28 October 2010

work, work, dance party, work

I have been working hard all week on designing Christmas cards for people to (hopefully) order to use as their cards this year.  More on that (hopefully) tomorrow.  


This week has also been an ongoing battle trying to find ways to get my family to take my working seriously and leave me alone.  Ah the pitfalls of having a home office.

One thing that I have found that works is to just play my music and let Mabry have her own little dance party in the corner while I work.



And with that I am going to get back to work.

27 October 2010

the winter 2010 weight loss competition

Jess

I've mentioned on here before that I could probably stand to get rid of a little bit of weight.

It seems that since we moved last year I have slowly but surely been adding about 12 pounds to my middle.  I am not a tall person, so the weight gain shows.  Especially now that fall is here and I can't hardly button my pants.

I refuse to go out and buy new jeans and pants.  Not when I know that with a little self control and some dedication I can take those 12 pounds off.

Dan could also stand to lose a little bit.  He and I were talking about it and decided to turn it into a competition.  We want to see who can lose the biggest percentage of body fat by January 1st.  To determine this we had to measure our necks, waist, and in my case hips and then enter it into an Army standard calculator that Dan found online.

We have decided that the winner of the competition is going to be able to get something that they have been wanting.  We have until the end of the week to decide.  Dan is thinking something for his truck.  Like Rhino lining or a new radio or headlights or something else along those lines.  For me, well I have no idea what I want.  I keep racking my brains but honestly the thing I want more than anything is to just get rid of the weight.

I'm crossing my fingers that I can exercise some sort of self control when around chocolate passes by.  Or Christmas cookies.  Or mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving.  Ugh.

26 October 2010

look who has reached the big 3-0

Today Dan turns 30.  I can't believe we are reaching a point in our lives where we can say we are in our thirties.  It just seems...well, strange.  I mean think about it, 30-year-olds are supposed to be OLD.  Isn't that what you thought as a kid?

The truth is, Dan isn't old--at least it doesn't feel like it--now that we are here and he is embracing his third decade of life.

No matter how you view 30, I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather grow old with.  It's a part of why I love you, Dan.  Along with these thirty other reasons (in no particular order):

1.  That every night you will give me a back rub if I ask you to.

2.   That you aren't afraid to make a fool of yourself:

Dan the Wedding Singer


3.  That your nightly routine includes reading a devotional to Mabry and praying with her before you kiss her good night.

4.  That you are brave and also willing to lay down your life for your family and your country if necessary.

5.  That you set aside Sundays for church and then lunch at Moe's.

6.  How after almost seven years of marriage you still refer to me as "your girl."

7.  That you gave up the man cave so that Mabry could have a toy room and I could have a home office.

8.  That you thought the line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." was from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  That still gets me laughing to tears when I think about it.

9.  That you are a very hard worker and good provider for your family.  I hope you are as proud of that as we are of you.

10.  Your ability to recall the most obscure actor/actress's name from movies you have seen years ago.  Even if you can't remember me asking you to turn out a light or take out the trash five seconds after I ask.

11.  The way you sit down to dinner every night, tell me it looks and smells good and then insist on knowing "What's in it?" before taking even one bite.

12.  That you watch FoxNews nightly and work yourself up into a crazed pitch about where this world is headed.

13.  That you have an undying love for all things Penn State football.  (Here is a secret: You are slowly but surely turning me into a fan too.)

14.  That you always insist we get to the movie theatre as early as possible so that we don't chance missing even one preview.

15.  That you try to nickname yourself by telling me to call you Dan-o.

16.  That no matter how hard you try, you can't identify 95% of classic/80s/90s rock singers and bands--but it doesn't ever stop you from trying to guess when I ask you, "Who is this?" when a song plays on the radio.

17.  Your willingness to weigh and tape yourself to participate in the Great Shape Up Competition of Winter 2010.

18.  Also, that you mock me and tell me you are going to own both the competition and me by the time it is over.  Only motivating me to kick your butt that much more.

