Friday, March 29, 2013

My little Padawan's 5th birthday

Last Saturday we had a small birthday party for my little Padawan.  For those of you not in the know, that would be the term used to refer to the Jedi pupils of Star Wars fame.  If you've been following along, you know that we celebrated Aria's 5th birthday with a larger elephant party.  It was a smashing success and on Sunday, we'll release the total amount that Aria raised for Elephant Family but lets just say for now that here at Tansy Dolls we are mightily impressed with how much a young girl can accomplish with a lot of determination and passion and the support of her community both local and more globally.

Back to the Jedi party though.  Originally, before, we knew we would be throwing a much larger elephant party to raise funds, I had envisioned a rather elaborate Star Wars party.  But once we started planning more seriously for the elephant saver fundraiser and began to realize how big it was going to be, I asked my little Padawan if it might make more sense to downsize her Star Wars party.  I was impressed that at such a young age, she actually agreed to what I saw as very adult logic.  But agree she did.

Nonetheless, as her mother, I wanted to give her the best Star Wars party I could conjure up even if it was going to be on a much smaller scale.  We invited a few of her closest friends.  That would be Lesley's Stella and Ever and Cady's Max in case you were wondering.  Anyhow, enough talk.  Let's move on to the photos!

Just a few short weeks before Aria's party Frecktree uploaded this awesome Star Wars "redress" and I had to snag it for my little Star Wars fan.  If you don't know about Freckletree, seriously go check out her shop. She makes the cutest owl hoot hats and just added a new dress line, made from salvaged tees.

Party activities.  So, the older the kids get, they seem to want more organized party activities.  This is not my strong point, but I managed to whip together four: 1) a Jedi foraging and tracking expedition AKA treasure hunt 2) storm trooper target shooting, 3) laser obstacle Jedi training course, and 4) the death star pinata.

The Foraging and Tracking Expedition: the little Padawans followed clues that eventually led them to a stash of Space Ice Cream that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The storm trooper target shooting was a last minute addition.  Aria's daddy went out the morning of the party and picked up a black light and strobe light to add a little oomph to my simple little targets. You can see our hallway decorations from Christmas and the Lunar New Year glowing under the black light.  Heh.
The Laser obstacle Jedi training course was simply yarn taped up in the hallway.  Again, Aria's daddy really came through with the genius idea of using white yarn with the black light which made the yarn look like real lasers.  This was by far Aria's favorite party activity.
The pinnacle of the party was the Death Star pinata.  It was my first foray into paper mache and I had a lot of fun putting it together.  I used a round punch balloon as the base and pasted strips of thin paper and silver tissue paper with a flour and water mixture.  After it was dry, I used strips of medical tape to tape off the lines and then painted it with silver and black spray paint.  After I removed the tape, I added details with a black sharpie.  It was stuffed with candy, Star Wars stickers, glow in the dark rocks, bouncy balls, and Lego lightsabers.
The "lightsaber" was a simple wooden dowel that was painted green.  I added silver duct tape with black sharpie details for the handle.  The kids had a blast destroying the death star.  Stella and Aria got serious when the Death Star came crashing down.
And of course there was cake.  It was a dark chocolate Darth Vader cake as Aria requested.  Aria helped her daddy decorate it.  I think Ever thoroughly enjoyed his slice.
Of course what is a party without friends?  Aria and I are blessed to have some of the most wonderful friends anybody could ever hope to ask for.

We sent everyone home with these yummy Star Wars treats from Sugar and Spice Arts.  Ann Marie was a treat (pun intended) to work with.  She even held off on shipping so I wouldn't have to stash the treats for too long.  The best part?  Inside each chocolate Millennium Falcon was a delicious Oreo cookie.  Ann Marie packaged each one individually with an assortment of  Star Wars themed chocolates and added tags with the party guests' names.
In the end I would say that while the party was small it was BIG on fun, friends, and sugar (heh!) and the birthday gal really enjoyed her Star Wars party.

Don't forget to stay tuned for how much Aria raised for Elephant Family.

~Cheers!~
Robin

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Snow, baby!

Max has been asking for it to snow since last November. He remembers that it snowed at our house last March and is not happy with my inability to produce more on demand. Since I can't control the weather I instead promised a trip up to the snow before it melted. But life gets busy, so the trip got put off many times. Finally, this week is Spring Break. I figured we were getting close to now-or-never so I promised a snow trip for Wednesday.

