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Miss E at Five

Miss E at Five

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.

1st Day of School, Etcetera

1st Day of School, Etcetera

This year, the first day of school was completely bananas. There was such an overload of emotions that I was pretty much numb. (And for most of the day Noel literally was numb.) But, let’s back up a minute.

Ortho P Dick
Noel has been using the dictation feature a lot lately. It has it’s quirks.

The Tuesday before school started, Noel had an appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon. We knew there was a strong possibility that his arm would need to be reset since the bones didn’t look like they matched up in the x-rays from the ER, but we were honestly surprised when the surgeon recommended surgery. They wanted to do it as soon as possible before the bones started to heal improperly and of course the next surgery day was Thursday which was also the first day of school. It was a busy couple of days going to school open houses, getting Ellen’s hair fixed, and getting everything ready for the first day of school/surgery.

Kids ready to go to school
Kids ready to go to school
They were pretty excited, Ellen especially.
They were pretty excited, Ellen especially.

Thursday morning everyone was up early and anxious for various different reasons. First we headed to Cooper’s school for the first day of school parade. Cooper’s entire team was there waiting for us and said they’d be keeping an eye on Cooper for the next several days as he transitioned to full day school.

Our big first grader.
Our big first grader.
Waiting in line with his class.
Waiting in line with his class.

Ellen was so anxious to go to “real preschool,” so the second Cooper’s class walked into the building we left and headed to her school.

Ellen ready to head into class.
Ellen ready to head into class.
Ellen next to her cubby.
Ellen next to her cubby.
Ellen settled right in and started making friends.
Ellen settled right in and started making friends.

After dropping her off, Noel went home to do some meditation and I headed to the pool so we could both find some level of calm before heading to the hospital.

Bones

It was a little hard for my mom heart to not be there when my kids were done with school, but I think it would have been even harder to not be there for Noel. They put a metal plate and several screws in Noel’s wrist to line everything up. The surgery went as well as could be expected, but we were there for quite a few hours waiting for him to be both alert and not nauseous enough to go home. The kids were so excited to tell us all about their day, but a little mystified as to why Noel was so out of it. It was pretty much time to go to bed when we got home and when the kids protested I told them they needed to go to bed because they had school again the next day. Ellen was super excited about that, but Cooper wasn’t. After thinking about it he grumpily said, “Fine, but after school we’ll have lunch and play with my toys?” When I told him he’d be going full day every day now he said, “What?!?! Every day!?!?” Poor kid, it might be a rough 12 years.

Noel's hand, still orange from surgery. He jokes it's his spray tan.
Noel’s hand, still orange from surgery. He jokes it’s his spray tan. 

I wish I had some neat way to tie up this blog post or something philosophical to say, but the recovery part of this story isn’t over. Noel isn’t able to do much yet which has its challenges and frustrations for everyone. (Imagine not being able to do up your own pants or sit through church without your hand looking like a blown up latex glove. Then try to explain to your kids why they pretty much can’t touch Dad.) So, let’s just end this post with some counting of blessings. We’re grateful for amazing insurance that is making what could have been a financial burden manageable, for friends that watched our kids, and for the scouts that are going to move that giant pile of mulch that of course ended up being delivered this week. Lastly, I know they look dorky, but if you go rollerblading consider wearing wrist guards 😉

A Rule of Threes Day

A Rule of Threes Day

Yesterday, Noel and I ended a date in the ER. You could say it had been “one of those days.” There’s that saying that bad things come in threes and if I count only the major offenses of yesterday, that seems fairly accurate to me.

The day started out innocuous enough. We slept in and were lazily making breakfast. (Oh, summer, we will miss this part of you!) One of the kids wanted to let the cat out and I gave my permission as long as they watched him. (He’s an insanely good hunter, but the bunnies in our area are diseased so we can’t let him roam). A few minutes later, one of them ran into the house in a state of distress. The cat had climbed to the top of our very tall tree. This in and of itself does not bother me, he’s a cat, they climb stuff, but he was yowling and neighbors had come out into their yard concerned. We had plans for the morning, but I didn’t feel right leaving the cat when he’d garnered such attention. (Plus, I worried one of the neighbors would call some type of authority if I left and wondered if abandoning your cat in a tree would be considered animal cruelty.) So, we cancelled our plans and waited, and coaxed, and tried to look concerned instead of ticked off. Finally, after three hours, the insufferable creature climbed out of the tree.

