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Dear Ellie,

You did it.  Even though I distinctly told you not to.  You turned nine years old yesterday.  NINE!  These birthday letters are getting harder and harder for me to write.

Just ten minutes ago you were my vivacious four year old.  You loved tea parties and Little Bear and playing with your sister Addison.

And now, ten minutes later, you are nine.  You still love playing with your sister Addison, but Little Bear is “for babies” and you’ve traded in your tea sets for mom’s iPhone (which you sneak any chance you can get!).  You love listening to pop music and you wear a retainer at night and I find myself looking at you often and thinking to myself – oh my word.  It’s happening.  She’s growing up. 

Even though you are growing so quickly Ellie and I am starting to see small glimpses of “pre-teen,” you are still the sweetest little person imaginable.  You love life and it shows in everything you do.  I was reading your birthday letter from last year and the year before the other day and now I feel like I can just say ditto to everything I mentioned in them.  The things I love so much about you haven’t changed one bit.  You are still so happy and kind and creative and loving.

Here are a few things about you right now at age nine that I never want to forget:

You are obsessed with Pandas Ellie.  Panda toys, panda clothes, panda books.  You love it all.  You love to sneak my cell phone and watch clips of pandas on YouTube, dress your pandas up in clothes, and you are always telling us interesting little facts you’ve learned about them.  You even make up panda jokes and stories and songs.  You keep us pretty entertained with your panda obsession Ellie.  :)

 You especially love to draw pandas.  Actually you just love to draw period.  You are always drawing something and you have such a talent for art.  You have already far surpassed how well your daddy and I can draw (although you and I both know that’s not saying much!).

A couple of weeks ago you found a drawing that you liked of an animal on-line and within two hours you had drawn around 20 animals.  They were so adorable I had to take a picture.  You named them all of course.  And numbered them all in order.

And then everyone in the family had to pick their favorites.  Because you always love for all of us to pick our favorites.  :)

You have a passion for creating things Ellie.  Pictures, stories, songs…

or even just new inventive ways to play with your toys.  Your creativity is endless and I am always excited to see what you will come up with next.

You love writing notes and you express your feelings this way often.

I get fun little notes and pictures from you all the time El and they make my day.  I save every one.  :)

You also write and draw to express your feelings when you are upset or mad.  This note is a favorite of mine.  You were upset that your dad had to fly to San Francisco again for work.  It pretty much sums up how we all feel when your dad has to travel.

And that is final.  :)

You have such a special relationship with your little brother and sister Ellie.  I couldn’t have dreamed up a better big sister for them.

You love them.  You watch out for them.  You would do anything for them and you show it every day.  You show it when you stop playing with your toys because Kole is calling “help me!”  You show it when Addie is sad or upset and you instantly run to make her laugh and cheer her up.  You show it in the way you talk to them and play with them and take care of them.  And you especially show it in the way you make them feel.

You make all of us feel loved Ellie.  You are so full of love and happiness.  Some days if I’m feeling down I know I just need a good dose of my Ellie.  :)  You walk in the door and just like that,  I am happy again.  It’s impossible to not smile when you are around.  The two of us always talk about how you are so special to me because you made me a mom.  You are special because of that Ellie.  You are special to me for countless reasons and I can’t imagine my life without you in it.

Happy 9th birthday Ellie!  I love you to pieces.  



xoxo, Erin
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38 thoughts on “Dear Ellie,

  1. So beautiful…I’m all choked up…They do grow fast? I wish I realized this ….I write Santa Letters, love the birthday letters; mind if I start doing it too. My kids need to know how special they are. Happy Birthday to your 9 year old!

  2. I got a little bit emotional reading this. My son turns 10 this year. 10. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? He’s about to be a preteen.. and that freaks me out. What happened to my baby?! I wrote him a birthday letter last year and I’m sure this year will be just as emotional.

  3. Ahhhh…..another reason I love your blog – your posts are filled with love for your family! You are a wonderful Mom, Erin!

  4. Ellie and Avery have so much in common. If only we lived closer, Erin! {sigh}.

    Happiest birthday to your beautiful little gal… who is looking more and more like her mama by the minute!


