Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I love that after months of being put away into a special box, Bun Bun is still the first thing that Ellie requests when she gets sick.

I love that Addie loves being piled under all her blankets. She doesn't like being under her sheets or covers, but pile half a dozen small blankets and she looks as happy as a bug. If you can see her under all the fluff, that is.

I love that fairly often you can hear Ellie telling Addie things like "And if you can't find me, do not worry. I am always here. You are special and you are in my heart. So I am always with you." She has even managed to come up with a song or two with the same theme.

I love that Addie calls Ellie "Lora," "Loria," "Lorelle," "Lee-elle," but recently the most common version has been "Leol" with a soft ending "l" so it sounds more like "Leo."

I love how proud Ellie is to know we watch her during swim lessons. "Are you going to watch me, Mommy? Because I'm going to be so awesome! All I can do is try my very best, but you will see I am going to be so awesome!"

I love that the girls like to see each other giggle. If Daddy is doing something like bouncing the bed around Ellie, she'll giggle and insist "Do it to At-a-line!" Once he's bouncing Addie's bed, she'll say "Do it to Lee-elle!"

Ellie: I know someping that is so funny it will make you laugh all the way!

I love that Addie's ABC's go like this: A B C D E F G H I J K ELMO P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.

I think it's funny how when Daddy is out of town (and thus Ellie gets to sleep with me), Ellie will try to pretend that everything at bed time is "normal" so that Addie doesn't know. She knows that I always sing a bed time song, so she does that for Addie. Then she closes the door and says "Night night, At-a-line. Night night, Lori-elle." Hehehe... Get it? She says it instead of me. I wonder when Addie will catch on.

Perhaps the first AND only time that Ellie has ever eaten all her food AND finished BEFORE the rest of us happened last week while at Red Robin for dinner. Afterwards, she bragged about being first for quite some time - she was so proud. "When I grow up, I'm going to teach everyone how I finished first today!"

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sister Manipulation

Mommy: I think it's Addie's turn to pick the movie.
Ellie: No, I want to! Can I please pick the movie?
Mommy: You can pick 4 movies and Addie can pick one of those.
Ellie: OK. Addie, the four movies you can pick are these: Ella Enchanted, Finding Nemo, Shrek, and The Last Unicorn. Which one do you want to watch?

Can you guess which one Addie picked? I'll give you a hint, Ella Enchanted is not a cartoon. Finding Nemo and Shrek have no music in it and Addie simply never seemed to like them. So....

Addie: Ummm... The last oon-corn.

Sneaky. Then again, I guess I set it up.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ellie tricks me

Ellie: I can trick you. Wanna see?
Mommy: Ok. Show me.
Ellie: What color is Santa's suit?
Mommy: Umm... red.
Ellie: What does Santa ride in?
Mommy: A sled.
Ellie: See? I tricked you. My real question was "what color is the snow."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gorilla Girls

I've learned a lot about my girls this last week, all thanks to gorillas. First, let me say I believe that Ellie is pure of heart and soul. Every now and then she steps up to the plate and takes care of other people when they're scared. Especially Addie.

The other day we were at the airport picking up Daddy. We went into that beautiful store full of large photographic prints. I love that store as it's inspiring to see such beautiful images of nature. I thought that the girls would enjoy seeing the pictures too, especially the ones of the animals or fall colors.

It went well until we came around the corner and found ourselves face-to-face with a gorilla. A gorilla photo, that is, but Addie was terrified. She stopped in her tracks and her eyes got really big. She refused to move, even to move away. She was frozen with fear.

Ellie did not hesitate. As soon as she noticed that Addie was scared, she walked over to her and put her arm around her little sister. "It's ok. I'm here. I will keep you safe." She hugged her and Addie sighed a visible sigh of relief. "It's just a picture, but I understand why you are scared. It's a gorilla. I bet he's a friendly gorilla even if he looks a little scary." Addie did not agree, so Ellie said "How about we leave the gorilla alone now? Come on, I'll walk with you." She slowly turned Addie around (Addie was still frozen with fear), and gently nudged her toward the door.