I'm really glad we finally went cause it was a blast! Max had a fabulous time! I was also impressed that we had tons of space to ourselves despite it being Spring Break!

We snagged Aunt Cary and headed up to Ski Bowl on Mount Hood for their Snowtubing Adventure Park. It was a nice enough drive, and Max was thrilled when he first spotted the snow. There was a people mover belt to take you up to the top of the tubing hill with your tube, then up top was the lodge, a small tubing hill, an indoor climbing area with ball pit, kiddie snowmobiles, and a toddler tube carousel. There were certainly real ski runs and other such good stuff, but we stuck to the kids' area.

I was also pretty impressed with the restaurant. Cary had a pretty classy salad, I had a wonderful local ingredient burger with Tillamook cheese, and we split a super yummy root beer float. I could certainly babble on, but let's skip to the pictures!

In the snow with mom!

Getting read to head up the hill!

Coming down the hill

Made it down in one piece

Swimming in the ball pit


Max was into the ice cream but not so into the root beer part


Prepping snowballs!


Getting spun around on the tube


Stuck in a hole!


Cary stuck in a hole! Now Max is as tall as her!


Max's favorite tube; the train tube. 

Did you guys do anything fun for Spring Break?

TTFN!
Cady

Monday, March 25, 2013

Last Minute Handmade Easter Basket Guide!

Do you like the long (yet, impressively descriptive!) title of today's post? hah.

I've been admiring so many wonderful artists on etsy and scoping out their work (okay, drooling over it) for Easter for the last few weeks, so I thought I'd share the handmade love with ya'll in case you're looking for some last minute, incredibly special, items to grace your child's Spring baskets next week.
I've made sure to include shops that are in the US with RTG (ready-to-go) products so they will most likely arrive before this week if you buy...right...NOW!! My apologies to our Canadian friends & others, you'll just have to have fun searching for some local loveliness by yourself (and I won't feel toooo bad for you!)  :)

Here it goes!

1. theFeltasaurus
prop of Lisa Cooper @ the Feltasuarus.etsy.com
Oh mah goodnessssss...the CUTENESS! I couldn't choose just one to show you, so I opted for the group shot with hopes that it'll temp you to click on the link (attached to the name of her shop, above) to admire all of the beautiful scenes Lisa Cooper depicts on her gorgeous felted eggs. These are so reasonably priced at just $17.50 an egg and she ships Priority - so GO! right now! Buy your family  holiday heirloom (or 2 or 5) that they will cherish for many Easters to come.

2. vintagejane
prop of Stacey from vintagejane.etsy.com
 
Next up are these adorable animal pillows by Stacey of vintagejane. These are just asking to be taken home and displayed front & center so that the cuteness can emanate throughout your entire home. And look...a Bunny! (but seriously, that fox or kitty would get just as much Easter love, come on...)

3. CottonAndCarrot
prop of Rachel O'Donnell of CottonAndCarrot.etsy.com

If you are the crafty type, these adorable bunnies from Rachel at CottonAndCarrot may be the ticket for ya. She'll send you a PDF pattern, so you have plenty of days left to whip up some sweetness for this weekend (and while you're at it, can you make me one too, please?) The scarfs make these bun-buns zoom to the top of the 'awesome' chart for me. I'm a sucker for a cute scarf.


4. AmysCuteCreations

prop of Amy at amyscutecreations.com
 I LOVE the peek-a-boo surprise element to these lovely little eggs. Don't they look so soft and sweet? Handmade by Amy, they come in different colors and are around $12 US (or less if you buy multiples). She also has some adorable bunny hats in her shop, so check it out for your daily dose of cuteness!

Well, I hope I've inspired you to check out these lovely shops, and support handmade businesses as we celebrate Spring this week. Make every holiday handmade! You'll have gifts that you and your family will truly treasure and you'll be helping other families to continue to do what they love.

Happy Easter, everyone!
xoxoxoxoxoxo,
Lesley





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Friday, March 22, 2013

Forever Young

I am not sure where the time has gone. Aria turns five tomorrow. While I feel like she has grown so much in these last 5 years, the reality is that the same could be said for me. Being Aria's mother has taught me a lot about myself, about the sort of person that I want to be, and about love, the sort of love that is raw and true. When I first found out that I was going to be a mother I didn't worry about whether I could take care of a baby, I knew that I could. But I have discovered that a different sort of worry comes with parenthood. The sorts of worries that keep me up at night have nothing to do with whether I can meet her basic needs. I worry instead whether I can raise a resilient and compassionate person who cares about herself and the world and knows how to balance both concerns.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others and let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you always stay forever young

