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Afternoons in the garden

When I was a little girl, I believed my Aunt Sue had a fairy garden. We would sit together, she and I, and watch her garden from the sofa in her living room, waiting to see the fairies. We had to sit very still and be very quiet or else they would not come. My heart would flutter with anticipation. It felt nearly impossible to sit so still, but I wanted to see the fairies more than anything in the world so I would hold my breath and pretend to be a statue.

And then she’d gasp, a nearly inaudible intake of breath. “There’s one!”

“Where?” I’d stretch my eyes open as wide as they would go, straining to see.

“That little whisp of light! Right there, near the roses. That’s a fairy.”

And then I saw it. The tiniest glint, like sun bouncing off a drop of dew. “I see him! I see him! He’s so beautiful!” My heart leapt and overflowed with joy. Fairies! Right there near the roses. Magic in real life.

Aunt Sue died fifteen years ago, but I think of her every day. When I sit on the balcony and hear a buzzing and feel the breeze from a hummingbird’s wings caress my cheek, I watch while the little bird takes long sips from the red salvia at my shoulder and I can’t help but think I’m being visited by fairies.



Strawberry Pie

The week of our anniversary, we went to visit Michael’s mother in her home – not his childhood home, his parents didn’t buy this house until the summer before his senior year in high school, but he did live in this house, and it was a really big deal for me to visit his mom in her home, where he once lived, because we’ve been together for nearly eight years and I’d never even seen a baby picture of him.

You can tell what a big deal it was because that entire paragraph turned into one giant run-on sentence.

You see, Mike’s mother lives out of state and for one reason or another, we’ve never been able to visit her. She’s visited us several times, but we’d never been able to visit her. In fact, Mike hadn’t been home at all in eleven years. It was time.

We stayed for three days and we didn’t leave the house except once to swing by the supermarket. Instead of running around doing stuff, we spent all three days pouring over old family photo albums. Actually, Mike studied for micro-biology while his mother and I poured over old family photo albums. I was absolutely in heaven. I got to look through Michael’s baby book – his baby book! I saw his first lock of hair from his first haircut and the hospital bracelet he came home in and the very first penny he ever found and picked up for good luck. You guys. The happiness almost killed me.

And the photo albums! There were pictures of all of his Halloween costumes – he was Chewbaca two years in a row and if you saw this costume you would die itissoadorable. There were pictures of his first Christmas and every Christmas after. Snapshots from his birthday parties and his first steps and all these beautiful, happy, perfect memories caught in tiny squares of faded paper like so many pressed rose petals.

It’s funny because I was secretly a little sad that our anniversary trip was a trip to visit family. Not that I wasn’t delighted to be visiting family because I was. I planned this trip and looked forward to it for months. Just that, you know, it was our five-year wedding anniversary, it would have been nice to go somewhere romantic and alone. But as it turned out, this quality time with family was exactly what we needed.

I want to know Michael. I want to understand everything about him. I want to know him better than anyone in the world. I wish I could go back in time and be a fly on the wall at his sixth birthday party. Or I wish I could have been his favorite toy – his little velveteen rabbit. It drove me crazy that we’d been together for so long, but I’d never even seen one of his baby pictures. There was this chunk of his past that was a complete mystery to me. I’d ask him questions about his childhood and he’d look at me like I was crazy and say, “How am I supposed to remember that?” But now I know he had tin-soldier wallpaper and a birthday cake shaped like the Easter bunny. I’ve seen his lego towers and his cat Snowball. I’ve read his birth announcement and flipped through his parents’ wedding album. Pieces of him, however small they may be.

The visit was also an extraordinary opportunity for me and my mother-in-law to bond over the greatest thing we have in common – the tall, handsome, funny, smart, strong, kind of nerdy man we both love. I got to gush over pictures of her towheaded, blue-eyed baby boy while she took a leisurely stroll down memory lane. She told the most wonderful stories about my husband’s childhood and of her own life, before he was born. I’m still kicking myself because we didn’t bring our digital recorder. It would have been incredible to record these family stories. (Remind me to tell you about three-year-old Mike and the inflatable bunny.) One night his Aunt and Uncle joined us for dinner – I had never met them before and they were the absolute loveliest people – and it was such fun to hear Mike’s mother and her big brother reminiscing about their childhood. You guys, it was amazing. It was the best time ever.