A similar thing happened a couple days later at a restaurant. They sat us down next to a big poster of King Kong, and as soon as Addie noticed the poster, she was balling with tears of fear. Ellie put her arm around Addie for comfort. We told Addie that we could ask the waitress for a new table, and when the waitress came by Addie was actually able to ask through her tears "I have a new table please." Then when the waitress didn't understand, Ellie stepped up and said "She's scared of that pitcher and wants to know if we can sit at a different table." Ellie had her arms around Addie to comfort her all the way to the new, safer table.


Apparently our little Ellie instinctively knows when her sister needs her, and our little Addie is not a fan of gorillas.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Addie is Psychic

Addie: Ouch. Ow.
Mommy: What happened?
Addie: I bonked my head.
Mommy: You did? When?
Addie: Now (proceeds to bonk her head).

Monday, January 23, 2012

She gets it

It puts a smile on my face that the title of this post works for both me and my husband...

The other day while I was helping Addie get ready for school, Ellie excitedly told me "Mommy! Wait here! I have something really special for you! I will go get it!" Then she disappeared into her room and came back holding her hands in the shape of a heart. She had a huge smile on her face as though she knew that I would love her gift even though it wasn't something tangible.

After putting her "heart" into my pocket, she then approached me with a secret. Leaning in to whisper in my ear, she says "Go Broncos!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Diamonds

For quite some time Ellie has collected rocks from her playground for Mommy. She would present each one as a gift to me, as though they were diamonds. Every time I would make a big deal out of the thoughtful gift. Really... given her limited resources, it makes sense to give me rocks. I have kept all the rocks (ok... at least 90% of them) and finally covered them with pretty colored wool. It's a never ending project, really. Just what you see in this photo (there's A LOT there) took me nearly a year to do, and I already have a handful of rocks that still need to be done because Addie has started to take up the tradition.

I love the fact that I have turned something as plain as playground rocks into something beautiful. That's what they've always been to me, beautiful. Now they just match the decor better.

I love that my Ellie "gets it" and that Addie is following in her steps. Perhaps they will always be able to bring small amounts of magic to the world, even if from just a simple reminder that even rocks can bring a smile to your face. Much like these heart rocks.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The power of cookies

Ellie: I'm sad because my prince won't ask me to marry him and if he doesn't ask me then I don't understand him. I have known him for a long time so he should have asked.
Addie: Hi! I'm 'Punzel! (Rapunzel)
Mommy: How can we get him to ask you to marry him?
Addie: Hi! I'm 'Punzel!
Ellie: Maybe I should bake him some cookies. I think that will work!
Addie: Hi! I'm 'Punzel!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Unicorns vs. Broncos

One recent morning...

Ellie: My favorite movie is the Last Unicorn. Pretend I'm the last unicorn, ok? Neigh!
Mommy: Awww my plan is working.
Daddy: Oh yeah? Watch this.... Go...
Ellie: Go Broncos!
Addie: Go Broncos!

Later at school...

Michael: There's a strange brain washing going on in our house. Jen is trying to brain wash the kids into liking the unicorns and I'm trying to brain wash them into liking the Broncos.

Addie's Teacher: I can help you there. (Leaning over to talk to Addie...) Addie, Broncos are REAL.

... later, when we're picking up Addie from school (she wore her Bronco outfit today)...

Addie: Bye! Go Broncos!
Mommy: Yep, Go Broncos!
Addie: Broncos are real!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Little Unicorn

Perhaps not quite as strong as Addie's love for being a dragon, but Ellie is our little unicorn through and through. I think it started when I was desperately looking to inspire her to let me do her hair. Stick a funny ponytail on top of her head, add some flowers and POOF! Instant unicorn.

The thought stuck, though, because for Halloween I failed at getting Ellie to consider any other costume. The best thing about being a unicorn is that you can fly. You might think I'm speaking of a pegasus, but Ellie insists that unicorns can fly too. They just use their magic from their horns to fly. I gotta give her credit... if a unicorn is magic, then of course it makes sense that she can fly if she wanted to.

