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Monday, February 28, 2011

A peek at Ellie at school

Every now and then I get an insight into what my Ellie is like at school. I am always at awe with how proud I am to be her Mommy.

Last week I picked her up for a doctor's appointment. When she saw me, she stopped eating her snack and then went over to her friends Michael, Brynn and Isabella (who were sitting at a different table) and explained to them why she was leaving. I was tickled by the fact that she explained to them, "Don't you worry. Even dough I'm leaving, you're still my friend. I will be back soon. I will be back dis afternoon. DON'T WORRY. You are still my friend." Ha!

Her teachers recently provided us with a survey of her skills (something our previous daycare never did). It served as a tool for the teachers to know how they can improve their lessons and let the parents know where their kids stand in terms of learning. Anyway... the teacher's summary at the end:

"Ellie is such a sweet little girl full of energy and spunk. She loves learning and is always filled with questions about waht we're doing. She has a good heart and enjoys being the "motherly" figure among her friends. We (heart) her!"

Awww shucks!

Another insight... Nana takes Ellie to Spanish class every week. She picks her up from school and drops her off again. She told us that it's neat to see Ellie interact as school. It's almost like she's the Queen Bee of her classroom. In her words:

"Yes, I love to pick her up in the middle of her day at school. She seems so happy and well adjusted. The other kids tend to flock around her. She seems very interactive, kind and sympathetic with the other kids."

Awww shucks!

Perhaps I haven't said it recently, but my Ellie is just incredible.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ellie's Photos I

Ellie got a camera for Christmas and I've been excited to see what things she thinks are worth taking photos of. It's a whole different way of seeing the world through a child's eyes that I have yet to experience. I think we need to figure out how to get the flash to work better, but these aren't too bad for a first-pass. I love how so many of them are pictures of Addie, and pictures of Addie up close to the camera at that. It makes me giggle. And I love how Ellie will ask "Is it ok if I take a picture of you?" Yes! Yes! Please... take a picture of whatever makes you smile!

Anyway, without further ado, I give you Ellie's photos:

Mommy at Christmas at Nana's house.

Grandpa, Haydn and Brandy... and of course a little bit of Addie.

Nana.

Daddy flying Ellie's magical flying fairy.

Brandy taking a picture of Ellie taking a picture.

Uncle David's birthday cake.

Uncle David.

Little sister Addie.

Mommy and Daddy.

Addie and Mommy.

Addie and Mommy.

Mommy.

Mommy, Addie and Merlin.

Mommy.

Addie playing with Gniffer Gnomes.

Little Addie.

Mommy being silly.

Little Addie.

Little Addie.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Daddy and Addie

Addie has really turned a corner in recent weeks. Mommy has always been top of the list of favorite people for both of the girls, and especially Addie. Up until recently her preference for me was so strong that she would cry if Daddy ever came close. It was heartbreaking to witness and I felt horrible for Daddy.

So thank goodness that seems to be gone now! Oh sure, she still prefers me, but she has really warmed up to Daddy lately and it has been such a pleasure to see. He is such a good Daddy and it makes my heart sing to watch them together. They play together and tease each other. There's lots of smiles and giggles and squeals.

A few weeks ago Addie gave Daddy a great big hug. It was a BIG moment for him.

Every week I take Ellie to gymnastics and Daddy gets a few hours alone with Addie. Most of the time they go to Chick-Fil-A, eat tons of food, and play on the playground. Addie does it all by herself. She's able to climb up and explore and go down the slide - without any assistance. She's quite the little explorer.

My favorite part is coming home and hearing Daddy say "OMG! That is a CUTE little girl." Often he doesn't have any specific examples, but I understand exactly what he's saying. Our little Addie is... almost too cute for words.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Big Sister Quote of the Day

Mommy: Oh, look, Ellie! Look at the little baby! Look how small she is!
Ellie: Awww... She's so cute!
Mommy: Yes she is.
Ellie: Hey Mommy? Did you remember when our baby was that tiny?
Mommy: Yeah Addie used to be that small too. It wasn't very long ago.
Ellie: Yeah, and do you remember when she was this tiny (squinting her eyes and pinching her fingers to about 1/4 inch spacing) and she was so cute! But now, she's so big! And now she's walking! And now she can go on the slides! ALL. BY. HERSELF.
Mommy: She has grown up so much, hasn't she?
Ellie: Yeah and we're very proud of her, right Mommy? We're very proud of our baby.
Mommy: Yes we are. I'm proud of both of my girls.
Ellie: Yeah. You are proud to be the Mommy, right?
Mommy: Right.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A moment in time

video

A silly bouncing Ellie. It's just one of those moments I know I'll always cherish.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ellie's School Art

Some recent favorites from school:

Rainbow for Daddy.

Ellie's Colorado Sunset.

Ellie was shown this picture of a snowboarder and asked to tell a story. Her story: This girl is skateboarding in the cold. Her name is Feek and she is two and a half years old. She is skateboarding to the store to buy apple juice.