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We carried on with our day. There was therapy, laundry, and a date to prepare for. I went downstairs to change some laundry and when I returned upstairs I heard Ellen run to her room and shut the door. I went to check on her and found her with my haircutting scissors. (Which are kept in my bathroom on a shelf she can’t reach.) Because I had not been gone long, I felt certain I had nipped this one in the bud and started in on a mini lecture. Midway through I noticed her bangs, or rather a nice cropped section in the middle of them. I asked her to take a seat at the kitchen table while I retrieved a comb to see if this was something I could fix. On the way down the hall I spotted several tufts of hair and quickly returned to the dining room to inspect the back of her hair. There won’t be any pigtails on the first day of school, that’s for sure.

Hack Job

By this time, I was really looking forward to the date I’d planned for Noel and I that evening. We left the kids with our capable babysitter and headed off to have a picnic and go rollerblading. First, the storm clouds rolled in and poured rain. We picnicked under a pavilion and laughed at what a crummy day it was. After the rain subsided, we put on our rollerblades. Back in the 90’s my whole family had rollerblades and since my feet haven’t grown sine then mine still fit. When we found a pair of rollerblades in Noel’s size at an REI garage sale I knew it was meant to be. This was to be our debut as a super fun, rollerblading couple.

30 seconds of fun
Complete with double rainbow.

We headed down the slight incline towards a path that went around a “lake.” Within 20 feet Noel was flat on his back and when I went to pull him up he very matter of factly told me, “I broke my arm.” He was so calm I didn’t believe him at first, but he was adamant. So, we made our way to car and over to the ER. Good thing we already had a babysitter. We walked into the ER, me wearing a completely juvenile t-shirt announcing I’m “The Cat’s Meow” and Noel clutching his arm. When the admittance staff asked what happened we couldn’t stop laughing. It was all just so terrible that it was funny.* We spent the 2nd half of our date in the ER getting x-rays, listening to the pained screams of fellow ER patients, and setting Noel up with a splint for his fractured radius.

ER

I’m pretty sure Noel will be referring to this date in the future as the worst date ever.

Splinted Arm

*The things going terribly wrong, but still laughing about it reminded me of the talk “Come What May, and Love It” by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin. We aren’t always good at laughing when things go wrong, but when we are I’m amazed at how much better it makes tough situations.

Is Trouble Making Genetic?

Is Trouble Making Genetic?

Back when I was roughly Ellen’s age, I decided it was time to leave my mark on the world in a very literal way. My mother had previously been an Avon representative and had a good supply of nail polish. When she was occupied (I think gardening) a friend and I got into her stash and proceeded to paint everything – our bodies, my toys and books, the kitchen table – EVERYTHING. I don’t have any photographic evidence of my mischief (this was back in the days of film cameras and I think documentation of their child’s unruliness was not the first thing that came to my parents’ minds), but if you visit my parents’ house they can point out spots on various pieces of furniture where my “art” still stands strong 26 years later.

Nail polish on the Floor

Today when Cooper ran into the kitchen to inform me that “Ellen has purple all over her hands!” and I found her hands and a small portion of my bedroom floor lacquered with purple nail polish I almost had to laugh. She doesn’t seem to be quite as devious as I was as a child, but maybe that’s just because I didn’t have a big brother keeping an eye on me.

Fancy Hands

Ellen Turns Four

Ellen Turns Four

Four-Year-Old

Ellen has been looking forward to her birthday since Christmas. (Admittedly, I felt very much the same way four years ago about her birth day, but with a lot more hormonal angst.) For months she would frequently tell us, “My birthday’s next!” This year, her birthday fell on a Monday which is a pretty busy (and very Cooper-centric) day for us and I was really worried about how to make the day feel special.