For Christmas, Ellie asked Santa for a "super soft unicorn." Meet Morgan. She's been by Ellie's side nearly every moment since she came to live with us.

Ellie has even learned how to draw herds and herds of unicorns! That MUST mean they're special.

Though there is no telling when Ellie might become a unicorn, there are two times you can bet that it will happen - when she's wearing her super soft flower dress or her super soft winter dress. Here her name is Flower and she is a spring unicorn. I think Flower is the more energetic of the two unicorns as she bounces around using her magic to bring me rainbows. No really, that's what she says she's doing.

Snowflake, on the other hand is a bit more tender. She likes to give hugs and uses her magic to keep me warm during the winter time. Again, this was her idea not mine (though I'm not complaining).

Because Ellie prefers being a unicorn over any other animal (unless she's wearing her leopard PJs, then she's a cheetah) and is "neighing" so often, it makes sense that she assumed "The Last Unicorn" for Christmas was for her. It was for me, but I didn't have the heart to tell her. We actually braved watching the movie together (I recall being terrified of the bull at an age much older than Ellie) and she is in love. No surprise there.

Anyway... if only being a unicorn didn't mean our house was full of "Neigh. Neigh. When I say Neigh Neigh, it means I want to sit next to you" or "Neigh. Neigh. When I say Neigh Neigh, it means I want to read a book" or "Neigh Neigh" here or a "Neigh Neigh" there... well then living with a unicorn would be a lot of fun.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Knock Knock

The girls have started saying Knock Knock jokes:

Ellie: Knock knock.
Mommy: Who's there?
Ellie: Boo.
Mommy: Boo who?
Ellie: Oh I'm sorry I made you cry.

However, I think Addie's version wins the prize:

Addie: Knock knock.
Mommy: Who's there?
Addie: Gicken Bop! (chicken butt)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hide and Seek

We've come a long ways, Baby!

Hide and Seek, Take I...

Hide and Seek, Take II...

Finally! A fantastic hiding place, all on her own! Perhaps even her first original idea - under the dog's bed. Honestly, she was barely noticeable!

I think that the skill for finding a good hiding spot is key for a future of success. Way to go, Ellie!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Glorious Sunrise

Once we get into the car and are on our way to take the girls to school, it's not often that I want to take the time to turn around and go back. However, last week was an exception as the sunrise was simply too glorious to pass up. We dropped Daddy off at the bustop and then raced back home for the camera. When I pulled into the driveway, Ellie said "You hurry and get the camera and I'll wait here and make sure the sunrise doesn't go anywhere." After rushing back with the camera, she reassured me "I kept the sunrise safe. Let's go!" Addie excitedly exclaimed "Take pitcher!" as she certainly wasn't going to be left out of the conversation.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Ellie's Art

in recent months, Ellie's artwork has taken a giant step forward. Months ago she would come home from school with drawings of our family, often tucked under a rainbow or enjoying a stroll under the warm sun.

Then out of the blue she drew a turkey - her first real animal (aside from butterflies) drawn on her own. Her drawings also started showing up with "scribbles" (aka words telling a story).

Ok, so it wasn't exactly "out of the blue" since it was Thanksgiving time. Handprint turkeys are a must-have for any parent, but I particularly like how if you look closely, you can see that this turkey has arms.

For a brief period I would find random trucks and airplanes sketched into various drawings.

Even her flowers seemed to be drawn from a different perspective. Note the "words" that tell a story.

This time I asked what the words said. Her response: It says "I love you Mommy. This is a picture of a flower with petals and you are in it."

I suppose there isn't anything spectacular about this one, but it's pretty so I wanted to share. Mommy likes it and that's all that matters, right?

A self portrait! Ellie drew all the things that make her happy - butterflies, flowers, rainbows and of course a unicorn! Apparently being able to draw a squiggly border makes her happy too.

LOOK! LOOK! It's a herd of unicorns! Of my very own! I LOVE it! How magical is that?

