No, it's not the latest Facebook quiz...it's what Ella asked me the other night. Yep, for real.

I recently introduced Ella to the Sister Act movies and she loves them.
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These movies are her second exposure to nuns (the first being in the Sound of Music).   So, here's what she knows about them:

-They have something to do with God
-They sing
-They're funny

Hmm....in my eight year old's mind:
-We have something to do with God
-We sing
-We're funny

So, this translated to the fact that we should all have nun names. 

Ella has discovered the formula for finding your nun name:

Since all of the nuns in Sister Act had names that started with "Sister Mary...." you have to start yours that way too.  Then, you take something that means a lot to you - it has to be something you truly believe in.  That word is the last part of your nun name.

So here are a few of our family's nun names (as determined by Ella):

Ella: Sister Mary Harmony
Me: Sister Mary Hope
Belle (the cat): Sister Mary Beautiful
Cinnamon (the guinea pig): Sister Mary Squeaky
Nana (my mom): Sister Mary Shoes
Grammie (Greg's Stepmom): Sister Mary Flower
Aunt Lori: Sister Mary Goodness
Jessie (my cousin): Sister Mary Cool
Noreen (Ella's aunt, my sister-in-law): Sister Mary Giving
Grandma Joanne (Greg's mom): Sister Mary Florida
Baby Kitty (my mom's cat): Sister Mary Shy
Cuddles (Ella's beloved stuffie): Sister Mary Cuddler
Ms. Alaina (Ella's teacher): Sister Mary Sweet

So....what's YOUR nun name?



 
 
I swear, sometimes I don't want Ella to grow up and other times I love that she's growing up. 

I believe most times fall into that latter category.

She received a sewing machine made for kids two years ago and hasn't had the confidence to use it.  But lately, she's been asking if we could make the skirt that came with the machine.  It was the perfect first sewing project, because it used pre-cut fabric and ribbon - that's it!

The fabric was fun!  I ironed it for her (she's still not ready for that!)
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But she did the pinning....
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Which is not easy for little hands.
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And she did all the sewing (except the last half of the last side, since she was getting burned out).
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And it was SO cute!  This was so much fun.  I've been wanting to sew more over the past year and am looking forward to it even more now that we can do it together!
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My favorite age is always 'right now' - that's why I need to slow down and appreciate it fully.   Thank goodness for Ella teaching me this lesson!
 
 
After our Halloween Party (Tuesday's post), Ella and I had a chick-flick marathon planned.  Greg was at the MSU game in Chicago, so we had the place to ourselves. 

We started with Bridget Jones's Diary.  She loved it. I couldn't believe my baby was old enough to be watching these movies with me.  A year or two ago, we would have been watching Disney Princess movies!  This time, we both enjoyed the movies equally.

We took a break and ordered some pizza.
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Ella was so excited to actually get to drink pop....after 6 pm!  And, it was even more fun to EAT IN THE LIVING ROOM.

We put in Thing Called Love. One of my favorite movies and one of River Phoenix's last movies.  Great music and a great lesson for a young girl.  She liked that one too! We were on a roll. 

So, we decided to make popcorn.
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Then came the high point of the night:  Ella's first time watching Sister Act.  You know, Whoopi Goldberg as a nun?  She LOVED it. 

We stayed up late all jacked up on diet pop.

And the next day, the first thing Ella said was, "Can we watch Sister Act again?"

So many movies....I can't wait for our next Chick-Flick marathon!
 
 
Ella has wanted to have a Halloween party for years, and I finally caved this year.  She wanted to have her girlfriends over for a lunch where they created everything they ate. 

She had so much fun and was really appreciative of all the work that went into it!

We both went in costume: Me, a 50's housewife; Ella, a fashion designer.
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Is it just me, or does she look like she's 16?
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I tricked the kids into eating 'healthy' things at first, such as:

-Carrot 'Fingers' with sliced almond fingernails
-Salty 'Bones' made from bread dough
-Monster 'Toes' made from coctail sausages wrapped in tortilla strips (with ketchup fingernails)
-Apple bites (below) with chopped almonds for teeth
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But, we had to get into the sugar at some point, so we made:
-Spiders made from chocolate donut holes, black licorice (legs) and m&ms (eyes)
-Witches Brooms made from pretzels and fruit by the foot
-Cupcake witches (below)
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Overall, it was a great success.  Tiring? Yes.  Lots of dishes? Yes.  Sore feet (I was wearing heels you know)? You bet.  Totally worth it to see my little one smile? Definitely!
 