But most of all, I worry that I'm not the most qualified person for this job. Folks looking in from the outside see a mom who is a full time doctoral student and has a side business with two of her best friends and I wonder sometimes if they think I have it 100% together. But the truth is that some days I feel like I'm just an imposter. Most days my house is a mess, I'm lucky if I leave the house with a clean shirt on not to mention a well put together outfit, and there are days when I just feel like the crappiest mom in the world. I worry constantly about my capacity to raise a confident strong daughter when I still have my own personal devils to wrestle. How can I tell her that she is so much more than her looks when I still catch myself wishing I was prettier and thinner? How can I teach her to believe in herself when I question everything that I do?

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth about the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and strong
And may you always stay forever young

But here's the thing. When I slow down long enough to take a breath, I see myself through my child's eyes. She loves me unconditionally and thinks I am the most beautiful mother in the world. She doesn't care if the house is a mess or my hair is a few days too dirty. All she notices and cares about is the time we spend together. As someone who has spent her life trying to be perfect, motherhood has taught me that perfection is an impossible goal.  And you know when I'm not being neurotic I sometimes suspect that it is my imperfections that make me a good mom. Now I'm not saying that I embrace all my bad parenting moments, because I don't.  The times when I yell at Aria for behaving like a typical child are not my proudest moments, but I'm not afraid to admit to my little girl that I've made a mistake; I'm not afraid to apologize to her and own up to those mistakes.

And something that I've come to realize in this journey is that as her first teacher its my job to make sure that Aria doesn't fall into the same trap her mother did in thinking that perfection is necessary to be a good person.  In fact, I'd rather she learn that trying to be perfect is a recipe for misery. Instead I'd like her to learn that the goal in life is to be the best person you can be, to make amends when you make mistakes because you surely will make mistakes, and to remember that the little things in life are what makes life worth living. Those are lessons she can only learn by seeing me embrace these truths myself.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation for when the winds of change shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you always stay forever young

No matter the fears that sometimes creep up on me, the reality is that I am the mother she was born to and I joyfully if sometimes fearfully embrace this job of mine. The one thing I can say with confidence is that raising Aria is the most important job that I will ever have. I have a life outside motherhood and I enjoy that life but nothing will ever compare to being her mother. Nothing.

Happy Birthday to my brilliant and amazing little girl. May you grow up to be happy and content with your life and yourself. May you find joy in the little things while you strive for BIG things.

~Cheers!~
Robin
 
*Forever Young by Bob Dylan is the song that Aria and I sing together at bedtime and well...at random times throughout the day.  Its our song and really it says everything I could ever hope to articulate about what I'd like for my daughter as she grows up.*  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Elephant King and the Mouse King

Hey folks,

Well, my Monday blog post is now officially a Thursday post - hah! Oh well, it happens. :)

Today I'm excited to announce the new 16" Doll that Cady, Robin, and I collaborated on for the 2nd installment of our 'From Fables' series. In celebration of little Miss Aria Jae and all of the Elephant-y wonderfulness going on this month in Tansy Dolls land because of her fundraiser, we decided to choose a great story staring (you guessed it) an awesome Elephant. I just love this tale as it reminds me of a certain little girl and her bravery, creativity, and mightiness.

Here's a peak at "Ravi" our Indian Elephant King, and his story:

The Elephant King and the Mouse King

Once there was a settlement of mice who were terrified of elephants. When the enormous elephants walked through their tiny mouse village with their huge feet, many mice were left scared and badly hurt.

So one day, the Mouse King went to talk with the King of the Elephants and he said, "If you spare our lives, we will help you in your time of need."


At first the Elephant King laughed, "Whatever shall you do to help us? Such small and fragile creatures you are." But, the Elephant King was kind and fair, and so he agreed. He ordered his elephants to take a different route, to be mindful, and to never to step on a single mouse.
From that day forward the elephants lifted their gigantic legs with care, making sure they would not bring harm to their little friends.

One unfortunate day, poachers entered their land. Each day the human hunters captured more and more elephants and tied them down in complicated rope traps.

The Elephant King was heartbroken. Then, he remembered the pact he had made with the King of the Mice and at once he sent for his tiny friend.

Upon hearing his problem, the Mouse King gathered all in his kingdom together. The mice came to discuss how they might solve this problem and help save the elephants.


The next day, the mice formed into teams. Each group of mice approached a different elephant and began quickly gnawing through their ropes until all of the elephants were freed. Bewildered and frustrated, the poachers fled.

