Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Gift

It seems a bit cliche to talk about children as these magical fairy people who can turn a frown into a smile with a flick of their wands or infect you with some sort of happiness disease that they carry in their pockets, but sometimes these things are true and bare repeating. Most of you know that my grandmother Charlotte passed away last Friday. Things like this are especially difficult when they happen around the holidays. Everyone kept saying that they hoped we could still find some joy on Christmas despite the circumstances, and the truth is, we did, and it couldn't have happened without the opportunity to witness the pure excitement oozing from every tiny pore of the children in our lives.

My very best girlfriend in the whole world, Jessica, spent the holiday with us and she said that she couldn't wait to watch Ella, Mason, and Izzy open their presents on Christmas morning because it had been such a long time since she had witnessed that excitement with little kids. And it really was something to behold. Izzy, being 4, was the only one able to really verbalize her joy, "a shirt with zebra stripes!" but the looks on Ella and Mason's faces as they opened their Elmo books and tiny trucks spoke volumes without any words. And this is the greatest gift that children give us- the opportunity to remember and experience that kind of joy once again and to forget about everything else and just live in the moment of opening that gift. I cannot say we didn't feel an emptiness that day. I cannot say we didn't feel a wave of emotion every now and then, but I can honestly say that watching the glint in Ella's eyes as she ran through the house chasing her cousins helped me spend a lot more time thinking about life rather than death. That's what Ella B gave me for Christmas. And it was exactly what I wanted.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I got it!

Ella B has reached another milestone- her first complete sentence. As a mother and English teacher, I am ecstatic that my little one can now put multiple words together in a logical, coherent, even grammatically correct way (something I am still having trouble teaching some of my ninth graders). On Tuesday, she was in the dining room playing with Play-doh and trying to figure out how to get the doh into the little hole in order to squeeze it out into various fun shapes. She was getting a little frustrated, so I showed her how to do it a few times and then left her to her own devices while I made dinner. After a minute or two of grunting and babbling, I heard her yell out, "oh!" and then, "I got it!" It was the sweetest little sentence I had ever heard.

I was telling Christina this yesterday and she laughed and said, "Of course that was her first sentence." And knowing Ella, it really does make a lot of sense. She has always been a very opinionated, independent, "Ella do it," kind of girl, and she continues to become more of her own little person every day. So happy milestone day Ella B. I'm looking forward to "I love you" and, "You are the best mommy ever," but I'll be happy with "I got it" for now.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

So today was Christmas tree day. Ever since I can remember, my family has cut down its own Christmas tree and there is no doubt in my mind that I am a cut-my-own-tree kind of girl. There are a lot of holiday things I don't do. I don't spend lots of time decorating the house, and I'm pretty terrible at buying presents, but this moment- finding that perfect tree and dragging it home- that is the beginning of the Christmas season for me.

The best part is getting to help cultivate a tradition in a little person of my very own. Although she is still too young to really understand Christmas, Ella B was there with us braving the cold and the rocky terrain to find just the right tree. I won't forget how her eyes lit up when she realized that we really were "shopping" (one of her new favorite words) and that we would be taking this tree home to live in our house! Traditional times of year like this really make you think about how strange our traditions are. At no other time of year do we drag trees inside our homes and cover them in lights and knick knacks. It is also the only time of year that we encourage our children to sit on strange men's laps and share with them all their hopes and dreams. Only through our children's first experiences do we get to reflect on the sometimes funny, sometimes poignant nature of our own lives. Seeing the world through her brand new eyes is a pretty remarkable experience and I'm looking forward to Christmas morning in a whole new way. Happy Holidays everybody!

Friday, December 2, 2011

No, thank you!

So, I know it is a little late, but I just wanted to share a few more Thanksgiving pics of the people we are most thankful for, our little kiddos. The first picture is one of my favorites of all time. It is Ella B hugging her favorite cousin Nate. She spent the majority of the day following him around yelling "Nate! Nate" and holding his hand. When she wasn't with him, she was being pushed in a tiny baby carriage by Nate's brother Jake. The day after Thanksgiving, we got to spend the day with my sister and her kids, and Mason and Ella spent some time coloring in between meals.

My cousin Brian commented that Ella B spent Thanksgiving day doted on by one man after another, and it is definitely true. If it wasn't Nate or Jacob, it was my father holding her, or Mike's dad playing with her, or my Uncle Tom teaching her how to jump off the couch (thanks for that one Uncle Tom).

It's true that we are so thankful for the blessings of our kiddo, but I know that even though she doesn't have the words for it yet, Ella B is just as thankful for all the love she is surrounded with every day. So, until she can tell you herself, I will say thanks from Ella B. She loves you lots.