Friday, June 27, 2008

A Family of a Different, Um, Bean?

*It's a week of Boca Ghost Posts (say that fast ten times...)! Scroll down to the June 20 post for Free Bling Friday.

I entered “for the family” into my Etsy search bar and this was one of the many things that popped up. It’s called “Wired Espresso Family”! I love it! I’ve seen this artist’s work on Etsy before; her name is Cat Bishop and she makes the most wonderful funky sculptures. So bright and fun. Here’s a little about her: “Cat Bishop's work explores the disconnect between the self each of us harbors inside and the self we present to the world. If our outward appearances were to accurately reflect the incongruity we feel inside, on a daily basis, we'd look like these people--eyes asymetrical, faces askew, legs off at uncomfortable angles, ill matched jello molds for boobs. The work is about the ways we assemble ourselves, the cobbling together of a self more presentable than the one we know. In this way what Bishop creates are also masks and disguises. So while the work is, in a deep way, about self-perception, self-scrutiny and self-flaggelation, the artist clearly has fun with it. The faces and figures come across as comical and entertaining, not dark or menacing.” Check out her Etsy store here! She’s taken some very cool photos of her work to purchase as prints. Very fun, very retro.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Girls Do Disney...

*It's a week of Boca Ghost Posts (say that fast ten times...)! Scroll down to the June 20 post for Free Bling Friday.

Mama and Aunt Debbie, Debbie, Debbie were two very tired puppies, but the girls' trip to Disney World was a huge success for the girlies. We spent all day last Wednesday in the Magic Kingdom and then all day Thursday in Animal Kingdom. And I mean all day….yikes, we were tired when we got home late Thursday night. Of course, the girls took full advantage of the stroller, so they were not nearly as tired as the big girls. DH said I’m the only loony toon he knows who would spend two back-to-back days at Disney with two little ones just three days before leaving for a week-long vacation with those same little ones. I admit, they really didn’t try my patience too much until this morning, when I was really ready for them to go to school for the day so I could unpack, do laundry and repack! They are twirling around in their sparkling new Ariel and Belle ball gowns right next to me as I write this, bracelets dripping from their wrists and magic wands stretching out from their fingers. Since Granddad had already taken care of the tickets and we were staying with Deb’s cousin Doria, I splurged…it was quite fun… I have been named Cinderella for the afternoon. I feel rather honored!

We took the picture above with the Fairy Godmother fairly early in the day on Wednesday. She was the only character they really wanted to get close to once again. With everyone else, they were happy to watch from afar. The second picture is from the parade. When we were there in January, we saw the night-time light parade, so this time around we caught the mid-day parade, front row seat and all. Overall, two words of advice for you if you’re taking under five- or six-year-old youngsters to Disney any time soon. One, stay away from Snow White’s Scary Adventures; I completely forgot how scary it can be for little ones until we were in there, and the “scary” part of the ride title totally escaped me and Debbie both. I can claim blonde moment…Deb must have blonde roots. :-) As for Animal Kingdom, though Deb and I thought it was very cute and very well done, don’t take little ones into the “It’s a Bug’s Life” show either. It’s a very strong 3-D, Imax type show. Pair that with bugs. Get the picture? Though they were only cartoon bugs, they were still way too scary for the girls. Sarah sat crying with her head buried in my chest for the entire show; Livvie did a little better but not much. I fit into that “Worst Mama Ever” category for the next 30 minutes or so since I traumatized my children with a giant purple and green grasshopper named Hopper. Hilarious for me; not so funny for the girlies. Thankfully, the trauma was gone the minute we hit the popcorn and ice cream cart…again… Did I tell you I’m on a detox diet? Oh wait, I can’t do that yet….I’m currently sitting on the beach drinking another pina colada.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Glamour Owls for My Glamour Girls

*It's a week of Boca Ghost Posts (say that fast ten times...)! Scroll down to the June 20 post for Free Bling Friday.