19.   That you dream with me about all the places around the world we are going to see together someday.

20.  That you will dress up as Mabry's personal Prince Charmin' when she asks you to (and then dance with her):
Dancing with Cinderella


21.  Actually the fact that you are almost always willing to dance with your daughter (or me) if she (or I) ask you to--even when she was only three-weeks-old:


22.  You make me feel safe and you make me laugh and you believe in me, all of these are very important.

23.  That you really believed the lyric was, "Give me the Beach Boys and free my soul..."

24.  Your ability to never ever panic.  Ever.  (Unless you are watching FoxNews, of course.)

25.  Also, the fact that you alone can calm me down when one of my anxiety attacks comes on and I have worked myself up into nothing short of a hysterical frenzy.

26.  That you set a great example of what a husband and father should be so that someday (when she is 40) and Mabry starts to date she has a standard to measure the men in her life to.

27.  That you wake up every morning and ask me how I slept, even if you have to call me or send me an email to ask because you yourself were already up and at work hours before I got up to start the day.

28.  You don't mind spending every vacation day visiting our families.

29.  You love your family with everything you have.

30.  That when I think about the next thirty years I can't help but smile knowing we will be together.

25 October 2010

playing dress up part 1

I'm going to be honest, Halloween is not usually that high up on my list of anticipated holidays.  I have at least given myself credit that every year that Mabry has been around (minus this one) I have been planned well in advance for her costume.

At least this year I did try to make some decorations for around the house.

As far as costumes have gone, 2010 will be the year that I just phoned it in.  Call me lazy or burnt out.  I'd answer to either at this point.  Ironically, this is also the year when we will have had to dress up no less than four times in costume and I usually like to put forth a lot more effort with these things.

This past Saturday was a costume/Halloween party at the First Sergeant's house.  Mabry decided that she had to be a superhero.  Easiest costume ever.  Aside from the $2 worth of make-up sticks I bought at Walmart for her mask, we had everything we needed here at the house.  Even Sheebus had a costume ready to go.

Superhero
(She was getting ready to fly in this photo)

Dan and I were a different story altogether.  I am not sure that either one of us has put on a costume since middle school.  So we were a little out of practice as far as these matters were concerned.  Not to mention we thought we weren't going to be able to make it to the party until the day before.  A little bit of last minute creativity and some wigs from our friends down the street turned us into Robbie and Julia from the Wedding Singer.


Do you see the resemblance?

The Wedding Singers

What if you crossed your eyes and sort of backed away from the computer? Do you see it now?

Yeah, me neither.

But at least we get an A for effort and a good laugh for some pretty terrible wigs.  Get a load of Dan's hair.

One lesson learned is  I don't think I will ever go platinum blonde.  Not one of my better looks.

Later this week I will show you our costumes for the Family Reading Night at the local library.

22 October 2010

on the 500th post i shared some love

First of all, how about we pick the winner of the CSN giveaway.  drum roll please...

Congratulations Liz, from Quiltz 'N' Hoez, you are the winner! Since you didn't leave me an email address, you have 24-hours to get in touch with me to claim your prize.

Now how about we continue this 500th post celebration with a little bit of link love.  I promise, these are really good ones you are going to want to check out.  Prepare to be inspired...


I really love the idea of the Roller Wall.  The website and videos are a little hokey, but the overall idea is great.  Especially when the alternative is to use a stencil and who knows how much time to achieve the same effect.  Someday I want to finally paint Mabry's/guest bathroom.  I am thinking maybe a pattern on the top half and who knows what on the bottom.  The only drawback is that the rollers are kind of expensive.  Maybe I can find someone who wants the same pattern I do and we can go halfsies.  Anyone?
Lately I find myself drawn to old maps.  I'm not entirely sure why or where I would ever put one if I bought one.  One place that I have found great inexpensive maps is Touch of Europe.  The map pictured above is actually wrapping paper that they sell for $4.50.  How easy would that be to frame?


