Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Grandma's Sewing Machine

When I was a little girl, my grandmother taught me to sew, first by hand, and later with paper patterns and her foot pedal sewing machine.  Not the kind with a huge pedal, but one that had a little box with a button you pushed with your foot to make it go.  A sturdy, pretty, shiny black Singer with gold pretties  (squiggly lines) that decorated the spin handle on the side.

In addition to that, my grandmother was my world.  We lived just behind her for most of my childhood, and when I was younger I was there more than I was home (and when I was older I went there directly after school instead of home).  All of our holidays were held there too, and we had dinner with her and my grandfather every Sunday after church.

She was the type of grandmother who so rarely got cross that you remember distinctly the times you heard her do so (I remember two, once with my grandfather and once w/someone outside of the family). She was also the kind of grandma who loved you, I mean truly, completely, unconditionally loved you. I always knew I was wanted, loved, and as I got older and had children of my own, I came to realize, cherished as her grandchild.  She loved me the way I love my own, but she was even better at it (I've been mad at mine a time or two ;) )

She didn't have much in terms of 'things.' She never did, but she always worked, and she always made sure there was 'enough.' When she died, I knew she'd told my mom she wanted me to have her sewing machine.  A few years later, my mom asked me if I wanted it.  I sent her money to mail it.  Of course, I wanted it.  And my mom mailed it to me very quickly.

But it's been sitting in that box, every day since it arrived, unopened.  I don't even know if it got damaged in transit (I am hoping not).  Today I pulled that box out, and I was going to open it...put the beautiful sewing machine on display for everyone to see like it should be. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't open the box, and I've already put it back in the room we use for storage.

Isn't that silly?  I still miss her so.  And it's really been a long time now.  How wonderful to have had someone like that in my life.

I hope each of you has your own 'gram,' or that you are that someone to someone else.  That kind of love, thankfully, never leaves you.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Flip Flops and Upside Down Christmas Trees

A couple of days ago I posted about our mini-trip over the long holiday weekend to Frankenmuth.  Here is the rest of that post...our hotel visit.

We have been to Frankenmuth many times.  It's just really a place our whole family enjoys.  They have a premium outlet mall close by at Birch Run for shopping enthusiasts, many great shops right in town including two shopping centers (many with custom-made items), and an awesome Cheese Haus. They also have restaurants aplenty.  The two most popular restaurants by far, for us, are the The Bavarian Inn and Zehnders, both of which offer a unique Bavarian-style experience, right down to what the staff are wearing.  Frankenmuth also has a great coffee house with a play area for the kids built into the wall (under the staircase), and of course they have Bronner's, the worlds' largest Christmas store.  I'm missing a lot, but you get the idea.

We usually stay at the same hotel, and do the same things, but we decided to switch it up a bit this time, and after a little research, we opted for a stay at The Bavarian Inn, more precisely, we decided to stay in the Family Fun Center of the hotel (which is like a hotel within the hotel!).

If have children (any age!), and are headed to Frankenmuth, I highly recommend asking for a room in the Fun Center.  The rooms are literally in the middle of a fun zone, but are down a hallway with sound proof glass separating them from the fun (so you can look down and see the rooms, but you're not bothered by the noise).  When I was reading about it, I thought, 'fun center, okay,' but I had no idea what we were in store for once we arrived.  Just like the website described it, this place really was a mega-arcade and Bavarian-themed indoor water park.

The first thing we did was test the play rooms.  In the picture above you can see this was no ordinary game room.  There was a large play house area (complete with a play kitchen inside, of course), that my little one could not pass up.