Thursday, October 16, 2003

Toronto Bound Until Tuesday

Today was my last day to get everything wrapped up for the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival in Toronto this weekend. The alarm is set to wake me at 4:15 so that I can get out to the airport for the first flight out. It is harder on my body to get up that early and teach all day, but much easier on my girls to have one less night of Mom not there to tuck them in.

Today was also supposed to be picture day for Erin at school. We were in the process of curling the ends of her hair under with the curling iron after bringing some of it back in a ponytail when Erin was suddenly and violently ill into the bathroom sink.... so she stayed home with me. Was it the flu making a rebound in our house or was she just very aware that Mommy was heading off and had a “nervous tummy” as Nick’s mother calls it?

I always find I am more nervous in the last 24 hours as I try to remember everything I need to do or bring. I can’t exactly run home if I forget something important!! Once I am there, I love being with people.... the extrovert in me loves being out and sharing my love of needlework. Nick calls it being “ON”, kind of like the same high you get acting in a play, but I get to be myself.

Yet it is also such a wrench when Bethany burst into tears. I had been saying good night to her when she replied “See you.... when you get back and NOT in the morning!” and then began to cry in big gut-wrenching sobs. Last year at 3 1/2, her mantra was “Mommy don’t go to ‘Ronto!”

My sister, Laurie, once gave me a wonderful book called “A Question of Balance” by Judith Pierce Rosenberg which profiled artists and writers to see how they had balanced Motherhood and the professions. It is going with me on the plane instead of a new novel to read because I remember loving it so much when she first gave it to me as I struggled to start my freelance business from home with a newborn underfoot.

I won’t be blogging until at least Tuesday afternoon... so until then, the Dragon will be keeping her musings to herself and her journal. May your dreams be inspiring!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Do I need more hours in the day... more time on task ... or just more hands?

The thing about Nick and I being the only ones in the company until Erin’s concept of straight and mine get a little closer (as in glued on straight or cut straight) is that there are just the two of us to do everything, and he already has a very demanding full time job. He is a permanent member of the “Honey can do no wrong” club for even offering to help after a full day of being a Vice-Principal... but the fact remains that big projects or shows leave me more acutely aware of the time crunch. So once Toronto is done, I need to sit down and look at my plate again... make some notes about things I could have done differently... and how to change some of the time crunch issues.

I know that it is always hard to be objective right before a big deadline like this show in Toronto... but part of the “growing pains” is also to determine if I want to grow in a particular direction. I always wanted a job that would dovetail with my family more than it would take me away from it....

Maybe this dragon needs to contemplate her navel (doesn’t that just make me giggle at the image in my head) once she gets back from Toronto!

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Of Apple Orchards, Loose Teeth, Turkey Feasts and Floss Snipping...

We’ve been looking forward to yesterday for weeks.... For eight years now, we’ve been driving down the Dieppe side of the Petitcodiac River towards the Belliveau orchard to pick apples as a family. Most of the time, we’ve been accompanied by the same two sets of families and so the photos I take of each family in the orchard have chronicled our children as they grow. There have certainly been changes since that first picture of Erin as a toddler holding a juicy, red apple beneath a tree. The Tremblay clan has jumped from two to four kids with the addition of twins..and at almost seven months, we had the fun of watching them gnaw on their first apples.

The weather was just perfect! It was so warm and sunny that many people wore t-shirts... and no one brought a jacket this year, yet the fall leaves around us on the drive down where in their glory thanks to a few cool nights earlier in the week. The tractor pulled wagons led us over bumpy, winding paths into the orchard, past trees that were laden down with apples of all kinds. We bought our bags and began to fill them.. the kids taking the low branches, our friends the middle branches and of course Nick and I reaching up on our tiptoes to get all of the nice, big apples that no one else had been able to reach without a ladder. We’ve each got one built in!

All was going fine until the kids asked if they could each eat one apple, as is the tradition. Bethany took a big bite of the hard, crunchy apple and let out a howl!! She began to cry and gibber that she’d broken her tooth... so when I looked inside her mouth, sure enough, one of her baby middle teeth on the bottom was bleeding and loose. She’s going to take after me and loose her first tooth at 4 1/2 instead of after she’s 5... but since I’d never noticed that it was even getting loose, and Erin hasn’t lost a tooth in a few months, Bethany hadn’t really figured out that HER teeth would get loose someday. She thought she’d done something wrong and BROKEN it!! The hard apple probably did snap the baby tooth’s root a bit and speed up the process, but for about 10 minutes, she was inconsolable!

Finally, as each older child tried to help by explaining about THEIR loose teeth and Tooth Fairy Loot (leading to a rather over-inflated idea of what she can buy with her “monies”) we got her calmed down enough for the yearly pictures. I took everyone else’s photos first to give her blotchy face time to calm down a bit. As is the nature with kids, but the end of the car ride home, she was joyfully showing us how she could use her tongue to push that tooth forward!

Now... the only dilemma I have with this as a designer... is that the Tooth Fairy Pillow I designed for Erin (almost a year before she ever lost her first tooth since a magazine asked me to create one) has her name on it. It is also only fair that I create something new for Bethany (you just can’t have a “Hand-me-Down” with your sister’s name on it!) but what are the odds of this happening right before I leave for Toronto?? We may have to come up with something fun and temporary since I doubt that tooth will hang on until I get back. I am hoping she will lose if before I go...just to share in her milestone. I’d better design something on the plane or in my hotel room!

After the orchard, with apples, pumpkins, apple wine and fresh veggies in tow, we headed back to the home of one of our friends for a “potluck” Thanksgiving dinner. I’d cooked the turkey Friday while I was home working on the computer, so we brought it already sliced. One family looked after snacks and beverages, while the other handled veggies and amazing pumpkin pie!

I still had to bring a bit of work along... boxes of floss to snip and assemble on cards for the show in Toronto...but that was actually a fun thing to do as the big kids played downstairs, the twins rolled around on the floor at our feet and the grown-ups had a chance to talk. Nick even joked “So is this what’s it’s like to be a famous, glamorous designer?” as I sat in my jeans with piles of 18” strands of floss down one leg of my jeans (I have a nice long space from hip to knee) and the floss cards on the other leg as I looped each bundle through the cards in a half-hitch. No Martha Stewart or Debbie Travis gophers behind the scenes for me... but Nick did sit and stick needles into little bits of aida last night to help out, so I do at least have a “hunky helper”!

It was also wonderful to gather around the table...squeezing all 13 of us on chairs, stools and lap (for the twins when they got fussy) to eat the meal that we had prepared in friendship, and each come up with one thing that we were thankful for as our grace.

Today, after church, we head down the other side of the river to Nick’s Mom’s bed and breakfast for a meal with family. I know that even after the chaos of the past few weeks, I feel truly blessed and very thankful.