• Crazy Kids,  Family


    I woke up at 4 this morning, unable to get back to sleep; I've not slept well this week, knowing that August 12 is coming up on me very quickly.

    I've been blogging for a long time, even though for the past few years, my life seems to have settled into a routine that leaves little time for taking photos. Mostly my pictures are through Instagram, and when they are of my family, I will sometimes get a comment or two about how some of you have watched the girls grow up on my blog.

    Which brings me back to August 12. Tomorrow my baby girl leaves for college.

    For those of you who have been with me for a while (thank you so much for that!), you may remember some of these moments with my crazy, sweet little Sophie…




    Remember when Bre left for college, and Sophie snuck into her closet and played dress-up?


    And since Bre's car was left at home, Sophie had a grand time being sneaky here as well…



    Remember when I found out she had been taking Steve Irwin selfies on my camera?



    This one was from when Bre's Tilly was a baby, and she and Sophie became fast friends…


    Then we moved into the middle school years, when her hair extensions were her pride and joy…


    And then came Sophie's own Tilly… She had been missing Bre's Tilly, and when the humane society had named this one Tilly too, we knew it was meant to be…




    Sweet sixteen…


    Then seventeen…





    Sophie graduated in December of 2017, so she didn't walk with her class in May of 2018. But we still surprised her with a party, and had her don Sabrina's old cap and gown…


    And then she turned eighteen…


    Today is August 11, and tomorrow we move Sophie into her new dorm at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. It's not far from home, but that hasn't really been a consolation to me. This child is my heart, just like her sisters are. She's finally beginning the part of her life she's most looked forward to – being an adult and choosing her path; the part I always looked the most forward to – being a stay-at-home mom – is ending. 

    But I know my tears won't last long, as my girl has promised to keep me updated on everything new she's experiencing. And I'll be jumping for my phone every time I hear a text come in from her! How on earth can the sadness stay, when God has given so much? 

    Please pray for my girl this week… but mostly pray for me.


    We're coming for you, August 12.

  • Crazy Kids,  Critters,  Family

    Leo and Bean

    This past December, when Sabrina came home for Christmas, she brought along both of her sweet cats (Kamaji and Dusty) and her gentle rescue boy Leo…


    She told me she had tried to get a picture of him several times before, but it had proven to be an impossible task; Leo is like most other dogs who know when a camera is pointed at them – which of course means he looks anywhere but the camera's direction. However, we were determined to get a good photo of him, even if it meant resorting to trickery, distraction techniques, or flattery…



    We clearly underestimated Leo's intelligence… by the way, his "proper" name is Leopold Rogue, so named because Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just out in theaters when Sabrina adopted him.


    Almost! He almost looked!


    We had just about given up (mostly because it was freezing out), when Sabrina decided to give it one last-ditch effort: she hoisted Leo up in her arms to see if she could bodily turn him toward the camera… 


    Nope, but close….



    FV4A5963 tp


    I sure miss them.

  • Crazy Kids,  Critters,  Family,  Gardening,  Holidays,  Home,  Martha,  Photography


    Dear Paulette,

    Remember when it was January? Like, just yesterday? And everyone was telling you Happy New Year, and you were in your usual blissful state of all-things-are-new-again?

    And let's not forget all those New Year's Resolutions, which included this beauty:

    Blog more.

    And this one:

    Take pictures of things besides pets.

    It's probably best if you stopped resolving things. That's all.

    Yours Truly,



    I was going through my photos from 2017, and I thought I'd share a few of the in-between moments that either never made it to my blog, or maybe found their way to Instagram instead. Mostly though, they're just pictures that made me smile… and yes, the majority of them are probably of pets.

































    I hope you all had a really lovely start to your new year, and that the remaining eleven months are filled with lots and lots of moments that make you smile. Even if it's mostly your pets. Or fosters. (I don't actually own 1,284 pets, despite what it may look like.)

    I'll see you soon!




  • Crazy Kids,  Family


    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.



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


    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.



  • Crazy Kids,  Family

    Where Did My Year Go?

    While Sophie and I were out and about today, she said to me, "I can't believe it will be 2017 in five months. Weren't we just saying we can't believe it's 2016?"

    Firstly, I can't believe how swiftly the time is flying by, and secondly, I can't believe that a sixteen-year-old would notice.

    And speaking of sixteen (I promise, this was not a planned segue), I never even got to share Sophie's birthday with you! All the way back in May! I was looking through all of the photos from the past eight months, trying to organize them, and I can't believe how much I've missed in the bustle that is this year. Yes, I was there to take the photo, but perhaps I wasn't actually there in the moment. I imagine this is what my mother has been trying to tell me, when she tells me to slow down a bit and live life at a more enjoyable pace. (Which, incidentally, she is not succeeding at very well since retiring.. she seems busier than she ever has been, and doesn't seem at all to be frustrated by it!)

    Here are just a couple pictures from May 22, when my Sophie went and turned sixteen…


    Anyone who knows Sophie knows she is an insatiable cosmetics fiend…


    Sophie feels that Marty (and Tilly, of course!) is still the best gift to our home, no matter the celebration…




    I love you, Sophie-Joon.


  • Autumn,  Crazy Kids,  Family

    Before the Fall is Officially Over…

    I figured with Christmas fast approaching, these pictures were too outdated to post. But we're having fall-like temperatures around here, so why not? It's been sunny and windy and 60's-ish here, so here I go! 🙂

    Sabrina and Sophie and I took a trip to the pumpkin patch just a couple of short months ago, and as usual, we had way too much kettle corn and chili dogs and root beer. But it was so much fun! I sure do miss my girls being little, but they manage to giggle and be silly just the same.










