Yes it is official. Nine years ago this day I received the best birthday present ever, my sweet little Ellie Jo Butikofer. I have learned so much over the past nine years and I would not trade one day of it. When you have kids I think you realize who you are and you see a part of you manifested in someone else. Each day I sincerely pray for this kid. She has such a big heart and I know that she is going to do great things. My only concern is- have I done all that I can to let her know how much she means to me. Here are nine qualities that I enjoy in Ellie.
1. From the moment she came into this world she was the life of the party! Being the first grandchild on the McNeil side meant that she got A LOT of attention!!! There was never a moment she didn't have someones attention. Since at the time I was knee deep in drill team and my teaching career, she was drug to every football, basketball,volleyball and dance competition around. She attended her first football game when she was 2 weeks old. I remember thinking "having kids doesn't slow you down!" Well as a result of my naivety (is that even a word) Ellie also got RSV when she was four months old. I think that was the first moment that I realized how precious her life was. I would lay in the recliner at night with her on my chest hooked up to oxygen and just watch her breathe. I held my breath the entire first night and prayed that I would be the best mom I could to this child. To this day she is always the center of attention for better or for worse.
2. Ellie finds joy in small things. I guess this is the proper and nice way of explaining that she is a hoarder. I am sure in the next twenty years you will see her on on of those reality show where she has to get some type of help because her junk collecting has taken over her life! She saves everything and wants other people to save things. I think she has Luke convinced that there is a reason to save pop can tops??? Just the other day I went through her desk and started to purge things. When she found the ONE inch pencils in the garbage she asked me why I threw them away. I said, "you can't even write with them why do you have them and why would you keep them." Her reply was simple, "I wanted to see how small I could get them with the sharpener and they look cool."
3. Ellie has very intriguing knees. She is a ballet teacher's worst night mare. She has very interesting knees. They are not bowed and she is not knocked kneed but it is some strange cross between the two. Giselle says that it is a ballroom dancers dream. Good things she looks cute in the leotard so that people have something else to watch!
4. Like I said before Ellie has a big heart. She loves everyone! When she was very little and we lived in Kamas she stole the heart of an elderly man in our ward, Grandpa Padfield as she called him. One day he showed up at our house with this cute wooden rocking chair that he built for her. This was also Ellie's first exposure to understanding death. When Grandpa Padfield died, I am not sure who cried more Ellie or me? She also hates it when people are sad or hurt. For instance when I put Mia in time out or she gets in trouble, Ellie comes to her rescue.
5. Ellie has also channeled Giselle's act for injuries. The ace bandages have found a great home and every time we are at mom and dad's she finds the crutches. She always has an injury and the other day it came to a for front. She had this bump on her finger and she kept showing it to me. At first I thought she got a sliver and it may have gotten infected. However she wouldn't actually let me touch it or examine it. After about a month and the swelling getting worse, I made an appointment for the first day she had off of school. Turns out had a big pocket of infection and it had to be lanced out. THAT WAS FUN! But she loves the facts that she has to soak it in Epsom salt baths twice a day!
6. She never gives up! Ellie will try and try and try something until she gets it. I mentioned the other day that she got her back handspring in acro. Somethings come sooner and quicker than others but overall she keeps trying. She may not have learned to ride the two wheel bike until she was 7 (thanks Uncle B) but at least she never quit.
7. American Idol watch out! Ellie loves to sing. She can and will memorize the words to any song. (Not so much into memorizing math facts but song are a must!) I think when she was only two years old she had all the drill team songs memorized and even those of other teams. (Giselle..."this is how my drummer drums!") She has also passed her love of singing on to Tess and Mia. Any given day you can hear quite the concert going on inside, outside, or in the shower. Hannah Montanna has nothing on this girl.
8. Ellie is a great example and big sister to Tess and Mia. It has been so fun to watch Ellie and Tess do the whole school thing this year. Ellie gives Tess a lot of advice as to what to wear, how to wait for the bus, and when and where to play. She reads to them, teaches them, and runs the show as far as what they are playing. She is the head choreographer when they are making up dances and also the fashion consultant. But she also teaches them spiritual things too. They have to also take a "scripture bag" like Ellie to church and Ellie sets up the whole pulpit and routine for family home eveningtalks as well. Being the oldest sister myself I know how she feels and how you want to control everything. I hope that she continues loving them follow her footsteps.
9. Her smile says it all. She has a cheesy smile when she is getting her picture taken but on the lighter and more natural side of life it melts my heart when she walks in the door and I see her smile. I am sure it won't be long before that smile melts someone elses heart... but for now she is all mine! Happy Birthday to my nine year old baby! I hope the next nine years are just as wonderful.