 
Ella has always had good taste. If you ask her which local restaurants are her favorite, she'll pick some of the nicest in town.  Around a year ago, though, she asked, "Why don't we ever eat at Target?"

"Eat at Target?"  I didn't even know you could eat at Target.  I mean, I know they have slushies but food?  So, one day, I surprised her and after a shopping trip, we had dinner.  They have a small Pizza Hut in our target, so we split a personal pan pizza and three breadsticks. 

I thought that would 'cure' her curiosity.  I mean, the ambience is nothing  -  flourescent lights, a ton of people, a bunch of stuff made in China...

But, I was wrong. 

Now, whenever we go to Target around dinner time, she wants to eat there!  So, we were shopping for a little Halloween party the other day at Target and sure enough...she wanted dinner.  And, with a checklist of need-to-be-dones, I was open to the convenience.
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(No, I don't take my camera to Target, this was taken with my phone!)

She loved it again!

I guess it's the irony that kids love....eating dinner where you normally shop.  As we get older, the thought of going out to dinner does not create visions of a superstore - we've just lost the excitement of irony.

And, I shouldn't complain. At least it wasn't Walmart.
 
 
***  Just a note to say THANK YOU for all of you who responded to my blog post on Friday. It was overwhelming - I had Facebook posts, comments here and lots of emails.  Thanks! ***

If you were to ask Ella what her two favorite things are right now, she'd say, "Living or Non-Living?"  Then, once you clarified 'non-living,' she'd say, "Definitely BARBIES and FASHION!"  So, it was a crazy coincidence that when we visited the Indianapolis Children's Museum this weekend that one of their feature exhibits was Barbie: The Fashion Experience.
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As soon as we drove by the museum to the parking ramp, she was jumping out of her seat. Heck, the banner was hanging down the entire front side of the building.
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Never before had she seen so many Barbies...in so many forms.  She's been taking books out of the library on Barbie fashion, but hasn't seen them in person before.  See these letters?  Yep. All Barbies.
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And, I have to admit, I got a little excited to when MY BARBIE DREAM HOUSE was on display....
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And MY DREAM POOL!!!
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(Both of which, by the way, are up and used in Ella's room). 

She got to design outfits using several different interactive displays.
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And, she saw a lot of full-size (giant-size?) versions of her favorite Barbie outfits.
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It's like we were two 8 year olds discovering this at the same time. Awesome!  Except I got to experience it from my own perspective and as her mom, which was twice the fun!
 
 
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There are few things I really, really dislike.  If I didn't dislike the "H" word here, I'd use it.  So, here's my subject: Censorship.  I really can't stand it when someone tries to limit what I listen to or read based on THEIR beliefs.

So, when I was at a Mother-Daughter party this weekend  (which was really fun and wonderful!) and talking to a mom who is taking her 3rd grader to the upcoming Lady Gaga concert, I couldn't believe what the other moms were saying.

They were making all sorts of judgments - Lady Gaga is too risque, she's too sexy...

I really don't understand the need of parents to censor the music that their kids listen to (especially since they'll do it when their parents aren't there anyway!).  I may not like everything Ella listens to, but I don't think it's my job to control her exposure to culture based on my opinions.

Of course, there is stuff out there that Ella is not emotionally or mentally ready for - but if it's in a song, that's a great opportunity for us to talk about it.

Parents are supposed to raise their kids so they have the skills and abilities to make it on their own as healthy, grounded adults.

Is seeing a concert with risque choreography and apparel really going to hinder that? I'm pretty current on the news - sexy outfits don't kill people - violence based on racism, bigotism and differences in religion does. 

So, is Ella going to the Lady Gaga concert? Well, when a friend of mine told me she could get pre-sale tickets, I immediately thought it would be a good Christmas present for Ella (she loves listening to Lady Gaga on the radio).  So, I did a google search to see what her concerts were like.  That's when I found out her obsession with stage blood.  ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.    

Here's what I did:  I went home and told Ella that Lady Gaga is coming to Grand Rapids. Her eyes widened in excitement.  Then, I told her what to expect at the concert. Her disappointment was obvious.  She told me, "I'd love to go, but I think that would really freak me out."  "I agree," I told her. 

