• Crazy Kids,  Family,  Ramblings

    Odds and Ends

    I can't thank you all enough for your kind comments and emails, full of sympathy and encouragement regarding our sweet Friday. The support and friendship you showed to my family was incredibly heartwarming, and I was so surprised by how many people took the time to share their sweet condolences. Thank you!

    I'm getting ready to kick off my fall season by heading to Park City, Utah tomorrow morning. I'll be attending the Shepherd's Retreat, hosted by the lovely Tina and Teri of Shepherd's Bush, and I'm very excited to do so! It's something I've wanted to do ever since they started them, but never got the chance to; imagine my surprise when they invited me to teach! I am very honored to have been asked, and I'm really looking forward to meeting those of you who are going. Hopefully I won't be too hopped up on caffeine when I get to the front of the classroom, but if I am, just touch your nose and that will be my signal to climb down from the table top.

    Before I leave, however, I'd like to share a few moments from the summer… I know I haven't posted much at all, and I miss it sorely, but I'm still plagued with hip/hamstring issues that prevent me from sitting here overmuch. Anyway, here are a few things we did this summer… there was nothing spectacular, but I'm very okay with that; it was wonderful just to spend time at home with family… except for Bre, whom I missed very, very much. 🙁

    Goodbye, Summer of 2012!

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    I hope your summer was marvelous, despite the intense heat, and that the fall brings you as many blessings as there are leaves falling to the ground.

    See why I drink too much coffee? Bc if I don't, then I start waxing pseudo-poetic and everyone rolls their eyes.



  • Critters,  Family

    Goodbye, Sweet Boy.

    Ten years ago we brought our sweet Friday home. A farmer had a litter of Golden Retrievers he wanted to go to good homes, so Mike and I and my parents all decided to head to his barn and bring home a couple of puppies. Mike and Bre and I decided that whichever one we got would be for Sabrina's birthday (it would be a surprise for her). Major waddled up to Mom and Dad, and Friday wriggled his way to Bre.

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    Sabrina was overjoyed, of course. And since that day, she and Friday were as close as a dog and his girl could be.

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    He grew into such a sweet gentleman…

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    And what a handsome boy he was…

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    He was such a good sport whenever the girls or I would get in a silly mood…

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    …And he refused to outgrow his lap-dog mentality. Once, on a walk with Friday, I stopped to talk to a neighbor who was sitting on the warm cement of his driveway, enjoying the weather. Friday promptly took the opportunity to sit all of his 111 pounds onto the poor man's lap, and I could barely see my neighbor behind Friday's tall body. When I finally got Friday to stand back up, I was relieved to find my neighbor was quite good-humored about it, even though he almost got his beer knocked over.

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    In the past few months, Friday had become more tired, and had a difficult time getting up. He also lost his hearing, so when he'd go outside, I'd have to jump up and down like a crazy person to get his attention so he'd come back inside.

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    Whenever Bre would come home, she'd shower him with lots of love and say, "Hiii, Fridayyy!" in such a cheerful voice, it always made me smile. And of course he'd roll on his side for her and relish all the belly rubs.

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    He loved listening to Bean play her guitar…

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    Since Sabrina couldn't come home from school, Sophie had become a very good care-taker for Friday. He had started growing weaker, and didn't want to stand up to eat his food, so she would do her best to help him out…

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    Yesterday we made the heartbreaking decision to have Friday go to sleep after watching him decline so rapidly this past week. Sophie had taken such good care of him in Sabrina's absence that Sabrina wanted her to be there, and asked us all to say goodbye to him, and to tell him she loved him. Of course we did, and I scratched Friday in the same way Sabrina always did when she was here.

    Mike and I carried our boy into the vet's office, and after spending some time with him in the quiet room, the vet came in to tell Sophie she was doing the right thing, and that she was loving him the best way possible by letting him go. He was suffering so much, and needed to rest.

    Sabrina, it was very peaceful. He was ready to sleep, and he knew he was loved.

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    We love you, sweet Friday.
    August 2, 2002 – September 21, 2012

  • Family

    Run, Big Papa, Run!

