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Friday, December 30, 2011

Tid Bits

It's strange to think that this is the last post of 2011... I suppose a Tid-Bits post is appropriate, but I have to just say that I am one incredibly blessed mother. Life is good.

I love that when Addie is happy, she says "I haf 'appy feet! See?" and proceeds to stomp around. She does it daily. Love it.

I love that Ellie is starting to understand the concept of Santa having "helpers" who dress up and pretend to be him, but the way she asks about it cracks me up. "Mommy? That Santa isn't human, is he? Right?"

I love how Addie gets incredibly quiet when she's tired. She'll nod to answer "yes" but beyond that, the only response you'll get from her is a blank stare.

I love to see how proud Ellie is to hand over Christmas presents that she bought with her OWN money to those she loves. MAGIC.

I love how when Addie comes home, she goes up to the Christmas tree and rearranges a few bulbs. Our tree has subtle changes every day.

I love watching Addie and Ellie give each other hugs and kisses before parting ways at school. Addie has even begun to say "I love you, Lee-elle." Sigh. Melt my heart.

There are certain dresses that the girls have that are super soft (velvet, perhaps)? They love to wear dresses, but in particular these ones. I'm sure it has something to do with Mommy claiming that she just can't help herself... she just HAS to hug them if they're wearing something so soft. And she just can't stop hugging them and may never let them go. It's not my fault. They're THAT soft.

I am so blessed to have two girls who do not hesitate to say they're sorry if they accidentally hurt someone. Sure they feel bad. They feel guilty, but they are able to apologize, give hugs and know that they're still loved even if they made a mistake.

Ellie used to call Gummie Bears "Yummy Bears," but Addie calls them "Dummy Bears."

I love that Ellie calls Antlers "Ant Ears" and she insists that butterflies have them (instead of antenna).

I've said it before, but I'll say it again (it's just THAT GOOD)... I absolutely love how every time Addie tells me she loves me, she says "I love you, Best Friend!" I think it's impossible to top that one.

I love how the girls have developed the habit of "falling asleep" as soon as we get home. They pretend to be sleeping when Mommy and Daddy get them out of the car. Daddy usually tickles Ellie until she can hardly breathe and Mommy usually carries Addie in like a baby.

Speaking of "pretending to sleep," I think it's funny when Addie approaches me, walking with her eyes closed. She's pretending to be asleep but wants to be closer to me. Too cute.

I have to giggle now that Addie has become the Enforcer of polite manners. If Ellie (or even Mommy or Daddy, for that matter) wants something, she says "Say peas!" before giving it to us. Afterwards she's so proud of herself for being nice.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Your turn Mommy

Mommy: I have you. You're stuck!
Addie: Oh no!
Mommy: How do you get out?
Addie: I donno.
Mommy: You have to kiss me.
Addie: (kiss)
Mommy: Oh, now you're free!
Addie: Your gurn!
Mommy: My turn?
Addie: (putting her arms as far around me as possible) You duck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Little Christmas 2011

Daddy and I strongly considered just getting away for the holidays. We have so much family that we'd love to spend time with that it seemed like it would be impossible to have our own "little Christmas" with just the girls. However, we never actually made any plans.

And it was perfect.

Though we did exchange presents with some family last week, and again on Christmas Eve, we had Christmas day all to ourselves. It was exactly what I wanted to do for Christmas.

We had told Ellie that even though it was Christmas, she still needed to wait until 7:00 to wake up. So at exactly 7:00, we heard her door quietly open. She went into Addie's room and we heard her whisper loudly "At-a-line, do you want to get up? It's Christmas! Let's wake Mommy and Daddy!" Then we heard pitter-pattering feet scurry into our rooms.

Ellie was literally jumping with excitement. "It's Christmas! It's Christmas!" It looked like she was going to explode with excitement. Addie just smiled, but she knew something was special about today and she looked excited to find out what. Ellie didn't want to wait for us to wake up. Instead, she pulled Daddy's hand until he fell out of bed.

