Pomp and Circumstance

My girl graduated from high school this past weekend. She wasn't feeling very well, but was glad to walk that aisle and receive her diploma nonetheless.

It was very difficult finding good seating in the auditorium, and I ended up in the very back, hoping I could get a few somewhat decent shots of Sabrina. When she got to her seat, I saw her looking around, trying to find all of us; with the hundreds of faces looking downward at their class, she couldn't spot us, which made me sad. I kept wanting to shout out, "We're here, Sabrina! Here we are!"

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About 3/4 of the way through the ceremony, they finally came to the "S" surnames, and Sabrina's row walked to the front…

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At last, I'd maneuvered myself to get a great photo of her receiving her diploma! I was poised and eager, holding my breath, and my shutter finger was ready to capture the shot of the day…

"Sabrina .. Stewart," the administrator called…

(There she is! My baby girl! My little strawberry-haired baby girl!)

CLICK.

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Wha…???????????

WHAT THE POMP JUST HAPPENED?

I couldn't believe it. This was the one photo I was waiting for, and it was disastrous. I kept asking myself, "Will someone please remind me why I secretly sold Mike's left kidney so I could buy this lens?" over and over again. It wasn't until a few moments later that I realized it wasn't my lens, but another culprit:

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The onstage flash and camera rig. What timing. Ugh. 

I then recalled that last year the school sent out photos of the graduates to each family, and I was happy again. I'm sure they got a much better shot than I could have anyway.

So I continued on with watching my darling girl head back off the stage, diploma in hand, and back to her seat…

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Congratulations, class of 2011!

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Sitting in the back of the auditorium, I watched my Sabrina walk toward the exit…

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Again, she started to look around (she had actually seen her proud dad earlier, but I was sitting in a different spot than he was), and I believe she was just about to give up spotting me, when suddenly – finally…

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…My girl smiled at me. It was then that I started to cry. I put my camera down and held my hand to my heart and told her I loved her. She answered by putting her hand to her heart and told me she loved me too, and out into the sunshiny day she went, waiting for us to come find her.

I am so proud of Sabrina.

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Once outside, amid the sea of green gowns, we tried our best to spot her. Finally, Sophie had the idea of standing up on a concrete block to yell out, "Sabrina!!"

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It worked. 🙂

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(Her dad gives the best, warmest hugs.)

Pops was so proud…

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In front of the courthouse…

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(We'll be here again for Joonbug in 2018! I need to remember to take another picture exactly like this one when she's wearing her cap and gown.)

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And yes, I'll take another of this one as well…

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Sabrina, your dad and I are so very proud of all you've accomplished. You're a delight to us, and we love you with all our hearts. I know I speak for your Meems and Pops as well, and as dad said in your card, "Grandma and Grandpa are in Heaven, clapping and cheering the loudest."

Congratulations, my girl.

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Eleven

One of my favorite things about Sophie is that no matter whose birthday it is, she's in the mood to celebrate it. She truly has a gift for making one feel absolutely special on their birthday, and I hope we made her feel the same on hers.

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After presents, we took her to one of her favorite restaurants, The Olive Garden…

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(Btw, Sabrina got her that cute strapless top – and a bandeau – she's wearing.)

I got her a few fun little things from Aerie (since she's a big girl now and loves to shop where her sisters shop), her Meems and Pops got her some fun stuff from Justice for Girls (since she still loves little girl things, and won't be able to shop there for much longer), and Big Papa got her something she's been begging for…

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Breanna and Sabrina used to have a trampoline, but as Sophie said, "It finally passed." She was ecstatic when she woke up on the morning of her birthday and saw the instructions for assembling the new one laying on the countertop.

We had a cookout that night, and many hands (not mine) made short work of putting the trampoline together… until I noticed that the entire bouncing part was attached upside-down; time stood still as every eye turned toward me in a most unkindly way, and I suddenly felt like I was the next course in a cannibal birthday celebration. However, after recomposing themselves, Mike, Bre, Adam and Sophie went to work undoing what they'd done…

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…and soon all was set aright.

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Happy, happy birthday, my sweet Joonbug. You are absolutely special.

Paulette Who?

My goodness, it's been ages! How have you been?   

It's that crazier-than-usual time of year around here, what with all of the end-of-the-school-year events taking place, my youngest girl's birthday, doctor and orthodontic appointments, graduation preparations, and Bre dragging my bum to the gym every day. Here's just a bit from the last couple of weeks…

My Joonie had a birthday! She turned eleven, and is very proud of that, thankyouverymuch.

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Sabrina is teaching herself to play the guitar, with the help of Friday…

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Bre has started training for a marathon (to take place in September), and has changed her Le Clic photography blog to The Rising Runner. Instead of feeling guilty that she hadn't been taking a photo each day, she decided to get inspired by documenting her journey from occasional jogger to marathon runner, keeping track of her self-training progress and sharing a runner's recipe here and there.

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Missy is still making lovely patterns on my carpeting, as well as breaking the sound barrier with her screechy announcements anytime one of us is coming or going…

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…and Tasha is still channeling her inner Yoda.

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Sophie and some friends recently tried out for the end-of-the-year talent show, but her little dance group didn't make it. 🙁 Good try though, Sophie!

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Sabrina was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Rotary Club… Congratulations, Bean!

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Adam has started training for the marathon with Bre, and comes over to play with Sophie a lot, even though he pretends he's there to visit Bre. 😉 (He feels a kinship with Sophie, since they're both the youngest in a family of five, and Sophie adores him for that.)