The Elephant King was surprised and very grateful. He decreed that from that day forth he would never again underestimate the strength and determination of any creature, or judge their power based solely on their size. For sometimes the smallest ones amongst us are the most mighty.


If you'd like to see more pictures of Our Elephant and Mice Kings on our flickr or fb page. They'll be on sale today at noon (pst) at tansydolls.com

Have a great day, everyone!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo,
Lesley

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Choose Chocolate for Easter

Easter is almost here! Around here that means egg dying and egg hunts. Max has always really enjoyed dying the eggs, even though he doesn't like to eat hard-boiled eggs. No worries; mom loves both egg salad and deviled eggs, so they won't go to waste! But he loooooves the egg hunting part. We use those little plastic eggs you can get everywhere, stuff them full of treasures, and liberally seed the backyard. Our eggs usually include a little candy, lots of stickers, some tiny toys, and things like crackers or mandarin oranges. Last year we had about 10 egg hunts. Max would re-stuff the eggs, then have me re-hide them so he could do it all over again.

You also may remember that we have two wonderful, special bunnies at our house; Zoey and Otter. Easter and bunnies rather go together. Do you know why? Here's a nice synopsis.

Now, I firmly believe that bunnies (aka rabbits) make seriously wonderful pets. Between the cuteness, the fuzziness, and their marvelous personalities they are a joy to have in the home. However, if you're thinking about getting a bunny (or 2!) for your home, I'm also going to recommend not getting one for Easter.

Many families have thought "What could be better than a real live Easter bunny to celebrate Easter?" But often, this cute idea fades to the reality that a cute bunny need all the care and attention of any other pet. So, I refer you to the website of the House Rabbit society for their take on the Easter bunny phenomenon: Make Mine Chocolate! 

I think bunnies are awesome, but for Easter choose a chocolate bunny. One morning of cuteness is great, but a bunny is a 10-year commitment, so know what you're getting into.

If you want to add some major cuteness to your Easter basket, try some of our super cute goodies instead! The shop is stocked with little felted animals and sprout dolls, both perfect for spring! Link to the shop.

But, man they are adorable:








TTFN!
Cady

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Art Ala Carte

So....Saturday night is the new Friday.  Yeah...oops.  I've been so busy with Aria's fundraiser that I totally forgot about my Friday blog post.  But now I get to share some photos from Aria's art open house at Art ala Carte.  But before I do I want to say a few words about Art ala Carte.  The concept behind this venue is brilliant.  When you enter the place, you grab a tray and head to the bins, which are filled with trinkets, doodads, and all sorts of craft supplies.  Its like a buffet dinner but you fill up on craftiness rather than food.  In a nutshell it is totally Aria's kind of place. If you live anywhere near the Portland Metro area you really ought to stop by for an afternoon of art fun with the kids.

Art ala Carte is located at 319 NE Wygant ST Portland, OR 97211.  Find out more about this great place at www.artalacartepdx.com and like the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Art-ala-Carte-PDX/157105834363622.

Aria starts creating while Feather looks on.
Max does not mess around with his sculptures.  If you look closely you can spy a roach on a golf tee.
A super cool marble sculpture Scottie made.
Everyone is busy creating.
Amber and Rian hard at work.
Stella enjoying some of the best cookies EVER from Le Cookie Monkey.
Aria the elephant had a blast and would like to thank everyone for their support.
Don't forget that you can still support Aria's efforts to save the elephants by bidding on some of the great handcrafted elephant items in her auction at http://hyenacart.com/TansyDolls/4665/category/7/Aria-Jaes-Elephant-Saver-Fundraiser-Auction.  You can also purchase a card designed by Aria for only $2.50 + shipping.  There are three designs to choose from.  If you cannot do either, share the auction.  The more the word is spread, the better the chance to raise money for Elephant Family.

~Cheers!~
Robin

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's All About the Elephants

Hey folks!

Today is all about the elephants.

You may remember that our very own Aria Jae is hosting a fundraiser to save the Asian Elephants. The auction went live today at noon, in honor of Thailand's National Elephant Day, and will run through March 23, Aria's 5th birthday. There's a lot of awesome goodies going up on the auction, so be sure to stop by! Here's the auction link: http://hyenacart.com/stores/TansyDolls/

Look at some of the amazing elephant-themed crafts you can bid on!
There's some spectacular talent there, so be sure to check it out. All proceeds will go to the Elephant Family, a UK based charity.

