Teenie-Bopper

I love that I still have one last teenager left at home. Not because she's the last one, but because she's just so teenager. My girls have always filled my heart with joy, and I'm so very, very, very, very, very thankful to God that He blessed me with them. As most of you know, my older two have grown and left home to build their own lives (they practically grew up on this blog!), but my Joonbug is still home, still making me laugh, making me cry, making me pull my hair out, and making me a very happy mom.

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Marty doesn't usually embrace the camera, but on this day, she bullied her way in for some attention…

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Sophie will be headed off to college in just over a year, and I'm not quite sure what I'll fill my days with when she's gone. I mean, how does one simply fill the void left by a sudden absence of all those stray gum wrappers on the counter, the cozy hugs at any given time, hilarious Shakira impressions on car rides, too many visits to Sephora, empty peach smoothie cups left in all the wrong places, and the charming way she says "Mom?" when I know full well that that particular tone can only mean she's about to ask me a question that I will answer with a "No." And how many more times will I have to get to wash mascara stains out of the shoulders of my shirts because she needed to cry?

I do love this teenager, and the gift that she is.

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Ice

I love having all four seasons here in the heartland – icy weather included. It just means I'll be lighting candles (okay, I admit, I do that even on 100-degree-and-sunny days), deep-cleaning the house, and baking and souping and loving the day.

A couple of days ago, however, I paused all that and headed outside to slip-and-slide my way across the back porch and out into the yard. I am by no means a great gardener, but I have a few areas of my yard that I'm in love with when they're awake and fully dressed in their greens as well as when they're bare and sleeping away the winter…

The branches of my lilac tree, which is about 10 feet tall now…

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One of the birdhouses affixed to the fence…

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(By the way, here is the bird house next to it… I ran across this photo yesterday; I had forgotten I had taken it last spring, and it made me look forward to March and April, just before everything wakes up. The little tuft you see in the opening is not, in fact, a bird nest, but rather a mouse nest, as I discovered when cutting back the foliage.)

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And lastly, the Black-Eyed Susans (which I repeatedly and mistakenly call Brown-Eyed Susans – there is a difference!) that are so full and vibrant in the summer… who knew they could also be so quiet and beautiful?

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We're no longer iced in, but I may need to bake and soup a bit longer, as my girl is home today with a fever. I'm sure she is wishing for a different season to get here already, as she is not as much of a fan of the winter as her mother is!

Thank you so much for stopping by… it's been so much fun "visiting" with you all this week, and I've thoroughly enjoyed reading every comment you've left for me!

Meet Luigi

My Marty-girl has quite an array of toys… my mother can't stop laughing when she comes over and Martha presents her latest acquisition. With names like Tan Man, Lunch, and Mad Bird Dog, Marty's toy chest has become full of some very odd characters. (However, the spoken word "toy" is reserved strictly for her Frisbees, and I always warn visitors to not use the "t word," as that single word will trip a trigger in her brain, her eyes will glaze over, and she will savagely bolt to all corners of the house, madly scouring for her flying discs in a take-no-prisoners fashion. Once the t-word has been located, she will return like a wrecking ball,  frantically begging to have it thrown for her. "No" is not an option.)

We have a little dog-and-cat shop nearby called Three Dog Bakery, and when I happened upon a barrel of these frightening little Italian chickens while visiting the shop, I knew it would be love-at-first-sight for Marty…

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Of course, she loves Luigi, and the long, sad squawk he makes.

I found a female version of Luigi a few weeks later (in a wild purple floral number), and I took her with me to give to my sister's dog, Ranger, when I visited her this past summer. We named her Isabella, but she is no longer with Ranger, as she did not survive his exuberant affection for her.

I supposed I've yakked pointlessly enough for one day. I hope you all have a wonderful week – we're iced in here in Omaha, which makes Sophie a happy girl (no school!), but the dogs very sad, as they don't get to go on a neighborhood jaunt.

Thank you for visiting!

Forget Me Not

Antique samplers are so soft and curious, and I love nothing more than to look over every inch of them, wondering what the young stitchers lives were like when they created them.  I've acquired several of these samplers in the past few years, but sadly, once I've marveled over their details and beauty, I put them away in their acid-free paper and all but forget that I have them. So when I ran across some pictures I took of this one in my photo library, I didn't really recongize it. Isn't that just a crying shame?

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I am drawn to a sampler first by its verse – much more so than the motifs it offers… I tend to want a great verse to come live with me because its wisdom is such a treasure, and I don't want to simply read the words; I want to keep them! (Something I grew up learning regarding Scripture, and something I'm grateful to my parents for.)

I suppose I'll go hunt down where I've stored this sampler now, so I can read the verse again.

If you'd care to leave a comment (I know filling out the fields is an inconvenience!), I would really love to hear what your favorite thing is about samplers – antique or modern. What draws you in?

Thank you so much for stopping by… I'll see you soon!

A Day with My Niece

Happy New Year!

Sort of.

You wouldn't believe how often I think about blogging.. I miss it so much! But as I was telling someone today, I spend so much time in my mind organizing my to-do list and then chasing new ideas that I forget what was ever on the list to begin with. I can't seem to stay in one spot long enough to get anything done because I'm spending too much time being inspired to do things!

Anyway, I was looking back through some pictures I took over December, and I wanted to share with you just a few moments that I had the pleasure of spending with my precious niece, who turned 10 this past year. She was visiting with my sister and brother in-law for Christmas, and I invited her to come over to help me make "reindeer eyes," which are basically round pretzels that have been filled with melted white chocolate bark and then decorated with a red-or-green M&M before the bark hardens.

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After she and I finished the pretzels, she went outside to play with the bits of snow here and there that were left over from a brief snowfall the week before. Since she lives in the south, she rarely sees snow, so she had fun picking up any handful she could find and tossing it into the air… Martha was a bit intrigued with what she was doing, staring at her curiously as she played. Eventually though, Martha was able to go catch the frisbees my niece threw for her that were flipped upside down and filled with snow – a new invention she dubbed "The Snow Launcher."

I had such a fun afternoon with her! It was sweet having a "little one" hanging around the house again, with all of her giggles and love.

So my sweet niece, if you ever stumble across your favorite aunt's blog, thank you for spending the day with me, and I sure do love you!