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Sophie took 2nd place in the 60-yard-dash at her school's track and field day…

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…She also played her last volleyball game and had fun at the season's end pizza party…

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I shot another wedding! This time for two of Bre's best high school friends, Brooke and Alex. My Canon Sister Jaime shot with me, and we had so much fun working together. It was quite a learning experience!

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And finally, my sweet Sabrina has a few not-so-fun doctor appointments ahead of her. She has an angiofibroma in her neck that needs to be removed, as well as several cysts in her left sinus. We've been puzzled by how sick she always is, getting frequent colds and not being able to breathe at night. (We don't even remember what her regular voice sounds like, she's been so stuffy for over a year now.) She meets with the head-and-neck surgeon on Friday, just after her commencement practice (yes, my girl is graduating!).

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Please keep her in your prayers, if you would?

And that's just about it for Chez Stewart! I hope you all have been enjoying your first days of summer (well, almost!), and hopefully I'll see you soon! 🙂

 

 

 

Smashbox

Hi everyone! Bre and I have been trying for a week to get her photo uploaded to a contest Smashbox Cosmetics has been running… the winner gets a trip to L.A. and a bunch of Smashbox goodies! Anyway, it's for fun, and Breanna dreams of a shrine full of mascaras. Ha!

If anyone out there has a spare minute (another ha!) to vote for her, that would be so awesome! Thank you so much! Here's the link: Smashbox "It" Girl Contest  (Oh, and the only down side is you do have to have a Facebook account to vote.)

Btw, the reason we kept getting the photo rejected is that it wasn't perfectly centered when we sent it in, but we didn't know that at the time. You've seen it before, but here's the photo we submitted:

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Again, thank you so much – and if you don't have the time (or care to spend your internet time voting), then we understand! 🙂

Good luck, Bre! My fingers are crossed that you'll have more mascara than you have lashes for.

I am loved.

Our house can be a loud, crazy, and demanding one, but it is also one that is full with love. And I am so very blessed that my family doesn't choose to show their caring only on Mother's Day…but yesterday was a more pronounced version of how sweet they can be.

I mean, who wouldn't want to wake up to this? 🙂

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It was a lovely day, and although I didn't get a picture of my sweet husband, he made it a special day as well.

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I thank the Lord for my crazy, loving family.

Major Feat

Recently I came out of shoe-painting retirement only briefly, when Breanna gave me a pouty face and handed me a new pair of white canvas shoes. Grr.

Here they were after I finished all the doodling:

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And 5 hours later, the finished pair:

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One shoe tongue says "You lift me up."

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And the other says "You smell nice."

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One of Bre's favorite things to say is, "Sorry 'bout it! Hope you're not, like, mad about it!" So I incorporated that as well…

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I've gone back into retirement now.

(Although Sophie has been giving me the pouty face whenever Bre wears her shoes.)

P.S. Bre wore her first pair so often, they turned black!

Home Again

My girl is home for the summer, which makes me one very happy mom…

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The only problem with this, however, is that she'll be expecting me to go to the gym with her.

(When does school start again?)

Ladder Ball and Other Nonsense

This past weekend we had a cookout, and Bre brought her friend Adam (who had just gotten himself a mohawk for an '80's-themed party). After our burgers and sides and Sophie's Incredible Orange Edible, Mike decided everyone would enjoy a game of Ladder Ball (also called Monkey Ball), so outside we went…

Here's Adam, looking fierce, focused, and ready to dominate:

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But he'd better watch out for Soph, who has her dad as her partner…

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During warmups, Bre whacked herself in the top of the head…

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And while she recovered, Mike got ready for his big move…

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There he goes!

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Bre's up…

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An excited spectator…

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And an excited player…

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When the game was over, the winners congratulated each other…

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…Although Mike took the lion's share of the congratulatory cheers…

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When Mike and his lowly teammate started to do their victory dance again, Bre decided she would rather pretend she was on their team the whole time…

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…Than admit to losing.

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Sabrina had to leave for work before the games began, so she and her dad went at it the next day…

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And if you thought MIKE was bad when it came to winning, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

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Adam, if you never come back to the Stewart House, I will understand.

 

 

Miss Eden

It's been ages since I've had any personal stitching accomplishments, as I'm usually working on models. But with a little (er, a lot of) determination, I got this sampler finished. Finally! Here is Frances Eden (on Glenshee with DMC), who was aged 10 when she stitched her sampler…

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Now I'm kind of at a crossroads with my stitching… do I work on Dutch Beauty? I've wanted that stitched for-ev-er, but I'm only at the half-way point. I'm thinking maybe a page per month… and I just started Elizabeth Sheffield with Mom, which I posted about a few days ago. I have a little bit done on that one, so I may do a page per month on that too. And models in between.

Mom, you can quit snickering now. I realize how grand these plans are.

One more thing… Frances was actually bequeathed to me by my dear friend Kim, who started the sampler, got it just about half-finished, and then decided she would one day re-start it on a different linen and with silks (instead of DMC). I've kept the sweet note she enclosed with the kit, and it still makes me smile.

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I didn't realize the entire note isn't here, but it went on to say that she knows Fran will have a better life and that maybe she can come visit Fran once in a while. She signed it, "Love, The Surrogate Stitcher." 🙂

Now that Frances is finished, perhaps I can convince her "real mother" to come visit her here in Omaha. 😉