Best Valentine’s Day gift. Ever.

Though Tom is very romantic, he doesn’t get the prize for best Valentine’s gift. It goes to my sweet niece Eleanora Belle, born on Valentine’s Day.

From the start Ellie has been head-strong and smart and beautiful (just like her mama).

On her first birthday, my mom and I went to Taiwan with a suitcase full of ruffled dresses, toys, and cake ingredients for a special one-year old.

Because wouldn’t you fly across the world to give a fur-trimmed cardigan to this little girl if you had the chance?

While we were there we wandered into a store with Ellie and Kristie. At one point Ellie started squealing for no reason…and then we realized she was shrieking with JOY at this weird stuffed dog pillow. My mom did what any reasonable grandmother would do, she went back and bought the pillow and wrapped it up for her grandbaby.

When Ellie unwrapped them, she looked at us in disbelief.

The dogs. They’re HERE. How did they get here?

Then she started hugging them and rocking back and forth in ecstasy. (And I started laughing so hard the photos disintegrate into a blur.)

She looked at one dog, then the other, back and forth, back and forth and then resorted to squealing. It was kind of like when someone opens their door and finds Oprah outside. At first they can’t believe it, and then they can’t seem to hold it together.

She just kept squealing…

…and squealing.

(Finally I gained some composure and turned on the flash.)

She spent the rest of the night staring at them…and then I’m pretty sure she never played with them again.

It’s my favorite birthday memory of all time. Hands down.

I love pictures of Ellie and me where we seem to be copping the same ‘tude.
Like this one:

Or this one. I can only imagine we’re reacting to the sentence, “Sorry, girls, but we will not be eating chocolate for breakfast.”

Um, excuse me? WHAT did you say? We are DISPLEASED.

As you can see, Ellie has grown up quite a bit since the stuffed dog incident.

In a few hours she will wake up and she will be five. FIVE!

Five-year old Ellie is still headstrong and smart and beautiful, but she’s turning into a little lady. She goes to school and is learning Chinese and is creative.

She has a sweet tooth (especially for chocolate) and recently melted her Aunt Amanda’s heart by professing a love for ponies, mermaids, pink, purple and all things sparkly.

Ellie Bellie, I hope you get to celebrate your fifth birthday with lots of chocolate and pink and purple and ponies and mermaids.

I love you,
Aunt Amanda


  1. Grammy February 13, 2012

    Yes, Ellie’s birthday will always be remembered as a favorite. I’m sure Ellie will enjoy reading this post, too. Happy Birthday, Princess!

  2. Laura February 13, 2012

    What a sweet girl– happy birthday to her!

  3. Kristie February 14, 2012

    Funnily enough, Ellie got a stuffed dog for this birthday too. But nothing could ever top her first birthday. Ever. She had a pink princess birthday cake tonight and the theme for her party on Saturday is princesses and mermaids (and dinosaurs, but that’s because it is a joint party with her friend).

  4. Kristie February 14, 2012

    I can’t get over the picture of the two of you on the couch. Hysterical.

  5. tomamanda February 14, 2012

    haha, i know. it’s a gem.

  6. […] is the middle child, sandwiched between a strong older sister and an adorable little […]


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