Tomorrow.

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…

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

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

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

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

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

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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…

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Sweet sixteen…

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Then seventeen…

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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…

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And then she turned eighteen…

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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.

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We're coming for you, August 12.

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…

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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…

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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.

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Almost! He almost looked!

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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… 

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Nope, but close….

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GOT IT!! WE GOT YOU, LEO!! WE WIN!!!!

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I sure miss them.

Resolve

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,

Paulette

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

The Merc

Good morning, and happy Tuesday!

I've been preparing to head to Virginia Beach this weekend to teach at the Dyeing to Stitch fall retreat, and I am so excited about it! The threads, charts, and models have all been sent and are awaiting the attendees!

Before I leave, however, I'd like to finally get on here and share those Pioneer Woman pictures I was talking about almost two months ago. 🙁 I apologize for taking so long – the summer has been a very busy one, with lots of house projects and work and more house projects and work. It's been hot and sunny all summer long, and while I do confess to indulging in my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season yesterday, I'm not quite ready to give summer up just yet. (But I suppose that's not up to me, is it?)

Sabrina drove up to Tulsa from Dallas to meet me for a girls' day, and we had so much fun, I want to go back and do it all over again. (I miss my girl terribly.. she's been in Borneo for the past two weeks, and will finally be back in the States tomorrow!) 

Pawhuska is just about an hour north of Tulsa, and the drive is an extremely pleasant one, in my opinion. Cows, trees, open fields – it was all there, and while you would think that living in Nebraska would afford me the same views, it does not; I have to drive a ways out for that from where I live. 

When we were almost there, we drove through a little town that started with a "B," and I rolled the windows down. I'm not sure why I did, but I'm so happy that I did, because I believe it's one of my favorite memories ever… there was not a soul to be found in this town, as it was pre-8:00 am, and everyone was still most likely sleeping or getting ready for the day. The speed limit was only 25 or so, and even with my wheels crunching the gravelly road underneath, I could hear the beautiful sound of quiet. No sirens, no trains, no traffic, no loudly-humming air conditioners… just lovely, never-before-experienced, peace and quiet.

I was very sad when we were past the town and back onto open road.

But the open road didn't last long at all, and suddenly we were there: Pawhuska!

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We got there right at around 8:15 or so, and it's a good thing we did, because the line was already at a 45 minute wait. I was warned to get there early, as the line can lead right out into the street – and it does! By the time Sabrina and I were seated, the line was three rows deep. But the Merc workers do a highly efficient job of getting people in and seated, so at least for us, the wait didn't seem overlong.

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Once seated, we were overwhelmed with the menu options. But I went straight for the Cowboy Coffee, and holy moley, that was the very best cup of coffee I've ever had in my life, bar none.

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I snapped a picture of it on my phone and sent it to Mom at home, but the first thing she honed in on was the cup. 

"I NEED THAT CUP AND SAUCER," she texted.

"IF YOU LEAVE THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA WITHOUT ONE OF THOSE CUPS AND SAUCERS FOR ME, DON'T BOTHER COMING HOME," she texted. 

I'm just kidding. But I could tell she probably texted that and then deleted it because she was afraid I'd report her again.

(I realize I may have some recent readers who don't realize that I do love to tease my mom, so please know I've never actually reported her. I usually just let her slide.)

Anyway, I did end up getting both my mom and I a pink and blue set of the cups and saucers. They're beautiful in person, and a really great diner weight.

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I had been just dying to go shopping in the retail part of the Mercantile, which was attached to the restuarant. So when I had to get up from our breakfast to find the restroom, knowing I had to go through the store to get to it, Sabrina said, "Mom, do not look at anything without me! No peeking at all!" 

I did my best not to look, but oh it was hard. There was stuff everywhere! So I hurried back, we finished our breakfast (I'll post my cell phone photos at the end of the post), and then scurried over to shop!

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The Coffee Bar was upstairs, so we headed up the grand staircase and stood in line. While we were waiting for our order, I took a few pictures. (And by the way, I ordered the Spicy Cowgirl, which is hands-down the most interesting cold coffee beverage I've ever had! Ree actually has the recipe posted online, so if you like a little fire with your coffee, Google it and make it pronto! I've made at least 147 of them since returning home, which suprises Sophie, because I will scream "SOMEBODY CALL NINE-ONE-ONE"  if I accidentaly ingest a fraction of a jalapeno; so it makes zero sense that I like this beverage.)

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After we picked up our pastries and beverages, it was time to hit the road: Sabrina back to Dallas, and I back to Omaha. So back down the grand staircase we went, and we discovered that in the short time we were upstairs, the Mercantile had practically filled to capacity!

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We made our purchases and bustled through the crowds to the exit…

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And then out into the street to make our way back to our cars. This photo pretty much sums up the entire town of Pawhuska, believe it or not…

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The Pioneer Woman crew is currently working in the construction area to add something on to the Mercantile, but I've not yet read what it is they're creating. I'm excited to find out! 

If you are ever in the Tulsa area, do try to make the drive up to Pawhuska! It is such a fun time, and the restaurant food is outstanding.  Sometimes Ree or members of her family will pop in unannounced, which is fun.. some of the ladies at The Silver Needle retreat had told me that Ree had visited while they were there, and told them she's always wanted to try cross stitch.. when Sabrina and I were having our breakfast, Ladd walked in, which was a huge surprise to me! He just casually visited with some of the tables, chatting, which I thought was so nice of him. I was bummed he didn't make his way over to our side of the restaurant, but I snapped a distant photo anyway. 🙂

As promised, here are the cell phone pics I took…

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Thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope to see some of you this weekend in Virginia Beach! Travel safe! 

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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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!

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!

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…

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

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

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I love you, Sophie-Joon.

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Sunny Afternoon

I found some pictures from a lazy afternoon, before Sabrina left for Dallas. The sun was shining brightly into the living room from the large window behind the couch, and the girls were too lazy to play with Martha.

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Maybe another day, Martha.

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Rainy Saturday

I'm so happy to see the rain, instead of just the gloomy, dry grey that we usually get around this time of year. All of the trees are starting to get their little baby leaves on them, the grass is greening in spots here and there, and this "little" one (who is just up and eating her breakfast) is just as ready as I am for spring to be well underway…

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I hope you all are having a lovely weekend. I've made cinnamon rolls and am ready to do a little cleaning and stitching. Tomorrow is Easter!