In all honesty, that's probably the best part of the day and certainly the thing that lends itself most to a blog post. We went downstairs and started first with the stockings that Daddy stuffed. We learned that Mommy needs to be in charge of Daddy's stocking, which was not something she was told this year. Whoops.

I loved that Daddy put so much thought into the stocking gifts. It showed me that this is a tradition I'm sure to enjoy every year. There were subtle, yet really thoughtful gifts like the "How to Train Your Dragon" movie because Addie is our little dragon (she always insists on putting her coat on her head instead of wearing it "I be a dragon!").

What I loved about that moment, though, was that as excited that Ellie was about Christmas, she didn't seem to act as though it was all about the presents, and certainly not all about Santa's presents. In fact, Santa's gold presents sat there patiently until we were done with the stockings and it was MOMMY who reminded Ellie that there were presents to open.

She got exactly what she wanted... a super soft stuffed unicorn. The rest is just a blur.

We spent the morning making a mess in our house, which has yet to be cleaned even 2 days later. Just sitting around and BEING was such a blessing. I simply could not get enough of my daughters. For those of you who have younger kids, I officially declare 4.5 years as the PERFECT age for Christmas.

In the afternoon, we decided to take advantage of the cheap movie tickets and we watched the Muppet Show with Aunt Erin, Adam and Uncle Jacob. It was nice, though, to not have to hurry and worry about the hustle and bustle of hosting an official dinner. We just "were."

The girls were so much fun. Ellie loves her unicorn as "unicorn" is her pretend animal of choice. Addie loved seeing the dragon movie as "dragon" is one of her pretend animals of choice (along with a cat). She also got a penguin stuffed animal which is perfect as she is always saying "I got happy feet like pen-gins!" whenever she's happy. She must have said that 20 times today, and quite honestly I couldn't agree more.

I have happy feet too.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa's Present

When I picked Ellie up from school on Friday, she proudly handed me a wrapped gift.

Mommy: Another present for me?
Ellie: No. It's for Santa!
Teacher: I tried to ask her if she wanted to give it to a family member, but she insisted on giving a present to Santa because he doesn't get any presents and Ellie says everyone should get at least one present.
Mommy: Is that true?
Ellie: (so proud) Ah huh!

She exited the room jumping up and down with excitement for her present for Santa. I don't think the jumping stopped until long after we opened presents Sunday morning.

Aside from the fact that I now have to proudly display her Santa present in our STORAGE room, completely out of sight... I love the fact that she thought of him. To reward her, Santa left a letter to say Thank You. She beamed when I read it to her.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa's Reindeer

Mommy: What song do you want me to sing?
Ellie: Rudolph the red nose reindeer.
Mommy: Rudolph the red nose reindeer...
Ellie: No, sing it like Daddy does.
Mommy: (crap) Uh... You know Dasher and Comet and Dupid and Blixen, Donner and Monner, Blu-ha and Mmmm-na... but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?! Rudolph the red nose reindeer...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ellie's Christmas present to Addie

Ellie: Guess what, At-a-line?
Addie: What?
Ellie: I got you a present! But I can't tell you what it is. It's a surprise and you can open it on Christmas. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but you're really going to like it. It's really soft and you can wear it on your feet with your PJs. You can't wear them outside, but you can wear them to bed if you want. They will keep your feet warm and are really soft. I think you'll like them. They're kind of like shoes, but not really. I am not going to tell you what it is because it's a surprise. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Big Sister Quote of the Day

Mommy: Shhh... let's whisper. Do you think Addie would like this for Christmas?
Ellie: Sure! Hey At-a-line?!
Mommy: No... Shhh! We can't tell her yet. It's a secret.
Ellie: No, I was going to tell her someping else.
Daddy: Uh huh. Sure.
Ellie: At-a-line... uh... I love you more than the world.
Mommy: Aw, that's so sweet.
Ellie: At-a-line, I love you even MORE than that because you are a good sister to me.
Addie: (Big smiles)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Perfect Harmony

Awww... No words needed. Just please pass the tissue.