I’m in the process of re-organizing and re-vamping my workshop since I seem to be running out of space on a daily basis. Part of the process includes a new art bench for the girls. That, hopefully, will get them off my counter. I’m planning to hang magnetic boards and cork boards on the wall above their table so they can post all their creations, and I came across these cute little owl magnets that I think will be a great start to their magnet collection. Aren’t they the cutest? They are by JooSweetie, who has dozens of fun little items, primarily for little ones. Here’s a little snippet about the artist: “As a stay home mom with graphic designer background, I found my new passion for textile crafts. JooSweetie is a result from my love of creativity, joy of motherhood and a means of keeping my occasional insanity of raising a growing baby boy. I hope my collections will bring you and your sweeties as little much happiness as I love making each of them.” Check out JooSweetie here!

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

How'd You Spend Your Father's Day?

*It's a week of Boca Ghost Posts (say that fast ten times...)! Scroll down to the June 20 post for Free Bling Friday.

Since I’ve been enjoying two weeks of vacation and will be completely away from the computer for the next eight days starting today (Yippee, I’m actually already on the road as you read this!), I’ve worked up a series of “family celebration” ghost posts for while I’m gone, including a couple family oriented Etsy finds. Look for them to pop up today through June 28. In the meantime, I’ll be basking on the beach in Boca Grande sipping a pina colada...yeah right, more like watching the girls swim in the pool while drinking a sweet tea :-).

So for today, I thought I share a couple pictures from last weekend with you. I came home a day early from my show last weekend to spend Father’s Day with DH and the girls. We were out swimming in the river by 8:30am (gotta take advantage of those wonderful high, slack tides), and then we took turns on the kayak while Isabelle watched our every move; she’s very protective of the girls. I really need to work on my form as DH can glide through the water much quicker than I can, though my biceps and triceps are rather wimpy compared to his! And now that the girls are nearly five, we really need to get another kayak so we can all go out together. Hope you have a wonderful day!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Free Bling Friday Number 46!

It's time for Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Free Bling Friday Number 45 winner, Jacinta S. from Pensacola, FL. This week’s entry features yummy Czech glass rondelles in a creamy, slightly opaque grayish purple accented simply with sterling silver and hanging on sterling lever backs. Very versatile! To be eligible to win this pair, simply email me by midnight Thursday, July 3, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, July 4. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders. Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Going Back to See the Mouse...

We're off to Disney World this afternoon to use the remaining two days of our four-day pass! I took this picture in January. Hopefully this trip we won't have rain! Pray for dry, comfortable weather (is that really possible in a Florida summer?)! I'll see you Friday for Free Bling Friday! Have a great rest of the week.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nature's Glory...

Since the Lakeridge Winery Harvest Festival was really more about drinking wine and listening to music than about enjoying and purchasing art (I couldn’t blame them…the wine and the music was awesome!), I decided to give in to Mama guilt and pack up Saturday night to come home and spend Father’s Day with DH and the girls. My thanks to Ginger A. who saved the day Saturday for me! Driving home Saturday night, I was coming north on U.S. 301 when this cloud formation and the light streaming over the top just took my breath away. I pulled over several times in a 10-mile span trying to catch the best angle before I lost the light, and I think this the best shot I was able to take with my rinky-dink little old Fuji digital; unfortunately my good Nikon was sitting on my workbench at home! This picture doesn’t do the actual scene justice, but I hope it gives you a feel for what I saw. So beautiful. If we ever decide to give up our little paradise on the river, some acreage and a few horses in this part of the state would suit me just fine. Be sure to click on the picture to see the larger view.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Getcha a Pork Chop, Scotty!

I stumbled across some very affordable fun little bird woodcuts the other day. I’ll use them for some random project, just not sure what yet! I read the bio for this seller and I was rolling on the floor laughing. Here’s just a piece: “Combine a charm that hypnotizes lazy bunnies. A face stickier than pajamas dipped in pink frosting. A charisma sculpted by eccentric personal ticks. A physique similar to a marooned sailor down to his last salted pork monkey biscuit. A story telling ability able to perk up a sedated sloth. A personal hygiene regiment worse than drainage from an amusement park. A sense of humor funnier than an inflamed pelvic injury in a damp sink hole. Ahh Yes! He’s all of this and more. Squirreled away deep underground in his secret lair, he encourages his wonderment in play to conjure yet another piece of artwork. An Artist of a new time with a new calling. He peeks into a future where "modern" seems like an ancient coin lost in a ship wreck.”