  5. That is the sweetest letter. You have inspired me to write a letter to my kids maybe for valentines day. Thank you!

  6. Wow! That was awesome Erin! And such a great idea to write a letter to each of your kids every year! I love that idea. I wish I would have done that for my kids!
    Thanks for sharing! Ellie is such an awesome young lady!
    Oh, this is Lori, by the way! ;)

  7. Oh my goodness, this just about undid me Erin. I almost didn’t want to read it (ALMOST), because I knew it would make me happy/sad. I laugh because I tell Frances the exact same thing – “you are not allowed to grow up, Missy : )” We both just laugh and then she skips away from me with her ponytail bobbing up and down and I ache a little more inside. Parenting is so bittersweet, but my one consolation is how lucky we are to be documenting their daily/weekly/yearly lives. Ellie is one lucky little lady to have such great parents – it’s no accident that she is as happy and sweet as she is. And can I say that I am thrilled that the sweetness lasts at least until 9 years old : ) I can breath a sigh of relief that I have four more years of my happy little girl!

    Happy Birthday to your oldest!

  8. Erin, this is SO SWEET! I love that you write letters to your kids on their birthdays, so all will remember. What a treasure. Happy Birthday to your Ellie.

    On another note, do you know what kind of plant (ground cover?)is growing on the little hill outside your ktichen window, with the pink blooms?

    Thank you, Erin. Hope you all have a great day with your Ellie!


  9. These birthday posts might have to be one of your BEST ideas!! They always inspire me. Hope you’re doing well Erin!!

  10. I love your birthday letters. I have always meant to do this but never have. This year I am writing one to my daughter for her birthday and hope to continue the tradition for both of my kids. Happy Birthday to your sweet girl!

  11. Time seems to go by so quickly!! It seems like we turn our heads and when we look back they are so big. Elli seems like such a sweet girl. I always tell my daughter Elle when I catch one of her babies hugging each other. That kind of love doesn’t just show up. It is taught.

    Happy birthday Elli. I hope all of your birthday wishes come true!

  12. Thank you so much for the kind words everyone. You are all so sweet to take a minute out of your day to drop me a little note. :) I love hearing from all of you!

    Lucy – yes! The sweetness does last through age nine. I am determined to keep her as little as possible and hold onto it forever. :) It really does go by so quickly. I find myself with an ache inside or a lump in my throat often too!

    Andrea – thank you! I’m so sorry! I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of what that ground cover is called and I can’t remember. I just went to the nursery and asked for something that would flower pretty. :) I’ll mention it on my blog if the name ever comes to me!

  13. I’m sniffling in my coffee now– this was so sweet, and a testament both to a super-sweet girl and parents who created a safe little world for her to grow and explore. Happy birthday to Ellie! I hope my Clare (5) grows up to be the kind of big sister Ellie is.

  14. Reminds me so much of my Abbey at that age! The notes, the drawings, the little animals and houses she makes for them. Happy Birthday Ellie!

  15. Pass the tissues Erin, you made me tear up. I can so relate, it’s as if I wrote the beautiful letter to my oldest. Girls are so special! I have one and she is my “bestie”. She grew up so fast and has made her dad and I very proud. Cherish every moment sweet lady, with a blink of an eye they are grown. Happy Birthday to your doll! :)

  16. Wow, she really is growing up!!! NINE! Your birthday letters are always so sweet, what a treasure for them to have. Ellie is one loved and appreciated little girl. I hope she had a wonderful birthday!!!


  17. On my gosh Erin! Why are they growing up so fast??!!

    Oh my goodness I love that girl! Erin ever since day one of your blog it has been one of my favorite things to see your posts about Ellie – her endless creativity and her notes. I always love a good note from Ellie. She is so sweet she makes MY day with her notes to you! She really is one of the sweetest girls I have ever known. Seems like we were just at Disneyland on her 6th birthday!

    Ellie, you are a wonderful big sister and such a great friend! We miss you and can’t wait to see you again! We all love you! Happy Birthday! Love, Ryan, Josie, Pierson, Madi and Jensen

  18. K, I just went back to my blog and read my post from our Disneyland trip! I can not believe how much the kids have all grown! They were so little and so cute! And we have got to get back to Disneyland!!!

  19. Thank you so much everyone! Such sweet comments. I know all moms can relate to the happy/sad feelings that come with birthdays.

    And Josie – YES. Disneyland for sure!

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