Zootopia

The Saturday before her birthday we took her to see Zootopia. The kids thought the movie was hilarious and it had a depth and sense of humor that also appealed to adults. After the movie was over though, Ellen was disappointed that we didn’t have cake and threw a minor fit when we reminded her that it wasn’t actually her birthday yet.

Birthday Cake

To torture her even more, I made her cake the evening before her birthday. She went to bed before it was frosted, but she was still pretty upset that I’d made cake, but didn’t let her have any. She chose Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake. A choice I’m pretty sure she made primarily because of the sprinkles.

Morning Cake

The morning of her birthday she was very excited to see the finished product and even more excited that I’d saved the scraps I’d cut off the layers to make them level for her to eat.

Morning Presents

We let her open one present before Noel headed off to work and Cooper to school.

Balloons

Then she and Cooper played with balloons instead of getting dressed and eating breakfast. Cooper was late for school, but it was the probably the first reason for checking him in late that didn’t annoy me terribly. (Some examples of previous reasons for being late include: Cooper wanted to wear the blue socks not the white ones, Ellen didn’t want to wear a coat, Cooper stared at his breakfast for 20 minutes and then decided he actually wanted to eat it when it was time to get in the car, and everyone slept in because we didn’t leave Urgent Care until two hours past bedtime.)

Dad!

Noel hadn’t left for work yet when we got back which delighted Ellen. She LOVES her dad and cries if she doesn’t get to give him a big hug and a kiss before he goes to work.

Shopping Girl

While Cooper was at school I took Ellen to Target. She had some birthday money and I told her she could pick out a present. I think she enjoyed wandering the store looking at everything more than she actually enjoyed the toy she chose. We wound through the toy aisles for almost an hour with her exclaiming, “Look mom!” close to a thousand times. My patience with this exercise was probably my greatest birthday gift to her.

Play Dough

After we picked up Cooper, Ellen had a brief period of time that she could play with her My Little Pony play dough set that she chose. This picture is the last documentation of the colors being separate and recognizable.

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Cooper had speech therapy in the afternoon and Ellen and I built this impressive marble run.

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We spent a few minutes at home prepping dinner and then headed to swim lessons. Ellen loves swim lessons and is extremely confident in the water; however, she is not the most well-behaved pupil. When the instructor is helping the other kids she’s always jumping into the middle and splashing or trying to swim across the pool. One particularly bad day, Ellen got put in “swim lesson time out” so the instructor could uninhibitedly help the other kids. She graduated with excellent ratings on all of her skills, but the suggestion that she needs to listen more. It’s kind of funny because when I signed the kids up for lessons I worried a lot about how Cooper would handle them and he ended up being one of the best behaved kids in the class.

Birthday Cake

After showering off, we headed home where we opened the rest of Ellen’s gifts, skyped with some family, and then ate macaroni and cheese and cake.

Crazy Hair

This picture is from a few weeks later, but is a pretty good indication of Ellen’s personality. She’s feisty and spirited, but has the most tender moments when she’ll ask deep questions and genuinely listen. She’s sassy and full of energy, but never passes up an opportunity to snuggle. She can throw the hugest tantrum about absolutely nothing, but she always compliments my outfit choices. She hates having her hair done, but loves twirly dresses, jewelry, and having her nails painted. She will fight you tooth and nail to do anything that wasn’t her idea, but then will surprise us by volunteering to help empty the dishwasher with great enthusiasm. It’s sometimes a rollercoaster, but we’re glad to have Ellen in our lives.

Goodbye Diapers!

Goodbye Diapers!