After reading that, I had to check out his website, and “Pork Chop Scotty” has the coolest stuff! The shadow box pictured here is just one of many he has on his site, all incredibly unique. Notice that little “Secret door to my room” on the right side? How cool is that?! Doesn’t every kid (and adult for that matter) wish for a secret door to something? I know I do. It would be my secret door to just a few minutes of uninterrupted quiet time! These would be great gifts for that hard to buy for person, or just a fun affordable piece of original art to add some festiveness to your own home. He also has a few shadow boxes in his Etsy store. Check out his Etsy store here, and his website here. Fun stuff!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Caution! Crazy Two Weeks Ahead!

I will be the epitome of a chicken running around with its head cut off for the next 16 days! If I managed to figure out this ghost posting feature correctly, I am participating in the 17th Annual Harvest Festival at the Lakeridge Winery down in Clermont right now! The visitors tour the winery tour (and taste!) before they reach the arts festival, so I’m hoping that tipsy customers lead to great sales! …Oh, look! I see 427 people coming straight for my booth right now! Patty, get ready! We’re fixin’ to be swamped!... Yes, once again, my friend Patty Bodney is traveling with me so hopefully we’ll have a great three days. The show is Friday-Sunday. Oh, and for those of you not from the South, “fixin’ to be swamped” would translate to “preparing to be visited by hundreds of eager shoppers”. :-)

From here, I’ll get home late Sunday night and have a day and a half to rest before Debbie and I take the girlies back down to Disney World Tuesday afternoon. We have two days of our four-day passes left, so we’ll do the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday and Animal Kingdom on Thursday. DH decided he didn’t need to go again so Deb was happy to step in! We’ll get back late Thursday night….just in time for me to unpack, do laundry and repack for us to leave for a week in Boca Grande Saturday morning. Whew! I’m tired already! I’ve set a couple blog posts to magically pop up while I’m gone so check back in. Here’s couple pictures from last year’s Boca trip...Sarah giving you a little smooch, and Livvie driving the boat with the Granddad. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fat Book Entry #2: Classic Writers

Since I have a master’s degree in English, I’ll admit to submitting the topic for our second entry. And of course, since all my literature courses were in Southern literature, I had to go with a Southern writer. I was initially thinking of Eudora Welty, but then I thought it might be more fun to do something with Margaret Mitchell for Gone with the Wind. The first quote that popped in my head was Rhett’s “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn” but when I was telling my friend KT about it, she reminded me of all Scarlett’s “Fiddle-dee-dee’s!”. That’s much more fun! That's a corset hanging off the edge there in case that's not too clear. I just thought of all the scenes of Mamie tightening up Scarlett's corsets. I’ve seen a sneak peak of a few other entries and I’m really excited about this project. It’ll be really fun to see all the final pieces (100 of ‘em!) all together to see how everyone interpreted the topics. Yeah! The back of this one gives a little info about the faux postage again, this one at $19.36. Though the film was released in 1939, the original book was published in 1936.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sugar Chic Baby Yummies!

I have been quite the cake baker in my time. My two favorites I make are Texas Peanut Butter Fudge Cake and Chocolate Orange Sour Cream Pound Cake. Nothing stick to your thighs about either one of those, huh!? Lately, I’ve been getting more interested in cupcakes, thanks to the little ladies, and I just ordered a fun new cupcake cookbook called Hello Cupcake! Check it out here. I was flipping through Etsy as usual the other day and came across this mouth-watering display of cupcakes and cookies. Aren’t they to die for!?! Guess what! They are made of out felt! Wouldn’t they be an awesomely festive centerpiece for a little girls’ birthday party? Sugar Chic Baby has all sorts of fun felt foods, along with aprons and soft baby gifts. Go check them out here! And if anyone wants to order Sarah and Livvie a set like this for their birthday, just let me know! :-)

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Fat Book Entry #1: Bombshells!

