ice cream in the backyard!  Even in my temporary frustration, I know the consistent spring weather is just days away and I am excitedly looking forward to spending it outdoors with you and Will!

Love you Ellie-girlfriend!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Final Thoughts Month of April- Blog 1: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

You and I already get into many meeting of the minds.  Like I constantly say, you have such a stubborn and strong-willed personality.  For instance, I know that I have to give myself extra time getting you ready for ballet because the inevitable, “I can’t wear this because it’s too tight!” ensues (but you always relent because you love the class so much).  And bath time at our house is a nightmare (you constantly cry out “I’m cold but the water is too hot,” “You are washing my hair too fast”). Brushing your hair in the morning is terrible, as the slightest tangle makes you scream (and you have very fine, stringy hair at this age).  But you are a smart girl and you can rectify many of your problems.  For example, two weeks ago while untangling your hair amidst many tears, you said, “I want to be like Rapunzel at the END of the movie.”  Well, that’s where she cut off her braid!  So I seized the moment, grabbed scissors and we have ALL been happier every since!  

So here is some advice to continue your own problem solving.

Final Thoughts: Although you are only a few years old, there are a couple of things within your control. 
  1. Please don’t ever say that, “he/she made me feel ___(fill in the blank with any emotion___.)”  Only you can manage your feelings.  When you say that someone made you feel a certain way, you have just handed your power over to him or her.  If you want to convey your feelings to someone, use I statements, “I feel ______ when you _______.”  This sentence is much more constructive and will lead to more communication and probable resolution.  Choose not to be a victim and make positive changes.          
  2. Please don’t ever say that you are bored.  Bored people are boring (like Mr. Knit Knots on Imagination Movers).  You have a mind (not to mention a million toys and books) at your disposal.  Use them.  You will become a more enlightened person because of it. 

You control your own destiny.  Take responsibility for becoming the best you possible.    

Don’t lose your spunk Ellie… it keeps me on my toes!

Love you,