As I have said and written before, I am very happy with two kids, despite the fact that growing up, I always thought I wanted 3 or 4. A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to temporarily experience life as a family of 5 (or 6, counting Harvey!) when we brought someone else into our household: Cousin Ella.
Ella is one of those kids who is naturally gifted at playing with children younger than her. It would be easy to see her as a teacher or a childcare worker of some sort-if she doesn’t become a professional artist, that is (more on that in a bit). She is the beloved elder cousin not just to Elijah and Remy (who absolutely adore her and clamor for her attention), but to a whole slew of second cousins and extended family whenever Joe’s family has get-togethers. This has been the case even from the time that she was quite little!
Ella lives in a somewhat rural/small town area, so we were thrilled to take her to some of our favorite city haunts. She is easygoing and up for just about anything, the very best kind of guest you could ask for. We had so much fun with her and were so sad when she left: both kids were in tears, and Elijah said, as I tried to cheer him up, “But Ella’s the only thing that matters.”
The first day we went to the zoo….
and then the pool.
The second day, we explored the Please Touch Museum, where the Alice in Wonderland exhibit has been a perennial favorite…
and then the pool.
And the third day, we went to the Franklin Institute (I left my camera at home-whoops).
On Wednesday afternoon, Ella had a private art lesson with a local artist and art teacher, Brooke Lanier. Brooke and I had discussed how Ella loves horses, so she brought a horse picture for Ella to draw. The twist: she taught Ella how to draw it upside down so that Ella would be less concerned with “drawing a horse” and could focus on some of the geometric shapes that naturally exist within the horse.
We were all so impressed when she finally flipped her masterpiece upside down.
By the fourth day, we were all a little wiped out from all of our outings and stayed closer to home, doing art projects and puzzles, reading under umbrellas (I don’t think Ella has probably read aloud in her entire life as much as she did during her week here), baking, and going on elaborate “missions”. We did manage to go to the pool again, which Ella said was one of her favorite parts of the whole week. (I find it endlessly amusing how much kids love the pool!)
Of course we also had plenty of treats, including popsicles, a cheesecake tasting, and ice cream. Ella was a great sport about trying new foods and came away from Philly with new-found love for quiche as well as nori.