Thank you!

I got the sweetest gift in the mail from Queen Betty, and I just had to share it here! I love rubber stamps, and what could be better than a crown stamp? LOVE!

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What an unexpected surprise! Thank you sooooooo much, Betty! 🙂

And while I'm sharing, I have to show you Karen's finish of one of the patterns in the My Pretties chart…

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Thank you so much, Karen! (I hope your husband's friend liked it. :))

I'd also like to thank every one of you who were so very kind to donate to Mike's team for the American Lung Association. What a very pleasant surprise it has been, and Mike is floored at everyone's generosity. I'm so excited for him to run on the 20th, bc he's been training every day – and Sophie has been his running companion, although she's been on her bicycle next to him, encouraging him to keep going. 🙂 (Btw, she'll be taking part in the 100-yard-dash on race day!)

Thank you again, to everyone!

This Post Is Not for the Squeamish.

The last time I posted pictures of what some would call "creepy-crawlies" and others would just call "gross," I got a few commenters letting me know that it would have been nice if I had warned them about the post content.

This post is mantis-photo-heavy. Consider yourself warned. 😉

I've had some strange luck with praying mantises lately. (Did you know that other plural forms for mantis are mantes and mantids?)(By golly, this here's a learnin' blog too!) For instance, as I was descending the stairs of our local Lifetime Fitness Center last week, I glanced at something unusual in the window: a 6" bright green praying mantis. I couldn't decide if I was more shocked at the sheer size of it or the fact that it had crawled 2 stories up. When I told Breanna about it, she said that she was there on the same day and when she went out to her car, there, on her sideview mirror, was another one – no doubt wanting to pounce on her protein smoothie.

A day or so later, Breanna and I headed to our new favorite joint, Red Mango, for some frozen yogurt. As we were walking along the landscape-lined sidewalk, I brushed my hand on a floral shrub and quickly yanked my hand away: there, within millimeters of where my hand had just been, were two black eyes staring at me. Attached to the black eyes was the body of another mantis. (That was creepy.)

And then there was yesterday: I noticed that the potted plant on my porch table needed dead-heading, so I set about doing it. I have no idea how this crazy thing missed my pruning fingers, but THANK GOODNESS, it did.

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I stared at it for a while, and it stared at me. I decided "it" was a "he," so I named him Wilhelm. No matter how many times I circled the table and switched directions, Wilhelm's head turned and his eyes followed me.

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See the water beads on the top of Wilhelm's head and chin? I had also watered the plant, not realizing he was there.

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Has anyone out there seen the movie District 9 (great movie!)? Surely their inspiration came from some sort of mantis.

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Check out those forearms…

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I shall never hand-prune again without first donning a pair of garden gloves, just in case. And if I forget to put on the gloves, then I'll at least make sure there's a protein smoothie nearby, so I can offer up some sort of peace offering.

If you've managed to make it this far into the post, but you're starting to feel a little anxious, I'd like to offer a photo that will surely calm your nerves and put a smile back on your face:

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Mmmmmmmm. In stores now, and it smells much better than insect repellent.

Details

Yesterday I went to a lake near my house, looking for a good spot to take Sabrina's portraits. I wanted to find some really beautiful light, so I set out just after I dropped Soph off at school and the sun had been awake for a couple of hours. I got out of my car, headed through some very tall weeds and started looking around. I know I've posted about this before, but it truly amazes me when I see all the beautiful details in heavy wildflowers and weeds.

The morning dew was  sparkling all around me. I had my little purse camera with me,  and I ended up not finding any great portrait sites, but rather some often overlooked (and trampled on) works of the Creator Himself. 🙂

These aren't going to be any gallery-worthy photos (I mean, I did mention the Creator Himself, so I wish they could be!), but they are a little reminder to me of a morning well-spent.

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I don't know what it is about this odd tree that captured me… there were hundreds of these dried-up "blossoms" hanging down like grape clusters, and they were so beautiful! They reminded me of antique linen…

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While these weeds are often scoffed at, if you ever get the chance to look at one with dew on it, look as closely as you can… all those tiny beads of water look like twinkling Christmas lights… oh how I wish I'd had my macro lens with me!

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Here's another one bedecked in twinkles…

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Look closely!

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God even made the bugs their very own Slip-n-Slides… 😉

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I may not have found that perfect spot yet for Sabrina's senior portraits (yet), but at least I got her yearbook photo finished up!