    We spent this past Sunday downtown in the chilly, rainy weather, watching Big Papa run in another Corporate Cup race. He'd had no time to train, with the exception of the 2.3 miles he'd run the day before, hoping that would prepare him for the 6-mile jaunt ahead. Mike has always lived each day in a mind-over-matter way, so I was praying that's what would get him through this time. 🙂

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    Sophie was given the choice to stay home in her warm bed and sleep in, but she insisted on getting up and cheering on her Best Buddy – and being at the finish line to call 911 if necessary.

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    One last Hook 'em Horns sign, and he was off…

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    As we approached the 1-hour mark, we started looking out for Mike to come around the bend…

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    There he is! Go Big Papa!!! You can do it!!!

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    You're doing great, Mike! Yes, that's right -  You're in Nebraska, but Hook 'em Horns anyway!

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    Go, Best Buddy!

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    In just over an hour's time, he was finished! Sophie and I were so proud of him. (We love you, Big Papa.)

    After the race, we headed back to the car, and passed this sculpture I'd never seen before. (Possibly bc I never venture downtown)

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    Turns out it was a memorial to the victims of 9/11. I thought it was both sad and fascinating…

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    After we got to the car, we headed over to the Farmer's Market at Aksarben Village, where Mike was eager to munch on any samples the vendors had to offer. (Btw, Aksarben is Nebraska, spelled backwards.)

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    I bought some of these and made a buttery apple crisp later that evening.. for those of you who follow me on Instagram, I posted the recipe in steps there…

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    The best part about the Farmer's Market was that Jones' Bros. Cupcakes was nearby…

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    (Btw, they won Cupcake Wars in the show's second season!)

    I love this picture, bc it looks like Sophie has a mustache…

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    After our cupcakes (they carry gluten-free ones as well), we walked around the Village a bit more.. I'm inserting this picture here bc I want to show it to Bre (who paints beautifully!), if she's reading this; it's a new painting studio called Village Canvas and Cabernet, and for $30 one can sit for 2 hours and learn to paint one of the projects featured up on the wall. An artist guides the students in various techniques, all while each person sips away on a glass of wine. (Mike and I figured the alcohol was to help people let go of their inhibitions and end up being surprised at what they could come up with! LOL)

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    After I took this photo, I looked around to see where Mike had disappeared to, and I found him munching away on the free cookies, saying things like, "Believe it or not, I have an inner artist."

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    Once I pulled Mike away from the tea and cookies table, we wandered back through the market so he could pick up some enchiladas he'd sampled earlier. On the way, we passed this folk band…

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    I could have stood there and listened to them for hours…

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    …Except for the fact that this dude was giving me the stink-eye…

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    Sophie and I backed away, caught up with McFoodie Mike, and we all headed home.

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    P.S. Mike is still coming down from the high of the day… not a runner's high, mind you, but a sugar high.

  • New Designs

    Vexation Sampler

    Here is my other new release for September… Karen Decker did a gorgeous job on the model!

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    The design calls for 36 ct. Vintage Buttercream by Lakeside Linens, and Needlepoint Inc. silks in 993, 694, 334, 181, and 713 are used. (You may need 2 skeins of 993, depending on your usage.) The stitch count is 318w x 198h.

    Again, if you'll be at the Celebrations of Needlework exhibit in St. Charles this week, you'll find the model – and the charts – to this and Salem Sisters III there. Otherwise, check with your local or online needlework shop!

  • New Designs

    Coming Soon…

    First there was Salem Sisters…


    Sisters of mine,
    We've done no crime,
    yet here we go to hangin'.
    These foul townsfolk –
    They thought us cursed,
    And now we're up here swangin'.


    Then there was Salem Sisters II…


    Sisters of mine,
    'Yon rope shall they twine
    'round our necks, 'til be
    gnarled and a-squeezin'.
    Yet we have no fear,
    for our Justice draws near;
    Where they're going
    it won't be a-freezin'.