I am not sure that it is going to happen in time for this fall, but by next fall I will have made some of these fabric pumpkins.  They are Adorable with a capital A.  Anyone else interested in spending an afternoon crafting up some of these with me?


Pilot has a new website that will turn your handwriting into a font for free.  I played around yesterday afternoon and created and save a few different fonts.  I also did a little research and hopefully soon they are going to make it where you can download and save the font to your computer.  It really is quick and easy to do.  I wish my handwriting was as interesting as the girl's featured in the video.


Last link (for now) is of a quick and easy sewing project I plan to tackle in the next week or so.  I am a sucker for scarves and these funky O scarves are cute, easy and I think the perfect weight for the brisk falls in the mid South where we live.  If they turn out I might be making a few more for Christmas gifts.  Sweet!

21 October 2010

to the zoo

First thing is first, today is the last day to enter my CSN giveaway.  So if you haven't already done so, make sure you check it out and enter.  Spread the word!

The last change that I have made to the house this week was a small one.

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I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan of the owl artwork I did for Mabry's room.  Yes, at first I thought I really liked it.  Then the more I looked at it the more it just didn't feel like the right fit for her room and it began to drive me crazy.

The problem is I had no idea what to replace the owls with.

I love going to Hobby Lobby and looking at their home dec fabric.  They don't carry tons of it, but what they have is really pretty.  One pattern that I have loved since the first time I saw it was Margarita Cushing's "Covington To The Zoo."  I knew that if we ever had another baby I would buy this fabric and use it to make curtains for in the nursery.

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We aren't expecting a baby at all or any time soon.

So imagine my horror when I found it laying in the clearance bin as a discontinued item.

Suddenly inspiration hit.  The frame above Mabry's bed!  I could use the fabric there!  So I bought 5/8 of a yard so that I would have plenty of the design to choose from and viola!  (Let me tell you I spent the better part of 30 minutes going back and forth about framing the carousal or the elephant.  In the end I let Mabry make the call.)

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Isn't it so much better than the owls?

I also bought a yard of the tan and red hued version (also in the clearance bin).  I am hoping that if I sweet talk my aunt she might turn it into a quilt for me.

20 October 2010

flattery is the highest form of compliment

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One of the best parts of a road trip, for me at least, is when Dan drives.  Because while he is busy dodging big rigs behind the wheel, I finally have time to go through the massive pile of magazines that seems to accumulate every few months.  I browse and rip pages out of things that interest and inspire me at 90 MPH on the interstate.

While in Nashville I went to my cousin, Jennifer's and fell in love with all the barn wood frames she has around her house.  I had a few smaller versions of these frames already, but had no idea that Hobby Lobby carried them in larger sizes.  Apparently it is all about knowing where to look.

All the frames were 50% off last week and so I picked up three 16x20 frames to hang up in the living room.  Two of the frames I plan to fill with photos I have taken of myself, Dan and Mabry.  The middle frame was inspired by one of the magazine articles I read on the trip to Tennessee.

All that I needed was a piece of $1.99 artist paper (it is about the same thickness as poster board, but has a nicer texture to it), some stencils, an Xacto-knife two pieces of scrapbook paper and a good quote.  Once I figured out what my quote was going to be I measured lines on the back of the paper and spaced out what I wanted to say.  It took a little playing around to figure out exactly what line each word should go on.  Then I traced the words onto the back of the poster board backwards using the stencils.  Using the Xacto-knife I then carefully cut out each of the letters, taped the scrapbook paper over top, turned it over and admired my handy work.

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I found the "how to" for the project  in the Country Living September 2010 issue on page 54 in case you were curious.

The only thing I want to do now is paint the two mats I bought for the other frames and of course add our photos.

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If only deciding which two photos of us to frame was as simple as the quote project had been.

Ps.  Only a few days left on my CSN giveaway!

19 October 2010

check yourself

This past weekend was spent at war with my bathroom vanity.  Since we moved in I have been using one basket to hold all of my various perfumes, nail polish and remover, face lotion, hand lotion, etc.  After having to turn the entire basket upside down on the bathroom floor for what felt like the millionth time in an effort to find something I had enough.