And finally, the biggest step of all... my Ellie has started to write letters. Actual words written with love! OH MY!!!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Our Baby Dragon

It's official, Addie likes dragons. It started with Baby Blue dragon, which was a gift that Mommy and Daddy brought back from our trip to Oxford last year. We gave a blue one to Addie and a green one to Ellie and were surprised by how much of a hit they were. Blue Dragon instantly became one of Addie's favorite friends.

Then there was Halloween. When I asked Addie if she wanted to be a dragon for Halloween, there was no turning back. It was perfect for her and Addie knew it. I wish I could add sound to this photo... of course, she's saying "Rarr!"

It's not just dragons, either. Daddy brought some dinosaurs home from a business trip to Maryland and Addie still adores hers. You can find him in her bed, sleeping happily under the cozy blankets. I'm nearly certain that dinosaurs and dragons are the same in Addie's eyes.

But you know what? It doesn't stop there? 95% of the time, this girl refuses to wear her coat,but she's more than happy to wear it on her head. "I be a dragon!" Apparently the sleaves become wings and she's magically transformed into a dragon. She's a dragon on such a regular basis (it is winter after all) that Daddy decided to get her "How to Train Your Dragon" for Christmas.

Such a cutie. I love our baby dragon.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Ellie's Search for Colored Windows

If there ever was a perfect mother/daughter day, it was my special day with Ellie last week. When asked what she wants to do with our special day together, Ellie responded with "I want to see all the colored windows in the world!" Boy, so do I. So do I. How amazing would that be? Due to the logistics of having limited time, though, we started with our own mini adventure searching for stained glass windows in Denver.

Since originally I wasn't sure how exciting going to a church would be, I added some spice by telling Ellie we were going to take the train AND the bus! I didn't anticipate the amount of walking we would do, but it was an adventure! Lots of fun! Together Ellie, Morgan (her new unicorn friend) and I went hunting for colored windows! I gotta say, we're quite good at sneaking up on them!

First on our list (and honestly, the last on the list since I originally thought we'd do just one church), was The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. That's quite a name, but it was quite a church. The windows were very pretty. Ellie quietly walked around the parameter of the entire church, looking at each one. I got the impression that she didn't like them as much as the windows of the other cathedral that she remembered so well. Perhaps it was because the photos were of people (depicting Jesus' life, I'm sure). The windows in the National Cathedral, on the other hand, were just brightly colored random designs, every window different. However, she still loved to look at each one and especially liked the windows with angels and flowers in them.

After looking at all the windows, Ellie wanted to explore the rest of the church. She was quite disappointed that most of the doors were locked, but she did find baby Jesus and wanted her photo taken.

When it seemed that the entire place had been explored to the extent that it was possible, Ellie asked for more. Before answering that demand, I insisted on taking a photo of the two of us. She humored me as she figured it was payment in order to see more colored windows. I was just delaying my response because I honestly had not planned on MORE.

As confidently as I could, I told Ellie we should go search for more windows. Not knowing if there were any other churches around, we took a step outside and looked for church towers. Luckily St Paul's Lutheran Church was a block or two away. When we approached it, the bells rang and rang. Ellie and I decided that they were happy bells, but sadly the church was closed. Ellie asked "Can we knock on the door please?" at which point I learned that churches have doorbells. When a lady came to answer the door, Ellie asked very politely "Can I see your colored windows please?" I think she took the lady by surprise, but she led us up to the church.

The organ player was practicing her music, which really excited Ellie. Surprisingly, she wanted to sit and listen to the music for a very long time, so the lady allowed us to stay (and let ourselves out) as long as we wanted. Ellie once again impressed me with how perfectly happy she was to sit quietly and look at the windows and listen to the music. She read the bible from beginning to end, and pretended to be a princess getting married. Get this - the girl was content to listen to the organist FOR AN ENTIRE HOUR!!! It wasn't until the organist asked Ellie if she wanted to see how the organ worked that Ellie was finally content to leave.