I can’t stand it! I have to share! I finally finished my first two entries for the Fat Book swap I’m participating in. Just as a refresher: I found out about this swap through my friend Carmen’s blog who found out from Roni’s blog, who sent out the challenge and is putting everything together. There are 10 women participating. The overall theme is “Women”, with 10 different subthemes we are to carry out. Each piece has to be easily replicated since we have to produce 10 originals of each topic. That means that each of us will end up with 100 originals when it’s all said and done; each piece is 4” x 4”. I thought it would be a great way for me to get my feet wet with mixed media a little more. Little did I know it sounds like I’m the rookie of the group! We have a Yahoo group set up and I’ve seen things posted about glazes and copic markers and all sorts of things I know very little about! Saturday, I sent out a note to the group with the topic “Who are you people, anyway? :-)” since we’ve been carrying on these conversations for several weeks now, and I really had no clue who I was talking to. Thankfully others had the same thought, so it was great to learn more about everyone. It’s a very neat group of gals, coming from all over the country with all kinds of experiences. I look forward to getting to know them all better over the next four months.

So back to my first entry; our first topic is “Bombshells”. I showed you the faux postage stamp I made for this one a while back, so now you can see the finished piece. I cut up the 9” x 12” light cardboard I collected from our graduation program boxes as the base (recycling at its best!), and covered it with hot pink rag paper. Let me back up a minute here…I actually started out with a deep red paper flecked with gold accents, but once I placed my postage stamp on there I hated it, so I had to rethink it and start over. I like the pink much better! I stamped the pink with a French writing stamp, googled Lana Turner quotes for a good quote, and then brought all the bits and pieces together. I glued each piece on the other with an acid free glue stick and still have glue all over my workshop. Then before adding the rhinestones and the smooch, I sealed it and gave the paper a little sheen with Mod Podge. The smooch is sealed as well, and I quickly learned my lesson on that one. I cut them all out before I sealed them! That meant I had to individually seal each one. For my next entry, I remembered to seal before I cut, making things much easier! I’ll share the second entry with you later. For now it’s back to the jewelry bench; I'm participating in the three-day 17th Annual Lakeridge Winery Harvest Festival this weekend!

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Free Bling Friday Number 45!

It's time for Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Free Bling Friday Number 44 winner, Beth W. from Jacksonville, FL. This week’s entry is light and airy for summer. I’ve paired rectangular crazy lace agate gemstones with creamy freshwater pearls, hanging on sterling lever backs. These will go with just about anything! To be eligible to win this pair, simply email me by midnight Thursday, June 19, with the subject line FREE BLING and include where you're from. The next winner will be drawn Friday, June 20. Don't want to miss a single Free Bling Friday? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders. Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Gushing Emotional Mama Syndrome

Milestones…today was the girls’ last day of VPK. Their graduation program was last Thursday night but today was THE LAST DAY! My babies are growing up too quickly. This picture is from their graduation program. I’ve definitely developed “Gushing Emotional Mama Syndrome” over the last week. It started at graduation, watching them up there on stage doing their part in the program. The nine VPK classes were divided into three teams of three classes, each with a special role on the “VPK Graduation Express”. My girls were part of the “caboose”. They sang all the alphabet songs, identified vowels vs consonants, read a short story out loud and sang “Five Miles from Home!”. Before everything started I was a little worried about Livvie. Sarah’s a ham so I knew she’d be fine, but as they were all marching in, Livvie was looking around wide-eyed, thumb in mouth. They walked all the way around the church and then down the center aisle, right where DH and I were sitting, and I was afraid that as soon as she saw us, she’d dart out of line and over to us. But she did great! She didn’t even suck her thumb while they were on stage! I was so proud! Tears they were a-flowing! Yesterday they came home with the most wonderful scrapbooks that Ms. Tammy and Ms. Mary put together for us. The books documented their whole VPK year, including pictures of all their events as well as just general classroom and playground pictures, drawings, writing exercises, the whole shebang. And once again, I had the tears a-falling looking through both books. Ms. Tammy and Ms. Mary are incredible teachers.

