Wednesday, July 29, 2015

8 years old

You read that right, Ella is officially 8 years old.  Sunday June 21st, Father’s Day, was her birthday.  How fitting.  On Saturday we had her birthday party at Paint This, a paint your own pottery place in town.  Ella loved having all of her friends celebrate with her, and this was the first time many of them were able to go to Paint This, so it was extra special.  Typically we wait to open birthday presents after all of her friends leave.  This year, however, there was a lot of begging.  Ella wanted to open her presents and her friends wanted her to open her presents so “they could see her face.”  Thus, I caved.  Right in the middle of Paint This, among dozens of strangers, Ella opened all of her presents.  With each present I learned something very valuable…Ella’s friends know her and listen to her.  Every present was an obvious reflection of conversations they have had and activities they know she enjoys.  She received multiple dog items, several books, a Disney board game and Frozen things, and even a few Star Wars items.  Those presents did my heart good.  These aren’t just girls that Ella goes to school and church with…they are her friends.  Real friends who know enough about her that when they go to buy her a birthday present they are able to get her something that they know she will truly love.

Each girl chose one of these items to paint.  The dog was a big hit.  Apparently there are a lot of almost 3rd graders who want a dog.

Ella isn't a big fan of cake, so this year she chose a big chocolate chip cookie.  The girls loved it!

The finished products!

Sunday we got to celebrate both Ella and the best dad in America!  They chose which restaurant we went to for lunch (Lone Star Steakhouse…of course) and in the afternoon they had an Ella and daddy date to a movie (checked that item off the bucket list).

The week after Ella’s birthday was the first week of summer vacation.  We spent a lot of time checking things off of our Summer Bucket List and getting caught up on sleep.

Thanks to AJ, Ella got a Madeleine pan for her birthday, so we were able to make homemade Madeleines.  They were delicious!

We made root beer floats, which were divine!  It’s funny because a lot of our friends commented on how much they love root beer floats, yet they haven’t had them in years.  I guess it takes a kid to remind you of how awesome something is.

We started the puzzle, but haven’t finished it yet.  It had to get taken off the table, which means it has been put on the back burner for a bit.  Maybe we can take it to Wyoming this summer and Ella and GiGi can work on it together.

We even had a Silly String War!  So much fun!

For July 4th we headed to Club Mac (check that off the bucket list) to visit my cousin and her kids.  We always have a great time while we’re there.  Ella got to sew for the first time.  She made Sabrina a cute quilt.  Tuck (my cousins dog) tried to lay on it and Sabrina kicked her off.  She knows that it was made with love especially for her.

We also had another Silly String war.

When we came home we checked another item off the list by going to Let’s Dish.  If you don’t have one near you, it’s a place where you go and prepare meals to freeze.  They have step by step directions on what to put in bags, then you stick a label on it that tells you how to cook it.  When you get home you pile it all into the freezer and wait for dinner.  Ella had so much fun!

Between preparing meals they offer warm scones, fresh lemonade, cookies and hot tea or coffee.  I think the snack counter was Ella's favorite part.

The women there heard about our bucket list and decided to help Ella check something else off…they helped her make homemade lemonade.  I don’t think Ella was prepared for how tart it was going to be.  She added a lot of sugar, but it was still pretty tart.  She enjoyed it though, so that’s all that matters.

Ella, AJ and I all attended VBS (Vacation Bible School) which is always a great time!  This was AJ's first year.  He had fun, but each day he was completely exhausted.  All of that playing wears a kid out!  In fact, one day I went to pick him up and he was sound asleep on the floor in the middle of the room.  The rest of the kids were running and screaming all around him, yet he slept through it all.

During the week of VBS Grammy Janet came for as visit, as well as my cousins, Kit and Cameron.  We were all crammed into our little townhouse, but we had a great time!  It was a very special week with someone (Joe) turning 40, so there was a lot to celebrate.

Friday night, on Joe's actual birthday, he was able to fulfill a lifelong dream and throw out the first pitch at a baseball game.  For a kid who was convinced he was going to be a professional baseball player, and has a son whose room is decorated in baseball (not sports in general...just fact, just the Mets), nothing could be better than doing this on your 40th birthday.

Joe's mom was here, along with 3 of his siblings.  It was a great night out and everyone enjoyed the game.

While Grammy was in town she helped Ella check another item off of her bucket list.  They made homemade Creme Brulee.  I am so glad that Grammy was able to come help with this item because I can guarantee Creme Brulee is way beyond my cooking ability.

On Saturday night we had to celebrate Joe's 40th with a party and a 65 pound pig.

Last week Ella participated in her second Music Camp.  This year the theme was In the Big  Of course both Ella and Joe were ecstatic.

This week has been a much needed break after 2 weeks of constant activity.  We have pretty much stayed home and relaxed.  We did make time to check another item off of our bucket list.  Dinner at The Sugar Shack...a doughnut place that specializes in out of the ordinary creations.  Ella had a maple bacon doughnut, I had a butterfinger doughnut, and Joe had a chocolate berry doughnut (or something like that).  AJ just stuck with glazed.

It has been a great summer so far, and we’re looking forward to many more adventures!