Addie's Christmas Performance:
video
video

Ellie's Christmas Performance:
video
video

Of course I saved the best for last. I love that Ellie has been walking around singing that song over and over again. Love it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter Cabining

Last week we went "cabining," which is basically camping in a cabin. Since it was in the middle of winter we weren't sure how it would turn out. When you go camping, you spend the majority of the day outside, but what would it be like if you're outside all day with young children who have cold fingers and noses?

It turns out that it went splendidly (my favorite word today). Sadly I don't have many photos because I froze my camera, but I suppose even in this day and age I have to rely on my memories. We went up with Gramma, Aunt Erin, Adam, Ellie, Addie, Daddy and myself and had a blast. We did spend the majority of the day outside, but little snow pants and double layers of mittens seemed to do the trick.

We started with sledding down a small hill behind our cabin. Oh the squeals! The girls so loved it all. Ellie was more than willing to help pull the sled up the hill and helped organize everyone so that we would know whose turn it was next. We ended up breaking two sleds by the end of the day (ours and one belonging to the people in the cabin next door) but it was well worth it.

After a while, Addie got tired of going back up the hill (I was carrying her, so I had no problems at all agreeing with her decision), so we stayed at the bottom and played in the snow. It has been decades since I've played that much in the snow. We'd grab handfuls of powder and throw it over our heads saying "It's snowing!" Addie, in turn would do her patented "Ready? Set! Go!" before each toss. After who knows how long, we made snow angels, though Addie called them Snowflakes. "Make more snowflakes Mommy! Ready? Set! Go!"

Later Daddy and Ellie dug out a tunnel from a snow bank. First they dug the tunnel (not an easy feat I'm sure) and then Ellie said "Ok, NOW we need a cave." After connecting the cave to the tunnel, it ended up having THREE entrances! Ellie was so proud. Quite honestly I was impressed too.

Hot cocoa, marshmallows, board games and lots of giggles from the girls entertaining themselves on the bunk beds were all perfect endings to a surprisingly enjoyable weekend in the cold.

It almost made us forget that we had to bundle up and walk across the campground to go potty.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keep it Together, Niffer

A couple years ago I wrote a post titled Mary Did You Know? I heard the song again today (of course, it's that time of the year again) and nearly broke down thinking of all the ways that my Ellie and Addie will change the world, and of all the ways they have already changed mine.

Recently I have been going to various open houses for Kindergarten at the different local elementary schools. Ok, granted, it's no miracle going to Kindergarten but I was still surprised at how difficult it was for me to attend the open houses. MY Ellie will be in Kindergarten NEXT YEAR!!! My Ellie is old enough for me to have to go to the open houses for open enrollment. That's just crazy.

No matter what greatness is in store for Ellie's future... Kindergarten is the next big step. I don't think you fully understand the significance of that last sentence. I doubt that as you read this you have the same knot of pride and anxiety in your stomach as I do.

I am already awed my my daughters, but to see where they're going to go next is exciting. Wondering what activities and interests she wants to pursue is keeping me at the edge of my seat in anticipation. Regardless of the miracles Ellie may or may not perform in her life time, Kindergarten is the next step... and that means Mommy has to keep it together long enough to listen to the principal tell me why his school is a good match for my little girl.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Speechless

One of Ellie's more random comments...

Ellie: Mommy did you know that when I wear these panties, the one with the stars and hearts, it makes me think of you and Daddy getting married.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Add to the list of Niffer Favorites...

Laying under the Christmas tree, singing Christmas carols with my girls.

Friday, December 09, 2011

The loss of a tree

Ellie: Oh no! Mommy look!
Mommy: What was it? I didn't see it.
Ellie: It was a baby tree covered in snow.
Mommy: Oh?
Ellie: And it wasn't pretty like the big trees because the snow made it fall down. It broke the tree.
Mommy: Oh that's kind of sad.
Ellie: It is really sad because it was my favorite tree and now it will die. Every day we are going to drive past it and every day I will see it die more and more and that will make me sad... Hey! I know! If I get too sad, I can go home and dream about my favorite tree and how beautiful it used to be. I can have good dreams about how I remember it being pretty!
Mommy: Oh, that's a wonderful idea - to think of all the happy memories you have.
Ellie: Yeah but then I'm going to wake up and realize that my favorite tree is still going to die.