Kids are more competent to make these decisions than we give them credit for - we just need to give them the opportunity to make them.  I see that as my job - to prepare Ella for all of the decisions she'll face in life and give her the tools to make them in the way that's best for her (not me, not her friends...).

You may disagree with me, and that's ok.  It's not about me. It's about kids.

 
 
Whenever we get things packed for a weekend away or even a day-trip to the grandparents' house, there are a couple of items that always come with us.

Meet Cuddles & Sully:
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Here's a better look or two at Cuddles:
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Just around the time I was noticing that Ella didn't have one special stuffed animal (aka Stuffy), she found Cuddles.  At the time, she wanted to buy this stuffed kitty as a souvenier from Presque Isle on our first visit.  I knew she didn't need another stuffy (who does?) but I'm glad I said yes.  Cuddles is the one stuffy who goes everywhere with us...one of at least 250 stuffies (she has 7 grandparents, you know).  She's the last thing Ella looks for at night and the first thing she grabs in the morning.

Well, there is one more thing....

I need to tell you about Sully.  This story is a little embarrassing.  Ella's blanket is named Sully, because it reminds her of the character in Monsters Inc.
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But that's not the embarrassing part.

You see, we aren't big fans of a certain 'mega' store (after watching a few documentaries) and don't readily admit to shopping there.  One of the last times we were at this certain store (I think Ella was 3), she saw Sully on the clearance shelf.  It cost $6.88.  I don't know why I remember the price, I just do.  Anyway, I turned around and she had grabbed this blanket and was carrying it around the store. She was attached.

It was dirty.

It was from that store.

But, I bought it for her. Because she loved it.

And, she still does, so I'm glad. 

So, now it's all about where 'Cuds and Sully' are before bed, a roadtrip, a movie, etc.

Makes me think my grown-up 8 year old has a little girl inside her yet.
 
 
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I'm travelling on business this week. Whenever I do, I spend a lot of time alone...with my thoughts. Being away from Ella makes me think a lot about life and parenting, and there are so many things that come to mind that I want - or need - her to know.  She might not understand these things right now, but perhaps when she reads this several years from now, she will.

I want her to know that:

-We just want her to be happy according to her own definition of happiness - no one else's (including ours).

-She has educated me on unconditional love without knowing it.

-Even though it occasionally breaks my heart, I want her to be honest with me.

-She is the funniest person I know.

-She creates her own destiny and is not a victim of circumstances.

-We will do anything humanly possible to support her dreams - even if we disagree with them.

-Her dad and I are deeply in love and will always be a rock for her.

-She will always be welcome in our home.

-Her growing indepedence is hard for me to accept but essential for her future.

-It doesn't matter if I like her friends or not.

-Everyone makes mistakes, and when she makes hers, we'll be right there if she wants us to be.

-She is nothing like I expected her to be, and that is the joy in watching her grow.

-We are very different from each other, and that's ok.

-I will do everything in my power (whether in my comfort zone or not) to maintain and deepen our relationship.

-We are so very blessed to have her.
 
 
Did you read yesterday that we purchased some fabric for making Barbie clothes?

Yep, in an on-going effort to influence my daughter's analysis of my 'cool factor', I'm learning how to make Barbie clothes.

Ella started to help by cutting out the pattern.
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These are small pieces!
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Yay! Little hands to get that tiny elastic through the fabric for arm holes!
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What's that? 

The doorbell?

Of course you can go out and play.

Ditched again...

That's ok, I can handle this.  (Hey, Aunt Lori - recognize this fabric? (I made placemats for my aunt out of this fabric for Christmas last year!)).

Ok, I'm supposed to sew this to this? Yeah.....
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Well, it wasn't perfect, but I did it, and Ella loved it.

Wow, Barbie. You are looking FINE.  It's a little short, but that's the style these days, right? I also forgot to get snaps, so I cut the thing down the back and added velcro.

And...one more thing...I didn't gather the top right and Barbie's you-know-whats where kind of 'out there' so I hand-gathered it with a ribbon and tied a bow in front (not pictured). 
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I may not be the best direction-follower or pattern-sewer, but I can sure figure out how to do stuff!

And, in the end, I got one more 'cool' notch from Ella.  So, really, what's more important?
 

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    My name is Kristen Porter ~ I am a corporate attorney by day, and a writer/artist/renaissance-woman wanna-be by night. 

    This is my blog...my summary of life and attempt to capture small moments forever while appreciating their impermanence.  Those small moments are what make life so wonderful!



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