So I went to Walmart and bought a three drawer plastic bin and brought it home.  I organized it and had everything perfect.  Height wise it fit.  Depth wise I forgot to account for the pipes under my sink.  I was not too happy having to take everything apart and find an alternative.

Googling "ways to organize under bathroom sink" doesn't bring up a whole lot of options.  I did however get excited to see a set of mesh baskets that looked promising.  At least until I clicked on the link.


Dear Container Store:  You have seriously got to be kidding yourself if you think anyone in their right mind would pay almost $90 for some mesh baskets.  Thinking you better check yourself before you wreck yourself,  A Stunned at Your Prices Customer

Speaking of checking yourself before you wreck yourself....

Dear Zach Galifianakis, Please don't ever stop making movies.  You are hilarious.  Love, Your Biggest Fan


Alright, back from that little tangent.

In the end I found some wire baskets in the kitchen section at Walmart that would work perfectly for $7. Did you hear that, Container Store, $7.  I also bought a single plastic drawer to slide in under the pipe in the sink and used that to hold my hair dryer, curling iron, etc.

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It feels so good to have the bathroom organized and to know I don't have to add an extra 5-10 minutes of search time to my daily routine.  

18 October 2010

yeah, i am getting nothing accomplished

I am having extreme motivation problems this afternoon.  Instead of cleaning the house and organizing spaces like this:

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I'm taking photos of the mess, blogging and watching videos trying to learn how to do my hair:


and contemplating if I would look good with bangs or not.

Ps.  If you haven't signed up for my giveaway, you only have a few more days.  So be sure to click over and check it out.

because martha says it is ok

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Asking people to take their shoes off when they enter the house is sometimes really awkward to me.  I don't really know why.  I mean it is my house, it isn't a secret that I am a neat freak and bust my bottom to try keep everything nice, including the carpets.

I remember once when Gloria's father-in-law came to my house in Washington and he took his shoes off and said something about how he had heard Martha Stewart said there is nothing rude about asking people to do so when they come into your home.  So if Martha gives the green light, why is it still so hard for me to speak up?

While we were in Nashville last weekend I noticed both my aunt and cousin had baskets by the door for people to put their shoes into when they came into the house.  I loved it!  Especially because we have a teeny tiny tile entry that doesn't leave much room for shoes when we have a house full of people.

Have you see the ones that Target sells with the chalkboard on the front?  I heart them, but not for $40.  Which meant I had to rely on my motto of, "I can totally make that" and come up with a new plan.

So on the way home from our weekend away Dan and I stopped at a store filled with all kinds of discounted odds and ends near my parents' house in Georgia and picked up a canvas lined basket for $9.99.  Then I came home and took a scrap piece of wood, drilled two holes into it, gave a quick touch up with our sander and slapped two coats of chalkboard paint on it.  After it dried I ran a piece of twine through the holes and tied to the basket.  A little bit of playing around with my Chalk Ink markers and I came up with:

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Then to take it a step further, I used the basic idea from this tutorial to come up with my own sign.  First I bought the $1 frame from Michaels and drilled two holes in the top.  Then using some scrapbook paper and a glue stick I attached the paper to the frame.  (It just had to hold well enough to get through the next two steps and then I Modge Podged the paper permanently to the frame.)  Using some stickers I added the "Please Remove Shoes!" to the bottom.

We had some stain out in the garage and so I stained the sides of the frame and also brushed some stain onto the paper to make it a little more weathered.  Once that was done I took some Modge Podge and covered the whole thing with a few good coats.

Since these frames don't come with glass or anything to protect the photo, I took a picture of our feet, printed it out and laminated it.

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The only challenge now is deciding where to hang the sign.  I have the wreath I love on the door and it doesn't allow for a sign to also be hung.  I thought about suction cupping it to the storm door off to the side.  I also thought about hanging it right above the doorbell.  I just wonder if that will seem like a lot on either side of the door since I also have my hippie sign hanging up on the other side.