"Letters, rainbows, snails and lollipops make me happy."

I've always been a sucker for stained glass windows. How pretty!

A little Van Gogh, anyone?

And I saved the best for last... CHERRY BLOSSOMS!!! My favorite! Ellie tells me that each blossom has a leaf. Sure enough, she's right. Love them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sleepover!!!

Michael and I had a moment of insanity last Friday when we volunteered to take both Audrey and Clive for the night so that Aunt Erin and Adam could have the night off. Watching four kids at the same time is a bit of a daunting task (I don't know how larger families do it) but we ended up having a lot of fun.

After getting the kids into their PJs, we let them watch an episode of Dora. For whatever reason, we couldn't get Audrey to stop picking her nose...

... If you can't beat them, join them!

While Michael was putting the younger kids to bed (which went remarkably well), Audrey and Ellie went downstairs and colored in bed.

And remarkably they were in bed by 8:20!!! After 10 minutes of playing and pretending to sleep, I left them to go upstairs. I LEFT THEM AT 8:30!!! Not too shabby, Niffer!

The night went pretty well. Clive woke up screaming like a banchi, which had Michael up and out of his bed, in Ellie's room next to Clive before he even woke. Clived settled quickly and went back to sleep. Ellie woke up and wanted water. Then she couldn't find Bun Bun. Then she wanted her special rock. By that point we woke up Audrey, but she went back to sleep quickly too.

It wasn't until the next morning that we thought about having Ellie wear the same PJs as Audrey! But one good thing about waking up early (6:00 in this instance) is that there's plenty of time to ammend such mistakes before leaving for breakfast.

After an episode of Madeleine...

... the older girls played a game of Hullabaloo. It's one of Audrey's favorites. I loved watching their funky dances. Ellie, especially, has mastered her routine. She is so silly and it puts a smile on my face every time.

And I leave you with this. Sweet little Clive. He was such a snuggle bug. And after spending the night with three girls, you can't say it's a surprise that he had to try wearing a headband too. See the Cherrios? He gave Addie his cup a couple times only to have her spill the Cherrios on the floor. He seemed so frustrated that she wasted his gift that the next cupful of Cherrios he got, he kept close to him. Whenever Addie came in sight, he'd start yelling "NO! NO! NO!" Too funny.

Anyway... we had a lot of fun. And other than it taking us 3 times the norm to get the kids ready, we managed. We survived. And we're looking forward to doing it again! Not as much as we're looking forward to when Aunt Erin and Adam repay the favor, but none-the-less...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tid-Bits

I love watching preschoolers try to make sense of the game Duck Duck Goose. Some never pick a "goose" and only continues to say "duck." Some don't know they need to run. Some don't stop running. Some run through the circle instead of around, while others simply run into the corner for safety. It is fantastic.

I love when I say and sign "I love you" to Addie, she crosses her arms and gives herself a big hug.

I love how instead of waiting for her teacher to arrive in her own classroom, Ellie wants to wait in Addie's classroom with her. She likes to stay with her little sister, even if for just a few minutes every morning.

I love how even now I hear stories from their teachers about how "Addie gave her sister a big hug when we went out to play" or "Ellie went over to see why Addie was crying and gave her a hug."

I love how when either of the grandmothers first show up, Addie has to give them something. If she's already holding something, that's what she'll offer. If not, she'll grab the closest thing and hand it to Grandma.

I love how when I go to pick Addie up from school, she eyes light up, but instead of running to me for a hug like she used to (that's great too), she now takes off running in circles around the room. She laughs and laughs as though to say "Run run as fast as you can! You can't catch me!" So funny.

Grandpa told me a story about when the girls stayed with them recently. Addie pointed to her coat and said "Da!" Grandpa put on her coat. She then pointed to the door and said "Da!" Grandpa opened the door. Addie proceeded to climb down the front steps (Grandpa grabbed his coat to join) and just continued to walk down the sidewalk. And that's how Grandpa decided to go for a walk with little Addie.

I've said it before - how much I love that Addie goes to sleep so easily, but recently she has started to not be so eager to get out of bed. I'll go in to get her in the morning and she'll wiggle around on her mattress for a few minutes, teasing me but not letting me pick her up. Cute. Perhaps it's a sign that some day she'll love to sleep in too?

I love a warm day at the park. I love living in a place where the sun and the shade know what their different roles in life are.

I love watching my Ellie make friends. Teachers at school say she is very social and is liked by everyone, but nothing beats witnessing it first-hand. Meeting a new friend at the park, and making up games to play with her. It is a sight to see and makes me so proud.

I love how it seems whenever Addie doesn't know how to answer you, she hesitates and then decides to lift her shirt to show you her belly. "Addie, do you want to help me clean the kitchen?" Uhhh... let me think... Here, this oughta distract you.