Potty training ranks pretty high up on my worst things about being a parent list. Potty training Cooper was a long process that had it’s own set of challenges and by the time we finally got things acceptably under control I was completely and utterly exhausted on the potty training front. Everyone told me girls are so much easier to potty train and several of my friends have little girls that are potty training prodigies so I was really, really hopeful. But alas, the stereotype did not hold true for us. Ellen did not self potty train at 18 months nor did she take to it naturally. Instead we found ourselves with an over three-year-old who seemed she might be in diapers forever. Last summer she expressed some interest in the subject, but anytime I tried to implement any sort of method she’d retreat or worse, fight back. I did my best to play it cool, but we were getting to a point where anytime the word potty was even mentioned in her general vicinity, she would fly into a fit of rage. She expressed absolutely no remorse when she urinated on the floor and no amount of sticker charts or bribery could sway her. We even said we would buy her a cat and while she talked endlessly about how she was going to get one, she seemed unmotivated to actually earn one. I’d pretty much given up, but kept trudging on through the screaming, the puddles, and the heaps of dirty laundry.

Ellen the underwear model.
Ellen the underwear model.

I’ve sort of grown accustomed to slogging through my parenting journey. Rarely do I get sudden flashes of inspiration on how to get my kids to sleep or eat or behave. It isn’t that there hasn’t been miracles, but they’re the slow, almost imperceptible kind. After months of trying to be optimistically patient and tapping everyone under the sun for advice, I finally surrendered myself to the slog of potty training, and stopped thinking about how many weeks or months or years we had left to go. Then last Monday happened. Ellen woke up and when I asked her to go potty she went to the bathroom without a shred of protest. I was flabbergasted to say the least. Nothing had changed in our approach; I was sure it was a fluke. A few hours later, I cautiously asked her if she needed to go potty. I braced myself for her usual tirade, so when she cheerily ran off to the bathroom I had to pinch myself. Then, later that afternoon she found me and said she needed to “poop in the potty” – something she had previously told me, in so many words, would only happen over her dead body. I tried not to get too excited about it as surely she was playing some sort of practical joke (she can be conniving like that), but it has now been more than a week and she has only had one accident! (We’re not counting nights yet, although she has been dry 6 out of 8.) I have no idea what spurred her sudden change of heart and I’m fully aware that she could regress, but I am just so happy for this bit of divine intervention that put a bit of spring back in my parenting step. I literally have thanked God every night for the last week. After five whole years (six years and eight months if you add up the time each of the kids individually spent in diapers) I’m finally able to put my hardworking cloth diapers away.* Hallelujah!

My two big kids taking the horses at the grocery store for a spin.
My two big kids taking the horses at the grocery store for a spin.

*In case you were wondering, according to my calculations I saved anywhere between $2,500-$4,500 on diapers depending on which brand you look at and saved around 17,000 diapers from ending up in the landfill.

Ellen’s First Bad Haircut

Ellen’s First Bad Haircut

StylistIt was bound to happen eventually. Cutting another child’s hair (or your own) seems to be a kid rite of passage. I blame the preschool for having that beauty salon center that Cooper took such an interest in. The real shocker here though, is that she let him do it. When I passed through the kitchen with the laundry basket and saw Cooper combing Ellen’s hair, I stopped in my tracks. Combing Ellen’s hair is always a decision I weigh carefully. Is freshly shampooed good enough for Sunday Best? Does her hair have few enough rat’s nests that no one will call child protective services in concern of negligent parenting? Whenever I attempt to comb her hair she simultaneously screams, writhes, and swats at me, but there she was sitting perfectly still while her brother gently combed her hair. What a tender moment, I thought, and snapped a picture before heading on my way.

When I made another pass through the kitchen I wasn’t as awed. Panicked, I dropped the laundry basket and snatched the safety scissors out of Cooper’s hands. I almost cried looking at the precious locks spread woefully across the kitchen floor. I don’t particularly think of myself as being any more vain than the next person, but hair is definitely my weak spot.

Tiny French Braid

Neither of my kids were blessed with lush heads of hair. Cooper was practically bald until he was two and Ellen wasn’t much better off. I’ve had to be patient in the hair department and had finally arrived at the point where I could do things with her hair, even if they only lasted a few minutes.