To see photos of my front door you can go here and here because I am suddenly too lazy to post any more photos.  I would love to hear opinions.

Ps.  Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway I'm hosting!

16 October 2010

sometimes the best part about saturdays...

Watching the Game 10.9.2010

...is laying on a pink beanbag chair and watching college ball with family.

15 October 2010

precious, precious, precious

Sneak Peak 1

I have been busy editing away from an impromptu photo shoot I did last weekend in Nashville.  Seriously, my cousin Jen's kids could not get any cuter, if they did I am pretty sure my computer screen would explode.

I also took some of this little china doll.  Couldn't you just eat those chubby cheeks?

China Doll Mabes

Hopefully I will have more to share by the time the weekend is over with.

I am always busy doing a few other projects around the house that I can't wait to share with all of you next week.  I'm not sure what has come over me in the last few days but I suddenly have the urge to do all kinds of creative things.

14 October 2010

no more naps

Someone has pretty much given up the afternoon nap.  Someone else is not ready to give up this little afternoon break.

I'll give you a guess as to which one of those someones is Mabry and which one is me.

No Nap

It seems our afternoons now are spent with me constantly going into Mabry's room telling her to stop screaming, crying, kicking the walls, talking, singing, and generally anything that doesn't involve sleep.  I try and persuade her to lay down on the pillow and just shut her eyes, which almost always results in even more screaming and crying.

I'd be fine with quiet time.  Except Mabry isn't quiet.  Ask all of the people she spent time with last weekend.  The girl can and will talk.  And talk.

And talk.

No Nap #2

Did I mention she is also always cranky and tired from about 3pm on if she doesn't get a nap?  Let me tell you, it is a lot of fun for the rest of us.

What did you do when your babies grew out of nap time?  Or at least stop willingly going to sleep and did everything in their power to fight it?  If you transitioned into a quiet time, how did you make quiet time actually quiet?

13 October 2010

fall ball

While in Nashville we were able to catch a baseball game that my cousin, Avery, was playing in.  She is the only girl on the team and let me tell you she can play!  You can learn a lot watching 3 to 6 year-olds playing fall ball.

It helps to start with a good stance:
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If you happen to take a swing and you miss...
Swing and a Miss


...just keep on smiling and don't forget to wave to your fans...
Smile and Wave


Because at some point you are going to swing and hit one right out of there.
Swing and a Hit


At which point you better run like crazy.
Run like Crazy


Once you make it to the base, don't forget to high five Dad.  (Dad's are awesome like that for encouragement!)
High Five From Dad


Best of all when you make it all the way home, don't forget a little victory dance:
Home Run Victory


Ps.  If you missed it yesterday, in the post right below this one I am hosting a giveaway.  Be sure to check it out.

12 October 2010

CSN giveaway for you!

A few weeks back , I did a review for CSN stores and last week I was contacted by their promo team to see if I would be interested in reviewing another product or hosting a giveaway.  I thought of all of you readers and how awesome you have all been to me.  So, I'm hosting a giveaway!  What can you win?  A $35 gift certificate that you can use at any of the over 200 CSN online stores!

CSN stores have a ton of items, from 
drop leaf tables, to lighting, to home decor and even bedding.  You need to go check out everything for yourself because otherwise we could be here for days and days as I go on and on.   


Giveaway: Entering for this is simple! One, you have to be a follower of this blog. Once you're a follower (there is a Follow button at the bottom of this page if you scroll all the way down), leave a comment and click, "Submit." You're officially entered to win!

This contest will end on Thurs
day, October 21, 2010 at 11:00pm (EST) and is open to US entrants only.  I will post the winner the next day during my 500th post! 

prepare for liftoff

We have been a busy bunch around here lately.  I'm sure you could tell from the almost total absence on all things Internet for the last week or so.

Dan had four days off over the weekend (thank you, Columbus for discovering the New World!!) and we decided to take full advantage of it by getting out of town.