I love how even though we got Merlin when Ellie was Addie's age, he is definitely Addie's dog. He belongs to Addie. No doubt about it.

I love how Addie will pretend to sneak up on you and then when she gets close, she reaches up and grabs your nose. She giggles and runs away.

I love how sometimes when Addie grabs my nose I can say "Gentle. Be gentle." And then she'll start petting my nose instead.

I wish I could have gotten this on video... Daddy said the other day when he was putting the girls to bed and reading them books in Addie's room, they were both laying on her big puppy listening to him read. But they weren't really paying attention. Instead they were taking turns grabbing each other's noses and making funny sounds. Lots of laughter occurred. I wish I had seen it.

I love that I just wrote three separate Tid-Bits about Addie's obsession with noses. Make that four, I guess.

I have observed Addie sneaking (or perhaps it's flying) up on Merlin. She lowers her head and sticks her arms straight behind her, and then walks slowly up to him. Then she starts pounding on him; Merlin got up and moved. Then she "flew" over to him again for more.

I love how much Addie loves her bouncy balls. If you asked her, there is nothing more fun than a bouncy ball. She has a point.

I love how 99% of the time, Ellie is running in circles within a couple minutes of eating candy or ice cream. Literally. CIRCLES. It's the craziest thing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Snowy Valentines Day

*
This year it has been much snowier than usual, and I absolutely LOVE it. I'm not sure I can ever truly get tired of the snow, though even as I say that I also know how much I appreciate other warmer weather too. I'm sure that's why I love Colorado so much - each season is so distinct.

But snow... 2011 marks the tenth year that I truly love the snow. Before that I always appreciated it and thought it was beautiful, but it just didn't compare to the love I have for it now. Snow will always have a special place in my heart, followed by the Eiffel Tower, Aspen Leaves, Cherry Blossoms, Daffodils, Sunflowers and Pumpkins. Oh - and let's not forget about Christmas!

Back to the point, Niffer! SNOW! I love it and I'll tell you why... because of the moment he spoke of in this letter:

Dear Jennifer,

I wanted to take a moment of time to let you know what you mean to me. I know you can't possibly hear this as much as you deserve.

One afternoon we were sitting in the Engineering Center lobby, and you were looking out at the snow falling. You turned to me and asked, "What do you think people take for granted? I think they don't appreciate the snow." I always thought you were attractive, but in my eyes, that moment made you beautiful. Never since have I ever watched the snow fall, and not thought of you, and really appreciated it.

I can honestly say that you have brought so much light into my life, that I am a better person for having known you. I just thought you should know.

So, have a happy Valentine's Day, and if you would excuse me, I am going to go watch the snow fall.

Always,
Michael


Written in 2002, that letter was the beginning of my Happily Ever After. Thank you, Michael, for being my Happily Ever After. Happy Valentine's Day! I love you more than ever!


* Photo found at this site.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ellie's Art IV

Aside from the assigned craft projects, most of Ellie's art from school entails swirls and colors filling an entire page. It can't usually be called a "drawing" per-se. But every now and then she shows me a gem like this one. It's Brynn and Ellie, of course. Too cute. Notice the lines across the top of their heads? Those are foreheads (more on that concept below).

It made me realize that it's been a while since Ellie has done any drawings, so when we went to a restaurant with some friends, I was thrilled when Ellie (on her own accord) drew a picture of Addie and Ellie holding hands and a picture of Mommy and Daddy making funny faces. Much to my absolute dismay, we left the drawings at the restaurant. Ellie told me that it was ok because she drew them for me to throw them away. Little did she know their worth to me. So after a minor melt-down on my part (yes I was upset enough to cry), Ellie was nice enough to draw me some more pictures:
Here is Mommy and Daddy making funny faces, Take II. They're not as silly looking as the originals. In fact these ones look a little scary, but Ellie insists the Mommy is sticking out her curled tongue and daddy is doing something funny with his lips. This time, they're holding hands too. Take note of the foreheads. I think it's funny that Ellie isn't drawing the top of people's heads unless she specifically says they need foreheads (in this case, Mommy has a forehead but Daddy does not). Also notice the eyeballs... instead of being a single circle she has started to draw pupils. Interesting. Her fingers need work, as they resemble old fashioned TV antennas more than anything else, but I think they're fantastic.
Here is Ellie and Addie, Take II. I LOVE it!!! Maybe even more so than the original. I love how they're smiling with their teeth, even though their smiles go beyond their teeth. Notice they don't have foreheads. I'm not sure why that is, but she did remember the most important part - the two sisters are holding hands!

After duplicating the two lost drawings and making Mommy much happier, Ellie wanted to draw some more. So together, she and Daddy drew peacocks...

... and cheetahs...

... and finally snakes.

Then it was Mommy's turn. We drew puppies...

... and owls...

... and finally sea turtles. She insisted on coloring in the ocean around the turtles. I think she was particularly proud of this one. It's displayed prominently on our fridge as we speak.