This truly was a huge milestone for us, as the girls birth was a bit of a miracle in itself. (This picture is with Ms. Tammy today.) They were conceived after a second run of IVF, three years after we learned we lost our first set of twins, also conceived via IVF, two days after my mom died. My girls were born seven weeks early by emergency c-section. I had developed a severe case of pre-eclampsia called HELLP syndrome. I was already high-risk, pregnant with twins at 37, so I was on weekly hospital monitoring for three hours every Monday. That particular Monday my blood pressure was very high, so the nurses really didn’t want to let me go home after my monitoring. I had a regular doctor’s appointment scheduled for the next morning, so I convinced them to let me go home since I’d be seeing “my” doc the next morning. There’s the kicker. My doctor was out of town! When he told me he had to go out of town, I told him, “Don’t you go out of town on me! I’ll have these babies while you are gone!” And he said, “No, you’ll be fine, you’re still seven-eight weeks out!” He hooked me up with a colleague for monitoring while he was gone and that’s who I was scheduled to meet for the first time the next morning. Little Dr. Sunny Kim. Very sweet, tiny little Asian woman. When I went in to see her for the very first time that next morning, she took all my vitals, reviewed the nurse’s notes from the previous day’s monitoring and said she’d be right back. She was gone for what seemed like hours. When she came back in, she sat down in front of me, took my hands in hers, said she had conferred with Dr. Shaykh by phone, and then said, “You are very sick; we have to take these babies now,” and immediately sent me over to the ER for prep. In shock, I called DH and told him he better get there quickly. Then I called my dad. His response was, “You can’t have the babies now! I’m not there!” Typical father! He made it from West Palm Beach to Jacksonville in three and half hours. Apparently he was there by the time I woke up from the surgery, but I don’t remember much.

Sarah was delivered first and, through the miracles of modern medicine, I was still awake at the time. But then Livvie decided she wasn’t ready to face the world. (Here with Ms. Mary today.) She literally turned around and headed north, getting lodged up in my rib cage. This made it very hard for me to breathe, and I started panicking. All I remember from that point was the nurse anesthetist coming to telling me, “Okay, Kelly, we’re just going to put you to sleep right now; everything will be fine.” DH said things moved very quickly from that point. He probably should have been removed from the room, but I guess with everything happening so quickly, they just didn’t get to that and he got to watch what he now refers to as “Discovery Channel Live”. He said Dr. Kim had to stand up on a stool and press down with all her weight on my chest and upper abdomen to try to push Livvie down. That explained all the soreness and bruising I had in that area when I finally came back to reality. From pictures, I know that the girls were both wrapped up and shown to me before being whisked off to the NICU, but I have no memory of that. For the next two days, I was kept pretty drugged up and on a morphine drip to keep me in bed until they could get my blood-pressure stabilized.

Strangely enough, the only memory I have of those first two and a half days was really wanting to brush my teeth and my dad bringing me the bed pan to brush my teeth in! Dad and DH said they were glad I didn’t see the girls those first two days as they were in pretty bad shape, Livvie in particular. When I was finally allowed out of bed and taken to see them late Thursday night, I felt such a strong mix of emotions: pure joy that they were here, mixed with sadness and fear that they were so very frail, mixed with the first dose of Mama guilt because I couldn’t carry them any longer. They were right at four pounds when they were born and dropped below four pounds for about a week before they finally started gaining a little weight. They are about 10 days old in this picture, and it's always cracked me up. They seem to be saying to each other, “Oh, Sis, we shouldn't have had that last bottle last night...I have one heck of a milk hangover”. Sarah was slow and steady with no real issues other than her very small size. Livvie struggled a bit more, undergoing a full blood transfusion at about a week old. I was sent home after five days but had DH or Pops drive me up there every day to sit with them in the NICU until they could come home.

