Valley Forge

Friday, July 13, 2018

S.O.S....Caregiver Down

Last Saturday morning, I awoke at around four a.m. thinking for sure I was leaving this world. My head was spinning so violently I could not walk. Thankfully, I have a very strong husband...and a very level headed one, too. He recognized that I had severe food poisoning and took control. Can you say

For the next forty eight hours my husband carried me back and forth to the loo...chopped ice...located the paper straws I have stashed for just this sort of thing...put cool cloths on my head...and, most importantly, became Mr. Mom. Mercifully, it was the weekend and not a work day.

As time went by, I knew I was over the worst of it, but was so weak I could not move. I lay in bed listening to the goings on in the rest of the house...unable to get up. I remember thinking that if I did not feel so terrible it was kind of like a vacation. 

Annie took over ice supply and slowly Mommy came back among the living. She was scared and concerned, my girl. She loves to give comfort...but she prefers me conscious...and able to answer her rapid fire questions.

Monday morning we tried to get back to normal. Mr. MW went to work. Annie slept in late. I surveyed the damage. It was not too bad. I could not have cared less what the kitchen or any other room looked like at that point. Actually, they did very well keeping things in order...kind of. I was thankful to be upright...albeit, wobbly.

When Annie did make an appearance she informed me, "It was a hell weekend.". I can't say I disagree.

I've spent the entire week on the "cozy couch", doing nothing but drinking ginger ale and eating oyster crackers. Things got done...and we all survived.

Not one thread was pulled through cloth. But I did laugh a lot. I binge-watched Grace and Frankie on Netflix. It is the best written and funniest thing I have seen in a long, long time. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are spectacular. The humor sophisticated and sharp. It knocks it out of the park! I am so glad I found it and could sit and watch episodes back to back, as I recuperated, without feeling guilty.


Before the wheels came off, we went to Orlando to see all our friends.

The new Florida Bar president is one of Annie's gal pals. She got her law degree from the Washington School of Law which is part of American University in D.C.. Law schools hold receptions at the's good for their foundations. I had fun attending as American University is my alma mater. We'll be going to D.C. in the spring with the board...can't wait!

Her favorite cousin! Our nephew wears a rainbow ribbon to honor his friend killed in the Pulse Nightclub shooting on the second anniversary of that horrific event.

Her favorite dance partner at the big party Friday night. 


Still working on Sparrow...missed out on a lot of stitching time this week, but finding Grace and Frankie made up for it.

Have a great weekend!

Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Annie & Ben...and George

Annie and I are working on a scrapbook all about the Founding Fathers...and mothers, too. Hope to get back here soon with photos. This is our busy traveling time so we are a little lax when it comes to posting. 

This kid loves learning new things...and this old teacher loves teaching her.  We have been fortunate to visit so many historical sites and will be including them in our book. Annie is so excited about this adventure! We'll be back to share more soon.


Still working on this huge sampler. This top section measures thirty inches across.

His Eye is on the Sparrow from Beth Twist.

Four pages of pattern down with eight more to go. I'm still enjoying this ambitious project. Still going slowly, but trying to stitch a bit every day. I took it to Key West a couple of weeks ago and was able to stitch in the car. 

Hope you are enjoying your days leading up to summer. After last year, I am dreading the hurricane season, but keeping fingers crossed it will be an off year for us. 

Enjoy the day,

Monday, May 7, 2018

...harrowing times...and a little bit of silly

Meet "Agnes" birthday present this year. She is circa 1840 and has the loveliest expression...not quite a smile...more a look of serenity.

I had her hanging for several weeks as purchased..she came unframed. I finally decided she deserved a little gold surrounding her pretty face. Even though it is not a period frame, I think it was needed to do her justice. She is in fine shape for all her hundred and seventy some years...very little damage. I adore her cameo and lace! 

Welcome to the House of Mugwump, dear Agnes!


We've had a crazy ride here the last few weeks. We lost all power for a good while when our towering pine tree gobbled up our lines. All of our power lines, etc. are underground. This is the second time this has happened in the last few years so a major job is on the books to replace our old wiring. Not looking forward to no power while they tear up the yard. 