If you're in Portland, you can also come join us for an art-filled evening at Art ala Carte this Saturday, 3/16, 5-8pm. The event is $9 per person, with half the entrance fee also going to Elephant Family. It will be a ton of artsy fun, and I hear a rumor that Le Cookie Monkey will be donating snacks as well. You know you don't want to miss that! You can come hob-nob with the whole Tansy Dolls crew too!

If you're not into either of those, you can still support Aria Jae's Elephant Saver Fundraiser with a direct donation. More info about that on the dedicated blog: http://elephantsaverfundraiser.blogspot.com/

We're so proud of Aria and truly touched by everyone who's come on board to help with her dream. If you can't participate financially we'd love it if you could help spread the word; share this blog post, the dedicated blog link, the auction itself, or one of the posts on our Facebook page. We really want to show Aria that one child really can make a difference.

UPDATE: Did you guys see Aria on the news?!?! If you missed it, check it out here. Or here on Fox 12's Facebook Page.

TTFN!
Cady

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bunnies, and Boucle, and Lions, oh my!

Whew! What a rad week we've had in Tansy Dolls land!

We had 2 different giveaways, and I looooove getting to contact the winners to let them in on the good news. So much fun, so many good vibes. I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone following us, supporting us, and participating in our promotions. Reading your sweet comments is so encouraging and really lights up my day. :)

Our first winner, Michelle, had her choice of a whole basket of Spring-inspired goodies. She let her daughter Elle choose which critter would go home with them, and they chose sweet Mopsy.

Easter Giveaway, needle-felt, bunny, Tansy Dolls, waldorf, earth friendly
hippity-hoppity, Easter's on it's way!
Then, on Thursday, it was the big one, our HUGE giveaway because we'd reached 2,000 fb fans (pretty darn cool, right? whoop whoop!) The grand prize was a custom 10" or 16" Tansy Doll, and a lovely lady named Brittney scored big time! She chose to do a 16" Boy doll in a beautiful combo of mossy green boucle (curly) hair, green eyes, and warm brown skin. I am so excited to make this doll, I think the colors will look lovely. Here's the pic of the boucle we're going with and a link to the shoppe for a peak at some gorgeous yarn and fiber.
Custom waldorf doll bamboletta dragonflys hollow
photo from Amber Taylor at tayloredfibers
I'll make sure to update you guys with pictures of the finished doll before we send it off to Brittney and her daughter to snuggle with.

And speaking of snuggles (I know, I know, I'm the master of the segue...) this week we're working on yet another animal friend to incorporate into our 5" Sprout Doll line. LIONS! Oh man, I am loving the Lions and their sweet lil' manes:
Waldorf Doll, handmade, Lion Doll, Tansy Dolls
Rrroawr!
waldorf doll, tansy dolls, lions, lion doll
put 'em up, put 'em up!
And there you have it folks, a week in my life. So super awesome and fun. I hope everyone has a great week and is inspired to create something new!

xoxoxoxo,
Lesley

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thanks to the women in my life.

Its International Women's Day and while I had plans to post about something different.  Well this just feels right.  So here's a photo tribute to the important women in my life.  These are in no particular order of importance obviously.

Cady (M) and Lesley (R).  These two ladies are the best momma friends a gal can have.  There is nothing like having great friends help you through the tough times as well as help you celebrate the joys of parenting.  It was just by happenstance that they came into my life.  I showed up one day at a parenting group's meetup at Cady's house.  That day it happened to just be Lesley and Cady and I find it joyfully ironic that the first two people I met from this group of awesome parents became two of my closest friends.
Amy.  She and I have been friends since I was 16 and she was 15, I believe.  Barry at the far R is the friend I wrote about here.  Amy is the epitome of strength.  She's tough but loving.  I don't know that I have ever met another friend so willing to drop everything to help out one of her friends or family members.  We are probably about as polar opposite as you can get, but I know those differences nor time and distance will ever diminish our friendship.   Which reminds me I miss her and would love to have a cup of coffee and chat with her.  I'll have to see if I can make that happen soon.    
Dagny and Kelly.  They were my best friends from high school and just about the only friends I had for a long time.  They made high school bearable and we share many memories of laughter together.  I have never had a ton of friends but I have always had a few GREAT friends and these gals are right up there on the list.  Dagny is a beautiful dreamer with a huge heart and soul.  Kelly is a down to earth tell it like it is gal who you can always trust to have your back when it matters.
Inês Almeida.  Normally I would not include someone I had never met in real life in a post such as this but I feel like Inês is more than just someone I barely know through the internet.  She inspires me with her undying passion for etching out space for our children to enjoy childhoods without limitations.  Several years back I stumbled upon her page and instantly felt like I found a community, a safe space to work through my concerns about raising a daughter in this world.  In that time I've enjoyed a few Skype conversations with this awesome woman and just this week she graced my class with a Skype presentation.  I may never have met her in person but I consider her a friend nonetheless.  One of these days I will get to sit down with her in person and tell her how thankful I am for the work that she does for my daughter and all the children of the world. 