    Okay, I guess I can loosen my grip on fall now. Bring on the winter!


  • Crazy Kids,  Family,  Friends


    Sophie attended her school's homecoming dance this month, and she had such a fun time! She didn't go with a date, but instead went with two of her sweet friends…but of course, we had to get some Big Papa and Big Mama photos before she left for the main event. 🙂




    (I had to sneak this one in here.. don't tell Big Papa.)







    I just love their giggling, silly selves.


  • Crazy Kids,  Family,  Friends

    Homecoming for Sophie

    All through the eighth grade, Sophie dreamed of the ninth grade: the new friends, the new teachers, the dances and football games, and that awesome feeling of finally arriving. The first day of school came, and she and her friend nervously walked up the long courtyard and into the front entrance, hauling their brand new backpacks and school supplies, probably trying really hard not to smile too broadly and risk looking uncool on their first day as freshman. (It was uncool enough that the moms were all waiting in their cars to see if their babies made it into the building, and didn't get bumped on the way by one of those huge upper classmen.)

    In the few weeks since school has started, I've heard no less than 1,072 times these words: "I'm not in the mood for school today."

    Ah, so the novelty wore off, and the new beginning was suddenly old routine.

    Last weekend, however, the homecoming football game and dance finally made their appearance on the calendar, and all was well again. If Sophie had been dreaming happily of her first day of high school, then she was positively enraptured by her first homecoming dance.

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    Checking the mirror…

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    I can never resist a flower-sniffing photo that makes no sense whatsoever, given that these blooms have no fragrance, and I don't know of any 14-year-olds that will stop and smell the zinnias.

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    This is probably my very favorite picture of Sophie, because she had just gotten a text message from a boy, telling her that the homecoming dress selfie she posted looked pretty.

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    Her exact words, after reading the text, were "Awww!"

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    Soon it was time to go to her friend's house to pick her up (the girls were each other's "dates")…

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    …and then I drove them to the house where they would meet up with some of their other friends…

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    Oh, to know what those girls were looking at! A text? A cute picture?

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    When I picked up the girls at precisely 11 pm, they were full of chatter about the evening. I asked if anyone had on the same dresses they did, and Sophie said that two other girls had on her dress, while her friend said "About forty-five girls had on mine!" (I love this age.)

    Later on, I asked Sophie if the evening – from getting ready to coming home – was everything she thought it would be, and she said it was. And she was free to smile as broadly as she wanted to.

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  • Crazy Kids,  New Designs,  Plum Street Antiques,  Stitching

    A Completely False Life Lesson

    A few posts ago, I showed you a sneak peek of an antique I purchased last year after I fell in love with the soft pinks and tawny browns that were used to stitch it. Recently I did a little research on the internet to look for information about Esther Syer, and was only able to come up with a few family tree names and dates. Nevertheless, it was nice to learn these small things about the young stitcher's story, and I've included what I found on the back of the chart.

    As I was thinking about Miss Syer, I imagined her to be a carefree sort of young lady, and decided to have a little fun with presenting her to you. So I wrote a little story and asked Sophie to do an interpretation of it with facial expressions. She obliged, and here is what we came up with…

    Once upon a time, little Esther Syer was born.
    Esther 1 tp
    Esther was a very happy child, whose favorite color was pink.
    Esther 2 tp
    She loved to play and frolick, and always neglected her mending and sewing chores.
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    This made her mother (whose favorite color was black) very fretful, because she knew that Esther would never gain a suitor if she couldn't mend or sew or be serious. "To catch a man, keep a needle in hand!" she would always say to Esther.
    Esther 4 tp
    So one day Esther set out to catch a man by stitching a lovely sampler in both her and her mother's favorite colors.
    Esther 5 tp
    When Esther was eighteen, a man came along, admired her work, and asked to become her suitor. She agreed, and soon afterward, they were married.
    Esther 6 tp
    And Esther and her man lived happily ever after.
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      Esther Syer 1796 sp tp
    No model was stitched for this antique, as I felt the motifs and colors have survived beautifully, despite the sampler being 218 years old. If you choose to stitch it, then a soft, neutral linen will work well for the background. I've listed a few suggestions on the chart, but please use what you like best. The linens I suggested are these:
    Lakeside Linens' Vintage Pecan Butter
    R&R Reproductions' Olde Towne Blend
    Weeks Dye Works' Parchment
    Esther's antique was stitched on a 32/34 ct. ground with silks. The silks I've chosen are by Needlepoint Inc., and are as follows (with the DMC equivalent in parentheses):
    754 (152)
    912 (167)
    998 (310)
    761 (422)
    882 (746)
    692 (3047)
    602 (3727)
    The stitch count is 172(w) x 197(h)
    The gorgeous frame was done by Sherri Berkman at Total Framing in Fairfax, VA. As always, Sherri is very happy to take any phone orders for any stitching you may have, and trust me when I say she is the most friendly person to work with! (Believe it or not, I never choose my moulding.. I just mail the models to her and ask her to surprise me, and she never disappoints!)
    The number for Total Framing is 703-426-0660, or you can find them on Facebook.
    I hope you enjoyed our little story, and that if you do choose to stitch Esther, you would consider sending me your progress photos so I can see what her recreation would look like! I would so love that!