I don’t know how to put into words why this experience – this chance to peek into a part of my husband’s past – was so important to me. Before the trip, I loved Michael more than I ever knew I was capable of loving someone. But after the trip? Afterwards I couldn’t believe how much more I loved him. It was as if my heart grew three sizes bigger and all the extra, new space was filled up with Michael.

This post was supposed to be a post with a recipe for my mother-in-law’s awesome strawberry pie, but I got a little carried away talking about our wonderful anniversary/family trip, and now you’ve probably thrown-up in your mouth at least three times (because really? No one wants to hear a married lady gush about her husband) so I’ll post the recipe tomorrow. And now you have something to look forward to! You’re welcome.

In Case You Didn’t Get Enough Malted Eggs Yesterday

You guys! It’s a Sylvanian Easter!

Sylvanian Easter

You didn’t think I’d stop with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, did you? Oh hells no! Easter’s gotta re-pre-sent.

Garden Party

Little Prissy Thistlethorne is getting ready for the Easter garden party while baby Heather plays pretend with her toy bunny and pram.

hiding eggs

Uncle Sweetwater plays the Easter Bunny hiding eggs inside and out, while Mama and Papa Thistlethorne stroll like young lovers on a cool spring day.

like young lovers

Cousin Charlie is picking apples, Aunty Sweetwater and Mrs. Babblebrook have found some Easter eggs, and Mr. Babblebrook tends the carrot garden.

Easter Garden

The ladies all look so nice in their Easter bonnets that little Chester felt left out. “But Mama,” he cried, “I want to wear an Easter bonnet too!” And so he did.

Easter bonnet

Isn’t he darling pushing his little pink wheel barrow full of Easter treasures?

Sylvanian Easter 2

Happy Easter to all, and to all, a Good Night.

Trick or Treat!

This is a ridiculously late Halloween post, late because during the entire month of October I averaged 11 hours of work a day and so never found the time to post these photos. In fact, didn’t even take the photos until today, lucky for me my mother didn’t mind leaving her Halloween decorations up through the first week of November.

There’s a funny family story my father tells about the time he handed me my allowance and when he asked what I would do with it I answered, “I’m saving up for a Sylvanian Family.” He was so impressed. He couldn’t wait to tell my mother how proud he was that his little seven-year-old daughter was saving up her hard earned allowance for a third-world family in need. Was he ever disappointed when my mom informed him that in fact Sylvanian families were toys, not people.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in early October I uncovered a box in the garage marked “Sylvanian Halloween.” I opened it up and instantly found myself dizzy with childhood memories. I was eight when my mom and I spent a whole weekend making little costumes, trick-or-treat bags, tiny clay pumpkins and treats – no candy, I insisted that animals don’t eat candy, so we made cheese wedges and carrots and fish for the creatures to hand out to their trick-or-treaters. It was wonderful. And X number of years later it still is.

Internet, meet the Thistlethornes, the Babblebrooks, and the Sweetwater newlyweds, all decked out for Halloween!

Sylvanian Halloween

Here I am dressed as a flamenco dancer with my nephew-who-lives-in-Japan, and behind us is the very first Sylvanian Family Halloween set-up.

halloween 8 yrs

It hasn’t changed much. Neither have I. (Ha.)

bunny mummy

Rocky Babblebrook has come back from the dead! Eeeeeek!

lady bug

Little Heather Thistlethorne is shy and whispers, “Twick o’ tweeeet!

little devils

Charlie Thistlethorne is a little devil, but Coral Babblebrook is the littlest devil of all!

la bruja

Uh oh! It looks like Willow Thistlethorne turned Morris Sweetwater into a pumpkin! Oh, wait. That’s just his Halloween costume. Fooled me!

And just wait. For Thanksgiving, everyone gets dressed up like Pilgrims and Indians!