We also had a flood. I was making hotel reservations on the phone. The bathtub was left filling...someone went back to their room and got wasn't pretty. Wood floors in adjacent bedroom and closet were involved. Just one of those days when husband arrives home to find melting down wife on her hands and knees ,using every towel in the house to wipe up water, with the contents of the closet in a pile in the bedroom, and a very remorseful child looking for a place to hide. We all survived.

I was waiting for the pestilence. Didn't take them long. Annie was hit with a wicked bug that lasted more than a week shortly after the flood. 


Did a little stitching on "Sparrow". I had a big scare when my extremely sharp embroidery scissors somehow sliced into the linen. I don't even know how it happened, but I watched in horror as the slit grew. I remembered Marly (Samplers & Santas) had addressed a similar situation on her blog. I went to work trying to minimize the damage...pulled thread from outer edge and began to weave the threads together to close the gap. It worked. I have a not so attractive glob of thread on the linen, but when all is finished I think it will fade into the background. In all honesty, I had a wave of sheer panic when all this was going on. I considered just tossing the whole thing! Those old teacher instincts kicked in...keep calm and fix it. And that's what the old teacher did. 

Thanks, Marly, for always sharing your tips and knowledge with us out here in blogland.


My husband's legal assistant is having surgery soon. Annie found these cuddly owls at Target so we bought one for her to send to Miss S and she kept one for herself. They text back and forth...Fudge  (Annie's owl) and  Boots (Miss S's owl) to keep spirits up. Little things give Annie such pleasure. She loves sending Miss S encouraging thoughts and lots of love...and reports about what Fudge is up to. Just a simple thing to make smiles all around.


Yesterday, we attended a special presentation at the St. Petersburg Holocaust Museum. It included a traveling display of many of the artifacts that were pertinent to the tracking down of Adolf Eichmann and his eventual trial. The museum actually has a rail car, from Poland, that was used to transport Jews to the death camps. The displays are incredibly heart wrenching. Annie snoozed in her buggy as we entered the part of the tour that was the most difficult. How lucky she is to not know of the horrendous acts of man's inhumanity to his fellow man. 


So...that's what is going on at our house. Fighting power, floods and pestilence...pulling a needle when I can...having fun being silly with Annie. Fixing things that I can fix. And being grateful that  all these trivial inconveniences are nothing but that...inconvenient. Hope you are all well. 

Annie and I have all sorts of things going on here in preparation for the coming summer. We'll be back soon to share. In the meantime...

Enjoy the day,

Friday, March 16, 2018

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Good Morning, friends. I've been on a stitching sabbatical for the last few months. I purchased His Eye is on the Sparrow by Beth Twist last year...but did not begin to stitch in earnest until this year. I have tried to stitch a bit here and there since mid-February. 

This is a lovely pattern. The colors are magnificent. 

I have started several rugs over the last few years and have been unable to stick with them. Last fall I did a small cross stitch pattern and it was a lightbulb moment...I enjoyed stitching again....stitching it would be. So, out came "Sparrow" and I was off!

Being a full time mother, in her sixties, I have to pace myself. I stitch in the morning while Annie is sleeping. I stitch when I can find time. 

This is an ambitious project. Twelve pages of pattern. I've completed one and am currently half way through the second. I am really enjoying this beauty. Taking my time, I have not given myself any finish date to work toward. Trying to stitch a bit every day, but not always able to do so, I inch ahead, one stitch at a time. 

My husband always reminds me, when I've had a challenging day as the parent of a special needs young adult, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We take this journey one step, one day at a time. Always cognizant of the future, but in no big hurry to get there...eager to "enjoy the day".

Sparrow has become my stitch marathon. A refuge...a place I can go to escape into the colors and the threads. And, as time passes, I see stitches become horses and flowers and birds. Real progress appears on my linen in each completed motif.  It is a slow process. But, I'm use to slow. I'm comfortable with slow. I like slow. It is the best way to accomplish anything...slow and steady.