Johanna Brenner.  She was my adviser for my Thesis when I was getting my Masters in Sociology at PSU.  I first met her when I took her course in my last year of my undergraduate program.  Let me tell you, she was one of the few people in my life to ever push me out of my comfort zone.  She told me that from my papers she knew I had something to say and that she wanted me to speak up more.  I had spent a lifetime trying to be as small and quiet as possible because I felt like I had nothing to add that was worthy.  It mattered that she thought that she wanted to hear my voice.  She is an amazing force and I know for a fact that she has touched so many lives and continues to do so. 
Mom.  She didn't raise me but she shaped who I am today nonetheless.  We sometimes have a difficult time relating to each other.  Age and culture separate us and we struggle to understand each other.  BUT I know she loves me and I know she has done and does do the best that she can.  I admire the woman she is, coming to a new country, learning a new language and new way of living, but etching out her corner of the world and by all accounts doing it successfully.
Grandma Betty.  Another enigma but just as influential in my life.  Friends would wonder at the way I talked to her on the phone, telling me that Grams and I sounded like friends; that they never talked to their grandmas quite like I talked to mine.  Grandma was funky and an oddity and craft lady.   I swear that I owe my love of crafting to this woman.  My childhood memories consist of picking through her button and fabric stash to whip up childlike creations.  She always had a WIP (work in progress).  I hope she has found her peace with Gramps in the great beyond.
Tina.  This is an old photo but it includes her entire wonderful family so its fitting.  Tina and I met in the Masters Program and she was and still is an incredible support person for me.  I wanted a woman to support me during my birth because it felt right and who better to choose than someone I consider to be one of the best mothers I have ever met.  Testimony to her great motherhood is her two daughters, Robin (L) and Nicole (R), who are also incredible women in their own right.  I knew I could care for a young baby but I was fearful about being able to raise a daughter in this world, but then I look at Tina's children and they give me hope.  If Aria is even half as wonderful as these two young ladies are, she will be a powerful force of good in this world.  I cannot thank Tina enough for being there for me when I need her.

Shellie.  I hear stories of horror stories involving Mother in laws and I think to myself that I must be one of the lucky ones because I cannot think of a better mother in law and grandma than Shellie.  My husband is a lucky man to have such a beautiful and giving mother.  I know he appreciates her and I do as well. I don't know what we did before she moved to Portland, but when I graduate with my doctoral degree its going to be in large part because of Shellie.  I am fortunate to have her in my life and I am thankful that Aria has a grandma who is willing to spend so much time with her. She is one of the most generous souls that I know. 
My big sis.  From the day I was born I had a big sister to look out for me.  From the stories I hear she declared that I was HER baby from day one.  She saved me from the disastrous New Kids on the Block fiasco by introducing the Beatles to me.  Rather than memories of fawning over Joey and Danny, instead I have memories of fawning over Paul and John and I have Janet to thank for that.  She encouraged and supported my love of reading by letting me borrow and gifting me books.  To this day, she still is one of the best gifters of books that I know.   She is about to have her own little girl soon and I am excited to not only have a niece but to get to witness my sister become the wonderful mother that  I know she already is.
And finally but certainly not least Aria.  My amazing, brilliant, beautiful, imaginative, and passionate little daughter who shows me everyday that this world is a good place to live after all.  I never knew the fierceness of love until I set eyes upon her little inquisitive face.  Her passion and determination make her challenging to parent sometimes but they also make her the awesome little person that she is.   May she know and be surrounded by as many wonderful, inspiring, and supportive women as her mother has been and currently is.
Wow!  I am realizing how much I am surrounded by glorious, beautiful, and loving women!  How did I ever get so lucky?  I don't know but I am sure grateful for these ladies.  So THANK YOU to each and every one, both the living and the ones who have passed on to the great beyond.  Which women are important in your life? 

~Cheers!~
Robin