Miss Ellen turned five this last week. I was really worried that in the midst of all our preparation and travels for the funeral she would feel overlooked, but instead she basically got to celebrate her birthday for an entire week.
She had a party in Cedar City, UT with my family a few days before her birthday. We all rented a condo together through VRBO and had a party after Glenna’s funeral. She also got several gifts from Noel’s side of the family, but none of them were staying in Cedar so they missed the party.
On her actual birthday, we woke up in a hotel, also in Cedar City, and then spent most of the day driving home. We still tried to keep it special though. The night before, Noel acquired THE LAST Frozen ballon in Cedar City. She’d requested two things for her birthday and that was one of them. We stopped in Grand Junction, CO where we picked up a 1/2 dozen cupcakes we’d ordered. (They were overpriced, but I was feeling guilty about the whole spending 9 hours in the car on your birthday thing.) We got lunch at Spoons Bistro where she got her requested chicken nuggets. (Side note: if you’re ever driving through Grand Junction and need a place to eat I sincerely recommend Spoons Bistro. The food is better and healthier than you would get at fast food. PLUS, eating there helps support HopeWest, a hospice/palliative care/grief support center there – all organizations that have a tender place in my heart.) We arrived home around dinner time and ended the day with pizza and the last of the cupcakes.
She took treats to school the next day and then on Saturday she had a big party with friends. I had wanted to invite a small number of friends, but every time I asked her who she wanted to invite she would name different people. We ended up inviting her entire preschool class as well as a few friends from church. I was secretly relieved every time someone would RVSP no, but we still had 10 kids show up. The party was only an hour and half, but still exhausting for me and fabulous for Ellen.
At five, Ellen is as spunky as ever. She is always loved by her teachers/instructors, but they often tack on a little note that she could be a better listener. From experience, I know what they really mean is she could look like a better listener. She’s not very good at holding still, but she’s listening and generally does well on the skills being tested. She’s also extremely inquisitive. She asks LOTS of questions and I find myself constantly explaining things ranging from science to the rules of society. She has her own unique sense of style and will not take notes on her outfits. I’ve learned it’s easier to just let her wear whatever crazy thing she wants. She’s currently interested in gymnastics, but adds a little bit of an American Ninja Warrior flair to her attempts. She’s my little sidekick when she’s not at school. If she had her way we would just cuddle and read books or watch Dancing with the Stars. I love watching her at the park with her preschool friends. She loves running around and playing, but she’s also not afraid to go off by herself and play in the weeds or zoom around on her scooter at top speeds. (There’s a picture in “Olivia Saves the Circus“of the main character riding a scooter – you can actually see it in the sneak peak on the Amazon link – that I often think of when Ellen is riding her scooter.) I love that she’s not embarrassed to just be Ellen. She’s a crazy mix of girly (dresses and endless accessorizing) and unkempt (her hair and general approach to life). She’s definitely both the sugar and spice in our lives.