There are only so many hours in each day, and only so much energy in this old mom. I have been staying off the computer to stitch and mother. I hope you all are well and keeping busy...and warm. Spring is on the way. We've had robins in the yard every day for some time. Our trees are spring green and the days are gorgeous. Hang in there.


March 21 is National Down Syndrome Day. If you have any questions about D.S. that I am able to answer, I was thinking maybe I'd answer your questions right here. I will try to be forthright, but not too personal. I don't even know if anyone is interested in D.S. but I know that as time goes on, there will most likely be less people with D.S. in the world. They call that science...progress?

 I like to get the word out that people with D.S....well, they are special.

Enjoy the day, 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The thaw...

Schneeman bird...Punch needle Red Birds by Lori Rippey

Uncle...there, I've said it. I've had it with cold. The outfits I've donned in an effort to stay warm are, alone, sufficient evidence of "cabin fever". I've run the heat more in this one month than in the last two decades we've lived here. It has even run at night...we never turn the heat on at night! 

For those of you suffering through wicked low temps, I don't know how you do it. I guess I've been down here so long I have forgotten what real cold feels like. Bear in mind, Florida homes are, for the most part, built with cinder blocks...with no insulation. That's right...they slap the drywall on wood strips right on top of the blocks. Plus, my wood floors are right on top of the cement slab. That's why it takes days for my house to warm up.That's why the damp cold is bone chilling. That's why we've been wearing hats inside for three weeks.

But...the end is in sight. Going up to the 60's and 70's this coming week. No more frost on the roof! No more hats, two pairs of socks and three sweaters. I will, however, continue to don a wool shawl over my jammies...and sip lots of tea...that's the part I like.

Hope you all are staying warm...and healthy. I'm worried about the flu this year. A nice fellow in Whole Foods last weekend coughed all over me. I actually held my nose and covered my mouth right in front of him. I got away from him and his infected cereal aisle as fast as possible. If I go down, Annie will soon follow...and vice versa. We always share. 

Loving all the red!

Stay safe...stay warm...stay healthy, my friends. 

Enjoy the day,

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

It's even cold in the Sunshine State...and we have seen very little sun in the last four days!

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas. We had a nice quiet day...we love a day spent reading all our new books!

I can always spot my detailed oriented husband...when it comes to wrapping...not so much.  In all's a lovely addition to my Shooner collection...beautiful! He and Annie have a Christmas Eve routine. Door closed, lots of giggling and silliness...and then they emerge with Mommy''s present...always the best part of my gift!

This is my New Year's Eve attire...I'm still in it. Annie and I didn't even make it to midnight!

Christmas is put away and we are coasting into a brand new year.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy 2018!

Enjoy the day,

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Christmas Thought

With Christmas in the wings...only a few short days away...and a new year right behind it...I always start my end of the year inventory. I go through the litany of things I wanted to accomplish and was able to, projects started and abandoned, efforts to better the lives of my family and friends. Just how did I fill those three hundred and sixty five precious days?

When I sit and we all do...I sometimes feel woefully lacking in accomplishments. But then I remember. I remember when I was young my father built me a playhouse in our backyard. That little house was the jewel of the neighborhood. It was my space...all mine...rain or shine...summer, winter, spring and fall. I decorated, cleaned glass windows and swept wooden floors, welcomed my friends inside. My friends and I played school under it's shingled roof.

These days when I sit thinking, it often occurs to me that my life has come full circle. I'm once again in my little house...decorating, cleaning windows and floors, and welcoming friends. I've had my teaching career, as well. My childhood dream has followed me all these years. And, as I sit and gaze out these very windows, I feel blessed...and content.  

Of course, I've added a couple of occupants to this little house. My hard working...long running...husband. And our beautiful Annie, who makes us smile every day. My accomplishments...I've kept them fed and in clean clothes these many years and...hopefully...happy... happy in our little house.

 I hope in the coming days you all will be spending time with those you love and hold dear...making memories and enjoying the day. 

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! 

Enjoy the day!

The Family Mugwump