I'm feeling very lucky at the moment. I really am.
I'm obviously grateful for Bella. That goes without saying. Although it is said, every single day. Many times over.
But it's not just that.
I've spent a large part of my life wanting to belong. And a larger part of it acting as though it was my choice that I never have.
But this blog has changed all of that. Your comments and your support has changed all of that. The emails that I get from complete strangers who are willing to use their precious time to write to me and share their experience's has changed all of that. The emails and comments that I get from people that I find incredibly inspiring has changed all of that. You, (yes you!) have all changed all of that. And most of all, meeting people like Kristy and her wonderful girls has changed all of that.
Yesterday I was blessed with the chance to meet that nicest, funniest, most amazing group of girls that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Those of you that read Kristy's lovely blog already know that she is a kind, funny, inspiring women. But what you don't know is that over the last year Kristy has been a constant source of comfort for me. And although we have never met before and although I am crap at leaving comments on her blog, she has quietly and completely altruistically let me know time and time again that she's there and that she cares. I have received little emails just letting me know she's out there thinking of me, I've received gifts just to let me know that she cares and knows I've had a bad week. And time and time again she's made me laugh just when I needed to. And I'm not even sure she knows how much she's done. I know that she's never asked for anything back. And I know, and am ashamed to say, that she's received very little back from me.
All of that said, as much as Kristy's been there for me, there is where she's stayed. Right over there, only an hour away! For a year we have discussed the idea of meeting, since we only live an hour apart. But both of us are more than a little hesitant about meeting new people so we both kept fudging the issue and ignoring it. Until finally I came up with an enticement that was just too big for her to ignore.
The New York bounty and the new studio! And I'm telling you, if anything's going to encourage some reticent bloggers to meet, it's the chance to roll around naked in lots of fabric (that part DID NOT happen, but I know Capello's reading, so that one's for her!).
And yesterday was the big day. And it was a big day because I am horribly shy in real life (listen, if I could delete and rewrite sentences in real life I probably wouldn't be so shy, but I can't, so I am), and there are five of them to only two of us! That's a whole lot of girls. In my very small house. When we've never met before.
But I can tell you right now. It was THE. MOST. FUN. EVER!
And if ever I needed a MOST. FUN. EVER. day, it was this week.
I honestly can not tell you how much good it did me or just how wonderful Kristy and her girls are.
So let me show you instead.
I could bore you all senseless with how amazing Kristy's four daughters are, but I'll try and limit myself to just saying that I have never met a group of girls between the ages of 5 and 12 who are all polite and kind and well behaved whilst still having a true and obvious spirit and sense of fun.
And Kristy's relationship with them is an absolute inspiration. Their sense of fun as a family is incredibly apparent and infectious. And something that I want Bella to experience growing up.
That's Maisie (below) sharing her gorgeous flapjacks. She's a very, very good cook already - and is definitely a firm favourite with Jim (who has a very sweet tooth!), who thinks she should bake for us on a regular basis (I agree).
We had so much fun just sitting around talking, and Bella had so much fun being a mini dictator (she's two and yet she had them running around after her!!!) that it could have happily lasted for days. And that was before we even got to the studio.
But then when we did get to the studio - well, then we started having some real fun! This is Lily (very, very talented craftswomen already! Going to give all of us a run for our money) discovering my stash of butchers string (if that's you Maisie, I apologise, I can only tell you two apart by your shoes!)
And here's Lily doing an impression of
my Bella's Molly Chicken. Which I nearly lost to a new home!
Josie (who seriously could be related to Bella, they are so similar in spirit), Kitty (made me laugh a lot and gorgeous) and Bella reading books (in between bouts of systematically destroying Bella's bedroom) . Don't the three of them look innocent? They're not.
And my favourite picture of all - the feeding frenzy that ensued when I told the girls that they could help themselves to my scrap bins!
I can't tell you how much fun it was watching everyone be so excited by fabric, instead of just wanting to be watching tv downstairs, complaining of being bored, they way that a lot of kids would be. It literally made my heart sing.
And of course Bella helped too! I mean, how else would they have seen all the fabrics if she hadn't thrown them around the room with such abandon?
Ahh, it was truly a joy. And both Bella and I intend to insinuate ourselves in to Kristy's family whether they like it or not!
So thank you Kristy, Lily, Maisie, Kitty and Josie. You are big, big favourites in this house. Please do all come again very soon.
I also must say that I haven't had time to photograph the presents that they bought with them. But I will!
And finally, I just wanted to thank you all again and to say that there have been so many people over the last year that have been there for me. And I am grateful to you all. And I am here because of you all.
And I am a very lucky person indeed.