Two steps forward, one step back. That was the nurses’ mantra until the girls could come home, about three weeks later; this picture was taken just before we left the NICU with them for the last time, Sarah on the left, Livvie on the right. I know our story is not unique. I have two very close friends who delivered twins even earlier than I did and spent more grueling weeks than we did in the NICU. That truly is the miracle of modern medicine. Like my girls, Luke and Dylan and Adrian and Christian are all now happy, healthy wonderful little blessings. So we do get to celebrate those milestones, every one of them. And we’re allowed to have “Gushing Emotional Mama Syndrome”, like all Mama’s are. My girls now amaze me every day, the little geniuses that they are (you knew that was coming, didn’t you :-). They’re so smart, and so brave, and so funny, and so sweet, and so beautiful that I often wonder why I was deemed lucky enough to call them mine. We are truly blessed.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

One Pretty Peacock for You, One Pretty Peacock for Me, One for You, One for Me…

Or in this case, “One for DH, one for me….” Father’s Day is less than two weeks away! I always have a hard time figuring out what to get DH for a gift, be it anniversary, Christmas, birthday, Father’s Day, Daddy Did a Good Deed Day, whatever. Like “The Dad”, otherwise known as Kelly and Kim’s dad, he’s just really hard to buy for (which reminds me, I need to buy Father’s Day cards for both of them). So as luck would have it, when I checked out the Etsy Main Showcase today, there right before my two pools of green algae was this wonderful little personalizeable (did I just make up a word?) keychain. Yeah! Perfect! It’s from Ana at The Pretty Peacock. And I loved the saying on it. It will arrive at my door with our little ladies’ names on it to give to Daddy. (DH only checks in here once in a blue moon, so very doubtful he will see this!) But you know I can’t just check out one thing in a shop and be done with it. No way, Blue Jay! I have to check out the whole shop! And when I did, I laughed out loud at the saying on the pendant below. I will reserve comment as to why I liked it so much, but those of you who know me really, really well will get a chuckle. I will say that one of my other favorite quotes is “Well behaved women rarely make history.” (Oh, to be back in college again…) ‘Nough said. Even better, Ana is personalizing this one for me, putting my birthstone, blue topaz, in place of the peridot. Okay, I need to just stay away from Etsy for a while. I’ve been doing entirely too much shopping... Such cool stuff, I just can’t resist! Go check out Ana’s store, show her some Happy Shack love and tell her I sent you!

Remember that you can always click on my pictures to enlarge them. And for those of you a little slow on the uptake today, “my two pools of green algae” are how DH refers to my lovely green eyes. Such a nice compliment, don’t you think? Like this post? Click here to sign up for free weekly email reminders. Click here for the Happy Shack Designs website. I promise that some day in the not too distant future, I will get around to listing new pieces!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Having Fun with Allison Strine

My goodness, what fun! I’ve been a fan of Allison Strine for a while now, so I went on a major Allison Strine shopping spree yesterday! Can’t wait till it all arrives at my door. I started out just looking for something for the girls teachers and decided on this. Then I thought, “Hmm, I have two weddings coming up! I bet she has something fun for that too!”, but I can’t show you those just in case my sister stumbles upon this. :-) I picked out a couple magnets for friends and then just had to get something for me, the print pictured here because, you know, I AM worth it! And Allison is so much fun to work with. Great customer service. She’s personalizing both my teacher prints and my wedding prints. Her happy art must bring her a very happy heart because her fun spirit came through in every conversation we had. Here’s just a tad of what she said on her profile: “By day, Allison Strine is a happy mixed media/collage artist whose exuberant creations have won awards and appeared in national arts magazines. At night she's a not-very-good cook, a wife to a right brained husband (or is it the left - the one that's all about math and none about art), and a tucker-inner of two glorious children.” She also admits to loving exclamation points!!!!! As do I!!!!! Now go check out her very fun shop here!!!!! And her blog here!!!!!

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