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(I remember the days my little Sabrina loved her own backyard Slip-n-Slide… sniffle…)

Good Girl

If I ever find myself in such an unstable state of mind that I consider acquiring another small dog, it would have to be a Japanese Chin. This dog is truly the epitome of charm and good manners. Except for when she's climbing into the open dishwasher or trash can, trying to find anything – and everything - to eat. We won't count those times.

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We also won't count the fact that she's snoring very loudly in the next room, and I can barely hear myself think.
 

A Day with Sophie

Soph and I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather a few days ago, so after her appointment for a new hair-do (she got a short bob), we headed to Runza and then out to picnic at a nearby lake.

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My child has a whole arsenal of poses.

We walked around the lake a bit, and came upon a sweet mama and her babies…

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(I was using my purse camera, and the ones of the ducks are a bit hazy for some reason. Maybe a bit too much sun bouncing off the water and all the white feathers!)

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Suddenly, the mama duck started making little noises at her kids, rounding them up to leave…

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Soon we saw why: the Bird Mafia was in town.

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It was fascinating how all the other ducks cleared the path when they came through.

At this point, Sophie started pleading with me to vacate the premises, as she and her dad have had a run-in with a goose or two on a past adventure. But I wanted to keep snapping pictures!

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And then I decided Sophie was right. So I rounded up my kid and left with the ducks.

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After all, I'd rather not end up swimming with the fishes.

Hyuk hyuk.

Decisions

Well, thanks to my good pal Carol Sims giving me permission to do as I please, I've decided not to release the Noah's Ark piece for the St. Charles market. There is absolutely no way I can finish it in time, so rather than stress about it like I have been doing, I've decided to take my time on it and shoot for Nashville. It was either stitch solely on Noah and have nothing else to release, or work on some other ideas I've got and push Noah back a bit farther. 

Once I made the decision, my day brightened up considerably! I assembled the supplies to start a new model and got busy. 🙂

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I know, Mom. I'm sorry if I can't be PERFECTLY organized like you. But I'm also happier than you. teehee.

I've had a great day today, btw! Went to the track and pulled a groin muscle (I've never done that before, so it was a new life experience)(do girls have groin muscles?), went grocery shopping at Target and had no coupons (no room in my purse for them bc of all the old receipts), made a brand new and absolutely delicious Mexican casserole and ate it by myself (no one was home and I didn't feel like figuring out where they all were)(or waiting for them to get home), went to the camera shop and… well, we won't go there… and now I'm sitting here drinking coffee and not hearing any dog noises (which probably means The Yorkie has had another on-purpose on my carpeting and is in hiding).

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 At least I don't have to work on Noah.

My Day

Today I…

Cleaned my house.

Finished all the laundry – 6 loads.

Printed and packaged an order for Hoffman.

Mailed out a birthday present.

Wrote some bills.

Fixed lunch for Mike and I, which we ate outside at the little table on the back porch.

Weeded some of the landscape.

Was nice to the Yorkie.

Stitched on a model.

Watched an episode of The Office, season 3.

Spoke on the phone to Breanna, saying "Okay, honey," when she detailed for me everything she'd like me to cook for her upon her return home from college.

Fed the dogs. The Yorkie too.

Went grocery shopping.

Made Sabrina clean her room.

Spoke to my mother on the phone about what I'd be cooking for Breanna upon her return home from college.

Took some photos.

Played soccer with Sophie in the back yard.

Balanced my checkbook.

And bought myself some flowers! For the first time! (And definitely not the last.)

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 It was a very, very good day.

P.S. I also updated my blog. 🙂

My Happy Place

My computer is about 10 steps from my stitching spot on the couch, which is situated right in front of a large living room window. A few days ago I looked up from whatever I was doing at the computer and noticed how lovely the tree outside was, silhouetted through the window covering.

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It was about 6:00 in the evening, and I loved the soft glow. I was almost tempted to go work on the model that was sitting – all tossed aside – on the arm of the couch! (Yes, that is an orange highlighter on the end table… I definitely need it for this chart.)

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Today we're heading to Kansas to visit K-State with Sabrina. She's going to check out their pre-vet program, and we'll also be tending to some things around my in-laws' house. I'll be taking that model with me, although I'm not sure how much I'll get done on it!

Before I leave though, here's a picture Sophie took of me with my new hair-do. Or my hair-don't, as my mother would say. I'm not actually that hunched over yet – I was bent down at that moment!

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Enjoy your weekend!