Our first stop was to visit with family in Nashville and then heading down to Alabama to help load up some of my parents' things and move it to Georgia.  I got to take a bunch of photos over the whole weekend (always fun!) and I have lots of fun things to share on the blog.  Does anyone else ever get a blogger's block and not know what to say?  That has been happening to me big time lately.

Anyhow, I thought I would start with the Saturn Rocket we found at the rest stop in Alabama.  The allure of the rocket looming in the distance and the knowledge there was a bathroom nearby for Dan was all it took for us to stop.  (Ps. While I love my husband so very much, I find he is the WORST person to travel with.  His need to make at least one potty stop an hour if not more is enough to make anyone want to tear their hair out.)

Some information on the rocket for you:
Saturn Rocket Info



This thing was huge.  Can you find Mabry in this photo?

By the Saturn Rocket at Alabama Welcome Center 10.10.10


I quickly stitched together about 7 different photos to show you the entire rocket.  I know I could have done a much better job putting them together, but today is my lazy-recoup-from-traveling-day and really it was just something to give you a better idea:

Saturn Rocket


How about a close up of the girlie??

Feeling like Fall 10.10.10


In unrelated news, I think it is supposed to rain and storm here in the coming days.  I can't tell you how excited this makes me.  Come back tomorrow when I show you all kinds of photos from fall ball in Nashville.

07 October 2010

on the third birthday you shall putt

For Mabry's 3rd birthday we took her to play mini golf.  The weather was perfect and she was really excited, even though she didn't have a clue what mini golf was.

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Daddy tried to give her some lessons:
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But she preferred to hold the club in a crazy manner that would probably make her Uncle Sven's head explode if he ever saw:
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She averaged about 15 swings per hole.  Then, being resourceful, she would pick the ball up and set it really close to the hole:
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And then proceed to hit it into the hole and do a happy dance:
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Admission to the mini golf also included admission into the black light mini golf at the other end of the block.  This wasn't your average black light mini golf, oh no...this was pirate black light mini golf.

Ps.  Dan, if you are reading this I think you should use this photo as your Facebook profile:
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Mabry liked pretending to be a pirate, but did not enjoy golfing in the dark.  I think all of the neon glowing colors confused her.
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Last photo, proof that I was there too:
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06 October 2010

warning: many photos ahead

I am on a mission to get myself organized and caught up.  Really and truly this has been a bad summer/early start of fall for me.  I just can't seem to get it together no matter how hard I try.  However, I am getting there.

Tonight I spent several hours going through a folder on my desktop where I have dumped every personal photo I have taken since July.  I organized the pictures and renamed them and even uploaded them to share with family.  Of course as soon as I was done with July, August and September I remembered that the only photos I had taken of Mabry on her real birth date were on my phone.  I wanted to make sure I emailed them all to myself and got those labeled and put on the hard drive where they belonged.

There will not be an undocumented birthday if I can help it.

While sifting through my phone I came across several photos from last month.  I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you.

You have already been forewarned this is a post heavy with photos.

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I can't remember exactly what caused the upset in this next photo.  All I know is this girl can turn on the tears at the drop of a hat.  I think it had something to do with her playing with her drink straw:
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Now that she is 3-years-old she thinks she can drink coffee.  Really all it is some chocolate milk in a teeny tiny Starbucks cup:
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Dan's new unit had a family day and Mabry spent her quarter for the week on having her face painted:
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Another night Dan had to pull 24-hour duty, which gave Mabes and I the perfect excuse to have a slumber party in my room:
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September was also the month for our first trip to Build-a-Bear.  While Mabes loves her new friend...
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...she'll always have a soft spot for her Sheebus.
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I also came across this photo of Baby N (I take lots of photos to send to her Mom and this is my favorite).  N is the little girl I have been watching for the last few months.  Tomorrow is my last day watching her.  I'm both excited to have a little more free time and sad that I won't get to spent 5 days a week playing with this cute little red head:
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Come back tomorrow when I show you photos of what we did on Mabry's birthday.

Ps.  Yes, I am really up this late, I didn't set it to auto post.
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