The church was stunning and Ellie's behavior was magical... this was my favorite of the day, but surely Ellie has seen enough? Nope.

Once again, as luck would have it, there was another church within a block. Upon ringing the doorbell at Central Presbyterian Church, we met an old man who was more than happy to show us his beautiful church. He was quite impressed with Ellie's fascination with the colored windows and commented on her maturity a couple times. He let her touch the stained glass windows, which she loved. After that, the man and I talked a little more about how rare it was for someone so young to be so enthralled with seeing pretty windows, while Ellie explored the entire auditorium, up and down the long rows of pews, looking for a place to take a photo.

She chose this location, right in front of the window she was allowed to touch. After three churches, I was certain Ellie had had enough, but once again I would be wrong. She wanted MORE!!! I talked her into getting a bite to eat as Mommy was hungry before moving on to the next church. She only agreed to eating once the church was within our sight, but she ate quickly and fully, all the while laughing and making silly jokes as we ate. After lunch we tried to go to the Trinity United Methodist Church and discovered our first (and only) church with no one present. Signs on the door indicated that had it not been two days after Christmas, we would have had better luck. Perhaps next time?

On the bright side, the disruption to our great luck allowed us to explore a different type of pretty place and into the Brown Palace we went. Upon entering the magestic lobby, I said "WOAH! Look at that ceiling!!!" to which Ellie responded with "WOAH! Look at that drinking fountain!" I should have taken a photo of the fountain as she was right. It was the fanciest drinking fountain I had ever seen.

FINALLY I was able to convince Ellie to start the journey back home. I was only able to do so, though, by inticing her with YET MORE churches (saying that there were some closer to our house too). On the way home, she politely asked "Mommy? If we have time, can we ride the train to Paris to see the colored windows there? And if we have time, can we go to the top of the Eiffel Tower too? Maybe if it's dark, we can see the lights twinkle on the Eiffel Tower?" Boy, this girl ALREADY has a special place in her heart for Paris (I can't claim it's a mystery for why). I have to admit, even I was disappointed that I had respond with "Thank you for asking so nicely, but we don't have time." "Maybe when I'm older?" I think that sounds like a plan!

First Boulder church on the list was First Congregational Church, but quite honestly I was highly disappointed. However, Ellie managed to look on the bright side and found a row of pretty windows, so it wasn't a complete flop.

And this time it was SHE who insisted on taking a photo. I was all too happy to oblige.

At this point in time, Ellie had to go potty. Actually this was a common theme for us this day, which is how I learned that hotels ALWAYS have potties, so we walked a block to The Boulderado. Understandably, Ellie was impressed with their Christmas display and loved the stained glass ceiling. But best of all were the staircases! So we spent the next hour going up and up to the top and then back down and down again to the bottom. We explored hallways and found more staircases and even another glass ceiling. At this point, Ellie said she was tired and laid down on the floor to look at the ceiling. I joined her and took a photo. A few other people saw us and thought it was a fantastic idea.

When it became apparent that our adventure together was about to end, Ellie had one more request to make...

I've saved the best for last. You'd think that by the time we ventured all the way to Denver, riding a train and a bus, walking for what must have seemed like miles to Ellie, and driving an hour back to Boulder for more walking, Ellie would have been tired of seeing stained glass windows. But no. There was one more place that she really wanted to go to. It was even her idea. The Evangelical Covenant Church is close to our home that we pass occasionally. It's nothing fancy, but it does have a couple windows lit up at night. Ellie points it out to me every time we pass by, so of course she wanted to see in person. Just look at how proud she is to be standing next to the beautiful window. Of all the colored windows we saw that day, this was the only one she wanted a photo of by herself (bottom right).

I know this was a bit long-winded... but it was such a magical day that I just HAD to document it all. I loved that of all the things she could request to do on our special day, looking at colored windows was top of the list. I loved the fact that she didn't have to be told to be quiet and respectful of such special places. I loved the fact that she was polite to everyone she spoke to and that she never got to a point where she said "I'm done." Perfect. Pure magic.