... Sigh... She's too young for such deep thoughts, isn't she?

Then, to put a happy, more age appropriate twist to the conversation, here is where it ended:

Ellie: Hey, Mommy? Do you want to know what happened to my favorite baby tree?
Mommy: I thought you said the wind knocked it down.
Ellie: No, a big fire came by and the tree caught on fire! And den the cows jumped the fence and blowed the fire out! But the fire made the trees all black so the cows jumped back home and ate their grass.
Mommy: Whoa!
Ellie: I know!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Meeting Destiny

My gnomes are starting to take over the world, but I'm sure it's in a good way. Seriously, the magic that they seem to be bringing to the small group of people who know about them (I'm nearing 1,000 Facebook Fans!!!) is just amazing. The comments of support and love I receive from otherwise strangers just warms my heart. Magic. Pure magic.

But there I go, avoiding the topic at hand. To be honest, I'm a bit scared to write this post because I just don't think I can do it justice. I recently posted on my facebook page a comment saying I was considering trying to raise a little money for a local family in need. When all was said and done, I was able to raise about $325, three deluxe fairy doors from Enchanted Doorways, one sock monkey and one sock dinosaur from Socky Toys to help Destiny. Wow!

So last night (as I write this) we went over to meet Destiny herself. She needed to pick the winner of the raffle! I'll be honest I was a bit nervous meeting Tammy and her family in person. Why? I suppose now is a good time for a bit of background.

I "met" Tammy years ago and have always been impressed by her. She has a disability (I think it's cerebral palsy though I've never confirmed this) that has left her in a wheel chair and a level of difficulty talking. Yet somehow she is able to be a fantastic mother, completely engaged in her children's lives. Combine that with her recently becoming a single mother and learning about her daughter's diagnosis... how does she do it all? She's amazing.

That being said, I was nervous about last night. How would Ellie and Addie react to her disability? How would I react? Would I be able to understand her when she spoke? What about Destiny? What if she had a seizure while we were visiting? How would that affect Ellie? So many unknowns and only one way to find out the answers.

In a nutshell (yeah right), it went really well. Destiny and Ellie got along so well it was incredible. Destiny was so generous and gave Ellie a necklace, telling her that the moon light shines on it to give it magical powers. Ellie, in return, assured Destiny that she would wear the necklace every time she came to visit and would take very good care of it.

It was nice to see Benny too, who obviously did a great job of taking care of his Mommy and his sister. He was such a smart boy and loved to play with Addie.

And then there was Tammy. What an incredible woman! For the most part I was able to understand everything she said, though I'm sure she was talking deliberately for my sake. The thing that sticks with me today, which is the aspect I'm almost afraid to write about, is how thankful she was. Here is a woman whose life is so far from anything I can imagine, and yet she went on and on about how blessed she is. She does not know what will happen to Destiny, but she feels blessed to be able to spend TODAY with her daughter.

We talked a lot about our kids. Destiny used to be like Addie, so easy going, calm and "go with the flow." With her medications, she has developed ADHD so it's hard for Tammy to see her little girl becoming someone else. Then again, only a month ago she wasn't able to function, let alone play with friends. I had a hard time keeping it together while I imagined what it would be like to slowly lose my daughter like that.

To say the night was powerful just isn't saying enough. As we were leaving I remembered that we still needed a video of Destiny choosing a raffle winner. The magic came after the winner was chosen, when the kids decided that they wanted to go through ALL the names because it was so much fun. So 40 minutes later we had wonderful videos of the children thanking each of the many raffle participants. See the videos here.

When we left (for REAL this time), both Ellie and Addie gave Tammy a hug. It melted my heart to see that they had no problems with her. Ellie claims she does not want to come back for another play date, but she only wants to come back if they can do a sleepover. Heheheh... her and her sleepovers.