Cropped

Ellen on the other hand, has no sense of vanity and felt absolutely no mortification. I got out the scissors, did a little snipping to blend in the two cropped spots, and trimmed up the back so it wouldn’t look so freakishly long in comparison. It will be awhile before I get to reattempt any cute hairdos, but it really is just hair. And as a bonus, I’m already used to people telling me I have such handsome boys . . .

Miss E Turns Three

Miss E Turns Three

This was the first birthday that Ellen anticipated. For weeks she’s been telling us that “Ellen’s birthday is next.” When it comes to planning anything for my kids, I always turn to Pinterest and not in the way you would expect. Pinterest is a great way to visually display options which is perfect for kids who are young or struggle with verbal communication. This year, Ellen chose a Chocolate Covered Strawberry cake (check out the review on our food blog) and a trip to the zoo to see the animals. There’s a gallery below that details the fun we had.

Ellen at Three

Ellen at Three

I'm Three!
Back in September she kept telling everyone she was three (which can be problematic as many places have free stuff for kids under three) and would get really mad when we told her she was two. Now that she’s actually three she tells everyone she’s two.

For some reason, I’ve always dreamed of having a spunky, redheaded girl. (Or a mini me 😉 ) At three, Ellen may not be delivering fully on the redhead bit (she’s seeming solidly strawberry blonde at the moment), but she definitely makes up for it in spunk.

Classic Ellen, gloveless in the snow. One day I spent a lot of time bundling her up and 10 seconds out the door her gloves were off. Exasperatedly I asked, "Why did you take your gloves off?" She replied, "I have to get a booger out of my nose."
Classic Ellen, gloveless in the snow. One day I spent a lot of time bundling her up and 10 seconds out the door her gloves were off. Exasperatedly I asked, “Why did you take your gloves off?” She replied, “I have to get a booger out of my nose.”

She runs head first at life with a certain amount of reckless abandon that is sometimes scary. She’ll be in the middle of something and then sporadically decide to change course, literally throwing whatever she was working on aside. One time, Cooper saved her from running in front of a car. Thank goodness she has a big brother.

Bunny Hunt
One day, Ellen announced that she was going to catch a bunny. She charged into the yard wielding a plastic golf club and yelling, “Bunny! Come here bunny!” Shockingly, she didn’t catch one.

She provides the best comical relief though. Whether that’s hunting bunnies, announcing she “has a mullet in [her] hair” or bringing me her pom-poms and telling me she needs to “Shake it off.”

Fashionista
One of her favorite outfits. We may never get rid of that binky. It would jus be too traumatic. For everyone.

She’s developed a lot of opinions about fashion, which makes dressing her quite interesting. If it’s comfortable and involves some sort of animal she’s generally pleased, but if an outfit doesn’t meet her satisfaction she’ll refuse to wear it. Sometimes when I find awesome deals on clothes for her, she’ll adamantly tell me to “put it back” when it’s something she doesn’t like.

While most of the time she looks like a little pig-pen, she actually really likes dressing up in "prince-ah" (princess) dresses.
While most of the time she looks like a little pig-pen or a homeless urchin, she actually really likes dressing up in “prince-ah” (princess) dresses.

However, if it’s something she does like she’ll gush “I love it. I love it mom!” Now if only her hair would grow so people would stop telling me I have such “handsome boys.” (And yes, they tell me this even when she’s decked out in pink.)

Ellen in the Hoberman sphere.
Ellen in the Hoberman sphere.

If I mindlessly turn off the car and begin unloading when there was a song on the radio that she likes, she’ll insist I pull it up on the computer when we get inside so she can listen to the whole thing.

Possessively loving some Christmas presents.
Possessively loving some Christmas presents.

If you haven’t picked up on it, she’s incredibly stubborn and fiercely independent. She never wants help putting clothes on, brushing her teeth, or really doing much of anything.

What Ellen looks like on a typical day: running around outside, hair unkempt, dirt on her face.
What Ellen looks like on a typical day: running around outside, hair unkempt, dirt on her face.

