Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The little things, they really do mean a lot

So it's been awhile since I posted. Life has been crazy as usual, and, also as usual, I have gone out of my way to make it crazier. I had my summer sinus infection, Miss B had her regularly scheduled ear infection, and Sister Goldenhair, realizing even in her tender years that misery loves company, came down with the crud as well. And since her birthday and my vacation were scheduled for last week, I had several little projects to tackle. Maybe someday I'll try not to sweat the little things, but for now I'm sweatin' all over the place.

And it seemed important that Sister Goldenhair have a beautiful cake for her birthday. So instead of making a simple, plain cake, I stayed up making purple, monarch butterflies out of candy melts. And while the cake was good, it turns out that the only thing SG was really interested in was those butterflies. She popped them into her little mouth as if they really could have flown away. She should have known better than to reward my obsessive tendencies, but I must admit that the feeling I get remembering her chipmunk cheeks stuffed with candy is one of gratitude.

How lucky am I that I have these two girls in my life? I feel so grateful when I get it right, when it seems I so often get it wrong. I catch myself getting frustrated by normal kid stuff, and I cringe when my reaction to my girls seems more in line with the reaction deserved by the rudest of strangers. But the sad thing is, I would never treat even rude strangers that way. And so I work twice as hard to change.

And sometimes I get it right. I can live in the moment and appreciate all I've been given. Sure, a mouthful of melting butterflies does not a happy childhood make, but it's a step in the right direction.

The end of July also brings my usual summer vacation. I have taken to spending a few days at my in-laws house and taking pictures of the girls in Mimi's garden and around their beautiful church. And the results? The girls always look cute in the garden, don't you agree?

I took over 500 pictures in two days. Most aren't posed, and I think that's the way to go. While a lot of the pictures aren't anything I'd print (blurs, empty frames, backs of heads, etc.), I caught some unexpected treasures. I caught glimpses of attitude, personality, and magic. One of my favorite pictures of the girls came with an impromptu set of races on the side stoop of the Wayne County Historical Society. SG urged her big sister along with frequent shouts of, "Hurry!" (which sounds more like huh-ree). They raced back and forth, laughing all the way. I hated to call an end to it, but before I did I caught one of my favorite pictures of my whole trip.

Not only am I glad I took so many pictures, I'm glad that I spent time picking out fabric and making their dresses. I like having a way to show them how much they mean to me. And so I do those little things that make them feel special and that I feel good about too. I'm glad I didn't spend all evening watching TV, when I saw how Miss B's face lit up when I told her I had finished her picture dress. She understands that there is effort behind it, and I know that she loves dresses. We're all pretty happy in the end (and that whole sewing machine thing was a good move on my part, that guilt trip is over thank goodness). I see this as a way to show the girls how important they are to me, that even when they aren't around or awake my thoughts and efforts are for them.

So when I think of the time since I last posted, it was well spent and sweetly remembered. Miss B catching her first fish, SG's first look at her birthday tricycle, the slobbery kiss I got when she thought I was sleeping, wading with Miss B in the icy creek, and carrying sleeping little girls to bed. The little things don't just mean a lot, they mean everything.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Overstock.com (or how I learned to stop being a martyr and love myself)

Recently I grew a bit maudlin and bemoaned the fact that I couldn't buy myself something I wanted and needed (a new sewing machine). Only now I have done just what I thought I'd never do, and I have Overstock.com to thank for it. I never imagined that Overstock.com would even sell sewing machines, but in performing some searches for the lowest price available on the model I wanted, I found that they do. And at a significant savings.

So thank you, Overstock.com, you've made my impossible dream come true. And while it's true that this is a reconditioned machine and my instruction manual is obviously a xerox copy of the original, I think that helps me feel a bit better about it. It's hard to stop being a martyr cold-turkey, so these facts are like a martyr patch.

And I have already put it to good use.

As you can see, I've had some fun with the applique stitch on my new baby. I know that this isn't likely the greatest thing you've ever seen, but I'm pretty happy with it. So I'm throwing in the closeup as a bonus.

This little number is for Sister Goldenhair to wear for her birthday party this weekend. It's hard for me to believe that my little girl will be two. Hopefully, someday she'll have a little girl and will be able to pass on some of the things her mother made for her out of love. I can think of no greater compliment than having something I made be passed to another generation. I'm not saying that this cupcake shirt will be it, but I sew lots of little dresses and outfits for both girls (including those in the banner picture of this blog).

Anyways, I just want to thank Overstock.com for the great deal. It's hard to feel too bad about indulging when you score a great deal on something you will use the heck out of. Maybe later this week I will be able to share this year's picture outfits. In the mean time, be good to yourselves... You deserve it!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Sad little carnivals and lessons on mortality

The town I live in decided to host a carnival this week. Nothing says we admire the sacrifices of our forefathers like the opportunity to cheat severe injuries on a hastily set up tilt-a-wirl. And I imagine that George Washington weeps tears of pride each time someone buys a deep fried twinkie and a lemon shake-up.

But since this carnival is practically in my backyard, I agreed to take the girls for a quick visit. Killjoy that I am, I maintain veto power on which rides will be enjoyed by my progeny. The whirling-bullet-of-death was quickly deemed unacceptable, so Miss B settled for a ride down the wavy slide. I then followed holding Sister Goldenhair. Luckily, SG loved it (at the risk of appearing to be a big chicken, I will not comment on my own feelings). Miss B then climbed up a giant, inflatable shark, sliding from the tail to emerge from the mouth.

I then took SG on the carousel. She was a bit reluctant at first. Unfortanately her reluctance grew with each passing second. We spent the majority of the ride entangled in a frantic embrace. Miss B desperately wanted to ride the flying swings, but finding herself one ticket shy instead enjoyed her own ride on the carousel.

Then it happened. Miss B spotted the booth giving away goldfish as a prize for landing a ping pong ball in an ivy bowl. She tossed several balls before asking for my help. What happened next was one of my greater mental lapses. I actually took aim and let fly, and my ball was victorious. Why I didn't take the dive, I'll never know. Instead, my 6 year old daughter was the lucky winner of a goldfish (I thank my lucky stars that none of our balls landed in the special center bowl, in which case we would have won a rabbit!). A fish was pulled from a trashcan filled with cloudy water and presented to Miss B.

Miss B, in all her tender-hearted glory, was enraptured with her new pet. We immediately left the fair to get fish food. I made Miss B pay for the food, and her willingness to part with any bit of what is termed her "American Girl Money" made me feel better about the unexpected pet. We went home and carefully prepared fresh water for the fish Miss B named "Lucky."

A few hours later we were arriving home after fireworks. Miss B had hurried in to check on Lucky. I was met by her teary face. It seems that Lucky died while we were gone. My husband flushed him (I'm sure he was humming "Taps" or "Nearer My God To Thee" at the time). My daughter was heartbroken, and I was again glad that we hadn't won a rabbit.

The bright side of all this is that I think Miss B may be ready for a pet. We will likely try another fish, though one bought from PetSmart and hopefully it will have a shot at living longer than 6 hours. I don't think I'll ever be able to go to a fair with out thinking of Lucky and the little girl who loved him so.