Though it was a later night than I anticipated, it was well worth it. When we got home Ellie wanted to stand in the moon light long enough to allow her beautiful necklace to soak in as much magic as possible. I wonder if she and Destiny know just how much magic they really do bring to the world - with or without the aid of moonbeams.

If you would like to read more about Destiny, please see her Wings for Destiny blog.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Niffer's Winter Wonderland

In many ways this is the first year that I feel like we're going to have our own "family" Chriatmas. It's the first year that I've been able to decorate to the point where I have myself my very own winter wonderland...
... complete with tree...

... snow globe, Santa and snowman...

... table centerpiece (ooohhh... ahhhh!!!)...

... stocking hung with care (no we don't have a fireplace - sigh)...

... and even fantastic hand-me-down wall decor!!!

Oh did I forget to mention that Ellie helped with decorating "the North Pole."

Niffer is one jolly soul this year.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Not all babies are cute

Ellie: And pretend that I was having a baby and you said "Excuse me lady, but are you going to have a baby pig?" and I say "No, she's just my sweet baby" but den I had the baby and I was surprised that it was a pig and you say "I told you so."

Friday, December 02, 2011

Tid-Bits

Wihtout any prompting, Addie will often say "I you Mommy." Awww... I love you too Addie!

Ellie wishing upon a star: "I wish dat Mommy, Daddy, Addie and me will be friends for all time because dey mean da whole world to me forever."

I love how when she expects something to be loud, Addie puts her hands over her cheeks, not her ears.

I love how much Ellie tries to get Daddy to tickle Mommy. It's as though she knows the more Daddy does it, the happier we all are. Shh... don't tell Daddy she may be on to something.

I love how Addie always whispers "Cock" to let me know it's "dark" outside.

I'm impressed by how well Ellie did with Addie's big girl room. She was so supportive of her little sister and so proud. She didn't take any time to complain about not getting her own new room.

On the way to Nana's house, you can often hear Addie quietly saying "Nana's house? No... Nana's house? No..." as we drive through the neighborhood.

I love how Ellie is when we hang out with our friends and their younger kids. She likes to be the leader but she goes out of her way to make sure that even the shyest of the friends are included in the fun.

An email from the Mommy of one of Addie's friends:
I know it’s been ages since we chatted. It’s fun to see Addie again at Sunset. This morning when I dropped off Michael Ms. Kim said, “give Mom a kiss and hug goodbye” I was kneeled down and Addie ran over and gave me a hug. She is so cute!

I love that Addie enjoys trying to get me to yawn. She seems to think that if she just opens her mouth, I will yawn. She's often right.

I wish that I had been able to transcribe the lyrics to a 20 minute long song titled "I'm Ellie" that was so rudely interrupted by our arrival at our destination (even after taking the scenic route). Darn. I don't think I could even do justice to how many random thoughts it included, though I do recall her singing "And I am loved, so very loved" and "I am precious" a few times, so I guess that's all that matters.

I love that while Ellie was proudly showing off her artwork to Addie's teacher, Addie just stood there next to her big sister, rubbing her back as though to say "It's so good to see you, sister."

I love how in Addie's world, roosters say "Cock a do do!"

I love that when asked what she's thankful for, Ellie said "I'm thankful because I'm special." Then Addie said "Special too!"

Thursday, December 01, 2011

What a shame...

Just a small portion of the lyrics from the "Ellie Song" that she sang for the entire 20 minute ride home one day...

"Bad guys are bad. Sometimes they break your heart and crush your soul. But sometimes they are good and you like them. And then you have a sleepover and you play and tickle each odder. And everyone is happy. Sometimes they make your heart sing but den they have to go home and I say 'I will miss you' and you say 'I will miss you too.' And then I think of them a lot. And then the next day I go to school with my new clothes on and they see me and they don't know who I am because I have new clothes on. I have to tell them my name. I am Ellie. Please remember my name."