In the summer she was fairly interested in potty training, but I was too burnt out to earnestly try anything. When I decided I was interested in potty training, she threw tantrums anytime I even mentioned the potty and no amount of bribery (not even ice cream cones or the promise of a pet, yes we are desperate) enticed her in the least bit. Instead she asks for “space diapers” (disposables) and throws fits when I wrestle her into the less absorbent, bulkier cloth diapers. I’m a little perplexed as to what to try next, especially since she has taken to changing her own diapers which isn’t as helpful as it might sound. (Think: poop everywhere.)

Scripture Power
When church was cancelled because of heavy snow, both Cooper and Ellen made sure we acted like it was still Sunday and repeatedly brought us their picture scriptures.

Despite her fiery personality, she has an incredibly sweet side. She gives the best hugs and is quick to say “I love you.” When Cooper was too scared to sing a musical number with all the other kids in church and was clearly upset, Ellen gave him a hug and said “It’s okay, Cooper.” On more than one occasion she’s brought me different church books and will quietly listen for long periods of time (which is amazing behavior for her) while I tell her about Jesus, the temple, or other church topics. One day when I was telling her all the places we were going to go for errands, she paused and said, “How about the temple?” She has a pure spirit and I’m grateful for her reminders of what’s most important.

Meeting our friend's bunny. (She was asked to leave her golf club at home)
Meeting our friend’s bunny. (She was asked to leave her golf club at home.)

She still loves animals whether they’re wild, pets, or the stuffed animals she drags around the house. Because she’s so charming (and because of the pet-potty-training-desperation bribe) we’re afraid she’ll talk us into getting one some day. Puppies are still her favorite, but I’m trying to brainwash her into wanting a cat (less maintenance). In a way, she’s a lot like a puppy. She’s adorable and affectionate, but if left unattended for more than 10 minutes she can destroy an entire room. (If you’re lucky she might even pee on something.)

Fascinated by an aquarium at the Museum of Nature and Science.
Fascinated by an aquarium at the Museum of Nature and Science.

Despite being an absolute handful, we are glad to have her spicing up our life. We love you miss E!

Miss Pigpen

This One’s For the Girl

This One’s For the Girl

Miss Ellen ready to go complete with Dora backpack, sparkle purse, and a stuffed animal.
Miss Ellen ready to go complete with Dora backpack, sparkle purse, and a stuffed animal.

I cherish the few hours that Cooper is away at preschool every week; it’s nice for Ellen and I get to have one on one time with just us girls. One day the two of us were folding laundry (i.e. I was folding laundry and she was burying herself in it). Ellen stuck her head out from under a shirt and with a dimpled grin exclaimed with pure innocence, “I’m stupid!”  I have no idea where she’d picked up that phrase, but my momma heart broke into a thousand pieces.  I scooped her up into my arms and said, “No, Ellen, you’re smart! You are so smart!” Without hesitation, she said, “I’m smart!” and after a quick hug ran off to cause some sort of mischief.

One afternoon at 4 o'clock she told me she wanted a nap. I told her it was too late and she disappeared. When I went looking for her I found her in her crib like this.
One afternoon at 4 o’clock she told me she wanted a nap. I told her it was too late and she disappeared. When I went looking for her I found her in her crib like this.

I have different fears about raising each of my children.  I worry that the world will destroy Cooper’s sweetness and I worry that the world will tell Ellen she’s never enough. Some days I wish I could freeze her in her two-year-old state with her untouchable confidence, but aside from the sheer impossibility of that happening, I also realize it’s probably best she learns a few lessons about her own mortality. As life throws her unexpected curves and steeper hills than she’d like to climb I hope she can channel a small part of her two-year-old self — the never-ending  energy, the hugs that come straight from her heart, and her undeterred enthusiasm for life. Miss Ellen, you are smart as well as many other things. Never forget it.

Heading home after getting rained out on a family trip to the park.
Heading home after getting rained out on a family trip to the park.