When Natali was first born Greg and I moved to Oklahoma for a few years. We were far from family, but we made wonderful friends. When we left in 2004 there were some sad goodbyes. It was especially hard to say goodbye to our neighbors, Mike and Ilene.
They acted as surrogate grandparents for Natali and Mack. Often when Greg was out of town I would walk over to their house and enjoy a break. Mike would whisk Natali off to the kitchen to feed her all sorts of goodies and teach her the art of dunking Oreos. He would let her experiment with dunking other things as well, like cinnamon bears in water. She loved Mike. Ilene would chat with me and help me solve all of my sewing problems.
When the time came for us to leave, Ilene made Natali this pink strawberry shortcake dress. Natali loved it and it was one of her favorites. It sat it our girl clothes box for a long time before Kate fit into it but it hasn't gone back in the box since. Kate loved the dress so much the she basically wore it until I convinced her Emily fit in it better. So many of the clothes I bought for Natali are rather out of date for Kate and Emily, but this strawberry shortcake dress is still a favorite 9 years later.
I took a picture of Emily wearing this dress the other day and then dug up these old pictures. So fun to see them all at the same age – how different they look. When Lily turns 2 I’ll be adding her picture to this history. They don’t remember Ilene but every time I see that little dress I remember our good times in Oklahoma.