Friday, April 29, 2011

Thoughts from Ella and Katie

Ella and I have spent much of the day watching and re-watching the royal wedding that took place this morning. Since Ella is completely obsessed with princesses, there is nothing that could be more ideal than watching a REAL princess get married. Here are a few of her thoughts while watching the ceremony.

(Gasp) Oh, there she is!

Look! She has a no legs dress! (That means you can’t see her legs).

She has a big, down dress. (It’s very puffy and goes all the way to the floor with a train)

I want to get married and wear a white down dress too. (Oh no, we had better start saving now)

They’re singing just like we do in big church!

Mom! They’re married! Look at her ring! It looks just like yours! (Yeah, but mine isn’t made out of royal gold)

Oooo, they’re kissing. (Said with a big smile on her face)

What color lips does she have? (See past post about Ella’s love of red princess lips)

What color are her eyes? Me: I don’t know. They might be brown. Ella: Oh, just like Princess Tiana.

The day consisted of A LOT of talk about dresses and how princesses get to wear “down” and “no legs” and “huge” dresses. While I didn’t wake up at 4 am to watch the ceremony, I did watch it online as soon as I woke up. Ella woke up shortly after and joined me. I love weddings and I love that I got to watch this! I was a few months older than Ella when Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married. I don’t remember watching the ceremony live, but I do have the image of her as a princess burned into my head.

I loved that William and Kate kept shooting each other glances and whispering secrets to each other. I liked her dress (I have to admit that I didn’t love it). I loved that they kissed not once, but twice on the balcony. I loved that Prince William drove the car that left Buckingham Palace.

Unfortunately there were some things that I did not love. I did not love the hats…they were weird. Need I even mention Fergie’s daughters? And while I am not English and I have absolutely no connection whatsoever to the royal family, I do have a small bone to pick. Apparently now that Kate is married to William, she can no longer be called Kate and must be referred to as Catherine. Most people know that my legal name is Kathryn, however, I’ve always gone by Katie. My issue lies in the forced name change. If someone forced me to start going by Kathryn I would be pretty hacked off. It’s not because I don’t love my name…I have actually always liked my name…but I definitely prefer to be called Katie. I tried to make the transition once. It lasted for about a week before I gave up. I’m Katie. I say let Kate choose her own name and if she prefers Princess Kate then so be it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

We had a wonderfully full Easter here at the Murray house. 3 of Joe’s siblings and their families came down Friday night and stayed until Saturday night. That means I made Easter dinner for 13 people...I don't think I've ever cooked for that many before! In fact, all of the kids had to eat on plastic plates because I didn't have enough regular plates for everyone to have one. Thank heavens Grammy Janet was here to coach me on how to cook for that many people...and to help me make my first ham.

It’s always so much fun getting together with the rest of the kids. Joe’s sister, Katie, and her family arrived Friday afternoon. Joe got to go swimming with And
rew and Jarrod in the hotel pool while the rest of us sat on the side and enjoyed talking. Ella loves to watch her daddy swim. Later Friday Grammy Janet and Joe’s brother, Billy, and his family arrived.

We decided to go simple with Friday nights dinner, so Joe and I bought hot dogs and frozen hamburgers. Well, I don’t know exactly what happened but apparently the frozen burgers produce too much grease or something because within seconds of Joe putting them on the grill flames started shooting up. No joke…flames everywhere. For a second I thought he was going to catch our fence on fire. Joe has grilled a lot, and he’s definitely grilled hamburgers before, but we’ve never had that happen. The burgers and hot dogs still tasted good, but they were definitely on the crispy side.

Saturday was the big Easter dinner. Late Friday night Joe’s sister, Trish, and her fiancĂ© snuck in, so they were able to join us for dinner. We had all the fixin’s to go along with our Easter ham…sweet potatoes, broccoli and rice casserole, green beans, corn, and for dessert we had delicious key lime pie (I’m not ashamed to admit that I had 2 pieces). We also had a wonderful appetizer of buffalo chicken dip…delish! All that to say, the meal was wonderful.

After lunch we all walked down the street to the park to play whiffle ball, then we came back to the house for an egg hunt. We were so excited to have so many family members come to join us for Easter. And Ella was very sad to see them leave. She started crying when people were getting ready to leave, and she kept saying, “I love my family! I don’t want them to go.” It was so sweet.

Sunday morning the Easter bunny stopped at our house. He left Ella a lot of loot, and didn’t forget the rest of us. Ella’s 2 favorite things from her Easter basket were a “Princess and the Frog” DVD and a chocolate bunny. When I asked her what she wanted for breakfast she looked at me with a big smile and said, “A chocolate bunny.” Of course that didn’t fly, but she did get to eat plenty of chocolate this weekend.

Ella wore a very special dress this Easter. I can say with almost 100% certainty that she is the only girl in America to have this dress.

Metti brought this dress back from Ethiopia where she had it hand made for Ella. I was paranoid all day that Ella would spill something on it, or smear her chocolate covered fingers across the front. Thank heavens that didn’t happen! She looked so beautiful and it was evident by the way she acted that she felt beautiful. Ella loves fancy dresses (just like a princess).

