Welcome to my blog!

I invite you to share your thoughts, but I do ask you to keep your comments appropriate. I won't feel badly about removing comments that are offensive. That doesn't mean you can't be honest—I want honest feedback—but I also like to fill my life with positive people and positive things. I guess that means if you have to say something negative, say it nicely! :-)

More than anything, I want you to leave here feeling inspired and valued—and like we've had a fun chat!



A Brick Canvas Holiday Party

Attended the first of several holiday gatherings last night. . . we got together with all the employees at the Brick Canvas studios and kicked off the holidays with a simple but fun holiday party.


We had a nice dinner, some giveaways, and one of our employees sang for the program. (She performs in community theater and is incredibly talented. . .she did a great job!)


Santa even showed up briefly; he was at another party in the building and just dropped in to wish everyone a merry Christmas.

I love the people who work at Brick Canvas, so it was wonderful to spend an evening with them. . . am looking forward to spending time with more amazing people in the coming weeks as we continue to celebrate this special time of year.




Sara on TODAY

Note: Stampin’ Up! was  invited to appear on The TODAY Show again this year as part of the show’s annual Holiday Toy Drive. We’ve donated as part of a group of DSA companies for years, and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be represented. I’ve been several times, and last year, it was Sara’s turn. She went again this year, and I am so proud of her! I invited her to share the experience. . .

Like Mom said, this wasn’t my first appearance on the TODAY Show, and it was nice that this time wasn’t as nerve wracking as last year. It felt a little more familiar and comfortable. . . I knew where to go, who I would be talking to and meeting with, the way things would go down. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous—I was PLENTY nervous! I don’t know how you can’t be when you’re on live TV (there’s always the possibility of bombing it), but it definitely felt better than last year.

It was fun to chat with everyone. I even got to do a little sales pitch for our kits off camera when I was chatting with Kathie Lee and Hoda about how people like to make things that are quick and easy.

The actual appearance was short and sweet (click here to check it out), and afterwards, I thought of all the things I wanted to say and didn’t get to mention, and then overanalyzed the things I did say, and basically just had a little emotional letdown. But that’s probably pretty typical for anybody who has that kind of an opportunity.

I was especially excited about the gifts we gave this year—some scrapbooking kits and stamp sets that I think kids can really have fun creating with. As part of our 25th anniversary, we’ve focused on making a difference this year more than ever before. As a company, we’ve donated approximately $1.5 million worth of product this year to different organizations—not to mention the personal efforts of our demonstrators all around the world who have been supporting various causes of their own choice. Ending the year with our annual TODAY Show Toy Drive donation (which was more than $650,000 worth of product this year) was an ideal way to cap off our celebration of 25 years of making a difference!



A Weekend of Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful weekend holiday of thanksgiving—I hope you did too!

This year was our year to gather together for Thanksgiving, so we all headed to the cabin. People came and went at different times all weekend long, but we were all together Thursday (along with some friends we invited who didn’t have any family living nearby).  

Thanksgiving was a relaxed, laidback day. Christmas music playing in the background, bustling in the kitchen, playing among the cousins. . . just a great day. We had a kids table and a grown-up table, plenty of great food, and then the highlight of the day (at least for me)—our thanksgiving circle, when we all gather in a circle and mention one thing we are grateful for. No repeats allowed! Even the younger grandchildren participated, and I loved that part of the day best. . .looking around at (almost) everyone I love gathered together in one room and feeling so blessed.

Of course, we were missing the Bridegans, so there was an empty spot—in the thanksgiving circle, as well as in our hearts. We were able to FaceTime with them, which was not as good as the real thing but certainly better than nothing!



The rest of the weekend was equally casual. There was constant activity in the stamp room—always at least a few grandchildren making Christmas ornaments or cards or drawing or doing something else fun and creative. The other big hit was weaving rubber band bracelets on a loom that Megan and Nate brought—almost everyone was wearing at least one or two handcrafted bracelets. . .some of the kids had even more than that. We left the loom out on a kitchen table, and I don’t think it was left alone very often.

Other than that, we watched a Christmas video, built tarp forts, read, chatted. . . a few of the kids went to a movie on Friday, and Sterling and I stamped Christmas tags for our neighborhood gifts. Basically we all just hung out and chilled. It was a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving and family!





So Sad

Went to bed last night in a silent house for the first time in two weeks. . . no sound machines lulling babies to sleep. Woke up this morning to quiet. . . no babies fussing or making noise.

