Monday, January 18, 2016

Date Day with Riley

No school today means I'm free to have a date with one of the kids and today was Riley's turn! All weekend she has wanted to do our date and I promised we'd do it today, despite the cold. Unfortunately her chosen date activity was ice skating.

Well, a promise is a promise so skating it was!

Never mind the winchill of -23. We probably didn't last much longer than 20 minutes. But she did well for our first time out this season. Hopefully it's a little warmer the next time we try.

After skating we decided to warm up with some Caribou. We picked up Austin first because we felt bad leaving him at home (Ellie was at her friends house). Generous of Riley to allow him on her date!

We dropped Austin back at home and headed to Joann Fabrics for some stuffing so she could see a pillow but instead we fell in love with some incredibly soft fabrics and decided a blanket was a better project. Her baby blankets are more holes than anything so this is her replacement.

Riley got a sewing machine for Christmas. She is still getting the hang of it and sews at an incredibly fast speed. It's a work in progress.

She did a great job. Not so eager to work with the pins but still great. Next up is a matching pillow that we might stuff with her ratty old blankets.

Another successful date!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ellie's Debut Song

All December Ellie was asking me what I wanted for Christmas.  She was dead set on the idea that she was going to use her own money to buy each of us a Christmas present.  It was very sweet but I didn't want her to spend her money on us so I kept coming up with silly things I wanted...."for you to hang up your coat for a whole month"..."a giant hug"....."your best drawing of a penguin", etc.  Then one day I was cleaning up their papers of doodles when I started reading one of Ellie's sheet.  Ellie has always liked to write lists and often writes little poems on her drawings.

As a side note, Ellie has always been our little "holy roller".  And I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with that, it just always throws us off a bit and makes us smile when, out of no where, she brings Jesus into the conversation.

So, I was not surprised to find her latest poem had to do with the birth of Jesus. It was close to Christmas and all so it was on her mind.  But, her latest poem was a bit more insightful than her others.  When I told her I really liked it she explained it was a song.  The next time she asked me what I wanted for Christmas I told her I wanted her to write music to go with her lyrics.  This was finally an acceptable gift in Ellie's mind.

Next my sister joined the game.  Not only is she Ellie's Aunt, but also her piano teacher.  Also, she has written her fair share of music.  I had sent the song to my mom and sister in an email earlier in the week so when Ellie approached Kerry "secretly" about writing the music she wasn't totally caught off guard.  On the Monday before Christmas Kerry came and picked up Ellie and Ellie told me she had to go practice a Christmas duet with her.  But really they worked on my song (and really, I knew this all along but Ellie really wanted it to be a surprise).  And when all the work was done Ellie came home with a folder in her hand, with a bow on it, and put it under the tree.  Then she nonchalantly told me that she was pretty sure there was a new gift for me under the tree. A file folder with penguins drawn all over it.  Who could it be from????

And on Christmas I received my gift!

(I had to make it a "video" to be able to post it here)

Of course I got a little teary both as I read the dedication to me on the front page and when I sat down at the piano to play the song while she sang for me.  She is just too sweet.

Kerry gave me the details of the writing process and so thank you to her too because it sounds like Ellie definitely had some opinions on how she wanted things to sound so I'm sure the process wasn't quick.

Now you can all say "I knew her when..." when she achieves her goal of becoming a famous rock star someday.