We spent Easter afternoon with our good friends the Boardman’s. They have a family with 7 kids, so whenever we go there Joe feels like he’s back at home. Janet got to join us this time so she was able to relive the big family craziness. Mrs. Boardman had an Easter egg hunt for Ella, Ginny and Lizzie, so they received even more chocolate than they already had. This girl has enough chocolate to last a until next Easter!

Fortunately I put on my "genius mom" hat that day and I remembered to bring some pajamas to change Ella into before we left. It was a good thing because the child was asleep within minutes of getting in the car, so when we arrived home I just had to carry her to bed and that was it. Yes, all of the sugar from the day stayed on her teeth all night...yes, I know how bad that is for her teeth, but sometimes it's just not worth the battle.

Here are some pictures in front of the flower cross at our church. The Easter service at church is absolutely wonderful. Ella loved the fantastic music and we were fortunate to have gorgeous weather.

Doesn't this smile just say, "I know I look good!"

Of course we are all completely exhausted. Last night I told Joe that my body was so tired it felt numb. Now it's nearly 11 am and Grammy and Ella just woke up. Today is going to be a low-key day of recovery.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Princesses Everywhere

Well, we’ve officially entered the stage where princesses have become more than just something on TV…they are now a way of life. Everything comes back to princesses in some way. When Ella draws she uses her princess markers to draw the various princesses. When she sits she says, “Mommy, look at me…this is how a princess sits.” If I need her to smile I just ask her to show me how a princess smiles. She constantly wants to go to “the ball” like Cinderella and she prefers to wear dresses with no legs, just like the princesses do (dresses that are so long you can’t see your feet). Ella likes the princesses so much that the child can tell you what color eyes each of them have…seriously.

Yesterday Ella found a princess hand mirror that Big Mama had given her the last time we saw her. She kept talking about the princesses red lips. As a special treat I decided that I would go get some of my bright pink lipstick and put it on her so she too could have red princess lips. When she saw herself it was the funniest thing Joe and I have seen in a long time. She walked around for the rest of the day looking in the mirror and smiling at herself. We went to the grocery store and the mirror came with her so that she could look at her red princess lips (of course she wore her princess crown to the store).

The best was when I picked up the phone to call GiGi. Ella said, “What are you doing?” “Calling GiGi.” I responded. Ella looked at me with her huge blue eyes and said with a completely serious voice, “Are you going to tell her about my red princess lips?” Of course that was the main reason for my call, and we ended up skyping with GiGi so that she could actually see the lips and Ella with her mirror.

I know a lot of parents don’t want their daughters playing with princesses. I guess they feel that it gives them a false sense of reality. I love that Ella loves princesses. Sure, it gets annoying to watch Snow White for the 1,648,921st time, but I love that she loves something so girly. And I realize that some parents would completely flip out knowing that I let my 3 year old daughter wear red lipstick, but just seeing how happy it made her was worth any scrutiny I may get.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Childhood Dreams

My friend Donielle has a blog about her quest to audition for a Broadway show. You can check it out here. She’s hysterically real in her posts.

Reading about her journey has reminded me how far I’ve strayed from my childhood dreams. I had a lot of them. I wanted to be a hair dresser, orthopedic surgeon, President (yes, I wanted to be President of the United States), talk show host, but mostly I wanted to be a Christian singer. It makes me laugh to think about it now. I wanted to be like Amy Grant in the 80’s…the “Unguarded” years (with her pink leopard print jacket).

While getting all my paperwork ready for college I remember confidentially calling the office and telling them that I wanted to be a professional Christian singer. I’m still shocked that the woman on the other end didn’t burst into laughter. Little did I know that I wasn’t alone. Once I arrived at college (a Christian college at that) I found dozens of people who had the same dream, and I soon learned the harsh reality…they were WAY more talented than I was. They could all play either the piano or guitar…or both. I could play neither. I was too vain to play the guitar…I would have had to cut my long, perfectly manicured finger nails (if the old Katie could see the current Katie’s hands she would be completely appalled). And I just didn’t have the knack for the piano (no, I didn’t inherit that trait from my mom who can play beautifully). The other students could write songs…I tried it but it went over like a lead balloon. And unfortunately I had one other big problem with the whole “be a professional singer” dream…I hated to practice. I would much rather spend my free time playing Spades or going out with my friends, not sitting in an empty practice room by myself singing the same song over and over again.

Needless to say, I was a music major for 2 years. The failing of my piano proficiency exam helps me learn the harsh reality that this would always remain a dream. I graduated with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in music. I discovered that I am much better as an ensemble member than I am at being a soloist. I do great in a choir and can hold my part no matter who’s trying to pull me into their section. And if you need someone who can harmonize with pretty much anyone, I’m your girl. I’m the girl that will sing the notes as they are written and not try to embellish or make things more fancy than intended. And Ella thinks I’m a great singer, which makes me feel good.

Now, 12 years after graduation, I only know one person who went on to find great fame in the Christian music world. Most of my music major friends have gone on to become music teachers. In hindsight, changing my major was a very wise decision…I would have made a terrible music teacher. However, I still think I would be an awesome talk show host!