    While the first two designs were a more lighthearted approach to what is commonly associated with Halloween, this last installment depicts more soberly the tragedy of the Salem Witch Trials…

    Here is Salem Sisters III:

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    Sisters of mine,
    A tree be our shrine,
    Tho' these treach'ries
    we've not committed.
    Our brethren have
    judged us, Their
    mercies begrudged us;
    But God holds our
    souls as Acquitted.


    The model was stitched on 36 ct. Vintage Woodsmoke from Lakeside Linens with Gentle Art Sampler Threads in Tradewind, Pebble, Piney Woods, Espresso Bean, Wood Trail, Nutmeg, and Cherry Bark. The stitch count is 161w x 282h, and the model was stitched by Rindy Richards (who did a gorgeous job on it… and I learned a new technique from her regarding using variagated threads: if you stitch your rows vertically – one x at a time – instead of horizontally, your result will be a very cool weathered-stone look, as you can see on the top and bottom of the headstone on the model, where it says "Gallows Hill." I love it! Thank you, Rindy!) 

    For those of you heading to Celebrations of Needlework in St. Charles, Missouri, September 19-21, you can find the model there. I hope you like the newest pattern in the Salem Sisters series!

  • Family

    Catch and Release

    Mike has always enjoyed taking the girls fishing at the lake near our house, but since only Sophie is home now, it's just she and her dad these days. I came along this time though, just to see why they're always so happy to go.

    Sophie did what any self-respecting girl would do and let her dad put the worm onto the hook.

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    Btw, I love my girl's profile.. I've kissed that nose at least a few hundred thousand times.

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    For those of you who follow me on Instagram, this is the lake I'm always running/walking around in the mornings.

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    Way to go, Big Papa! He gets just as excited over the little ones as he does the big ones.

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    Great job, Joon!

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    Joon also lets her dad deal with the task of removing the hook and releasing the fish back into the lake…

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    The setting sun was casting the prettiest glow on everything…

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    Btw, this container of bait reminded me of when Sabrina was in preschool, and they would give the kids a snack called Dirt and Worms. It looked exactly like this bc it was made of gummi worms buried in Oreo cookie crumbs. However, back then I didn't know such a snack existed, so imagine my surprise (horror) when I asked Sabrina what her school snack was that day, and she answered with her precious lisp, "Duht and wumth."

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    Now, whenever I see Mike and Sophie's container of bait, I get hungry.

    This is Jimmy's old tackle box, with his glasses still in the same place he left them.

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    The last catch of the night was a good one!

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    I was glad I tagged along. Believe it or not, I did actually bring my stitching bag with me, as well as a travel mug of coffee. Mike toted a lawn chair for me to sit in and stitch, but I had so much fun watching these two, I never got a single thread in the fabric.

    Oh – and right after I took this photo, I had a Loch Ness moment… a large head was skimming the surface of the water and, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it was before it suddenly disappeared. Moments later a beaver broke the surface and clambered up onto the bank across from where Mike and Sophie were fishing. Those things are huge, btw.

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    Until next time!

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  • Uncategorized


    We've missed Bre so much since she moved out to western Nebraska to her new life! A few weeks ago she was able to visit us, and she brought along a sweetheart of a guy. Meet Josh…

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    Here's what makes him a sweetheart:

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    He adores Bre, although she doesn't seem to adore his idea of kidding around sometimes.

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    But she seems to be a bit sweet on him anyway.

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    We sure enjoyed having these two visit. I've begged them to come back this fall and spend the day at the pumpkin patch with us, perhaps even joining us for our Annual Chills and Chili Night (we watch an old black-and-white "scary" movie, eat chili, and roast marshmallows and s'mores on the fire pit at my parents' house).

    The only thing bittersweet about having them visit was having them leave… as we stood in the driveway waving goodbye to their taillights, Mike and I realized that we're doing what our parents have always done in their driveways. I'm just still very lucky that my parents are still around to wave goodbye until we turn the corner and they can't see us any more.

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    Come back soon, Bre and Josh!

    P.S. Bre's crazy leggings are actually patterned in hex codes. I love them, and wish I could pull something like that off. But if I tried it, my parents – instead of waving goodbye to me in their driveway – would probably get in their car and actually back over me, several times.