Not my favorite way to start the day.

We’ve had Shanna, Jared, and the babies living here for the past two weeks, and I loved it! They sold their house, packed up their stuff and put it on a moving truck, and moved in with us, preparing for a HUGE move across the country. There are doctors on the East Coast who specialize in Liam’s condition, and they are moving there to be closer to medical care. I’ve known this day was coming for weeks, and have been dreading it for weeks. And it’s been as sad as I thought it would be.

It broke my heart to see my baby and her babies leave last night. They took the red-eye to New York and will be spending the next few days settling in, before Jared comes back here to finish this semester at school. Then he’ll be head back there for good as well.

I was glad they left at night—and glad that Sterling took them. Because I sat at home, crying the “ugly cry,” and I was glad no one was around to see me fall apart.

I know that parents say good-bye to their children and grandchildren all the time. . . we’ve done it before. But in the past, there’s always been an end date, a day when we knew they’d be back. . .graduation or the accomplishment of some goal.

This time we don’t have any idea when the Bridegans will be back. Because we live at a high altitude and because it will be hard for Liam to fly with oxygen, we suspect that their visits home will be infrequent. In fact, we probably won’t be all together again as a family for at least a year, until Liam is old enough to keep the oxygen cannula in his nose and carry his own pack.

Fighting that ugly cry again. . .

Having said all that, I’m trying to look on the bright side. (Is there a bright side? Of course. . .there always is.) This is a new adventure for them, and they’ll have a chance to be on their own, in their own space. They’ll be living near Jared’s brother and his wife, whom they get along with really well. And at least they’re still in the United States! (Sterling just chimed in with, “Barely!”)

So, Honey, when do you want to book a flight to New York? I already miss the Bridegans!




Honored and Humbled

Note: Sara attended our European Convention last week for me, so she also gets to blog for me. . .lucky her! (smile)

I made it back from England and am getting over jet lag! It was hard to be away from my family for so long, but what a wonderful honor and privilege to be with our European demonstrators last week!

We started the week with an unexpected treat—we had all expected “traditional” England weather. . . rainy, cold, and wet. So we were pleasantly surprised when our first day there was chilly but clear and bright. We had a chance to walk around Manchester a little and get a feel for the area (our hotel was gorgeous!) and people and history. It was a great way to start off the week.

Convention kicked off with the Silver 2 reception—an intimate event designed to honor and reward our leaders. Things started a little late, but other than that, the evening was beautiful. Axel, Pam, and I all thanked everyone  for being there and for  all that they’ve done this past year and their amazing leadership. Then we enjoyed a buffet dinner and each others’ company. . . enjoyed getting to know our awesome leaders a little better.

The two main days of convention were full of all sorts of great things. We had main stage presentations, stamping, workshop wows (one from a male demonstrator—woo hoo!), prize patrols, and lots of recognition. We had some stand-and-wave recognition, where we got to welcome all the first-time demonstrators. . . it was fun to see so many of them, especially those from Austria and the Netherlands!

Awards night is always a high point, an opportunity to personally congratulate so many achievers, give them a hug, and watch them enjoy their moment in the spotlight. So many of our demonstrators are so dedicated to what they do, and we’re so grateful for their hard work and enthusiasm! The after party was a highlight for me. I got pulled into a number of photo booths, and got to make silly faces with demonstrators. It was a kick! Plus there was music, dancing, and treats. . .what’s not to love, right?

The classes were outstanding as well. I didn’t attend them all but heard great reports from demonstrators, who had learned and been inspired and motivated. That’s what convention is all about!

I’d been to the European convention once before with Mom, but this one was different, for obvious reasons. It was an honor and very humbling to be there with such wonderful ladies, representing my mom. Obviously, I did more main stage presenting than I’ve ever done before—opening, closing, Awards Night, photo op, Heart of Stampin’ Up!. . . hopefully I did OK (I’m a fast talker, so I tried really hard to slow down—apologies to our translators!). Everyone was so gracious and kind and supportive, and while everyone missed her a ton, I think the convention experience was, as always, incredible for all those who attended. I know I enjoyed it.

Thanks to all the demonstrators who attended—you were fantastic, and I enjoyed getting to know you better. And a special thanks to our incredible staff, who once again planned and pulled off an amazing event that achieved our goal of inspiring, motivating, and celebrating some of the greatest people in the world!